Archive | General Sustainabity

“10 Years of SSR” Video

Take  trip with us down Sustainable Memory Lane:  “Mt. Trashmore” . . . The “Rally in the Rain” . . . The Beach Party on Second Ave . . . and much more. We put this video montage together to show at our 10th Anniversary Celebration in August 2015. Come along and marvel at how much younger we all looked back then.

(To view full screen, start the video, then click on the little YouTube logo in the lower right.)

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“Who Are We?” A New Video About Marin’s Future

Are you frustrated by the negativity of the debate on planning and Marin’s future? Here’s a new video that asks the positive question “What do you want for Marin’s future?” and seeks answers in the vision of our youth. Former County Supervisor Susan Adams and her staff  asked young people — high schoolers … college students … future leaders of their generation–to talk with them about their experiences growing up and living here, what’s important to them, what they love about Marin, and what they see ahead.

Take a look, and if you think it has value, pass along a link to it to your friends via e-mail or your social media pages.

Who Are We? was directed by Marin County District 1 Supervisor Susan Adams and Staff Kiki La Porta and Susannah Clark. It was produced at the Community Media Center of Marin by Alejandro Palacios, Scott Calhoun, and Michael Eisenmenger.

Programming from Marin TV, produced at the Community Media Center of Marin. Visit us at: and support community media.


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Visions of a Sustainable World from Yale

The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies is a center for envisioning – – with serious academic rigor – – the scenarios that could get us from today’s reality to a sustainable world.  (Another is the Post-Carbon institute.) This work is critical in painting the “big picture” that we need to guide strategy development on dozens of specific issues.

The video below is an example of the kind of public education work coming out of this school at Yale.  It is a ten-miute sample of the thinking of Alex Steffen, editor of Worldchanging 2.0, a user’s guide urban sustainability and innovation.  At the end, you’ll find links to many more such videos from Yale, including full-length recordings of lectures and panel discussions.

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The Ultimate Sustainability Index?

One of the oldest truisms in business and science is “You manage what you measure.”

That’s always been a problem for the sustainability movement. Sometimes it seems like the only metric we have is carbon emissions, yet real-world decisions usually involve multiple dimensions and ambiguous questions.  For example, which is more sustainable, cloth diapers or disposable ones?  (i.e. are the water and sewage impacts of washing and reusing cloth diapers better or worse than the impacts of manufacturing and disposing of all the cellulose fiber, plastic film and various exotic chemicals in disposables?)

In the December 2012 issue of Scientific American, Adam Piore reports on a major effort by a consortium of Universities, non-profits and corporations to develop a universal index of sustainability.

The Ultimate Sustainability Index

How “sustainable” is a can of soda or a bottle of shampoo? An increasing number of consumers want to base their buying decisions on the answer, but finding a comprehensive measure for the negative impact that the making of a product might have on the planet is difficult. Scores of “sustainability indexes” scrutinize discrete stages of the supply chain or different effects—such as landfill waste generated or carbon dioxide emitted—and use different metrics supported by different groups. The problem is not a lack of information; it is too much of it.
Judging products would be much easier if there were one set of metrics to evaluate environmental and social costs. That is the idea behind the Sustainability Consortium, a collection of 10 leading universities, large nonprofit organizations and 80 international companies—including Walmart, Coca-Cola and Disney—that have agreed to devise a standard index covering the entire supply chain. The group recently unveiled the measures its members will use to evaluate a first set of 100 products, ranging from breakfast cereals to laundry detergents to televisions. Continue Reading →

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Watch “Lullaby for the Earth”

This version of the classic lullaby “Hush Little Baby” is designed to motivate people to vote for candidates who will promote Earth-friendly policies and legislation. Its goal is to help people connect the health of the Earth with their children’s future. The song was rewritten by Frances Aubrey and Betsy Rose and sung by Betsy Rose, who has written and recorded many songs about the Earth.


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A Basic Sustainability Agenda


Sustainability is an issue that reaches into almost every aspect of our lives, policies and culture, so it can be difficult to be succinct when someone asks “Just what is it you folks want to accomplish?” Here’s a great summary of our goals from the website of Sustainable Marin, our county-wide co-ordinating organization.

ZERO WASTE.  All Marin cities should adopt the excellent ZW policy and goals resolutions adopted by Novato, Fairfax, Marin Board of Supervisors and the County’s Waste Joint Powers Authority. The Waste JPA should embed ZW firmly in its new Countywide garbage policy, currently being redrafted and updated. A key element is diversion of greenwaste and food waste from landfilling into productive use as compost for landscaping and agriculture as well as energy and methane capture.

CLEAN ENERGY AND CLIMATE PROTECTION.  Climate protection and cleaner energy are not just issues to be left to the Federal Government, state authorities or global diplomacy to tackle.  We have to do what we can locally.  Much can be done here in Marin, especially with the successful launch of Marin Clean Energy, which is still unique in the state.  MCE isn’t just a source of electricity. It also brings control of incentives for energy efficiency improvements and local “feed-in” solar projects under local control. Also, many Marin towns and cities have reduced solar power installation fees and should be encouraged to take other steps to boost renewable power and energy efficiency.  Check out Climate Choices, from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

WATER CONSERVATION.  Although our local water districts and sewage agencies all have addressed water and energy conservation, MMWD most recently with more aggressive water saving steps, much more can and should be done, both in irrigating landscaping more smartly and financing the home appliances that gulp water excessively. An important recent initiative  is College of Marin’s Water Management Technology Center, at the Indian Valley Campus. Its intent is to to engage and educate industry leaders and the community in state-of-the-art water and landscape management practices.

GREEN BUILDING.   The City of San Rafael has become a leader, having enacted the County’s strongest green building ordinance yet.  See also Novato’s residential and multi-family ordinances, and Marin County’s own green building program.  Sustainable Marin advocates combining best practices in a common, coherent County-wide green building standard ordinance that all cities would adopt, including major renovations, so that a single standard would be set for developers, architects and renovators and the current patchwork of difference standards superceded.

TRANSPORTATION.  In Marin, transportation is by far the #1 source of GHG emissions, and that means cars.  For a perspective on the climate change impact of cars in the US, check out “Global Warming on the Road”  from the Environmental Defense Fund.  Reducing emissions from transportation will come in little bites with constant pressure. There is no mass effect solution like the switch to renewable electricity with Marin Clean Energy. San Rafael and the County have pioneered the installation of charging stations for electric vehicles, and Marin is spending big bucks on the hope that the SMART train will take cars off the road.  Still, the main battle is a game of inches, convincing one person at a time to drive less and to drive a more fuel efficient car when they must.

Sustainable Marin is working with allied groups, our grassroots agenda includes

      • Rapid reduction of global warming pollutants and toxics
      • Support of green business and clean-tech programs
      • New green building codes
      • Zero waste, composting, waste reduction and reuse
      • Scaled-up energy efficiency measures
      • Clean, reliable, renewable power
      • Community choice electricity aggregation
      • Affordable housing and low-carbon transit
      • A sustainable water supply, water conservation
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