Bay Area Communities “Don’t Sit Idle”

On October 18, the Pacific Institute joined 20 organizations in the launch of the Bay Area Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative’s “Don’t Sit Idle” campaign. Starting at 3 a.m., residents of San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, and San Leandro distributed more than 8,000 informational anti-idling fliers to diesel truck and bus drivers, as well as local residents. While a law limiting diesel truck idling to five minutes has been in place for a year, it is sporadically enforced and a loophole allowed truckers with sleeper cabs to idle their vehicles overnight. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) held a hearing two days later in which they closed that loophole, effective 2008.

Margaret Gordon emceeing the "Don't Sit Idle" press conferenceThe fog lifted in time for a press conference emceed by the Institute’s Margaret Gordon, and featuring elected officials, community and labor leaders, truckers, and health experts.

“In June 2004, a group of environmental health and justice organizations started developing a regional strategy to reduce diesel pollution,” said Meena Palaniappan, director of Pacific Institute’s Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Program. “The Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative is now more than twenty organizations and one hundred individuals strong, and represents neighborhoods from across the region.”

The Institute works with the region’s poor and working-class neighborhoods to reduce the disproportionately-high diesel impact. The Bay Area Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative is a union of local, state, and national organizations and agencies concerned with the environment, neighborhoods, public health, and labor. To get involved, contact Meena Palaniappan at 510-251-1600 or via our contact page.

Institute Recognizes Staff Honors and Appointments

In October, Pacific Institute president and cofounder Dr. Peter Gleick was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS began electing members as “fellows” in 1874 whose “efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished.” Dr. Gleick was honored for his “groundbreaking work on water, climate science, and environmental policy, especially the hydrologic impact of climate change, international freshwater conflicts, and basic human water needs.” Also in October, Gleick was named a Fellow of the International Water Resources Association, one of ten they award each year.

The California agencies charged with creating a state-wide goods movement action plan have appointed Institute program director Meena Palaniappan to the Governor’s Cabinet Level Goods Movement Working Group. The Group is charged with developing recommendations to ease the community impact from the increasing flow of goods through California ports. For several years, the Institute has worked in Bay Area neighborhoods to develop community-based research documenting diesel pollution. Ms. Palaniappan, Director of the Institute’s Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Program, will work to ensure that the Goods Movement Action Plan protects the needs of the most heavily impacted communities: those living near the shipping channels, ports, streets, highways, and rail lines frequented by the shipping industry.


11/07/05, Environmental Leadership, [Calif.], Peter Gleick has been invited to attend a reception for the Prince of Wales given by environmental leaders around the State of California.

11/07 – 11/09/05, Scientific Integrity Project, [Berkeley, Calif.], Peter Gleick will participate in the Berkeley Workshop on Media and Climate Change, describing the Institute’s Scientific Integrity project and efforts to confront bad and intentionally misleading science.

11/08/05 and 11/15/05, Beyond Payback: Advanced Financial Calculations, [Pacific Energy Center, San Francisco and the Chamber of Commerce, San Jose, Calif.], Institute principal economist and engineer Gary Wolff will teach a full-day course at each location on the economics of green building features, including water conservation measures.

11/10/05, Salton Sea, [Salton City, Calif.], Michael Cohen will attend the Salton Sea Authority’s Technical Advisory Committee meeting, to discuss his recent letter questioning aspects of the Authority’s revised redevelopment plan for the Salton Sea.

11/17/05, Value of Water, [San Francisco, Calif.], Gary Wolff will present his work on the value of water at the year-end meeting of the California Water Association, a group of investor-owned water utilities. Read his report: Valuing Water for Better Governance.

11/18/05, Colorado River, [Hollywood, Calif.], Michael Cohen will participate on ‘The Colorado River Running Dry: What Do We Do?’ panel at the California Water Policy 15 conference.

11/18/05, Water Research in Australia, [Pacific Institute Office, Oakland, Calif.], In a brownbag lunch discussion, Shiroma Maheepala of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, will present her work on smart water systems within the country’s Water for a Healthy Country program.


Storm warnings Environmental News Network, 10/19/05

Port to cut smog by buying old trucks, extending hours East Bay Business Journal, 10/14/05

The rise of junk science and the fall of reason Environmental News Network, 10/03/05


11/1/05. Michael Cohen participated in the California Resources Agency’s Salton Sea Advisory Committee meeting, in Sacramento, California. The Committee is guiding the development of an Ecosystem Restoration Plan for the Sea.

10/29/05. Margaret Gordon participated on a panel entitled “Women’s Leadership, Advocates, and Campaigns” at the Biennial Leadership Empowerment Conference. Held at Mills College in Oakland, the event was sponsored by Black Women Organized for Political Action and the Training Institute for Leadership Enrichment.

10/25-10/26/05. Jason Morrison, Economic Globalization and the Environment Program Director, attended the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Global Roundtable held in New York City. At the event, he moderated a well-attended workshop entitled, “Tapping the source: Water, finance and capital markets.”

10/24/05. Following up on their September successes, the West Oakland Truck Route working group met.

10/20-10/24/05. Peter Gleick participated in two separate meetings on the human right to water, one at the German Foreign Office in Berlin, the other at the International Office of Water in Paris. At both meetings he was the only expert from the United States.

10/19/05. Heather Cooley testified at a hearing of the Select Committee on Growth and Infrastructure in Concord, California ’s City Council chambers.

10/19/05. Emily Lee participated in a North Richmond Truck Route meeting to discuss plans to design a truck route that redirects big-rig traffic away from residential areas.

10/19/05. Jason Morrison provided testimony on possible improvements to state and federal performance-based environmental leadership programs at the U.S. EPA’s public comment session in Chicago. Morrison’s intervention focused on the need for robust and credible performance reporting mechanisms in such voluntary leadership programs.

10/18/05. Pacific Institute staff along with the regional Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative took part in a “Don’t Sit Idle” anti-idling Day of Action to educate truck and bus drivers and residents about new laws that limit idling to less than 5 minutes. (see HEADLINES)

10/17/05. Meena Palaniappan, Emily Lee, and Andrea Samulon met with Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia and local partners to discuss solutions to reduce diesel pollution in West Contra Costa County, and steps to move forward a County-led working group as directed by the Board of Supervisors during their July meeting.

10/14/05. Meena Palaniappan, Emily Lee, and Margaret Gordon participated in the Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative’s “Alternatives to Diesel” workshop, which brought together business, truckers, community, and health advocates to discuss technology alternatives to diesel fuel.

10/14/05. The Bay Area Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative and Pacific Institute hosted a “Workshop on Alternatives to Diesel” to share ideas to reduce diesel pollution in Oakland, California.

10/11/05. Peter Gleick lectured on water and conflict at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California.

10/8/05. Emily Lee presented the recently released “Deluged by Diesel: Healthy Solutions for West County” report with local partners to the Parchester Village Neighborhood Council in North Richmond.

10/01/05. Gary Wolff presented his forthcoming report “Beyond Privatization: Restructuring Water Systems to Improve Performance” to the Urban Water Council of the US Conference of Mayors in Albuquerque.

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