Environment

Oakland North’s 2019 year in review — our top stories

2019 brought a new group of student reporters to Oakland North from across the country and the globe. We covered a city that is always changing, but where tensions about city finances, policing, housing and the fate of the public schools run deep. We also produced three new episodes of our Tales of Two Cities podcast, which covers audio stories from Oakland and Richmond in collaboration with our sister site, Richmond Confidential. Click here to check out all episodes of the Tales of…

Donated and forgotten: The problem with second-hand clothes

The Goodwill’s Greater East Bay headquarters on International Boulevard is a clothing reseller’s dream and a garbage system nightmare. This block-long facility is, despite its size, an inconspicuous treasure trove for resellers sifting for secondhand goods they will leave with by the cartload. The white cinderblock interior has an almost clinical feel: Clothes lie sprawled in plastic carts the size of operating tables, pushed together in a maze that only the regulars know how to navigate. This kind of retail…

Small batch composters are digging deep to find big waste solutions

At Bishop O’Dowd High School in the Oakland hills, gardener Ned Lange is making small-batch vermicompost from the school’s food scraps. He takes scraps like leafy greens, peels, and stems that won’t make it into the cooked lunch, and blends them into a smoothie that he feeds into an 8-by-4-foot corrugated steel bin that is home to 100 pounds of worms. He lifts the roof off and carefully peels back pages of damp newspaper that are beginning to disintegrate. Underneath,…

USDA policy changes threaten SNAP eligibility

About one quarter of Californians who use Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits would lose or decrease their benefits if the USDA Food and Nutrition Service enacts a proposed rule change to the program.

New study reveals extreme levels of microplastics in San Francisco Bay

A study carried out over three years in the San Francisco Bay revealed high levels of microplastics in stormwater, treated wastewater, surface water, and sediment. The report discovered an important previously unknown source of pollution: degrading tires. It also found that stormwater has particularly high microplastic levels, suggesting the need for better infrastructure to filter stormwater.