Responses to a changing environment
By David Goldstein, Ventura County PWA, IWMD

Some people are not eager to respond to climate change in any way other than turning up their air conditioners. Others will adapt to climate change through conservation and will work to slow or prevent additional climate change.

Free gardening classes

In the spirit of “think globally, act locally,” residents of Ventura County are learning how to garden with an eye on the environment; they are cutting their water use and producing food, both of which are responses to our changing environment.

The Ventura County Public Works Agency’s Watershed Protection District (VCPWA WPD), the Green Gardens Group Inc. (G3) and the Ventura Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation are hosting free, interactive Watershed Friendly Garden Workshops through October and into November. All classes are on Saturdays, from 9 a.m. until noon. Some classes are at Meiners Oaks Elementary School near Ojai, and other classes are at Oak Park High School. These classes are led by certified landscape professionals and landscape architects who have undergone specialized training specific to the watershed-friendly approach to landscaping, and they are eager to share their knowledge with you.

The next class, on Saturday, Oct. 1 in Meiners Oaks, is a landscape design seminar. Bring a ¼-inch scale drawing of your property (a site plan) to this class for more specific ideas for your landscape.
The landscape design seminar will be repeated in Oak Park on Oct. 8, but before then, on Oct. 1, Oak Park High School will host “How to Evaluate Your Site.” A “Lawn Be Gone” workshop will be presented in Meiners Oaks on Oct. 5 and in Oak Park on Oct. 29. A workshop on the more general topic of “How to Plant and Irrigate” will be offered on Oct. 22 in Meiners Oaks.

These events are free, but registration is required as seating is limited, so go to for the schedule, class details and registration.

David Laak, Water Quality Planner, Ventura County Watershed Protection District, contributed text to the above portion of this column

Opportunities to make a difference

Changing the types of products our society manufactures is another way to both adapt to climate change and work toward limiting the change. If enough consumers apply environmental principles to their purchases, manufacturers will compete to meet environmental goals. Also, if enough people who keep their “eye on the environment” build their careers in the manufacturing sector, more products might be made with environmentally beneficial attributes, even if these products are marketed based on other selling points.

Several opportunities for local students to learn about careers in manufacturing will be presented at events during the entire week surrounding National Manufacturing Day on Oct.7.

On Oct. 5, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Ventura College’s Applied Science Center, a program presented by VC Innovates will encourage students, parents and teachers to explore careers in manufacturing. The event, titled “MADE in VC,” will showcase local manufacturing and can help you “discover how you can study and get a job in manufacturing — from design to product” (in the words of the promotional flier). Other attractions for this event include dinner for the first 200 attendees and keynote speaker Jeremy Bout, who produces the television show Edge Factor Live. RSVP is required at

Also as part of National Manufacturing Day, several members of the Manufacturing Roundtable of Ventura County are offering facility tours and presentations to high school students from Oct. 3 through Oct. 7. For more information about these events and the Manufacturing Roundtable of Ventura County, contact Patrick Newburn at 477-5306 or

Even if you do not attend one of the events, you can celebrate manufacturing by doing something you might not normally associate with an industrial activity. You can recycle.

Recycling is the first step in a manufacturing process; it is a method of supplying raw material to industry. Recycling enables corporations to mine the urban waste stream instead of extracting resources from nature. The resources provided by recycling are also pre-refined, so manufacturers use less energy and create less pollution when they melt, mulch, pulp or otherwise transform discards into new products. As an added benefit, using recycled content in manufacturing sustains three to 11 times more jobs than the collection and disposal of recyclable material, according to data from the California Department of Resources Recovery and Recycling.

For more information:

Saving our coast with underwater forests

Climate change may affect our coast through sea level rise and by harming sea life. Ocean acidification originating from elevated amounts of atmospheric CO2 dissolving in the ocean is one problem, and warmer water holding less oxygen is another problem, both resulting from climate change. These are especially damaging to wildlife when combined with decreasing oxygen levels in the water due to rapid growth of microbial populations fueled by nutrient runoff (pollution) from fertilizer on farms, according to Dr. Sean Anderson, a professor of environmental science and resource management at CSU, Channel Islands.

These threats were summarized in last April’s West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel report. To address these problems, the report recommends restoring seagrass and kelp forests.

At the California Islands Symposium, Oct. 3-7 at the Ventura Marriott, Ventura County’s ocean-lovers can help organize Coastal Resilience and Restoration Districts focused on integrating living shorelines with giant kelp. Keep your eye on the environment at a district organizing kick-off meeting at 6 p.m., on Tuesday, Oct. 8 at the Ventura Marriott during the California Islands Symposium.

Dr. Sean Anderson, a professor of environmental science and resource management at CSU, Channel Islands, and ocean foresters Mark Capron and Mohammed Hasan contributed text for this portion of the article.