Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! I saw this comic today and it made me smile.  I feel like that's how I celebrated today.  I went for an 8 mile run this morning and really enjoyed the evidence of spring that was all around me.  At least for the first half of the run.  Then I was just thinking about how I should have run at 7am and not 9am because it was already 85 degrees out. Ugh.  

I'm still up in the SF Bay Area today and it seems like a good place to be for Earth Day.  I always think of the San Francisco area as being much greener than Southern California, but that's not always true (although I miss having compost collected by the city- there is only so much my little composter can hold!)

There is currently a huge debate about how best to use California's water supply for the growing population. (Sidenote: I got to work on a really cool project for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, BDCP, which is looking at how to restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and maintain water supply.  We modeled the future habitat evolution of the whole delta to help determine how much land could be restored and what kind of habitat it might provide.  Cool stuff.)  I always thought (and I think most Northern Californians do) that Southern California was a big ol' desert that was stealing all of our water to fill their swimming pools and water their lawns and that this was the cause of all of California's water problems.  But this isn't true.  In fact, Southern California water usage is the same as it was in the 1980s despite millions of new residents, thanks to the implementation of efficient practices and technologies.  Crazy, right?!

This figure, from the California Department of Water Resources, shows where the majority of water in the state is coming from (the blue bars) and where it is going (the red, peach, and green bars).  

It turns out all of the water in Northern California is not going to the pools and lawns in LA!  The majority of water in the state is being used for agriculture in the central valley.  Very interesting.

More proof that Southern California is learning to be green? It's illegal to wash your car in San Diego unless you are parked on a grassy area.  Yes, it's illegal to wash your car in your own driveway.  I know, my mind was blown too.  But this helps keep polluted water from entering the streams, rivers, and other water ways.  I don't think they have this law in the Bay Area (although I could be wrong...)

So to conclude, although we don't have composting in SoCal, maybe I haven't moved to the dark side after all...  We're just a different shade of green ;) 


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