June 14, 2006

A biweekly column appearing on SFGate, the website of the San Francisco Chronicle, and the leading news and information site in the Bay Area.

Green explores regional environmental issues, people, politics, and contexts in the most environmentally aware part of the United States.

Green is syndicated through Featurewell, and is available as an RSS feed here: xml button

GREEN – If we’re so green, why is San Francisco’s treescape so lame?


Right outside my window is a peppermint willow, a hardy little tree native to western Australia. It seems to thrive on a diet of candy-bar wrappers and pit-bull poop, making it the perfect street t…

GREEN – A Cup of Hope: Coffee’s Lessons


Ritual Coffee Roasters, a stylish and bustling cafe in the Mission, is part of what coffee enthusiasts call coffee’s third wave — a new generation of young roasters obsessively combing the globe f…

GREEN – Milking It: Moms find industrial chemicals in their breast milk an outrage — and a call to action


Not long before Mother’s Day last year, new mom Mary Brune’s bubble of maternal bliss was rudely punctured. “I was nursing my daughter,” says the technical writer who lives in the East Bay, “and fl…

GREEN – Daryl Hannah Speaks Out


A matte-black El Camino roars into a filling station, dust billowing as crashing guitar chords compete with the sound of squealing tires. Out steps Daryl Hannah. She flips open the gas cap and start…

GREEN – Greening the Future: Bay Area Educators Focus on the Environment


Last month a Cornell University study reported that childhood wild-nature play — unstructured time in nature like camping, hiking and playing in the woods — has a profound influence on environmen…

GREEN – Green Blogs: The Green revolution moves online


I’d like to think the reason so many people have been asking me if I have a blog is because they love my writing so much they just can’t get enough. But it’s more likely just another sign of how in…

GREEN – We Can Do It: When it comes to the environment, women lead the way


From Rachel Carson, the founder of modern environmentalism, whose 1962 book “Silent Spring” first raised popular awareness of industrial chemicals in the environment, to Wangari Maathai, the 2004 No…

GREEN – Crystal Mess: Illegal drug labs contaminate living spaces with toxic waste


By now, the personal and social toll of methamphetamine use is well known, but there is a by-product of this activity that also has the potential to ruin lives — lives that may have no connection a…

GREEN – A Rose Is a Rose … or Is It?


Valentine’s Day is next week, and because I want to show my wife how much I love her, I’ve been thinking a lot about flowers…

GREEN Solar Gets Practical – Is it finally time to put solar panels on my roof?


The sun’s shining a little more brightly here in California since the state Public Utilities Commission approved a new California Solar Initiative earlier this month…

GREEN Eyes in the Sky – Desktop satellite tools are changing the way environmentalists work


Imagine yourself in outer space, gazing at the blue and green sphere that is our home. Now zoom in, fast, diving toward continents and oceans. Soon rivers and cities emerge, then individual houses, …

GREEN Salmon Season – In the Northwest, the fish is of huge economic importance, which is perhaps the only reason there are any left


With winter rains arriving, the region’s rivers and streams are swelling. In Marin, the increased flow in streams like Lagunitas Creek allows one of the world’s most magnificent natural cycles — th…

GREEN Greener Holidays – Eco-friendly celebration of the seasonal spirit


Black Friday, the orgy of consumerism that has somehow become the official start to the holiday season, is at last behind us. Now it’s time to think about the real meaning of the holidays…

GREEN Maybe None – Is having a child — even one — environmentally destructive?


“We can’t be breeding right now,” says Les Knight. “It’s obvious that the intentional creation of another [human being] by anyone anywhere can’t be justified today.”…

GREEN Nature in the City – San Francisco’s naturalist underground works to bring it back


The slope behind Laguna Honda Hospital, near San Francisco’s geographical center, is a gloomy and inhospitable place. Ragged eucalyptus trees choked in ivy loom over the remnants of a homeless encam…

GREEN It’s All Connected: Bioneers Gathers the Eco-Tribe


“This is the biggest movement in the history of the world,” says Kenny Ausubel in a voice soft yet urgent. “It’s very diverse, with two broad streams — environment and justice — but it has no name…

GREEN Burning Man Leaves No Trace


Burning Man might be over for the year, but that doesn’t mean the desert is empty: A crew of more than 20 people — many of them volunteers — is still out in the Black Rock Desert, laboriously goin…

GREEN The Sierra Club at a Crossroads


The Sierra Club is not just another green group — it’s the green group. Its 750,000 members are the faces of mainstream environmentalism: In every part of the country, they personify the movement t…

GREEN Clean, Green Homes – Start with nontoxic cleaners


“I would get tired when I would clean my house,” says Debra Lynn Dadd. It was 20 years ago, and Dadd was living in Marin, and nobody knew what was wrong with her. “I had insomnia, and I would faint …

GREEN Farming the Future – Your organic food box is a delicious step towards a sustainable tomorrow


Out near Winters, in Yolo County, there’s an unripe Sharlyn melon with my name on it. It’s growing within shouting distance of Putah Creek, which keeps it moist in the murderous Central Valley sun…

GREEN Walking the Talk – Woody Harrelson’s Sustainable Life


“We vote with our dollars more than we do at the ballot,” Woody Harrelson told me when we spoke by phone last month from his home in Hawaii. “There is no legitimate voting anymore in the United Stat…

GREEN Flaming SUVs – A conversation with convicted ecoterrorist Jeff Luers


Five years ago this month, Jeff Luers set fire to three SUVs at a dealership in Eugene, Ore., to protest America’s heedless contributions to global warming. He was promptly arrested and put on trial …

GREEN Testing For Toxins – Women are taking environmental health into their own hands


Becky Allen is the kind of glamorous woman whose fiery red hair announces her presence like an exclamation point. But her luxuriant locks can also be a red flag, a warning of the toxins in her body…

GREEN Merging with Traffic – San Francisco bicyclists become part of the City’s transportation establishment


“My first Critical Mass was really an eye opener,” Leah Shahum told me. “I had never thought of bicycling as a political thing, as a part of a social movement. Riding with a thousand people just fel…

GREEN Vegan Man – Moby on 16 years of meatless living


“I run into a lot of people who are instantly filled with ridicule at the idea that someone wouldn’t eat meat,” Moby told me last week, when he was in San Francisco touring in support of his latest …

GREEN – Lingerie, Chain Saws And The Onslaught In Your Mailbox


In an ad that ran this January in a number of newspapers, including The New York Times, a sultry model in a satin bodice and frilly feathered wings stared poutingly from the page. At first glance, it…

GREEN – Eco-porn: Great Sex For A Good Cause


Tommy and Leona are having sex on a tree stump in the middle of a Norwegian clear-cut. Leona, with a mop of brown dreads and a lip ring, looks dreamily across the demolished forest as Tommy, a little…

GREEN – Urban Beekeepers are keeping the honeybee alive and well in San Francisco


Bees are the gardener’s unsung best friends. Tireless workers who pollinate our flowers and trees as they patrol our neighborhoods in search of nectar, they are a reminder of the complexity and beaut…

GREEN – Produce to the People!


“The No. 1 cause of death in West Oakland is heart disease,” says Brahm Ahmadi. “It’s not gunshots; it’s food — the way people eat.”…

GREEN – Kyoto By The Bay: Local cities defy federal government, make their own climate policies


Today, the Kyoto Protocol — the international treaty to limit damage to the atmosphere from so-called greenhouse gases — comes into force. Under self-imposed laws, 156 nations around the world will…

GREEN – Marie Harrison And The Fight For Bayview-Hunters Point


“I think Bayview-Hunters Point is one of the most beautiful places in the
entire city,” Marie Harrison told me when I visited her. “It is surrounded
by water. It sits on a hill; it has a valley an…

GREEN – Ecotopia at 30


Ernest Callenbach is the kind of guy — kindly, wise and playfully dedicated — who seems to spring from the land itself in Berkeley. “The whole street was American elm,” he told me as we walked tow…

GREEN – The Bay Area’s Nuclear Legacy


With the dawn of a second Bush Jr. administration, there is talk of renewed
nuclear testing and development of new nuclear reactors. (Indeed, the licensing
process has already begun.) Advocates su…

GREEN – Thinking Globally, Acting Locally In 2004: Maybe It Was A Great Year After All


The late Rene Dubos was a radical optimist. The Pulitzer Prize-winning
environmental philosopher believed that with our capacity for thought,
humans could understand the consequences of our action…

GREEN – Our Cars, Ourselves


Just before Thanksgiving, I went down to the San Francisco Auto
Show, giving up a gorgeous and sunny Sunday afternoon to wander around
the cavernous bowels of the Moscone Center. The air was close…

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