Happy Birthday Dear Meg, Happy Birthday To You

Say it isn’t so!   Seriously, Meg just doesn’t have time for a birthday.  She is way too busy saving the world.  Her life is in constant motion, working on Deb’s exciting campaign, protecting the environment and in all ways using her energy to make the world better, happier and more fun.

Meg In Overdrive

Meg In Overdrive

Her life is in constant motion.  Meg celebrates life, not just on her birthday, but everyday.  When she has free time she loves to:

Photograph her beloved California coast.

Meg Photographs Her Beloved California

Hike with Jake and their beloved greyhounds.

Family photo while hiking on Ring Mountain

And search for “made in the USA” clothing.

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On your special day, Meg, relax and reflect on the great year you have had and the great years to come.  DSC_0025

Love ya–Mumsy

HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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The Big 30

Happy birthday, Meg. You were born one day short of Independence Day, 1983.  Your determination and strength of character have made your progression through life a ceaseless adventure.  I am always proud you are my daughter and look forward to the experience of watching your life continue to unfold.

Have a wonderful birthday.  Love ya tons.  Mum

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HP: From Meg’s Point of View

With Mum visiting for a few days from Kansas City, I wanted to show her some of my favorite places to run and hike. Helen Putnam Regional Park is one of those places. On a beautiful Saturday morning, we parked the Jeep and headed out with our cameras.

Helen Putnam Regional Park

Looking through the trees at the trails beyond, Mum thought this trail looked like an old path for the wagons venturing into the west during the California Gold Rush.

Tree at Helen Putnam Regional Park

This was such a funky tree. Its branches dipped all the way down to the ground, and its knotty trunk had a whole family of geckos. Such an interesting site.

Trails at Helen Putnam Regional Park

This is a great shot of the trails at HP. I love running here, or walking with the kids, or just going up and taking in the views. It is such an amazing treasure here in Petaluma. One of the many reasons I love living in beautiful California.

Why you should consider building a Living Roof

When visiting the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco last weekend, we learned about something called the “Heat Island Effect.” This refers to the rise in temperature in densely populated areas, typically cities with lots of buildings and little green space. According to the U.S. EPA, the annual mean air temperature in cities with 1+ million people can be anywhere from 1.8-5.4°F warmer than its surroundings. In the sun of summer, roof and pavement surfaces can be 50-90°F hotter than the air temperatures. Imagine how miserable this temperature increase can feel if you are stuck in the middle of a concrete jungle, with no trees or grass to cool you down.

Placard at the California Academy of Sciences rooftop observation deck describing the "Heat Island Effect"

Placard at the California Academy of Sciences rooftop deck describing the “Heat Island Effect”

Some problems associated with the Heat Island Effect:

Increased Energy Consumption — According to a placard atop the living roof at the California Academy of Sciences, one sixth of all electricity used in the U.S. goes to cooling buildings. As rooftop temperatures increase in urban areas, the buildings inside require additional air conditioning to keep the inside temperatures comfortable. ONE SIXTH….that’s a lot of energy!

Impaired Water Quality — Hotter surfaces in the city increased the temperature of stormwater runoff. According to the EPA, tests have shown that pavements reaching 100°F can increase the temperature of 70° rainwater into 95° runoff as it drains into the sewers, raising sewer water temperatures in the process. This then increases the temperatures of streams, rivers, etc. as runoff works its way back into our groundwater supply. As we’ve seen through many studies around global warming, increased water temperature around the globe can lead to sea level rise and a disruption in the aquatic ecosystems around the planet.

I’m sure there are many more problems, but I like focusing on solutions. How about building a Living Roof!

Living Roof at California Academy of Sciences

Living Roof at California Academy of Sciences

At the Academy of Sciences, we visited the Living Roof on top of the building. This roof is covered in grass, plants, rain filtration systems….you name it. According to another placard at the Academy, living roofs absorb most of their rainfall. In fact, the building at the Academy retains 98% of its rainwater, which saves over 13 million liters from flowing into the city’s stormwater/sewer system.  Living roofs also keep buildings cooler, reducing the need for air conditioning, and thus, reducing the release of resulting air pollutants.

Living Roof at California Academy of Sciences

Living Roof at California Academy of Sciences

I also think the incorporation of rooftop gardens or living roofs can provide a little green paradise in the middle of the big city, all without giving up valuable real estate. It’s basically like taking a backyard garden, and simply building it on the roof! Whether a residential or commercial building, a green space on the roof can provide tenants a little oasis, while reducing the building’s energy consumption and resulting pollution, all at the same time.

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The information in this post was gathered through the following sources: U.S. EPA website, www.epa.gov/hiri, and a visit to the California Academy of Sciences rooftop observation terrace. You can learn more about the Academy’s Living Roof at http://www.calacademy.org/academy/building/the_living_roof/.

National Day of Service: Participate in an event near you this Saturday

In 1961, JFK said in his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Our President is carrying that notion forward this Saturday.

President Barack Obama began the National Day of Service in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 2009. As part of the Presidential Inaugural events, the National Day of Service is a day for all Americans to come together and give back to our communities.

Presidential Inaugural Committee - Day of Service

This Saturday, January 19th, please join your friends and family in an event near you. Whether you can pull weeds, clean up a beach, donate blood, or help out in a local soup kitchen, there are all kinds of activities, and our communities need our help.

Visit http://www.2013pic.org/service/serve to find an event near you.