Sunday, April 30, 2006

G.E., Betting on the Future, Finances a Solar Farm in Portugal


The sheep that have long grazed on 150 acres of farmland in Serpa, Portugal, will soon have to share their space with the world's largest solar energy plant.

Next month the PowerLight Corporation, using $75 million of the General Electric Company's money, will begin installing the first of what will be 52,000 solar panels, capable of generating 11 megawatts of electricity — enough to light and heat 8,000 homes.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Blame Everyone but the Culprit

With gas prices at an all-time high, Democrats, Republicans and President Bush are all quick to point blame. But they're ignoring the biggest offender: all of us.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Great Turning

David Korten argues that corporate consolidation of power is merely one manifestation of what he calls "Empire": the organization of society through hierarchy and violence that has largely held sway for the past 5,000 years. Empire has always resulted in misery for the many and fortune for the few, but now it threatens the very future of humanity. Korten points to global terrorism, climate change, and rising poverty as just a few of the signs that Empire has become unsustainable and destructive.

The Great Turning offers a new framework with which to understand our current predicament, grasp the potential of this historic moment, and take action for the future of our planet, our communities, and ourselves.

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America's Eating Disorder

By Blair Golson, Truthdig. Posted on Alternet

"It was a gathering sense that Americans -- myself included -- had gotten deeply confused and worried about what they were eating and unsure where to turn. To read the newspaper over the last couple of years is to read one story after another that makes you wonder if the way you've been eating all these years is such a good idea -- for yourself or the planet or the animals.

Just reading the coverage of mad cow disease was an incredible educational experience. For example, we read that you've got to stop feeding cows to cows. It's like, "What? We've been feeding cows to cows?" And we've got to tighten up those rules about feeding chicken litter to cows. "We've been feeding chicken crap to cows?"

If you read those stories, it made me realize that the system by which we're producing our food is not one I feel very good about participating in. So I began looking into the food chain and alternatives to the main industrial food chain -- doing what I think of as a series of food detective stories, and much of what I learned in these detective stories was astonishing to me, and forced me to re-approach the way I shop for food and go about eating it."

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Climate Change Shattering Marine Food Chain

by Stephen Leahy, Inter Press Service

BROOKLIN, Canada - The loss of reefs will have a catastrophic impact on all marine life.

One-third of the coral at official monitoring sites in the area of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have recently perished in what scientists call an "unprecedented" die-off.

Extremely high sea temperatures in the summer and fall of 2005 that spawned a record hurricane season have also caused extensive coral bleaching extending from the Florida Keys to Tobago and Barbados in the south and Panama and Costa Rica, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coral Reef Watch.

High sea temperatures are also killing parts of Australia's 2,000-kilometre-long Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest living reef formation. As summer ends in the Southern Hemisphere, researchers are now investigating the extent of the coral bleaching. Up to 98 percent of the coral in one area has been affected, reported the Australian Institute of Marine Science last week.

"The Great Barrier Reef has been living on this planet for 18 million years and we've undermined its existence within our lifetimes," says Brian Huse, executive director of the Coral Reef Alliance, a U.S.-based NGO dedicated to protecting the health of coral reefs.

"Twenty percent of Earth's reefs have been lost and 50 percent face moderate to severe threats," Huse told IPS.

The economic value of reefs globally is estimated at 375 billion dollars, he says.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Alpaca farm runs on cow power

Vermont Guardian

New England’s largest alpaca farm is teaming up with Vermont’s largest voluntary renewable energy program, CVPS Cow Power.

“We’re putting CVPS Cow Power to work at Cas-Cad-Nac Farm,” said co-owner Ian Lutz, who with his wife Jennifer runs the 250-head alpaca farm in central Vermont. “We’re strong supporters of sustainable, Vermont-scale agriculture, so it’s a natural decision for us to become Cow Power customers.”

CVPS Cow Power is the nation’s only direct farm-to-consumer renewable energy program, creating a market for farmers who want to process cow manure and other farm waste to generate electricity, according to CVPS officials. More than 2,500 CVPS customers have enrolled in the program, which provides farms with new manure management opportunities, environmental benefits, and income.

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I-91 towns work to cut car emissions

By DANIEL BARLOW Southern Vermont Bureau, Rutland Herald

BRATTLEBORO — More than 26,000 cars travel Interstate 91 through this town every day and each one leaves behind carbon monoxide from its exhaust.

So Brattleboro is joining with other I-91 border towns, such as Hartford, Conn., and Northampton, Mass., to develop new transportation models that can be implemented on the local and regional scale to reduce emissions that cause greenhouse gases.

The project is organized by ICLEI, an international association of governments that has worked on sustainability issues since 1990.

Officials with that organization say they hope the model developed by Brattleboro and the four participating towns can be repeated elsewhere.

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