Green Living

What’s The Future Of California’s High Speed Rail System?


Join My KALW Radio Conversation Tonight With Authority Chair Dan Richard At 7pm

California’s high speed rail system has been moving at a low speed since voters approved a bond issue to launch it in 2008. That ballot measure authorized a bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles and eventually Anaheim, at speeds of 220 miles per hour and stops in Central Valley cities like Fresno and […]

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Of Initiative Wars, Plastic Bags and Poison Pills


Deciphering California’s (Intentionally) Confusing Plastic Bag Propositions

California’s longstanding efforts to eliminate single-use plastic bags from the marketplace and the environment have finally reached California voters. The November 8th general election ballot contains a breathtaking 17 separate propositions–16 proposed initiative measures and one referendum measure.   Propositions 65 and 67 both deal with the same subject–a proposed ban on single-sue plastic bags.  Those dueling measures […]

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Obama Administration Takes On Local Barriers To New Housing


Restrictions on housing supply in high-wage cities have created a national economic and environmental crisis

The White House Council of Economic Advisers has been making noise in the past year about how local restrictions on housing across the country has created a national economic drag. But now the council has come out swinging against these “not-in-my-backyard” local policies. In a new “Housing Development Toolkit” [PDF], the White House summarizes how […]

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Does Light Rail Get People Out of Their Cars?


Hopeful Findings from a New Metro Survey

My nominee for Greatest Article Title Of All Time is Don Pickrell’s 1992 piece in the Journal of the American Planning Association. Pickrell argued that while planners and local governments poured money into light rail, it never got the hoped-for ridership. The title? “A Desire Named Streetcar.” Well, as it turns out now, Los Angeles […]

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The Future of Environmental Law?

Presenters at the event on Emerging Leaders and the Future of Environmental Law in Honolulu, Sept. 2, 2016

Thoughts from the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawai’i

I am writing this weekend from a sunny spot in the Pacific, from the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Honolulu. For the uninitiated, the IUCN—International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources—is a global union of governments and non-governmental organizations (including over 1300 member institutions, organizations, and countries worldwide) focused on the conservation of […]

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Reinventing Parks & Rec.


We need to protect city parks, not just rural wilderness.

“The few green havens that are public parks” is a phrase from the Supreme Court’s opinion in the Overton Park case.  The case involved a plan to build a highway through the middle of a major park in Memphis.  The Court put a heavy burden on the government to justify the project: “The few green havens […]

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The Case for Farmed Fish


Aquaculture could help save wild fisheries from devastation.

It’s time to take a second look at fish farms. Environmentalists, not to mention foodies, tend to turn up their noses at fish farms.  It’s true that badly managed fish farms can be a source of water pollution and other environmental problems.  But sustainable fish farming would have major environmental benefits. To begin with, fish […]

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Solving The Energy Efficiency Puzzle

Powering the Savings MARCH 2016 Cover

New report recommends ways that California can encourage more private financing of energy efficiency retrofits

Much of our efforts to reduce carbon emissions involves fairly complicated and advanced technologies.  Whether it’s solar panels, batteries, flywheels, or fuel cells, these technologies have typically required public support to bring them to scale at a reasonable price, along with significant regulatory or legal reforms to accommodate these new ways of doing old things, […]

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You Have the Right to Generate Your Own Electricity

Rooftop Solar

Preserving an implicit right in the face of electric utility resistance

Do people have the right to generate electricity for their own use and still remain connected to the grid? Of course they do. You see it every day. Without prior registration or a background check, anyone can go into a hardware store and buy a diesel generator. Homeowners and businesses can install rooftop solar photovoltaics […]

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New Report: Grading California’s Rail Transit Station Areas


Next 10 releases Berkeley Law study on transit-oriented development

If we build it, they will come. For many years, that was the mantra of rail transit planners. Just build the rail line, and development will happen around the stations. And then more people will ride, and the system will be a good investment. But in California, too often that hasn’t been the case. Much […]

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