Faith and Science – Who Believes?

For a long time, we’ve been having a pretty confused discussion about the relationship between religious beliefs and the rejection of science — and especially its two most prominent U.S. incarnations, evolution denial and climate change denial.

Josh Rosenau, an evolutionary biologist who works for the National Center for Science Education  has published a chart that, no matter what you think of the relationship between science and religion, will give you plenty to think about.

Crunching data from the massive Pew survey of American religious beliefs (2007), Rosenau plotted different U.S. faiths and denominations based on their members’ views about both the reality of specifically human evolution, and also how much they favor “stricter environmental laws and regulations.” Continue reading Faith and Science – Who Believes?

TSV Sustainability Scholarship 2015

Transition Sonoma Valley is extremely pleased to announce that Stephanie Angulo has been selected to become the first recipient of our first annual, Transition Sonoma Valley Sustainability Scholarship. Ms. Angulo is a graduating senior at Sonoma Valley High School and also an intern at TSV.
Ms. Angulo was selected because we believe in planning for and investing in the future, and we consider her intellectual talents, communication skills, and work ethic to merit our support. We also appreciate all the time and good work she has contributed as a volunteer for our organization.
Ms. Angulo received her award, a check in the amount of $500, on May 18, 2015 at Sonoma Valley High School. She also has been accepted into Google’s Computer Science Summer Institute in Washington. In the Fall of 2015  she will enroll in the 3/2 Engineering Program at Occidental College, where she will have the opportunity to complete her studies at Caltech or Columbia University.

Sustainable Sonoma – What It Is, and Isn’t

Fueled by nearly five years of discussions with you, our beloved neighbors in this feisty Bear-Flag-loving pueblo, The Sun has asked us to comment on a surprisingly moveable topic: ‘Sustainability’.

Like Thomas Jefferson, we generally find the truths about sustainability to be ‘self-evident’. Nevertheless, we offer up a few observations we find neither too obscure nor too convenient to ignore.

What We Know

“Sustainability is permanence.” Soil advocate Lady Eve Balfour said this almost 40 years ago, and it still rings true today. She went on to quote Aldo Leopold, “a thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise”.

Sonoma is blessed with an abundance of natural — and increasingly cultural — amenities that inspire our spirits and make almost all of us happy to live here. Sonoma also has a proud tradition of iconoclastic independence. It should come as no surprise that our new vecinos de Michoacán have independence in their tradition too. We have much to learn from one another in the years to come.

Continue reading Sustainable Sonoma – What It Is, and Isn’t

Russian River – ALL RIVERS – May 29

THE VALUE OF AN AMERICAN WATERSHED©

* * Back in Sonoma by Popular Demand * *

Screening at Sonoma’s Burlingame Hall, May 29

Those not able to attend previous screenings of The Russian River: ALL RIVERS The Value of an American Watershed in venues throughout the north bay, will have another chance to catch a Sonoma Valley showing on Friday, May 29 at 7:00 pm. Shown in February to a packed crowd at Sebastiani Theatre, and in March to a sold-out crowd at Andrews Hall,  the film will be presented on a free-will donation basis at Burlingame Hall on the campus of First Congregational Church (FCC) located at 252 West Spain Street. Doors will open at 6:30 pm, and guests will be seated on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Sponsored by Transition Sonoma Valley and the Earth Care Committee of FCC, this showing of the highly acclaimed documentary will also feature a post-film Q & A with Continue reading Russian River – ALL RIVERS – May 29

Lawn Transformations – Now in a Front Yard Near You

By all reports residential lawns in drought-stricken California are fast becoming another one of those quaint 20th century anachronisms . Unless you still have a compelling need to play futbol, polo, or golf in your front yard (Anglo-Saxon bowling or tennis anyone?) it’s getting hard to justify why to still keep one.

How many lawn conversions can you count in your neighborhood?

By last count, one nearby two-block span had at least five in progress (or recently completed). Here in Sonoma, we are not alone. Water agencies throughout the state report a surge in interest in turf replacement and conservation rebate programs as our unprecedented statewide drought continues. Savvy homeowners will want to take advantage of the generous incentives before the free money inevitably runs out.

Best of all, these landscaping changes are as creatively diverse and inspiring as you would expect from Sonoma Valley.  The one above on Third Street East certainly caught our eye. Here’s what the owner had to say: Continue reading Lawn Transformations – Now in a Front Yard Near You

Community Resilience Challenge

Pass it on, the Challenge is spreading. During the month of May, thousands of people across the country will take coordinated, grassroots action to build resilience in their communities. Together, we’ll show the world what’s possible when communities come together to get things done. Will you join us?

Last year we collectively helped register over 16,000 actions as part of the Community Resilience Challenge! Way to stand up and be counted!!

The Community Resilience Challenge is organized around four themes: Continue reading Community Resilience Challenge

How Not to Deal with Shenanigans at a School That’s Ready to Pop

Many have read local news accounts of the water balloon incident that took place at Sonoma Valley High School this past Friday.  After interviewing several eyewitnesses, we believe that unless student perspectives are taken more seriously, the root causes of this event may be misunderstood by the community at large. If that happens, matters at the high school are likely to continue to get worse before they get any better. We should all hope to avoid that if we can.

Last Friday at lunch, the senior class arranged for a water balloon fight in the school’s parking lot, intending just a harmless prank and some innocent fun.  A majority of seniors brought their own ammo of balloons from home and prepared themselves for the event. The fight continued on for about 15 minutes, with administrators filming the entire sight with their smartphones. At around 12:45, an announcement was reported over the intercom, declaring that the school’s lunch had been cut short and all students were required to return back to classes. Students were disappointed and walked back to class hesitantly.

Once seniors approached campus grounds, most noticed that many students from other grade levels were not listening to the orders. Likewise, most of the school population then refrained from going back to class and gathered around the school’s rotunda. Students began badmouthing the unfairness of losing their lunch and that the entire school had to face consequences for the actions of the senior class. Soon, all abusive remarks were directed towards the school’s administrators and the school as a whole. There, a mob mentality was brought into the atmosphere.

The key question is this.  Continue reading How Not to Deal with Shenanigans at a School That’s Ready to Pop

Celebrate Sonoma’s Mexican heritage: past and present!

Make room in your calendar for a Cinco de Mayo fiesta!

This Sunday, May 3rd, La Luz will be bringing the party to the plaza from 12 – 5pm in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. This event will be free of charge and open to the public.

Traditional food will be offered by local vendors as community members come watch the entertainment that ranges from Mexican folkloric dances to mariachi music.

Bring your family and friends and join in on the festivities!

For more information >> 

Russian River – ALL RIVERS – April 16

THE VALUE OF AN AMERICAN WATERSHED©

* * Back in Sonoma by Popular Demand * *

Sonoma Screening # 3, April 16

Those who were not able to attend the previous two sold-out Sonoma screenings of the The Russian River: ALL RIVERS (at Sebastiani Theatre and Andrews Hall) have one more chance to catch a Sonoma showing.

The film everyone is talking about will be shown again, this time on a free-will donation basis on Thursday, April 16th at Burlingame Hall on the campus of First Congregational Church (FCC) located at 252 West Spain Street.

Doors open at 7:00 pm, and guests will be seated on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Sponsored by Transition Sonoma Valley and the Earth Care Committee of FCC, this showing of the highly acclaimed documentary will also feature interaction with former Editor of the Index Tribune, David Bolling.  As co-founder and past president of Friends of the Russian River (a grassroots river coalition in Sonoma County), and as former executive director of Friends of the River (a California river conservation organization) Bolling has extensive  experience in the film’s subject matter.

According to the film’s producers (as of the end of March) the film “has been seen by nearly 3,000 people in 17 venues throughout Marin, Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties … The reception has been beyond our expectations, with full capacity seating and well-attended sessions of Q & A afterward.”

For more information about the film…

Read Out Earlier Post >>

Download the FCC-ECC/TSV Press Release >>

View/Add to Calendar >>

Read a Filmmaker Interview in The Sun >>

Learn about SCWA’s new $1.8 million salmonid monitoring grant >>

Join Russian Riverkeeper’s Mailing List >>

 image: Finlay McWalter

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