- 08/28/2013 - Free Outdoor Screening in the BAM/PFA Sculpture Garden
- 08/27/2013 - MARK EPSTEIN / The Trauma of Everyday Life
- 08/03/2013 - Book Signing and Discussion with Dave Kehr, followed by The Lawless Breed
- 06/24/2013 - BERKELEY PRIDE 365! First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriageâ€¦
- 06/23/2013 - An Afternoon with KHALED HOSSEINI
Category Archives: Green
Berkeley schools are making a renewed commitment to recycling and composting after efforts slacked off over the past five years.
This year, a local non-profit, Green Schools Initiative, has worked with eight Berkeley schools, revitalizing recycling and composting programs. Green Schools was just awarded a grant for next year, so it can work with another eight schools in the fall.
According to Deborah Moore, executive director of Green Schools Initiative, recycling and composting are not only good for reducing landfill and greenhouse gases – they can also reduce the district’s spending.
“The Berkeley school district has potential to be saving $50,000 a year out of about $350,000 spent on trash pickup,” Moore said. … Continue reading »
Urban Adamah, the community farm that has been operating out of rented quarters on Parker Street for two and a half years, is in contract to purchase a 2.2-acre lot next to a restored section of Codornices Creek in West Berkeley.
The organization, which integrates Jewish traditions, environmental education, mindfulness and social action, purchased the land at Sixth and Harrison streets from the U.S. Post Office for $2.1 million and has until Aug. 4 to come up with the funds, according to Adam Berman, the founder of Urban Adamah. The land, at 1151 Sixth, is undeveloped and sits next door to the post office’s main processing facility. … Continue reading »
It was four days to D-Day and the place was hopping.
Painters rolled on a last coat of paint. IT guys fiddled with computer wire while architects strolled around looking for last minute glitches. Carpenters nailed sheets of plywood to a storage area.
In just a few hours, the new South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library was set to open. And, while the bulk of the construction was done, there were numerous small things that hadn’t been completely finished, like the landscaping, shelving all the books, installing all the computers, and the final build-out of the Tool Library.
“We have a lot to do in the next few days but we are feeling good about it,” Donna Corbeil, the city librarian, said on Tuesday. When pressed, though, about whether it would be finished, she took a long pause before answering with a resounding “Yes!” … Continue reading »
Families from a range of Berkeley school communities packed the Berkeley School Board meeting last week to speak out about the importance of the district’s gardening and cooking programs in the face of financial changes that could threaten the efforts in the future.
Parents used school PTA email lists before the Nov. 14 meeting to ask supporters to attend the session to show their commitment to the programming.
According to an email sent to LeConte Elementary School parents, “Currently, 14 of the 18 school sites in Berkeley receive a total of $1.9 million each year in federal funding for nutritional education through the Network for a Healthy California. These funds are expected to starkly diminish if not totally disappear as soon as next year or in the very near future.” … Continue reading »
Berkeley is making progress but still has a long way to go to meet its goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades, according to a report set to be presented Tuesday night at 5:30 to the City Council. (A live stream of the meeting will be available here.)
In June 2009, the council adopted the Climate Action Plan as a guide for policy decisions to help the community significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 40 years. The goal is to reach 33% below normal levels by 2020, and 80% below normal levels by 2050.
The plan sets out strategies to reduce emissions, improve public health, drive the creation of green jobs and, not least of all, save money due to reduced energy use.
It won’t be easy. According to the staff report, Berkeley must decrease its community-wide emissions by more than 200,000 metrics tons. That’s the equivalent of removing 35,000 passenger vehicles from the road. (Berkeley’s current vehicle population is about 56,000.) … Continue reading »
Laurie Capitelli showed up at Peet’s Coffee on Solano Avenue at 7:30 a.m. on Friday to wait for some trees – 37 of them in fact.
After two years of bureaucratic wrangling involving numerous agencies, including the city of Berkeley Forestry and Public Works departments, Caltrans, Alameda County Transportation Department, the Solano Avenue Business Improvement District, and some utility companies, Councilman Capitelli was itching to see a set of red maple trees be planted along Solano Avenue. His hopes were realized around 9:30 a.m. when a city of Berkeley truck drove up with a set of trees ready to go into the ground.
When the 37 trees are planted, they will join four others on a stretch from The Alameda to Ensenada, eventually forming a 30-40 foot high string of green along the street.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Robin Dalrymple, the owner of iScream ice cream parlor on Solano. “It will add some ambiance to the street, especially as they grow. They will make the street more pedestrian oriented. The street is moving along.” … Continue reading »
In an effort to reduce energy consumption, Energy Upgrade California is sponsoring a contest that lets local schools win $250 for every household that completes an energy upgrade.
Last year, Alameda County schools raised $18,000 through “Energize for the Prize,” as the contest is called, with two Berkeley schools raising the most. Bay Area Hispano Institute for Advancement, a preschool, raised $5,700 and Rosa Parks Elementary School raised $3,500.
“Energize for the Prize is a real win-win in which residents help local schools raise thousands of dollars, while earning rebates for making their homes more energy-efficient,” said Wendy Sommer, principal program manager at StopWaste.Org, which is working with Energy Upgrade California. “Our goals this year are to provide schools with new ways to earn money, and to increase school and homeowner participation in order to educate more residents about the benefits of saving energy.” … Continue reading »
BEFORE HUMAN CONTACT When Laura Cunningham was growing up in Kensington, she used to walk to school and wonder what the East Bay looked like before buildings and roads covered everything. That curiosity remained with her as she went on to get degrees in paleontology and natural science illustration. The remarkable result of that decades-long question question is answered in Laura Cunningham: Before California, a new exhibit opening Thursday Sept. 13 at 5:30 pm at the Hazel Wolf Gallery in the David Brower Center. Cunningham has created striking illustrations of California landscapes as they would have looked centuries ago before they were dramatically altered by human activity. Berkeley’s Heyday Books published a collection of Cunningham’s work in 2010, but this first-ever solo exhibition also includes contemporary photos and drawings. The show runs until Jan. 30, 2013. Cunningham will speak about her art at the opening and will hold an outdoor sketch class this Saturday, part of a number of programs held in conjunction with the exhibition.
THE PROMISES AND PERILS OF NEW DEMOCRACIES The democratic uprisings in the Arab world have led to large scale changes in the government and governance of numerous countries – including Libya, where the US Ambassador and three other diplomats were killed on Tuesday. UC Berkeley is hosting a two day conference, Democracy Rising, that will explore recent events in Egypt, Libya, Syria and elsewhere, take a look at why some uprisings work and some don’t, and what might lie ahead. Key participants will include India’s former chief elections commissioner, a member of Tunisia’s Finance Committee, a senior mediation expert with the UN, and a leading Russian journalist. The conference runs Thursday Sept. 13-Friday Sept. 14.
Businesses in the Gourmet Ghetto are keen to jump on the parklet bandwagon — bringing outdoor seating to the streets for espresso sippers, pizza eaters, and world watchers in lieu of parking spots — but must first wait for the city to come up with a process for making the spaces available.
So-called parklets — slivers of open space sprouting in cities around the globe — are a big trend in urban design, with San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks leading the way locally, and Oakland following suit (a pilot program is under review there.) Berkeley is a little late to the take-back-the-public-space movement but eager to come up with its own ideas to beautify public areas where community members can congregate. Leading the charge is the North Shattuck Association, which is helping businesses in its café- and restaurant-heavy district organize around the concept.
“The parklets pilot project was conceived by the association based on our experience with hosting temporary parklets during past years on Park(ing) Day and the Spice of Life Festival,” said Heather Hensley, executive director of the association.
Park(ing) Day is an international movement conceived to help city residents around the world reimagine the humble parking space. One day each fall, D.I.Y., creative urbanistas are encouraged to transform parking spots into parks, playgrounds, pop-up cafés — anything other than a lowly (though coveted) place for cars. Park(ing) Day parklets have sprouted in Berkeley in past years in front of the Cheese Board Collective and the late Amanda’s Feel Good Fresh Food. … Continue reading »
An animated short produced by the Berkeley-based Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) that’s not afraid to address the climate-altering effect of cow farts may do more for the Meatless Monday campaign than any blundering by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Readers may recall that the USDA recently pulled the plug on an inter-office memo that suggested employees could cut their environmental impact by choosing vegetarian options once a week.)
“The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers“, which launched last week on the non-profit’s new I Files channel, takes a detailed look at the real price of cheap beef — and we’re not just talking about Americans’ ever-expanding waistlines. The video also explores the environmental and economic costs of raising cows for industrialized meat production in a country where the average person consumes three burgers a weeks. This fast-food nation, the piece also notes, chows down on three times more meat than any other country.
In its first week live, the video has been viewed more than 58,000 times. The cartoon on cows — which got picked up by outlets from ”Marketplace” to Mother Jones — follows on from CIR’s previous animated short, the award-winning “The Price of Gas”. A 7.5 minute short, “The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers” combines entertainment and journalism to deliver an abstract, data-heavy subject for the YouTube crowd. … Continue reading »
In the last year, Chez Panisse chefs, staff, and alum have embarked on gourmet global diplomacy trips to Japan (in an informal expedition under the auspices of a group known as OPENrestaurant) and China (in a formal affair the restaurant’s owner, Alice Waters, presided over herself.) Now comes word that a contingent from the acclaimed restaurant are headed to Cuba to plant seeds of change on the food and farming front — and learn a thing or two about Cuban cuisine and growing greens from this Carribbean island country.
What’s more the trip, scheduled for December 4-12, coincides with the Havana Film Festival, and is open to the public. The delegation includes Chez Panisse downstairs chef Jerome Waag, former Chez Panisse pizzaiolo Charlie Hallowell, Steve Sullivan from Acme Bread (a former Chez Panisse chef), and Cuban-American line cook Danielle Alvarez, who will set foot on Cuban soil for the first time. … Continue reading »
The Helios Building, a new addition to downtown Berkeley, is in the very final stages of construction and the scientists for whom it has been built are expected to move in over six weeks, starting on July 30.
The $133 million, 133,000 sq ft building, which stands five stories high on a two-block lot bounded by Oxford, Hearst, Berkeley Way, and Shattuck, is home to UC Berkeley’s Energy Biosciences Institute, a collaborative project between Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley and the University of Illinois. BP (British Petroleum) has committed $500 million over the next 10 years to the institute, whose mandate is to explore the application of modern biological knowledge to the energy sector. Scientists working in the building will be exploring cellulosic fuels and bio-products among other things, including developing non-food crops to produce fuel and power.
The wedge-shaped building — which is now formally known as the Energy Biosciences Building – will also house Cal’s Synthetic Biology Institute, whose bioengineering research focuses on applications for health, food and the environment. … Continue reading »
The meeting was held in San Francisco earlier this week at the offices of SPUR, a nonprofit created to promote good planning and good government. The focus of the discussion: an ambitious plan to overhaul Oakland Unified School District‘s inadequate and antiquated school food service. But the driving force behind what could be a model program for re-imagining school lunch in large school districts around the nation is a Berkeley-based nonprofit that has quietly been rethinking school lunch for many years.
No, not that nonprofit. The Center for Ecoliteracy recently released a detailed feasibility study that, if implemented, would amount to a massive makeover for the OUSD school food program. It includes recommendations for a newly outfitted, green central commissary with a 1.5-acre edible farm in West Oakland, refurbished existing kitchens, and the development of 14 school-based community kitchens dotted throughout the school district, which serves 38,000 students at 101 schools, 70% of whom are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. The community kitchens are envisaged as places where budding edible entrepreneurs and local organizations with a food focus could work, for a fee, during after-school hours. … Continue reading »