The Science of Sustainability

Donovan Rittenbach

Donovan Rittenbach

Donovan Rittenbach is the former Web Manager for the California Academy of Sciences. He has a Master's in Multimedia, and 13 years of industry experience. He knows evolution is both a fact and a theory, because of caterpillars, butterflies and fossils. Donovan believes in miracles because he is one. He is confident that reality-based spirituality must combine with Science to lead us safely through the most dangerous time in human history.

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Donovan Rittenbach's Latest Posts

Not 'The Big One' Yet

Not 'The Big One' Yet

Geologists say it's likely that a major earthquake will hit the Bay Area sometime in the next 25 years. I woke up to what sounded like mumbling coming from my radio. I thought maybe the alarm had gone off, but it was only 4:40 a.m. and I get up at 6. I lay listening to […]

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The Wisdom of the Redwood

The Wisdom of the Redwood

The timeline on the redwood cross section said it had been born when the Roman Empire was at the height of its power, around 100 A.D. I was standing in front of a 30-foot-wide tree trunk in the Northern Californian logging town of Fort Bragg. Tiny little monkey brains, like mine, find it difficult to […]

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Explosive Beetles Hack Ant Colonies for Royal Treatment

Explosive Beetles Hack Ant Colonies for Royal Treatment

Guest blogging for Donovan is Dr. Wendy Moore of the California Academy of Sciences. With roughly 350,000 described species, beetles are without a doubt one of the most successful forms of life on Earth. Many beetle species use chemicals to defend themselves, but the true masters of chemical defense are the Bombardier Beetles which deliver […]

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Ray's 50-year love affair with 'dem bones

Ray's 50-year love affair with 'dem bones

Photo Dong Lin, California Academy of SciencesWhat would you do if you saw an old guy, with a weather-beaten face and white hair, carving the flesh off the skulls of a dead seal lying in the sand on Ocean Beach, in San Francisco? Would you call the police? If you did, they probably wouldn't care, […]

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Green Irony

Green Irony

Our Executive Director, here at the California Academy of Sciences, recently informed the staff that we are not to provide guests with disposable bottles of water, because it's not sustainable. This simple, but challenging, edict got me thinking about the irony of being green. After all, the Earth has been green for billions of years. […]

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The Dark Side of Green

The Dark Side of Green

One of our goals at the California Academy of Sciences is to be as green and sustainable as humanly possible. We don't just want to talk about it. We want to live it. But, what we are finding is that going green sounds good on paper, but it can have unintended consequences. Such was the […]

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Road-tripping the coastal landscape

Road-tripping the coastal landscape

Too many Americans are falling victim to inertia. It’s so hard to get out of our house when we could be sucked in video games or TV. Unfortunately, this is leading to a nationwide epidemic of obesity, according to the Surgeon General. My solution to this problem is to get out and have more, real-life […]

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The Diablo is in the details

The Diablo is in the details

Students play in caves at rock city. Photo by Jason StalterMount Diablo is a monstrous conniption fit of a geological formation that erupted into Northern California’s landscape 165 million years ago. It juts out of nowhere in the gentle rolling curves of a line of hills that runs from San Jose up to Martinez. At […]

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Cemeteries Aren't Just For Dead People

Cemeteries Aren't Just For Dead People

One of my favorite places for "walkies" is in the cemetery. Normally that would be weird, but if you are at Oakland’s Mountain View Cemetery, it’s ultra-cool. After all, everybody knows history has geek chic and what a better place to contemplate the past than a graveyard? If you are in the area, stop by […]

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Mysterious hot springs, green flashes in the shadow of Mt. Tam

Mysterious hot springs, green flashes in the shadow of Mt. Tam

It all started when I met a member of Earth First! in an AOL chat room back around 1993. (And no, they weren’t recruiting me to chain myself to bulldozers and firebomb humvee dealerships). We were discussing Newt Gingrich's "Contract on America," and how they were trying to wipe out so much environmental progress. She […]

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Albany Bulb – A different kind of wilderness

Albany Bulb – A different kind of wilderness

I remember the first time I saw the "Sniff" paintings at the Albany Bulb. They were on sheets of plywood. Each was painted with surrealistic scenes such as drunken wolves driving hot rods and debauchery in the land of the dead. Each was signed by the mysterious art collective "Sniff." At least 15 of them […]

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The new Cal Academy building: laying down roots

The new Cal Academy building: laying down roots

At no other time, in the short history of our species, have humans faced greater hurdles to our continued existence. We are threatened on all sides by disasters of our own making including global warming, the imminent collapse of the ocean’s fisheries, and the destruction of the world’s rainforests. That’s why it’s the perfect time […]

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