<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Green News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/green http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usThu, 25 May 2017 07:38:06 -0700Thu, 25 May 2017 07:38:06 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[After Viral Video, Experts Say Don't Feed Sea Lions ]]> Mon, 22 May 2017 18:20:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sealionfeuerherd.jpg

A video that has now gone viral, which shows a little girl being pulled into the water by a sea lion in British Columbia, is being looked at by local experts as an example of what not to do near marine mammals.

The video appears to show tourists feeding a California sea lion bread crumbs. Moments later, the sea lion jumps up, grabs a small child by her dress and drags her into the harbor water. A man jumps in to save her. The little girl appears to be uninjured afterwards.

“With wild sea lions, especially, you don’t want to feed them, you don’t want to interact with them and you definitely don’t want to turn your back on them," said Eric Otjen, who works at Sea World to help rescue injured sea lions and re-release them back into the wild.

Otjen said it is possible the sea lion thought the little girl might have more treats. He added any parents with small children should not let them near sea lions, seals or other wild animals.  

"[When you feed them], it builds an expectation with the animal that they’re going to get something from you," added Otjen.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Local Endangered Species Have Less Habitat ]]> Fri, 19 May 2017 17:58:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/marsh2.jpg

Friday marked Endangered Species Day, bringing awareness to declining animal populations. But what you might not know is that there are endangered species living in Mission Bay in San Diego.

"When people think of endangered species they tend to think of far away, exotic places," said Rebecca Schwartz Lesberg, director of conservation for the San Diego Audubon Society. "We have them right here at the Kendall Frost Marsh Reserve in San Diego."

Schwartz Lesberg added there are three local species of birds that are categorized as endangered:

The Light-footed Clapper Rail is a year round resident of San Diego County's coastal salt marshes. As a result of the loss of over 90 percent of southern California's coastal wetlands, this species has been listed as federally-endangered for over 40 years.

The California Least Tern is an endangered migratory shorebird that nests on our beaches within a limited range from northern Baja California to San Francisco Bay. San Diego County supports 60 percent of the breeding population of this bird at 12 sites including Mission Bay.

And the Belding’s Savannah Sparrow is a non-migratory bird found only along the coast of southern California and northern Baja California.  The endangered bird's range is narrowly restricted to saltwater marsh habitats dominated by pickleweed.

Schwartz Lesberg added the San Diego Audubon Society is working to expand the bird's habitat, which is only one percent of what it was before the 1940's due to humans moving into wetlands.

<![CDATA[New Device to Combat Pollution To Be Tested in Local Waters]]> Sun, 14 May 2017 23:42:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/seabin.PNG

San Diego’s Cabrillo Isle Marina is getting some assistance in staying trash-free from a unique little helper.

The Seabin is a bin made of recycled materials that catches trash floating in marinas, docks, and commercial ports.

Water is sucked in from the surface and passes through the bag that lines the bin. Then, water is pumped back into the ocean, leaving litter, debris and a percentage of oils and pollutants trapped inside the bag.

Once the bag is full, it can be removed and the trash can be disposed of responsibly; the Seabin can then be lined with a new bag and continue its good work.

The Cabrillo Isle Marina at the San Diego Bay in downtown San Diego will be a pilot location where the Seabin will be tested for several months, the Seabin Project says.

"Daily removing [of] that debris is a huge step in the right direction and hopefully also gets the message out that we haven't solved the littering and recycle and reuse issue,” Tony Reese, General Manager of Cabrillo Isle Marina told NBC 7. “Even though we've come a long way, there's still a lot of work to be done."

The new V5 Seabin will be collecting debris at the marina in the hopes of ironing out any kinks with the new prototype before the new units hit commercial production.

Co-Founder of the Seabin Project, Andrew Turton, came up with the idea of a bin collecting floating trash after years of seeing debris build up in areas where it could easily be disposed. He thought there needed be a solution to this particular pollution problem.

Turton joined with fellow Co-Founder Pete Ceglinski onto the idea of the Seabin, where Ceglinski developed the prototype.

“Everybody is aware of the ocean problem with plastics. We came in at a time when the world was screaming for a solution,” said Ceglinski in a press release.

“We quit our jobs, took all our money and put our hearts and souls into making this happen. Our end goal is to live in a world where we do not need Seabins. That's why we also roll-out educational and research programs,” he stated.

The Seabin team says that the real solution is not just having the Seabins, although they say it is a step in the right direction, but that education and research and a dynamic partnership with Seabin’s pilot partners are the goals towards their mission of cleaner oceans.

Photo Credit: NBC 7
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<![CDATA[Locals Line Up for Lawn Mower Trade-In]]> Sat, 13 May 2017 11:56:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cr+lawn+mower.jpg

Bright and early Saturday morning, locals lined up in front of Qualcomm Stadium hoping to get their hands on a deal: an electric lawn mower for just under $100.

It was all part of the 18th Annual Mowing Down Pollution, which lets San Diego residents trade in their gas-powered lawn mowers for an electric one for $99.99.

Normally, electric lawn mowers retail from $200 to $300.

The county-sponsored event aims to combat pollution. According to the county, trading gas lawn mower for an electric one helps lower emissions by 2-and-a-half tons per year.

District 4 County Supervisor Ron Roberts, who hosted the event, says that having the opportunity to trade in gas powered equipment is just one of the ways San Diegans can help contribute to keeping our air clean.

“[Emissions from] gasoline mowers are equivalent to 25 automobiles,” Roberts told NBC 7. “They are heavy pollutants.”

Linsey Tarr, who has lived in San Diego for over a decade, never heard of the lawn mower trade-in event before, but is happy to help lower air pollution.

“I’m proud of this city for having this event,” she said.

While helping the air quality in San Diego is a major environmental plus for locals, the great deal was another bonus for their wallets.

Roger Duval arrived at the event at 4:30 a.m. and couldn't wait to go home and test his new electric mower out.

“It’s a great deal for the amount I paid, it’s fabulous. I couldn’t ask for anything better,” said Duval. “That’s why there are so many people around here doing the same thing.”

Residents were also able to trade in their gas-powered chainsaws, hedge trimmers, or line trimmers at Saturday's event for $80 a pop. There were around 100 of each of those pieces of equipment available; it's all part of the county's continued efforts to rid residents of their gas-powered tools in exchange for electric ones.

Since 1999, the county says that residents have exchanged nearly 8,500 mowers.

Saturday's event lasted until noon. Those looking trade in their mowers were asked to bring photo ID and proof that they live in San Diego County.

Photo Credit: Consumer Reports]]>
<![CDATA[Hundreds Show for People's Climate March at Waterfront Park]]> Sat, 29 Apr 2017 23:37:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/climate+change+march+0429.JPG

Hundreds participated in the San Diego People’s Climate March at Waterfront Park on Saturday. The local march took place in solidarity with The People’s Climate March that happened in Washington D.C.

The goal of the local People’s Climate March was to call on local leaders to use clean energy sources and oppose federal attempts to roll back climate change policies put in place by former President Barack Obama.

The march, just ahead of President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office, also aimed at urging the Trump Administration to face the reality of climate change.

The San Diego People's Climate March started off with live music and speeches at Waterfront Park.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-80th District) gave a speech at the rally, telling a crowd of marchers that California is a state that will continue to fight for progressive polices, especially when it comes to climate change.

“We are not going backwards on all the gains we have made for the environment over the last few years. We are going to continue to push and make sure our air is clean, ” Gonzalez Fletch told a crowd of cheering supporters.

For longtime local Jorge Gonzalez, addressing climate change effects in San Diego’s communities is an important discussion to have.

“I’m aware of the environmental injustices that are happening in our city. I think this is an important subject that our communities south of the [Interstate 8] — San Yisdro, National City, Barrio Logan — are highly impacted by the environmental injustices happening for decades.”

Amy Knight, a former teacher who taught in a low income area in Miami, was at the march showing her enthusiasm for raising awareness not only about climate change, but climate justice.

Knight explains that with the increasing effects of climate change, such as increased heat waves or urban heat islands, the people who will be impacted the most by these effects are not financially equipped to do so.

Knight volunteers with the organization San Diego 350, which focuses on climate justice on the community level.

“The [political] atmosphere is pretty charged, mostly because of what people understand to be true and are passionate about, like I am, are being directly threatened,” Knight told NBC 7.

“Right now people are finding an opportunity to get involved to say something, which is I think is important,” she added.

Viena Bone also attended the march with her children, who she said will hopefully see how important it is to care for the planet, and to fight for the causes they care for.

"Awareness is really important. A lot of people don’t know about recycling, or composting or how affordable solar panels are. If more San Diegans were aware, that would be great.”

“I’m very proud of my city and the fact that we are on track to be a waste free county,” Bone said.

Photo Credit: Ramon Galindo/NBC 7
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<![CDATA[Green Initiatives of Top Companies ]]> Wed, 19 Apr 2017 18:00:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DIT+Earth+Week+Companies+THUMB.jpg

In honor of Earth Week, NBC looked at 5 of the most valuable companies to see what kind of green initiatives they are engaged in.

<![CDATA[From Your Recycle Bin to China: 360 Recycling Plant Tour]]> Tue, 18 Apr 2017 18:26:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/360+Recycling+THUMB.jpg

What really happens to your recycling? Take a 360 video tour of the Burbank Recycle Center to see what happens to your recyclable waste and learn how you can be a more eco-friendly consumer.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Badlands National Park's Climate Change Tweets Deleted]]> Tue, 24 Jan 2017 19:04:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Badlands+park.jpg

The Twitter account for the Badlands National Park in South Dakota published a series of tweets Tuesday on climate change. A few hours later, the tweets were deleted.

The first tweet, posted an hour after President Donald Trump signed executive orders advancing the construction of the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, said: “The pre-industrial concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 parts per million (ppm). As of December 2016, 404.93 ppm.”

Just moments later, the account posted another tweet: “Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years” — with the hashtag “#climate” added for good measure.

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The next tweet said: “Flipside of the atmosphere; ocean acidity has increased 30% since the Industrial Revolution. ‘Ocean Acidification’ #climate #carboncycle” 

The last tweet said: "Burning one gallon of gasoline puts nearly 20lbs of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere." 

According to a National Park Service spokesman, the tweets were posted by a former employee who is not authorized to use the park's account. Tom Crosson, NPS's chief of public affairs, told NBC the park was not told to remove the tweets but "chose to do so when they realized that their account had been compromised."

"At this time, National Park Service social media managers are encouraged to continue the use of Twitter to post information relating to public safety and park information, with the exception of content related to national policy issues," Crosson added.

Tweeting about climate change isn't out of character for Badlands. The park's Twitter account feed addresses the national security implications of climate change, rising water temperatures and the decline of species driven by global warming. But it does contradict President Trump's stance on the issue. He has repeatedly claimed climate change is a hoax.

In response to the tweets being deleted, DNC national press secretary Adrienne Watson released the following statement: “Vladimir Putin would be proud.”

Tuesday's tweets followed a brief suspension Friday of the National Park Service’s Twitter account, as well as those of all its bureaus, over retweets the Department of the Interior deemed "inconsistent with the agency’s mission."

The prohibition came after the National Park Service’s official Twitter account, a bureau of the department, retweeted a pair of posts to its 315,000 followers. One of the tweets was a photo that compared the crowd gathered on the National Mall for Trump to the much-larger gathering that stood in the same spot eight years earlier for President Barack Obama's first swearing-in. The tweets were later removed from the feed, and the National Park Service apologized for sharing them.

A day later, Crosson said the agencies could resume tweeting “Now that social media guidance has been clarified.” It was not immediately clear what information was in the guidance. 

Photo Credit: Badlands National Park
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<![CDATA[$750K Grant Helps San Diego Become Greener]]> Thu, 01 Dec 2016 13:49:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Faulconer-Trees-1201.jpg

The City of San Diego will soon be looking a little greener thanks to funds from a $750,000 grant.

The city plans to plant 1,800 new trees using funds from the CAL FIRE Urban & Community Forestry Program. The project may help San Diego reach its Climate Action Plan goal.

A new study shows that 13 percent of San Diego is covered with trees. The goal is to increase that number to 15 percent by the year 2020.

Sherman Heights resident Peter Smith supported the project.

“Trees are always good for the air, so it’s definitely a good thing. We need more trees instead of cutting them down,” Smith said.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer was on hand Thursday as he announced the project and then helped to plant a Modesto Ash.

Five hundred trees will be planted in Sherman Heights, Lincoln Park, Grantville and other neighboring communities. Residents will see the trees along Market Street, Imperial Avenue, Ocean View Boulevard, 25th Street and 47th Street.

“Trees help to reduce our carbon footprint, but more importantly they contribute to beautiful, walkable neighborhoods and communities,” Cody Hooven, the City’s Chief Sustainability Officer said in a city news release.

“The fact that they're going to you know take the initiative to plant some trees and make it a little greener it a really, really good idea,” said resident Carla Zuniga.

The funds will also be used to hire consultants to look at current trees lining San Diego streets.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Couple’s Drought-Friendly Yard Wins Big]]> Sun, 29 May 2016 08:53:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bonita-Landscape-1.JPG

One San Diego couple’s yard is certainly worth admiring: their drought-friendly landscape has just won a big contest.

Bonita homeowners Barbara and Nick Amalfitano are the new winners of the Otay Water District's 2016 landscape contest.

The changes they've made to their front and back yards over the years have reduced their water usage by 78 percent, and reduced their maintenance significantly.

The couple’s property is three-quarters of an acre and looks more like a park than a model for water efficiency.

“Even when we cut all of this away, you still have this grass-like succulent here, and it looks like a thick meadow of grass,” said Barbara describing her yard.

Richard Namba, Senior Water Conservation Specialist with the Otay Water District, says when you're shopping for succulents, you should know the size of the plant at maturity, so you don't plant them too close together.

“If you put the plant in the right spot, you should never have to prune a drought tolerant plant,” Namba explained. “When you cut drought tolerant plants or prune them, they don't look very good, so what you want to do is plant it far enough away from a sidewalk or driveway or house wall, so it can grow."

In determining a winner in the landscape contest, the water district also looks at a yard's design, including the colors and textural diversity.

One aspect of the Amalfitano's yard that was especially appealing to the district is a stream bed made entirely of rocks that runs the entire length of their driveway. The stream bed also provides what's known as a bioswale, a depression in the landscape that collects water.

“The goal now in sustainable landscape is to keep the water on your property as long as possible," said Namba.

One way the Amalfitanos are doing that is by harvesting rain water with rain barrels scattered around their yard. In the process, they took advantage of the Metropolitan Water District's rebates on rain barrels (the rebates are currently available).

In 2010, the Amalfitanos were one of the first South Bay families to take advantage of the Otay Water District's turf rebate program (which is no longer available).

They received $2,000 for their front yard under the program, and that's about how much it cost to renovate the area.

The following year, they upgraded their back yard.

“One of the things we wanted was fresh herbs, and that’s right back here. We have the parsley growing right now, and some rosemary growing. So we have great Thanksgiving dinners here," said Barbara.

At the time, the district also provided the services of a landscape designer to help families with the renovations.

“It was somewhat labor intensive, but very well worth it when it was finished," said Barbara. "We really hated to see ourselves using all that water, letting it all go down the drain. Plus, grass is beautiful, but this is so much nicer to enjoy. The flowers are great. It just made sense to us."

The Amalfitanos also installed an automatic pool cover several years ago, upgrading the one that was there when they moved into the home in the 1990s. The retractable cover reduces heat loss and the need to refill the pool every week.

“When it's closed, there's absolutely no water evaporation,” said NicK.

In January 2015, the Amalfitanos extended their energy savings inside their home. They leased solar panels for $131 a month through SunPower, and signed up for SDG&E's net metering program.

“The leasing company maintains everything for 20 years and we have a locked in rate,” said Nick.

At the end of the year, they actually got money back on their electric bill, and applied it towards their natural gas bill.

“It's probably the best investment I've ever made, without a doubt,” said Nick.

Two months ago, the couple made another investment and installed argon-filled, double-pane windows.

“We've reduced our carbon footprint dramatically, and couldn't be any happier," said Nick told NBC 7. “I'm trying to think what the next thing is we could do.”

SDG&E's current net metering program is set to end in July. The utility company's new incentives will cost a little bit more, and there will be a fee to connect the solar panels, but a spokesperson says changes to the net metering program will be minimal.

Photo Credit: May Tjoa]]>
<![CDATA[Airport Launches Eco-Friendly Travel Program]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2015 10:05:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Lindbergh-Field-1008_2.jpg

The San Diego International Airport (SAN) has launched a program designed to encourage sustainable jet-setting and offset the carbon footprint created by air travel.

The San Diego Airport Authority announced a pilot program Thursday dubbed “The Good Traveler,” which enables travelers to offset the environmental impact of their journey in an easy way – and for only a buck.

Here’s how it works: for $1, travelers can buy a Good Traveler tag or sticker that can be placed on a bag, laptop or phone case. Airport officials say 100 percent of proceeds will benefit three environmentally-friendly projects: the restoration of a California forest, a wind farm project in Idaho and a water restoration project in the Colorado Delta.

Airport officials say each $1 purchase of the Good Traveler tag will offset the equivalent of the carbon footprint created by 500 miles of air travel or 200 miles of driving.

Additional “carbon offsets” and merchandise can be purchased through this program, with proceeds going toward conservation efforts that help counteract the effect of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Good Traveler tag is available for purchase at certain concessions at SAN, including Ryan Bros. Coffee.

According to the Airport Authority, the pilot program at SAN will run through the end of this year. At that point, the airport hopes to expand the program to other airports and cities.

The airport is also running an art competition now through Oct. 14 to find a new design for a Good Traveler T-shirt that will later be sold.

The Good Traveler program was first developed in February 2014 after SAN became the first U.S. airport to sign the Climate Declaration addressing climate change. After that, SAN conducted a review of how to provide passengers with an option to offset the environmental impact of their travel, and this program was born.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Greenhouse Gases Biggest Threat to Polar Bears: Study]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 13:55:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-77960094polarbears71151.jpg Greenhouse gas emissions remain the "primary threat" to polar bears, according to a study released Tuesday by the U.S. Geological Survey. Polar bear populations will decline even if emissions are stabilized by the end of the century, the study said. Polar bears have been categorized as a "globally threatened species" under the U.S. Endangered Species Act since 2008. The two main threats to polar bears are melting sea ice and disappearing prey. The study concluded that polar bears would suffer whether carbon emissions grew at their current pace or peaked in 2040 and then declined. The only optimistic scenario would involve "immediate and aggressive" cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, researchers said.
Get More at NBC News

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Balboa Park's 2015 EarthFair]]> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 11:54:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Balboa-Park-Generic-Getty.jpg

The 25th annual EarthFair is coming to Balboa Park this Sunday, celebrating a sustainable lifestyle and what it means to go green on Earth Day.

From 10 a.m. through 5 p.m., attendees can expect a wide range of activities promoting an eco-friendly lifestyle. The event is free and open to the public.

There are new exhibits this year, including the ecoATM electronics exchange booth where visitors can trade their old cell phones and MP3 players in exchange for cash. That booth will set up shop in the Pan American Plaza.

Attendees can also get a taste of flavorful eco-friendly food with a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan options available in the Food Pavilion during the fair.

Guests can also see La Mesa native and retired NBA basketball star, Bill Walton, who will be the Grand Marshal Earth Day Parade, which starts at 10:30am. There will be an opportunity to meet Walton at the NRG Energy booth in the Pan American Plaza at the end of the parade until noon.

EarthFair didn’t forget about the kids.

There will be a children’s activity area and four entertainment stages, including a “Magic Stage” featuring an interactive “Water Education Show.”

Kids can also learn how to make paper and make gift cards from recycled material.

More than 400 volunteers and 300 vendors are coming together to make the EarthFair happen this year with the grand green goal of educating the public about sustaining the planet.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Want to Save Coral Reefs? First, Save the Fish: Study]]> Wed, 08 Apr 2015 17:04:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP080816183919.jpg A new study has found that more fish may be the answer to saving coral reefs, NBC News reported. Overfishing on reefs and other threats like pollution can lead to a collapse of underwater ecosystems, so keeping fish on the reefs is crucial to their health, according to the study of 832 reefs. "The methods used to estimate reef health in this study are simple enough that most fishers and managers can take the weight and pulse of their reef and keep it in the healthy range," Tim McClanahan, WCS senior conservationist and study co-author, said in a release. "Fishers and managers now have the ability to map out a plan for recovery of reef health that will give them the best chance to adapt to climate change."
Get More at NBC News

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[California Now Home to More Than 100K Electric Cars]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 06:29:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/car+charger.jpg

California has more than 100,000 electric and "plug-in hybrid cars" on the road, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The California Air Resources Board said the milestone reflects the fact that electric cars are no longer "just a boutique item."

The state has 40 percent of the country's electric vehicle sales, which began in earnest in 2010.

About 31,000 electric cars -- 15,251 "pure electric" vehicles, and another 16,239 "plug-in hybrids" -- were purchased through the first eight months of the year, the newspaper reported.

That's about 2.5 percent of all car sales statewide.

Still, that's an increase of 100 percent from 2012 to 2014.

Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[SD Entrepreneurs Make Green with Green Products]]> Mon, 28 Apr 2014 03:56:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/earthfair+tess+valencia.jpg

Thousands of people packed Balboa Park Sunday for EarthFair 2014. According to organizers, the event is the largest free annual environmental fair in the world, drawing an average of 60,000 people.

Hundreds of them were exhibitors, including El Cajon resident Tess Valencia. She turns Caprisun packets into purses, wallets and even backpacks.

“I made one little party bag for my daughter's birthday, and a friend came over and saw them and said, ‘God, that's so nice!' [Now] my bags are all over the world. They’re in Chicago, in Europe,” Valencia said.

A few stalls over was yet another green creation. Young entrepreneur Leslie Uke from Poway says her runny nose inspired the HankyBook. She says she was tired of throwing away so much tissue paper and dealing with the apparent stigma surrounding handkerchiefs.

“Everyone just looked at me like I was gross, and I was like, this is really useful actually. It's not unsanitary, but they had that perspective,” Uke said.

Uke sold her first HankyBook at EarthFair four years ago.

“We're in more than 40 stores right now, mostly in Canada. Whole Foods is definitely my like high in the sky destination, and we're working with their North Atlantic region to get into their stores,” Uke said.

EarthFair organizers say exhibitors like Uke and Valencia are the heart of the event. For a full list of exhibitors, click here.

<![CDATA[Alpine Hosts Recycling and Community Cleanup Event]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:54:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/82274596.jpg

In honor of Earth Day, Alpine is hosting a community cleanup and recycling day on Saturday, right in the heart of town.

The “I Love a Clean Alpine” celebration runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will include volunteers cleaning up along Alpine Boulevard. Participants are asked to meet at 8:30 a.m. at The Triangle at 2157 Alpine Blvd. Vests, trash bags and safety demos will be provided before the cleanup begins.

Over at the Albertsons parking lot at 2955 Alpine Blvd., the green-friendly action will continue with a free recycling event.

There, Alpine residents can safely get rid of their electronics, small appliances and tires from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will also be a free document shredding service offered from 9 a.m. to noon.

The environmental event is presented by the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce. This year’s sponsors include Recycle San Diego, the County of San Diego, Albertsons, Goodwill Industries, San Diego Gas & Electric, Cintas Document Management and Iberdrola Renewables.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stunning Historic Photos of Air Pollution ]]> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 09:36:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/air-pollution-AP7004221649_7.jpg Click to see some fascinating images of air pollution throughout the US from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[1to1 Movement Raises Awareness on Sustainability]]> Sat, 25 Jan 2014 13:58:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/7ASSTUDIO125_1200x675_126575171720.jpg NBC 7's weekend morning anchors Megan Tevrizian and Greg Bledsoe speak to Amanda Tatum, of the 1-To-1 Movement, an organization working to raise awareness on sustainability. Tatum is joined by Patrick Henry High School students Marcy Rico and Paula Ledgerwood to talk about their efforts. To learn more, visit the 1-To-1 Movement website for more information]]> <![CDATA[Opponents Slam Proposed Plastic Bag Ban]]> Wed, 18 Dec 2013 18:01:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bag-Ban-Opposition-1218.jpg

Opponents of a proposed plastic bag ban gathered Wednesday to call on the San Diego City Council to abandon the plan to remove plastic bags from local stores.

Community leaders, including Mark Arabo, president of the Neighborhood Market Association, held a press conference in front of Rainbow Market on Federal Boulevard in which they called the proposed ban a “tax scam” that will negatively impact working-class San Diegans.

“This is a terrible plan. It’s terrible because the solution is worse than the so-called problem,” said Arabo. “It’s a classic case of politicians attempting to do something for the environment, in part to appease some environmental groups, without seeing the bigger picture.”

The proposed ban would remove plastic bags from stores while imposing a paper bag tax on customers. Shoppers would be charged 10 cents for each paper bag they might need at a store.

“This ban will have reaching ramifications. It’ll cost taxpayers – mothers, fathers and brothers – more money when they go shopping for groceries,” said Arabo.

Though the ban is designed to reduce waste and help the environment, Arabo argued that plastic bags only make up one-third of one percent of the waste stream.

On the other end of the plastic bag ban debate, Sherri Lightner, San Diego City Council President Pro Tem, District 1, supports the proposed ban.

According to Lightner, the ordinance would help reduce the approximately 123,000 tons of plastic bags that Californians throw out each year. She said that according to a report by the City’s Environmental Services Department, 500 million single-use plastic bags are distributed annually in San Diego, but only 3 percent of those bags are recycled while the rest end up as trash polluting local neighborhoods.

Lightner said the bag ban would save the city $160,000 per year in landfill costs and would prevent plastic bags from winding up in the ocean, streets, parks and storm drains.

But, again, not everyone agrees with the plan.

George D. McKinney, founding pastor of the St. Stephen’s Ministries, stood alongside Arabo Wednesday and also argued against it, saying the paper bag tax that comes with the ban is unfair to local, working-class residents.

“In essence, it’s a tax – a multi-million-dollar tax a year – on San Diegans,” said McKinney. “And with the cost of living on the rise, I can tell you the last thing we need today from government is something that will make life even more difficult for people, especially working families.”

The plastic bag ban proposal was passed by the City Council’s Rules and Economic Development Committee back in October. The ban is currently under economic review.

It could be up to one year before the proposal is back in the hands of the San Diego City Council for a final decision.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Poinsettias: How to Keep, Pronounce]]> Wed, 18 Dec 2013 10:24:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/poinsettia-generic-leaves-s.jpg

When you say poinsettia, you say San Diego.

For decades, the Ecke Family has produced most of the world’s supply of the festive plant from their ranch based in Carlsbad.

“It even started with Kate Sessions. She grew poinsettias on the hills in Mission Hills,” said horticulturist Lucy Warren with Friends of Balboa Park. “The ships would come in the hills and
they would see this beautiful bank of red on the hills.”

Sessions is known as the Mother of Balboa Park and her love for poinsettias can be seen this season in the Botanical Gardens.

San Diegans can see some of the new varieties of poinsettias at the 27th Annual Poinsettia Display. Holiday Special, Pink Poinsettia, County Quilt and Tapestry poinsettia plants are available for viewing now through New Year’s Day.

For those people who bought or received poinsettias as a gift this holiday, there is a way to keep the plant long after the holiday.

To keep the plant blooming, it’s important that you take the pot out of any foil lining in may have arrived in. Water the plant and let the water drain completely before putting it back in the foil. Keeping the plant from sitting in standing water will avoid the roots rotting.

Warren said if you want to keep the poinsettia blooming year to year, you’ll need to put the plant in complete darkness for at least 12 hours a day around October 1 to help stimulate the bloom in time for Christmas next year. You can use a room or a box to accomplish this.

As for how to pronounce the plant's name, Warren squashes any argument by saying emphatically "poin SET ee uh"

<![CDATA[No Plastic Water Bottles at Encinitas Events?]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2013 10:55:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/bottled+water5.jpg

City leaders in Encinitas will debate whether to stop distributing single-use, plastic water bottles at city-sponsored events.

The City Council will consider a proposed change in policy that would apply only to city-sponsored meetings.

This would not be a general citywide ban on plastic bottles.

It would also only apply to events at places where drinking water is available at public water fountains or other sources.





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<![CDATA[Greenpeace "Rainbow Warrior" Docks in San Francisco]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2013 21:34:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/11-11-2013-rainbow-warrior-greenpeace.jpg

The green team has arrived in port.

Environmental activists' ship has arrived in San Francisco, with the docking of Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

What critics lovingly call the "hippie ship" will be docked at Pier 15 along the city's Embarcadero waterfront until Nov. 19, according to the newspaper.

This Rainbow Warrior is the third vessel to bear the name -- the first was sunk by the French military in 1985 -- and literally sails the seven seas: 90 percent of the power it uses to "block... oil tankers" and perform other feats comes from the wind, the newspaper reported.

Right now, however, the most important battle is not for green, but for black-and-white, as in prison uniforms: the crew of the Rainbow Warrior's sister ship, the Arctic Sunrise, faces 15 years in jail in Russia for piracy. They await trial in Murmansk.

While in Northern California, Greenpeace members will pay a visit to a Stockton plant where palm oil is processed for distribution.

Photo Credit: Phil Walter/Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Balboa Park Goes Green(er)]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2013 17:33:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/BalboaParkBeauty.jpg

On Wednesday, officials announced plans to make Balboa Park more sustainable.

Officials say they want to make the park’s historic buildings more energy efficient. They are seeking "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,” or LEED, certifications.

Three buildings are already LEED certified: The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, the Natural History Museum and the WorldBeat Cultural Center. Officials plan to add seven more buildings to that list by 2015, bringing the total to 10.

Multiple organizations are part of the project, including the city, the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, the San Diego Green Building Council and San Diego Gas and Electric. Representatives from each were on hand for Wednesday’s announcement.

“The reality is projects like the ones we’re talking about today is really the legacy,” Interim Mayor Todd Gloria said. “People in 2115 are going to be grateful to us for what we have done.”

Besides sustainability, officials say seeking LEED certifications is also about saving money. So far, the program has saved Balboa Park $1 million in annual energy costs, according to Gloria’s office.

<![CDATA[New Rules for Cashing in Recyclables]]> Fri, 01 Nov 2013 16:18:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/recycling-generic-11014.jpg

For those San Diegans who collect cans and bottles in order to turn them in for recycling fees, there is a change in the works.

There are some new rules that could change the way people recycle.

Not all containers are the same when it comes to aluminum, plastic and glass and there's a new law that makes that very clear.

Some come with deposits ranging anywhere from 5 to 10 cents for the California Redemption Value or CRV.

The state of California will not allow the non-CRV containers to go with the CRV items.

“So you have to bring 100-percent CRV containers that are not broken and also properly labeled,” said San Diego Recycling Manager Ken Prue.

Shoppers pay a deposit or CRV at the cash register when we buy certain items. But not all glass, aluminum and plastic come with a deposit and shouldn't pay back a refund.

That could mean more work for some people who have to separate their items but it means the state won't have to pay money for things that never had a deposit in the first place.

There could be some collectors that do take CRV and non-CRV, say from a bar or something, that they may be discouraged,” said Prue. “But honestly, I think for the most part, for the average resident, I don’t think they’ll see a difference at all.”

Wine bottles are probably the most common item that’s not CRV in glass.

For those who use curbside recycling, the new rules don’t change anything, Prue said.

Residents don't currently get money back from the items put out in the blue bins at the curb.

Prue said only about 23 percent of San Diego homes and small businesses are good about recycling.

<![CDATA[iPad, Foot Massager Collected During Coastal Cleanup Day]]> Sat, 21 Sep 2013 17:01:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SDBayBird2.jpg

Thousands of volunteers gathered Saturday across different sites in San Diego for a massive annual outdoor cleanup event.

With trash bags in hand, approximately 7,500 volunteers simultaneously picked up litter at 102 designated cleanup sites across the county from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. as part of the 29th Annual Coastal Cleanup Day hosted by the “I Love a Clean San Diego” organization.

Organizers said the environmental event, aimed at battling coastal and inland pollution in San Diego, was expected to yield about 150,000 pounds of trash.

Over the course of the day, volunteers collected more than 75 tons of trash and recycling from coastal, inland and urban sites throughout the county -- from Bonsall and City Heights to Coronado and Mission Bay.

Organizers say some of the more unusual items removed during the cleanup event included an electric foot massager, a working iPad and iPod and a puppy.

One of the cleanup sites was a Gompers Park on Hilltop Drive. There, volunteers were joined by several San Diego leaders including Interim Mayor Todd Gloria, San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox and Councilmember Myrtle Cole.

Meanwhile, San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts joined volunteers at the San Dieguito Lagoon cleanup site, while Councilmember Lorie Zapf met volunteers at Mission Bay.

Councilmember Scott Sherman hosted the cleanup site at Fashion Valley and Councilmember Marti Emerald toured all sites within the City Heights area.

This year, organizers say volunteers cleaned more sites than ever -- 102, to be exact.

Coastal Cleanup Day is part of a statewide cleanup event across California that includes more than 60,000 volunteers from nearly every county in the state.

To learn more about Coastal Cleanup Day, click here. For details about I Love a Clean San Diego, visit this website.

Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>
<![CDATA[Lawmakers, Environmentalists Demand Plastic Bag Ban]]> Thu, 29 Aug 2013 14:10:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Plastic-Bag-Ban.jpg

A group of San Diego environmental advocates met at SeaWorld today to discuss a ban on single-use plastic bags.

The group of conservationists and business leaders said that there are multiple hazards by using plastic bags, and stressed the damage to wildlife can sometimes be deadly.

California lawmakers and local environmentalists want San Diego County to prohibit the typical plastic bags often used at grocery stores.

Currently Solana Beach is the only city in San Diego that has eliminated plastic bag use.

Representatives of local conservation groups said they are meeting with members of San Diego City Council to come up with a county-wide ban, but the discussions are still in the early stages.

“We know that plastic bags are one of the worst and most common forms of plastic pollution and one of the easiest to live without,” said Nathan Weaver with Environment California. “And that’s why over 80 California communities have already banned the use of single-use plastic bags… this is a policy that works very well.”

Proponents of the ban say it could be too expensive for businesses to make the switch, and that reusable bags can sometimes contain germs.

A Southern California plastic bag manufacturer told NBC 7 that they are working to make plastic bags more environmentally friendly.

<![CDATA[Solar Advocates Attack Proposed Energy Bill]]> Wed, 28 Aug 2013 16:18:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/San+Diego-20130828-00023.jpg

Solar advocates protested an assembly bill on Wednesday that could leave solar panel owners without a lower energy bill.

Assembly Bill 327 would authorize the California Public Utilities Commission to change the existing rate structure, that solar energy customers believe would increase their rate.

Protesters said they want the bill amended so it doesn't impact solar panel investments.

Sempra Energy said they need to revisit their rates because right now many of their large consumers are paying a bulk of the energy bill. Now the company is proposing to rewrite energy conservation measures implemented more than a decade ago.

In 2001, a bill was passed to protect California ratepayers from price fluctuations which capped rates for some consumers (including low income).

Because of this, the energy company said it has seen that their large energy consumers are paying more. They think it’s only fair to change their rate system--making more fixed charges.

Solar power advocates said the energy company has not been clear about what the new set of rates will be, but said it will put an end to net metering. This gives solar power owners full credit for the energy they produce with their panels and then put back into the energy grid.

The group against the bill says it won't make sense for solar panel owners anymore because they will be getting much less from their investment.

“These new rules change it so you don't get full retail credit. You might get some smaller version of what you would have otherwise got. That's problematic because people have put up thousands of dollars expecting a certain rate of return,” said Daniel Sullivan, president of Sullivan Solar Power.

The bill will have to be voted on by Friday in order to go to the California Senate floor.

Photo Credit: Elena Gomez]]>
<![CDATA[Are 'Green' Products Better?]]> Fri, 09 Aug 2013 20:49:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/4PFPKGGREENMARKETING0809_722x406_41472579735.jpg Walk into your neighborhood grocery or department store and you'll find many more green products than ever before. But choosing items that are better for the environment can come at a cost. NBC 7's Consumer Bob looks at how the green movement could impact you.]]> <![CDATA[Green Car Wash Sanitizes Without Soap]]> Mon, 05 Aug 2013 10:37:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/128401773.jpg A car wash in Arizona installed a water filtration tank allowing high levels of oxygen to sanitize the water they use to clean customers' cars — all without soap. An environmental engineer at Arizona State University is skeptical about the car wash's filtration system.]]> <![CDATA[Planned Lawsuit Claims PG&E Power Plant Threatens Butterflies]]> Fri, 26 Jul 2013 09:05:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/215*120/0725-butterfly.jpg

The staff at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge is preparing for butterfly season, but the butterfly that makes its home here is on the brink of extinction.

The Lange Metalmark Butterfly has gone from a peak of 2,300 in 1999 to just 86 butterflies last year.

The reason? Wildlife experts say too much nitrogen in the ground that kills the butterfly's host plant.

Conservationists say the source of the nitrogen is PG&E's nearby power plant. They've informed the Environmental Protection Agency they plan to sue it for allowing the plant to operate.

PG&E says the power plant is one of their cleanest burning plants, and they say they're doing their part to protect the butterflies.

Jodi Hernandez provides more details on the planned lawsuit in her video report above.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Energy for Sale: Is It Worth It?]]> Wed, 17 Jul 2013 10:58:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000003170932_722x406_37270083593.jpg Door-to-door salesmen, telephone calls and direct mail, all trying to sell you electricity or natural gas. The pitches promise to save you money. They are called alternative energy suppliers. There have been more than 1,000 consumer complaints about them to Maryland and D.C. authorities so far this year, and we've been receiving emails asking whether these companies are real and are the deals worth it. CLICK HERE for a list of legitimate suppliers.]]> <![CDATA[Locals Tour ‘Cool’ Green Home]]> Sun, 30 Jun 2013 15:32:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/greenhomescrippsranch.jpg

Proud homeowner Tony Beecher welcomed dozens of people to his energy-efficient home in Scripps Ranch on Saturday morning.

The open house was sponsored by the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE), an independent, nonprofit organization that accelerates the adoption of clean and efficient energy solutions via consumer education, market facilitation and policy innovation.

Beecher recently went “green” and decided to upgrade his home. He had air-sealing done in all of the walls and ceilings, and insulation work in the roof.

The home improvements were installed through the statewide in Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade initiative.

Beecher said one of his favorite perks is the installation of his new remote control high-efficiency pool equipment.

Although Beecher said he paid around $37,000 for all the energy-efficient upgrades in his house, he recommends people just “do the math” to figure out how much money they can save by going green.

“There are lots of rebates you can get back. I think we got $1,500 for the Chevy Volt. On the solar power we got a federal rebate of $11,000 in federal tax credits, which was really awesome,” he recalled.

He also mentioned his electricity bill has gone down significantly since he made the change.

“Before I was running $230 to $250 a month, and now I’m running $5 a month after putting the solar in,” he explained.

He said he has only turned on the air conditioner once since going green a year ago.

“With the solar I can use the air conditioning whenever I want because it does not cost me anything. I'm currently producing more electricity than I'm using," he explained.

“Now the house is sitting at a constant temperature. It doesn’t raise or lower like it did before. Our house just stays the same because it’s all sealed up,” said Beecher.

Beecher confirmed the upgrades will pay for themselves in about seven years.

On Saturday, visitors at the open house not only got the chance to meet with Beecher, they were also able to talk to people from the CCSE about energy efficiency and the advantages of making home energy improvements.

The CCSE Program Assistant, Michael Arvizu, said there’s a lot more to keeping a home cool than an air conditioning system.

“A lot of people are thinking that the air conditioner is running. It’s really air sealing and insulation that is the foundation of this program,” Arvizu explained.

Arvizu also talked to visitors about the cost of “going green.”

“I can say that our average project cost for an energy upgrade in California is between $9,000 and $12,000, with a $2,500 to $3,000 rebate,” he said.

For more details about green home upgrades, visit this website.

Photo Credit: Nbc 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Botanic Garden Bids Farewell to Iconic Bamboo]]> Thu, 11 Jul 2013 13:43:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GiantBamboo_0626.jpg

The San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas will say goodbye to an old foliaged friend Friday that has literally grown up at the garden over the past three decades.

According to representatives at the Botanic Garden, their prized giant timber bamboo – also known as the Dendrocalamus giganteus -- will be removed from the garden due to its poor health.

The giant timber bamboo – which, at more than 70-feet-tall with canes or culms up to eight-inches in diameter, lives up to its name – has seriously declined in health over the last few years.

It has started to seed, signaling the end of its natural life.

The bamboo came to the garden from the Taiwan Forestry Research Department via the American Bamboo Society in 1981. It grew up over the decades and, at one point, was the largest of its kind in the United States.

The specimen has been in good company over its lifetime at the San Diego Botanic Garden. The facility boasts the largest collection of bamboos in any U.S. botanic garden, with more than 100 species and varieties.

A crane is set to remove the giant timber bamboo from the Botanical Garden on Friday during a special farewell ceremony.

Photo Credit: Angela Venuti/San Diego Botanic Garden]]>
<![CDATA[1,000 Kids Form Beach Art ]]> Thu, 06 Jun 2013 14:14:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Beach-Cleanup-0606_5.jpg

A thousand elementary school students and volunteers gathered in Mission Bay, Thursday, for the 20th Annual Kids’ Ocean Day.

The 4-hour event organized by “I Love A Clean San Diego,” began at 8 a.m. with assemblies held by the organization in local schools to teach students about the importance of the ocean and how their actions affect it.

Hundreds of students, were taken to Crown Point Shores in Mission Bay Park where they helped clean the beaches of San Diego, picking up debris and trash to prevent it from harming local wildlife.

Among the schools that participated in the event were Nye Elementary, Foster Elementary, Balboa Elementary, Pacific Beach Elementary, Wegeforth Elementary, Porter Elementary, and Hickman Elementary.

Just after 11 a.m., a thousand kids and volunteers sat down in the sand for 30 minutes to be part of a once-in-a-lifetime living art formation depicting a child listening to a seashell. They want to send a message of sustainability to the community to "Listen" to the environment.

Organizers began setting up at 5 a.m. They said it took more than 5 hours to draw out the image in the sand, and another 30 minutes to get the kids into the image.

The aerial art is part of the Kids’ Ocean Day celebration. It’s done in a handful of coastal cities in California.

This year’s image was designed by "I Love A Clean San Diego" Environmental Educator, Monica Rosquillas.

"I Love A Clean San Diego" has been coordinating Kids Ocean Day, including the aerial art, for 20 years.

Learn more about local cleanups scheduled this weekend here and more about Kids' Ocean Day through the organization's website.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego ]]>
<![CDATA[James Cameron Receives Science Award]]> Fri, 31 May 2013 17:25:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/181*120/James-Cameron%5B2%5D.jpg

Filmmaker James Cameron came to San Diego to receive a prestigious award from the science community on Friday.

Cameron, 58, is this year’s recipient of the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography for his record-setting dive of 6.8 miles below the ocean surface in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench. He performed the dive in a one-man submarine and is the first solo diver to go submerge that depth.

The deep-sea equipment used in the dive has since been donated to Scripps, which collaborated with Cameron for the project.

The prize, which includes a bronze medal and $25,000, honors the memory of national science leader William A. Nierenberg, who served as director of Scripps for more than 20 years.

Cameron is donating the prize money to Scripps to kick-start operations of a new laboratory.

Photo Credit: FilmMagic]]>
<![CDATA[Local Company Developing Algae-Based Biofuel]]> Mon, 20 May 2013 07:28:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/240*120/975algae010109-full.jpg

La Jolla-based Synthetic Genomics Inc. has entered a new research agreement with ExxonMobil Corp., using genomics to develop strains of algae that can be used for biofuel.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The companies have partnered since 2009, researching ways to develop algae-based biofuels. The new agreement will focus on developing algae that reproduces quickly and can withstand living in challenging environments, ultimately leading to greater production of fuels, the companies said.

Synthetic Genomics said it continues to invest in large-scale cultivation facilities which will help the company longer term in the scale-up and commercialization of improved algal strains for food, chemicals and fuel.

The company has two facilities — a smaller scale research greenhouse and laboratory near the Synthetic Genomics campus in La Jolla, and a larger-scale development and commercial production facility in Imperial Valley. 

The Business Journal is the premier business publication in San Diego. Every day online and each Monday in print, the Business Journal reports on how local business operate and why businesses leaders make the decisions they do. Every story is a dose of insight into how to run a better, more efficient, more profitable business.

Photo Credit: Voiceofsandiego.org/Sam Hodgson]]>