Photo: Martin Swett



News From the Center

By Dan Ehresman

On July 18, one week ago today as I sit typing, my colleague and good friend called with unfathomable news. He called to say his 11-year-old son was killed in an ATV accident. My heart cracked in that instant—both for the loss of one whose sweet energy and exuberance for life touched so many and for my friends who just lost one of the most important beings in their world.

As time ticked by, my eyes gradually opened to the gift that Owen left in his passing.




Eye on Washington

By Dan Sealy

Some members of Congress are using the public’s fear and misunderstanding of fire to circumvent the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA is the foundation of our nation’s environmental laws and, most importantly, the mechanism by which federal agencies are required to inform citizens of their plans, use the best available science, and consider public input.

HR 2647, ironically titled the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, gives the U.S. Forest Service sweeping powers to log up to 5,000 acres with virtually no public input, and pushes some post-fire logging timelines up making them also nearly impossible to stop, even in the face of potentially significant environmental impact.




Protecting Watersheds Needs to be Top Priority in Pot Ordinance

By Dan Ehresman

Of all the serious environmental issues we face in our region, promoting meaningful marijuana policy and action is one of the most significant local issues that we have a real chance of influencing before it gets even worse. Policy makers on the North Coast and throughout California are working to fill regulatory holes left after passage of Proposition 215 while also preparing for the anticipated legalization of recreational weed in 2016. The impacts relating to an unchecked industry that is fragmenting forests, tapping watersheds dry and expanding every year have been previously discussed in EcoNews. Current legislation will have an impact—for better or for worse—on our region’s burgeoning cannabis industry.



Are Green Plastics Really Green?

By Julie Layshock, Zero Waste Humboldt

Bioplastic, biodegradable, plant-based, recyclable, and compostable are popular terms on single use plastic products and packaging. While these green marketing words sound good, clarity is needed to understand the flood of new plastic products. Often used interchangeably and in combination with each other, these terms have very different meanings. “Bioplastic” and “plant-based” indicate the source materials used to make the plastics. “Biodegradable,” “recyclable,” and “compostable” describe possible options after use.




Regional Water Board Proposes Rules to Protect Water Quality from Impacts Associated with Marijuana Cultivation

By Scott Greacen, Friends of the Eel River

A substantial crowd was on hand May 7 at Eureka’s Wharfinger Building as the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (generally known as the Regional Water Board) held a public workshop at its board meeting to discuss a draft framework for regulating water quality impacts associated with cultivation of marijuana and similar crops. The proposal will be open for public comment through June 8, 2015. If adopted by the Board, as early as its August meeting, the new program could go into effect as soon as the fall of this year.




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.”






 Jen Savage and Delia Bense-KangJen Savage and Delia Bense-Kang
Goodbye Jen, Hello Delia!

After nearly two sunshiny years, we are losing our Coastal Programs director Jennifer Savage to the greener (or should we say browner?) pastures of So Cal. We feel fortunate to have been able to keep here the short time we have but alas she has a great opportunity awaiting her in her new role as CA policy director for Surfrider Foundation. She promises to stay in touch but we will see how long that lasts given the distance and what we would expect to be a huge workload. Regardless, have fun out there, Jen, and though you may be near Hollywood, don’t break a leg!

Welcome to our new MPA Outreach Coordinator, Delia Bense-Kang!