Photo: Martin Swett



News From the Center

By Dan Ehresman

Geoengineering is truly one of the biggest threats to our species. To be clear, I am not talking about chemtrails or the work of some secretive arm of the United Nations. I am referring to the alteration of our planet as a result of humanity’s collective enterprise: our ceaseless utilization of fossil fuels; depletion of once-fertile agricultural land; deforestation; and the dewatering and pollution of streams and aquifers. The biggest threat to life on our planet is not some shadowy, fantastical “them,” it is us.  As grim as this may come off, I write this with hope: for it is connection with one another and our passion for a living planet that will save us if anything will.

The last few months we’ve spent considerable time in meetings, typing in front of glowing screens and pondering humanity’s penchant for destruction. We’ve also tried to balance these sometimes necessary activities with exploring wild wonder, joining together in celebration of life on this planet, and taking hands-on action to safeguard our coast. For, as it is said, action is the antidote to despair and we continue to be grateful to live and work with so many informed, artistic, passionate, pro-active people.

Even so, the clock is ticking.




Advocating for Real Recovery in “Westside” Post-Fire Logging Proposal

By Amber Shelton, EPIC

The largest timber sale ever proposed in the Klamath National Forest calls for 43,883 acres of post-fire logging in steep, unstable high value watersheds. The proposal is deceitfully named the Westside Fire Recovery Project, but instead of acting as a prescription for recovery, the proposal would devastate watersheds, salmon, sensitive animal and plant species, fragment wildlife corridors, impact roadless areas and degrade watersheds. It also proposes to plant 20,000 acres of plantation forests that would increase the potential for high intensity fires in the future.




Supervisors Pass the Buck on Problem Pot

By Dan Ehresman

On March 12, a suspect in a violent Southern Humboldt home invasion robbery was apprehended near my house after a police pursuit through Eureka. The day before, the jury on which I nearly served found a man guilty of murdering an Alderpoint resident. And the week before, I was randomly assaulted outside my home. The previous encounter may not be directly related to our region’s #1 cash crop, but together these events are a personal reminder that Humboldt County’s violent crime rate has been rising—even as the state’s has been falling.

Tied to this violence is an endless string of abuses committed against our planet for profit. When some people look at our region’s remote places—our forests, secluded property and flowing streams—they see not wildness but mountains of money.



Single-use Carry-out Plastic Bags: Board of Supervisors Saga Continues

By Jud Ellinwood

Ever been stuck in rush hour traffic and had the sensation you are never going to reach your destination? Start. Stop. Start. Stop. And on and on. That’s the feeling you get if you’ve been watching the County Board of Supervisors (BOS) effort to eliminate generation of single-use carry out plastic bag waste in Humboldt’s unincorporated areas.




Lily Pesticides Contaminate Smith River

By Greg King, Siskiyou Land Conservancy

Ninety-five percent of all Easter lily bulbs (Lilium longiflorum) produced in North America are grown along a tiny sliver of coastline in northwestern California and southwestern Oregon. The bulk of these bulbs come from the rich bottomlands of the Smith River Plain, in Del Norte County, which surrounds the estuary of the biologically critical Smith River. In order to sustain this sprawling monoculture, lily farmers have resorted to applying large amounts of pesticides. These pesticides, as we now know from four significant discoveries, since the 1980s, of toxic waters in and around the estuary, could prove to be the greatest challenge to the Smith River’s aquatic species, particularly its iconic salmon and steelhead populations.




Kin to the Earth: Eel River Cleanup Crews

By Justin Zakoren

In the first few months of 2015, community members from throughout southern Humboldt County have been rallying to roadsides, ridgetops, creek beds, and campsites, to confront the growing presence of trash in and surrounding their communities. So far, cleanup efforts in the Alderpoint and Garberville-Redway areas have resulted in more than 15,000 pounds of trash being removed from roadsides, campsites, and Eel River tributaries. The individuals leading this ongoing effort are a diverse crew who share the same common vision: a cleaner, healthier Humboldt.