Surfers became expert advocates for gardening

Last Sunday, friends and family gathered at the home of Paul Herzog, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 49. Similar to the “paddle out” gathering earlier this month, where surfers formed a circle of both surfboards and people in the water in memory of Herzog, the conversations quickly turned to Herzog’s environmental legacy.

For many years, Herzog worked for Surfrider, an organization dedicated to environmental advocacy, action and education. The local chapter of the organization holds regular beach cleanup events, participates in land-use and other civic planning processes, and conducts public outreach, sometimes in partnership with public agencies such as the Ventura County Watershed Protection District. Herzog was the national coordinator of the Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Gardens Program.

Through Herzog’s leadership, surfers and their advocates became experts at “giving CPR” to gardens. In this case, CPR stands for conservation, permeability and retention of water in the land.

Conservation includes use of mulch to retain soil moisture and prevent erosion. Conservation also includes saving native habitat through use of indigenous plants. Permeability is addressed through gaps in hard surfaces to absorb and filter water runoff. Retention of runoff means keeping water on-site to irrigate plants, replenish creeks and groundwater, and prevent flooding downstream.

Following Herzog’s leadership, Surfrider conserved fresh water on land and prevented pollution from washing into the ocean. Its work guided homeowners and public agencies in implementation of ocean-friendly gardening practices.

A celebration of life in memory of Paul Herzog will be held at TreePeople in Beverly Hills on Aug. 6 at 10 a.m.A Celebration of Paul Herzog’s Life is scheduled for the MORNING of Sunday August 6th at TreePeople Conference Center in Los Angeles (Beverly Hills).

TREEPEOPLE is located at 12601 Mulholland Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Parking is somewhat limited, so carpooling is encouraged.

Save resources and comply with green building rules

The Central Coast chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council developed a BuildSMART trailer that it staffs at public events throughout the county. This communicates an important message by enabling potential customers to see and handle items such as low-flow shower heads, automated irrigation controllers and environmentally friendly floorings like linoleum, bamboo and cork flooring. The message is, if you use a licensed contractor, you get access to a variety of “best practices.”

Licensed contractors meet through organizations like the Green Building Council to share tips for saving energy, conserving resources and reducing indoor air pollution, as illustrated by the products featured in the mobile trailer display. Because they are accountable to the contractor’s licensing board, they also are more likely than their nonlicensed competitors to obtain permits and follow regulations.

Compliance with rules, like California Green Building Standards, can increase costs or slow work, but the time and cost of contractors doing home improvement right is likely to save their customers time and money in the long run. Even years after a project is completed, unpermitted construction may be discovered by regulators through the complaints of neighbors, during the sale of a home, or by other means, and fines or demolition may be required. Also, sometimes practices such as mandatory construction debris recycling can save money.

Use a licensed contractor and take an active role in your home improvement project to access the latest in green technology, meet requirements and give yourself the assurance of proper permitting.

 Expert instruction for accessing incentives

The day this issue hits newsstands, July 27, solar power experts coordinated by the Community Environmental Council will present a free workshop on going solar and will highlight the Solarize Ventura County group purchase discounts. This workshop, at the Oak View Park and Resource Center, 555 Mahoney Ave., will begin at 6 p.m. 

The next workshop will be on Aug. 2, at 6 p.m. in English and at 7 p.m. in Spanish, at the city of Oxnard Community Room, 300 W. Third St., first floor.

In Thousand Oaks, on Aug. 16 at 6 p.m., the workshop will move to the Thousand Oaks Library,
1401 E. Janss Road, and Santa Paula will host the workshop on August 21 at 6 p.m. at the Blanchard/Santa Paula Community Library, 119 N. Eighth St.

The final workshop will be Aug. 22, 6 p.m., at the Newbury Park Library.

To help homeowners decide whether to go solar, experts can help with value calculations, comparing the current electricity costs to the upfront cost of a solar system, among other factors, such as the expected increase in energy costs, the benefits of net energy metering and the 30 percent federal tax credit. Advice is also available on issues such as whether to purchase the system outright, finance the system or enter into a power purchase agreement with a solar company.

According to the National Renewable Energy Lab, residential solar power system prices have decreased by almost 60 percent over the last six years.  Attending a workshop can help you decide whether now is the time to go solar.

More information:

April Price of the Community Environmental Council provided text regarding solar workshops.