March 8, 2009

East Bay Green News Worth Checking Out

I wasn't familiar with the Berkeley nonprofit Seacology, but this is their intriguing story from the East Bay Express.

"...Started in 1991, Seacology is perhaps the most successful environmental organization you've never heard of. As of last week, the East Bay nonprofit had saved nearly two million acres of threatened island habitat, including more than 1.8 million acres of coral reef and other marine habitat around the world. In exchange, Seacology has built or funded 85 schools, community centers, water delivery systems, and other facilities...It's a pragmatic, Obama-esque approach to environmental activism. And Silverstein, the executive director of the Berkeley-based nonprofit, Seacology, says it invariably results in a "win-win" outcome..."

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The future of Albany's Golden Gate Fields race track, and the land it sits on, is in doubt, as the Berkeley Daily Planet reported this week.

"...Two rumored buyers for all or parts of the property are a consortium organized by Hollywood Park president Jack Liebeau, who had previously headed Magna’s Santa Anita track, and another set of deep pockets closer to home: UC Berkeley...The fate of the Albany track has been a political minefield in Albany, with the proposed shopping center project leading to the election of two city councilmembers who opposed the project—which was to be built by Los Angeles “lifestyle” mall developer and GOP political powerhouse Frank Caruso...Should UC Berkeley buy all or part of the property, development would be exempt from the Albany council’s jurisdiction since UC is a separate governmental agency autonomous of local zoning and regulations..."

A day after this story, the Berkeley Daily Planet posted that the track owner declared bankruptcy and the property is now officially on the market.

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Looking for sustainably-sourced lumber in the East Bay? Try West Oakland's EarthSource, which was recently profiled in the East Bay Express.

"...In addition to selling lumber cut in sustainable ways, EarthSource carries wood reclaimed from old buildings and salvaged from fallen trees...EarthSource sells eco-certified wood for about the same price as traditional wood. But Jeff Hunt said the biggest barrier to increasing eco-friendly wood sales over the years has been convincing customers of the quality of lesser-known, sustainably harvested wood..."

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