Law + Policy

Green Rules

No state has matched California in using the law to protect and conserve the environment. The spark that ignited the modern environmental movement was undoubtedly the Santa Barbara oil spill of January 1969, an ecological disaster that blackened 35 miles of scenic coastland and killed thousands of seabirds and marine mammals. Californians responded by passing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which required environmental impact review of any development projects within the state, and by pressuring another Californian, President Richard M.

A Slow Paddle Home

 

When others come to your paradise to find solitude, where do you find yours? This longing has taken me from my hometown on Oahu into the jungles of Central America and to islands in Southeast Asia. A few years ago, I finally found what I was looking for—a mere island hop from where I started. The place was Kauai’s Na Pali Coast.

 

Teen Doc

Dr. Barbara Staggers ’76, MPH ’80, will never forget the day a teenage boy came to see her at the Oakland Children’s Hospital Teen Clinic and said, “Can you hold me? I’m going to be dead tomorrow.” He was gunned down the next day. He knew that people were after him, says Staggers, “We tried to get him to leave the state, but he refused to go. And the next day he was dead.”

From the March April 2008 Mind Matters issue of California.

Raise Me, Boss

When Ian Sherr decided to ask for a raise a year ago, he carefully considered the circumstances: His boss had just eaten lunch, had recently received a bonus check, and it was the holiday season. “I figured there might be some trickle-down goodness,” says Sherr, 25, now a graduate student in journalism at Berkeley.

From the January February 2008 25 Ideas on the Verge issue of California.

Delta Dawn

Berkeley engineering professor Ray Seed, arguably the nation’s greatest authority on levees, has one word to describe the risk to the people, farms, and ecological systems dependent on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta: Armageddon. A serious earthquake or flood could indefinitely threaten the water supply for 23 million Californians, north and south, and cripple the most productive agricultural region in the world.

From the September October 2008 Sustainable Blueprint issue of California.

Applied Kuhn: The Berkeley/BP Project

It’s too early to tell whether the joint Berkeley-BP project represents a potential scientific and technological paradigm shift, or is a version of the same old paradigm of the automotive sciences. It could become the former. Unfortunately, thanks to its very scale and nature, the project risks becoming the latter—becoming, that is, a roadblock rather than a road to fundamental societal change.

From the January February 2008 25 Ideas on the Verge issue of California.

What it Was Really Like to Be the First Black Lawyer in Justice Dept’s Civil Rights Division

Thelton Eugene Henderson didn’t study the civil rights movement; he lived it. After earning his law degree from UC Berkeley in 1962, he joined the Justice Department as the first African-American lawyer in its civil rights division. Working with his mentor and fellow Cal grad, John Doar, Henderson traveled often to the South to monitor law enforcement on civil rights cases. He investigated the famous case of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, which killed four young girls.

From the January February 2008 25 Ideas on the Verge issue of California.

Civil Works for Cynical Times

It’s hard enough to imagine 3 billion trees, let alone plant them, but that’s how many were put in the ground by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Established in 1933, the CCC became one of the most popular of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, which included the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and the Public Works Administration (PWA). With the unemployment rate nearing 25 percent at that stage of the Great Depression, the “alphabet soup” agencies stepped in to rapidly create millions of jobs.

From the May June 2008 Beijing Primer issue of California.

Wrong Trajectory

International observers have long viewed America’s higher education system, including a cadre of high-quality major research universities such as Berkeley, as one of its most important socioeconomic advantages. As the first nation to pioneer the idea of mass higher education, the United States proved that the talent, training, and creativity of a nation’s citizens are as important for generating economic prosperity as, for example, its natural resources. It was true over the past hundred years, and is much more so now.

From the May June 2008 Beijing Primer issue of California.

$10 Million and Counting

As it celebrates its tenth year, The Achievement Award Program (TAAP) is also celebrating an even bigger achievement—reaching its first fundraising goal of $10 million. And with that comes another challenge, as CAA plans to raise an additional $10 million over the next ten years.

 

From the January February 2008 25 Ideas on the Verge issue of California.

Cradle and All

When Shannon May was putting together her doctoral research project, she had a specific field setting in mind. May, an anthropology student at Berkeley, wanted to learn about life for the majority of China’s population. That meant looking past the glittering coastal cities and focusing instead on the country’s rural population—what May calls the “800 million unnamed.”

From the September October 2008 Sustainable Blueprint issue of California.

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