Photo: Martin Swett



Commercial Marijuana Cultivation Rules Set Few Limits

By Jennifer Kalt

On October 9, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law three bills—SB643, AB266, and AB243— that form a long-overdue statewide framework to regulate commercial medical marijuana cultivation and distribution. The framework creates a process by which counties and cities can issue local permits to create regulations more restrictive than the state’s—or they can ban cultivation entirely. The deadline for adopting local rules governing permits is March 1, although Assemblymember Jim Wood plans to change that date as soon as possible. Despite the proposed change, Humboldt County is rushing to put a cultivation ordinance in place as fast as it can to meet that March 1 deadline.

As reported in the Oct/Nov issue of EcoNews, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted on September 15 to take the lead on developing a cultivation ordinance for parcels over five acres, a process that was spearheaded by industry lobbyists late last year.

On October 30, Humboldt County staff released its draft ordinance for review by public and the Planning Commission, which will submit its recommendations to the Board of Supervisors for another series of public hearings.




The Story Begins: the Return of Dr. Loon

By Dr. Loon

Dr. Loon returns after a five-year break. This is the first of several excerpts from The Price of a Life: Shells, Gold, Carbon Notes and Weed in the Humboldt Bay / Six Rivers Region.

My story begins several decades ago, with a question: How shall we live? The institutions that were supposed to help with the answers—family, school, community—had failed a generation. They were told: Duck and cover. Cut your hair, get a job. Step forward when your number’s called. So they left all that, and came up with the best answers they could, often in remote places like Humboldt County. Then they had a hundred more questions, foremost among them: What are we going to use for money?  No one imagined that the answer might be a plant.




Kin to the Earth: Wendell Wood

By Sandra Jarabek

We lost our dear friend Wendell Wood last August, a true champion for the wild.  At age 66, he appeared overflowing with health and enthusiasm until his last moment, which was hiking in old growth redwoods.  He was doing what he loved most.  Without a whisper of warning, he was gone.



The Beach Beautification Project: How Adopt-a-Beach Began

By Joe Abbott

In part it began in biology class circa 1968, when a College of the Redwoods instructor mentioned the word “environmentalism,” explaining it would be a significant scientific field in the future and would increase awareness of natural systems and human influence on them. Although not a particularly astute student I nevertheless made note, and shortly after had occasion to mull the concept of human influence on wild places, albeit in a seemingly trifling manner.

At seventeen years old with no place to get drunk, four friends and I parked on a dirt road beyond Cutten. As usual, we threw our beer empty bottles on the roadside, sometimes breaking them, sometimes not. The rest of the garbage went the same way. Then an older close friend decided he’d seen enough to “kick the ass of the next guy who littered.” The thought startled me; I wasn’t particularly worried about the ass-kicking but it was the notion—the first time a peer was concerned with litter. And he was (is) a friend whose words are worthy of consideration. But really, who cared if you threw your shit around?




Global Carbon Levels Surpass 400ppm for First Time Ever for Entire Month

By Sarah Lazarre, Common Dreams

Marking yet another grim milestone for an ever-warming planet, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed on Wednesday that, for the first time in recorded history, global levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere averaged more than 400 parts per million (ppm) for an entire month—in March 2015.

“This marks the fact that humans burning fossil fuels have caused global carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations to rise more than 120 parts per million since pre-industrial times,” said Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, in a press statement. “Half of that rise has occurred since 1980.”






Share your memories of Lucille and Susie

We at NEC understand that no one person or group could cover all the important, passionate work Lucille Vinyard and Susie Van Kirk did for our community and for our earth. We were fortunate to work with them. We know many of our friends and readers have stories to share about these two women and we invite you to share those with us. We will put as much of them on our website in upcoming months as possible.

If you would like to share some stories, please mail them to NEC Board Vice-President Dan Sealy at

The more concise your memories and tributes are, the more likely we can make everything available on the NEC website. We will also be archiving all tributes for future reference and research.  

Thank you ~ the NEC Board



Community Choice Energy Q & A

The Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) is currently working to establish a community choice energy program for Humboldt County. Community choice aggregation, also known as community choice energy, is a provision of California law that allows cities, counties or joint powers agencies to purchase electricity on behalf of the customers in their territories. RCEA is fascillitating a presentation and discussion of Community Choice energy on Feb. 9 for members and staff of the NEC, Humboldt Baykeeper, and other local environmental groups. RCEA is a Joint Powers Authority whose members include the County of Humboldt, the Cities of Arcata, Blue Lake, Eureka, Ferndale, Fortuna, Rio Dell, and Trinidad, and the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District.




Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance News

Having a hard time keeping up with marijuana news? Our colleagues at Humboldt Baykeeper have compiled a selection of the latest articles on their website at Marijuana Impacts & Regulation.