Monday, December 17, 2012

In Yesterday's Chronicle: Sand Dredging and Beach Erosion

This story came out yesterday in the San Francisco Chronicle. I was interviewed Saturday for a quick piece on KCBS radio about the story, which I understand also ran Sunday, but I wasn't able to catch it. In any case, it's not exactly breaking news, but an interesting issue that needs some light shed on it. Comments to the piece at, where vitriol is often par for the course (especially on environmental stories), suggest that most readers are sympathetic to SF Baykeeper's lawsuit and the idea of managing sand mining to reduce costly impacts to coastal beaches -- and are glad to have learned about it through the story. The story includes some great photos by Michael Macor, too. See them and read the story here.

Questions Swirl Around Zoo Tax Measure

Forgot to post this in October. No longer timely (the measure lost), but still is/was an interesting local issue. I also wrote about the Oakland Zoo's controversial expansion plans here. So, for posterity's sake ....

Oakland Zoo officials contend that Measure A1, a countywide parcel tax on the November ballot, will fund "animal care needs, including food, heating, and cooling." And their ballot argument is sure to pull at the heartstrings of East Bay animal lovers. But opponents of the measure say that the official language of the measure could allow the zoo to spend at least part of the proceeds from the $114 million parcel tax on a controversial expansion in the Oakland hills. And the debate over exactly how the zoo will use the proposed $12 tax on residential parcels and $72 on commercial properties may decide the fate of Measure A1.

Keep reading...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Healthier/Greener Tribal Housing: The Best of Old and New

In my second piece for the national journal Environmental Health Perspectives, I investigate housing-related health issues plaguing many Native American reservations, and look at solutions posed by healthier, greener homes. There's a quiet but powerful movement among tribal communities nationwide -- supported by both HUD and the EPA -- toward greener, more efficient homes that are often rooted in traditional designs and materials. These homes also promise to solve many of the indoor air quality issues associated with the standardized federally funded housing that's prevalent on reservations nationwide, from Alaska to Arizona. My 2,500-word feature story, complete with beautiful historical photographs of tribal structures, illustrates the connections between housing and human health and between a wide range of traditional tribal customs and shelters and the vanguard of modern green building. Read more at Environmental Health Perspectives. It was a fascinating story to research and report, and I hope you enjoy reading it.