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My First Tesla Model S

In November 2012, I put my name on the list for a Tesla Model S and started waiting the 8 to 10 months that the company estimated it would take to build my electric car.
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The Naked Truth: About Measure P by One of Its Drafters

Measure P – the Healthy Air and Water Initiative – would protect our air, water, and public health by banning new risky, polluting oil extraction techniques in Santa Barbara County. Unfortunately, the oil industry that is funding the opposition is spreading misinformation regarding the true impact of this measure. As an attorney who assisted in the drafting of Measure P, I am compelled to set the record straight so the voters can base their opinions on the true facts.

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Measure P Will Protect Santa Barbara County from Extreme Oil

Here in Santa Barbara County we have co-existed with the oil industry for a long time and if Measure P passes in November, will continue to do so. The initiative exempts all current oil operations and so does not affect any current oil jobs or revenue. It also doesn’t limit future oil wells using conventional techniques.

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From Solar Heated Boxes to Hot Air and Water

“6,000 Years of Solar” is a series about the history of solar energy technology drawn from John Perlin’s new book Let It Shine: The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy. The series profiles the fascinating people, from ancient Greece and China to late 19th century New York to today, who have made the present day solar revolution possible.

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A Clean Energy Future

Cameron Clark is a local freelance website designer interested in clean energy issues and environmental sustainability. He is also a member of the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians.  

America is a country that rises to a challenge, albeit sometimes reluctantly. Winston Churchill observed: “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they've tried everything else.” Nowhere is that more true than energy.

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Solar Design in Ancient Greece

“6,000 Years of Solar” is a series about the history of solar energy technology drawn from John Perlin’s new book Let It Shine: The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy. The series profiles the fascinating people, from ancient Greece and China to late 19th century New York to today, who have made the present day solar revolution possible.

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From Selenium to Silicon and Beyond

“6,000 Years of Solar” is a series about the history of solar energy technology drawn from John Perlin’s new book Let It Shine: The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy. The series profiles the fascinating people, from ancient Greece and China to late 19th century New York to today, who have made the present day solar revolution possible.

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Five Ways Colleges Are Coaxing Students Out of Their Cars

Like other schools across the country, the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) has its own program to entice students, faculty, and staff to reduce driving and choose more sustainable modes of transportation. The Transportation Alternatives Program, or TAP, seeks to reduce traffic congestion, traffic emissions, and the demand for parking on campus and serves those who commute to UCSB by foot, skateboard, bicycle, bus, carpool, vanpool, or train.

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Bus-Bike Commuting—Not Chicken Scratch

John Bailey, a Spanish language teacher at Santa Barbara Junior High, takes the Clean Air Express every weekday from Lompoc. The bus driver fits John’s bike underneath in the luggage compartment, and on arrival at State Street and La Cumbre, he pulls it out and John rides over one of the old stagecoach routes, State Street, to teach class at the junior high school. At the end of the day, he hops on his bike and rides back to State and La Cumbre, where he rides the bus back home. During the ride he can sleep, chat, listen to a book or music, read or catch up on work.
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Climate Solutions for a Better World: Connecting the Dots

  • February 24, 2014
On Thursday, February 13th, over 100 business leaders, nonprofit executives and 1% for the Planet members convened at Citrix in Goleta, Ca. for Connect the Dots, a conference that highlighted steps being taken by companies, NGOs and individuals to build resilient communities in an era of unprecedented climate change.
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A concluding word on the Santa Maria Energy Project

  • December 12, 2013

In the past few weeks, much has been written about the Board of Supervisors' decision to approve the Santa Maria Energy Oil and Gas Project, and to allow it to emit at least 10,000 tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs) annually, despite the objections of numerous organizations and individuals who either asked the Board to deny the Project or require complete mitigation (to zero) of its GHG emissions.  For many of those advocates, including the Environmental Defense Center, Community Environmental Council, Get Oil Out!, Los Padres Sierra Club, Santa Barbara County Action Network and Santa Ynez Valley Alliance, the Board's action was at least an improvement over the decision of its Planning Commission, which would have allowed the Project to increase its emissions more than five-fold.  Others have complained that the Board "went too far," and several points of now-contentious discussion have emerged.  On behalf of the above groups who appealed this Project to the Board, I would like to correct and/or clarify some misconceptions.

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Krista H. reflects on the Eat Local Challenge

For the fifth year, Edible Santa Barbara along with the Community Environmental Council, the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market and the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County sponsored the Eat Local Challenge, which encourages people to take a personal pledge to eat and drink local products for the month of October. The challenge is a great way to encourage people to think about where their food comes from and to perhaps change the way they shop and eat.

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Why we should eat more plants

A few years ago, Al Gore was asked why he didn’t mention the environmental impact of animal agriculture in his groundbreaking 2006 documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. His candid answer (that getting people to drive a hybrid is easy, while getting them to give up animal products is almost impossible) speaks volumes about the personal nature of environmental politics.
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Thinking outside the box and bottle

To me, huge stockpiles of stuff is crazy making. What I see are expiration dates and things calling out “do something with me!” The idea of buying cases and pallets of merchandise individually packaged screams waste, so I prefer to source household staples in simple, sustainable quantities.

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A New Mother’s Struggle with Climate Change

I used to be uncomfortable with the concept of grace. I had been asked to believe that grace was something bestowed upon us from above, but that idea didn't fit with what I was observing around me in the natural world. Then a few months ago I had an encounter with grace that changed my life forever.

But first, some background.

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Fifteen Hours with Al Gore

Katie Davis is a member of the CEC Partnership Council, as well as a trained presenter with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project. Below she tells the story of her experience training with Al Gore. 

Katie will be presenting her Climate Reality presentation at 7 pm on Thursday, February 28 at the Santa Barbara Public Library.

Five years since he won an Academy Award for An Inconvenient Truth and a Nobel Prize for efforts to educate the world about global warming, what’s happened to Al Gore’s presentation and, indeed, actions to address the causes of climate change?

Along with 1,000 other Climate Leaders from 50 countries, I recently went through training in San Francisco on how to give the latest version of his presentation on climate change. The training included one 15-hour-marathon day with Al Gore that went from 8 am to 11 pm.

The latest incarnation of Gore’s presentation, entitled Climate Reality, is heavy on weather. What’s changed in the last five years is the willingness of scientists to point to the freaky storms, record heat waves, devastating droughts, super floods and massive fires and say definitively – yep, that’s us. Climate scientists used to be careful not to blame any one extreme weather event on global warming. But that’s changing. When we break 362 all-time high temperature records in the U.S. and no cold records - as we did in 2012 - it’s pretty clear we’re living with climate change right now.

Or as Gore put it, "It's like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation."

While global emissions have continued to rise, there are some signs of hope.  Renewable energy production has exceeded projections nationally, and California is ahead of the trend.  In 2011, 20% of California’s energy use was renewable.

Santa Barbara, with its remarkable record of environmental leadership and abundant sun, wind and waves, could play a leading role in showing the world it’s really possible to kick the fossil fuel habit.

Question is – are we up for the challenge?

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