The early Internet promised the world a wealth of content to watch, read, and listen to. Few would say the Internet hasn’t delivered on this promise, but users everywhere feel unsettled at the potential for web companies to watch, listen to, and observe them. “The online medium opens many new avenues for communication, but also has been structured as a form of ongoing surveillance and manipulation,” says Jeff Chester, the Executive Director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a grantee of the Rose Foundation’s Consumer Privacy Rights Fund. Working closely with other civil society organizations, the Center for Digital Democracy is forging solutions for protecting privacy online and expanding the public’s awareness of the use of their data.
Although California-based companies continue to pioneer electric vehicle technology, communities that can’t afford a $70,000 Tesla Model S have yet to enjoy the benefits of gasoline-free vehicles. Residents of Arvin, CA, a city with higher poverty than 99 percent of California cities, face exposure to some of the highest levels of ozone and particulate matter in the state. The Rose Foundation has provided a number of grants to organizations working in Arvin to create solutions for the city’s air quality issues, including the City of Arvin and the Central California Environmental Justice Network
The World Health Organization startled the world this year with its report on finding tiny plastic pieces in 83% of the world’s tap water. At sea, reports of marine life killed from the ingestion of or entanglement in plastic debris continue to reveal the negative effects of plastic pollution on aquatic ecosystems. All One Ocean is using a Rose Foundation grant to mobilize youth to clean up beaches in several counties in and around the Bay Area.
If you’ve ever stumbled upon a coin, arrowhead, or other artifact from the distant past, you probably were happy to pocket the found treasure. Unfortunately, future generations may not be as excited to find some of the innumerable hazardous remnants left behind by today’s society. University Legal Assistance of Gonzaga University School of Law (ULA) is trying to better understand a toxic legacy that affects present-day communities along the Spokane River and will likely continue to affect generations to come.
The Tuolumne River once boasted a plentiful salmon run in the spring and the fall. Now, multiple dams along with irrigation projects that direct water away from the river reduce flow so much that the spring run has ended entirely. Fish collected from the stretch of the river that flows through Stanislaus County display high levels of industrial chemicals, while homeless encampments and illegal dumping often lead to a build-up of hazardous trash along the banks. Rose Foundation grantee the Tuolumne River Trust (TRT) is rebuilding the local community’s relationship to the river and giving them the tools to help restore it. “It’s not just about the infrastructure, it’s about connecting the community near the river to be stewards of the river,” says Edgar Garibay, TRT’s community relations manager.
“Así es como hacemos que los estudiantes de quinto grado presten atención.” Arrodillándose en las dunas en un mechón de trigo sarraceno nativo, nuestra guía engatusó una hormiga roja gruesa sobre sus dedos, se la metió entre los dientes y rápidamente la mordió a la mitad. Sonriendo, nos ofreció nuestra propia hormiga para probar. “Sabe a limones”, dijo, “pero tienes que morderlas rápido antes de que te muerdan.”
Inspired to take action to protect California’s water resources, Program Officer Megan Mubaraki has become the second Rose Foundation staff member to join the River Advocacy Training School (RATS). Led by Friends of the River, RATS teaches students to lead the movement for protecting California’s rivers, and also educates them about the policies that govern water in California.
The year 2017 brought us many troubling events and headlines, but we continue to find inspiration within our community of colleagues, grantees and supporters. We are grateful for your support and partnership as we continue to make Good News for communities and the environment in 2018 and beyond.
The Rose Foundation was pleased to learn that our New Voices Are Rising program earned a grant through the California Natural Resources Agency’s Urban Greening Grant Program to green the Academy’s campus! We’ve drafted a plan to plant 48 trees on the Coliseum College Prep Academy campus and break up and remove pavement to let the soil breathe.
Astronomers will tell you how unique and priceless Earth’s breathable atmosphere seems when looking at the toxic clouds on Venus or the nearly airless deserts of Mars, but most Bay Area residents who on most days enjoy clear skies hadn’t reflected on the value of the air they breathe until the Northern California fires filled the region with smoke.