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.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Rutland County - Top 40% of Polluting Counties Nationwide

If you go to the website of the Environmental Defense Fund and locate their Scorecard page, you can find out information that has been gathered about who is polluting your air and water. It is amazing to find out that Rutland County is within the worst top 40% of polluting counties nationside in air and water pollution releases. Can you guess who the worst polluters are in Rutland County? If you guessed Rutland Plywood, you would have guessed right with a release of 5,465 lbs. Second on the list is U.S. Simica with 4,736 lbs. And if you guessed G.E. in North Clarendon, you were close as it came in third place with about 1,058 lbs of pollution in 2002.

What amazes me is that information of this importance is not disseminated with the public. Maybe I'm paranoid, but does the recent problems we have been having with the media extend to literally our back door? Perhaps local newspaper and TV would find publishing this information a bit too sensitive for general public knowledge. We are a community trying to attract jobs afterall. Perhaps its the belief that "some sacrifices have to be made."

Well, of course this is all conjecture on my part. But seriously, this is our home and we as citizens are responsible of taking care of our community.

Over the past century, our self identity has really shifted as we have become more materialistic and more individualistic. Our identify has shifted from seeing ourselves as "citizens" to viewing ourselves as "consumers." I believe that many Vermonters see themselves as interested in what happens to their communities. Polls show that people care about the enviroment such as clean air and clean water and who represents them in Montepelier and Washington. But at the same time, people see themselves as "consumers" expecting that a manufacturer or politician will cater to their "needs." Many of us have watched "the common good" take a back seat to what is good for business and the economy often sacrificing family, neighborhood and community.

So, as I see it, here is where the conflict lies.... Our work weeks have gotten longer with many of us working several jobs. Just staying afloat is a common reality for many families. As a result we have less time to chat with neighbors, help the elderly, and be a good citizen by participating in our communities to make them strong. Community doesn't just happen, people have to make it happen. By engaging in ever-more increase hours of work, to my view, we are trading our life-energy. The cost is declining community life.

So what does this have to do with pollution? If we are too busy to notice, or care, then pollution becomes a concern for our elected officials to worry about. Isn't that what we elected them for? The problem is that we can't elect these problems away. A community's strength can be measured by citizen involvement and personal investment. We can no longer look to our government to fix many of our problems, we have to take responsibility for our quality of life. Because if we don't, we might may get a way of life that diminishes us all.


The good, the bad, and the biodiesel

By Tad Montgomery | Special to the Vermont Guardian

There has been a fair bit of scuttlebutt in Vermont the last few months about biodiesel. Michael Feiner, writing in Rural Vermont’s Farm Policy Network Newsletter takes aim at the “big business” side of biodiesel and calls it “agribusiness’ new Trojan Horse.” Biodiesel is not a simple issue, and there are many cons and pros.

The Secret Life of Dust

Beverley Thorpe, AlterNet. Posted March 22, 2005.

The first U.S. study to test chemicals in household dust found a toxic cocktail in our homes, made of hazardous chemicals emitted from commonly used products.

Saturday, March 19, 2005


by Lester R Brown, Earth Policy Institute

E.O. Wilson: Over-Consumption, Poverty Will Squeeze Out Species

Mitch Tobin - Arizona Daily Star, Tucson as reported in National Geographic News

"A civilization able to envision God and the afterlife and embark on the exploration of space, for heaven's sake, can surely find a way to save the ecological integrity of this planet,"

Only Humans Can Halt the Worst Wave of Extinction Since the Dinosaurs Died

by E.O. Wilson

With the world population at 5.7 billion and sure to keep on growing rapidly until well into the next century, humanity has entered a dangerous environmental bottleneck. We hope--surely we must believe--that our species will come out the other side in better condition than when we entered. We should make it a goal to take as much of the rest of life with us as is humanly possible.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Burlington Votes to Bring the Troops Home Now!

by James Marc Leas, Colleen McLaughlin, and Ashley Smith

In the state's (Vermont)largest city, the Burlington Anti-War Coalition (BAWC) proposed a resolution (full text below) that called for bringing the troops home now. It passed with 65.2% of the vote. It won in all the city's wards, including the two most conservative. In the towns of Marshfield and Hinesburg (one of the more conservative towns in Vermont) voters also considered and passed "Out Now" resolutions by overwhelming margins.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Oil: Is the end at hand?

By Katie Benner, CNN/Money staff writer

A once-fringe group saying we'll run out of oil is gaining attention, even within the oil industry.

The oil we eat: following the food chain back to Iraq

Essay by Richard Manning, Harper's Magazine

"There is no alternative to plant energy, just as there is no alternative to oxygen. The results of taking away our plant energy may not be as sudden as cutting off oxygen, but they are as sure."

Scientists asked to alter environmental research

from The Vermont Guardian

More than 200 scientists employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say they have been told to change research findings concerning the protection of plants and animals.

Untroubled waters: Connecticut River is healthiest it has been in decades

By Joe Milliken | Special to the Vermont Guardian

“For 30 years, wastewater treatment plants have been key to the return of the river’s health,” River Commissioner Henry Swan of Lyme stated on CRJC’s website. “We must be certain that these plants continue to operate efficiently as they age.”

Vermont Votes No to War

by John Nichols, The Nation

Declaring that "The War in Iraq is a Local Issue," citizens in communities across the state voted of Tuesday for resolutions urging President Bush and Congress to take steps to withdraw American troops from Iraq and calling on their state legislature to investigate the use and abuse of the Vermont National Guard in the conflcit.