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Earth Day Puts Spotlight On San Diego’s Environment

Evening Edition

Aired 4/22/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Scott Anders, Director of USD's Energy Policy Initiative Center

Lani Lutar, Executive Director of Equinox Center


From superstorms to persistent drought and sea level rise, many scientists say the world is now seeing the effects of climate change. It's a situation that might have saddened the founders of Earth Day 43 years ago. Many of them hoped that the event would inspire a global movement that would avert environmental disasters.

But there is also much to celebrate on this Earth Day 2013. People in San Diego are moving forward with plans and programs to conserve, improve and reduce our impact on the environment.

A number of those plans are highlighted in the Equinox Center's 2013 Dashboard report. The report provides a snapshot of the region's environmental health and quality of life issues.

Air Quality

Air quality in San Diego County continued to improve in 2011. The number of unhealthy days decreased from 19 to 13 from 2010 to 2011 and is significantly lower than Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Sacramento. But there is still room for growth. San Francisco only had one unhealthy air quality day.

Cars, trucks and buildings are the two areas where we see the most emissions from greenhouse gases, which contribute to poor air quality.

Water Quality

News on the water front wasn't so positive. Researchers found beach closures and advisories went up between 2010-2011. But the Dashboard report points out that, the 2011 blackout, which led to a sewage spill, may be largely responsible for the data.

Renewable Energy

There has been a major growth solar installations. In 2011, solar installations per 100 residents in the county increased on average by 46 percent compared to the previous year, due to substantial expansion of both residential and non-residential installations. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), the region's energy utility, reached its goal of increasing renewable energy sources to 20 percent of total sales.

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Avatar for user 'Margmoore'

Margmoore | April 22, 2013 at 12:34 p.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

Loved everything except the Christians with the picket signs and the horrid aborted fetus display. I have many friends who will not return thanks to those people. It's really sad because it's such a good cause, and on the one hand I refuse to let those people ruin a great cause, but on the other hand having a recording on a loudspeaker proclaiming that you're going to hell unless you repent does not make for a pleasant Sunday outing.

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Avatar for user 'philosopher3000'

philosopher3000 | April 22, 2013 at 12:52 p.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for the more comprehensive report on San Diego Sustainability, and the Carbon Pollution Issues. We can't keep building carbon-burning power plants, and it is no longer necessary. Just by retrofitting our buildings, starting with the oldest, for energy efficiency and conservation, we can maintain our way of life without sacrificing lifestyle, while reducing energy waste and thus never have to build another power plant.

San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station has been off-line for over a year and a half, and is an unnecessary risk to our population. Built on a fault, on the coast where it is exposed to tsunami, surf and storms, we can do without it. Solar PV, Wind Generation, and Energy Efficiency Measures can more that meet our growth needs.

See Al Gore's update and call to action :

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 22, 2013 at 8:20 p.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

Why are anti-abortion fanatics protesting at Earth Day?

The two issues are unrelated, they are just exploiting any event they can find with a large crowd.

As these people shout at bypassers holding up pictures of aborted fetuses, pollution continues to be pumped into our air, soil, and water.

Maybe they should stop and think about all the babies being born with defects brought-on by environmental hazards and use some of their energy trying to fight corporate interests that want to hinder environmental regulation.

Organizations like planned parenthood that provide needed healthcare to many who otherwise wouldn't have it are demonized by these psychos, yet they likely have no problem with billionaire oil tycoons who head companies that cause severe damage to the Earth.

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