A unique partnership between community members, UC Berkeley students, academics and staff has been working toward creation of a 1.5 acre urban farm, education and research center on the Gill Tract in Albany. The Gill Tract Farm Coalition has invited members of the public to "Come join us for a Spring Planting Celebration on Saturday, April 26, as we celebrate this new joint venture by planting, learning, playing, and eating together!"
On April 11, the California Coastal Commission approved the development of a large hotel and condominium complex sited on beach and dune habitat on Monterey Bay in Sand City. The developer calls the 360-unit complex, with parking for almost 1,000 cars, the "Monterey Shores Eco-resort." Environmental groups have opposed the project for years. At risk is a population of Western Snowy Plovers, a federally threatened species who nest and raise their broods in the footprint of the proposed resort.
In March, Turtle Island Restoration Network ‘s Salmon Protection And Watershed Network (SPAWN) won a legal battle with the County of Marin to protect the last population of wild California coho coastal salmon. A California appeals court affirmed SPAWN's position that the Marin countywide plan was unlawful because the county failed to analyze cumulative impacts and provided spurious mitigation for destruction of salmon habitat.
Community members in San Benito are hoping they will be the first "frontline" county in California to ban fracking and other methods of extreme oil and gas extraction. Since late March, volunteers across the county have begun collecting signatures for a fracking ban initiative they hope to have on the ballot in November. Progress is moving quickly; after two weeks of collecting signatures, the organization San Benito Rising announced they were nearly halfway through their drive.
On April 23, UC Berkeley removed all of the redwoods
behind Soda Hall, despite assurances some would stay.
On April 6, University of California Berkeley cut down the support foliage at the redwood grove behind Soda Hall. Larger redwoods have been severely pruned and smaller redwoods have been removed entirely. Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm wants the lot for a $20,000,000 privatized tech design institute, named after himself. The UC intends to cut down all the trees in the grove. Save the Ridge Redwoods has called for a "wave of action" protest to defend the trees at Ridge Road and Le Roy Avenue in Berkeley. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on April 12.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report on March 31 highlights the increasing threat from rising global meat and dairy consumption to limiting global warming, especially as the world population continues to grow. By 2050, estimates indicate, beef and lamb will account for half of all agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. Cheese and other dairy products will account for about one quarter of total agricultural climate pollution.
Steve Pleich writes:
There has been much discussion over the last several months concerning the wisdom of having a fully functional Needle Exchange Program in our community. Many have expressed doubts about the public health benefits of such a program, but a clear-eyed and dispassionate analysis of those benefits has been subsumed by an overriding public safety concern.