Kenwood Press


Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

email print
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:

03/15/2019 - State Senator McGuire gives update to VOM Rotary
03/15/2019 - County offers housing help on several levels
03/15/2019 - A new book on Sonoma Mountain
03/15/2019 - Community workshops with Supervisor Gorin
03/15/2019 - Defining winery guidelines still on county’s radar
03/15/2019 - What’s next for Oakmont golf?
03/15/2019 - It’s swarm season again!
03/15/2019 - Cal Alumni Club gives out $16K in scholarship money
03/15/2019 - David Cook jumps into District 1 race
03/15/2019 - Neighborhoods at “every level of rebuilding possible”
03/15/2019 - You can do local radio!
03/15/2019 - SVCAC worried about water for cannabis project
03/01/2019 - Folks planting oaks...
03/01/2019 - Bay Area aiming at housing shortages
03/01/2019 - Sheriff’s Dept. warns of latest scam going around
03/01/2019 - Grants available for Sonoma County musicians and bands
03/01/2019 - New Sonoma Mountain book by local authors
03/01/2019 - Modifications to water basin boundaries approved
03/01/2019 - SRJC seeking members for Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee
03/01/2019 - Supervisor Susan Gorin will run again
03/01/2019 - Oakmont Golf Club to be put up for sale
03/01/2019 - Springs MAC underway
03/01/2019 - Kenwood School – home of the two-million-star chili
02/15/2019 - Input sought on restoration for steelhead habitat in upper Sonoma Creek
02/15/2019 - Docent training at Quarryhill

Community Calendar

Glen Ellen-Kenwood Rotary Crab Feed
03/30/2019
more...
Looking for calypso orchids
03/30/2019
more...
Oakmont Sunday Symposium
03/31/2019
more...
Food Bank comes to Sonoma Valley
04/02/2019
more...
Rotary Club of Glen Ellen-Kenwood meeting
04/03/2019
more...
Season begins for women’s golf group
04/03/2019
more...
End of life law presentation
04/03/2019
more...
Annadel races benefit parks
04/06/2019
more...
Challenge yourself at local ropes course
04/20/2019
more...
COPE emergency preparedness workshop
05/04/2019
more...


Weather Underground PWS KCAKENWO2