Air Quality Human Health



Biodiversity Parks, Open Spaces

Civic Renewal


Energy, Climate, Ozone Solid Waste Economic Development Municipal Expenditures
Food and Agriculture Transportation Environmental Justice Public Information
Hazardous Materials Water and Wastewater Risk Management (Activities of High Environmental Risk)


articles | books | interviews | orgs | sites | top 

Report from the Swedish National Committee for Agenda 21
    “Agenda 21 has had a massive impact on Sweden, especially at local level, and work with the Agenda has mainly proceeded bottom-up. All 288 municipalities in Sweden have prepared supportive documentation for local Agenda decisions. A large number of central authorities have scrutinised local work on the Government's behalf. NGOs have been actively involved at both local and central levels. As a result, a comprehensive body of documentation and important practical experience have now been accumulated for coming phases of the Agenda process.”

Sustainable Communities Tutorial
    “Sustainability is part of a trend to once again consider the whole instead of specifics. Sustainability emphasizes relationships rather than pieces in isolation. The ecological movement has focused attention during the last century on the degradation of natural systems. Sustainability brings to light the connections between natural and human communities, between nature and culture. Sustainability is not at all about regressing to primitive living conditions. It is about understanding our situation, and developing as communities in ways that are equitable, and that make sense ecologically and economically.”


articles | books | interviews | orgs | sites | top 

 Air Quality

articles | books | interviews | news | orgs | plan | sites | top 


articles | books | interviews | news | orgs | plan | sites | top 

The Headwaters Forest Stewardship Plan (summary)
    “... a vision for the permanent protection of Headwaters Forest and the workers who depend on it for their livelihood. This ecologically-based forest land management plan emphasizes the principles of conservation biology, ecosystem restoration, and responsible forestry. The primary objective of the Headwaters Forest Stewardship Plan is to maintain and/or restore the levels of biodiversity at Headwaters, while providing stable, honorable employment.”

Map: Selected Major Habitat Types of the Baylands Ecosystem
    These two maps, produced from the Bay Area EcoAtlas, compare the distribution of several major habitat types in the region circa 1800 and 1997.

San Francisco Estuary Baylands Ecosystem Goals Draft Report
    "The draft report describes the habitat changes needed to help ensure healthy populations of fish and wildlife in San Francisco Bay. It presents these changes as an overall vision and as site-specific actions. The report also includes information on a variety of issues relevant to habitat restoration and enhancement."

 Energy, Climate, Ozone Depletion

articles | books | interviews | news | orgs | plan | sites | top 

Climate Change and California EPA report on the impact of global warming
    "There is concern that climate change could increase concentrations of ground-level ozone. For example, high temperatures, strong sunlight, and stable air masses tend to increase urban ozone levels. Air pollution also is made worse by increases in natural hydrocarbons emissions during hot weather. If a warmed climate causes increased use of air conditioners, air pollutant emissions from power plants also will increase.
    In the Bay Area and the Central Valley, with no other changes in weather or emissions, a 7.2°F warming would increase ozone concentrations by 20% and almost double the size of the area not meeting national health standards for air quality."

EPA's Global Climate Change E-mail Lists
    "Receive timely news about global warming via EPA's Climate Change "mailing lists" – subscribers receive e-mail providing information on climate change impacts and solutions, international and U.S. government policies and programs, and relevant conferences and events."

Excerpts from Greenwire, The Environmental News Daily
    "These are climate change related article excerpts recently featured in the National Journal's electronic publication, Greenwire."

PG&E: Energy Efficiency Programs
    “The PG&E Express Efficiency (formerly Retrofit Express) program provides cash rebates to help you purchase and install energy saving equipment. The new equipment will reduce your energy bills for years to come and will improve reliability and occupant comfort. Use this site to learn about opportunities for your facilities and to find application information and technical assistance.”

PG&E: Saving Energy and Money
    “The best way to save on energy costs is to have an energy-efficient home. Here are some ideas.”

PG&E: Pacific Energy Center
    “The Energy Center provides a variety of services including educational programs, design and measurement tools, technical advisors, and energy information resources. Our goal is to help PG&E customers, architects and engineers learn about and identify energy efficiency opportunities in lighting, HVAC and the building envelope.”

Presentation: Climate Change and Impacts From the EPA
    “This is an outline for a series of slides on climate change and the potential impacts of climate change. Content Titles (left column) lead you to an online view of slides in the respective section; each section consists of two to four slides. Alternately, Acrobat Files (right column) allow you to view or download individual sections in Adobe Acrobat 3.0 format -- slides in this format are ready for full page (8.5 X 11) printing.”

 Food and Agriculture

articles | books | interviews | news | orgs | plan | sites | top 

 Hazardous Materials

articles | books | interviews | news | orgs | plan | sites | top 

Brownfield Redevelopment Principles Report -- The Greenlining Institute
    “The Greenlining Institute’s concern about the lack of community input on brownfield redevelopment projects led to the formation of the Brownfields Policy Committee. This committee was convened to discuss the challenges to brownfields redevelopment and to provide recommendations through the creation of the Brownfield Redevelopment Principles. The Principles are guidelines intended to make financial investments more economically viable, community-driven, and profitable; and promote sustainable economic development without creating more difficulties in lending on brownfields. The Brownfields Policy Committee formulated these basic principles to guarantee that lenders consider community involvement, a fundamental component of the redevelopment process.”

Recycling Contaminated Land
    “The purpose of this resource guide is to help local residents, community organizations and others participate in decisions about how brownfield sites will be prioritized, cleaned up and redeveloped in their neighborhoods. It is designed to highlight major issues, recommend opportunities for action and provide examples of community involvement.
    The goal of the Center for Neighborhood Technology's brownfields program is to promote the cleanup and reuse of specific contaminated sites, but with an emphasis on strategies that will foster sustainable redevelopment, job creation and community empowerment. In addition, we believe brownfields redevelopment must be linked to other important community development issues. In many areas, an integrated approach that deals with clusters of contaminated sites instead of site-by-site cleanup will be needed to ensure long-term environmental and economic sustainability.”
    This report uses a tiny font size -- ask your browser to display it bigger so it's legible.

 Human Health

articles | books | interviews | news | orgs | plan | sites | top 

The Busy Citizen's Discussion Guide: Violence in Our Communities
    “Violence has commanded the attention of the nation, inspiring fear, anger, and grave concern. Though some elected officials are afraid to admit that the criminal justice system by itself can't control violent crime, a growing number of mayors, judges, police chiefs, and others are urging citizens to get involved. Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ) has called for a "national rebellion" made up of citizens working against violence at the local level.
    The Busy Citizen’s Discussion Guide: Violence in Our Communities is designed to help you enter into this national rebellion by joining with others in dialogue about how best to confront crime and violence in your community.”

Environmental Defense Fund Chemical Scorecard Pollution Locator: San Francisco County Data
    Manufacturing facilities must report certain toxic chemical releases and production-related waste to the U.S. EPA's Toxics Release Inventory. The Environmental Release Reports on this web site are based on this self-reported data. At the actual web site, you can click on any part of the map to zoom in for a closer look at an area of interest, or click on any red square to see a detailed report on that polluting facility (represented by the red squares). The blue triangles represent schools.
    This entire site is a great resource.

Failing Health: Pesticide Use in California Schools by Californians for Pesticide Reform
    Toxic pesticides, including those that cause cancer, reproductive harm and nervous system damage are being used in California schools, according to this report released by the CALPIRG Charitable Trust and the coalition Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR).
    The report analyzed pesticide-related documents from 46 California school districts, representing over 1.5 million school children. It states that 87% of the districts surveyed used a highly toxic pesticide to manage pests.

Rising Toxic Tide: Pesticide Use in California, 1991-1995
by James Liebman, Ph.D., Staff Scientist, Pesticide Action Network & Californians for Pesticide Reform
    “Each year California is drenched with literally hundreds of millions of pounds of chemicals applied to our crops, to our soil and water, and to our homes, schools and workplaces. Many of these materials are toxic, and their use is increasing each year. ...
    The sad truth is that there is a gap between what the public indicates it wants -- safe food, sustainable food production and distribution systems, decreased use of pesticides -- and the reality created by agribusiness, the petrochemical industry and the regulatory agencies. The state’s own data indicate that we are moving in the wrong direction, with increasing use of and dependence on toxic materials.”

 Parks, Open Spaces and Streetscapes

articles | books | interviews | news | orgs | plan | sites | top 

 Solid Waste

articles | books | interviews | news | orgs | plan | sites | top 


articles | books | interviews | news | orgs | plan | sites | top 

Bay Area Council -- Transportation Action Plan
    “A successful strategy to enhance mobility in the region must embrace at least three primary principles:

  • The existing infrastructure must be maintained and used more efficiently, in order to gain maximum utility from the investment already in place.
  • Strategic investments in new capacity must be made to improve the system, where those investments will return the greatest dividends to overall mobility.
  • Transportation improvements must minimize the impact on the environment to ensure the highest possible quality of life.”

CALSTART Clean Car Catalog
    “Vehicles: Searchable on-line database of vehicles using the latest electric, natural gas, hybrid electric and other technologies. You can choose from a range of airport and industrial vehicles to bicycles, buses/rail and personal vehicles to cars, pickups and vans. Clean Car Dealerships: Listings and maps of clean car dealerships throughout California and Arizona.”

Caltrans: Central Freeway Environmental Impact Report

PG&E: Clean Air Transportation Program
    “This fact sheet outlines PG&E's Clean Air Transportation Program, including: The benefits gained by converting gasoline-powered vehicles to natural gas and by purchasing manufactured, dedicated natural gas vehicles (NGVs); and The longer-term promise of electric-powered vehicles and evaluating the energy-efficient infrastructure needed to support electric vehicles (EVs).”

RIDES’ 1996 Bicycle Resource Guide
    “The first part of this guide provides practical information about bicycle commuting in the Bay Area. The second part is a directory of local, state, and national resources. The appendix provides information about RIDES' bicycle programs.”

SF Bicycle Plan
    “The San Francisco Bicycle Plan presents a guideline for the City to provide the safe and attractive environment needed to promote bicycling as a transportation mode. ...
    The report presents a comprehensive review of the many aspects of the policies, procedures, practices and physical infrastructure of the City that affect bicycling. It recommends ways to make bicycling safer and more convenient through a variety of efforts including street improvements, bicycle parking facilities, new city policies, education programs, promotional efforts and transit access.”

Summaries of 12 community workshops held on the San Francisco Long-Range Countywide Transportation Plan
    "The following summaries are derived from 12 community workshops on transportation planning that were held between July 13 and September 28, 1998, throughout San Francisco. The primary purpose of the workshops was to provide the Transportation Authority staff with a sense of transportation priorities and issues as expressed by residents and merchants from different San Francisco neighborhoods... A key objective of developing the Long-Range Countywide Transportation Plan is to incorporate this input early in the Plan development process, rather than at the end."

 Water and Wastewater

articles | books | interviews | news | orgs | plan | sites | top 

Protecting Your Groundwater: Educating for Action

    “Groundwater is water held in the pore spaces of soil and in cracks and crevices of rock within the "saturated zone," an area beneath the land surface in which all pore spaces are filled with water. The top of the saturated zone is called the "water table". Surface waters such as lakes and streams mark the intersection of groundwater with the land surface. As with surface waters, groundwater is replenished in the continuous circulation of water and water vapor known as the hydrologic cycle.
    Aquifers are beds of sediments, such as sand or gravel, or formations of rock, such as fractured shale, that hold significant amounts of underground water and are permeable enough to allow it to flow. They are replenished, or "recharged," in the hydrologic cycle by rainfall or surface waters traveling through the ground to the aquifer. The "recharge area" includes any land through which water is transmitted to the aquifer. "Discharge areas," where groundwater leaves an aquifer, may include springs, streams, lakes, seeps and water wells.
    Groundwater resources are vulnerable to contamination from surface and subsurface activities in the recharge area. Risk of contamination comes from a number of sources including: ...”

Protecting Your Property From Erosion
    “The loss of soil from a construction site results in loss of topsoil, minerals and nutrients, and it causes ugly cuts and gullies in the landscape. Surface runoff and the materials it carries with it clog our culverts, flood channels and streams. Sometimes it destroys wildlife and damages recreational areas such as lakes and reservoirs.
    Such erosion costs the home construction industry, local governments, and homeowners of the Bay Area millions of dollars a year. We have to pay for damage to roads and property and our tax money has to be spent on cleaning out sediment from storm drains, channels, lakes, and the Bay. As an example, road and home building in the Oakland hills above Lake Temescal filled the lake to such an extent that it had to be dredged in 1979 at a public cost of $750,000.”

Water: Sacred and Profaned, A New Video Program from the Foundation for Global Community
    “Many documentaries have focused on the various ways in which the Earth’s water has become polluted and otherwise profaned. This program, however, explores the sacred nature of this precious gift which is everywhere, surrounding us, enveloping our lives and those of every other living thing.
    In this program produced by the Foundation, six unique men and women (Linda Hogan, Robert Hass, Susan Zwinger, Colin Fletcher, Jennifer Greene, and David Whyte) share their experiences and insights about water, the most abundant and fundamental element of the Earth. Throughout the program are compelling images of water in all its forms -- clouds, snow, rain, ice, rivers, lakes, and oceans -- culminating in a four-minute montage of beauty set to the inspiring music of David Foster. Narration is by Peter Coyote.”

 Economy and Economic Development

articles | books | interviews | news | orgs | plan | sites | top 

Stories of Renewal: Community Building and the Future of Urban America
A Report from the Rockefeller Foundation, January 1997, by Joan Walsh
    “From visits to a dozen projects in recent years, it is clear that community builders are working on five major fronts in their efforts to reduce poverty and increase economic opportunity in their target area. ... Engaging the government systems ... Building local institutions ... Investing in outreach and organizing ... Involving the corporate sector ... Developing new structures.”
    This is a long (217k), substantial text document on a single web page. It will take awhile to appear on your screen.

The Swedish Natural Step
    “This is the story of the early stages of the Swedish Natural Step, the environmental organization whose work provides a compass we can use to orient ourselves toward a more environmentally sustainable society. Today this work is spreading on all continents.
    In telling the story of the Natural Step we, who have created, supported and documented this work, hope that it will inform other efforts of large scale social transformation.”

 Environmental Justice

articles | books | interviews | news | orgs | plan | sites | top 

 Municipal Expenditures

articles | books | interviews | news | orgs | plan | sites | top 

Local Environmental Budgeting -- International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)
    “Budgeting with natural resources should become just as familiar to decision-makers as budgeting with "artificial" financial resources. While local income and expenditure accounting in "money" is common, controlling the flow of materials and energy into and out of the community seems to be new territory politically. But why should the management of natural resources have less priority for local government than the management of finances?”

 Public Information and Education

articles | books | interviews | news | orgs | plan | sites | top 

 Risk Management

articles | books | interviews | news | orgs | plan | sites | top 

 Civic Renewal

articles | books | interviews | orgs | sites | top 

Building Deliberative Communities
    “Community-wide deliberation can take many forms. However, many citizens have never properly learned how to start or maintain a public discussion-they assume a dialogue in the media's presentation of an issue, but rarely feel compelled to contribute their own take on the story. As John Gastil says in his book Democracy in Small Groups, ‘The ability to articulate cannot be taken for granted, because people do not always have a clear perspective and the ability to express their point of view. Learning how to recognize and distinguish between self-interest and the interests of the group is an important skill, as is learning how to transform unreflective and disparate opinions into sound group judgments. In general, articulation serves democracy by bringing forward the minority and majority views of the group and filling the well of ideas from which the demos draws.’
    Many groups and institutions have struggled with the learning process, coming up with several ways of stimulating true community deliberation.”

Building Healthy Communities
    “The challenge is for communities to recognize the pitfalls of continuing business as usual. We need to get beyond old myths and old ways to a whole new approach. We need to break the interest group model and change the media's adversarial approach to community and national news. We need leaders able to reach across boundaries and work constructively for community change. Paraphrasing political scientist James MacGregor Burns, the leadership challenge before us is transformational, not merely transactional.
    A healthy community focuses on the future and passes the lessons it has learned on to its young. Marian Wright Edelman, in her eloquent and moving The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours, charged us well: ‘It is the responsibility of every adult to make sure that children hear what we have learned from the lessons of life and to hear over and over that we love them and that they are not alone.’
    Disenchanted with the tenor of public debate, citizens in communities across the country are expressing interest in developing civic capacity. The civic renewal movement is a national manifestation of the desire to reconnect people positively with politics, on both national and local fronts.”

The Electronic Forum Handbook: Study Circles in Cyberspace
    “Study circles and forums have been a neighborhood and community phenomenon with dynamic face-to-face interaction. The increasing fragmentation in society and in our lives along with the growing popularity and access to the Internet have created considerable interest in making connections between people separated by space and time. Issues considered in electronic meeting places range as widely as the geographic locations represented. Themes discussed by members of Internet neighborhoods are common to civic concerns in geographic communities. For electronic discussions, in fact, the experiences and lessons from one geographic community become resources for another community. Geographically remote communities remained isolated until public access to the Internet allowed new dialogues. Electronic discussion groups are often referred to as ‘communities’ and ‘neighborhoods,’ implying shared and common interests and concerns transcending limitations of time and space. Howard Rheingold, in The Virtual Community (Addison-Wesley, 1993), notes that ‘perhaps cyberspace is one of the informal public places where people can rebuild the aspects of community that were lost when the malt shop became a mall.’
    The potential for the Internet is a very exciting and challenging opportunity for enhancing public dialogue and encouraging deliberative democracy. It is a challenge to create an atmosphere for deliberation in any environment. Cyberspace poses its own challenges. The potential for creating dialogue not bound by space and time is a challenge worth considering as new forms of associational life emerge in our global village.”

Planning Community-wide Study Circle Programs: A Step-by-Step Guide
    “Community-wide study circle programs are large-scale, broad-based discussion programs involving dozens of study circles. The organizational models for these programs vary, but the programs always involve extensive collaboration among community institutions for a common p