Forests Are a Low-Tech but High-Impact Way to Fight Climate Change

Author  Han de Groot/2019/04

Climate change disproportionately affects the world’s most vulnerable people, particularly poor rural communities that depend on the land for their livelihoods and coastal populations throughout the tropics. We have already seen the stark asymmetry of suffering that results from extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, floods, droughts, wildfires, and more.

For remedies, advocates and politicians have tended to look toward cuts in fossil-fuel use or technologies to capture carbon before it enters the atmosphere—both of which are crucial. But this focus has overshadowed the most powerful and cost-efficient carbon capture technology in the world. Recent research confirms that forests are absolutely essential in mitigating climate change, thanks to their ability to absorb and sequester carbon. In fact, natural climate solutions such as conservation and restoration of forests, along with improvements in land management, can help us achieve 37 percent of our climate target of limiting warming to a maximum of two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, even though they currently receive only 2.5 percent of public climate financing.

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A Boston suburb now mandates the addition of protected bike lanes.

There’s been a strategic breakthrough on the front lines of the American bike wars: This week, the Boston suburb of Cambridge mandated that protected cycling lanes be installed on all streets that are slated for reconstruction under existing city plans.Passed by the city council on April 8, the ordinance appears to be the first of its kind in the U.S., and allows Cambridge—a dense university town that already has an unusually high share of bike commuters—to ascend into the ranks of the most progressive bicycling cities in the country. Local law now requires the city to erect vertical barriers between cyclists and cars on any roadway that’s rebuilt, expanded, or reconfigured if it’s part of the proposed 20-mile network of separated lanes known as the. Only in “rare circumstances” where the city manager must cite physical or financial restraints will there be exceptions.

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Law requiring bike lane installation passes, celebrated by advocates as first in the nation

A law requiring construction of protected bike lanes on streets in the city’s five-year sidewalk and street reconstruction plan was voted in Monday by the City Council – a move bike advocates are calling the first law of its kind in the country.

“That’s a huge step forward,” said Sam Feigenbaum, a volunteer with the Cambridge Bicycle Safety group who worked on the ordinance with city officials to craft the law. He used his time during public comment to read a text from the city manager promising that the city would work to stay in full compliance with the city’s bike plan and that less than full compliance would be “infrequent, irregular and exceptional” – only when protected bike lanes are physically impossible, and after “good-faith dialogue.”

“This ordinance gives the bike plan teeth,” Feigenbaum said.

The Cycling Safety Ordinance was voted in 7-1-1, with councillor E. Denise Simmons out of the room and Tim Toomey opposed because he found it “ironic” that a law bearing that name wouldn’t require bicyclists to take steps for their own personal safety, such as wearing helmets or lights.

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Natural History Hikes

Natural History Hikes
Take advantage of the healing powers of nature while exploring diverse ecosystems on Sonoma Mountain. SSU Naturalists will lead you on a tour of this university education and research site, and give you insights into the ways we can work together to restore regional landscapes.
Every Saturday: March 16th – May 4th
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Fairfield Osborn Preserve, Penngrove, Sonoma County
Kerry Wininger
University students and community docents will be your guide. Our guides are trained in natural history of the mountain and interpretation of preserve programs. They will lead you on one of many trails into this 450-acre preserve on the shoulder of Sonoma Mountain. Hike options include visits to the headwaters of Copeland Creek and spectacular vistas of the Santa Rosa Valley and Valley of the Moon.
Find out more about the SSU Naturalist Training Program at
These are Year of Sonoma Mountain Events.
Logistics and What to Bring & Expect
We will meet shortly before 10 a.m. in the Osborn Preserve parking lot. Hikes leave promptly at 10 a.m. Parking is limited so please consider carpooling. These events are free of charge.
Event Policies
You will be asked to sign a waiver upon your arrival. All children and minors must be accompanied by a legal guardian. No pets or smoking permitted. The preserves are open to persons of all ages and affiliations engaged in research and education. Reservations are required.
If you would like to know more about the Osborn Preserve, take a look at ourwebsite.

The United States Needs a Universal System to Pay for Public Transit

Author David Zipper

I have a confession to make. I’m not proud of it, but my own laziness often drives my transportation decisions when I’m in a new city.

Case in point: I recently flew into Austin’s airport and needed to get downtown. I had a couple of smart cards in my wallet and a few transit apps on my iPhone, but none would get me anywhere in Austin. If I wanted to use public transit—something I generally like to do—I’d have to figure out how to buy a ticket for the local Capital Metro system. An advertisement in the airport invited me to download the Capital Metro app, but my lazy brain wasn’t having it. “Nope,” it said. “Too much of a hassle. Just grab a Lyft; the app is already on your phone.” And so I did.

The seamless convenience of private mobility services like ride hail is a wonderful thing when you travel. If you think about it, even taxis have interoperable payments across cities: you can use a single credit card (or cash) to pay any taxi. But if you want to use public transit when you’re on a trip, you’ll need to get a new app or a smart card that becomes as useless as a foreign currency when you return home.

Come to think of it, is there any product or service other than public transportation that requires you to manage a new way to pay when traveling to a different American city?

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