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Posts tagged as “environment”

Overnight Full Closures of Topanga Canyon Blvd (SR-27) for Slope Repair


Special To Topanga Journal

Motorists will be detoured to Malibu Canyon Road and Las Virgenes Road

Full overnight closures of Topanga Canyon Blvd (SR-27) between Pacific Coast Highway (SR-1) and Grand View Dr. near Jalan Jalan, Imports will take place from 10:00pm to 5:00am daily beginning Monday April 29 though Thursday May 2. CalTrans is closing TCB at night to repair and restore eroded slope embankments along the highway. This year, the hillsides along TCB had multiple rock and debris slides onto the highway, triggering full closures of TCB, sometimes for days. 

Topanga Canyon Blvd Traffic Photo By Kriss Perras
Topanga Canyon Blvd Traffic Photo By Kriss Perras

Signs are currently posted advising motorists to use US-101, Las Virgenes Road and Malibu Canyon Road as alternate routes. Motorists should expect delays and are strongly advised to use alternate routes or avoid the area. The town of Topanga will remain open to motorists.

Motorists will be detoured to Malibu Canyon Road and Las Virgenes Road.” Eric Menjivar, CalTrans District 7 Information Officer

Drivers can check traffic conditions before they leave by visiting the Caltrans Quickmap.

ON THE WEB:

http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov


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The End of the World as We Know It: Mass Extinction 6.0


Molly Basler

Special To Topanga Journal

The Earth experienced five mass extinctions before the one we are living through now. Yes, you heard it correctly, “living through now…” We are 50-percent into the extinction process, 50-percent of our land based species will be extinct in this century.

An extinction means complete annihilation of all life forms on the Earth. The planet will survive and renew itself as it has for millions of years, but we do not have that luxury. We will be destroyed.

Club awareness day, Thursday, March 28, 2019, Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, California. (Victor Noerdlinger/Corsair)

By Lance Simmens

Global Warming is like a horror film. A horrific scary “Friday the 13th” horror film, but instead of Jason being the monster, we are. We have brought global warming upon ourselves. We knew what we were doing was going to cause catastrophic consequences, but we did “it” anyway. We just kept using more and more dirty energy, because the people in power, driven by greed, couldn’t stop themselves. They put people, the planet and all Her inhabitants in harm’s way. Now we have to figure out how to save ourselves.

“An extinction means complete annihilation of all life forms on the Earth. The planet will survive and renew itself as it has for millions of years, but we do not have that luxury. We will be destroyed.” Molly Basler

Times Up by Graphic Image Artist Andreas Häggkvist: Swedish visual artist raising awareness about Earth & endangered animals through art
Times Up by Graphic Image Artist Andreas Häggkvist: Swedish visual artist raising awareness about Earth & endangered animals through art

There really is NO compromise when it comes to global warming. To help save ourselves, and life and the world as we know it, we must make drastic changes. Actually, life as we know it has changed already in the last few years. Look at the fires, the destruction of life and property, floods, storms, climate refugees, droughts, the increase in Earth’s atmospheric and oceanic temperatures, the sea level rising where entire land masses are swallowed up. Global warming is not coming, it’s HERE! 

There are three very pertinent questions in regard to the climate crisis: Must we Change? Can we change? Will we change? It is up to us to create change and leave the planet a better place for future generations.

The good news is, and yes there is good news to the story of global warming: we got ourselves into this mess, we can get ourselves out, but we must take ACTION now!

The Green Dream is, we must change the way we have been doing things. We must get out of our selfish ways, open ourselves up to a clean Green Dream world, and as we help ourselves, we help our fellows and all the species that thrive and survive on Mother Earth.

It’s not just changing lightbulbs, it’s changing EVERYTHING. If you can, buy an electric car, put solar on your house, never use plastic — plastic is fossil fuel — no more plastic bags at the grocery store, bring your own, carpool, ride your bike, wash your items in the wash machine in cold water, hang your clothes to dry, go vegan or less meat and dairy, plant trees, have a garden and compost, reuse, recycle, consume less, try not to shop on line because it is very carbon intensive to have products shipped to your door, the packaging itself is detrimental to the environment and the trucks that drop these packages off….the never ending cycle of amassing carbon and creating more waste with excess packaging. Shop local at your farmers market and support the local farmers that grow organic, VOTE for candidates that are climate warriors and DO NOT take CONTRIBUTIONS from FOSSIL FUEL companies or people. Use green companies and green cleaning supplies and printers and companies that give back to the people and the planet and love your Mother, like no other because there is NO PLANET B.

ON THE WEB:

http://mollybasler.com


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The Green New Deal Promises Peace and Progress. Will Nuclear Advocates Undermine it?


Harvey Wasserman

With Thanks to The Progressive Magazine

The environmental policy centerpiece of the Democratic House of Representatives is what’s now known as “The Green New Deal.” But it’s already hit deeply polarizing pushback from the old-line Democratic leadership. And it faces divisive jockeying over the future of nuclear power.

The Green New Deal’s most visible public advocate, newly elected twenty-nine-year-old U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, has laid out a preliminary blueprint advocating an energy economy meant to be based entirely on “renewable” and “clean” sources. According to a report in The Hill, fossil fuels and nuclear power are “completely out” of her plan.

Harvey Wasserman September 15, 2018 photo by Kriss Perras

By Harvey Wasserman

The draft proposal has ignited tremendous grassroots enthusiasm, with massively favorable poll readings, even among some Republicans. Substantial grassroots pressure has grown on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to form a Green New Deal Committee chaired by Ocasio-Cortez.

But on December 20, the Democratic leadership announced it will not support a separate House Committee on the deal. Instead, it will proceed with a panel on climate change, to be chaired by Florida Representative Kathy Castor, who has taken substantial funding from the fossil fuel industry. It remains unclear whether Ocasio-Cortez will even get a seat on the committee.

“The draft proposal has ignited tremendous grassroots enthusiasm, with massively favorable poll readings, even among some Republicans. ” Harvey Wasserman

But the grassroots push for a Green New Deal is clearly not going to go away. The youthful Sunrise Movement has vowed to fight for it, along with a wide range of others, including Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, a likely 2020 presidential contender.

The Green New Deal idea conjures visions of the vast “alphabet agency” programs birthed by Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1930s.

With unparalleled pageantry, New Deal Democrats put millions of Americans to work building roads, bridges, schools, libraries, museums, public swimming pools, local and national parks, and more. They proved that immense communal good could come from a solid government blueprint administered through a competent, well-orchestrated brain trust.

In contrast, the Trump Administration’s promise to deal with “infrastructure” has involved none of the above. While denying the disaster of climate change, its energy policies have focused purely on handing cheap fossil drilling leases on public land (and waters) to Trump cronies.

It’s also granted a $3.7 billion low-interest loan (added to $8.3 billion previously granted by President Obama) to private developers of the last two U.S. nuclear reactors under construction, at Vogtle, Georgia. Already years behind schedule and billions over budget, the project may soar beyond $20 billion and still never be finished.

The fate of the Vogtle plant underscores a nuclear war that will cut to the heart of the Green New Deal and the climate issue as it plays out in the new Congress.

Already, The New York Times, with its long history of reactor advocacy, has featured an op-ed by U.S. Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, advocating more nukes as a solution to the climate crisis. In an article running under a photo of a Chinese reactor under construction, Barrasso argues “nuclear energy is produced with zero carbon emissions.”

While denying the disaster of climate change, Trump energy policies have focused purely on handing cheap fossil drilling leases on public land (and waters) to Trump cronies.

In fact, nuclear reactors do emit trace quantities of radioactive Carbon-14. The fuel rods that power reactor are produced with significant carbon in mining, milling, and enrichment. They pump huge quantities of waste heat directly into the eco-sphere, operating far less efficiently even than coal burners. They yield large quantities of radioactive waste, directly related to nuke weapons production. And five of them (Chernobyl 4 and Fukushima 1-2-3-4) have blown up.

Reactor enthusiasts like Barrasso invariably conjure visions of a “new generation” of small, modular nukes, and other techno-variants like molten salt and thorium, alleged to be safe, cleaner and cheaper that the current fleet. But there are few tangible indications such alternative reactors can come on line anytime soon, or beat the price of wind and solar, which continue to plummet. The criticism that renewables are intermittent is also losing its sting as large-scale battery arrays are also dropping in price while rising in efficiency and capacity.

Barrasso also advocates the continued use of fossil fuels, with various pipeline-related schemes for storing and using the resultant CO2. “The United States and the world,” he says, “will continue to rely on affordable and abundant fossil fuels, including coal, to power our economies for decades to come.

These pro-nuke arguments are echoed even by some self-proclaimed supporters of the Green New Deal. According to a report from DataforEnergy, principally written by Greg Carlock, at least part of the Green New Deal should be powered by “clean sources such as nuclear and remaining fossil fuel with carbon capture.”

Such rhetoric will be tested by advocates characterizing atomic energy as “clean.” Their fight for new reactor funding may quickly engulf much of the Green New Deal debate.

So will the struggle over the 98 U.S. reactors still licensed to operate. As they age, they continue to deteriorate and embrittle. Opponents of nuclear power want them shut down before they explode; advocates argue that without them, more fossil fuels will be burned.

But such choices are made in corporate boardrooms, not even by the free market. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), owner of two aging reactors near San Luis Obispo, has already admitted it could replace both with renewable energy while burning no more coal, oil, or gas. If Green New Deal activists are to make a dent in our aging nuclear fleet, they’ll have to make sure the slew of reactors about to close is replaced by renewables, not the fossil fuels the utilities still own and love.

Finally, along with nuke power, the question of how to fund the Deal will be center stage. Mainstream proposals will focus on a new range of taxes.

But outspoken peace groups like CODEPINK are eager to move the money out of the military and into the social/infrastructure programs that can rebuild the nation. High-profile campaigns led by activists including Jodie Evans and Medea Benjamin were integral to the shocking defection of seven Republican Senators to deny the Trump Administration funding to support the Saudi war in Yemen.

Activists must now argue the trillion-plus dollars we spend annually on arming the Empire should instead fund those wind turbines and solar panels at the heart of the Green New Deal.

Harvey Wasserman

Harvey “Sluggo” Wasserman’s prn.fm podcast is Green Power & Wellness. His show, California Solartopia broadcasts at KFPK-Pacifica 90.7FM Los Angeles. His books include the forthcoming The Life & Death Spiral of US History.

ON THE WEB:

http://prn.fm/


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Overnight Full Closures of Topanga Canyon Blvd (SR-27) Next Week


Special To Topanga Journal

Motorists should expect full closures of Topanga Canyon Blvd (State Route 27) the week of April 8 through April 11 from 10:00pm to 5:00am, said the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in an announcement. The closure will take place from the Pacific Coast Highway to Grand View Dr., near Jalan Jalan Imports, for an emergency repair and restoration project of the slopes after a winter of hard rains that have eroded the embankments along SR27 in Topanga. 

Kriss Perras headshot by Alan Weissman

By Lance Simmens

Photo Courtesy CalTrans

There have been multiple rock and debris slides here that have shut down the highway for full and partial closures many times for days over the winter and spring.

There have been multiple rock and debris slides here that have shut down the highway for full and partial closures many times for days over the winter and spring.

CalTrans warns traffic will be diverted to Malibu Canyon, the 101 and Las Virgenes as alternate routes. Motorists should expect long delays and are strongly advised to use these alternate routes or avoid Topanga Canyon Blvd altogether. The Town of Topanga is still open for business during the closures. Motorists can access Topanga from the Valley side of Topanga Canyon Blvd to visit the businesses of Topanga.

Drivers can check traffic conditions before they leave by visiting the Caltrans Quickmap

CalTrans states the work is weather permitting.

ON THE WEB:

http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov


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IPCC Report: “We’re Almost Out of Time” by RL Miller


Special To Topanga Journal

“We’re almost out of time.” A few weeks ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report warning people about climate change. Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) would require “rapid, dramatic changes in how governments, industries and societies function.” 

By RL Miller

Doesn’t global warming mostly affect the polar bears? Well, no. Global warming affects people. Sea level rise is the most clear cut consequence of climate change, but many more impacts — some of which are better understood than others — will begin to make themselves felt. To bring this home, scientists have “high confidence” that 1.5°C of warming would result in a greater number of severe heat waves on land. In addition, climate change is making California’s droughts worse. Southern California’s wildfire season used to be limited to the Santa Ana wind season of October until the first rains of November; now wildfire season seems to start October 1 and end September 30. Climate activists talk about people on the frontlines of impact — those who are affected most. While you might think that “frontline communities” refers only to the people in coastal communities such as Florida and the Arctic — and, yes, Malibu — the term also refers to everyone in California living in or near a wildfire corridor. That’s Topanga, among many other places.

“The costs of doing nothing are incalculable. The tiny city of Imperial Beach in San Diego County, populated mostly by Latino renters, is weighing the estimated cost of $150 million to retreat from the ocean against its $19 million annual budget. Beach cities, such as Malibu, will need to determine what, if any, City services should be provided to protect private property — or leave the property to be abandoned to the rising seas.” RL Miller

And whether or not the hills burn this year or the next year, the actuaries who write insurance policies are calculating the increased risk of wildfires. Premiums will go up, policies will be non-renewed or dropped, and homeowners will have to resort to the FAIR plan. It’s already happening in Northern California neighborhoods damaged by the October 2017 fires.

The costs of doing nothing are incalculable. The tiny city of Imperial Beach in San Diego County, populated mostly by Latino renters, is weighing the estimated cost of $150 million to retreat from the ocean against its $19 million annual budget. Beach cities, such as Malibu, will need to determine what, if any, City services should be provided to protect private property — or leave the property to be abandoned to the rising seas.

In short: yes, global warming does affect people. Every week or two it seems there’s a new report on a different aspect of life climate change will mess up. Barley shortages mean less beer and higher beer prices. Fewer insects limit agriculture. Shorter winters mean tick-infested deer and trees killed by bark beetles.

What can one person do? Global warming is such a, well, global problem. Al Gore’s 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth suggested personal choices to reduce one’s carbon footprint. Plant a tree. Go vegan, or at least eat less meat. Fly less. Change a lightbulb, change the world. Yet carbon emissions continue to rise.

Science-oriented people look at the climate problem and imagine scientific solutions that generally fall into two categories: storing carbon and altering the planet’s chemistry. The technology for the first, commonly known as CCS (carbon capture and storage) is in its infancy; it’s expensive. The second involves the stuff of science fiction: giant mirrors in space reflecting the sun’s rays away from the atmosphere, equally giant hoses sucking the carbon and vacuuming it into space, vast deposits of iron filings into the ocean to changing the chemical composition of seawater.

Although climate change begins as a scientific problem, it becomes obvious to most people the solution is mired in politics. Solar and wind energy poll like Mom and Apple Pie, but their progress is being blocked for political reasons. Specifically, the Republican Party in the United States generally denies the scientific reality, while politicians of all stripes are not sufficiently visionary to make the drastic changes demanded by the science. One solution to climate change is to get political: vote deniers out. I’ve founded Climate Hawks Vote, an organization building grassroots political power for the climate movement, that aims to do just that.

This global problem requires more than voting every two years, and it requires a sudden drastic change. So it needs everyone to speak out with the talent they have. Artists: make art about climate change. Musicians: write and sing songs that will move the feet and the heart. Architects and contractors: design and build more dense housing closer to public transit. Actuaries: calculate the risks of an ever warming world. Run for office. Tell people who are running for office to do more — and ask them to sign the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge, declining campaign contribution money from the fossil fuel industry. To change everything, we need everyone.

Most of all, the climate problem requires hope to solve it. Although it’s easy to ridicule the mindset of Denial on the Right, those on the Left are just as prone to despair. There’s plenty of reason to find despair in the IPCC report, but also reasons to hope.

Here are the top three things to do to fight global warming locally:

  1. Drive an electric vehicle or otherwise reduce the carbon footprint of your commute to zero. 
  2. Get politically involved with an organization such as Climate Hawks Vote; vote on November 6, but stay involved after the election.
  3. Every morning, find a reason to hope.

ON THE WEB:

http://climatehawksvote.com


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