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We Urge You to Vote Yes on Measure P

On November 4, we will be going to the polls to make Santa Barbara County the first major oil-producing region in the nation to ban high-risk oil extraction techniques. It is a chance to protect the people of our county from extreme forms of oil development that are severely damaging communities around the US.

 

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Ditching Plastic from Day One

3,292. That’s how many disposable diapers the typical baby uses in its first year, and all of them go into a landfill.

80. That’s about how many cloth diapers Dexter used in his first year, and none of them went into a landfill.

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The Kellys Are Driving on Sunshine Thanks to Solarize Santa Ynez Valley

Rick Kelly and his family are self-described “energy hawks,” always looking for ways to improve the energy efficiency of their home. After switching all their lighting to LED bulbs, Rick -- a business manager at UCSB -- was looking for more. Intrigued by solar electricity, he attended a homeowner workshop about Solarize Santa Ynez hosted by CEC and the Santa Ynez Valley Alliance. At the workshop, another homeowner brought up the topic of combining home solar and electric vehicles (EVs), and it spurred Rick to do his own research.
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Intern Spotlight – Kelly Rae Kacmar

Kelly Rae Kacmar currently works as a fire inspector for the City of Burbank Fire Department in Southern California. Kelly interned for CEC while in her last year as an undergraduate student majoring in Environmental Studies at UC Santa Barbara.
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Reducing Plastic Through Refills #ditchplastic

For years, Peter Tatikian and his wife, Kelley Skumautz, have made a game out of avoiding buying single-use plastic bags. This has been especially interesting when it comes to picking up after their terrier/chihuahua mix, Ollie. It takes a little more creativity on every dog walk. “We have become very inventive in finding bags to pick up poop,” Peter says. This has included paper wrappers, tortilla chip bags, frozen vegetable packaging, and even the plastic mailing sleeves that magazines get mailed in.

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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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Our Favorite Things: What We’re Reading

We recently asked CEC’s Staff, Board, and Partnership Council about their roles as thought leaders in the Santa Barbara community, asking what books, articles, films, apps, podcasts, and other multimedia are influencing their work. Today we’re hearing from Megan Birney, Dennis Allen, and Karl Hutterer. Stay tuned for the next installment of this series!

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Free Solar Advice and Peace of Mind with Solarize

Who doesn’t dread that monthly moment of opening a mailbox or an inbox and finding a stack of bills waiting to be paid? Electricity bills, cable bills, phone bills, medical bills—like hungry young birds in a nest, they sit there silently peeping until their demands are met.

Ty Lewis, a city employee of Paso Robles, set out to eliminate or significantly reduce one of the more common ones in his pile: his electricity bill.

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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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In Memoriam: Joan Crowder

Long before she made a name for herself as a cultural writer for the Santa Barbara News-Press, Joan Crowder was a volunteer editor of the Santa Barbara Survival Times, a fledgling monthly magazine published by CEC in the aftermath of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill.

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Drinking It In: Eliminating Single-Use Plastic Bottles

Rethink the Drink started in 2010 with a simple concept: provide schools with an alternative to single-use plastic water bottles and see if habit change followed. Four years later, we are proud to report that habit change is indeed possible. There are now 39 water refill stations in schools and community facilities across Santa Barbara County, and they have been used more than 870,000 times. Creating a single plastic water bottle emits 2.6 pounds of carbon dioxide, thus the amount of carbon dioxide emissions mitigated by our refill stations is more than 2 million pounds.

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Intern Spotlight: Logan McCoy

Logan McCoy works as the Environmental Program Coordinator for Patagonia in the Bay Area. Logan is a two-time intern at the CEC. Both internships took place during his undergraduate years as a student majoring in Environmental Studies Major at UC Santa Barbara.

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A Conservative Embraces Driving on Sunshine

Aaron is not your typical “go green” kind of guy. He thinks that the country’s solar industry has been too heavily subsidized. And don’t get him started on climate change. None of that, however, stopped Aaron from installing solar panels on his home or purchasing a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Come again?
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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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Updated Alert: No on AB 2145

Original Alert:The California Senate Energy Committee was considering Assembly Bill (AB) 2145. The proposed legislation thwarts California’s environmental goals, infringes upon local government decision-making, and will effectively destroy the future of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) in the state of California.

Result: 195 people took action and spoke out against AB 2145. The bill is currently in committee. We will update this as new information becomes available.

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Updated Alert: Cuyama Solar Project

Original Alert:The Cuyama Solar Project proposes to convert 327 acres of previously disturbed, over-drafted farmland in the Cuyama Valley into a solar facility that will generate enough power for 16,000 California homes and avoid the emissions of 30,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Show your support by testifying before the Planning Committee.

Result: 62 people took action and showed their support for clean energy.

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Updated Alert: Greenhouse gas emission threshold in Santa Barbara County

Let the County Board of Supervisors know that you support the lowest threshold possible for regulating greenhouse gas emissions. This Tuesday the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will consider options for setting greenhouse gas (GHG) emission thresholds from stationary sources. Their decisions will impact Santa Barbara’s ability to regulate GHG emissions for generations to come.
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