California Children Win

From California Sen. Pavley's Newsletter

Web site:

I'm thrilled to report that California's children scored a major victory this month as the State Assembly voted to pass my bill that would ban toxic BPA from items such as baby bottles, sippy cups, and formula cans. The "Toxics-Free Babies and Toddlers Act” (SB 797), which would work in coordination with California's Green Chemistry Initiative to ban the use of BPA in feeding products designed for children three and under, now moves back to the Senate for concurrence before heading to the governor's desk.

This was a real David and Goliath fight. The chemical and pharmaceutical industries waged an expensive and shamefully deceptive war to kill my bill. But in the end, my colleagues in the Assembly sided with children and with science and voted to protect our most vulnerable citizens.

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is an artificial hormone that is widely used in shatter-proof plastic baby bottles, sippy cups and the lining of formula cans. It leaches out of containers and into food and drink consumed by babies and young children. More than 220 peer-reviewed studies have linked BPA to a host of health problems, including breast and prostrate cancer, infertility, obesity, and neurological and behavioral changes, including autism and hyperactivity.

SB 797 is joint-authored by Senator Carol Liu, D – Pasadena, and is sponsored by Breast Cancer Fund, Environmental Working Group and Physicians for Social Responsibility. The bill has widespread support from health care professionals, business owners and a long and diverse list of businesses and organizations including; Black Women for Wellness, Latinas for Reproductive Justice, The Help Group for Autism Spectrum Disorders, California Teachers Association, California Nurses Association, Asian Health Services, California Women Infants and Children (WIC), SEIU, California Labor Federation, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, and Green to Grow to name a few. I want to thank all of the sponsors, the supporters, and my colleagues in the Assembly, especially new Speaker John Perez, for helping to move this important piece of legislation forward.

Sen. Pavley's Field Representative Callie Hurd with Socorro Lopez Hanson & Javier Saucedo

Sustainability Award

Each month I [Sen. Pavley's Office] recognize a business, person, or organization in my district that is dedicated to preserving our environment by living and working responsibly. This month I'm proud to announce that I presented an Environmental Sustainability Award to Community Action of Ventura County. The Oxnard-based nonprofit organization was recognized for its efforts in establishing the Green Center that opened to the public on June 2.

The Green Center, located at 3401 W. Fifth Street, Suite 100, in Oxnard, is a new hub for education, training and information relating to "green” technologies in Ventura County. It provides local vendors with space to showcase their green products and services, including solar panels, water-saving plumbing supplies, energy-saving construction materials and soil amendments for the garden made from recycled yard waste. The Green Center also serves as a learning site for local contractors to upgrade their job skills in green technologies, including solar paneling installation and home weatherization. The Green Center is open to the public Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and closed for lunch from noon to 1 p.m. For more information, call 805-985-1010 or visit

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Should Burrard Inlet Be Oil Tanker Free?

July 2007, 232,000 litres of oil spurted from a ruptured pipeline and into Burrard Inlet causing the closure of nearby beaches.

On July 5th Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson held a special council meeting to discuss the current status of oil tankers in Burrard Inlet. Oil tankers have become a hot topic lately as traffic through the Port of Vancouver continues to grow every year. Vancouver is currently the only crude-oil export terminal on Canada’s West Coast with crude oil exports hitting 4 million metric tonnes, or about 29 million barrels. Oil exports through the port of Vancouver carry with them a substantial risk, not only to Vancouver’s inner harbour, but also to the surrounding marine ecosystem. I n a June 17 special op-ed to the Province, Peter Baker, a North Vancouver oceanographer and computer scientist, used his knowledge of the shipping channel in Burrard Inlet to paint a nightmarish picture of the consequences of even a small error in the narrow channel: a grounded tanker, a rapidly receding high tide, an inevitable breaking apart of the ship, and a spill of its thousands of barrels of cargo. Oil booms would be ineffective, given the area’s large currents, so crude oil would rapidly spread throughout the harbour.

The outcome of the Special Council Meeting was a unanimously passed motion requesting that the Metro Vancouver Port Cities Committee (MVPCC) investigate the issue of oil tanker traffic in the region. They said the committee, which represents all of the waterside communities in the region, should evaluate the risks of increased and planned tanker traffic as well as clarify who has liability for the impacts of a spill.

But, risk is only part of the issue. We also need to consider the contradiction of the City of Vancouver trying to become the “greenest city in the world” while being a major export hub for the Alberta oil sands. Even if we could reduce the risk of a spill to zero, do we want to continue to enable and even promote the continued expansion of the World’s most environmentally destructive industrial projects? I for one have difficulty reconciling our green city goals with participation in oil sands extraction.

There are obvious financial gains to be had with increased oil exports through the port of Vancouver. However, we have to ask, at what costs are we willing to seek these financial gains? It is also not clear how much the City of Vancouver actually benefits financially while the residents of this beautiful city take the risk. The greenhouse gas footprint that we are participating in is huge, the pipelines transporting the oil pose a risk across the province and our reputation and moral well-being are at risk. I’m just not sure that any financial gains are worth the sacrifices we are required to make to continue to allow oil tankers in and out of Burrard Inlet.

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Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre, Osoyoos, B.C., Canada

Many First Nations Bands of British Columbia are still largely dependent on government subsidies, which are arguably failing to meet the needs of these communities. A lack of autonomy is perpetuated by a reserve system that was never meant to be permanent. Enter Cultural Entrepreneurship: First Nations communities taking control of their traditional lands to end government dependency and strengthen community through economic self-sufficiency while still preserving and deepening traditional values. It’s a mouthful. But First Nations entrepreneurs are already making it happen.

 There have been waves of positive stories throughout British Columbia. Chief Clarence Louie transformed the bankrupt Osoyoos First Nation Band of 1984 into the prosperous portfolio of nine enterprises that it holds today. The Osoyoos Spirit Ridge Resort and Nk’Mip Cellars Winery leverage the Osoyoos culture to offer an authentic aboriginal experience to travellers and set them apart from the competition. Further to the coast in Whistler, B.C., the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, showcasing the Lil’wat and Squamish cultures, has been popular since opening its doors in June 2008. The centre capitalizes on the concentrated flow of foreign and domestic tourism through Whistler and those wishing to include Aboriginal culture as a portion of their vacation experience. The centre, run jointly by the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations, also provides Aboriginal Tourism training to develop leadership and employment skills among the band members.

The Aboriginal youth population in Canada is growing at more than twice the rate of the whole population. Entrepreneurial ventures run by First Nations band members will create jobs for this expanding generation of youth, who may otherwise have limited opportunity on reserves. And having access to opportunities available for these up-and-coming bright minds will be important. Aboriginal Tourism BC (AtBC) seeks to help some of these aspiring young people through their Entrepreneurship Program.  The entity provides business plan development help to various First Nations that apply.  In the future, AtBC seeks to also provide capital to put those plans in motion.  The Opening Doors to Youth program through BCIT also ran an entrepreneurship program, where BCIT students led a group at Mount Currie High School in Lillooet to manage businesses including Lil’wat Cinema, a T-shirt company called MC Wear, and a drop-in soccer night.

The result of cultural entrepreneurship could be autonomy and self-sufficiency with the retention of cultural values. It’s a nice formula. But not all of the communities in British Columbia have seen the same success as the Osoyoos, the Squamish and the Lil’Wat bands. The various resources available to facilitate the process will be important.

The varied story of Aboriginal cultural in British Columbia is a compelling one, and creating businesses that share this story while also achieving economic independence and creating opportunities for youth shows promise for First Nations development throughout the province.


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Summer Solstice

by: Sebastian Copeland

June 21, 2010 8:05pm

This is the majestic view I have from my window on this, the longest day of the year

Qaanaaq – Today was the longest day of the year. Up here, since the sun has not set for many weeks, this means that the sun reaches its highest rotational zenith; if there were a night, it would have been the shortest. And given the splendid sunny weather we have had all day, this really did feel like a long day!

Summer solstice coincides, not by accident, with Greenland’s national day. It is a national holiday marked by local community celebrations. In Qaanaaq, the whole village gathers for some recitations, singing and food for everyone.

Qaanaaq is a town of six hundred people (a correction from my earlier description: there are approximately two hundred dwellings here, and not fifty); all of them came out to celebrate. Some wore the traditional seal or bear skin outfits–just the pants or jacket: given the 10C degrees, they might have suffocated had they worn the entire outfit. The food served was raw whale; I took a pass, having tried it before… but they seemed to enjoy it.

I spoke with a few of them and discussed how early thaws and a changing climate is affecting Inuit culture. Life is tough for an Inuit to whom hunting and fishing on the ice is virtually the only means of survival. With an early thaw, their very existence is endangered. It isn’t just the bears…

An ice fog shrouded the sea ice on and off all day, but never went past the beach. Only the peaks of the tallest icebergs were visible above the white sheet, and I sat on a rock for an hour contemplating the extraordinary views. It was silent and peaceful; a welcomed calm to follow the intense focus of the last forty days. And a great way to rest my sore legs! The fog eventually cleared revealing some new large cracks in the bay, and considerably more water by the shore than two days ago. I am relieved to have ventured when I did–our first night here–in spite of the fatigue and hesitation I felt then. The weather has not been like then again since, in the way that I like to shoot ice: overcast. And given the accelerated melt, it is unlikely that I could get out now. I got it by a narrow margin, and the photo result– arresting! As they say: why plan for tomorrow what you can do today… READ MORE on Sebastian's BLOG...

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Incredible Edible Eco-Beauty

by: Rachel Sarnoff


Good enough to eat. We say it about dessert—and that gorgeous guy on the second floor who hoses off his mud-covered mountain bike in the courtyard on Saturdays.


But what about beauty? If you consider that 60% of what goes on our skin goes in our bodies, wouldn’t it make sense to use products that are safe enough to eat in the first place?

When we put our favorites to the test, we found that many of them are—technically—edible. That’s because they eschew parabens, phthalates, synthetic perfumes and other petro-chemicals in favor of truly natural, organic-whenever-possible ingredients.

Note the use of the word “technical.” Please don’t call us with a bellyache after you decide to make your face mask your meal: These products are formulated without taste in mind, no matter how safe they might be to ingest. Oh, and p.s. we scored $1,300 in edible eco-beauty giveaways!

The Environmental Working Group shook up the beauty industry last year when it found that 60% of lipsticks contain lead, a known neurotoxin. Add to that the fact that the average woman eats about nine pounds of lipstick over the course of her lifetime—just from licking her lips. Ick.

That’s why we love Primitive lipsticks. Made with natural waxes, shea butter, vanilla extract and vitamin E, the rainbow of gorgeous colors in the Primitive line up is created exclusively from elements like iron oxides and carmine. Lip smackin’.

Cosmetic chefs David Parker and Margaret Skarin are organic beauty veterans—he as a NorCal spa owner and she of Blue Lotus Organic Skincare fame—but when the two joined forces in 2002 to create The Body Deli their goal was to take it a step further with products so clean you could eat them. Hence the refrigerators in their flagship Palm Desert, CA store—and the allegiance of local farmers in the California Central Valley. With a truly unique range of products for women and men—our favorite, hands down, is the ever-so-masculine, sandalwood-heavy, Spanish Fly line of scrub, wash, lotion and soap—The Body Deli truly serves it up. Take a number.

It’s seriously hard not to eat Bodykor’s Chocolate Macadamia Mask—it smells that good. Made with organic almond oil, antioxidant-rich chocolate, organic shea butter, macadamia nut oil and honey, among other natural ingredients, the hydrating mask penetrates without any greasy feeling, leaving skin soft and supple. Go ahead, take a lick!

Sweet Beauty takes the concept a step further, with an entire line of Theo Organic Chocolate spa treatments like something out of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” only guilt-free. We’ve been addicted to their lip balms for years, but our new faves are Sweet Beauty’s Pot de Crème body creams made with shea butter and grape seed oils, which present a chocolate flavor base accented by rose, coconut, coffee or a double shot of cacao. Mouth-watering.

A pinch of salt highlights the sweet, and nowhere do we find this to be truer than in Golden Path Alchemy’s Kiwi Coconut Exfoliating Mask, crafted with brightening kiwi enzymes, antioxidant-rich coconut milk and acerola cherry fruit acids, complemented by Himalayan sea salt. Hand-made in small batches from USDA Certified Organic food-grade ingredients—many of them sourced from the company’s own organic farm in Montecito, CA—the entire GPA line is edible and based on the five elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Tata Harper wants you to feed your head. Or your face, rather, with her eponymous and uniformly edible line of unique custom skincare products, made with love on her organic farm in Vermont. The Rebuilding Moisturizer is a perfect example: Minus the superficial silicones that leave skin with an oily finish, Tata Harper Rebuilding Moisturizer includes naturally-fermented sodium hyaluronate and organic raw honey to protect from sun damage. Amazingly, Tata’s Moisturizer leaves the skin matte, yet hydrated.  Dig in.

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