Thursday, June 21, 2012

Containing a Toxic Mess on the East Bay Shoreline

My Eco Watch article in this week's East Bay Express tells the story of the Selby Slag Site near Rodeo on the East Bay shore. It's a story of a century-long legacy of pollution and a three-decade effort now in its final stages (hopefully) to contain a cocktail of heavy metals continually leaching into the San Francisco Bay. Next time you're driving over the Carquinez Bridge, look to the west along the East Bay (Crockett side) shoreline. You'll see the huge, flat piece of land hugging the shore right around the bend about 3/4 of a mile away that looks like a big parking lot. It's actually a toxic slag pile graded and topped with asphalt. That's the Selby Slag Site. In the next few years, as my story explains, an effort will be underway to contain the site around its perimeter in order to prevent heavy metals like cadmium, lead, and arsenic from seeping into the surrounding environment, including the waters of the bay.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Association of Alternative News Media Award

Very excited and honored to have received a first-place award in the News Story (Short Form) category among newspapers in both the US and Canada with circulation below 50,000 at this year's AAN Alt-Weekly Awards, announced last Friday. I submitted three East Bay Express environmental news stories to the competition: "The Blair Park Project," "Solar Is Still Humming," and "How Organic Is Organic?" This is my first first-place national award, following on the heels of a second-place national award at the North American Agricultural Journalists contest earlier this year, which was open to US and Canada publications of all sizes. And it's my third award for environmental reporting, which I'm particularly proud of. Thanks to my editors Robert Gammon and Kathleen Richards at the Express; couldn't have done it without your help.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Islands Drowning in Rising Seas

Oakland attorney Brook Meakins is only 30 years old and fresh out of law school, but that hasn’t stopped her from emerging as a global leader in a surprising new field. Since 2010, Meakins has worked to understand the legal needs of island nations and low-lying communities facing the loss of their land, culture, and way of life due to climate change and sea level rise. She now helps develop legal resources for what she calls “climate victims,” while sounding the alarm about their plight. She has consulted with the government of the Marshall Islands; conducted fact-finding missions in the Maldives, the Phi Phi islands, the Cayman Islands, and others; and presented at climate change conferences around the world. She has also participated in United Nations negotiations regarding the fate of islands off the coasts of Thailand and Panama. I recently talked with Meakins about her work and the underlying issues, which she also blogs about at Continue to to read an excerpt of our conversation.