Friday, December 28, 2007

Tesla Electric Car

Reducing Dependence on Foreign Oil
A Peaceful Solution to Oil Wars

You need only open the morning paper to understand the importance — and urgency — of America‘s reduced reliance on foreign oil. The instability of the Middle East makes our 58% dependence on foreign oil a dangerous and costly proposition.

Look even closer and you'll see that the lion's share of American oil use (nearly two-thirds of our consumption) is tied directly to transportation. If ever there was a time when a gasoline-free car was needed, that time is now. (text taken from Tesla Motors website/ http://www.teslamotors.com/)

Sun Ranch Slates 11,000 Acres for Conservation Easement

By David Nolt, 12-27-07 (excerpt from New West Bozeman)

Sun Ranch owner and Sun Ranch Institute Board Chairman Roger Lang is currently working with the Forest Service and the Trust for Public Land to add about 11,000 acres to an existing 6,800 acres of conservation easements on his Madison Valley property. Lang, a former Silicon Valley CEO, purchased the ranch ten years ago. Using an experimental “Sun Ranch Model,” Lang has strived to balance conservation and ranching on his wildlife-rich property, most famously amidst reintroduced gray wolves.

The publicly funded $4.5 million easement will include 10 three-acre building envelopes in the Papoose Creek area, but it will also erase over 200 platted subdivision lots from previous property owners over vast stretches of the property.

Curitiba, Brasil (Here Progress Travels By Bus)


Thirty-two out of every one hundred curitibanos make daily use of mass transportation. Each biarticulated bus can carry 270 passengers.


The City’s mass transportation system aims to be, above all else, humane. Senior citizens are entitled to seats specifically designated for them and physically disabled individuals in wheelchairs have their own area on vehicles as well as elevators to get on and off the buses.

In a coordinated effort to provide the RIT with the necessary support, the timetables of industry, commerce, services, schools and civil servants were adjusted to begin their activities at different times during the peak hours from 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM, thus offsetting possible traffic jams while distributing the need for mass transportation. The best measure taken at the level of the Metropolitan Area transport administration however, was the adoption of the tarifa social (affordable bus fares), in force to this date. Whoever gets on a bus may choose to follow an integrated route using other buses in the system without paying another bus fare. Shorter trips, often more central ones, subsidize the longer and more peripheral trips, especially the ones coming from neighboring municipalities that make up Curitiba’s Metropolitan Area.

Curitiba’s Public Transportation Integrated Network maintains 2,100 buses (1,500 in its urban perimeter and another 600 integrated metropolitan ones). Of these 1,500, 1,280 operate on a daily basis and transport 2.04 million passengers each and every workday (1.55 million from within the Curitiba area, totaling 800 thousand passengers that pay fares; and 490 thousand from within the Metropolitan Area of which 230 thousand pay fares). Buses travel every day along all the routes of Curitiba and surrounding areas, distributed among 385 different lines (285 of them urban and 100 ones in the metropolitan areas) and five thousand bus stops. In addition to these bus stops, there are 351 tube-stations and 29 integrating terminals.

(Here's a twist to sweeten the deal. We could use an intelligent mix of locally appropriate methods of transportation. Biofuels, renewable electricity, light rail, zero-carbon taxis, bicycles, rickshaws, pedestrian friendly residential and commercial districts etc. Not just healthier environmentally, but for local economies as well. -Buddha)

Creating a World Without Poverty


What if you could harness the power of the free market to solve the problem of poverty?

Grameen Foundation board member and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus outlines his vision for a new business model that combines the power of free markets with the quest for a more humane world—and tells the inspiring stories of companies that are doing this work today.

“By giving poor people the power to help themselves, Dr. Yunus has offered them something far more valuable than a plate of food—security in its most fundamental form.” —Former President Jimmy Carter

Africans Challenge Global Corruption in 'Bamako'


Africans challenge global corruption in 'Bamako' courtroom.
By Wesley Morris (excerpt)
02/16/2007

Hollywood typically brings us courtroom dramas full of last-minute revelations, shocking witnesses, and actorly bombast ("You can't handle the truth!"). Abderrahmane Sissako's mighty courtroom drama "Bamako" offers none of these overheated frills.

Court is held in a multifamily courtyard in Bamako, Mali. A breeze gently covers onlookers with insects and dust. And during the proceedings villagers are likely to be seen going about their daily business peeling potatoes or transporting the children here and there. But the truth is far harder to handle in this damning and sparely made film.

Court, you see, is in session for the trial of the century -- OK, the mock trial of the century. African society is taking the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the planet's other financial institutions to task for a kind of crime against humanity: loan repayment. How, the Africans argue, can these countries expect to prosper when so much of their budgets are being spent to climb out of the red?

Populations grow poorer, mortality rates balloon, and the political strife begets refugees and leads to diasporas. The lawyers representing the institutions retort: Why would we want you to suffer? Debt forgiveness is an obvious solution, but the two sides are thinking, in part, beyond just the immediate fix. Amazingly, "Bamako" elevates this skirmish to philosophical heights without forsaking the human and political emergency of the practical matters at hand.

HYBRID TECHNOLOGIES Sample Vehicle



Our Standard Model Includes:

Lithum Battery Pack
Up to 80 mph / 128 kmh
70 Mile Range
8 Hours with 220-240 V
Starting Price: $65,000

Hybrid Technologies, Inc., (NASD OTCBB: HYBT) was incorporated in Nevada in 2000 and is a development stage technology company that is focusing its resources and efforts on the development and marketing of lithium-powered vehicles and products, as well as on commercial and residential properties. Everything from scooters, bicycles, mopeds, motorcycles, cars and homes are being converted successfully to zero-emission, lithium-powered vehicles and facilities.

Please follow title link to company website to view many different vehicles including taxis. I am intrigued by the idea of N.Y.C. converting its fleet of taxis to hybrids in the next few years and hope to see many other cities follow suit soon. Sadly, these strike me as being priced way out of most people's reach. (sent by my sister Amy)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Heartland: I Won’t Pay My Taxes If You Won’t Pay Yours


by Nina Rothschild Utne (excerpt)

Wartax resistance is far from a new idea. But there is a bold initiative brewing that has an elegantly simple new angle: There is safety in numbers. The idea is to get people to sign a pledge that they will engage in civil disobedience by withholding a percentage of their taxes, but only if a critical mass of 100,000 signers is reached by April 15, 2008.

A Thought From Clusterf@#k Nation by Jim Kunstler (And A Couple From Me)


Liberty itself has allowed the American public to freely choose passivity, illusion, and incompetence. -Jim Kunstler of Clusterf@#k Nation

Let's get active, informed, and seriously organized. It is way beyond time to start taking steps to wrest our democracy from the clutches of the kleptocrats. If we simply sit passively on our hands we will continue to be subject to entropy (and Stormtroopers). The longer we allow the consolidation of power and the erosion of our civil liberties to continue, the harder we and our children will have to work to get to a position of freedom and dignity. The information is readily available and too widely dispersed to be suppressed, but you need to do something with it! What would the founders of this experiment in democracy think of the current situation? What would they advise after learning how far we've allowed ourselves to be led astray? ("Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -Benjamin Franklin) I'm screaming out to all the sheeple and praying that some of you are actually wolves in woolly clothing. (Where are these sleeper cells that DHS was scaring everyone with?) I believe that we can still take the power back legally and non-violently, but I do feel that window is closing.

Educate yourselves and your communities. (Then hold each other accountable.) Share information (and resources); post on youtube, write a blog, host documentary video screenings in your home, join or start a book club, arrange meet-ups, network, volunteer. Once you become informed you have a duty to make changes in the real world. JUST DO SOMETHING POSITIVE AND CONCRETE!!!

Take control of your personal finances. Once you control your finances you control your time and to a large extent your associations. Be conscious of how you invest your time and energy and pay attention to what and who you are supporting. If you are unhappy with what's happening; STOP PAYING TO MAINTAIN THE STATUS QUO!!!

True security and liberty depend on our ability to provide for our own basic needs (shelter, nourishing food, clean water, a degree of self-determination, a sense of contributing to our community, access to reliable unrestricted information, etc.) as well as being able to provide the same for those in our communities who are unable to provide for themselves (due to a reason other than laziness). Ultimately we are responsible for ourselves, but responsible to each other and to those who will follow us here. Are we giving an effort worthy of our communities and our children?

Buddha

Simplicity: "We Have Met the Enemy..."


Jon Lebkowsky (excerpt)

The cultivation and expansion of needs is the antithesis of wisdom. It is also the antithesis of freedom and peace. Every increase of needs tends to increase one's dependence on outside forces, over which one cannot have control, and therefore increases existential fear. — E.F. Schumacher, 1973


In the midst of the winter holiday season's explosion of festive commerce, I find myself thinking about voluntary simplicity, a term originally used by Ghandian Richard Gregg in 1936 to describe a focused existence excluding the clutter and complexity associated with 20th century acquisitive lifestyles of the middle classes. Duane Elgin revived the notion in the late 1970s, as a study (coauthored by Arnold Mitchell) supported and released by Stanford Research Institute. This spun off as a popular book, published in 1981. Elgin was among several writers and thinkers (Michael Phillips, Ernest Callenbach, E.F. Schumacher, Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin) who explored the potential to live more simply and sustainably, generally minimizing consumption and diverting time and energy into arguably more productive pursuits.

(Global Warming) A Threat So Big, Academics Try Collaboration



(excerpt)
Published: December 25, 2007

It is a basic tenet of university research: Economists conduct joint studies, chemists join forces in the laboratory, political scientists share ideas about other cultures — but rarely do the researchers cross disciplinary lines.

But the threat of global warming may just change all that.

“The academic tradition is to let one discipline dominate new programs,” said Nabil Nasr, the institute’s director. “But the problem of sustainability cuts across economics, social elements, engineering, everything. It simply cannot be solved by one discipline, or even by coupling two disciplines.”

Georgia School as a Laboratory for Getting Along


(excerpt)
By WARREN ST. JOHN
Published: December 25, 2007

More than half the 380 students at this unusual school outside Atlanta are refugees from some 40 countries, many torn by war. The other students come from low-income families in Decatur, and from middle- and upper-middle-class families in the area who want to expose their children to other cultures. Together they form an eclectic community of Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews and Muslims, well-off and poor, of established local families and new arrivals who collectively speak about 50 languages.

“The fact that we don’t have anything in common is what we all have in common,” said Shell Ramirez, an American parent with two children at the school.

The International Community School, which goes from kindergarten through sixth grade, began five years ago to address a pressing local problem: how to educate a flood of young refugees. It has evolved into a laboratory for the art of getting along, a place that embraces the idea that people from different cultures and classes can benefit one other, even as administrators, teachers and parents acknowledge the many practical difficulties.

The Secret Library of Hope


By Rebecca Solnit (excerpt)
December 18, 2007

Rebecca Solnit's Secret Library of Hope:

Jonathan Schell, The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People;
Aung San Suu Kyi, The Voice of Hope;
Adam Hochschild, Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves;
Charles Wilkinson, Blood Struggle: The Rise of Modern Indian Nations;
Richard Walker, The Country in the City: The Greening of the San Francisco Bay Area;
Alan Weisman, The World Without Us;
William Morris, News from Nowhere;
News from Nowhere Collective, We Are Everywhere: The Irresistible Rise of Global Anticapitalism;
Marina Sitrin, Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina;
Subcommandante Insurgente Marcos, The Speed of Dreams: Selected Writings 2001-2007;
Peter Linebaugh, The Magna Carta Manifesto: Liberties and Commons for All;
Jonathan Isham and Sissel Waage, editors (introduction Bill McKibben), Ignition: What You Can Do to Fight Global Warming and Spark a Movement.

Our Responsibility To the Seventh Generation


Linda Clarkson, Vern Morrissette and Gabriel RĂ©gallet
International Institute for Sustainable Development, Winnipeg, 1992 (excerpt)

There is a teaching passed down from our ancestors that crystallizes our sense of responsibility and our relationship to the earth that arises out of the original law. It is said that we are placed on the earth (our Mother) to be the caretakers of all that is here. We are instructed to deal with the plants, animals, minerals, human beings and all life, as if they were a part of ourselves. Because we are a part of Creation, we cannot differentiate or separate ourselves from the rest of the earth. The way in which we interact with the earth, how we utilize the plants, animals and the mineral gifts, should be carried out with the seventh generation in mind. We cannot simply think of ourselves and our survival; each generation has a responsibility to "ensure the survival for the seventh generation". Indigenous people are the poorest of the poor and the holders of the key to the future survival of humanity.

Dozens Said Dead In Indonesia Landslides


AP-Associated Press (excerpt, author unnamed)

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Hours of heavy rain triggered landslides Wednesday that killed at least 59 people in western Indonesia, media reports said.

Some environmentalists and government officials say deforestation is often a factor in the disasters, which they contend loosens soils on mountainsides.

(Collapse by Jared Diamond demonstrated that deforestation was the common denominator in the collapse of societies and even entire civilizations. We need to be creating workable solutions to address the unnecessary practice of unsustainable forestry. Check out the Forest Stewardship Council and Waangari Maathai's Green Belt Movement for information and inspiration. -Buddha)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

U.S. Soldiers Stage Mutiny


U.S. Soldiers Stage Mutiny, Refuse Orders in Iraq Fearing They Would Commit Massacre in Revenge for IED Attack


Kelly Kennedy, medical reporter for Army Times
December 21, 2007

{As a former U.S. serviceman I can appreciate the incredible courage displayed by these men. This story should be picked up by every veteran's advocate and peace activist and broadcast to the world. The key to creating peace is to first break the cycle of illegal military actions [see: preemptive (resource) war] and revenge killings. After that we can work to achieve social justice and ecological sustainability. -Buddha}

Pandora's Listener Directed Internet Radio (Free)


Merry Christmas Kids,

Here's a little gift from me that my friend Adam introduced me to (title link). It's a free service that allows you to design your own streaming radio stations (great background while reading my blog or following links) by selecting an artist, song, or style (even independent artists). They take the info you input and branch out into similar music to create your station. You can create multiple stations and mix them as well, if I understand it correctly. This is a fantastic alternative to the cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all, commercialized radio stations most people allow themselves to be brainwashed by. If you set it up and open a new window it's commercial free radio. They also offer an upgrade with additional service. I've just registered and wanted to link to it here before I forgot to.

Much love,
Buddha

Monday, December 24, 2007

Just A Thought


"The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children."
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German theologian

How are future generations going to feel about us when they look at the actions (or inaction as the case may be) we are taking now in our role as stewards of the world we are currently borrowing from them? Please give this serious consideration and feel free to follow that period of reflection with concrete action. I'll close with a quote that I found on Undercurrents "You need more than eyes to see...You need vision."

Aptera's 300 (Yes 300) m.p.g. 2 Seater Car




The title link will take you to the company's website. The image came from an article which I will direct you to here. My sister Amy sent me these links. They are taking reservations at under $30,000 and it is scheduled to enter production next October.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Geothermal Power For Your Home


August 15, 2006
by Adam Stein (excerpt from terrapass.com)(emphasis added)

Malcolm Gladwell tells us that geothermal energy isn’t as exotic as we think. His own father recently started using geothermal energy to heat and cool his home. The conversion allowed him to throw away his old oil-fueled furnace — despite living in chilly Ontario.

Six feet down, the earth stays a constant and comfortable temperature — between 50° and 60° all year round. By burying some water pipes and then running the fluid through a heat exchanger, you can produce ambient air that warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer.

It’s a little more complicated than that. Because humans like it around 70° in the winter, a compressor is needed to bring the temperature of the air up a bit. But the net energy and cost savings are still considerable. And the air quality in the house has improved, because the furnace is no longer sucking up oxygen.

Most remarkable, perhaps, is how simple it is (to) tap geothermal energy:

I think it is also worth noting how absurdly low-tech the system is. It is pvc pipes and a compressor. My father lives in Ontario, where the winters can be vicious, and has thrown out his furnace! …One of the frustrating things about the current discussion over our dependence on imported oil is the persistent notion that real solutions will require some future technological breakthrough. I think we have a lot of the answers. We just haven’t made consumers and public officials aware of them.

(I believe that this is worth looking into, especially if updating or installing a climate control system anyway.-Buddha)

EPA denies California's waiver request (unprecedented)


Environmental Defense: Finding the Ways that Work

(Hey Kids-Buddha),

EPA's decision to deny California's waiver request is an outrage.

Moments ago, the Environmental Protection Agency denied California's waiver request to cut global warming pollution from automobiles.

Seventeen other states plan to implement similar programs. EPA's action today is nothing more than a heavy handed stroke to limit the authority of states to fight global warming and protect our environment.

Send an email to EPA administrator Stephen Johnson right now and join me in condemning this decision.

This is the first time EPA has ever denied a waiver request under the Clean Air Act. It is a major blow to our efforts to cut global warming pollution from cars.

The administration is putting the brakes on state action to address the global warming crisis.

Doing nothing about global warming is bad enough -- but going out of your way to block the leaders who are trying to solve this is an outrage.

Send an email today.

Three landmark court rulings earlier this year offered a clear legal path for EPA to grant the waiver. In April, the Supreme Court ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant covered under the Clean Air Act and that the EPA has the clear obligation to protect Americans from global warming.

More recently, in separate cases, a federal judge in Vermont and another in California rejected efforts by automakers to repeal the state emissions laws. In these decisions, the judges made clear that states can pass laws under the Clean Air Act to limit pollution from tailpipes, but left it to EPA to grant a waiver allowing states to proceed.

The federal courts also dismissed automakers' claims that they did not have the technology to meet such standards.

In his December ruling, California Judge Anthony Ishii wrote:

Given the level of impairment of human health and welfare that current climate science indicates may occur if human-generated greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, it would be the very definition of folly if EPA were precluded from action.

We have been waiting two years for EPA to decide on this waiver request. Until today, EPA had granted all 50 previous waiver requests over the last 40 years.


Fred Krupp
President, Environmental Defense (excerpt)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bush Orders Cuts in Nuclear ("Nucular") Weapons


By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer (excerpt)(This Hebert guy is one to watch.)

WASHINGTON - President Bush has approved "a significant reduction" in the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, cutting it to less than one-quarter its size at the end of the Cold War, the White House said Tuesday. (At first I thought that shrub had been abducted and replaced by aliens, but no such luck. Read on and you'll understand.-Buddha)

Meanwhile, the administration faced a setback in its hopes of developing a new, more reliable and robust warhead that would eventually replace the existing, aging warheads.

The broad omnibus spending bill expected to be approved by Congress eliminated money for the Reliable Replacement Warhead for the current fiscal year. The administration had asked for $88 million for design and preliminary work on the proposed warhead.

"This (warhead) would have sent the wrong signal around the world encouraging the very proliferation we are trying to prevent," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a critic of the new warhead program said. (GO FEINSTEIN!-Buddha)

U.S. Congress and Senate Have Approved Fuel Economy Mandate


By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer (excerpt)

WASHINGTON - Congress by a wide margin approved the first increase in automobile fuel economy in 32 years Tuesday, and President Bush plans to quickly sign the legislation, accepting the mandates on the auto industry.

The energy bill, boosting mileage by 40 percent to 35 miles per gallon, passed the House 314-100 and now goes to the White House, following the Senate's approval last week.

Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada acknowledged that they didn't get all they wanted — unable to push through a tax package that would have rolled back $13.5 billion in tax breaks for oil companies and used the money to help spur wind, solar and biomass energy development and conservation programs.

The centerpiece of the bill remained the requirement for automakers to increase their industrywide vehicle fuel efficiency by 40 percent to an industry average of 35 mpg by 2020 compared to today's 25 mpg when including passenger cars as well as SUVs and small trucks.

Democrats said the fuel economy requirements — when the fleet of gas-miser vehicles are widely on the road — eventually will save motorists $700 to $1,000 a year in fuel costs. They maintain the overall bill, including more ethanol use and various efficiency requirements and incentives, will reduce U.S. oil demand by 4 million barrels a day by 2030, more than twice the daily imports from the volatile Persian Gulf.(Perhaps we can stop exchanging troops and incomprehensible dollar amounts on a mid-east oil empire some year soon.)

"While the president's alternative fuel standard and CAFE proposal would have gone farther and faster (are these people stupid or just so cynical that they believe that we are all imbeciles?-Buddha), we are pleased that Congress has worked together on a bipartisan way that provides the chance for the president to sign a bill that does not include tax increases." said White House press secretary Dana Perino.

The bill requires improved efficiency standards for lighting, commercial and government buildings, and appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers and freezers. It also tells the Energy Department to issue efficiency standards more quickly. Light bulb efficiency will have to increase 70 percent over today's most widely used bulbs by 2020.

Environmentalists widely hailed passage of the legislation, especially the first increase in auto fuel economy since 1975, although expressing disappointment that the oil taxes and a proposal to require utilities to use renewable fuels did not pass.

[It's not as big a step as I'd like to see (let's get a sustainability moonshot going internationally), but at least it's in the right direction this time.-Buddha](emphasis added)

Gomer Huckabee

This photo is just too much fun not to share. (taken from Crooks and Liars)

Help me, help you!


This blog monster is becoming almost too big to manage. So I am soliciting tech support from the community. Hopefully someone can offer a better way to lay this out so that it's easier to navigate. Please keep in mind that I'm trying to save the world on a shoestring budget. I have a reasonable understanding of sustainability, but I am somewhat (understatement) computer illiterate. In the meantime I will just continue to feed the monster and watch it grow.

Buddha

60 Second Wombat Sermon


This link was sent by Janet. She is a friend from my tribe in Michigan. It is quick, amusing, and to the point. Fun for little kids and the older kids who raise them.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sustainable development: the bigger picture (subtitled)

Subtitled video from the U.K. addressing sustainability and the triple bottom line. 8 1/2 minutes long. Allow to load.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Move Over Kyoto — Here Comes a ‘Copenhagen Protocol’

December 15, 2007, 8:56 am

So agreement was finally reached in Bali. After an hours-long public standoff Saturday in which the unthinkable happened — boos and hisses at a treaty conference — the world’s nations adopted a common two-year “road map” leading to the first comprehensive update to the ailing 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The last update, the Kyoto Protocol, only binds three dozen industrialized countries to cut emissions, and many of the adherents are not on track to hit their targets by 2012, when its terms expire. The new agreement will likely lead to a future set of limits allowing Kyoto parties to keep on capping greenhouse-gas emissions and trading carbon credits.

For those not affected by Kyoto’s limits, including the two giants in the global greenhouse — the United States and China — the timetable does not lock in any binding steps to cut emissions.

But it does move everyone a little further down the decades-long road to diverting from unfettered burning of fossil fuels and forests. That is significant, given the scope of the task in a world more than 80-percent dependent on coal and oil and with a (likely) tripled energy appetite by mid-century.

By Andrew C. Revkin (excerpt)

Tranforming Energy Trailer - Planning for Global Warming

I am really looking forward to seeing this movie. A quote from the trailer "I don't think we'll run out of oil, I don't think we'll run out of coal, I just think we'll run out of patience with stupid people." A film looking at positive solutions for a sustainable energy future.

Eco Village- centre for alternative technology

I have a link to these folks here on the site. We very definitely need similar projects in the U.S., preferably specializing in each of our different bioregions. Are there any people reading this who can sponsor such a project or perhaps universities or foundations who can get the ball rolling? Think of the possibilities when we shift our attention toward positive solutions. We can transform the world!

Commander-in-Chimp




Just some fun photos kids. I just seem to be finding some amusing stuff on shrub lately. "Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?" (Shrub—Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000) How about it kids: Are you finding anything useful and informative here?

Bicing in Barcelona


Erica Barnett
December 10, 2007 1:23 AM

These people are riding bicycles provided by Bicing, a nine-month-old service that bills itself as “your new public transport in Barcelona!”

The service functions much like a car-sharing service. Once you register with the company (you have to be a resident of Barcelona, and it costs 24 euros) and activate your swipe card, you can use any one of Bicing's 1,500 bikes, which are designed to prevent people from stealing parts, and to be recognizable. The first 30 minutes of every trip are free, and you can return your bike to any Bicing location around the city (there are at least 100)--one key improvement on car-sharing services, which typically require a user to return the car to the location where he or she picked it up. Every half-hour over the initial free half-hour costs 30 eurocents, making Bicing the cheapest public transport system in Barcelona. You can keep any one bike for up to two hours, and you can always return a bike, run your errand, and grab another for no charge. The bikes seem to be very well-maintained, and everyone uses them—old people, little kids, teenagers on cell phones--everyone.

According to the web site, “Bicing has to be understood as a way of public transport , so that you move from one place to another.” What a great concept--the idea that bikes should be a public service, just like the metro or buses, available at minimal cost to all citizens. In places with less comprehensive public transportation than Barcelona, the impact of a program like Bicing could be huge--replacing the many short trips that are typically taken by car with equivalent short trips taken by bike.

The Bicing program is funded with 2.23 million euros a year in parking fees on drivers who park in the city center--a nice flip on the usual model (here in the US, at least) of funding roads by imposing taxes on everyone, including those who choose not to drive. Since its launch in March 2007, Bicing has grown to serve 90,000 users, and Barcelona Mayor Jordi Hereu has proposed increasing the number of bikes to 6,000 by next summer, and the number of bike stations to 400. In light of Bicing's success, Madrid and other Spanish cities are considering similar services.

(Photo by author).
Erica Barnett (excerpt taken from Worldchanging)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People (Music Video)

It's been a little over 2 years since Hurricane Katrina annihilated New Orleans and a lot of the city is still uninhabitable. Disasters like this and genocide in Darfur are what we should be using our military capabilities for. Bush had diverted the funding to maintain the New Orleans levee system as well as the military assets to swiftly and effectively deal with this needless and easily preventable disaster a long time prior for the meatgrinder in Iraq. Looks a lot like war on, or at least a systemic problem of second class citizenship for people of color in this country.

I believe the way forward is to strive for a convergence of the ecological sustainability and social justice movements. Unite and get active in any way you can!!!

THIS POST IS NOT FOR KIDS!

Money, Sustainability and Power - a snapshot

Nice compilation of video clips, music, and still images. Check out the anti-banking quotes from some titans of finance. Solid message.

It all makes sense now.


I finally figured out what the problem has been this whole time. Shrub, while well-intentioned (well-oiled? I get so confused) has simply been looking at the nation as a whole as well as the job of being a national leader upside-down (look closely at the title of his book). The schoolgirl beside him got it right (like my bumper sticker says king george, "listen to children"). This explains everything from his budgetary policies, to his incomprehensible speeches and all manner of comedic (tragicomedy folks) blunders in between. Now that I've solved this mind-bending riddle that has been shrub's puppetancy (oops spelling error I meant "presidency" ha ha ha funny concept Bush as a leader) I can finally get some rest.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Truth Will Set You Free


"In every land, the truth-once known-has the power to set us free.”(Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi)

Well said, now we need to discover the truth. Dig deep, but avoid striking oil (seems to lead to trouble). Seriously, if we want a positive change (or many) then we need to become aware. This awareness needs to encompass both what is presently not working for us, but even more importantly what the alternatives we most desire look like.

There is a need to become very clear on this, because without clarity and focus we would dissipate valuable time and energy. The people who benefit most from maintaining the status quo have been very organized for a long time. Our advantage is largely one of numbers. We also have available to us the choice to simply opt out of much of the current situation through daily mindful action or in some cases daily mindful inaction (whichever is situationally appropriate).

Through the choices we make, whether conscious or not we are building a bridge to the future. It is up to us to determine what the world is like across that bridge. Many of us, myself included will be
raising children as we make this journey. Many very important trends and events are converging during our lifetimes with profound implications for generations to come. A few key drivers of the future appear to be reaching a tipping point. I believe that we still have time and we unquestionably have the motivation to tip them in the correct (notice that I didn't say right) direction.

Buddha

Is America The Villian In Bali


For Al Gore, it was time to utter a new inconvenient truth that diplomatic niceties precluded others from telling: "My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here," he told a packed audience at the U.N. climate change summit in Bali. "We all know that."

"Over the next two years, the United States is going to be somewhere it is not right now," said Gore. "We are going to change in the U.S."

"You have to look to where we're going to be," Gore urged the Bali delegates. The problem with that advice for the Bali delegates, however, is that Gore is not the President.

Washington's official delegation has emerged as the chief spoiler in moves to take meaningful action on climate change. But among the most vocal critics of the official delegation has been an array of American environmentalists, legislators and state and local government officials. Carl Pope, president of the Sierra Club, called the U.S. performance "the most explicitly irresponsible action that any American Administration has taken in any of our lifetimes."

"I wanted to make certain that those folks who are involved in the negotiations understand that they are not alone in dealing with this," says (Senator John) Kerry. "The Administration is isolated in its own country." Kerry, Maine Republican Senator Olympia Snowe and 50 other members of Congress sent a protest letter Wednesday to President Bush calling for U.S. negotiators to drop their opposition to emission targets.

"People here are acutely aware of what's happening in the U.S. beyond the Bush Administration, and they take great heart in the growing momentum," says Eliot Diringer, director of international strategies for the Pew Center on Climate Change.

(excerpt from Time Magazine Dec 14, 2007 By BRYAN WALSH/NUSA DUA)
[I added photo of shrub and Saudi puppeteer making out from Flickr ("The best kleptocracy oil money can buy.")]

Bring Eco-Power To The People


Van Jones, activist and visionary.

"Power by the people, for the people," says Jones. "This is the vision of the future right here."

Everywhere Jones goes, he repeats a simple message. "Give the work that most needs to be done to the people who most need the work," he says, and solve two pressing problems--pollution and poverty--at once.

"When we bring together the best of the business community and the best of the tech community and the best of the racial-justice community, we'll get the coalition we always wanted." Even better, he adds, "we'll get the country we always wanted." In his vision, that means the map won't be divided between red and blue, but will be all green.

(excerpt from Time Magazine article by Bryan Walsh, photo by Eros Hoagland)

Sherrie's Birthday

Today is Takeo and Akayla's mother Sherrie's birthday. Everyone who reads this and knows how to contact her please wish her a Happy Birthday. If you know her (and me) and need contact info for her let me know, I'm not going to post it publicly, but I will give it to friends.

Thank you,
Buddha

Thursday, December 13, 2007

California Judge Denies Auto Industry Attorneys

A federal judge in California today rebuked the auto industry's attempt to block California and 16 other states from setting tough new limits on global warming pollution from automobiles, calling these efforts "the very definition of folly."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Movie from iLoveMountains.org

My sister just sent me this link because this is how her local (Tampa, Fla.) power is generated. I believe she is working on blueprints for a bicycle-dynamo generator so that her husband can provide all of the modern conveniences without the guilt [I wonder how she feels about spousal slavery (RUN JEREMIAH RUN)]. Maybe she can hook up a treadmill and let him run there.

The more I learn, the more urgent and obvious the need for a paradigm shift becomes. We can gain control of the economy and from there it's a whole new arrangement. "What you do with your money is how you vote on what exists (or doesn't exist) in the world." Vicki Robin (parenthetical from Buddha)

Q. What steps can you take to reduce your dependence on fossil fuels?

A. Some answers can be found within the links on this blog, but please use your imagination as well. Feel free to send your answers or new links as comments or straight to my e-mail.

http://www.ilovemountains.org/

Europe's Cities Take The Lead On Cutting Emissions

Outpacing global efforts, they've set targets even more ambitious than those on the table at this week's climate talks in Bali.(excerpt)

NO OIL EXTRACTION IN ANWAR

Hey kids,

They're at it again (still?). The point is we need to stay on top of this. If this fragile ecosystem is stomped on, the footprints will last an unacceptably long time at best. Tell your congressional representative what to do [that's what we pay them for (you know the job they keep voting themselves raises to perform)].

bush (shrub) vetoes kids health insurance bill (again)



Australia gets Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with immediate and positive change and here in the U.S. we get......

Ominous Arctic Melt Worries Experts


By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer (excerpted, click title for full article)

An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this
summer, a warning sign that some scientists worry could mean global
warming has passed an ominous tipping point. One even speculated that
summer sea ice would be gone in five years.

Greenland's ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the
previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer's end was
half what it was just four years earlier, according to new NASA
satellite data obtained by The Associated Press.

"The Arctic is screaming," said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the
government's snow and ice data center in Boulder, Colo.

Just last year, two top scientists surprised their colleagues by
projecting that the Arctic sea ice was melting so rapidly that it could
disappear entirely by the summer of 2040.

This week, after reviewing his own new data, NASA climate scientist Jay
Zwally said: "At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at
the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions."

So scientists in recent days have been asking themselves these
questions: Was the record melt seen all over the Arctic in 2007 a blip
amid relentless and steady warming? Or has everything sped up to a new
climate cycle that goes beyond the worst case scenarios presented by
computer models?

"The Arctic is often cited as the canary in the coal mine for climate
warming," said Zwally, who as a teenager hauled coal. "Now as a sign of
climate warming, the canary has died. It is time to start getting out of
the coal mines."

It is the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels that produces
carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, responsible for man-made
global warming. For the past several days, government diplomats have
been debating in Bali, Indonesia, the outlines of a new climate treaty
calling for tougher limits on these gases.

What happens in the Arctic has implications for the rest of the world.


NASA's "Tipping Points" panel and slide show materials:

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/tipping_points.html

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

U.N. Climate Conference in Bali ( Al Gore's Petition )


Dear Friend,

In less than forty-eight hours, I will step on stage at the UN Climate Conference in Bali. With me I will bring hundreds of thousands of messages demanding a visionary global treaty be completed and brought into effect by 2010.

If we want to solve the climate crisis, we need to demonstrate the broad public support for action together. That's why it is vital you sign our petition right now by visiting:

http://www.climateprotect.org/standwithal

Over the past few months we've taken many positive steps towards uniting governments worldwide around the goal of solving the climate crisis. Just over a week ago on December 3rd, Australia's new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was sworn in. His first formal act in office was to ratify the Kyoto Treaty. This was a clear demonstration of Australia's priorities.

Yet this progress has not swayed the Bush Administration. With thousands of delegates gathered in Bali for the UN Climate Conference, this is our last chance in 2007 to show the world how serious the American people are about ending the climate crisis. That's why it is so vital all of us join together and demonstrate the political will of our country.

Only two days remain before I deliver your messages to the delegates meeting in Bali. Over the past few days more than 174,612 people have added their voices. Don't miss this incredible opportunity to demonstrate your support for a visionary global treaty to end the climate crisis.

Sign our petition, then reach out to everyone you know and ask them to sign today by visiting:

http://www.climateprotect.org/standwithal

Your activism and enthusiasm for this cause inspires me every day.

Thank you,

Al Gore

[ forwarded by Kiwilassy (my hero) ]

I'm supporting Al Gore, please add your voice too!

Polar Bear S.O.S.


By speaking out today, you could help save polar bears from
extinction.

The Bush Administration has proposed listing the polar bear as
"threatened" under the Endangered Species Act because its Arctic
sea ice habitat is rapidly melting from global warming. This
proposed protection comes after successful legal action by NRDC
and its partners to protect the imperiled bear.

However, this proposal won't become reality without a huge
outpouring of public support.

Please send a message to the Bush Administration today by going
to: http://www.PolarBearSOS.org/takeaction

Polar bears live only in the Arctic and are completely dependent
on sea ice for survival. But 80 percent of their summer ice
could be gone in 20 years and all of it by 2040. They are
already suffering the effects: birth rates are falling, fewer
cubs are surviving, and more bears are drowning.

Time is running out. Without protection, polar bears could
become the first mammal to lose 100 percent of its habitat to
global warming.

Please speak out now. Go to
http://www.PolarBearSOS.org/takeaction

Thank you for speaking out at this critical time.

Sincerely,

Frances Beinecke
President
Natural Resources Defense Council
http://www.nrdconline.org/campaign/polarbearsos_0407?rk=K1MTmZs1cYmMW

(forwarded to me by Kiwilassy)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Australia Ratifies Kyoto Global WarmingTreaty




Click this link to get the full article. Rudd is fantastic! Go Oz!!

One Prize Fits Al

Al Gore and IPCC awarded Nobel Peace Prize

Posted at 7:51 AM on 10 Dec 2007

Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change received their Nobel Peace Prizes this morning in Oslo, Norway. In his acceptance speech, Gore emphasized humanity's role in the climate crisis, saying, "We are what is wrong, and we must make it right ... We never intended to cause all this destruction, just as Alfred Nobel never intended that dynamite be used for waging war. He had hoped his invention would promote human progress. We shared that same worthy goal when we began burning massive quantities of coal, then oil and methane." Gore called for a moratorium on coal-burning power plants that don't sequester their emissions and stressed the need for a carbon tax. In his own speech, R. K. Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, spoke of science and peace. "Peace can be defined as security and the secure access to resources that are essential for living. A disruption in such access could prove disruptive of peace," he said. "In this regard, climate change will have several implications, as numerous adverse impacts are expected for some populations in terms of access to clean water, access to sufficient food, stable health conditions, ecosystem resources, [and] security of settlements."

source: Aftenposten

What is Al's next trick? I know he just linked up with some heavy hitters in the venture capital world (Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in Menlo Park). Hopefully he can leverage this into some really serious changes. He's one to watch.

Al Gore

The Nobel Peace Prize 2007

Nobel Diploma

Nobel Diploma

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 2007
Artist: Britt Juul
Calligrapher: Inger Magnus
Photo reproduction: Thomas Widerberg

Authority Zero (Revolution) Lyrics

Look at the blueprints as they disappear
Gaze at the blank space filled with all our fears
To make a move could mean devastation
To take a chance is the way to face them
Making a choice to take a different road

You want a revolution?
You've got to make a difference on your own
You want a revolution?
Stand up, stand out and make it known

A new state, renovation
A new day, brings rejuvenation
These days, another way no replay
No replay, I think about it this way
Time's up, how can I say that's okay?
Too late, I should've, could've maybe
Why wait when in the end it could be my last big mistake?

You want a revolution?
You've got to make a difference on your own
You want a revolution?
Stand up, stand out and make it known

Face first, new days, choices we've made
Face first, new days, the choices we make
Face first our ability to choose
I make a change instead of saying that it's just fine
Time to open up and time to realize
You can make a difference if you try

You want a revolution?
You've got to make a difference on your own
You want a revolution?
Stand up, stand out and make it known
You've got to stand up and make it known
You want a revolution?

These are the lyrics to the song linked through youtube under my "Face for Radio" photo.
This song is on a compilation album titled Rock Against Bush and is one of my favorites.
Want a revolution? Vote for progress with your time, energy, $$$$$, and oh yeah at the polling booth. You can make a difference if you try!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Positive Energy Conference at Findhorn (Scotland)

I encourage anyone with the means to attend this conference to please do so. We need to wean ourselves from fossil fuels with their heavy environmental and social costs. I have heard many amazing things about these folks from several sources. My friend Paul Symanski who carpooled to the Bioneers conference with me said that the month he spent at Findhorn was amazing (this from a Ph.D. energy researcher). I'm looking into attending myself, so if anyone has too much money and wants to help sponsor me, please let me know.

Green Jobs Growing

Thanks to Grist for pointing the way to a fact sheet from the Environmental and Energy Study Institute showing that clean energy, already a job-creation engine, will soon rev even higher:

• Energy efficiency now employs 8 million, and renewable energy 450,000, in the U.S. • Renewable energy creates more jobs per megawatt of power installed, unit of energy produced, and dollar invested than fossil energy. • Generating 20 percent of U.S. electricity from new renewable energy by 2020 will add 185,000 new jobs, while cumulatively reducing utility bills $10.5 billion and increasing rural landowner income by $26.5 billion. • A national light vehicle efficiency standard of 35 mpg by 2018 will create 241,000 jobs, including 23,900 in the automotive sector, while saving consumers $37 billion in 2020 alone. • The Massachusetts clean energy sector employs 14,000 and will soon be the state's 10th largest economic sector. • Washington state's 15 percent renewable energy standard will result in a net increase of 1,230 jobs in-state. • California's Million Solar Roof Initiative will generate 15,000 jobs there. • Germany employs 214,000 in renewable energy, including 64,000 in wind. • Denmark's wind industry employs 20,000 and Spain's 35,000. • U.S. wind power was responsible for 16,000 direct jobs and 36,800 total jobs in 2006. •

Not to mention which, renewables revive communities.

(taken from The Blue Marble Blog)

Green Energy the Next Frontier

ourvis_solar_small.jpg

Great piece by Declan Butler in Nature on the new venture capitalism in Silicon Valley. Green energy, folks. California gold. Butler reports how the venture-capital industry in the US spent $2.6 billion on clean-energy technologies in the first three-quarters of this year. Up from $1.8 billion in 2006, and $533 million in 2005. Google joined the game last week, committing millions more to solar, wind and geothermal, seeking a technology patch to make renewables cheaper than coal. A few weeks earlier, Al Gore's London-based Generation Investment Management partnered with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in Menlo Park—the green-energy investors that nurtured Amazon, Google and Genentech—to fund global climate solutions.

For the fast-moving entrepreneurs of the [Silicon] [V]alley… the next frontier is the roughly US$6-trillion energy market, where the dinosaurs of power-generation utilities have traditionally invested a pittance in research and development. "Venture capital is exactly what we need to try new things outside the bounds of what the traditional energy companies think is worth doing," says Vinod Khosla, a veteran entrepreneur who co-founded Sun Microsystems and now heads Khosla Ventures in Menlo Park, one of the most prominent clean-energy venture-capital firms. "There is almost no technology risk-taking in any of the energy companies." Khosla predicts that within five years there will be a green form of electricity that is cheaper than coal, and cleaner fuels that are cheaper than oil.

Butler also notes that although the US lags far behind Europe's leaders, Denmark and Germany, in renewables, its venture-capital investments in clean tech now more than double those in Europe.

California scooped $726.2 million of this year's US clean-tech venture funding, followed by Massachusetts ($292.6 million) and Texas ($149.4 million). Almost $1 billion of US investment went abroad, including a $200-million investment in Brazil's Brazilian Renewable Energy, which produces ethanol, and a $118-million investment in China's Yingli Green Energy Holding Company, which makes photovoltaic solar systems.

This is the reason I refuse to surrender all hope.

[taken from Julia Whitty's blog The Blue Marble Blog (title link)]