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Monitor Notes: Electric Homes, Butterflies, Stormwater, Retirement

Welcome to Monitor Notes, a weekly roundup of news items, event announcements, and updates on past Bay Area Monitor articles.


Come into Power

Curious about the growing push toward all-electric, gas-free homes? Become empowered with a February 11 discussion hosted by the Bay Area chapter of the Climate Reality Project. Sierra Club speakers Rachel Golden (pictured) and Matthew Gough will discuss the shift away from natural gas and its impact on California’s climate change goals. Currently, gas used in residential and commercial buildings is responsible for at least 17 percent of the state’s climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions. Several efforts are underway to encourage electric. The state’s public utilities commission initiated new rulemaking this month to manage the transition to electric and address issues about “stranded assets and unfair costs shifts” for consumers. That’s in addition to moves at the local level. Berkeley and San Francisco are among cities banning natural gas in new buildings. Will a ban be in your community soon? Attend 6 to 9 p.m. event and learn more about electrification. Buy $7.50 tickets here.


Threatening the Monarch’s Reign

The monarch butterfly population is critically low in California for the second year. That’s according to a Xerces Society study putting the monarch count at 29,418 butterflies, which is little changed from the prior year, but down significantly from the 4.5 million recorded in the 1980s. The decline is due to loss of habitat, including the destruction of California overwintering sites and the loss of both milkweed for caterpillars and flowering resources to support migration. Climate change and pesticide use also are to blame. Emma Pelton, the Xerces Society’s Western Monarch Lead, said in a press release the team is “disappointed by the numbers” but also highlighted “there are still thousands of monarchs overwintering along the coast, so we can take heart that it’s not too late to act.” For example, gardeners can plant climate-smart habitat for pollinators and stop using pesticides. Learn more ways to help.


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Swish Around Stormwater

The East Bay Municipal Utility District is hosting a green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) presentation Monday, February 3 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at its administrative building in Oakland. Rain gardens, bioretention areas, stormwater planters, and green roofs all fall under the GSI bucket. They provide benefits to the landscape like flood and erosion control and cleaner water. The presentation will cover topics such as state and local regulations, and steps to design, install, and keep up a GSI system. Also on the agenda is an update on the San Pablo Avenue Green Stormwater Spine Project, which aims to stop polluted water from draining into San Francisco Bay. Register here.


Retirement Planning

Head to SPUR’s San Jose office on Thursday, February 6 at 12:30 p.m. for a discussion about “Preparing for an Aging Silicon Valley.” A number of older adults, especially those near retirement, call Silicon Valley home. This impending wave of new retirees is expected to affect the South Bay’s economy and land use. However, the extent of changes rests on several key questions that speakers from AARP, Kaiser Permanente, and MetroSight will address. Will retirees stay in the Bay Area? If they depart, how will the housing market be affected? What consequences will there be for the local health care industry? Register here to learn more about aging in this place. The event is $10 for non-SPUR members.


Monitor Notes is produced by Cecily O’Connor. To receive it by email, scroll to the bottom of this page, enter your email address in the box under “RECEIVE EMAIL UPDATES,” and click the red “SIGN UP” button.


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