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Waves of Grain

A key component of staples like bread, wheat is a great grain to grow in the Golden State. Photo courtesy of Frog Hollow Farm. During the COVID-19 pandemic, baking has become a popular and passionate pastime for countless people sheltering in place. Th …

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Holding Together

Back in April, in the previous edition of the Monitor, I gave the alert that this current June/July 2020 edition could be our very last, due to years of declining funding coupled with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Approaching a new bud …

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A Pause in Pollution: Lessons from the Pandemic

These satellite images show concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (a noxious gas emitted by motor vehicles, power plants, and industrial facilities) in China from January 1 to 20 (on the left) and February 10 to 25 (on the right). Evidence suggests the re …

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Curb Your Enthusiasm: Lockdown Shows Why Less Parking Is More

Doug Gordon asked Twitter users which of these two images they preferred. Photos by Doug Gordon. In early May, Doug Gordon, co-host of The War on Cars podcast, tweeted two street curb pictures and asked his followers, “Who wore it better?” One frame sh …

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A Safe Passage for Wildlife

The Bay Area Critical Linkages map from the Conservation Lands Network shows critical habitat linkages (in solid green) and highway barriers to wildlife movement (in red). Image courtesy BayAreaLands.org. Animals are on the move. Whether we are aware o …

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Sea Otters Used to Live in the Bay — Should We Bring Them Back?

Researchers are weighing the idea of reintroducing sea otters into the San Francisco Bay estuary. Photo by Marshal Hedin. When most people think of sea otters, they picture these charismatic creatures wrapped in kelp as they float on their backs in the …

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Tough Times Ahead: Bay Area Monitor Facing Potential Shutdown

In 1975, the year it launched, the Bay Area Monitor was produced on a mimeograph machine. In case you’re wondering, a mimeograph is basically a high-volume stencil, a way to reproduce printed pages by pushing ink onto paper through letter-shaped holes. …

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Earth Day at 50: Mulling the Blue Marble’s Next Half Century

As Earth Day approaches its 50th anniversary, the Monitor interviewed Steve Dunsky, Mary Ellen Hannibal, Jason Mark, and C.N.E. Corbin about their thoughts on its legacy and what the next 50 years will bring in terms of environmental activism. Photo cr …

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Looking to the Horizon of Regional Transportation

MTC’s Horizon planning initiative explored “what-if” scenarios to make sure the region is better prepared to address varying degrees of unpredictability. Futuristic hyperloop pods that whisk commuters around the region are a flashy idea, but not one th …

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The Future of Water: Onsite Desalination for Hyperlocal Reuse

SFPUC headquarters has implemented an innovative system for localized water treatment that could be more widely used in the future. After the building’s blackwater is treated through engineered wetlands outside, it is sent down to the basement (picture …

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