Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: Californians reject nukes, our oceans critically weaken, and Pasadena gives back to the grid

Happy Hump Day, SoCal! Here’s the latest green news to jumpstart midweek madness.

Californians say no to new nukes. KQED reports on a new survey from the Field Research Corporation, which shows support for expanding nuclear energy in California has dropped. In the wake of the March 11th Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, “58% [of Californians] surveyed said they did not agree that more nuclear power plants should be built in the state.” Last year, only 44% polled were opposed to more power plants. At the same time, Californians remain confident in the plants that already exist.

Experts warn oceans are on the brink of mass extinction. reports: “Mass extinctions of species in the world's oceans are inevitable if current trends of overfishing, habitat loss, global warming and pollution continue, a panel of renowned marine scientists warned Tuesday.” Led by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), the study writes "Unless action is taken now, the consequences of our activities are at a high risk of causing, through the combined effects of climate change, over-exploitation, pollution and habitat loss, the next globally significant extinction event in the ocean." Just how bad is it? Scientists compare this to a similar mass extinction on Earth, when the dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago.

On a more positive eco note, Pasadena is now giving the environment and water customers a big hive-five. As the Pasadena Star-News reports, “From a reservoir rooftop in Northwest Pasadena, the largest city owned solar panel project is now feeding renewable energy to the city's electrical grid.” As the Pasadena Water and Power officials share, the newly-online Windsor Solar Project should “offset more than 20 percent of electricity consumed by a new water treatment plant adjacent to the Windsor Reservoir.” This will ultimately lower costs water customers pay for energy.

We’re going to need a bigger boat. A great white shark has been spotted 250 yards from shore off San Francisco. As the Los Angeles Times writes, “A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter saw the shark just after 2 p.m. Sunday traveling south off the northern part of the beach, said officials with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which encompasses Stinson Beach.” Area deep water remains off-limits to swimmers until Thursday while lifeguards keep an eye out for the 8 to 10 footer.

Think you’ve ever had a rough day? The Los Angeles Times reports on the harrowing snow rescue of Marcia Rasmussen, 51, who fell through the snow into Franklin Creek in Sequoia National Park last week. Rasmussen, who feels “lucky to be alive,” was “dragged by the current along the narrow, icy tunnel, [where she] tumbled down a waterfall before finding branches to stop herself.” The trained search-and-rescuer used her skills to attract the attention of passing hikers, who dragged her to safety. 

And finally, clean water in the Southwest gets a boost from Washington D.C. As The Los Angeles Times reports, “The Obama administration said it intended to place a 20-year ban on new mining claims on 1 million acres of land bordering the Grand Canyon, moving to protect an area that is a crucial water supply to the Southwest and where uranium mining claims have jumped 2,000% over the last seven years.” Environmentalists also point out this will prevent the Grand Canyon panorama from being gradually industrialized. 

Photo: Getty Images