Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What to Do with Old Electronics





Union of Concerned Scientists

Rapid advances in technology come with a price: the equally rapid pace of obsolescence. The average lifespan of a computer, for example, will have dropped from 4.5 years in 1992 to approximately two years by 2005.

As a result, "e-waste"—discarded computers, TVs, cell phones, and other electronics—comprises one to four percent of the municipal solid waste stream, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. What's worse, this equipment is often made from non-renewable resources and contains hazardous chemicals including lead, chromium, cadmium, and mercury.

High Home Heating Prices: Issues and Solutions




Union of Concerned Scientists



Over a period of years, we can significantly reduce two of the major causes of this winter’s price increases—the growing demand for natural gas by power plants, and the vulnerability of our energy supply system—by diversifying our energy system with clean, home grown, and more decentralized renewable energy supplies.

Burning Buried Sunshine: Human Consumption Of Ancient Solar Energy




By Jeffrey S. Dukes, Dept of Biology, University of Utah.


Fossil fuels developed from ancient deposits of organic material, and thus can be thought of as a vast store of solar energy from which society meets >80% of its current energy needs. Here, using published biological, geochemical, and industrial data, I estimate the amount of photosynthetically fixed and stored carbon that was required to form the coal, oil, and gas that we are burning today.
Today’s average U.S. Gallon (3.8 L) of gasoline required approximately 90 metric tons of ancient plant matter as precursor material. The fossil fuels burned in 1997 were created from organic matter containing 44 × 1018 g C, which is >400 times the net primary productivity (NPP) of the planet’s current biota. As stores of ancient solar energy decline, humans are likely to use an increasing share of modern solar resources. I conservatively estimate that replacing the energy humans derive from
fossil fuels with energy from modern biomass would require 22% of terrestrial NPP, increasing the human appropriation of this resource by ~50%.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

No Talk and No Action

Why the Montreal climate summit was too painful to watch

by Bill McKibben, Grist Magazine



"Too painful because these are the years when we desperately need to be making progress. Eventually even we will have no choice but to start doing something about climate change. But each new issue of Science and Nature makes it clear that the important time is now -- that the climatic tipping point is nearer than we thought."

Friday, December 09, 2005

It Takes a Neighborhood


Reprinted from SEVEN DAYS newspaper [CITY LIFE section] 9/28/05



Mrs. Turner died last winter, and the 7.5-acre parcel she'd farmed on the eastern edge of Burlington for decades went on the market. Her family sold the property to the Burlington Community Development Corporation -- the first step toward the construction of a 33-unit co-housing development. Projects of this sort typically raise a host of "not in my backyard" objections. The design and permitting process surrounding this one, in my back yard, has attracted a different sort of attention. Case in point: this celebratory "perennial moving party."

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Cycle of Life


by Jim Doherty, Common Ground


"Biking is an acquired taste. It takes time to get used to how much fun it is; how much safer it can be to be doing 10 mph in fresh air rather than zero mpg in gridlock fumes. It takes some time to recognize how well biking works to rebuild the strength your body has lost to remote controls, computer mice and the brake and accelerator pedals"

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Grounds for Change


By Brian C. Howard, E Magazine. Posted December 3, 2005 on Alternet.




With more socially and environmentally conscious options in coffee shops and supermarkets, consumers can be sure their cups of joe aren't actually cups of woe.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

BP Forms BP Alternative Energy

Energy Journalist



"BP today announced that it plans to double its investment in alternative and renewable energies to create a new low-carbon power business with the growth potential to deliver revenues of around $6 billion a year within the next decade.

Building on the success of BP Solar -- which expects to hit revenues of $1 billion in 2008 -- BP Alternative Energy will manage an investment program in solar, wind, hydrogen and combined-cycle-gas-turbine (CCGT) power generation, which could amount to $8 billion over the next ten years."

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Battle Lines Set as New York Acts to Cut Emissions




By DANNY HAKIM
Published: November 26, 2005, New York Times



New York is adopting California's ambitious new regulations aimed at cutting automotive emissions of global warming gases, touching off a battle over rules that would sharply reduce carbon dioxide emissions while forcing the auto industry to make vehicles more energy efficient over the next decade

What Happens After Buy Nothing Day?





November 25, 2005 03:57 PM - Kyeann Sayer, San Francisco



Buy Nothing Day and culture jamming in general rely on the idea that people need to be jolted out of their stupors and see the "truth" about overconsumption and media manipulation. But what happens after the sublime Reverend Billy has helped someone "see the light"?

Ancient air bubbles yield greenhouse-gas concerns

By LAURAN NEERGAARD,The Associated Press, Published in The Seattle Times.


"Levels of carbon dioxide have climbed from 280 parts per million two centuries ago to 380 ppm today. Earth's average temperature, meanwhile, increased about 1 degree Fahrenheit in recent decades, a relatively rapid rise. Many climate specialists warn that continued warming could have severe impacts, such as rising sea levels and changing rainfall patterns.""



"that rise is occurring at a speed that "is over a factor of a hundred faster than anything we are seeing in the natural cycles," Stocker added. "It puts the present changes in context."

Yes, Virginia, there is Winter Biking!



Tips from Winter Cyclists



"I'm no cycling guru whose blood has been thickened on arctic expeditions. I'm just an urban bike commuter who, through experience and advice from friends, has gone from being a fair weather to all weather cyclist. The process was gradual. The first winter I didn't invest in special gear; I just piled on what I had. I learned how to ride in a range of weather conditions simply by doing it and watching my friends. Winter biking isn't something difficult, something you need to equip for. The only equipment you really need is the willingness to do it. - Gin Kilgore "

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Electric Bills set to Shock


Scrutiny Hooligans


Time to powerdown, learn to live on less, think before acting, shift the balance with out upsetting the cart, umm...or something like that. Most of my reading says this initial downturn in gasoline prices will only be temporary; basically until cold weather kicks in, and then all bets are off, as to affordability. We'll see, I suppose..

Saving Energy: 101 Ways to Save



Powerhouse



It may not seem like using a compact fluorescent light bulb or fixing a leaky faucet will do much to reduce your energy costs - or protect the environment.

But if every household practiced just a few simple conservation ideas like the 101 easy ways to save below, we could reduce energy consumption by a significant amount.

All it takes is a few minutes each month, and you'll notice a difference - and make a difference!

Peak Natural Gas



November 19, 2005 04:11 PM - Michael G. Richard, Ottawa


Natural gas, on the other hand, flows a lot more easily, and normally does not have a lot of the constraints that producing oil has. Thus, if your pipeline can handle the flow, and there is a demand, the gas field can be drained much more rapidly, with a consequent dramatically more rapid conclusion to the flow. As Dr Campbell pointed out fields may last just months, and then "boom" they are gone.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Millions Face Glacier Catastrophe

Published on Sunday, November 20, 2005 by the Observer/UK, Posted on Commondreams.



Ghat was destroyed when a lake, high in the Himalayas, burst its banks. Swollen with glacier meltwaters, its walls of rock and ice had suddenly disintegrated. Several million cubic metres of water crashed down the mountain.

When Ghat was destroyed, in 1985, such incidents were rare - but not any more. Last week, scientists revealed that there has been a tenfold jump in such catastrophes in the past two decades, the result of global warming. Himalayan glacier lakes are filling up with more and more melted ice and 24 of them are now poised to burst their banks in Bhutan, with a similar number at risk in Nepal.

But that is just the beginning, a report in Nature said last week. Future disasters around the Himalayas will include 'floods, droughts, land erosion, biodiversity loss and changes in rainfall and the monsoon'.

The roof of the world is changing, as can be seen by Nepal's Khumbu glacier, where Hillary and Tenzing began their 1953 Everest expedition. It has retreated three miles since their ascent. Almost 95 per cent of Himalayan glaciers are also shrinking - and that kind of ice loss has profound implications, not just for Nepal and Bhutan, but for surrounding nations, including China, India and Pakistan.

Eventually, the Himalayan glaciers will shrink so much their meltwaters will dry up, say scientists. Catastrophes like Ghat will die out. At the same time, rivers fed by these melted glaciers - such as the Indus, Yellow River and Mekong - will turn to trickles. Drinking and irrigation water will disappear. Hundreds of millions of people will be affected.

The Big Thaw: Global Disaster Will Follow If the Ice Cap on Greenland Melts


Published on Sunday, November 20, 2005 by the lndependent/UK, Posted on Commondreams

Research to be published in a few days' time shows how glaciers that have been stable for centuries have started to shrink dramatically as temperatures in the Arctic have soared with global warming. On top of this, record amounts of the ice cap's surface turned to water this summer.

The two developments - the most alarming manifestations of climate change to date - suggest that the ice cap is melting far more rapidly than scientists had thought, with immense consequences for civilisation and the planet. Its complete disappearance would raise the levels of the world's seas by 20 feet, spelling inundation for London and other coastal cities around the globe, along with much of low-lying countries such as Bangladesh.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Brother, sister plan anti-suburb in Colorado



Friday, November 4, 2005; CNN



"[South Main] is built on the principles of new urbanism, which are nothing new," Jed said. "It's essentially built around basic human needs, including places to work, places to shop, places to gather. The difference is that they're all within walking distance."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I Vant to Drink Your Vatts



The Unwasteful Home, By MATTHEW L. WALD
Published: November 17, 2005, Boston Globe





There are billions of vampires in the United States, drawing more than enough current in the typical house to light a 100-watt light bulb 24/7, according to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, a research arm of the Energy Department.

These silent energy users include the chargers for devices that run on batteries, like cellphones, iPods and personal digital assistants, and all the devices around the house that have adapters because they run on direct current, like answering machines. Some have both batteries and steady power use, like cordless phones. Experts call all those adapters "wall warts." Many deliver in direct current only half as much energy as they suck out of the wall; the rest is wasted.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Avoiding Everyday Toxins


By Marco Visscher, Ode. Posted November 12, 2005.


Without knowing it, 35-year-old Jeremiah Holland lost a lot more than weight when he decided to start seriously exercising two years ago. His racing bike helped him trim down from 118 to 90 kilos (260 to 200 pounds). What Holland could never have suspected was that during that period, he was also ridding his body of something else -- something he never knew was there: polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), perfluoroctane sulfonates (PFOS), phthalates and a host of other unpronounceable chemical substances that are stored in fat -- and that remain in our bodies for a long, long time. Holland would never have been the wiser if he hadn't been chosen as a test subject in a project conducted by the Oakland Tribune, which studied the effect of toxic chemicals in the human body.

The Bernie Bashers Gear Up


By Ruth Conniff,November 14, 2005, The Progressive



Perhaps the most exciting Senate candidate in the nation is the independent, Socialist Congressman from Vermont, Bernie Sanders.

Sanders is the real thing. A champion of his low-income, rural constituents--the dairy farmers and working poor of Vermont--and a star among Burlington progressives, Sanders has a compellingly straightforward way of talking about politics. And he has been tackling the problems that affect working families in a no-nonsense way. He was the first member of Congress to take a busload of constituents across the border to buy drugs in Canada, and he has had frequent, confrontational debates with Alan Greenspan when the former chairman of the Federal Reserve appeared before Congress.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Would You Choose Richmond or Atlanta?





On a recent boadcast of Living on Earth on National Public Radio there was a piece about the foliage in New England this year as being particularly lackluster. The piece was called "Foliage Prognosis: Fair". Host Steve Curwood interviewed Barry Rock at the University of New Hampshire to learn why. He's a professor at the University of New Hampshire in the Complex Systems Research Center. He's also a botanist and a biologist. Among the things that Barry discussed was that he has been working on 100 year estimates of how the earth is expected to warm. They have developed two estimates given current information and trends, one with an increase in 6 degrees and one with an increase in 10 degrees. Based on the 6 degree estimates, we in the northeast can expect the same average temperature as Richmond Virginia. With the 10 degree change, we can expect the same temperature as Altanta Georgia. This of course has been our making and it will profoundly change the place we have come to know as home. These temperature changes will change the flora and fauna that we have come to know. We know that maple trees will not tolerate these changes and will die off migrating to northern climes. Kiss skiing and maple syrup and all that is the character of northern new england good bye.



It is essential that our citizens understand how our current actions are contributing to a future that our children will inherit. Learn how you can reduce your impact on the this problem by taking the Footprint Quiz at the redefining progress website so that you can understand how you can reduce the demands placed on an already overburden ecosystem. Most importantly, what you do effects your home and impacts on the people in your life in subtle and profound ways. Be the change you wish to see.........

Mike

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Zero Footprint House


by Clive Davidson, ZFP Magazine



In the woods of East Sussex, England, sits a house that is so at one with its environment that TV architectural critic Kevin McCloud describes it as “breathing in time to the trees around it”.

Mad Max Meets American Gothic

by Bill Mckibben, Orion Online

Is There a Friendlier Option for the Post-Peak Future?



"Can you feel the mood shifting? I can. A year of spiking speculation about peak oil and the death of suburbia has rattled lots of Americans. Plenty of people suddenly feel that real, civilization-shaking change might be around the next corner. And plenty of them also feel frozen in the headlights, unsure what, if anything, to do about it. Other than wait."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

How to Kick the Oil Habit

Michael D. Lemonick, Time Magezine, 23 October 2005


"It doesn't take a Ph.D. economist to figure out why that's happening--just a stop at the gas station, where prices are roughly 25% higher than they were a year ago, and where, despite a slight easing as the effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita recede, they will probably go higher still before too long. Home heating oil is 50% higher than last year too, and natural gas will probably jump similarly. Those dramatic increases, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said in a speech last week, will create a significant drag on economic growth "from now on."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

No Escape: Thaw Gains Momentum





By ANDREW C. REVKIN Published: October 25, 2005, New York Times






Many scientists say it has taken a long time for them to accept that global warming, partly the result of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, could shrink the Arctic's summer cloak of ice.

But many of those same scientists have concluded that the momentum behind human-caused warming, combined with the region's tendency to amplify change, has put the familiar Arctic past the point of no return.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

MAJOR CORAL BLEACHING EVENT EXPANDS ACROSS CARIBBEAN, SEVERE IN PUERTO RICO AND U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS




NOAA reports that a major coral bleaching event is underway in the Caribbean and may result in significant coral death in much of the region. Currently, the bleaching is centered in waters adjacent to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Reports of bleaching have come in from the Florida Keys and Texas' Flower Garden Banks in the north, to Tobago and Barbados in the southern Antilles, to Panama and Costa Rica in the west.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

12 Steps to Reduce Waste


Sara Eckel iVillage.com



You turn out the lights when you leave the room, and diligently set your bundles of newspapers and rinsed bottles on the curb. But are you doing everything you could to reduce waste? Allen Hershkowitz, PhD, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, says that living an eco-friendly life is easier than you might think. "If you operate efficiently, you both reduce waste and save money. There's really no reason not to do it," says Hershkowitz. Convinced? Here are 12 great ways to get started

U.S. material wealth leads to clutter



By Joseph B. Verrengia, AP Science Writer | October 22, 2005 | Boston Globe




To many observers, clutter reflects the mind-set of the modern household -- overburdened, disorganized and compulsive. To others, clutter is a broader symbol of a ravenous culture dependent on easy credit, piling up debt and consuming a lion's share of the world's resources without considering the consequences.

"People's homes are a reflection of their lives," says Los Angeles psychologist and organizational consultant Peter Walsh. "It is no accident that people have a huge weight problem in this country, and clutter is the same thing. Homes are an orgy of consumption."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

China Could Become the World Leader in Wind Power, says Greenpeace

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, OCTOBER 17, 2005,Greenpeace, Posted in Common Dreams





"China is in a position to become the world leader in wind power, according to a Greenpeace report released today. Wind Guandong, a study of wind power potential in the heavily industrialized Guandong province in southern China, says that by 2020 alone, the region could feasibly produce enough energy from wind turbines to meet the equivalent of Hong Kong’s total current electricity supply"

Sunday, October 16, 2005

We must reinvent ourselves

Jurriaan Kamp,
This article appeared in Ode issue: 27




"...changing the individual is still the basis for changing society. “The new world cannot be designed through laws or institutions,” Ferguson says. “Society is the sum of our assumptions and behaviours. Renewal can only be realized through inner revolution. The world will change when we change........."

You Do What You Eat

By Marco Visscher, Ode. Posted September 8, Alternet.



"Forget tougher punishments and hiring more police. The solution to crime and violence is on your dinner plate."



".....Several years later, Bretthauer took the job after seeing that the atmosphere at the school had changed profoundly. Today he describes the students as "calm and well-behaved" in a new video documentary, Impact of Fresh, Healthy Foods on Learning and Behavior. Fights and offensive behavior are extremely rare and the police officer is no longer needed. What happened?

A glance through the halls at Appleton Central Alternative provides the answer. The vending machines have been replaced by water coolers. The lunchroom took hamburgers and french fries off the menu, making room for fresh vegetables and fruits, whole-grain bread and a salad bar.

Is that all? Yes, that's all. Principal LuAnn Coenen is still surprised when she speaks of the "astonishing" changes at the school since she decided to drastically alter the offering of food and drinks eight years ago: "I don't have the vandalism. I don't have the litter. I don't have the need for high security.".............

Solar Energy Project



Ross Nizle, student at University of Vermont


The D350 Solar Energy Project was a concept I came up with shortly after purchasing renewable energy credits to offset any emissions resulting from the production of electricity. While I could offset the suite's impact, wouldn't it be even better if we could generate our own clean electricity?

With the idea of creating a system to meet the basic electrical needs of my Apple Powerbook G4, iPod, cell phone, and Palm Pilot, I researched and priced out a system, ordered it and set it up. The challenge with the system was not building a solar energy system, but where I was building it: in a college dorm room. I could not make any structual modications to the building, I had no power tools - or any tools, for that matter, and also knew that I would have move the system every few months. Everything I needed - tools included, needed to be purchased and I had to work around the needs of others that I lived with, as well as my own already busy schedule. Therefore, "Installation" is not only how I wired the project, but the adventures and trials I had to go through before I could even begin screwing planks together or connecting wires.

The "About the Project" has an overview of how I researched and built the system. "System setup" has a diagram of how the system is wired and how it functions, and the "Photos" page is self explanatory.

You can see the panel if you walk by the D-Building, it's on the balcony of our suite. If you are interested in seeing the system in greater detail, or have any questions about it, feel free to send me an e-mail at ross.nizlek@uvm.edu. As long as I'm free, I'm always welcome to having vistors come by and look at the system. It's purpose is to educate on the basics of small scale renewable energy generation as much as it is to generate clean electricty for my needs.

I would like to thank and highly recommend Sundance Solar for anyone else thinking of a similar project. Their materials, support and staff were excellent - without them, the D350 project would likely have been just another project shelved away in my mind, rather than a functioning energy generating system.

Also, for more solar energy links, you can check out UVM's 5kw solar electric system, with real time online monitoring.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The peak oil problem We may be running out sooner than we think

by Greg Pahl, Rutland Herald, October 13, 2005




A Feb. 8, 2005, report prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy titled "The Mitigation of the Peaking of World Oil Production" puts it this way, "The world has never faced a problem like this. Without massive mitigation more than a decade before the fact, the problem will be pervasive and will not be temporary. Previous energy transitions were gradual and evolutionary. Oil peaking will be abrupt and revolutionary."

Chilling Effects of Climate Change in the Antarctic




Published on Thursday, October 13, 2005 by Inter Press Service by Gustavo González posted on Common Dreams



According to the Argentine Antarctic Institute, in September - the start of the southern hemisphere spring - the hole in the ozone layer reached 28 million square kilometres, representing an eight percent increase from 2004. In addition, the ozone value dropped from 95 to 87 Dobson Units (a measure of the "thickness" of the ozone layer, with 220 units considered the acceptable lower limit).

Survivor's guide to the energy crisis

By Jeremy Rifkin | October 13, 2005


It appears that the president and his team do not understand the enormity of the energy crisis facing the United States and the world. The White House clearly needs guidance. The president should download the just published European Union Green Paper on Energy Efficiency (europa.eu.int/comm/energy/efficiency/index_en.htm). The paper lays out a detailed survivor's guide, a roadmap of what every individual, family, community, and country -- including the United States -- can do to cushion the cost shock of rising oil prices.


According to the report, the European member states alone could save at least 20 percent of their present energy consumption for a net savings of 60 billion euros per year, by enacting tough energy conservation programs across European society -- in homes, commercial buildings, factories, and transport. The EU report says the United States could save far more with widespread adoption of energy conservation practices since the United States currently wastes approximately 50 percent more energy than the European Union to produce one unit of GDP.

What Part of "Global Warming" Do We Not Get?

by Bill McKibben,Published on Thursday, October 13, 2005 by CommonDreams.org



"So far human beings have increased the planet's temperature about 1 degree Fahrenheit. Unless we do everything possible, as quickly as possible, to shift away from fossil fuels, scientists say we will warm the planet another 5 degrees before the century's end. So imagine all those numbers multiplied by five."

Hunger For Natural Gas




By Stan Cox, AlterNet. Posted October 12, 2005.



Vaclav Smil, distinguished professor at the University of Manitoba and author of the 2004 book Enriching the Earth: Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch and the Transformation of World Food Production, has demonstrated the global food system's startling degree of dependence on nitrogen fertilization. Using simple math -- the kind you can do in your head if there's no calculator handy -- Smil showed that 40 percent of the protein in human bodies, planet-wide, would not exist without the application of synthetic nitrogen to crops during most of the 20th century.

"That means that without the use of industrially produced nitrogen fertilizer, about 2.5 billion people out of today's world population of 6.2 billion simply could never have existed."


"If farming depended solely on naturally occurring and recycled nitrogen fertility, the planet's cropped acreage could feed only about 50 percent of the human population at today's improved nutrition levels, according to Smil. But absolute dependence on synthetic nitrogen is geographically lopsided -- it's largely in countries with a high human-cropland ratio that survival hinges on nitrogen fertilizer. This includes India, Indonesia, and China, where four in 10 human beings on Earth reside."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Question for Journalists: How Do We Cover Penguins and the Politics of Denial?




by Bill Moyers
Keynote Speech to the Society of Environmental Journalists Convention
Austin, Texas - October 1, 2005





" So if the environmental movement is pronounced dead, it won't be from self-inflicted wounds. We don't blame slavery on the slaves, the Trail of Tears on the Cherokees, or the Srebrenica massacre on the bodies in the grave. No, the lethal threat to the environmental movement comes from the predatory power of money and the pathological enmity of rightwing ideology."

50m environmental refugees by end of decade, UN warns

David Adam, environment correspondent
Wednesday October 12, 2005
The Guardian




Rising sea levels, desertification and shrinking freshwater supplies will create up to 50 million environmental refugees by the end of the decade, experts warn today. Janos Bogardi, director of the Institute for Environment and Human Security at the United Nations University in Bonn, said creeping environmental deterioration already displaced up to 10 million people a year, and the situation would get worse.

Political winds: Vermont falters in a gale of opposition to wind power


By Shay Totten | Vermont Guardian



Vermont has few wind turbines and remains a relative footnote in wind power history —and ongoing opposition from citizens groups and a lack of support from Gov. Jim Douglas may keep it that way.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The truth about global warming



Tuesday, October 11, 2005, By Sandi Doughton Seattle Times staff reporter.



"The consensus is most clearly embodied in the reports of the 100-nation Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), established by the United Nations in 1988. Every five to six years, the panel evaluates the science and issues voluminous reports reviewed by more than 2,000 scientists and every member government, including the United States.



The early reports reflected the squishy state of the science, but by 2001, the conclusion was unequivocal: "There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities."




Stunned by the strong language, the Bush administration asked the prestigious National Academy of Sciences to evaluate the international group's work. The UW's Wallace served on the academy's panel, which assured the president the IPCC wasn't exaggerating.



The next IPCC report is due in 2007. Among the new evidence it will include are the deepest ice cores ever drilled, which show carbon-dioxide levels are higher now than any time in the past 650,000 years.



In the history of science, no subject has been as meticulously reviewed and debated as global warming, said science historian Spencer Weart, author of "The Discovery of Global Warming" and director of the Center for History of Physics.



"The most important thing to realize is that most scientists didn't originally believe in global warming," he said. "They were dragged — reluctant step by step — by the facts."

Fearing Heat Costs, Many Take Preventive Action




By PAM BELLUCK and SARAH KERSHAW
Published: October 11, 2005, NY Times.




"People who heat their homes with natural gas will pay an average of 46 percent more this winter, with costs in some regions, like the Midwest, expected to be as high as 71 percent more, according to forecasts issued last month by the Department of Energy. Heating oil costs are expected to go up an average of 31 percent. And those figures were released before Hurricane Katrina made the situation worse.

Now, people across the country, as well as state and local governments and school districts, are scrambling to respond. Some are turning away from gas and oil, buying wood stoves, wood-pellet stoves, even corn-burning stoves. Others are replacing windows, buying carpets, adding insulation. Some are rushing to invest in alternative energies like solar, geothermal or biodiesel. And many are tightening their budgets."

PetroCollapse New York Conference

Remarks by James Howard Kunstler,October 5, 2005.
Author of The Long Emergency




"In the waning months of 2005, our failure to face the problems before us as a society is a wondrous thing to behold. Never before in American history have the public and its leaders shown such a lack of resolve, or even interest, in circumstances that will change forever how we live.

Even the greatest convulsion in our national experience, the Civil War, was preceded by years of talk, if not action. But in 2005 we barely have enough talk about what is happening to add up to a public conversation. We're too busy following Paris Hilton and Michael Jackson, or the NASCAR rankings, or the exploits of Donald Trump. We're immersed in a national personality freak show soap opera, with a side order of sports 24-7.

Our failure to pay attention to what is important is unprecedented, even supernatural.

This is true even at the supposedly highest level. The news section of last Sunday's New York Times did not contain one story about oil or gas - a week after Hurricane Rita destroyed or damaged hundreds of drilling rigs and production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico - which any thought person can see leading directly to a winter of hardship for many Americans who can barely afford to heat their homes - and the information about the damage around the Gulf was still just then coming in."

Monday, October 10, 2005

The High Price of Gasoline Sends Shoppers to the Web



By BOB TEDESCHI
Published: October 10, 2005, NY Times




Online shopping sites, already on a roll, are getting help from the high price of gasoline, which is prompting untold numbers of consumers to boot up their PC's instead of driving their S.U.V.'s to the mall.

As Polar Ice Turns to Water, Dreams of Treasure Abound




By CLIFFORD KRAUSS, STEVEN LEE MYERS, ANDREW C. REVKIN and SIMON ROMERO
Published: October 10, 2005, NY Times.





" the Arctic is undergoing nothing less than a great rush for virgin territory and natural resources worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Even before the polar ice began shrinking more each summer, countries were pushing into the frigid Barents Sea, lured by undersea oil and gas fields and emboldened by advances in technology. But now, as thinning ice stands to simplify construction of drilling rigs, exploration is likely to move even farther north."

Concentrated Solar Thermal Power - Now!

October 7, 2005 Greenpeace



Solar thermal power is a relatively new technology which has already shown enormous promise. With few environmental impacts and a massive resource, it offers a comparable opportunity to the sunniest countries of the world as offshore wind farms are currently offering to European nations with the windiest shorelines. By 2040 more than 5% of the world’s electricity demand could be satisfied by solar thermal power

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Dalai Lama



The Dalai Lama on China, Violence and Hatred. Mother Jones Magazine,Interviewed By Robert Thurman - November/December 1997 Issue



The antidote to hatred in the heart, the source of violence, is tolerance. Tolerance is an important virtue of bodhisattvas [enlightened heroes and heroines] -- it enables you to refrain from reacting angrily to the harm inflicted on you by others. You could call this practice "inner disarmament," in that a well-developed tolerance makes you free from the compulsion to counterattack. For the same reason, we also call tolerance the "best armor," since it protects you from being conquered by hatred itself.

Climate Change and Pollution are Killing Millions, Says Study

John Vidal, environment editor, The Guardian,
Thursday October 6, 2005




Climate change and pollution are killing millions, says study


· Poor sanitation to blame, says World Bank report

· Economic growth stalled by environmental factors






Almost a fifth of all ill health in poor countries and millions of deaths can be attributed to environmental factors, including climate change and pollution, according to a report from the World Bank.


Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene as well as indoor and outdoor air pollution are all said to be killing people and preventing economic development. In addition, says the bank, increasing soil pollution, pesticides, hazardous waste and chemicals in food are significantly affecting health and economies.


More controversially, the report, released yesterday in New York, links cancers to environmental conditions and says global warming has a major impact on health. "For almost all forms of cancer, the risk of contracting this disease can be reduced if physical environments are safe for human habitation and food items are safe for consumption," says the report.

Animals 'Hit by Global Warming'

Published on Thursday, October 6, 2005 by the BBC News
by Tim Hirsch, Posted on Common Dreams




Climate change could lead to the extinction of many animals including migratory birds, says a report commissioned by the UK government.


Habitat for seals is disappearing

Melting ice, spreading deserts and the impact of warm seas on the sex of turtles are among threats identified.

The report is being launched at a meeting of EU nature conservation chiefs in Scotland.

It says that warming has already changed the migration routes of some birds and other animals.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Popularity of Public Transportation Increasing in US



October 4, 2005 05:43 AM - Michael G. Richard, Ottawa, Posted on Treehugger

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) reports that the ridership of public transportation has increased in the US. "Increased use of public transportation is the single most effective way to reduce America's energy consumption, and it does not require any new taxes, government mandates or regulations," said PTA president William W. Millar. "With today's growing concern about energy security, transit is emerging as a critical part of the solution."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A New Measure of Well-Being From a Happy Little Kingdom





By ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: October 4, 2005, New York Times




What is happiness? In the United States and in many other industrialized countries, it is often equated with money.

Economists measure consumer confidence on the assumption that the resulting figure says something about progress and public welfare. The gross domestic product, or G.D.P., is routinely used as shorthand for the well-being of a nation. But the small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has been trying out a different idea.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Bicycle sales boom in US amid rising gas prices

Yahoo, News


WASHINGTON (AFP) - More bicycles than cars have been sold in the United States over the past 12 months, with rising gas prices prompting commuters to opt for two wheels instead of four.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Melting Planet: Species are Dying Out Faster Than We Have Dared Recognize, Scientists Will Warn This Week

by Andrew Buncombe in Anchorage and Severin Carrell in London,Published on Sunday, October 2, 2005 by the lndependent/UK posted on Common Dreams



The erosion of polar ice is the first break in a fragile chain of life extending across the planet, from bears in the north to penguins in the far south.The UK, which is attempting to put climate change at the top of the global agenda during its presidency of the G8 group of industrialised nations, is still struggling to persuade the American, Japanese and Australian governments to admit that mankind's gas emissions are the biggest threat. These three continue to insist there is no proof that climate change is largely manmade.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Fossil Fuels Set to Become Relics, Says Research Group

Abid Aslam, OneWorld US
Wed Sep 28, 3:21 PM ET




WASHINGTON, D.C., Sep 28 (OneWorld) - Energy drawn from the wind, tide, sun, Earth's heat, and farm waste is poised to begin replacing oil and other fossil fuels, a prominent research group said Wednesday in a wake-up call to industry executives and government officials worldwide.

In a Melting Trend, Less Arctic Ice to Go Around

By ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: September 29, 2005, New York Times.
One of the most important consequences of Arctic warming will be increased flows of meltwater and icebergs from glaciers and ice sheets, and thus an accelerated rise in sea levels, threatening coastal areas. The loss of sea ice could also hurt both polar bears and Eskimo seal hunters.

Romance Made Electric



By DANNY HAKIM
Published: September 29, 2005, New York Times




"These days, everyone paying $40 or $50 at the gas pump would like a silver-bullet alternative to gasoline. There are none. But devoted pioneers around the country are trying something else - driving cars that do not use gasoline, or even combustion engines."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Steps to Limit Global-Warming Gas

By ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: September 28, 2005, New York Times



Capturing and storing the carbon dioxide generated by power plants and factories could play an important role in limiting global warming caused by humans, says an international climate research group associated with the United Nations.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report In a new report the group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says doing so could cut the cost of stabilizing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere as much as 30 percent compared with other options, like switching to cleaner technologies.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Top 10 Reasons to Ride Your Bike To Work


from David S. and Jessica L. taken from the Bike Transportation Alliance of Oregon and SW Washington.



10. Multitaskers take note: get your cardio workout while you get to work.

9. It's patriotic: President Bush says we need to conserve energy.

8. Stepped out of the shower late? You can dry your hair on the way to work!

7. Meet your neighbors on your ride.

6. Enjoy a new form of public art: altered bicycling icons on the pavement.

5. Splurge on fabulous new wardrobe items like lycra tights and booties.

4. Trade in that $20,000 or $30,000 vehicle you use as a purse on wheels for a pair of waterproof panniers!

3. It's a crash course in amateur meteorology: learn wind speed and direction; predict where the rain will come from.

2. It's economical: costs $0 to fill up the tank.

1. Best reason: ROCK STAR PARKING: roll right up to the front door, park your vehicle, and walk into theaters, restaurants, the dentist office!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Driving Change: An Interview With Mike Millikin


Interviewed By Erik Kancler,September 13, 2005, Mother Jones Magazine



"The global energy economy is on the brink of a fundamental and forced transformation, with enormous market opportunities for new solutions in energy and transportation." So says Mike Millikin, a former Internet consultant and now publisher of Green Car Congress, a web site dedicated to educating the public on the energy challenges -- and choices -- posed by climate change and our over-dependence on fossil fuels"

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Energy Vacation - The Zen of a Reduced Ecological Footprint


September 5, 2005 09:16 AM - Michael G. Richard, Ottawa, Treehugger.com

"This fall, plan a weekend, or two consecutive days and nights as an "energy vacation". Start upon waking Saturday and go until waking on Monday morning. During your "vacation", turn off your thermostat, refrain from using any lights and use electricity only sparingly - i.e. to keep food from spoiling. No driving. No TV. And, yes not even any blogging or 24 hour news updates."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Big Picture TV


"Welcome to Big Picture TV - an online media channel that streams free video clips of global leaders in sustainability. Browse a growing archive of internationally renowned names including scientists, environmentalists, politicians, journalists, academics and activists.

BPTV is easy to watch. Simply select a speaker, choose a clip and press play (see how to watch tv). Our video clips can only be watched with Microsoft's Media Player. If you do not already have it installed you can download Media Player here for free.

Please sign up here if you would like to receive periodic email alerts as new speakers are added."

What to do in a failing civilization

Copyright © 2005 David M. Delaney



Can global civilization adapt successfully to degradation of the biosphere and depletion of fossil fuels? I argue that it cannot. Important elements of all constituent societies would have to be reformed. Reform would have to be radical and would be uncertain of success. It could be undertaken only in the presence of incontrovertible necessity—a necessity that will reveal itself incontrovertibly only when catastrophic collapse has become unavoidable. I conclude that those who seek to preserve civilization should plan for its survival in restricted regions.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Many gas guzzlers are gathering dust

September 19, 2005, By Don Aucoin,Boston Globe September 19, 2005




That very month, gasoline prices started to climb. And climb. And climb some more. By July, it was costing Kennedy $70 a week to fill her tank. Something had to give. So Kennedy parked her SUV and clambered aboard her mountain bike each day for her 10-mile commute from her Arlington home to the Burlington software company where she works. Even though her commute time lengthened from 15 minutes one way to 40, she found herself wishing she had tried the two-wheeled approach a lot sooner.

Film: End of Suburbia - Oil Depletion and The Collapse of the American Dream


Free Showing Tuesday September 27th at 6:30 PM in the Fox Room at Rutland Free Library - Sponsored by the Rutland Sustainability Network.



Since World War II North Americans have invested much of their newfound wealth in suburbia. It has promised a sense of space, affordability, family life and upward mobility. As the population of suburban sprawl has exploded in the past 50 years, so too has the suburban way of life become embedded in the American consciousness.



Suburbia, and all it promises, has become the American Dream.



But as we enter the 21st century, serious questions are beginning to emerge about the sustainability of this way of life. With brutal honesty and a touch of irony, The End of Suburbia explores the American Way of Life and its prospects as the planet approaches a critical era, as global demand for fossil fuels begins to outstrip supply. World Oil Peak and the inevitable decline of fossil fuels are upon us now, some scientists and policy makers argue in this documentary.



The consequences of inaction in the face of this global crisis are enormous. What does Oil Peak mean for North America? As energy prices skyrocket in the coming years, how will the populations of suburbia react to the collapse of their dream? Are today's suburbs destined to become the slums of tomorrow? And what can be done NOW, individually and collectively, to avoid The End of Suburbia ?



Hosted by Barrie Zwicker. Featuring James Howard Kunstler, Peter Calthorpe, Michael Klare, Richard Heinberg, Matthew Simmons, Michael C. Ruppert, Julian Darley, Colin Campbell, Kenneth Deffeyes, Ali Samsam Bakhtiari and Steve Andrews. Directed by Gregory Greene. Produced by Barry Silverthorn. Duration: 78 minutes



For more information contact Mike O'Brien at skyobrien@adelphia.net. DVD copies for sale to benefit Rutland Sustainability Network.

Global Warming 'Past the Point of No Return'

Published on Friday, September 16, 2005 by The Independent / UK, by Steve Connor. Posted by Commondreams.org



Experts believe that such a loss of Arctic sea ice in summer has not occurred in hundreds and possibly thousands of years. It is the fourth year in a row that the sea ice in August has fallen below the monthly downward trend - a clear sign that melting has accelerated.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Katrina Havoc Reflects the New America

Published on Wednesday, September 14, 2005 by the Long Island, NY Newsday, By Bill McKibben, Posted on Commondreams



"If the images of skyscrapers collapsed in heaps of ash were the end of one story - the United States safe on its isolated continent from the turmoil of the world - then the picture of the sodden Superdome with its peeling roof marks the beginning of the next story. It is the one that will dominate our politics in the coming decades of this century: America befuddled about how to cope with a planet suddenly turned unstable and unpredictable"

Rising oil prices will impact food supplies


Posted: 13 Sep 2005 by Danielle Murray, People & the Planet.



From farm to plate, the modern food system relies heavily on cheap oil. And as food undergoes more processing and travels farther, the gobal food system consumes ever more energy each year. But, as the present shortage of refined oil shows, the days of cheap oil are probably over. So what are the implications for food supplies? Danielle Murray reports

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sucker's Bets for the New Century:The US after Katrina

Published on Wednesday, September 7, 2005 by TomDispatch.com by Bill McKibben, Posted on Commondreams.org



" Our rulers have insisted by both word and deed that the laws of physics and chemistry do not apply to us. That delusion will now start to vanish. Katrina marks Year One of our new calendar, the start of an age in which the physical world has flipped from sure and secure to volatile and unhinged. New Orleans doesn't look like the America we've lived in. But it very much resembles the planet we will inhabit the rest of our lives. "

Monday, September 05, 2005

Ever higher society, ever harder to ascend

Dec 29th 2004 | WASHINGTON, DC
From The Economist print edition




"A growing body of evidence suggests that the meritocratic ideal is in trouble in America. Income inequality is growing to levels not seen since the Gilded Age, around the 1880s. But social mobility is not increasing at anything like the same pace: would-be Horatio Algers are finding it no easier to climb from rags to riches, while the children of the privileged have a greater chance of staying at the top of the social heap. The United States risks calcifying into a European-style class-based society."

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Ecology Professor at Home in Straw House

By GLENN ADAMS, Associated Press Writer - Yahoo News

"Womersley takes special pride in the fact that it's built entirely from recycled or renewable materials. The construction cost came to less than $20,000."

"Every piece of junk that went into this house has a story," the red-bearded, bespectacled professor said with a slight hint of an accent that gives away his British background.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Why Can't We Be Like the Finns?

Published on Monday, August 29, 2005 by the Providence Journal (Rhode Island) by Robert G. Kaiser, Posted on Commondreams



Finland is a leading example of the northern European view that a successful, competitive society should provide basic social services to all its citizens at affordable prices or at no cost. This isn't controversial in Finland; it's taken for granted. For a patriotic American like me, the Finns present a difficult challenge: If we Americans are so rich and so smart, why can't we treat our citizens as well as the Finns do?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Un-American about animals

By Peter Singer | August 20, 2005, Boston Globe



WHAT COUNTRY has the most advanced animal protection legislation in the world? If you guessed the United States, go to the bottom of the class. The United States lags far behind all 25 nations of the European Union, and most other developed nations as well, such as Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Ilulissat Glacier, a Wonder of the World Melting Away

Published on Monday, August 22, 2005 by Reuters. By Carol Bohan, Linked to Commondreams



The Ilulissat glacier in Greenland, a UN heritage site considered one of the wonders of the world, has shrunk by over 10 kilometers in just a few years, in one of the most alarming examples of global warming in the Arctic region.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Breaking Point

By PETER MAASS. NY Times
Published: August 21, 2005




"In the past several years, the gap between demand and supply, once considerable, has steadily narrowed, and today is almost negligible. The consequences of an actual shortfall of supply would be immense. If consumption begins to exceed production by even a small amount, the price of a barrel of oil could soar to triple-digit levels. This, in turn, could bring on a global recession, a result of exorbitant prices for transport fuels and for products that rely on petrochemicals -- which is to say, almost every product on the market. The impact on the American way of life would be profound: cars cannot be propelled by roof-borne windmills. The suburban and exurban lifestyles, hinged to two-car families and constant trips to work, school and Wal-Mart, might become unaffordable or, if gas rationing is imposed, impossible. Carpools would be the least imposing of many inconveniences; the cost of home heating would soar -- assuming, of course, that climate-controlled habitats do not become just a fond memory. "

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Georges Bank cod drop by 25 percent

By Beth Daley, Boston Globe Staff | August 17, 2005



The cod population by weight on fabled Georges Bank, the premier fishing grounds off Massachusetts, has declined by almost 25 percent since 2001, according to preliminary federal data, despite the ever-tightening grip of restrictions on fishermen in the region's decades-old fishing crisis.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Vt. man offers lessons on living well with less

by Brent Curtis, Rutland Herald - August 13, 2005


Sometimes less is more.

That philosophy has made all the difference in James Merkel's life.

For 16 years, the 47-year-old East Corinth resident has been living comfortably on just $5,000 a year.

"It's made all the difference in my life, I've never been happier," he said in a telephone interview Friday.

Next week, he will tell Rutlanders how a sustainable lifestyle has simplified his life and made him a more responsible consumer in the global community.

Merkel, who wrote a book titled "Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth," which compares America's consumption of the world's natural resources compared to other countries and gives step-by-step instructions for people to curb the amount of goods and services they use.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Warming Hits 'Tipping Point'

By Ian Sample, The Guardian/UK, published in Commondreams



Siberia feels the heat: A frozen peat bog the size of France and Germany combined contains billions of tonnes of greenhouse gas, and for the first time since the ice age, it is melting.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Beyond an Encyclopedia: What's Next for Wikimania?

by Danny Schechter, Commondreams.org



"It was hard not to marvel at Wiki's achievements. The encyclopedia is growing in readership and offerings. The English-language version started only in 2001 but now includes 672,848 often-changing articles. What's even more exciting is the Wikipedians' hope to encourage the creation of similar encyclopedias in every language in the world. The articles themselves often offer a level of depth and dimension not available anywhere else. An entry on the Tsunami, for example, contained 5,000 edits from 508 authors. You can learn more and see what they do at http://www.wikipedia.org/ ."

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Globalisation is an Anomaly and Its Time is Running Out

by James Howard Kunstler, Guardian, Aug 4, 2005


Cheap energy and relative peace helped create a false doctrine



"Today's transient global economic relations are a product of very special transient circumstances, namely relative world peace and absolutely reliable supplies of cheap energy. Subtract either of these elements from the equation and you will see globalisation evaporate so quickly it will suck the air out of your lungs. It is significant that none of the cheerleaders for globalisation takes this equation into account. In fact, the American power elite is sleepwalking into a crisis so severe that the blowback may put both major political parties out of business."

Shuttle Commander Sees Wide Environmental Damage

by Jeff Franks, Reuters - posted at Commondreams



HOUSTON -- Commander Eileen Collins said astronauts on shuttle Discovery had seen widespread environmental destruction on Earth and warned on Thursday that greater care was needed to protect natural resources.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Scientists Warn Fewer Kinds of Fish Are Swimming the Oceans

By CORNELIA DEAN NY Times



Researchers who studied decades of catch records from Japanese fishing fleets say fishing has greatly reduced the diversity of fish in the world's open oceans, leaving ocean ecosystems less resilient against environmental changes like global warming.

Future of Food in Peril

If corporate owning of genetic material from plants doesn't bother you, how about your own genes? Last night Deb Koons Garcia showed her film "The Future of Food" at the Rutland Free Library as part of a tour of New England. The film was an biting expose Monsanto's attempts to gain control of the seed market worldwide by buying up seeds, companies, seed genes and they are succeeding. The freightening point the Deb makes in this film is that Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" seeds allow the spraying of the popular Roundup without hurting the plants. This allows Monsanto to control the sale of the pesticide and also the seed giving them more control over the agricultural markets. Since Monsanto ownes the patent to the "Roundup Ready" seeds, any farmer found to have plants with its properties on the farms can and have been sued by Monsanto. These genetically engineered seeds have migrated, as plants are supposed to do, and the courts have ruled that unwitting farmers are responsible.

Mike

For more information go the Deb's site at The Future of Food

Friday, June 17, 2005

Another State Falls Prey to the Junk Food Lobby

by Michele Simon, Commondreams



"Ironically, the most common argument made against such bills is that schools should maintain "local control" over nutrition policy. But Governor Rell's reasoning is hard to swallow. She invoked the word "local" no fewer than 16 times in her 3-page veto message. However, many school policies are made at the state and even national level. Perhaps the governor has heard of President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" policy?"

Brushed off in Vermont

By Brian McGrory, Boston Globe


"You read that right: Men and women making maybe $15 an hour who had dedicated their working lives to a bristle manufacturing company might have to give their paltry severance back to the multimillionaire Bostonians who are shutting down their plant. Hold on: I've got Charles Dickens calling on Line 1."

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Saying Goodbye to Marty Jezer

By Joyce Marcel - Commondreams


Joyce Marcel is a free-lance journalist who lives in Vermont and writes about culture, politics, economics and travel. She can be reached at joyrand@sover.net



"I didn't know Marty then, although I knew about him - that he was a well-known left-wing writer, one of the hippest people of his generation, and one of those legendary early commune hippies who came to Vermont in the 1970s and stayed to make a life here.


Marty was no hippie caricature, though. He was a well-respected and much-loved contributor to the daily life of our community, an adept and knowledgeable political columnist, and the author of four books, one of which was made into a movie."

McLibel Opens June 10th

Cinema Libre Studio is proud to announce that MCLIBEL, the documentary about
Dave Morris and Helen Steel's monumental libel case versus McDonald's, premieres
in the US in San Francisco on June 10th.

Directed by Franny Armstrong, MCLIBEL is the story of two ordinary people who
took on McDonald's and won in what became the longest running trial in British
history and the biggest corporate PR disaster.

In the late 80's, as members of London Greenpeace, the activists started handing
out "What's Wrong With McDonald's" leaflets that attacked many aspects of the
corporation's business practices specifically:
- Environmental abuse
- Deceptive ads
- Exploiting children
- Low wages
- Anti-union
- Bad working conditions
- Animal cruelty and,
- Heart disease

Soon afterwards, "McSpies" infiltrated the organization and shortly there
afterwards McDonald's sued five of the members. McDonald's offered a stark
choice: retract the allegations and apologize or go to court.

Steel and Morris determined they would not be bullied. "It just really stuck in
my throat to apologize to McDonald's," says Steel. "I thought it was them who
should be apologizing to society for the damage they do." They went to court,
defending themselves, and won.

MCLIBEL is not about hamburgers. It is about the importance of Free Speech now
that multinational corporations have become more powerful than countries.

Go To McLibel Website for more information.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Rutland: Town Meeting on Poverty

Last Saturday night Congressman Bernie Sanders sponsored a town meeting to discuss the issue of poverty. It had been billed as an opportunity for citizens to gather and and discuss the increasingly troubling problem of poverty. Though there were many competing activities me and my family could have chosen on perhaps the most beautiful weekend of the year, we along with about 60 others wanted to dialogue about the forgotten issue of poverty in America.



There seemed to be a cross-section of the community represented with low-income organizations present as well as concerned citizens and people who are poor. For my family and I hearing from many people in our community about the issue of poverty was the most inspiring. We were also lifted by the hopefulness of Bernie Sanders and by his demands to us to " not give up" and to "fight the good fight."



As most of us are aware, Bernie is likely to become the next United States Senator from Vermont as Jim Jeffords steps down. Bernie continues to appear the strong populist that he is being very approachable, eating supper that night with us and not displaying the trappings of his job with our community. So many of the people sharing our table talked about how lucky we are to have Bernie representing us asking the question " why can't other politicians represent the needs of our most vulnerable citizens like Bernie does?"



Perhaps the most touching dialogue that night was by a young woman from Holland who married a US citizen and lives in Vermont. She said that when she came to America she became quite freightened and asked the question " what is going on over here." She talked about the supports for the citizens of her country as being very different from the US and that there were certain rights and expectations that we do not seem to share over here. In a heartfelt discussion, she said she is torn whether or not to have children in the US or to return to Holland because of the many social problems we are creating for the people of our country. Bernie loudly asked her to stay and work towards making America a better place.



Continued next week.........

'Writing the History of the Revolution is Now Up to You'

by Bill Moyers - This is the prepared text of the speech Bill Moyers gave at Take Back America: The Conference for America's Future, sponsored by the Institute for America's Future, in Washington on Friday, June 3, 2005



The Wall Street Journal is no Marxist sheet, either, although its editorial page can be just as rigid and dogmatic as old Stalinists. The Journal's reporters, however, are among the best in the country. They're devoted to getting as close as possible to the verifiable truth and describing what they find with the varnish off. Two weeks ago a front-page leader in the Journal concluded that "As the gap between rich and poor has widened since 1970, the odds that a child born in poverty will climb to wealth - or that a rich child will fall into middle class - remain stuck….Despite the widespread belief that the U.S. remains a more mobile society than Europe, economists and sociologists say that in recent decades the typical child starting out in poverty in continental Europe (or in Canada) has had a better chance at prosperity." (Wall Street Journal, page one, May 13, 2005.)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Do Your Part, the Way Co-op America Does

by Ralph Nader


Co-op America's solar magazine whets your appetite for solar. The/ Quarterly/ has a useful list of what you can do solarwise from old knowledge known as thrift. Hang your clothes out to dry instead of firing up the energy wasteful clothes dryer, for example. It shows you how to visit existing solar homes (www.ases.org ), tap state programs that give you a break if you install solar devices or systems. It takes you around the country and world where solar is being used for a wide variety of purposes efficiently.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Class in America: Two Elite Newspapers Tackle The Big Taboo

by Jennifer Ladd and Felice Yeskel - Commondreams.org


Class? There is no word or concept that is more off-limits in our boundless tell-all culture right now than class. As a society, we have rapidly progressed over several generations in developing a common language to talk about differences of gender, race, and sexual orientation. Newspapers and TV interview shows explore every nook and cranny of American life through the lens of diverse forms of oppression and difference such as aging, disability, and mental illness. Almost everything…but class.

Monday, May 30, 2005

ExxonMobil Sounds Silent Peak Oil Alarm

EV World , Taken from Bulletin of Atomic Scientists [May 29, 2005]



"No oil company, much less one with so much managerial, scientific, and engineering talent, has ever discussed peak oil production before."



" Conventional petroleum production will soon--perhaps in five years, ten at best--no longer be able to satisfy demand. For their part, American consumers would do well to take a cue from their Western European counterparts, who enjoy a comfortable lifestyle despite a per capita use of petroleum that is half of that in the United States."

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Against Discouragement

by Howard Zinn, TomDispatch



In 1963, historian Howard Zinn was fired from Spelman College, where he was chair of the History Department, because of his civil rights activities. This year, he was invited back to give the commencement address. Here is the text of that speech, given on May 15, 2005.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Time is Ripe for Urban Agriculture

by Neil Pierce, Seatle Times



Big agribusiness processes commodities often high in sugar and fat, raises poultry, beef and pork in factory-like facilities, ships the shrink-wrapped products up to thousands of miles to supermarkets, and relies heavily on flashy packaging and advertising. How could anyone even loosen that hammerlock?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Honda collaborates on a hybrid for the home

By Chris Reidy, Boston Globe



Heating device that creates electricity as a bonus unveils today. American Honda Motor Co., which has been working on hybrid cars, is collaborating on a hybrid of sorts for the home: a roughly $8,000 natural gas system that ''co-generates" heat and electricity.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Food Pyramid Scheme

By Kathryn Mulvey, AlterNet. Posted April 22, 2005.



The food industry's fingerprints are all over the USDA's new food pyramid, in ways that hurt rather than help consumers

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Hot Breath of Civilization

by Ian McEwan, Published on Friday, April 22, 2005 by the Los Angeles Times



On Earth Day, a call for good data, not dogma

Fourth 'R' for Earth Day - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle ... Repair

by Wangari Maathai,Published on Friday, April 22, 2005 by the Christian Science Monitor



"One of the most important lessons we learned is that citizens need to be empowered. They need to feel that the life they want for themselves and their children can be achieved only when they participate in protecting and restoring their environment and expanding what I like to call "democratic space." They can't wait for others to do it for them; they need to take action themselves. Otherwise, the best theories about how to preserve ecosystems for use by humans and other species will remain just that: theories."

Bank says Saudi's top field in decline

By Adam Porter in Perpignan, France. Aljazeera.net



Speculation over the actual size of Saudi Arabia's oil reserves is reaching fever pitch as a major bank says the kingdom's - and the world's - biggest field, Gharwar, is in irreversible decline.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Peak Oil 'To Do' List: Why We Should Do These Things Anyway

by Kurt Cobb - Published on 9 Apr 2005 by Resource Insights.



There are economists who "know" that the world will come up with a cheap, effective, and widely available substitute for oil before we run short of it. And so, it follows that "getting ready" for a permanent oil shortage through concerted civic and governmental action is a "waste of resources." But even if they are right about the miraculous and timely appearance of oil substitutes, are they right that the things we would do as a global society to prepare for world peak oil production are a "waste of resources?" To address that issue I've prepared a Peak Oil "To Do" List. (I don't claim it to be exhaustive.)

Urban vs. Rural Sustainability

by Toby Hemenway, Published on 26 Dec 2004 by Permaculture Activist

Oil, Geopolitics, and the Coming War with Iran

by Michael T. Klare, TomDispatch.com


While our media is filled with stories on the Bush administration and Iran, they almost invariably focus on the Iranian nuclear program (or European negotiations and U.S. non-negotiations about the same). You could read our press for weeks at a time -- if you didn't stray onto the business pages -- and not be aware that Iran sits on a sea of oil and natural gas. In fact, I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that, for long stretches, a typical newspaper reader or prime-time TV news viewer, or, for that matter, an NPR listener, would have just about no way of knowing that our world runs on oil. Of course, our local gas stations are informative enough on the subject these days, so this reality is lost on few people. Still, the sort of piece that hit the front page of the British Financial Times the other day -- IMF warns on risk of ‘permanent oil shock' -- is not normally a front-page commonplace for us.


This has a certain importance when, in the British and Israeli press and on the Internet, rumors and reports abound that either the Bush administration or the Israeli government (in coordination with Bush officials) or both are planning air attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities as early as this June (with hopes of an oil-regime change in Tehran); or when the Washington Post reports on months of Iranian air-space infringement and air-defense testing on the part of American unmanned aircraft, and Seymour Hersh reports on American Special Forces (or Kurdish agents) moving in and out of Iran, again possibly in preparation for future attacks. (By the way, an interesting counter-argument against the likelihood of an Israeli attack on Iran appeared in the Asia Times recently.)


It's strange that, when it comes to news articles on Iran, oil plays just about no role whatsoever; that, as was true with Iraq before the invasion of 2003, it is little short of a taboo subject. Fortunately, we have Michael Klare, whose book Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Dependency on Imported Oil (as I've said before) is an indispensable volume for understanding our moment. Below, Klare does what should be done in our mainstream press -- he seriously considers the role of Iran's oil and natural gas reserves, and other energy-related matters in the Bush administration's Iran planning. Tom

Goodbye To All That Oil

By Stan Cox, AlterNet.



The peak oil idea – which says that world oil production will go into irreversible decline sometime in the next decade or two – is quickly morphing into conventional wisdom.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Earth Day! A call to unite in defense of our planet

by Dennis Hayes, Mother Earth News



Denis Hayes was national coordinator of the first Earth Day in 1970 — an event often credited with launching the modern American environmental movement. He is the recipient of numerous public-service awards, including the 1979 Jefferson Medal for Greatest Public Service by an Individual under 35; he was also named one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century by Look magazine. Hayes remains chairman of the board of the international Earth Day Network (which operates in 160 countries). He also is president of the Bullitt Foundation, an environmental philanthropic organization based in Seattle.

Friday, April 08, 2005

No rush seen to accelerate fuel efficiency

By JEFF NESMITH Cox News - Rutland Herald



Although gasoline prices continue to soar, energy conservation advocates see little chance Congress will tighten automobile efficiency standards.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Oil We Eat

Posted on Friday, July 23, 2004. Originally from Harper's Magazine, February 2004. By Richard Manning.


"we humans, a single species among millions, consume about 40 percent of Earth’s primary productivity, 40 percent of all there is. This simple number may explain why the current extinction rate is 1,000 times that which existed before human domination of the planet. We 6 billion have simply stolen the food, the rich among us a lot more than others."

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

From The Revealer



"If it feels good, do it": Chicken Soup for the Capitalist Soul.



By Scott Korb



They are not running away. They are not rebelling. They may not actually know, or be able to articulate, what they believe, but almost every one of them -- ninety-seven per cent -- believes in God. The vast majority of them -- like the vast majority of us -- are Christians. Very few are what might be called spiritual seekers; hardly any of them know what it means to say (or be) "spiritual but not religious." When prompted, nearly all of them speak positively about religion, yet with each other they hardly ever talk -- much less argue -- about it at all. They are conventional and, according to Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton, they "may actually serve as a very accurate barometer of the condition of the culture and institutions of our larger society. Far from being alien creatures from another planet, American teenagers actually well reflect back to us the best and worst of our own adult condition and culture."

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Back to the post-oil future

Richard Heinberg, The Red Pepper.




The imminent demise of the global petroleum industry will necessarily entail a complete redesign of industrial societies.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

SolarFest heads for sunnier pastures


.


By Gordon Dritschilo - Rutland Herald Staff

After two years at Green Mountain College in Poultney, the music festival and renewable energy technology showcase that started out on a farm in Middletown Springs is moving to a farm in Tinmouth.

The Long Emergency



James Howard Kunstler - Rolling Stone Magazine



What is going to happen when we run out of cheap oil to guzzle?




Some other things about the global energy predicament are poorly understood by the public and even our leaders. This is going to be a permanent energy crisis, and these energy problems will synergize with the disruptions of climate change, epidemic disease and population overshoot to produce higher orders of trouble.