Focused Series »

Indo-European Origins
Siberia
Northern California
The Caucasus
Imaginary Geography
Home » Archive by Category

Articles in Northern California

The Mismatch Between Population and Mass Transit In the San Francisco Bay Area

By Martin W. Lewis | March 15, 2012 | 6 Comments

Recent GeoCurrents posts have stressed the environmental and economic desirability of urban intensification in the San Francisco Bay Area based on high-density, pedestrian-oriented housing developments near public transit stations. Today, such fully urban areas are essentially limited to northeastern San Francisco—a very desirable and expensive place. Elsewhere in the Bay Area, density varies from low to moderate.
A variety of “walkability …

Bay Area Rainfall Forecasts—and Results

By Martin W. Lewis | March 16, 2012 |

A recent GeoNote praised the U.S. National Weather Service for its accurate rainfall prediction maps, noting as well the specific forecast that had just been made for northern California’s impending storm. As that storm has passed, it now seems reasonable to ask how well the Weather Service did. The answer: not very, but in a very interesting way. The foreseen …

The Political Contradictions of Anti-Urban NIMBY Activism in California

By Martin W. Lewis | March 19, 2012 | 4 Comments

This final entry on Northern California will conclude the series by elaborating on the previously stated thesis that the local drive to protect urban and inner suburban neighborhoods from development is self-contradictory. Although anti-development activists incline to the left, their land-use policies are actually conservative, undermining their own larger agenda. Earlier posts looked at environmental sustainability and class divergence, contending …

Fantastic Geo-Historical Visualization of California’s Inland Delta

By Martin W. Lewis | June 12, 2012 |

A new interactive website on the changing conditions in California’s inland delta of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers provides one of the best visualizations in historical geography that I have every seen. Produced as a collaborative project of called QUEST, KQED’s science and environment program, the San Francisco Estuary Institute’s Aquatic Science Center, and Stanford University’s Bill Lane Center …

Visualizing California’s Soggy Past

By Nicholas Baldo | June 29, 2012 |

A previous GeoNote highlighted a collaborative effort to map historical changes in California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin RiverDelta. In a similar spirit, the fantasy satellite map shown at left, created by Central Valley geographer Mark Clark and noted by Frank Jacobs, imagines what the entire state might have looked like in 1851. Perhaps the map’s most salient feature is massive Tulare Lake, …

California’s Changing Electoral Geography, Part I

By Martin W. Lewis | November 9, 2012 | 6 Comments

The website of the California Secretary of State provides much valuable information on the recent election, which featured eleven state proposition. But the site also includes the five most pointless electoral maps I have ever seen, maps in which every county is depicted in an identical manner because the ballot initiative in question either carried all counties in the state …

The Republican Postmodern Turn, Silicon Valley, and California’s Political Transformation

By Martin W. Lewis | November 12, 2012 | 2 Comments

The New York Times map of county-level changes in the U.S. presidential vote from 2008 to 2012 shows almost every county in California shifting red in the Republican direction. In most counties, the change was minor. Barack Obama still took California by almost 60 percent of the vote, a figure exceeded (among states) only by Hawaii (70.6%), Vermont (67%), Rhode …

State-Level Secession Movements in the United States: Northern Colorado and Jefferson

By Martin W. Lewis | October 9, 2013 | 30 Comments

The intense political polarization of the United States is most clearly reflected by the dysfunctional nature of the federal government. At a more local scale, it is seen as well in the growing movement to create new states by splitting existing ones. Most of these cases involve the desire of people in rural, conservative counties to secede from the more …

Unnecessary Environmental Destruction from Marijuana Cultivation in the United States

By Martin W. Lewis | October 22, 2013 | 9 Comments

Over the past several years, the campaign for marijuana legalization has surged ahead in the United States. Colorado and Washington have voted for full legalization, and a number of other states now allow the consumption of medical cannabis. Yet the U.S. federal government still regards the substance as a “Schedule 1” drug, more dangerous and less useful than cocaine or …

Tim Draper’s Proposed “Six Californias”

By Martin W. Lewis | January 8, 2014 | 24 Comments

As was noted last October on GeoCurrents, efforts to split U.S. states have been gaining increased attention. Geographer Andrew Shears has made an intriguing map that shows a number of “failed state partition proposals through US history,” posted here. Note that few of the 50 states have never been so challenged. A single map of this type, however, cannot capture …

Minnesota and Northern California: Political Twins or Political Opposites?

By Martin W. Lewis | November 17, 2014 | 6 Comments

Two U.S. states that largely bucked the Republican trend in the 2014 election were Minnesota and California, which count among the “bluest” states in the union. Since 1976, only Minnesota has supported the Democratic candidate in every presidential election. California has more recently entered the Democratic fold, having voted for a Republican presidential candidate as recently as 1988, but in …

Simultaneous Flooding and Drought in California: Human-Caused Climate Change?

By Martin W. Lewis | December 12, 2014 | 3 Comments

Although droughts and floods are generally thought of as opposites, they can occur simultaneously, as droughts tend to be long and cumulative while floods are generally short-lived and episodic. Much of the U.S. state of California currently finds itself in this paradoxical situation. Several storms have hit the state since the beginning of December 2014, and that of December 11-12 …

NPR’s Incomplete Story on “Trimmigants” in the California Marijuana Industry

By Martin W. Lewis | December 17, 2014 | 6 Comments

On December 4, 2014, National Public Radio (NPR) ran an interesting story on a severely underreported matter: international seasonal labor migration to the “Golden Triangle” of marijuana cultivation in northwestern California. This report—“With Harvest Season, ‘Trimmigrants’ Flock To California’s Pot Capital”*—captured many of the more intriguing and important aspects of the phenomenon. But it also missed some significant things and …

Ultimate Hypocrisy?: Indoor Marijuana Growing and the Environmental Movement

By Martin W. Lewis | December 22, 2014 | 3 Comments

Imagine if you will an alternative world in which the leaders of one of our most reviled industries – say tobacco – had just figured out a new way to marginally enhance the quality of their product while significantly boosting their profits, but at a gargantuan cost to the environment. In this hypothetical universe, tobacco researchers discovered that they could …

Cannabis Cultivation, Carbon Budgets, and the Promise of Biochar

By Martin W. Lewis | December 30, 2014 | 4 Comments

(Note: This is the final post in a brief end-of-the-year series on marijuana cultivation. After this series is over, GeoCurrents will take a short break. More conventional posting will resume by the middle of January.)
As is explained in a previous post, most marijuana growing currently carried out in California and neighboring states is environmentally destructive, generating a gargantuan carbon footprint. …

?php get_sidebar(); ?>