<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Green News]]>Copyright 2017https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/green http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego https://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usFri, 24 Nov 2017 11:03:36 -0800Fri, 24 Nov 2017 11:03:36 -0800NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Upside Down Christmas Tree at Iconic Hotel Gets Mixed Reviews]]> Wed, 22 Nov 2017 16:33:33 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DR_CHRISTMAS_TREE_WEB_1200x675_1102157379514.jpg

NBC 7's Danielle Radin takes you to the Hotel Del Coronado where some are 'flipping out' over an upside down Christmas tree in the lobby. 

<![CDATA[Upside Down Christmas Tree at Iconic Hotel Gets Mixed Reviews ]]> Wed, 22 Nov 2017 20:20:41 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/212*120/HOTELDELCHRISTMASTREE.PNG

Anyone who walks into the Hotel Del Coronado this season might have to do a double take at the upside down Christmas tree in the lobby. 

"This year we're taking a whimsical approach to Christmas," said Whitney Taylor, catering sales manager for the Hotel Del Coronado. "We want people to have fun!" 

Dozens of guests poured in and out of the hotel on Thanksgiving Eve, many eager to hit the beach with temperatures in the mid-90's. 

“The tree is absolutely gorgeous,” said Terry Nuzzolo, visiting the hotel from Boston. “It’s upside down of course and there’s lots of colors and those colors are reflected all throughout the lobby.” 

But some on social media said the upside down tree is disrepectful to traditional Christmas values. 

"I was very surprised when I saw it," said Kathy Parker, a hotel guest. "In a traditional, old hotel like this, a traditional tree would be keeping with the hotel." 

This is not the first time the Hotel Del Coronado has tried something new for Christmas. On the lawn of the hotel, you can see the world's first outdoor tree that was electrically-lighted for Christmas. That happened in 1904. 

<![CDATA[Donation Ensures Free Zoo Entry For Active Duty Military Forever]]> Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:02:16 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ZOO_SAFARI_PARK_NEW_CHEETAH_CUB_1200x675_1098596419944.jpg

Thanks to a generous donation, the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park in Escondido will be able to admit active duty military members for free indefinitely. 

Philanthropists Jim and Dianne Bashor of La Jolla, donated an undisclosed amount of money to two military programs with the zoo. 

The Patriot Fund allows active duty military to get into the zoo and Safari Park free when they show their military ID.

While entrance into the zoo and Safari Park have always been free to active duty military, representatives with the zoo said the donation ensures they will be able to financially provide this service in the future. 

The Bashors also donated to the Global Wild Heroes Program. This allows free access into both parks for active military as well as veterans who have been wounded, and are part of the Naval Medical Center of San Diego. 

These veterans also receive free animal therapy with some of the zoo animals and families can get free child care and dinner at the zoo for date nights. 

The zoo named a bridge after the Bashors after the donation. 

Military members might enjoy seeing the newest addition to the San Diego Zoo, a baby hippo named Tony. At the Safari Park, there is a new cheetah cub that weighs only four pounds. 

<![CDATA[Marijuana Safety Summit Held in San Diego]]> Tue, 07 Nov 2017 17:39:53 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/CLIP-marijuana_DR_1200x675_1090826307520.jpg

Experts and advocates for safe cannabis consumption came out to speak. One of the speakers was Corinne Gasper of Ohio, who lost her 22-year-old daughter, Jennifer, in a car crash in 2012. 

<![CDATA[Marijuana Safety Summit Held in San Diego ]]> Tue, 07 Nov 2017 17:43:03 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/248*120/marijuanbaalsd.PNG

A summit advocating for safe marijuana use was held at Catamaran Resort Hotel in San Diego Tuesday.

Experts and advocates for safe cannabis consumption came out to speak. One of the speakers was Corinne Gasper of Ohio, who lost her 22-year-old daughter, Jennifer, in a car crash in 2012.

“She was on her way to work going through a green light. A man came racing through the red light going 82 miles per hour,” recalled Gasper. “He slammed into the side of my daughter. My daughter was pronounced dead at the scene. The man was high on medical marijuana.”

Gasper said Jennifer had just graduated college and was looking forward to a career in intelligence analysis.

“People think marijuana is a victimless crime,” said Gasper. “I’m here to tell you there are victims. There’s many of them out there and my daughter is one of them.”

The summit also promoted a new website bringing attention to the dangers of driving while under the influence of cannabis. The website, HIGHmeansDUI.org, displays news articles of car crashes caused by drivers high on pot.

Some argue that marijuana does not noticeably impact a driver's ability behind the wheel. 

A study conducted by R. Andrew Sewell, MD, and published in 2009 states, “Laboratory tests and driving studies show that cannabis may acutely impair several driving-related skills in a dose-related fashion, but that the effects between individuals vary more than they do with alcohol because of tolerance, differences in smoking technique, and different absorptions of THC.”

“The problem with marijuana is you have no insight that you’re impaired,” said Dr. Roneet Lev, Chief of the emergency room unit at Scripps Hospital. “You think you’re fine, you’re feeling fine. And then you get behind the wheel and potentially kill multiple people.”

Dr. Lev added she sees patients daily in the emergency room that are there because of marijuana poisoning and panic attacks due to cannabis. 

<![CDATA[Imperial Beach Mayor Calls For Federal Investigation After Tijuana Sewage Spill]]> Thu, 02 Nov 2017 07:01:26 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/IB_Mayor_on_Sewage_Spill_1200x675_1014979139772.jpg

The mayor of Imperial Beach, Serge Dedina, and other city leaders are calling for a federal investigation after they say sewage spilled from Mexico into U.S. waters, sickening surfers. 

Dedina said Wednesday he was one of the surfers that became ill after the sewage spill. 

“We are protesting the fact that our federal government and state agencies in Tijuana have let us down,” said Dedina. 

The event in question happened October 26 when pollution from Playas de Tijuana was present, evidenced by a strong odor, on the beachfront along the border. 

“You could see it in the water and you could taste it,” said Zach Plopper, who became ill after surfing that day. 

Dedina said authorities in Baja California have covered up the pollution and deny that a spill happened. 

Dedina is calling for real-time information on sewage spills from Mexican federal authorities.  

"We are asking for State Department investigation into this sewage spill that significantly impacted public health in Imperial Beach,” said Dedina. “Like the massive February spill, it appears that authorities in Baja California who run the sewage agency, CESPT, are more concerned with covering up pollution than protecting public health." 

San Diego, Coronado and Chula Vista have joined Imperial Beach in a federal lawsuit regarding the February 2017 spill. A report indicated an estimated 28 to 256 million gallons of raw sewage gushed into the Tijuana River.

A claim was filed In August against the International Boundary and Water Commission because of the sewage spills from Mexico.

<![CDATA[San Diego To Offer Up To $17,000 Rebate To Replace Lawns ]]> Thu, 12 Oct 2017 15:40:21 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*160/1505960997-On-The-Money-Kids-ID-Theft.jpg

The City of San Diego is offering a lawn rebate, $4,250 for residential owners and $17,000 for commercial owners to replace their grass, in an effort to encourage water conservation. 

The City's Public Utilities Department water customers can receive a rebate by removing their water-thirsty grass and installing water-wise material and efficient irrigation systems. 

"This rebate will allow customers to become empowered in their efforts to save money on their water bills," said Halla Razak, Director of Public Utilities. 

Applications will be accepted through Oct. 23, 2017. There are limited funds for the rebate, so applications received within the application submission period will be selected through a lottery process until the funding runs out. 

Grass lawns are estimated to use up to 44 gallons of water per sq. ft. per year. Water-wise landscapes can use 70 percent less water, the city said. 

To apply, click here. 

Customers can also call 619-533-7485 for more information. 

<![CDATA[RARE SIGHT: 10 Whales Greet San Diego Tour Boat]]> Tue, 10 Oct 2017 10:45:05 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/216*120/whale303470.PNG

A group of people in the Pacific Ocean on a whale watching tour in San Diego were thrilled to see 10 killer whales come up to their boat to greet them.

“This was a really curious group of animals,” said Captain Russell Moore, who has been leading tours through his business, Xplore Offshore, for nearly 15 years. “We were all blown away. You cannot help but be blown away. These animals are as long as my vessel.”

Moore said the group saw the whales in open water Thursday morning about five miles from the shore of Mission Beach.

“They are such a lovely, powerful species, they affect you,” he said.

Experts say it’s rare for a group of orcas to come so far south during this time of year.

Moore is urging people who see whales swimming to proceed with caution, and let them be in their natural habitats.

“Ecotourism is the number one threat to marine mammals these days,” said Moore. “Think about that, whale lovers are threatening whales now.”

Moore urges anyone who goes out whale watching, dolphin sighting or boating to keep a distance from the sea creatures. Do not swim towards them. Let them approach you and be calm and quiet when they come close so they are not startled.

<![CDATA[City Council Legalizes Marijuana Cultivation, Manufacturing ]]> Tue, 12 Sep 2017 04:44:50 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Marijuana+Delivery.jpg

The San Diego City Council came to a decision Monday on whether marijuana cultivation, distribution, manufacturing and testing businesses should be allowed within city limits. 

The council voted 6-3 to approve a regulatory framework for marijuana production facilities, which will be capped at 40 businesses. Councilmembers Zapf, Cate and Sherman were the dissenting votes. 

A rally was held before the meeting with advocates for these types of businesses demanding regulations that are fair, create a supply chain and serve the needs of pot users. 

Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman at first asked the council for a total ban on marijuana businesses. 

"With the legal dispensaries we have now there have been over 270 calls to service," said Chief Zimmerman at the council meeting. 

She has since expressed support for testing facilities within city limits. 

Cannabis companies depend on testing to determine how much THC is in their products. They can also test for pesticides and harmful chemicals in pot. 

Dozens of people spoke for and against the two options that the city had to decide between. 

Option 1 creates a new land use with testing labs.

Option 2 creates two new uses, testing labs and marijuana production facilities, which includes agricultural raising, harvesting, and processing of marijuana, wholesale distributing and storing of pot and marijuana products and producing from cannabis and cannabis products. 

Under the current industrial zone requirements of the city, these businesses would have to be 1,000 feet from parks, day cares, libraries, schools, and churches.

Advocates for pot delivery services were also at the rally Monday asking the city council to revisit permits for these types of businesses. Right now, hundreds might have to shut their doors.

“I can’t believe [pro-marijuana use] is the message we’re sending to our kids,” said Councilmember Lori Zapf in an impassioned speech during the meeting, where she was booed and interrupted until multiple meeting-goers had to be forcibly removed. “I just won’t have any part of it.”

"It's very important to me to provide members of the community with a safe product," said Councilmember Barbara Bry. "I look forward to broad participation from the community as we move forward in regulating this industry.

<![CDATA[Local Woman Shocked to Find Puppy with Chemical Burns from Backyard Plant]]> Fri, 18 Aug 2017 19:31:46 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/164*120/remi.PNG

Amy Kat of Paradise Hills was stunned when she came home to find her one-year-old great Dane-mix, Remi, injured and her maltipoo, Koopa, sick.

"I noticed Remi had sap on his fur, when I wiped it off his skin rolled off with it," Kat recalled. "My little one, Koopa, was laying on the ground with four piles of vomit around him. He was unresponsive."

Terrified, Kat said she drove both her dogs to an emergency pet service in Chula Vista. The vet told her the dogs were sick from one of her backyard succulents, known as a pencil cactus.

The pencil cactus, or Euphorbia tirucalli, is toxic to humans, dogs, and cats worldwide and can cause serious intestinal and skin injury, according to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Some people refer to the plants as "sticks of fire." They can be small enough to fit in a container or tree-sized.

“This plant's white milky sap is toxic to pets and humans. If sap makes contact with the skin, a painful rash develops at the point of contact. If the sap gets in the eyes, it can cause temporary blindness,” stated Laura Eubanks, a succulent expert in San Diego.

Remi was chemically burned on 30 percent of his body by the pencil cactus, according to Kat. Her other dog, Koopa, ingested part of the plant, which is why he was vomiting.

Kat said both of her dogs are now doing better two weeks later and seem to be in good health. Remi is still on medication.

"They have such an unbreakable spirit," said Kat.

Kat is urging others to check for the plant in their backyards. She said she recently moved into her home, and the plants were put there by the previous homeowner.

"I checked for typical pointy plants and things that might hurt them, but I had no idea that pencil cactus could make them sick," said Kat. "I almost lost both my boys in one night."

If the plant is ingested, some signs to look out for are stomach pain, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.

Kat created a GoFundMe page to help raise money to pay for her dogs’ veterinary bills and medicine.

<![CDATA[Local Woman Shocked to Find Puppy with Chemical Burns from Backyard Plant]]> Fri, 18 Aug 2017 17:57:57 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/dr_pencil_cactus_1200x675_1027990595945.jpg

 NBC 7's Danielle Radin talks to the owner of two dogs who nearly died after being near a common backyard succulent known as a pencil cactus. It can be harmful to both pets and humans. 

<![CDATA[Holy Guacamole! Price of Avocados Rising]]> Wed, 16 Aug 2017 16:57:55 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/dr_avocados_1200x675_1026257987856.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Holy Guacamole! Price of Avocados Rising ]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 05:26:57 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tlmd-aguacate-mexicano-GettyImages-4.jpg

The price of avocados has gone up in recent months and is expected to continue to rise, according to produce distributors.

Erik Larson with the San Diego Farm Bureau said it has to do with environmental factors in both California and Mexico, where many avocados are imported to the United States.

According to produce distribution site, Produce Express, San Diego County is considered the avocado capital of the United States, producing 60 percent of the nation's crop.

"We're getting into the part of the season where a majority of the avocados are coming from Mexico," said Larson. "Mexico had a low bearing year and there was low production in California this year as well."

Larson added that last year avocado production in California suffered due to severe heat and the drought.

Meanwhile, the demand for avocados is higher than ever. Millennials have made avocado toast a popular staple that is now sold in most coffee shops around the country.

In fact, Time Magazine recently said the new Millennial catchphrase is 'Hold my avocado.'

"The price of avocados wholesale is normally 40 to 50 cents apiece for this time of year," said Larson.

According to Produce Express, the price of avocados now is about $1.33 apiece. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sea World Could Be Getting A New Roller Coaster]]> Wed, 09 Aug 2017 16:46:59 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/dr_seaworld_2_1200x675_1021146691564.jpg NBC 7's Danielle Radin shows plans for a new 150 ft. tall roller coaster at Sea World in San Diego. The California Coastal Commission discussing the impacts of the potential new attraction at their meeting Wednesday.]]> <![CDATA[SeaWorld San Diego Gets OK for New Roller Coaster]]> Thu, 10 Aug 2017 07:03:28 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Electric-Eel-SeaWorld-San-Diego.jpg

SeaWorld San Diego said it will begin building a new roller coaster immediately after the plans were approved Wednesday by the California Coastal Commission.

"Electric Eel, featuring astounding loops, twists and airtime, will bring a whole new level of excitement to SeaWorld," SeaWorld San Diego spokesperson David Koontz said.

The park asked the commission to approve the construction of a 150-foot tall roller coaster.

The amusement park's largest attraction "will offer park guests the only upside-down view of Mission Bay," Koontz said.

SeaWorld San Diego will use 1.2 acres of land in the park to construct the ride and a station for lockers. The proposal also called for the construction of an educational building where live electric eels will be housed in aquatic tanks.

There were some concerns regarding view and public access, according to the Coastal Commission. However, the board approved the permit unanimously. 

Because of its height, the roller coaster will be highly visible from many parts of Mission Bay Park. However, proposals for the project indicate the structure would not block any ocean views.

The ride will utilize a sky-like color scheme so that it blends in with natural surroundings.

An initial study of potential traffic impacts in the area found that there would not be a substantial increase in traffic in the area due to the new roller coaster, according to a report by the Coastal Commission. The report goes on to say that the roller coaster is expected to attract a lot more visitors to SeaWorld San Diego each year.

According to an initial report by the Coastal Commission, "Noise associated with construction activities or other operations has the potential to adversely impact marine mammals in the area."

But the roller coaster was given the green light by the commission.

The construction of the roller coaster and accompanying facilities is expected to take nine months.

SeaWorld San Diego has its own waste water treatment plan that the proposal says will not be affected by the roller coaster. Therefore, the study goes on to say it is not expected the structure would have an impact on the water quality in the area.

The second project up for approval at the California Coastal Commission meeting Wednesday was the possible construction of new public bathrooms in Coronado.

The project would be located west of the Avenida del Sol cul-de-sac, which runs between the Coronado Shores Condominiums and the Hotel del Coronado.

The site currently offers free public parkways and a public walkway to the beach.

The project would build a 235-square foot public restroom facility with three stalls, storage s, ace and showers that would take up about 1,000-square feet of the plaza area.

The project would also remove and replace an existing beach access stairway and add a new accessible ramp leading from the sidewalk to the new plaza.

The staff recommendation for the project is a denial.

In a staff report, the Coastal Commission acknowledged public restrooms are important, but added, "this particular project, both as a result of its design and location, would result in a significant obstruction of views, impact shoreline sand supply, and require construction of a shoreline protection device."

The restrooms also call for the construction of a seawall incorporated into the seaward portion of the development. A staff report found that the bathrooms do not have to be on the beach, and so a seawall would be unnecessary to construct.

Those for the project say it would bring bathrooms open to the public to an area of the beach that needs it.

In a staff report, it was requested that an alternative of temporary public restrooms be installed instead. 

Photo Credit: SeaWorld San Diego/Coastal Commission Exhibit]]>
<![CDATA[Would You Put Cannabis in Your Coffee? ]]> Fri, 04 Aug 2017 18:06:36 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/BrewBudz-080417.jpg

A San Diego-based company wants to add a buzz to your morning cup of coffee.

BrewBudz are K-cups that can be put into a coffee Keurig and made into marijuana-infused coffee.

BrewBudz also makes tea, both with caffeine and an herbal tea for bedtime.

"A lot of people are under the impression that cannabis is a downer, and that is only 50 percent true," said Kevin Love, director of strategic accounts for U.S. Coffee, helping to launch BrewBudz. "There's different strains of the plant.

The product raises economic questions on what kind of niche San Diego will carve out once recreational marijuana is fully legal in California come January 2018.

There have been concerns from the San Diego Police Department that with the release of new recreational marijuana products, new safety concerns will come up. For instance, officers fear people will be more inclined to smoke marijuana before getting behind the wheel of a car or before going to work.

"You wouldn't drink alcohol before work and that is legal," said Love. "There is a stigma with marijuana. Putting it in a coffee or tea removes the stigma of something that is actually medicinal and normalizes it."

BrewBudz will be available in local dispensaries within 60 to 90 days, Love added.

<![CDATA[Polar Bears Get Snow Donations]]> Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:13:52 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DIT+POLAR+BEARS+GET+SNOW+THUMB.jpg

High temperatures at a Finland Wildlife Center were making life uncomfortable for a family of polar bears. However, the child of an employee at a local ski resort had an idea on how to cool them off: the resort could donate excess snow they had saved up from last winter. After some initial hesitation, the bear family seemed much happier with the new addition to their pen.

<![CDATA[Last Orca Born in Captivity Dies]]> Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:18:23 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DIT+SEAWORLD+DEATH+THUMB.jpg

The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld’s former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company’s San Antonio park. Veterinarians were treating the calf for an infection, possibly pneumonia, but her health continued to decline. The park discontinued its breeding program in March 2016.

<![CDATA[Hurricane Surf Expected to Bring Big Waves to San Diego]]> Mon, 10 Jul 2017 17:01:00 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/10_Foot_Surf_Possible_This_Week.jpg

Hurricane Eugene, off the southern coast of Baja California, is causing big waves and rip currents in San Diego thanks to a phenomenon called hurricane surf.

Large waves from five to eight feet and some as big as ten feet will hit south-facing beaches in northern San Diego on Tuesday and into Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

The biggest waves can be expected in Oceanside and Camp Pendleton.

According to meteorologists with the NWS, strong winds from the hurricane have caused bigger swells in southern California. Parts of Orange County, like San Clemente, will also see bigger waves.

Experts warn that it is important to swim near lifeguards, as rip currents can unexpectedly pull swimmers out to sea during hurricane surf.

<![CDATA[New Bikeway to Mission Valley Opening Soon]]> Fri, 07 Jul 2017 15:35:01 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/web_dr_bikeway_1200x675_986398275628.jpg NBC 7's Danielle Radin speaks with bicyclists and drivers about a new bikeway that will go along Highway 15, connecting Kensington to Mission Valley. ]]> <![CDATA[New Bikeway to Mission Valley Set To Open ]]> Fri, 07 Jul 2017 15:57:01 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/241*120/bikeway13.PNG

A new bikeway is set to open connecting Mission Valley to Kensington.

The path will start at Adams Avenue in Kensington near Normal Heights. Then it will follow Highway 15 on the northbound side, ending at Camino Del Rio South in Mission Valley.

Bicyclists in San Diego are applauding the new paved path as one of the only bicycle-safe routes to Mission Valley.

“Getting into Mission Valley [on a bicycle] is more of a struggle than people think sometimes," said Kevin Baross, a bicyclist and resident of San Diego. "When you’re in a car, you don’t notice the hills."

The path will be 12 feet wide in most places and 18 feet wide in others.

But some drivers said Friday more bicyclists in the area could mean the potential for more collisions.

“It’s always on the vehicle driver to make sure everyone’s safe," said Patrick Cremeens, a driver and resident of San Diego. "Some of those bikers don’t feel like they have that obligation.”

The project costs about $15.6 million.

Caltrans said the bike path will be fully opened in early September.

( ) ( ) ( ) <![CDATA[Why Are Hundreds of Baby Clams Washing Ashore? ]]> Thu, 06 Jul 2017 17:08:24 -0800

Beach goers at Silver Strand State Beach near Coronado said Thursday they have noticed hundreds of baby clams along the coastline.

“It’s your usual hard clam but then they have fuzz at the end," said San Diego resident, Pete Vaillant. He added he has seen a lot this year but does not remember seeing any last year.

Lifeguards said they are called Pismo Clams. They have small, smooth, yellow-tinted shells with green moss-like fur, which helps them catch their food.

Lifeguards in the area said Silver Strand State Beach is a perfect habitat for the clams.

"July starts their mating and spawning season, so that's why people are seeing more," said John Anderson, lead lifeguard at Silver Strand State Beach.

Anderson added it is illegal to take any baby Pismo Clams off the beach, in an effort to conserve their population. Anyone caught taking them can face a citation.

<![CDATA[Why Are Hundreds of Baby Clams Washing Ashore?]]> Thu, 06 Jul 2017 16:58:18 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/dr_coronado_clams_web_1200x675_985416771690.jpg NBC 7's Danielle Radin investigates why hundreds of baby clams have been discovered lately along the coastline near Coronado. ]]> <![CDATA[Longtime La Mesa Golf Course Closing Thursday]]> Tue, 20 Jun 2017 15:53:12 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/PaulBurke6.jpg NBC 7's Danielle Radin spoke with golfers who are heartbroken that the Sun Valley Golf Course is being turned into a public park.

Photo Credit: Daniel Burke]]>
<![CDATA[Longtime La Mesa Golf Course Closing Thursday ]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 08:49:29 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/golfing8962.PNG

On June 22nd, the Sun Valley Golf Course in La Mesa will close all golf operations permanently. It will instead be converted into a public park by the city.

The City of La Mesa first entered into a fifteen year lease agreement with Sun Valley Golf, LLC in 1997, to operate a nine-hole golf course in MacArthur Park.

Later on, disc golf was added to the facility and most recently foot golf, in an effort to expand participation and increase revenue at Sun Valley.  

"They've been struggling financially and golf is a difficult venture right now," said Susan Richardson, community services director for the City of La Mesa.

Richardson added the course has been struggling financially since 2011.

In October 2016, the operators of the golf course requested early termination of the lease and have been on a month to month agreement since March 2017. Golf operations will end Thursday.

Richardson said the new park will have jogging and walking trails. It will open towards the end of July.

The city has $50,000 from a general fund that will go towards filling the golf course holes, landscaping and making the park ready for the public, according to Richardson.

She added after that, the city will hold public meetings in August to ask citizens what amenities they will want at the park, such as outdoor fitness equipment, gardens or an area for a dog park.

Golfers who have been going to the course for decades are upset it is closing.

"Yeah, it will be sad. It will be. I've been feeling it for the last three weeks coming here to play every day," said Robert Reid, who has been golfing at the course for over 33 years.

Richardson said they are hoping that making the land a park will attract more people to it. 

"We are short on park land in La Mesa for the citizens, so it was the perfect opportunity," said Richardson.

<![CDATA[Local Veterans Could Receive Free Marijuana]]> Thu, 15 Jun 2017 16:21:24 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/web_weed_for_warriors_DR_1200x675_968621635617.jpg NBC 7's Danielle Radin talked to the founder of Weed for Warriors, a nonprofit that wants to help veterans suffering from PTSD and other medical conditions, by offering free medical marijuana for those eligible. ]]> <![CDATA[Local Veterans Could Receive Free Medical Marijuana ]]> Thu, 15 Jun 2017 19:39:42 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/WEB_Marijuana_Maroney.jpg

Dozens of veterans gathered at Torrey Holistics Thursday, a medical marijuana collective in San Diego, to buy cannabis, with profits going towards the 'Weed For Warriors Project'.

The Weed for Warriors Project provides medical marijuana information to veterans who struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other medical conditions. They strive to deliver free medical marijuana to vets who need it.

"I never dealt with my experiences with PTSD. They didn’t talk about that in the military when I got out," said Sean Kiernan, founder of Weed for Warriors. "I started to go off the rails, just to be honest with you. I hit rock bottom and had a suicide attempt.”

Kiernan said medical marijuana helped him to get back on his feet. He started the nonprofit to help other veterans discover the benefits of medical cannabis.

“Cannabis allows you to calm down immediately, go out and get reintegrated into the social environment, which is one of the big healing processes.”

The Veterans Benefit Project event is going on at Torrey Holistics on Roselle Street in San Diego until July 4th. Veterans with proof of service and a medical recommendation may be eligible to receive free medical marijuana samples.

<![CDATA[Macron Targets 'Make Our Planet Great Again' Site at US]]> Fri, 09 Jun 2017 16:18:13 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-683370816-Macron.jpg

In the wake of the United States' withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, French President Emmanuel Macron fired back on Thursday with the launch of a new website titled "Make Our Planet Great Again."

On the site’s homepage, Macron calls President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the agreement "unfortunate" but adds that the decision “only reinforced our determination.” He calls for those working on climate issues to do so in France. 

"To all the scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, responsible citizens who were disappointed by the decision of the President of the United States, I want to say that they will find in France a second homeland," Macron said in a video address on the site’s homepage. "I call on them, come and work here with us to work on concrete solutions for our climate, our environment."

The site includes information for researchers, educators and students on applying for a four-year grant to study in France, according to Business Insider. Businesses and NGOs can also apply to receive funding from the French government.

"You will be able to stay in France at least for the duration of the grant, and longer if you are granted a permanent position," the site explains.

The site cost €22,000 (approximately $24,637) to build is produced and managed by Business France, according to Politico.eu.

By clicking on the "I Want to Make Our Planet Great Again" button on the homepage of the website, users can describe why they are fighting climate change. They can also detail current projects and "dreams" of carrying out the fight against climate change.

"The planet needs your innovative skills. So are you IN to change (literally!) our daily lives and make our planet great again?" the site reads.

The title, a play on President Trump's signature campaign slogan "Make America Great Again," reflects the increased efforts to combat climate change by France and other signatories of the Paris agreement. Macron first used the modified slogan in an address from the Elysée Palace on June 1, after Trump announced the withdrawal.

You can visit the Make Our Planet Great Again site by clicking here.

Photo Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Would You Wear Shoes Made of Algae?]]> Thu, 01 Jun 2017 15:30:32 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/web_shoes_made_of_algae_1200x675_958248515746.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Algae Shoes: How One Local Company Is Saving The Environment Through Footwear ]]> Fri, 02 Jun 2017 09:13:57 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Coralline+Algae.jpg

Would you wear algae on your feet? One local company is hoping you do for the sake of the environment.

Bloom Holdings is the creator of Bloom FOAM, a wearable foam converted from toxic algae blooms in fresh water. The Solana Beach-based company said Thursday their products are a solution to algae that takes over water in California and kills marine life.

“All of our local reservoirs, at one time or another, have algae blooms that have been serious problems for them," said Rob Falken, managing director of Bloom Holdings. "We make algae functional. For most shoes we average about twenty to twenty-five percent algae content.”

Falken added they are currently the only company in the world doing this.

Through a partnership with Vivo Barefoot, they are making shoes that look similar to crocs and cleaning the water at the same time.

The process vacuums pond scum out of a lake, dries it, pulverizes it into a powder, which is turned into plastic and then foam. This foam can be made into products for surf boards, furniture or anything else that requires flexible foam.

The process returns dozens of gallons of clean water to lakes and removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for each pair of shoes created.

Falken added it is possible to do this process with ocean water as well, which they plan to do in the future.

"The goal is to be cleaning water ways on a global scale," said Falken.

<![CDATA[Build It Green: TreeHouse to Open World's 1st Net-Zero Energy Store]]> Thu, 01 Jun 2017 06:52:56 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/treehouse-store.jpg

Home improvement has long been synonymous with Home Depot and Lowe's. But a Texas-based green conscience start-up is aiming to make sustainable home improvement appeal to more than just environmentalists.

TreeHouse will open the world's first energy-positive home improvement store in Dallas Friday. Through the use of 539 rooftop solar panels and two Tesla Powerwalls the store will actually generate energy well in excess of its needs.

“This store runs on 100 percent sunshine,” Treehouse's Ben Kusin said, adding that the excess renewable energy that the store generates will be put back onto the power grid and made available for others to use.

The company is the first retailer authorized to sell Tesla's home energy storage battery.

"A home battery could make energy bills an archaic relic of a past system," said TreeHouse co-founder and CEO Jason Ballard, speaking at Tesla’s energy storage event in California. "You can now own your own production and storage of the energy you need. This takes us one step closer to completely powering homes without fossil fuels."

The store will be the retailer’s second location. It's flagship store opened in Austin in 2011. An additional store, planned for the Plano area, is due to open this fall. Dubbed the Whole Foods of home improvement, TreeHouse's expansion highlights a demand for eco-friendly products and a desire to reduce carbon footprint. 

Yet, President Donald Trump is expected to announce Thursday whether the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change. White House sources tell NBC News that the president is leaning toward an exit. 

The 2015 agreement, which is not a binding treaty, was spurred by the overwhelming global scientific consensus that rising global temperatures over the last several decades are caused by man-made activity. The accord's goal is aimed at preventing the planet from warming by more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), which scientists warn could have damaging consequences.

The agreement calls on countries to make voluntary national pledges to reduce emissions. Despite Trump's decision, businesses like TreeHouse will forge ahead with eco-friendly alternatives.

"The home consumes the highest amount of our natural resources, such as water and energy, produces the largest amount of landfill waste, and is where we will be exposed to the greatest number of toxins in our lifetime," the company said. "By working to solve these problems, TreeHouse finds new routes to dramatically change the quality of our lives. We can build better shelters for ourselves, our communities, and our planet."

TreeHouse offers a carefully curated selection of products and services that promote healthful and sustainable living spaces, with an emphasis on performance and design. Every product is scored based on health, performance, corporate responsibility and sustainability.

“TreeHouse is reinventing home improvement with the twin goals of ecological and human health,” the company explains on its web site. “Our core principles are applied to everything in the store. From thoughtful and innovative products to comprehensive, high-quality services -- every element is designed to build a better home.”

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[After Viral Video, Experts Say Don't Feed Sea Lions ]]> Mon, 22 May 2017 17:20:59 -0800 https://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 16:58:28 -0800 https://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 22:42:55 -0800 https://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 10:56:51 -0800 https://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 22:37:42 -0800 https://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 17:00:25 -0800 https://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 17:26:04 -0800 https://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.


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<![CDATA[Badlands National Park's Climate Change Tweets Deleted]]> Tue, 24 Jan 2017 18:04:07 -0800 https://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 12:49:04 -0800 https://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 07:53:13 -0800 https://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 09:05:26 -0800 https://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 12:55:39 -0800 https://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 10:54:06 -0800 https://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 16:04:11 -0800 https://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]]>