“Don’t Sit Idle” Day of Action Draws Near

On October 18, the Pacific Institute will join 20 organizations in the “Don’t
Sit Idle” day of action. In San Francisco, Oakland, West Contra Costa County, San Leandro, and Sonoma, neighbors will take to their street to raise awareness of the environmental, health, and fiscal impacts of diesel truck and bus idling. A press conference will take place later that morning, and will include Oakland City Councilmember Nancy Nadel, ILWU Local 10 President Trent Willis, and representatives of the Collaborative. The Day of Action comes two days before the California Air Resources Board hears testimony on closing a legal loophole that allows truckers with sleeper cabs to idle their vehicles throughout the night (truckers are otherwise required to cut their engines after five minutes).

Don’t Sit Idle is another campaign in the Institute’s Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Program. For years, staff have been working to reduce the disproportionately high diesel impact in the region’s poor and working-class neighborhoods. 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

Community, Truckers Unite to
West Oakland Truck Route

Years of resident activism and the effort of the Pacific Institute’s Environmental Indicators Program yielded fruit on September 20th, when the Oakland City Council passed an ordinance to establish a West Oakland Truck Route. The ordinance is effective immediately, and new signage is expected to be in place by Thanksgiving. In the Institute’s study of diesel pollution, Clearing the Air: Reducing Diesel Pollution in West Oakland, the West Oakland truck route was the top solution identified by community residents to mitigate the impact of truck traffic emanating from the Port of Oakland.

The new route will keep trucks away from residential areas and reduce the amount of diesel pollution that residents are exposed to. Diesel pollution has been linked to cancer, heart disease, asthma, and premature death. The Institute’s study of diesel trucks in West Oakland found that on a daily basis, hundreds of trucks were traveling on residential streets in West Oakland — some illegally. As a result, West Oakland residents face ninety times more diesel emissions than the average Californian, per square mile. Meanwhile, the Port of Oakland ’s estimates that the amount of truck traffic in the area will double—generating 22,000 truck trips per day—by 2010.

For the past year, community residents, led by the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project and the Pacific Institute, have been working with truckers, City staff, the Port, business and neighborhood councils to establish a truck route in West Oakland. Many supporting organizations and individuals testified before the Oakland Public Works Committee on July 12th to demonstrate their unified voice in demanding a West Oakland truck route. The Committee praised the group for its ability to work together on solutions. As truck driver Bill Aboudi said, “We want to see it (work). The community is in full support, the truckers, community and businesses are on the same page.”

For more information, please contact Emily Lee at: 510-251-1600 or via our contact page.

Institute Welcomes New Research Associate

The Pacific
Institute is proud to announce the addition of Andrea Samulon as a Research Associate for the Community Strategies Program. Ms. Samulon has previously worked at Oakland’s Communities for a Better Environment and Food First. She recently completed her Master of Science in Resource Policy and Behavior at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources.

Andrea can be
reached via our contact page.


10/14/05, Diesel Pollution,
[Oakland, Calif.], The Bay Area Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative
and Pacific Institute will host a “Workshop on Alternatives
to Diesel” to share ideas to reduce diesel pollution. 1:00
to 5:00 pm at the State Building, 1515 Clay St. Info: Meena Palaniappan
at 510-251-1600 or via

10/18/05 Diesel Pollution, [Bay Area, Calif.], Pacific Institute staff along with the regional Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative will be hosting 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
for more information)

10/19/05. Water-Use Efficiency, [Concord, Calif.], Heather Cooley will be testifying at a hearing of the Select Committee on Growth and Infrastructure in Concord’s City Council chambers.

10/20-10/24/05, Water and Human Rights, [Berlin and Paris], Peter Gleick will speak on the human right to water in law and policy at two conferences in Europe. He will discuss the work the Pacific Institute has done on this crucial issue and offer recommendations for implementing such a right.

10/24/05 Diesel Pollution, [Oakland, Calif.], Following up on their September successes, the West Oakland Truck Route working group will meet. For more information please call Emily Lee at 510-251-1600.

11/1/05, Salton Sea, [Sacramento, Calif.], Michael Cohen will participate in the California Resources Agency’s Salton Sea Advisory Committee meeting, to guide the development of an Ecosystem Restoration Plan for the Sea.

11/08/05 and 11/15/05, Economics of Green Building [San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.], Gary Wolff will teach a short course on this topic, sponsored by the Pacific Energy Center of the Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

11/17/05, Value of Water, [San Francisco, Calif.], Gary Wolff will speak at the winter meeting of the California Water Association on the role of stakeholder discussions about the value of water in efforts to improve water 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.


Beyond water wars San Francisco Chronicle, 9/15/05

Efficiency hailed as answer to cutting state’s water use San Jose Mercury News, 9/14/05

California’s coming floods San Francisco Chronicle, 9/9/05


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

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.

9/30/05. Peter Gleick spoke on desalination at the annual meeting of the Society of Environmental Journalists on a panel devoted to desalination … and tussled verbally with representatives of the anti-climate science crowd who tried to push misinformation on the attending journalists.

9/30/05. Pacific Institute, with local community partners, presented a recent report, Deluged by Diesel: Healthy Solutions for West County, to the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee’s Board. The Board is composed of elected officials from around the County. The Institute will be working with the Transportation Advisory Committee to plan for healthy neighborhoods transit needs without compromising community health.

9/28, Michael Cohen participated on the ‘Sharing the Shortage – The Next Steps’ panel at the Water Education Foundation’s biannual Colorado River Project Symposium in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

9/28/05. Peter Gleick made a presentation to the World Affairs Council in Los Altos, California on critical global issues related to water.

9/27/05. Community Strategies program staff participated in a rally at the EPA’s regional headquarters in San Francisco to protest the EPA’s recently released draft strategic Environmental Justice plan, which omits race and class as key factors in defining EJ communities. A statement from Barbara Lee’s office was also read at the rally, demanding justice on this issue.

9/26/05. Meena Palaniappan facilitated the Ditching Dirty Diesel Steering Committee Meeting.

9/24-9/30/05 Jason Morrison attended the second meeting of the ISO’s Working Group on Social Responsibility in Bangkok, Thailand. Morrison has been designated by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as the NGO representative serving on a six-person multi-stakeholder US delegation. Over the next three years the ISO Working Group will develop an international standard that provides operational guidance for organizations wishing to undertake Social Responsibility practices.

9/23/05. Meena Palaniappan participated in a meeting on the research agenda for the Bay Area Environmental Health Collaborative.

9/20/05. West Oakland Victory (see Headlines).

9/20/05. Meena Palaniappan participated in the San Francisco Foundation’s Bay Area Environmental Health Collaborative Learning Session on building a regional collaborative for environmental health.

9/19-9/23/05. Peter Gleick participated in a scenario building workshop of the World Business Council on Sustainable Development in Sierre, Switzerland, looking at water-related risks to the corporate sector.

9/19/05. Meena Palaniappan facilitated the Goods Movement subcommittee meeting of the Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative.

9/13/05. With local community partners, Emily Lee presented results and solutions to reduce diesel pollution from the recent report, Deluged by Diesel: Healthy Solutions for West County, to the North Richmond Municipal Advisory Council. The Council unanimously supported the report’s findings, and is planning to issue a resolution letter of support.

9/12-9/16/05. Jason Morrison attended the 13th Annual Plenary of ISO Technical Committee 207 in Madrid, Spain. Morrison serves as one of three US delegates for the ISO standard being developed on environmental communications (ISO 14063). He also attended the plenary as chair of a joint group of NGOs and representatives of the TC 207 leadership that has been implementing an action plan for improving the effectiveness of NGO participation in ISO 14000 standards development.

9/8/2005, 9/16/05. Meena Palaniappan facilitated meetings of the Ditching Dirty Diesel’s Anti-Idling Committee to plan the October 18 Anti-Idling Action Day.

9/7/05. Heather Cooley presented an early look at the Institute’s new High Efficiency scenario report at the Plenary session of the California Urban Water Conservation Council meeting.

9/7/05. Peter Gleick spoke at the Hollywood opening of the new film “Running Dry.” This documentary takes a hard look at the global challenges around water supply and sanitation, and features Gleick and other water experts including Mikhail Gorbachev, Shimon Peres, Aaron Wolf, and Kader Asmal.

9/7/05. Author Chris Mooney presented his new book, “The Republican War on Science” at the African American Museum and Library.

9/1/05. Meena Palaniappan and Emily Lee briefed staff of Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s office regarding our work on improving health care access and improving health in West Oakland.

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