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New book takes a look at the future of the Central Valley
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In 2009, the Great Valley Center pulled out a crystal ball and asked five notable speakers to take a look into the future.

The Great Valley Center asked, where would the Valley be in the year 2020? What could be done to create a better, more sustainable future?

The speakers’ responses at the 2009 annual conference in Sacramento – looking forward to the future of transportation, agriculture, and water – were nothing short of groundbreaking; chock full of ideas to lead the Valley forward. The new book “2020: Visions for the Central Valley,” edited by Amy Moffat, gathers the transcripts of those visionary speeches.

“The stakes are enormously high for the Central Valley,” said Moffat, who serves as Great Valley Center director of Research and Communications. “While all five speakers point out serious challenges and discouraging concerns, they are also deeply optimistic that any action taken today will lead the Central Valley toward a better future.”

The speakers whose presentations are included in the book are nothing short of experts in their respective fields.

The book opens with a transcript of “The Sustainability Imperative,” a speech delivered by L. Hunter Lovins, founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions. The speech lays the groundwork for the rest of the book, explaining the Valley’s need to reach a sustainable balance between growth and agriculture.

A. G. Kawamura, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, goes on to address the future of farming in greater detail through his speech “A Thriving Agriculture in the Twenty-First Century.” Water, crucial to farmers, residents, and wildlife alike, is discussed by Jeff Mount, director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, in a section called “The Delta’s Age of Reason.”

Quentin Kopp, the former chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, addresses the Valley’s aging transportation infrastructure and “Designing the Transportation of the Future.” The Valley’s dire lack of health care is taken up by Richard Pan, pediatrician at the UC Davis Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care.

Following each transcript, the book lists ways readers can help make the Valley sustainable. The book also includes resources for readers interested in locating additional information on the topics, along with discussion questions encouraging discussion on everyday choices that can drastically affect the valley.

According to the Great Valley Center, the texts included in “2020: Visions for the Central Valley” will help local governments, non-profits, business leaders, and academics plan for another decade of unprecedented growth in a sustainable manner.

“2020: Visions for the Central Valley” is available through bookstores or online at

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.