1. Andy Lipkis Speaks Up About Water

    Recently, TreePeople‘s founder and Executive Director Andy Lipkis was interviewed by Transition Network about the drought occurring throughout California. In the interview, Andy talks about his past experiences that led to the foundation of one of the most influential environmental organizations in the state. He also talks about how integration between top down and bottom up measures has to happen to design creative solutions to our states water problems. Trees and green environments are a big part of that integrated design.   To read the full interview, click here.
  2. Prop 39 Implementation

    Let’s Shade Some Schools California voters passed Proposition 39 in 2012 by a 60% margin in order to eliminate a corporate tax loophole and provide $550 million each year over the next five years for energy efficiency projects throughout the state.   Flash forward to the present. The California Energy Commission has adopted Proposition 39 implementation guidelines, and is ready to roll out nearly $430 million to schools and community colleges to support energy efficiency upgrades that range from solar panels to HVAC improvements to, yes it is true, tree planting projects that support energy conservation.   This is a...
  3. 36 Hours in Sacramento

    36 Hours in Sacramento by Chuck Mills   When a year’s worth of work comes closer to fruition over a such a short period, it’s hard to take time and absorb the good news. This is especially true when it’s better than expected.   Nonetheless, that is what we were faced with in the latter part of the first full week in January, 2014. And on a Sunday afternoon in my quiet office in downtown Sacramento, surrounded by more tree species than I know by name, I am taking the time and absorbing the good news.   I believe it...
  4. Governor’s Budget Directs Millions for Local Projects

    Just over a year ago, California ReLeaf staked 100% of its public policy agenda on the idea that cap and trade auction revenues were the very best opportunity to breathe new life into CAL FIRE’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, which allocated its last remaining project bond funds in March 2013.  In other words, we went “all-in” on cap and trade.   Today, Governor Brown released a proposed 2014-15 State Budget that directs $50 million in auction revenues to CAL FIRE with a significant portion directed to support urban forestry projects that help meet the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse...
  5. State’s Right to Sell Carbon Permits Upheld

    By Rory Carroll SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California’s environmental regulator can sell carbon emission permits at quarterly auctions as part of the state’s cap-and-trade program, a state court said on Thursday, in a setback to businesses that argued that the sales constitute an illegal tax.   The California Chamber of Commerce and tomato processor Morning Star sued to stop the sales last year, arguing that the permits should be given out freely to companies covered by the program.   They said the California Air Resources Board (ARB) overstepped its authority when it approved auctions as a mechanism for distributing permits....
  6. Government Shutdown Hitting Close to Home

    We recently received this letter from Sandy Bonilla, the Director of the Urban Conservation Corps for the Southern California Mountains Foundation. Sandy spoke to California ReLeaf Network members at our August 1 workshop. The audience was moved by the work that she and her colleagues have done in San Bernardino. Unfortunately, that work has come to a halt. Hopefully, Sandy and the rest of the UCC will be back to work soon.   Dear Friends & Partners: As many of you know, our federal government has shutdown due to congress failing to pass legislation for funding government agencies and services....
  7. Health in All Policies – A Guide for State & Local Governments

    A new guide for health in all policies for state and local governments is available. You may wonder why you’re reading about this on a blog about urban forestry, but if you take a quick look at the cover of the guide, you’ll quickly see that trees and greenspace are an important part of creating healthy communities.   In the guide’s preface, Adewale Troutman – President of the American Public Health Association – and Georges Benjamin – Executive Director of the American Public Health Association – say, “There is an increasing recognition that the environments in which people live, work,...
  8. A New Era for EEMP

    California’s popular Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program (EEMP) was funded at $7 million in the 2013-14 State Budget through legislation signed by Governor Jerry Brown today.  This is the only statewide local assistance funding for urban forestry for this fiscal year.   While the reinstatement of EEMP funding certainly comes as a welcome addition to the state budget, the real news is focused around permanent changes to the EEMP, and the creation of a new program that could provide competitive grants for recreational resources.   The measure signed by Governor Brown (Senate Bill 99) restructures elements of the EEMP, as...
  9. California’s Water – Where does urban forestry fit in?

    I sometimes wonder how urban forestry can create and maintain a strong and resilient presence in such large-scale state issues such as improving California’s air and water quality.  This is especially true when specific topics surface at the State Legislature such as AB 32 implementation and the 2014 water bond.   Take, for example, the latter.   Two bills amended in August seek to redefine what the next water bond will look like.  Most stakeholders agree that if it is going to garner 51% or more of the popular vote, it will not look like what is currently on the 2014...
  10. Change is Coming to Two California Communities

    Over the past few weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some very dedicated people in two of California’s largest cities – San Diego and Stockton. It’s been amazing to see both what needs to be accomplished in these cities and how hard these individuals are working to make sure the work in done.   In Stockton, volunteers are facing an up-hill battle. Last year, the city declared bankruptcy. It has one of the highest homicide rates in the country. Trees are the least of this community’s worries. Yet, there is a group of citizens there who know that...