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Center Column Archives
(Albany, Calif.), April 22, 2012 – Occupy the Farm, a coalition of local residents, farmers, students, researchers, and activists are planting over 15,000 seedlings at the Gill Tract, the last remaining 10 acres of Class I agricultural soil in the urbanized East Bay area. The Gill Tract is public land administered by the University of California, which plans to sell it to private developers. For decades the UC has thwarted attempts by community members to transform the site for urban sustainable agriculture and hands-on education.
Monsanto closed its facility in Davis, California on March 16th after 150 occupiers from throughout the state blocked the entrances to their Davis facility at 1910 5th Street. The occupiers reported that they shut down operations at the corporate giant, which produces genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and is notorious for its inordinate influence over the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
On March 3rd, the Student Environmental Center at UC Santa Cruz hosted the 11th Annual Campus Earth Summit. This year's Campus Earth Summit included student-led workshops on a wide-variety of subjects, live performances, and keynote talks by Santa Cruz Mayor Don Lane and Eric Holt-Giménez of Food First.
One of the major issues now confronting the City of Santa Cruz, and residents outside the city limits, too, is whether or not the City should partner with the Soquel Creek Water District to construct a $100 million dollar desalination plant to meet the need for water during drought periods in the City of Santa Cruz water service area, and to help relieve the threat of groundwater overdraft in the Soquel Creek Water District. A kickoff party for the Right to Vote On Desalination initiative will be held on Sunday, February 12th
in Santa Cruz.
In the pre-dawn hours of Monday, January 30th, a small group of activists hung a banner from the La Fonda HWY 1 overpass by Harbor High. The banner read "WIDENING WASTE$". The approximately one-mile widening project will cost almost $20 million, to be funded by the State Transportation Bond and State Transportation Improvement Program funds. There are a number of other projects competing for those millions of dollars that may now not be funded because of the high cost of the widening project.
The Save the Peaks Coalition is fighting the United States Forest Service in a legal battle to protect children from hazardous endocrine disruptors and to protect the San Francisco Peaks sacred site in Arizona from desecration. On Monday, January 9th
, The Save the Peaks Coalition et al v. the United States Forest Service will be heard by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, CA. The case argues that under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, the Forest Service failed to adequately consider the impacts associated with ingestion of snow made from reclaimed sewer water in its Environmental Impact Statement. Organizers are calling for a strong turn-out for a march and rally before the court hearing, and a welcoming reception will be held the previous day on Sunday, January 8th
On December 8th, the California Coastal Commission voted 10-1 to approve the controversial $5 million Arana Gulch Master Plan. The vote was expected to resolve a fifteen year long battle between cycling advocacy groups and environmental groups that oppose a bike path through the Santa Cruz greenbelt. But in a move that has some long time Sierra Club members crying foul, cycling advocacy groups are running a slate of three candidates for the board of the Santa Cruz County Group of the Sierra Club in the December election. This would be the second cyclist-sponsored candidate slate in two years, and is expected to decide control of the Santa Cruz Group Executive Committee.