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May 29, 2017
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The annual Avenue of Flags May 29 at RP Community Center SSU commencement; one for the history books Problem reaching AT&T last weekend? During Rohnert Park City Council meeting protestors unexpectedly take center stage Vehicle pursuit ends with arrest of 14-year-old Ex RP public safety officer pleads no contest to sex offenses Rancho 2017 top 20 Great turnout for RPPSOA pancake breakfast to help Project Grad Gabriella stole the show Town Hall meeting Sheriff's office releases details on SSU officer involved shooting A true celebration of ‘Cinco de Mayo’ Project Grad help in full swing Richard Crane Elementary School Suspect arrested after evading a Cotati Peace Officer Emiri Nomura awarded scholarship Shopping carts ran amok in Cotati last Saturday Ricardo Oliva receives ‘Coach of the year’ for the Northern District Sonoma State University equestrians jump with joy on their way to Kentucky Double Decker Lanes hosts the QubicaAMF Boys and Girl Club employee arrested for child endangerment Armed suspect arrested after resistance RP girl accosted while walking to school And they're off. . . Saddle Up and Ride Community quickly rallies for Project Grad Cotati opposes SB 618 Rohnert Park City Council to host Town Hall meeting on May 3 Graton Tribe makes good on payments Auto burglar arrested by Cotati Police A bit of Uganda A mission to help RP to replace old trees Engineering with Legos at the Ray Miller Community room Bunkers at Foxtail set for repairs RP man arrested for attempted murder CRPUSD OKs two contracts Credo gets used to new digs at SMV Golf Course Drive Crossing concerns may delay SMART train ‘Quiet Zones’ Man busted for DUI after crashing into tree in RP New hands bring subtle changes to Sharing of the Green fundraiser A traditional dance of Japan Shameful time in history RP rejects new self-storage facilities Survey Says: Rohnert Park Residents Love City, but not Traffic Council amends UDSP Body of missing woman found RAFD names part-time fire chief KRCB garners huge windfall from FCC auction Missing Penngrove woman's body found in Marin County Bunfest was hopping with bunny lovers Nonn expected to sue CRPUSD Credo crew marches to new home Cotati delays vote on Valparaiso The Voice enters into 25th year Cotati-reviews midyear budget Two RP Parks getting upgrades A new look for SSU gym RP man reported missing Padre Town Center changes hands Sonoma County to take a look at immigration issue Bomb scare closes RCHS Local Tech High student chosen for Scholars program RP to conduct survey Man arrested after high-speed chase through 3 cities RP makes changes to city code for ADUs Man gets 11 years in prison for RP knife attack Man who led chase into SF caught Treasurer for Rancho Cotate High Project Grad Arrested for Embezzlement A crab feast at Community Center Taking a pie in her grill RP man busted for possession of meth Cotati OKs water, sewer rate study RP votes to regulate vaping CRPUSD schools now a safe haven for immigrant students RP adds seven to public safety Cotati votes to host shopping cart race Man arrested for attempted murder Defibrillators proving to be invaluable assets Artists ready for art show at library Reilani Peleti Corrections Suspected explosive device at RCHS Seventh-graders in local schools to be taught CPR Voice issues apology to school board, superintendent RP man arrested on drug possession charges

The bright sun’s always the star of the show

By:
May 31, 2012


The recent solar eclipse witnessed throughout Sonoma County on May 20 brought our collective attention toward the sun for an extended period of time, and after the moon completed its passage between the earth and the sun, we all went back to the basic rituals of life. But, more importantly, the sun went back to the basic rituals of making our lives possible through the process of photosynthesis.

The photosynthetic equation, 6H2O + 6CO2, plus sunlight = C6H12O6+6O2+6O2 translates to: six water molecules, plus six carbon dioxide molecules, plus sunlight, make one sugar molecule plus six molecules of oxygen. This assembly line, vital for the existence of life, has been running strong for roughly 3.5 billion years.

We don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the importance of the sun in our daily lives, but without photosynthesis, our very existence would not be possible. The idea that light itself, which possesses unstable characteristics, can transform into a stable form of energy and in turn become energy for other life forms seems rather bizarre upon first inspection, but the first law of thermodynamics sheds light on this subject: “Energy cannot be created or destroyed”…in essence, energy is merely being converted continuously from one form into another.

In the case of photosynthesis, light energy provides the catalyst for the creation of solid energy, also known as matter. This means that light not only illuminates our natural world, but it also animates, and molds it as well. This happens through a two-stage process called light and dark reactions.

The light reactions are light dependent and occur mainly when sunlight is converted into solid or chemical energy called “free energy,” containing molecules and high-energy electron carrying molecules. The dark reactions then use this energy along with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to make sugar.

The sun’s ability to transform the landscape is currently at center stage throughout Sonoma County.

The spring to summer climate brings about a new stroke of nature’s brush as colorful and vibrant tones augment the green lushness created by another important element of photosynthesis called “chlorophyll.” Chlorophyll is essentially a magnesium-based green pigment found in plants that absorb different spectrums of the sun’s wavelength.

Similar to how hemoglobin absorbs different wavelengths of light except for red, and we see it as red, the beautiful green colors of nature are the part of the light spectrum not absorbed by plants and thus reflected back to our eyes as green light. This means photosynthesis works primarily by absorbing blue and red wavelengths, which happen to be the dominant composition of the sun’s spectrum. This is an efficient and convenient partnership that is quite remarkable and worthy of our collective awe and appreciation.

Working along the Laguna de Santa Rosa channel as an intern for the Cotati Creek Critters, I’ve been privileged to have a front row seat to nature’s unique transformations, and there are many opportunities to not only see these transformations, but to interact with them, and sometimes push them toward a restorative state that supports ecological diversity and reflects the entire spectrum of natural and human effort.

Joseph Brockhoff is a musician who has just graduated as an Environmental Studies major at SRJC, including an internship with Cotati Creek Critters.