Ecologist and Tsimshian native, Dr. Teresa Ryan shares from her training in Western scientific observation, insight into the relationships between tree roots and mycorrhizal fungi and marine-derived nitrogen that came from the bodies of spawned-out salmon that were defecated out by bears and eagles and otters, and even some people who eat that flesh of the fish in the forest, and fertilize the trees of the system to create and ingrain the webs of life below her deep green Pacific Northwest temperate rainforest. Introduction by Brock Dolman, Director of Occidental Arts & Ecology Center WATER Institute. This speech was given at the 2017 National Bioneers Conference. Since 1990, Bioneers has acted as a fertile hub of social and scientific innovators with practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. Subscribe to the Bioneers Radio Series, available on iTunes and other podcast providers and on your local radio station. Support Bioneers today: www.bioneers.org/donate
Authors Peter Phillips and Tim Ogburn
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The Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has diverted over $100 million from safety and maintenance programs to executive compensation at the same time it has caused an average of more than one fire a day for the past six years killing over 100 people.
PG&E is the largest privately held public utility in the United States. A new research report shows that 91% of PG&E stocks are held by huge international investment management firms, including BlackRock and Vanguard Group. PG&E is an ideal investment for global capital management firms with monopoly control over five million households paying $16 billion for gas and electric in California. The California Public Utility Commission (PUC) has allowed an annual return up to 11%.
Between 2006 and the end of 2017, PG&E made $13.5 billion in net profits. Over those years, they paid nearly $10 billion in dividends to shareholders, but found little money to maintain safety on their electricity lines. Drought turned PG&E’s service area into a tinderbox at the same time money was diverted from maintenance to investor profits.
A 2013 Liberty Consulting report showed that 60% of PG&E’s power lines were at risk of failure due to obsolete equipment and 75% of the lines lacked in-line grounding. Between 2008 and 2015, the CPUC found PG&E late on thousands of repair violations. A 2012 report further revealed that PG&E illegally diverted $100 million from safety to executive compensation and bonuses over a 15-year period.
Watching coho salmon jump through the Inkwells is like watching a Fourth of July fireworks show: At each jump, people ooh and aah at the electrifying sight. You then can crown the day with a grand finale of your own to a nearby mountaintop.
What started as a cult event a few years ago — salmon watching in Marin — has turned into a show that attracts thousands of viewers. The annual spectacle started this week in the Lagunitas Creek watershed along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in west Marin County.
You then can top the day with a hike to nearby 1,466-foot Barnabe Peak, about a 5-mile round trip on a new suggested route, with a payoff view that reaches from the flank of Mount Tamalpais to the coast and Point Reyes National Seashore.
NAPA, Calif.— A California appeals court ruled yesterday that Napa County violated state law in approving the large Walt Ranch vineyard development in the mountains east of the city of Napa. The decision sends the project, which would destroy more than 300 acres of riparian, oak and native grassland habitat and convert it into vineyards, back to the trial court.
Responding to an appeal from the Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club, the court held that Napa County failed to provide a clear plan to address the climate harms from the vineyard’s proposed destruction of 14,000 large trees.
“This is a victory for Napa County’s forests and California’s fight against climate change,” said Aruna Prabhala, urban wildlands director at the Center. “The court agreed that officials can’t let a developer destroy thousands of trees with no concrete plan to address the resulting harm to our climate. It’s time for Napa County to rethink its reckless rubber-stamping of vineyard conversions.”
The appeals court determined that Napa County failed to show how preservation of unspecified woodlands on the site would offset the climate harms of cutting down thousands of trees. Forests are critical to a healthy climate because they store carbon dioxide, while destroying forests releases carbon dioxide. The ruling could have statewide implications for developments that plan to destroy forests without addressing climate harms.
Town Hall Meeting, November 19
Napa Valley College Little Theater
2277 Napa-Vallejo Highway, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has until June 30, 2020, to restructure. If it doesn’t accomplish this, Governor Newsom has threatened that the state will take over the utility. So far PG&E’s restructuring plan favors shareholders and would raise debt and equity. But other competing groups also have plans for restructuring and takeover: big equity funds, bondholders, and municipalities offering to buy PG&E. One way or the other, ratepayers are going to be on the hook. Read more about these plans in The Economist article here.