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Environmental Analysis

Toxic Communities: Black Displacement from Public Housing to Unincorporated Neighborhoods in Postwar Richmond, California

Joanna Ladd ('10); Char Miller

The histories of two predominantly black neighborhoods in Richmond, California demonstrate how the goals of city planners may have shaped segregated housing patterns in the U.S. after WWII. Work in the Kaiser shipyards brought thousands of blacks to Richmond during the war. This is a ten-week investigation into the forces that moved black shipyard workers to relocate from public war worker housing in South Richmond to Parchester Village and North Richmond, unincorporated areas in an industrial corridor on the outskirts of town. Parchester was a planned black development, while North Richmond was comprised mainly of owner-constructed homes. The researcher used a range of sources including Richmond Department of City Planning files, transcripts of oral histories, and her own interviews with longtime residents of the two neighborhoods. Preliminary findings include the suggestion that black Richmonders had to live next to polluting industries because white Richmonders considered the two to be equally toxic.
Funding provided by: Schultz Environmental Studies Award

Soil Ecology of Plant Communities in the Eastern Sierras Near Lee Vining, CA

Michael Mulroy ('10); Dejo Kotevski ('10); Richard Hazlett; Jonathan Wright

The Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains are home to many distinct plant communities. This study focuses on differences in soil properties between 6 different plant communities near Lee Vining in the Eastern Sierras: aspen woodland, aspen-Jeffrey pine woodland, high desert steppe, pinyon pine woodland, meadow-riparian, and Jeffrey pine-mountain mahogany communities. communities are expected to reveal relationships between soil properties and plant community type. In each community, soil pH, bulk density, moisture content, soil color, and relative particle size were measured. Additionally, arthropod diversity was measured in each community. It was found that pinyon pine forest, high desert steppe, and Jeffrey pine communities occur on distinct soil types. Preliminary comparisons between habitats show that moisture content is lower in soils on slopes and higher in areas with riparian vegetation, as would be expected. Bulk density was found to be higher in forest communities on slopes and lower in riparian zones.
Funding provided by: Schultz Environmental Studies Award (MM)

Tapping the Saudi Arabia of Wind: Opportunities and Obstacles to Offshore Wind Energy Development in Maine

Eben Perkins ('11); Richard Hazlett

Maine is at a crossroads in its energy future. With 80 percent of homes in the state heated by oil, the highest percentage in the country, Mainers find themselves addicted to imported energy and without a renewable powered heating alternative for the long, harsh winters. Enter offshore wind into the equation. A relatively unknown technology in the United States, offshore wind farms are currently powering one million homes in Europe. Furthermore, the Gulf of Maine has world class wind resources that could potentially provide double the power production of the state’s current peak electricity demand. Through eight weeks of research conducted in Portland, Maine, which consisted of a literature review and stakeholder interviews, I have identified and focused on the key opportunities and obstacles to successful offshore wind energy development in Maine in the short and long term.
Funding provided by: The Paul K. Richter and Evalyn E. Cook Richter Award


Ashton Wesner ('11); Toni Clark; Rick Hazlett; Rick Worthington

This project included the design, use and maintenance of a small-scale aquaponic system. Development relied on field-work, interviews with botanical specialists, collaboration with local scientists, and interpretation of technological designs. All methods followed an ecocritical, community-centered perspective that aims to create accessible forms of appropriate technology and knowledge. Currently, the system runs in a green-house and consists of a large Tilapia fish-tank, flood tank, and two vegetable beds. A recycled pond-pump circulates water through this closed system, whereby nourishing the vegetables with fish-waste and feeding the fish with plant particles and algae. The experimental construction of this system provided a site for the adaptation of existing plans to distinct environments, thus facilitating the future installation of our own Aquaponic System at Pomona College. Aquaponics allows for precise, organic, and rapid production of food in a controlled and closed environment without the use or distribution of environmentally damaging substances.
Funding provided by: Schultz Environmental Studies Award (AW); Center for Research in Environmental Science and Technology (CREST)

Research at Pomona