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I find some hope for the future of our planet in the emergence of millions of unconnected environmental and social movements. The leaderless Anarchy of this mass phenomenon and its macro scale means that its cells will not be centrally controlled or turned aside by profit motives. It seems to be a genuine grass roots response to the global threat which our planet faces. —Paul Hawken «

Honoring Ralph Metzner

Founding member and board member for more than 20 years, Ralph Metzner, ecologist and recognized pioneer of psychology, cross-cultural studies of consciousness, author of more than 100 scientific papers and 20 books passed into the next phase of life March 14, 2019.

Honoring Ralph Metzner May 18, 1936 - March 14, 2019In Ralph’s book Green Psychology, written over 20 years ago, he observed:

“No one can doubt that we live in a time of unprecedented ecological destruction. The fabric of life on this planet is being degraded at an ever accelerating pace, accompanied by massive loss of animal and plant diversity and escalating threats to human health and well-being. Evolutionary biologists tell us that there have been numerous episodes of worldwide extinction before, including five major “spasms” involving the loss of up to 90 percent of existing species-the last one being the cataclysm sixty-five million years ago that brought the Age of Dinosaurs to an end. What is unprecedented about the present situation is that it is the actions and technological productions of one species-the human being-that are bringing about this biosphere meltdown. Increasing numbers of people have therefore come to the conclusion that it is in the hearts and minds of human beings that the causes and cures of the ecocatastrophe are to be found.”

Ralph dedicated his life to helping heal what he called “this collective psychopathology, this profound alienation of the human psyche from Earth (and its environment).” He left behind him numerous students who will carry on this work in their own unique fashion.

Polluted Gravel Pit Breached in Flood

From Russianriver Keeper (www.russianriverkeeper.org)

Breach between river and basalt pitOur worst fears were realized in the Feb 28th flood event. The largest gravel pit mine, Syar’s Basalt Pit, had a complete levee failure on a section that had failed in previous floods. The image at left shows the breach in center of picture, with river on the left and Syar Basalt Pit on right. Over 30 years of mining waste containing extremely high levels of toxic metals as well as Healdsburg’s treated wastewater discharges are now connected to our river – our drinking water supply.

Syar’s own testing in 2006 showed the mining waste contained mercury, iron and aluminum at 200-800% of safe levels and phosphorous at nearly 500 times higher than levels that can trigger toxic algae. Those pollutants are all conservative – meaning they are still present, do not degrade over time and pose a threat to the river’s health and our health.

Polluted mine pit breach upriver of town of Windsor WellsWhen we filed lawsuits against the County in the 80’s and 90’s to stop the gravel mining, one of our biggest reasons was the fear of the gravel pits being captured by the river in floods. Sadly our predictions were correct, again. This occurred during the El Nino events in the late 90’s which resulted in a Clean Water Act lawsuit by Friends of the Russian River, RRK’s predecessor.

As of this date, three months after the flood, we’re still waiting for action plans to protect the river this summer from Healdsburg’s wastewater and the mining waste – both have very high levels of nutrients, mainly phosphorous, that could trigger toxic algae blooms. We’re also very concerned that in six months it’ll be raining again and if we do not take action we will see major erosion of downstream properties.

At this time, Permit Sonoma has convened two meetings with resource protection agencies and are developing a tentative plan. Permit Sonoma plans to hold a public meeting to collect comments on concerns regarding this issue and give you an opportunity to voice your opinion on how the County should respond to this major threat to the River’s health. We’ll keep you posted when the public meetings are scheduled, stay tuned!