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Weekend headlines February 10, 2008

Last week I missed Ron Sullivan's tree article titled " Trees show their bones and history in winter." In other local trees news, the University of California has initiated Phase I removal of pines affected with pitch canker on the Gill Tract in Albany. The economics of environmental issues were featured in two articles this weekend. An SF Chronicle article titled "Where does convention trash go?" discussed efforts to host more environmentally friendly conventions and meetings. Apollo Alliance's Green Cities, Brown Folks forum last fall featured biodegradable kitchenware from the Green Home Environmental Store. The New York Times featured two sides of the recession's impact on the environment. The Finance Market web site argues that a recession will help the environment (ex: "fewer S.U.V.'s sold") while noted that a recession would hurt the environment (ex:"politicians may redirect their attention from environmental initiatives to economic ones."). In a January post, I wondered if presidential candidates would address environmental issues on the campaign trail in California. I recall references made to a green-collar economy based on alternative energy, but nothing more substantive. Open Exchange shares the frustration of commentator adrian2154 on the "mass media coverage...of candidates' positions" on climate change and to that effect published candidates statements about and actions on global warming. Interestingly, the number one concern for those who voted in the recent primary was the state of the economy. I am not sure the link between non-fossil fuel energy and a more sustainable economy has been clearly articulated. Speaking of energy, the Times also ran an article about energy consumption in the suburbs. The article, titled "Don't let the green grass fool you," compares the carbon footprint of single family houses - both detached and attached - and multi-unit buildings. Not surprisingly, multi-family buildings have a small footprint in terms of heating and cooling. The article also mentions measures to reduce carbon footprints like the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, Levittown's (the quintessential post-war suburb) declaration to "cut carbon emissions by 10 percent this year, and more individual actions like the corn kernel/ pellet stove cooperative started by a "suburban environmentalist." In other consumption news, the Times reported on the decrease in paper use in some countries, but not in others like China. The graphics are quite interesting especially the illustration of the "paperless home" which features items like digital cameras, scanners, cloth dish towels and coffee filters, and l.c.d. digital photo frames. Back to living things, there were several bird related articles, one of which I mentioned in yesterday's post. The Chronicle featured the findings of two University of California researchers on the mechanics of the Anna hummingbird's song. The paper also reported on the release of a frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) from Catalina Island. On the other end of the spectrum, the Chronicle reported on the high number of bird deaths in Richardson Bay. The Audubon director of bird conservation was interviewed and was cautious in linking the rise in avian deaths to recent sewage spills into the Bay.