Kenwood Press


Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

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View from the Valley: 05/15/2016

This changes everything

By Linda Hale, Valley of the Moon Alliance



I woke up one morning to a national news alert. There was flooding in Fernley, Nevada, which was a geological impossibility. Fernley sits on a plateau at the edge of an ancient dry seabed. In other words, it’s currently in the middle of a desert. Their local levee had partially collapsed and housing tracts near it were flooded. Our friends who had left Sonoma Valley for Fernley were safe, but it made me think of the power of water and geological change over time. Fernley sits in the Great Basin, which starts at the Rocky Mountains and ends in the foothills of our Eastern Sierras. For tens of thousands of years it was a drainage plain filled with large lakes that occasionally flooded, their waters flowing all the way to the Great Salt Lake in Utah.

Change is a constant that has shaped human existence. Climate change, specifically global warming, is what’s in the national news today. And folks have finally come to agree that humans are accelerating this warming and contributing to changing weather patterns. The U.S. is experiencing unusual weather patterns that have caused flooding in Houston and drought in California. Environmental scientists have been sounding the alarm, but we really haven’t made the leap we need to make: the connection between economics and the environment. Partially (and politically) it’s because important studies have been filed in government archives without any action. But mainly it’s because in traditional economics, natural resources were considered raw materials that needed to be harvested by entrepreneurs. Our destiny was to manifest progress and wealth. Things have changed.

Sir Nicholas Stern, Head of the U.K. Government Economic Service, has written a book titled The Economics of Climate Change. An editor at Vanity Fair magazine offered the following review: “National wealth, it turns out, will begin to disappear along with the countless species that aren’t adjusting fast enough to the changing environment. Stern’s report warns in economic terms that humanity might be one of those species ... Stern, a former chief economist of the World Bank, approached the scientific evidence with a fresh eye and rapidly became convinced that if we act now we can avoid the very worst ... [His] message succeeds because he appeals not to sentiment, nor even to environmental responsibility, but to the naked self-interest of capitalism.” (Vanity Fair, The Green Issue, May 2007). In the interest of full disclosure, this issue of Vanity Fair was printed on glossy, non-recycled paper with high fashion layouts. And Mother Jones magazine did an estimate of the carbon dioxide emissions added to our carbon load from flying two planes with Leonardo DiCaprio, Annie Lebovitz, and entourage to cover the photo shoot in Iceland and it wasn’t pretty.

So let’s get real: we need to start comparing the costs and benefits of moving forward with practical solutions. And we can start in our own back yard. For $12 per household per year we can see the benefits of protecting our own tidal basin, the San Francisco Bay. Species like salmon and smelt are on the endangered list and state Measure AA could leverage more state and federal funds for the San Francisco Bay which now receives much less federal support for water quality improvement and restoration work than other major watersheds, according to People for a Clean and Healthy Bay. This would help restore thousands of acres of tidal marsh, accelerate projects that protect shoreline communities and infrastructure, and improve public access to trails and recreation.

Economically, passing Measure AA is a win-win: The Bay supports commercial fishing, attracts visitors, and encourages quality employers to relocate to the region. All of these smart moves have economic benefits. And I would not like to wake up to flooding should our Bay Area levees and wetlands not be ready to contain the rising tides of global warming.

Stay tuned for upcoming VOTMA columns about water and a local showing of the award-winning movie The Russian River: All Rivers. Let’s take a realistic look at the future of water together.



Recently Published:

12/15/2018 - VOTMA 2018 Year in Review
11/15/2018 - Traffic on Highway 12 – Where are we headed?
05/15/2018 - “Why does VOTMA persist?”
03/15/2018 - View from the Valley
12/01/2017 - After the fire
09/15/2017 - Why we appealed
08/15/2017 - Resort update and other news
08/01/2017 - Last call for Hood Mountain
06/15/2017 - Traffic – we are all affected
05/15/2017 - At a crossroads
04/15/2017 - Foxes in the hen house?
03/15/2017 - In search of waters
02/15/2017 - County’s sustainability goals are not sustainable
01/15/2017 - On the radar in 2017
12/15/2016 - View From The Valley
11/15/2016 - A garden of earthly delights
10/15/2016 - Too much of a good thing
09/15/2016 - A tale of two cities
08/15/2016 - Finding the ways that work
06/15/2016 - A road less taken
04/15/2016 - Asked and answered
03/15/2016 - Rural character
02/15/2016 - Saddle up, suit up!
01/15/2016 - Making alliances count
12/15/2015 - An alliance to benefit the Valley of the Moon

Recently Published:

02/15/2020 - Vote-by-mail ballots still available
02/15/2020 - Winter hike in the woods at Jack London
02/15/2020 - Experience Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
02/15/2020 - Volunteer training for Jack London State Historic Park
02/15/2020 - Homeless village settles in at Los Guilicos
02/15/2020 - Mark your calendar for the “FAWNdraiser”
02/15/2020 - Oakmont Golf gets second chance
02/15/2020 - Earthquakes, England and elections at the Sunday Symposium
02/15/2020 - Hike and learn about SDC and Sonoma Mountain
02/15/2020 - Hike Sugarloaf’s lower trails with Bill & Dave
02/15/2020 - Wind damage lingers, blocks lane
02/15/2020 - Funky Fridays funds go to local projects
02/15/2020 - The U.S. Capitol Dome – secrets spilled at Cal Club dinner
02/15/2020 - Tickets available for Big Heart Awards
02/15/2020 - GEK Rotary crab feed – get your tickets!
02/15/2020 - SV Mentoring volunteer info meeting
02/15/2020 - SVCAC looks at Springs housing/ hotel proposal
02/15/2020 - Protecting our oceans
02/15/2020 - The PAT – An open or shut case?
02/15/2020 - Glen Ellen, Mayacamas and VOM merger underway
02/15/2020 - Hip Hop therapy the topic at Hanna Boys Center
02/01/2020 - Bill & Dave lead a leisurely hike at Sugarloaf
02/01/2020 - Homeless move into Los Guilicos shelter
02/01/2020 - Sales tax for fire safety faces uphill battle
02/01/2020 - Advisory group gives support to cannabis dispensary

Community Calendar

Try your luck at Bingo
02/19/2020
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Symphony table game fundraiser at St. Patrick’s
02/20/2020
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Cal Alumni Club dinner features U.S. Capitol Fellow
02/20/2020
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Cal Club Dinner
02/20/2020
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Oakmont Farmers Market
02/22/2020
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Yoga Hike
02/22/2020
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Observatory open
02/22/2020
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Emmaus Inclusive Community service and potluck supper
02/23/2020
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Sons of Hermann German Club
02/25/2020
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Oakmont Kiwanis Club meets
02/27/2020
more...
Oakmont Farmers Market
02/29/2020
more...


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