Earth’s Advocate

 

Citizens’ Initiative May Permanently Ban New Oil and Gas Drilling in SLO County

Carrizo Plain is one of five national monuments in California to be opened up to new drilling, mining and timber harvesting. Carsten Frauenheim | Mustang News Signed petitions packed in cardboard boxes lined the sidewalk of Monterey Street like presents on Christmas morning. After just nine weeks and thousands of clocked volunteer hours, the Coalition to Protect San Luis Obispo County marched 20,000 signatures into the County of San Luis Obispo Clerk-Recorder’s Office for validation. Cheek-splitting smiles plastered the faces of volunteers. Their work had all but guaranteed a seat on November’s election ballot for an initiative to permanently ban new oil and gas drilling in San Luis Obispo County. “I have grandchildren. I know that I don’t have the power to leave the Earth in a better state than it was when I was born into it,” the coalition’s co-founder Charles Varni said. “There [have] been so many tough things happening on the Earth as a result of burning fossil fuels.” Coalition to Protect SLO County is punching back against efforts to expand new oil and gas drilling on the Central Coast. The “Protect Our Water, Air, and Land: Ban Fracking and Oil Expansion in SLO County Initiative” formed after the owner of Arroyo Grande Oil Field announced plans for new development. If passed into law by majority vote in the upcoming election, new oil extraction would be prohibited in the unincorporated lands of San Luis Obispo. This indefinitely removes rural areas such as Nipomo, Oceano, Los Osos, Templeton and Santa Margarita from new oil and gas well drilling or fracking. It would also derail the planned expansion... read more

Wildflower Wednesday

Stepping into the Cambria Veterans Memorial Building ECOSLO volunteers felt immediate awe at the sight of hundreds of native wildflowers that decorated the tables lining the hall. After volunteering at the Seas to Trees ECOSLO Event in Cambria a few of the volunteers attended the wildflower show in hopes of seeing all the flowers that welcome spring. The colors and varying sizes created a diverse collection that greatly surpassed our expectations and made us want to get right back outdoors to see the blossoming flowers in San Luis Obispo.     During the last weeks of April and the month of May, ECOSLO put on our annual Wildflower Wednesday campaign. Every week featured a new flower with a few facts that can be found on one of the many SLO Open Spaces Trails. These trails allow th e community to experience the different nooks of the county ranging from Bishop Hills to Johnson Ranch during each unique season and change. On these trails you can find a range of flowers lining the paths, popping up between the grasses and hiding beneath trees. They are a wonderful way to remain engaged on a hike and with the pocket size Wildflowers of San Luis Obispo book by David J. Keil one can participate in identifying the flower species.   During the season of the year when all of nature seemingly awakens to absorb the sun rays and warm sweet air I am reminded of theimportance of the ecosystem working as one. Such beauty is a result of the functioning of the surrounding environment, a large part of that being the bees. However, bees... read more

Beach Keepers- ECOSLO’s New Program

    If you’re familiar with ECOSLO, then you’ve more than likely heard about Coastal Cleanup Day. For the past 13 years, ECOSLO has been the local coordinator for Coastal Cleanup Day in SLO County. In 2017, we saw 1,300 volunteers attend cleanups across 30 sites along the coast, and over 6,000 pounds of trash was collected and tracked – all in one day. From tracking the numbers of the pollution collected, we’re able to understand and advocate for what needs to be changed concerning single-use items, a more sustainable future, and caring for the environment. For example, in March of 2018, the City of SLO passed a “Straws Upon Request” initiative that requires guests to request a straw instead of being immediately supplied with one in order to cut back on unnecessary waste. (Straws have consistently been in the top 10 items found on Coastal Cleanup Day in SLO County, and contrary to popular belief, are not recyclable, meaning they end up in landfills – or worse, the ocean – instead). Through a partnership with the California Coastal Commission, ECOSLO has launched a new Beach Keepers program in 2018. This new program will include monthly beach cleanups and data tracking that takes place on the first Saturday of every month at one of the top 10 dirtiest sites in SLO County. These 10 sites were determined from the amount of poundage collected there on Coastal Cleanup Day throughout the past 3 years that ECOSLO has been coordinating it. The program also offers an educational presentation prior to the cleanup regarding details on the top items found in SLO County... read more

Green Drinks

Smiling faces and friendly conversation decorated Lincoln Deli’s sunbaked patio during SLO Green Drinks last March. Sandwich wrappers slipped away and bottle caps twisted with a zing during this good-natured networking for environmentalists. As community members settled into their chairs, speakers Bill Waycott and Lindsey Collinsworth took a stand to share the importance of establishing native plants when preserving biodiversity. “Plants and animals are now evolving to a human-dominated environment,” said Waycott, President of the California Native Plant Society SLO Chapter. Excluding natives from neighborhood gardens affect creatures ranging from buzzing insects to morning birds. The Central Coast, marked by a Mediterranean climate, is home to dry, hot summers and rainy winters. Charming native plants are often drought tolerant and capable of sustaining local wildlife.   Lindsey Collinsworth didn’t need a microphone to preach about the perks of native plants brought to Green Drinks from SLO Botanical Garden. With a smile, a captivated the crowd laughed along to her glowing descriptions of yarrow’s medicinal properties and the indestructible nature of evening primrose. SLO Botanical Garden uses recycled water from the California Men’s Colony to display and preserve diverse plant life from Mediterranean climate zones. California Native Plant Society pairs science, education, conservation and gardening to power a native plant movement. Join the ECOSLO newsletter and follow @ecoslo on social media to learn about upcoming Green Drinks near... read more

The People Behind ECOSLO

Within the past year ECOSLO volunteers have led over 100 miles in hikes in SLO City Open Space Natural Reserves, cleaned 72 miles of coastlines, repaired 10 miles of trails throughout the County and contributed over 6,000 hours to environmental focused projects. The impact is incredible and the support overwhelming. During the month of April our goal at ECOSLO is to focus on the Earth and those who contribute their time to protecting and preserving it. We would like to thank some specific key participants in our efforts to Educate, Advocate and Act within the community of San Luis Obispo through sharing their stories, passions and work. Dave Bidwell “See the environment and see the small birds fly. Appreciate it, educate yourself about it” Dave Bidwell is a teacher in Cambria who found his passion in education. He believes in connecting people with the environment around them and providing them the opportunity to become engaged with and informed about natural resources. He shared that, “No matter where you are you can help the environment with small gestures”. California condors rely on our local ecosystem for survival and current poisoning from lead bullet use and microtrash are putting their population at harm. Dave stresses that efforts such as collecting bits of trash or reading about and understanding the world around us allows one to feel the effects and become apart of the environmental movement. Dave has been a major force of ECOSLO through being a leader of Coastal Cleanup Day. He helps to track and sort the trash and debris collected. This provides data that allows analysis of waste littered... read more