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Santa Cruz County Environment Articles

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Preparing for El Niño

Moderate to strong El Niño conditions are in the forecast for this year

Image caption: Air pollution, such as seen here in Los Angeles circa 1972, contains greenhouse gases which cause the climate to change.
7 Ways California Leads the Battle Against Climate Change

Since 1947, California has led the United States in the fight against climate change. Here is a list of some of the steps the state has taken to battle global warming, greenhouse gases and air pollution.

Image caption: Now-retired Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) was the most outspoken climate denier in Congress for many years.
10 Frequently Heard Claims Made by Climate Deniers

Here are 10 of the most often-heard climate change denial claims and arguments. Do any of them hold any water?

Image caption: The surprising history of climate change denial can be traced back to fears over nuclear war.
It Started With ‘Star Wars’: Understanding Climate Denial

To understand climate change denial, we must go back to the Ronald Reagan presidency and his proposal for the “Star Wars” space-based missile defense system.

Image caption: In Denmark, bi-directional charging reduces the cost of owning an EV by about 40 percent.
How Electric Cars Can Boost California's Power Grid

Through bidirectional charging, owners of electric cars can sell energy to the grid or use it to power their homes. But will the technology, which is costly, become widespread?

Image caption: If policymakers accelerate efforts to slow climate change, California could get some relief from wildfires.
Rise in California Wildfires Caused by Human-Driven Climate Change, Study Finds

Climate change caused by human use of fossil fuels is the major reason California wildfires have burned 172 percent more land than they would have over the last five decades, according to new research.

Image caption: In the years since she recovered from a severe illness brought on by West Nile Virus, Marie Heilman has helped spread the word about the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District's "Fight the Bite" campaign.
West Nile Virus Survivor Offers a Warning and a Plea

Marie Heilman of Winters, who is happy to be alive, wants people to guard against mosquitoes and the deadly virus they carry.

Image caption: Under a new bill, California's coastline could see an increase in housing development.
California YIMBY Housing Bill Threatens Coastal Commission Powers

The California Coastal Commission has broad authority to protect the state's shoreline. Now, some want to curtail its power over affordable housing proposals.

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Santa Cruz County takes back flood mitigation funding

Santa Cruz County has withdrawn from an agreement with Pajaro Valley Regional Flood Management Agency (PRFMA) after the two disagreed on how to spend roughly $1 million in funds meant to address flood risk in South County. PRFMA is made …

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Pajaro Gets $20 Million in State Budget

The money will help Pajaro residents recover from flooding, regardless of immigration status.

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Burning Up

Prescribed Burn Associations could be the future of mitigating wildfires in Santa Cruz County

Image caption: California looks to send a huge bond issue to voters, to prepare the state for extreme climate events.
$15.5 Billion ‘Climate Bond’ Headed For 2024 Ballot

The California legislature is readying a $15.5 billion bond issue to address climate resiliency for voters to approve on the 2024 state ballot, after the budget shortfall forced billions in cuts to climate spending.

Image caption: The U.S. averages almost 170 heat-related deaths per year, many of them occurring on the job.
How California Protects Workers From Rising Heat

As climate change continues to drive temperatures to new extremes, employees in many jobs face increasing risk of injury and death. Here’s what California is doing to take the heat off workers.

Image caption: Zoning for single family homes is at the heart of numerous urban and social problems.
Should Zoning Laws Be Abolished?

Zoning laws that restrict new housing development cause environmental damage, racial and class segregation, and force people into cars creating traffic. Now, a new movement wants to abolish zoning in the United States.

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Our Shot to Let it Rot

Inside the Dimeo Lane Resource Recovery Center, on the ramp of the Food Scrap Pre-Processor, a team of three works to back up a trash truck. It’s a tight fit. The truck deposits its load into the processor: giant corkscrew-shaped …

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Toxic Chemicals Found in Local Waterways

In a recent study, the City of Santa Cruz found high levels of a chemical that is lethal to Coho salmon, which once thrived in the San Lorenzo River but are now on the endangered species list.

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Plasticless Fantastic: Low Turnout at the 46th Annual Santa Cruz County Coastal Cleanup

Cars driving along Portola Drive on Saturday honked and cheered at the dozen or so volunteers collecting plastic from the roadside. The volunteers were participating in the 46th coastal cleanup, hosted by Clean Oceans International (COI), as well as One …

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Mastodon Tooth Discovered in Santa Cruz

The centuries old mastodon tooth will be displayed at Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History through June 4.

Image caption: California ranks seventh in wind power, with 3.5 percent of all U.S. wind energy produced here.
California Inches Toward Renewable Energy Goal

Renewable energy sources provided 37 percent of California electricity in 2021, a new record for the state as it moves toward its 2045 goal of 100 percent clean energy. Battery storage will play a huge role in reaching that goal.

Image caption: A background in documentary filmmaking taught Jeanne LePage how to raise the money needed to make big projects happen.
Biking Toward a Better Future

Ecology Action’s many programs make Central Coast communities greener. But it takes money to keep them running—and that’s where Jeanne LePage comes in.