Around the world, cities are committed to becoming Zero Waste communities by adopting new principles and changing the way they manage waste. And they are finding that eliminating waste is not only environmentally beneficial but also economically advantageous. The San Francisco Experience In the US, the city of San Francisco, California is leading the charge to become a truly zero waste city. Already, it has developed a comprehensive waste management strategy that city officials believe will enable it to keep 100 percent of its waste…
Utah, Minnesota, and Washington have seen traffic fatalities decline by up to 40%, thanks to campaigns to reduce pedestrian, bicyclist, and motorist deaths to zero. Aptly named “Vision Zero” and modeled by similar programs launched in Sweden, where pedestrian deaths have dropped by more than 50% since the plan was implemented, it’s hoped that these city planning strategies will allow cities like Portland and Chicago to replicate Sweden’s success. Vision Zero, however, is very much a national program. In New…
Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping were in San Francisco recently; they spoke of a yawning deadly silence surrounding climate change, why it is so very important to engage with one another and loudly address this life threatening issue in public now.
Thousands of people converged upon San Francisco’s waterfront last weekend to partake in another festive Sunday Streets public event, biking, skating, walking and dancing, while safely enjoying miles of car-free roadways.
Last week was the twentieth anniversary of Critical Mass, a spontaneous group bike ride that happens on the last Friday of each month. The popular Critical Mass rides began right here in San Francisco, and have already spread to hundreds of different cities across the globe. Now millions of people participate in these fun free events worldwide, temporarily turning our urban streets and thoroughfares into an endless sea of bikes.
Part of what makes San Francisco such an attractive (and unfortunately very expensive) place to reside is that it is a beautiful livable city — biking and pedestrian infrastructure improvements over the last decades have helped to positively transform our town into a much more pleasant urban environment. The SF Bicycle Coalition announced recently that, according to the official citywide bicycle count, over the last five years bike ridership has increased a whopping 71%.
Yesterday the sunny streets of San Francisco were swarming with thousands of happy residents during another regular Sunday Streets event. Rivers of happy families filled the car-free avenues, listening to live music, biking, dancing, playing football, skateboarding, walking dogs, socializing with their neighbors, and just soaking up the beautiful spring day.
Rhodes Scholar and former AIDS activist Dr. Rachel Maddow’s greatly anticipated first book deals with how the bloated expanding military budget has highjacked our nation. “Drift” will be released by Random House on March 27th of this year. The publication analyzes the unsustainability of the distorted over-militarization of our culture, and what we must do to change course.
Jeremy Bloom is another one of our network’s writers over at an Important Media sister blog, Red Green and Blue; recently he has been publishing some informative updates on the global Occupy Wall Street movement, as well as documenting multiple incidents of police violence. Today the site highlighted yet more police brutality at the Occupy Denver encampment. Bloom describes the volatile scene:
“Denver police moved in on Occupy Denver protesters today. They said they wanted to keep the demonstration peaceful, so they attacked them with pepper spray and rubber bullets, and arrested seven.”
I am energized after attending the final day of the Slow Money Gathering last Friday at the beautiful Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. Listening to the excellent presentations and talking with other attendees reaffirmed my suspicion that innovative solutions to make our nation’s food systems environmentally sustainable, fair, and ethical, are best developed at the grassroots level in diverse areas of the country.
More and more committed individuals are implementing numerous small creative projects across the nation; Slow Money founder Woody Tasch explains the growing sustainable revolution like this:
“We are moving from big idea to lots of small actions. Our success is built on relationships — individuals with shared values and vision, connected via local and national networks, learning together, collaborating, co-creating a healthy culture and healthy economy.”
The Third Annual Slow Money National Gathering is being held this week, October 12th through the 14th, at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. The conference will explore a variety of topics, including the importance of investing in your own neighborhood, cooperatives and alternative monetary structures, as well as how to create more sustainable interconnected regional economies and small healthy local food systems.
Margaret Leisha Kilgallen was an amazing artist, as well as a kind, earnest and sincere human being; she was also a friend of mine. We met in San Francisco in 1990, when we were both in our early twenties, and used to print together at a letterpress studio in Berkeley. Back then we were full of hope, passion and optimistic ideals. While we spent hours working, painstakingly hand-setting tiny metal type, we would discuss new ideas, music, art or our plans for the future. Margaret eventually became a very well known painter, but always remained honest and true to her genuine self. She continued to inspire me, as well as many other people, with her generosity, empathy and steadfast idealistic belief that positive change was possible.
Roots to Fruits is a collective of three women who want to put a fruit tree, or three, in every San Francisco yard. They already have the support of many local residents, organizations and businesses; one of their many strengths is their ability to make connections — recognizing challenges and finding the right people and solutions through local coalition building.
The group has managed to gather an impressive collection of local experts to offer practical education on not only fruit tree related subjects, but also on urban homesteading skills, as well as many tools for more sustainable living. Roots to Fruits offers cradle to cradle solution to anyone who is interested in living a more connected and self-sufficient life. In these times of increasing austerity, they are actually advocating for the flourishing of abundant food.
Boyd Cohen, Ph.D. recently came up with a methodology to rank large cities in the U.S. based on how much they are preparing for or trying to counter climate change. He then went on to create and publish a top 10 list of the most “climate-ready” cities. While I think the term “climate-ready” is sort of a mistake, since he focuses more on efforts to stop climate change not adapt to it (which is what I would assume “climate-readiness” would be about), I think the overall idea and methodology looks great.