Category Archives: Environment

Fur Trapping in California: Is it Legal?

Assemblywoman Laurena Gonzalez submitted a bill that would prohibit the state from issuing fur trapping licenses.

Last year, the state of California issue 133 fur trapping licenses, which generated $15,000 in revenue for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

However, Gonzalez states that the cost of managing the trapping program is far higher than this amount and is therefore effectively subsidized by taxpayer’s dollars.

Although California has a long history of fur trapping—the California Fur Rush actually pre-dated the Gold Rush– the state is now considering a bill that will ban the sale of fur state-wide. Many policy-makers feel that the commercialization of animal fur is a cruel practice that should be banned.

Sacramento: Investing in its Environmental Future

Sacramento has become an integral part of positive environmental endeavors within California.  According to a recent Forbes article:

“While businesses have a crucial role to play, leadership in the halls of our state government remains essential. When Sacramento sets firm targets for emissions, clean energy, and efficiency standards, it gives businesses the market certainty they need to invest confidently in climate solutions.”

An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report has determined that there is only one way to eliminate the worst impacts of climate change.  That is to substantially decrease greenhouse gas emissions so that global warming is held at 1.5° C.

As such, climate leadership in California is more crucial than ever which was why a bill was recently passed there (nowhere else has this been done throughout the nation) that commits the region to “emissions-free electricity by 2045.”  Other states will be observing the progress of this.

Sacramento’s Environmental Efforts

Significant environmentally-enhancing efforts have been made in Sacramento recently.  Trends in this are continuing with the proposed regulations of setting up a Conditional Exclusion for Chemically Treated Metal Shredder Residue.  It is hoped that additional rules will be put in place to put conditions in place to improve protection of environment health and safety.

An analysis was formulated by California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) on how human health is impacted by this, as well as metal shredding facilities and other matters pursuant to the environment.

An Environmental Justice Bureau has recently been set up in an attempt to enhance living environments for people and their families in Sacramento. California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra is seeking to ensure environmental concerns are taken seriously and:

“compel businesses and government agencies to clean contaminated drinking water, reduce exposure to lead and other toxins and prevent illegal waste discharges in communities burdened disproportionately by pollution.”

Becerra pointed out:

“The harsh reality is that some communities in California — particularly low-income communities and communities of color — continue to bear the brunt of pollution from industrial development, poor land-use decisions, transportation, and trade corridors. Meeting the needs of these communities requires our focused attention.”

Sacramento’s Kindness to the Environment

Plans have been approved to provide a short stretch of road to cyclists next summer.  A pedestrian trail linking the Sacramento River Trail to Diestehorst Bridge and downtown would give far greater access to the cyclists of the area as well as those who enjoy walking.  And it would be good for the environment.

This has been very well received by members of the Shasta Wheelmen cycling group and would only result in a very slight inconvenience.  Some motorists are even supportive of the project since, according to Assistant Public Works Director Chuck Aukland the estimated additional time it would take from Quartz Hill and Benton to Eureka Way and Market Street would be “37 seconds.”

So it really does seem like a win-win.

Development of Woodland City

While it is taken almost four years to gain approval, now that everyone is on board, serious development of Woodland City is about to begin.  The 2035 General Plan – that will be two decades in the making – will cost around $2 million.

The document contains nine elements, comprising the main goals for the vision of the city to benefit the 57,000 residents there.  Initially, various procedures will be undertaken to align zoning codes with new codes, will occur.  This should take around two years.  For the longer-term, issues connected to land use, housing, public safety, recreation, etc., will be brought up to date as well. The Climate Action Plan has been established to shake up the community’s commitment to sustainable and renewable energy as well as the reduction of pollution.

The main goal is for the Spring Lake development in Spring Lake to be completed before any other area of expansion is approved. Those living there – many of whom moved in during the Great Recession – have been waiting a long time for the completion of various local amenities.  It is hoped that Spring Lake will be fully developed within the next decade.

Traveling Electrically

The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality District has just launched its “Our Community, Car-Share Program” in three public housing complexes (Alder Grove, Edge Water and Lemon Hill).  This will provide Sacramento residents in three public housing complexes with free access to electric vehicles.

Air Quality Engineer at the District, Steffani Charkiewicz explained that the enterprise was undertaken in order to “provide access to electric vehicles for these residents and to improve their quality of life. These vehicles will be available for short trips – a maximum of three hours at a time – and they’ll be able to go run errands, go to the grocery store, go to a doctor’s appointment, go to a job interview.”

Users will need to register if they want to take advantage of the two Kia Soul electric cars available in each neighborhood.  It is hoped that it will make it easier for residents who are having an increasingly difficult time getting around the city since buses are expensive and less reliable.

Starting as a pilot program for a year, it is funded by California Cap-and-Trade which is donating over a million dollars. Other funds are coming from other municipal agencies in Sacramento.

Golden 1 Center

green-buildingWhen it comes to going green, Sacramento’s new Golden 1 Center is the place where it’s at.  According to the US Green Building Council “the highest level of global recognition for environmentally conscious buildings and organizations,” the new downtown arena – home of the Sacramento Kings – has received LEED Platinum certification (given to projects that meet strict standards in the use of energy, water and more) by the Council.  This makes it the first indoor arena that has ever been credited with this status.

This is a source of pride for the team.  Vived Ranadive, Chairman of the team, said that the goal of the Kings’ in the creation of the Center is to “help drive meaningful change in our community – which includes working to curb climate change and promote renewable energy.”

Given that the arena was actually named for Golden 1 Credit Union, it makes sense that it recently hosted a free open house event there for the public, during which credit union members were given the opportunity to take part in a self-guided tour of the building and meet a couple of mascots.  Included in the event was $10 worth of food vouchers at the concession stands.

Putting the green effect into practice, the power used during the day at the Golden 1 Center is solar panels on the building’s roof and a 11-metawatt solar farm will generate power to offset electricity that is needed during events at night.  In addition, the main entrance to the arena will feature hangar doors, enabling cool Delta breezes to benefit the inside of the building.

The new Center also saw Sir Paul McCartney performing, marking the center’s first live performance. Given that the environment is a very important issue close to the star’s heart (requesting no animal skin/print furniture at any of his events), this seemed most fitting.

Barry Broome Enhances Ecology in Sacramento

homegrownBarry Broome – an economic development expert – has been in Sacramento since the beginning of last year, encouraging a shift toward homegrown produce, focusing on building up agricultural, food and water industries that are already solid in the region.  As Sacramento’s first ever CEO of the Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council, some examples of this work over the last couple of years since he started include: getting a Chinese biomedical company, a Tampa email management system developer and a New York watercraft manufacturer on board.

It seems from the above accomplishments that homegrown has actually not been the focus.  Responding to this, Broome argued that Sacramento is still able to develop industries from the bottom up in agricultural technology and in any case, putting a homegrown strategy in practice takes a while to fully develop in a place where there are few venture capital firms.  So for now, Broome said, Sacramento should be able to gain success by “snagging companies from other cities.”

said he still believes the region can build industries from the ground up in fields such as agriculture technology. But the homegrown strategy will take quite a while to gain traction in a community where essential ingredients such as venture capital firms are still scarce.

In the meantime, Broome said Sacramento can generate significant success by snagging companies from other cities.  The Bay Area is one example that has small technological firms looking to reduce costs while remaining in California.

But some of Sacramento’s residents are doing it for themselves as it were.  Kristy and Mike Fitzgerald – from East Sacramento – transformed part of their backyard into a “kitchen garden,” with the assistance of “five large galvanized-steel horse troughs,” based on troughs she had seen at a wine country restaurant used as planters which gave her – an architect who was responsible for much of the design – the idea.

Based on what the Fitzgeralds are doing, others in Sacramento might follow suit with their own trough gardening, since this coming Saturday their backyard is going to be one of 6 examples of “how food plants can fit into attractive landscapes during the East Sacramento Edible Gardens Tour,” the fifth of its kind.

All of this could be extremely beneficial to the region, especially since the Californian drought situation is over and water rules are more relaxed now. And of course, it’s in line with Broome’s original goals for Sacramento.