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Debriefer: August 31, 2016 

Sierra Club's Michael Brune speaks in Santa Rosa

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Debriefer got word the other day of a pretty big wheel coming to town on Sept. 16. Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune will give a talk at the Glaser Center at 547 Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa. It seems like a good time to get a heavyweight environmentalist in town to motivate the gaggles of green-oriented activists in and around Sonoma County. Teri Shore at the Greenbelt Alliance says Brune will give a 7pm talk on a range of issues—climate change, the post–fossil fuel economy, protecting wildlands, and voting—as she noted that Sonoma County, despite its reputation as a full-bore wild country of environmental superiority, could always stand for some improvements.

On the one hand, Shore says that "we're the only county with a regional climate-protection agency," while also noting that the same agency was just sued over its well-intentioned climate-protection plan, which was enacted in 2008 but has failed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by a county-set standard of 25 percent. The lawsuit was filed by the eco-warriors at California River Watch, who say the county agency has totally blown it when it comes to underrepresenting GHG emissions from car-driving tourists and the wine economy, both of which, let's face it, will get a big boost if and when cannabis goes legal. But that's a story for another day.


Homelessness can take many forms but the essential fact of it is that you're homeless. This newspaper heard from several people, homeless among them, regarding our Aug. 17 story "Palms Not Bombs" about a local success story at the Palms Inn in Santa Rosa, which has found permanent homes for over a hundred formerly homeless people, more than half of them veterans.

That inspirational tale prompted a phone call from Marie Douglas, a 59-year-old woman who has lived in her car—or was living in it, until it broke down—and who has bounced around from San Francisco to San Rafael to Sonoma County and then to Mendocino County since 2014. Douglas called to share her story last week, and told us that she was headed to Santa Rosa from Mendo to pay a debt and would be taking a bus to Cloverdale and would figure it out from there.

Douglas described herself as a gay, older African-American woman who has been in and out of college for decades and never been arrested, she says, as she tries to put together a career in horticulture. She's interested in permaculture and eco-villages and medical cannabis and cheerfully says she has "lived in a tent, in an orchard, yadda yadda yadda."

There's some great Shambhala wisdom that Debriefer holds close to heart that says: Never give up on anyone or anything, and Douglas struck Debriefer as the living proof of that wisdom as she tries to improve her present circumstances. Good luck, Marie.

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