Earth Day Festival and Parade

Tucson\’s 16th Annual Earth Day Festival and Parade will be held on Saturday, April 17, 2010 at Reid Park. The theme for the 2010 Festival is “All Species Deserve a Place on Earth!”  All species great and small – insects, plants and animals – the Earth needs them all!

Exhibits related to the environment will include \”hands-on\” activities for children and provide information on environmental products, water conservation/water quality, household hazardous waste, wildlife, nature preserves and much more!

At 10:00 the unique and colorful parade will include participants dressed up as plants, animals, and insects, and environmentally themed floats. Batucaxe, high energy drum and dance group will lead the “All Species Procession” as part of the Earth Day Parade!

After the parade, watch as local middle school students test their design and construction skills in a model solar electric race car competition.  Then change gears from model cars to full-size vehicles at the Alternate Fuel Vehicle Show.  Check out vehicles that run on alternate fuels such as biodiesel, compressed natural gas, electric, ethanol, propane and even waste vegetable oil.  Ask the experts how you can start using an alternate fuel in your vehicle to keep the air clean for all species.

Animals love the earth and deserve a place on earth too! So, ride your bike to the Earth Day Festival and for those riding their bikes (with a helmet) get free admission to the Reid Park Zoo by showing your safety helmet.

For more information about the 16th Annual Tucson Earth Day Festival please visit, call (520) 206-8814 or email Day

Green Your Business Workshop and Expo

SAVE THE DATE  for the Green Your Business Workshop and Expo!

Doubletree Hotel at Reid Park, 445 S. Alvernon Way

Business owners; property managers; engineers; architects; designers;
maintenance, facilities and operations professionals

BECOME a Green Business with the City’s Green Business
Certification and WaterSmart Business Certification Programs at the
Green your BusinessWorkshop & Expo

$20 Registration, $50 Vendors / $25 Non-profit vendors

Attendees will be able to:

  • Stroll the expo floor to learn about utility rebates and incentives, energy and water conservation fixtures, and the latest in irrigation techniques and equipment
  • Learn from area businesses about the costs and benefits of conservation
  • Attend a break-out session with specifics on reducing waste, water and energy
  • See what happens when a business ‘audits’ for energy/water/
    waste reduction and pollution prevention
  • Attend award ceremonies recognizing local businesses that
    have implemented green and water saving programs
  • Hear about the future of water from keynote speaker Robert
    Glennon, author of Unquenchable: America’s Water
    Crisis and What to Do About It

Registration: BOMA (520) 299-4956,

A little inspiration for the new year

A palindrome reads the same backwards as forward. This video reads the exact opposite backwards as forward.  Not only does it read the opposite, the meaning is the exact opposite.

This is only a 1 minute, 44 second video and it is brilliant. Make sure you read as well as listen…forward and backward.

This is a video that was submitted in a contest by a 20-year old. The contest was titled “u @ 50” by AARP. This video won second place. When they showed it, everyone in the room was awe-struck and broke into spontaneous applause. So simple and yet so brilliant..

Take a minute and watch it.

Brainstorming Gathering

Come help plan the Water Festival! Come to the Brainstorming Gathering.

Doors open / Sign in: 6pm
Discussion / Activities: 6:30-8:30pm
Armory Park Center
220 S. 5th Avenue, Tucson AZ
(On 5th Avenue, South of 12th St)

At the Community Brainstorm Gathering you will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn more about the festival
  • Collaboratively map ideas about water issues
  • Sign up for preferred levels of participation in various aspects
  • of the festival and/or performance

If you are not able to attend the Community Brainstorm Gathering but are interested in lending a hand, contact the organizers at the Conscious Collective via email at :

Community Organization Survey

Sustainable Tucson Survey: Planning the Region’s Future

This survey is designed to help us understand how different organizations in our community have approached thinking about the future. We are especially interested in your use of scenarios, or other techniques for exploring the interactions between key drivers of change in our region. Scenarios are stories of the future.  Like all stories, they have a beginning, middle, and end. The best stories have critical events, and maybe even a bad actor or two. We are inviting you to share your stories with the community.

The questions with an asterisk (*) will have to be answered in order to complete the survey.

1. If your organization has engaged in forecasting, visioning, scenario building, or some other long term planning activity in the past five years, what were the primary reasons, motivations or goals that led you to use scenarios or visioning techniques? (If you have not engaged in these kinds of activities, please skip down to question 7).

2. How have you used the results of these forward looking activities (e.g., shared them with members of your organization; shared them with other organizations, modified strategic plans, etc.)?

3. What baseline data, if any, have you used in your visioning or scenario development activities (e.g., population demographics, natural resources, economic activity, crime statistics, etc.)?

4. What key elements, trends, events, or circumstances have you emphasized in your visioning or scenario development efforts?

5. How many years into the future have these projections usually been designed to reach?

6. How much attention or emphasis have you placed on the following factors? Please rate their importance (unimportant, minor importance, major importance, primary importance)?

Unanticipated events?

Climate Change?

External/national/global factors/events?

Political/cultural change?

Technological developments?

Other (please specify)?

*7. Please provide a preferred scenario, or story of the future, related to your primary activity in the next 20 years.

*8. Please provide what you see as a likely scenario, or story of the future, related to your primary activity in the next 20 years.

*9. Please provide a crisis/catastrophe scenario, or story of the future, related to your primary activity in the next 20 years.

*10. What geographic boundary does your organization primarily work within?







*11. How would you describe the primary activities in which your organization is engaged?

Thank you for completing this survey!

Al Gore Speaks at Copenhagen

Al Gore issued a bold challenge from the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, calling on Members of Congress to pass clean energy and climate legislation in the United States by next April 22, the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. In an inspiring speech that was interrupted often with outbursts of applause and that ended with a standing ovation, Vice President Gore made clear what’s at stake this week: nothing short of the future of human civilization as we know it. And that future hangs in the balance right now while the United States debates its next steps.

Watch a clip of Al Gore’s important speech here:

Brown Bag Lecture

The Arizona Water Atlas
Linda Stitzer, ADWR, Resource Assessment Planning Manager

Kelly Mott Lacroix, ADWR, Community Water System Planning

The Arizona Water Atlas is a compilation of water resource information for the state composed of nine volumes. Initially released as drafts, the six volumes that cover the non-AMA portions of the state are now final and posted on the Department’s web site in an interactive format. The presentation will include process, purpose and content of the Atlas, efforts to develop data access on the web, and plans for the final volume of the Atlas, an evaluation of water sustainability for the state.
All seminars and events are held at the Sol Resnick Conference Room: Water Resources Research Center, 350 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson. Parking is available.

Hear John Holdren on Climate Science

Via Clean Break, John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, offers some useful thoughts on the recent controversy surrounding the emails stolen from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. Holdren touches on the current state of climate science, the significance of the emails, and the nature of the scientific process.

Water Festival Brainstorm Gathering

It’s time for the 2nd Water Festival Community Brainstorm Gathering! There was
an amazing turnout for the first one — a vibrant conversation with a wonderful mix of artists, educators, conservationists, representatives from non-profits, city department employees, and business owners working on or are interested in water issues.  Don’t miss this next monthly gathering where we will:

  • Review and add to the notes from the 1st brainstorm gathering
  • Discuss various levels of participation from all areas of the community
  • Envision creative aspects of the festival and map new ideas

Doors open / Sign in:  6pm
Discussion / Activities:  6:30-8:30pm
Armory Park Center
220 S. 5th Avenue, Tucson AZ
(On 5th Avenue, South of 12th Street)

Please RSVP to estimate the amount of light snacks to provide.

Check out the website where you will find notes from the first Community Brainstorm Gathering and other information:

This festival is made possible by your participation and support.  Check the website for participation opportunities (including the performance, art happenings, and logistical support) and download the Water Festival Packet for Vendor and Sponsorship forms (online forms will be available soon).  We are also currently asking for official endorsements from organizations, city departments, and businesses to include in the Packet.   You can also download the Packet  from here:

Micro-urban Farming Workshops

Hello Food Enthusiasts, chicken revolutionist and organic gardeners!
Below are upcoming micro-urban farming workshops at Pachamama’s Garden.
Please call at 622-1917 for more information or to RSVP. All workshops $20.

Sunday – December 6th Noon- 2 pm
Sunday – December 13th Noon – 2 pm
Sunday – January 3rd Noon -2 pm
Sunday – January 24th Noon – 2 pm
Workshop covers everything you need to know about raising chickens in your
backyard for egg and meat production. Several workshops will offer butchering
demonstrations. RSVP


Sunday – January 10th Noon -2 pm
Workshop on how to effectively grow your on food in desert conditions.
Includes: planting techniques, how to increase soil fertility for better tasting fruits
and vegetables, higher yields, and nutrient content. Effective composting,
vermiculture (worm composting), mulches, manures, organic soil amendments and
soil organisms.

ProNeighborhoods Workshop

What’s Working: A roundtable of resident experts
Many of the problems neighborhoods face have found a
successful solution somewhere in Tucson. This workshop will
touch on crime, the environment, streets and transportation
projects,development/redevelopment and infill, tracking
proposals before the Mayor & Council, and finding grant
opportunities or other funding sources.
Date: Saturday, December 5, 9AM – Noon
Place: Ward I Conference Rm, 940 W. Alameda St.
All workshops are free but registration is required. Call
882-5885 or register online:

December 1st: Public Comment Deadline

Phase II of the City/County Water/Wastewater water study is coming to a close.  Due to budget constraints, the public comment period for the draft report was not publicized, so you only have until December 1st to comment.While we recognize the hard work and countless hours that the committee members and staff put into this effort, we are disappointed with the lack of “outside the box” thinking that is reflected in the draft report.

The report largely serves as a road map for additional growth, arguing that growth should be channeled toward the southeast, where little infrastructure currently exists, or toward greater density in the city’s core, where the infrastructure is aging and may be unable to handle the increased demand.

The elephant in the room that the committee has failed to address is the issue of CAP water and salt.  Specifically, according to some scientific studies, Tucson’s full allotment of CAP water will bring 200,000 metric tons of salt to our valley each year. (The average railroad boxcar holds 100 tons of material.)  While some will privately acknowledge the challenges this presents, no one has been willing to publicly address this issue.  Perhaps it is the cost associated with removing salt from the CAP  water.   These include the construction of a desalinization plant, estimated at close to $500,000 plus the annual operating and maintenance costs, estimated at $25 million, plus the problem of disposing of the waste product.  Doing nothing creates long-term risks to our infrastructure, soil and our health.  This is a problem that requires imaginative problem-solving, and the Phase II report avoided this challenge.

Not only will it be important for our elected officials to hear from you, but continued community involvement in Phase III is crucial.  Phase III will entail the enactment of water and growth policies, and if we are not involved, the only voices the politicians will hear from are the paid staff and the development community (who pay their people to get involved).

You can view the draft report at: Review the supporting documentation at:
Submit comments online at:

Thank you for  your continued concern about the future of our community .
Colette Altaffer
Neighborhood Infill Coalition

Used Cooking Oil Collection

Enjoy Dining Green (EDG) will collect used cooking oil the Day after Thanksgiving! EDG will start the first of their regular monthly collection sites in hope to reduce the amount of oil being dumped in our sewer system.

Enjoy Dining Green will have 2 collection sites, one at the EDG building located at 4551 S. Alvernon Way (between Irvington and Ajo) and the other in the Student Parking Lot at Salpointe Catholic High School, 1545 E Copper St. (on Mountain between Glenn & Grant). Any Pima County residents who have used cooking oil are invited to bring it to either drop-off location.

Enjoy Dining Green will have monthly collections for Tucson area residents. The schedule will be posted on their website, Enjoy Dining Green is a coalition of concerned and environmentally-conscious people and restaurants united to practice environmentally sustainable recycling in the form of used cooking oil to biodiesel processing. In 2010, EDG and EDG Fuels will open a biodiesel facility in Tucson, Arizona able to produce up to 1.5 million gallons of biodiesel per year.

Enjoy Dining Green is also seeking pledges from area businesses and restaurants to help the environment by allowing us to recycle used cooking oil.

Enjoy Dining Green is part of EDG which is an innovative company with an environmentally committed staff. For more information about EDG, please visit our website at

Sustainable Tucson General Meeting

The focus of the Sustainable Tucson General Meeting will be Food Sustainability. On February 8, your view of food sustainability in Tucson ’s future may change forever. The Sustainable Tucson Working Group on Food & Agriculture will engage your mind and your tastebuds in thinking about the sources of food in Tucson, Pima County and Southern Arizona. The February General Meeting of Sustainable Tucson will feature presentations and activities designed to help us understand our food resources. We’ll look at food facts and information that define our food supply, population, farmers and ranchers, farmers markets, traditional food sources and eating trends for local and natural foods in our desert home. Come join us. Be prepared to participate.

Green Streets and Neighborhoods Festival

Tucson-based nonprofit Watershed Management Group and the Rincon Heights Neighborhood Association are hosting a block party and cookout to celebrate and share their successful model program installing \”green infrastructure\” in the neighborhood. Green infrastructure is vegetated infrastructure that uses natural processes to provide services like flood and pollution reduction, traffic calming, wildlife habitat and neighborhood beautification. The event, which is also a fundraiser to assist Watershed Management Group\’s work to green neighborhoods, will feature neighborhood tours of green infrastructure practices, educational demonstrations, live music, and home-cooked barbecue in a block-party atmosphere. More details to be announced; for more information visit or call 520-396-3266.

Sustainable Tucson General Meeting

The General Meeting of Sustainable Tucson will be held in the Joel Valdez Main Library, Downtown, 101 N. Stone Ave.

The meeting will profile three local and sustainable cooperatives, with a theme of “Co-operating for Sustainability.”  The Watershed Management Group, the Green Retrofit Co-op and the Gardening Co-op at the Food Bank’s Community Food Resource Center will be featured.  Representatives of each group will present information on their programs and be available to answer your questions.  The general public is welcome.

There should be a little something for everyone at this important meeting. Come prepared to engage with the issues, ideas, and opportunities we plan to provide.

The Water Project

A Community Brainstorming Gathering is scheduled for Thursday, November 19th, 6:30-8:30pm (doors open at 6pm) at the Armory Park Center, 220 S. 5th Avenue. The Brainstorming Gathering is being organized in support of the Water Project being planned for March 26-28, 2010. The Water Project is a participatory festival that celebrates, educates, and facilitates creative problem-solving for our most precious and endangered resource–water. This event includes a performance, art happenings, information tables, and interactive collaborations with artists, cultural workers, educators, scientists, engineers, architects, climatologists, water harvesters, city planners, investors, politicians, and other community members interested in addressing water issues.

At the Community Brainstorming Gathering you will have the opportunity to:

  • learn more about the festival
  • collaboratively map ideas about water issues
  • sign up for preferred levels of participation in various aspects of the festival

For more information, contact Jodi Netzer at

City/County Water and Wastewater Study Committee

>леглаe 2 of the City/County Water and Wastewater Study is nearing completion. Staff will present the draft Phase 2 Report recommendations, answer questions, and take public comment at a meeting on Monday, November 9th from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Randolph Golf Course Clubhouse, Copper Room, 600 S. Alvernon. A formal  presentation will be made at 6:15 p.m. with a question and answer session to follow at 6:45 p.m.

The Report makes recommendations about creating a sustainable water future and addresses such topics as comprehensive land use planning, water for the environment, uncertainties related to climate change and drought, acquiring new water supplies, maximizing local water resources, and water use efficiency.

Below are ways in which the public can review and comment on the Draft Phase 2 Report(The report will be available November 9th.):

•• Online comments: www.tucsonpimawater

••Printed copies available at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave.
•• Public Dialogue and Comments at the Report to the Community Meeting on November 9th.
•• Phone or email comments: 520-884-WISP (9477) or info@tucsonpimawate .

For more information visit www.tucsonpimawater, email to info@tucsonpimawate, or call 520-884-WISP (9477).

Composting Workshop

A free composting workshop will be held at the Tierra Anita Community Garden site, located in Barrio Anita at the corners of N. Anita Ave and W. Williams St. on Saturday, November 14th from 8:00-9:00am. The workshop will be taught by Kent Sorensen and Diane DePaul of Sonoran Desert Landscape.

Directions to Tierra Anita:
From the west-
Travel east bound on Speedway, and when you pass under the freeway, be in the right lane. After crossing the north bound frontage road there is a ‘spur’ off from Speedway to the right. Take this spur, go right at the first street and the garden will be on the right. [If you miss this spur, and go under the railroad tracks you have gone to far. In this case, follow Speedway to Oracle (Main), turn right (south) and follow directions below].

From the east:
Travel west bound on Speedway, at Oracle (Main) turn south, stay in the right lane and immediately after crossing the rail road tracks, turn right onto Davis. At the stop sign turn right. This is N. Anita Ave. Travel north until you find W. Williams (nearly to the stop sign). Garden will be on your left.

Coats for Cubs

Give your furs back to the animals! Starting Saturday, November 14 through Earth Day on Thursday, April 22, bring your real fur apparel, including trims, accessories and shearling, to any Buffalo Exchange and let us know it’s a donation for Coats for Cubs.
Since you’re donating to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), condition is unimportant. Used furs provide bedding and comfort to orphaned and injured wildlife. Since 2006, Buffalo Exchange has collected a total of 3,885 used furs on behalf of Coats for
Cubs. To claim a tax deduction, please mail your fur directly to The Humane Society of the United States, Attn: Coats for Cubs, 2100 L St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037.

SustainaBIL Unconference

This November 8th in Phoenix, Arizona, an organization of BILders will be hosting their first ever SustainaBIL! This 1 day conference will focus on upcoming trends in sustainable emerging technology, recycling, green ideas, collaboration, activism, and most importantly an outlet for those who wish to implement their ideas for a better environment.

The conference is free, but registration is required. For information about the organization, the conference, and how to reach the site (ASU Skysong), visit their website:

Solar Power 101

This community service education series on solar energy will focus on the efforts by Tucson Electric Power in this area. Come hear about their new “Bright Tucson Community Solar Program” that allows customers to purchase solar power from a large system, their high school classroom program with Tucson Unified School District, and other solar projects in the region.

The Session will be held at the Martha Cooper Branch Library, 1377 N. Catalina Avenue (near Columbus and Speedway Blvd). Because space is limited, please RSVP by Tuesday, November 10: or (520) 881-3588.

Native Foods and Herbs Workshop

Nov. 14th
Time: 10AM to 3PM
Cost: $65 – partial scholarships available as class registration allows. Includes all class materials.
Location: Bean Tree Farm at Dancing Rocks Community, 15 miles north of downtown Tucson. Directions and more info sent with registration.
Instructors: Barbara Rose and Bean Tree Farm staff or

Foods and Herbs collected during their seasons will be integrated into recipes featured in Barbara’s and Jill’s new cook booklet, “Wild Recipes, Seasonal Samplers”. We will prepare and share a feast for a wild and wonderful taste of the desert – our home. Wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes, as we will be identifying native plants in the field. Class size is limited to 15 participants.

Invitation: Meet me at the Wall

The Wall is a place where literally thousands and thousands of people committed to a revolutionary new energy future for our nation and the world are coming together — to express our hopes, share our resolve, and step up to a leadership role in building a grassroots movement for change like nothing America has ever seen. It’s an opportunity for you to be part of the climate movement in a new way, in a way that takes us beyond ourselves.

By asking people from all over the country to share their thoughts and images on the Wall, we are fueling a campaign that brings together the power of national media with the strength and connection of on-the-ground organizing in a way that no one has ever done before. Your voice, and the voices of your friends, neighbors and colleagues, will become the language of our campaign on TV, in print, on billboards, online, and in brand new ways that you will help us invent as we create the Wall.

We know that the political will to transition America to a clean energy economy already exists. You are part of it. But now we must make sure our leaders know it too. The Wall will become our collective voice and thus transform the debate into action.

It’s an ambitious strategy — and it has to be.

Nothing short of every one of us joined together is needed to overcome the resistance of the powerful special interests blocking our path to a clean energy future, settling for the dangerous status quo.

But the time for politics is over. We have the power to force change in America .

Share your voice on The Repower America Wall right now.

Annual Tucson Banquet

The Arizona Ecumenical Council announces its 2009 Annual Tucson Banquet “Celebrating the Mission of Unity.” Friday, October 30, 2009, 6:00-9:00pm St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church. 602 North Wilmot Road, Tucson, AZ 85711.

6PM – Social Hour with appetizers, wine, and other beverages

7PM – Dinner catered by “Enjoy Cooking”

8PM – Program featuring Fr. Joe Rodrigues, SDS, renowned for his music and inspiring presentation.

$30 per person

Register by phone 602-468-3818, fax 602-314-7950, or email for registration form.

New Flex Car Program at UA

Just a heads up that Hertz is the 1st to launch the Flex car program and it’s up and running at the U of A. You do not need to be a student to rent the vehicle. You can rent it for an hour, a few hours or even a day or more. It’s really a great program. You do have to sign up as a member but the benefits are great.

Take a look for yourself.

Important New Reports about Climate Change

You may be interested in the following new reports:

1. Climate Solutions2: Low-Carbon Re-Industrialization. A Report to WWF International based on the Climate Industry Sector Technology Allocation (CRISTAL) Model (Executive Summary). This report models the ability of low-carbon industries to grow and transform within a market economy. It finds that runaway climate change is almost inevitable without specific action to implement low-carbon re-industrialisation over the next five years. The point of no return is estimated to be 2014.

2. Tucson Spotlight Conversation on Climate Action. National Conversation on Climate Action, April 22, 2009 (Summary Report).

3. Unfortunately, at least according to a recent Pew Survey,  “There has been a sharp decline over the past year in the percentage of Americans who say there is solid evidence that global temperatures are rising. And fewer also see global warming as a very serious problem – 35% say that today, down from 44% in April 2008.”

Repower Arizona event

Repower Arizona, a campaign of the Alliance for Climate Protection in support of clean energy is coming to town! The office grand opening will feature Tucson City council member Rodney Glassman. Join us for education, activities, and networking.

Repower Arizona is educating Arizona on the benefits of transitioning to a clean energy economy, including providing a greener future for our children, bringing thousands of new jobs to Arizona, and helping to end our deep dependence on foreign oil.

WHAT: Repower Arizona Grand Opening Celebration
WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Thursday October 22nd
WHERE: Repower Arizona Tucson Office, Prescott College building, 2233 E Speedway, Tucson, AZ 85719

Contact/More info/Rsvp
Julie Burguiere, Field Organizer for Southern Arizona
520 850 7427

Tucson’s 2nd Annual Bicycle Count

Tucson’s 2nd annual bicycle count needs volunteers. The count is important
to the region to better understand the trends in cycling, the behavior of
cyclists, and to identify locations needing improvements. The more cyclists
we can get on the roads safely, the better our community and our
environment. Last year we counted over 50 locations and this year we are
hoping for over 60. Please consider volunteering for this effort.

The count takes place over 3 days, Oct. 27-29th.

Anyone interested in volunteering needs to attend a very short training
session where you’ll learn more about the count. Volunteers sign up for one location and do 1 morning (7-9 a.m. ) and 1 evening count (4-6 p.m.) – the a.m. and p.m. counts do not have to be on the same day. You can pair up with a friend to split your counts.

We collect different attributes with the count (gender, approximate age,
helmet use, etc.)

Please contact Ann Chanecka, Transportation Planner at:, or 792-1093 if you have any questions on the count.

Pima Association of Governments
177 N. Church Ave., Suite 405
Tucson, AZ 85701

520-792-1093 [tel]
520-620-6981 [fax]

La Vida Verde Picnic

Hello peace and sustainability advocate:

You and your affiliated organizations are invited to the La Vida Verde, potluck picnic and open space event, Saturday, November 7th at Reid Park, ramadas 14 and 15, from 11am to sunset. Passive tabling is encouraged.

This event will focus on uniting our Tucson community and organizations in pursuit of our common vision and goals.

It has been said that 100 concerned and informed people, especially if they represent a diverse cross section of our community, can effect significant changes in our culture and our laws.

It has also been said that a concerted effort by a broad base of organizations can transform project initiatives into the actuality of existing programs in our culture.

We, today, have that capability.

Come and participate at the picnic and be a part of this process.

For more information contact Tom Mendola at 400-4489.

jpeg-picnic la vide color

Land Institute President Wes Jackson announced as new Post Carbon Institute Fellow

Land Institute President Wes Jackson announced as new Post Carbon Institute Fellow

Published Mon, 09/28/2009 – 07:00
by Energy Bulletin (

Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

From the Post Carton Institute website:
Wes Jackson is one of the foremost figures in the international sustainable agriculture movement.

Founder and president of The Land Institute in Salinas, Kansas, he has pioneered reserach in Natural Systems Agriculture — including perennial grains, perennial polycultures, and intercropping — for over 30 years. He was a professor of biology at Kansas Wesleyan and later established the Environmental Studies program at California State University, Sacramento, where he became a tenured full professor. He is the author of several books including Becoming Native to This Place (1994), Altars of Unhewn Stone (1987), and New Roots for Agriculture (1980).

The work of the Land Institute has been featured extensively in the popular media, including The Atlantic Monthly, Audubon, The MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, and All Things Considered. Life magazine predicted Wes Jackson will be among the 100 “most important Americans of the 20th century.” He is a recipient of the Pew Conservation Scholars award and a MacArthur Fellowship, and has been listed as one of Smithsonian’s 35 Who Made a Difference.” Wes has an M.A. in botany from University of Kansas, and a Ph.D. in genetics from North Carolina State University.

Future Farming: The Call for a 50-Year Perspective on Agriculture

Robert Jenson, dissident voice
As everyone scrambles for a solution to the crises in the nation’s economy, Wes Jackson suggests we look to nature’s economy for some of the answers. With everyone focused on a stimulus package in the short term, he counsels that we pay more attention to the soil over the long haul.

“We live off of what comes out of the soil, not what’s in the bank,” said Jackson, president of The Land Institute. “If we squander the ecological capital of the soil, the capital on paper won’t much matter.”

Jackson doesn’t minimize the threat of the current financial problems but argues that the new administration should consider a “50-year farm bill,” which he and the writer/farmer Wendell Berry proposed in a New York Times op/ed earlier this month.

Central to such a bill would be soil. A plan for sustainable agriculture capable of producing healthful food has to come to solve the twin problems of soil erosion and contamination, said Jackson, who co-founded the research center in 1976 after leaving his job as an environmental studies professor at California State University-Sacramento.

Jackson believes that a key part of the solution is in approaches to growing food that mimic nature instead of trying to subdue it. While Jackson and his fellow researchers at The Land Institute continue their work on Natural Systems Agriculture, he also ponders how to turn the possibilities into policy. He spoke with me from his office in Salina, Kansas…
(29 January 2009)

A 50-Year Farm Bill

Wes Jackson and Wendell Berry, The New York Times
THE extraordinary rainstorms last June caused catastrophic soil erosion in the grain lands of Iowa, where there were gullies 200 feet wide. But even worse damage is done over the long term under normal rainfall — by the little rills and sheets of erosion on incompletely covered or denuded cropland, and by various degradations resulting from industrial procedures and technologies alien to both agriculture and nature.

Soil that is used and abused in this way is as nonrenewable as (and far more valuable than) oil. Unlike oil, it has no technological substitute — and no powerful friends in the halls of government.

Agriculture has too often involved an insupportable abuse and waste of soil, ever since the first farmers took away the soil-saving cover and roots of perennial plants. Civilizations have destroyed themselves by destroying their farmland. This irremediable loss, never enough noticed, has been made worse by the huge monocultures and continuous soil-exposure of the agriculture we now practice.

To the problem of soil loss, the industrialization of agriculture has added pollution by toxic chemicals, now universally present in our farmlands and streams. Some of this toxicity is associated with the widely acclaimed method of minimum tillage. We should not poison our soils to save them.

Industrial agricultural has made our food supply entirely dependent on fossil fuels and, by substituting technological “solutions” for human work and care, has virtually destroyed the cultures of husbandry (imperfect as they may have been) once indigenous to family farms and farming neighborhoods…
(4 January 2009)

Q&A: Wes Jackson

Jesse Finfrock, Mother Jones
Mother Jones: You’ve spent decades researching plant genetics. Can you explain for people who may not be familiar with the topic why we should transition our agriculture away from annual crops toward perennial crops?

Wes Jackson: If you look at nature’s ecosystems, almost anywhere across the planet, nature features perennials in mixtures. This is pretty easily understood if one reflects on the fact that of the almost 30 elements that you see on the periodic chart that go into organisms—they’re in the upper third of the chart that you see in the classroom—only four of those are in the atmospheric commons: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen. The rest of them are at the earth’s surface and below. And they all happen to be hydrophilic, i.e. at home in water. So therefore, one can imagine nature’s ecosystems evolving an elegant diversity of root architectures to manage, in millimeters and minutes, very efficiently, the stuff that life forms are made of. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you’re a redwood or a human or a Holstein or a corn plant: It’s what we’re all made of, these elements. We land animals, we deep-air animals, if you wish, we have been dependent primarily on nature’s efficient perennial land plants. Agriculture reversed that, though, starting 10 to 12 thousand years ago, by featuring annuals instead of perennials and monocultures instead of polycultures. So that’s where we took the wrong turn. Yes, it allowed us to exploit the soil resource, but it also then meant that we have to tear the ground up every year, leaving it subject to the forces of wind and rain. We do this for all of our high-yielding crops, those that really sustain us. The No. 1 crop of the world is rice. No. 2 is wheat. No. 3 is corn, and then potato, but then soybeans. And you take those four crops, corn, wheat, rice, soybeans, that’s close to two-thirds of the agricultural land and calories of humanity. We’re primarily grass-feed eaters, and secondarily legume-seed eaters. If we’re to solve the 10,000-year-old problem of agriculture, we’re going to have to perennialize the major crops and put them in mixtures so that we can bring the processes of the wild to the farm….
(29 October 2008)

Content on this site is subject to our fair use notice.Energy Bulletin is a program of Post Carbon Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the world transition away from fossil fuels and build sustainable, resilient communities.


International Day of Climate Action

Join us October 24th, Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, 1288 West River Road, 10 am to 11:45 am.


Connect with others in our community and thousands of communities across the planet
who are building a movement to lift public awareness about Global Warming. Let’s show
the world what Tucson is doing to make policymakers aware of the scientific evidence that
says the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide must be lowered to 350 ppm if we are
going to avoid a catastrophic ecological tipping point.

Attendees are urged to arrive at the Center by bus, bicycle or in car pools. The Tucson
Chinese Cultural Center is on SunTran Bus Route 10. To get the clearest representation of
the “350” in the human sculpture, it will be helpful for participants to wear light- colored
(white or yellow) head gear, especially iconic cowboy hats or sombreros.

Join with friends and neighbors to show Tucson’s support of successful Climate Change
talks in Copenhagen in December and give support for climate action at the local level by
signing petitions that will be presented to City, County, and State officials.

Sustainable Tucson General Meeting

Sustainable Tucson’s General Meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 10th at the Joel Valdez Main Library Downtown, 101 N. Stone Avenue. Doors will open at 5:30 pm.

Under the direction of the Sustainable Tucson Data & Analysis Working Group (DAG), we’ll take a look at the use of scenarios, GIS and mapping resources. Dr. Mohammed Mahmoud, a recent graduate of the University of Arizona’s Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, will talk about “Scenario Development and Planning for Natural Resources Sustainability. Chris McNamara, Director of Income Strategies for the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, will talk about the analytical and collaborative uses of web-based GIS and decision-making technology.

There should be a little something for everyone at this important meeting. Come prepared to engage with the issues, ideas, and opportunities we plan to provide.

Critical Perspective on Climate Activism

Here’s a rather impressive bit of reflection by Adam Sacks on “the fallacy of climate activism”

He says: “in the 20 years since we climate activists began our work in earnest, the state of the climate has become dramatically worse, and the change is accelerating–this despite all of our best efforts. Clearly something is deeply wrong with this picture. What is it that we do not yet know? What do we have to think and do differently to arrive at urgently different outcomes? The answers lie not with science, but with culture.”

Sustainable Tucson General Meeting

The General Meeting of Sustainable Tucson will be held in the Joel Valdez Main Library, Downtown, 101 N. Stone Ave.

The meeting will profile three local and sustainable cooperatives, with a theme of “Co-operating for Sustainability.”  The Watershed Management Group, the Green Retrofit Co-op and the Gardening Co-op at the Food Bank’s Community Food Resource Center will be featured.  Representatives of each group will present information on their programs and be available to answer your questions.  The general public is welcome.

There should be a little something for everyone at this important meeting. Come prepared to engage with the issues, ideas, and opportunities we plan to provide.

Premiere of WaveLengths:Sustainability

What kind of innovative approaches are scientists taking to help mankind protect the planet and live more sustainably? WaveLengths: Sustainability — the season premiere of the science program from Arizona Public Media – explores some of the cutting edge research scientists are using to look for solutions for more responsible use of the planet’s natural resources.

The fifth installment of “WaveLengths” explores scientific innovations in the areas of biofuel production, local urban agriculture, solar energy and responsible waste management… approaches to help meet present food and energy needs without compromising the well being of future generations.

WaveLengths: Sustainability” is produced by Pam White and hosted by BIO5 Institute member Dr. Vicki Chandler. It premieres on Thursday, September 24 at 8:30 p.m. on PBS-HD channel 6. An encore broadcast is scheduled for Sunday, September 27 at 6:30 p.m. on PBS-HD channel 6.

More information can be found on the Originals page of the Arizona Public Media website at

Fall Tucson Area Farm & Ranch Tours

Join us for a true local food producer experience!

Did you see the films Fresh or Food Inc. this summer?

It’s time to know where your food comes from. This is an opportunity to see our local food at the source.

Are you ready for a great tour of three locations led by the farmers and ranchers who produce local grass-fed beef, roasting chickens, farm fresh eggs, and seasonal local heirloom produce right here in the Tucson area?

Take a walking tour of a farm or ranch with the local producers as your guide. Sample products from these popular local food producers.

Join us on one or all three tours! Tours are free. Sign up now!

Space is limited. To join a tour, contact Torey Ligon at the Co-op at 624-4821, or Judith Mattson at

Note: You are responsible for your own transportation; car pooling is encouraged. Maps and directions will be sent out when you make your reservation for one or more of the tours.

Double Check Ranch, hosted by Paul Schwennesen and Jim McManus. Sunday, September 20th,10 AM-12 Noon, Walking J Farm, Amado, AZ. Sunday, September 27th, 3-5PM, Double Check Ranch, Dudleyville, AZ.

The Double Check Ranch provides an opportunity for a look into the world of grass fed beef — bred and grown on the Schwennesen ranch in eastern Arizona and finished on irrigated pasture in Dudleyville and Amado before processing at the Double Check Ranch on-site packing house at the Dudleyville location.

Sleeping Frog Farms, hosted by Adam Valdivia and C J Marks, Saturday, October 3, 4-6PM, Sleeping Frog Farms, North Tucson, AZ.

Sleeping Frog Farms is a familiar supplier of seasonal heirloom fruit and vegetables to the Food Conspiracy Co-op, St Philips Sunday farmers market and several area restaurants.It is an intensive small-scale farm nestled in the Canada del Oro flood plain, founded on permaculture design and biodynamic growing principles. Their laying hens, dairy goats,honey bees, and earthworms are integral to pollination, soil-building, and recycling crop waste into food and fertilizer.

Food & Agriculture Work Group meeting

The Sustainable Tucson Working Group on Food & Agriculture will meet for our regular monthly meeting on September 16, from 5:45 – 8 pm at the Woods Memorial Library on 1st Ave, south of Prince.

Special presentation by Vanessa Bechtol, Executive Director, Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance, on local and heritage foods. Followed by regular business meeting. Come and join us.

Van Jones’s Ousting: A Wake-Up Call for Green Economy Advocates

Van Jones’s Ousting: A Wake-Up Call for Green Economy Advocates

Published 09/07/2009 on Energy Bulletin (

by Aaron G. Lehmer

A dear friend of the earth, a staunch defender of justice, and a bold champion for a solar-powered America has just been forced out of the Obama Administration through a clever campaign of deceit, malice, and fear. FOX News’ right-wing attack dog, Glenn Beck, and his supporters cherry picked statements from Van Jones’ past, mercilessly branded him a “communist”, and wrapped up their bogey-man caricature in a bow with dire warnings of plans to destroy the “America we all grew up in.”

Having worked closely with Jones at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, I can attest to his steadfast commitment to working within the system – harnessing the promise of our much-heralded free market and democratic institutions – to build a “green economy that lifts all boats.” Far from some lefty ideological plot, our Green-Collar Jobs Campaign brought together a broad range of established players in the local economy – businesses, educators, environmentalists, job trainers, unions, and yes, even some of those pesky community organizers – to launch the Oakland Green Jobs Corps.

Thanks to the incredible work of Green For All, the Apollo Alliance, and others, this model has spread like wildfire across the nation, inspiring dozens of states and cities to launch their own efforts putting the unemployed and underemployed back to work retrofitting our buildings, installing solar and wind systems, and greenscaping our urban centers. It’s no exaggeration to say that Van’s vision of fighting poverty and pollution simultaneously through green-collar jobs has catalyzed a movement – and earned him the admiration of people across the political spectrum. Indeed, his hard-won federal Green Jobs Act, committing $500 million toward green job training, was initially signed in to law by none other than the leftist radical President George W. Bush.

But all of these political smear tactics are really just a cover for the real reason Jones was targeted: his vision of a truly inclusive green economy is catching on, and it actually is a threat to business as usual. One of FOX’s commentators, Phil Kerpen, misplaced the threat at the doorstep of creeping Soviet-style socialism, asserting that Van’s “‘green jobs’ concept was merely a new face on the old ideology of central economic planning and control, an alternative and a threat to free market capitalism.” Fear-mongering knows no bounds.

Given the scores of decidedly pro-market corporations, trade groups, and financial services firms partnering with the Jones-affiliated Apollo Alliance (see full list here), Kerpen’s claim is laughable on its face. On a deeper level, however, Jones’ vision of an inclusive green economy is profound in that it forces Americans to acknowledge their segregationist past and to take a stand for an ecologically sound future in which all of us can thrive. Now that’s radical. It’s also vital if we’re to make it as one nation through the increasingly troubled waters of climate instability, the twilight years of cheap oil, and what’s likely to be a protracted period of economic decline.

As a middle-class white activist, I have a choice: I can ignore the fact that every day, I’m held up by centuries of hard work by formerly enslaved Africans, along with better schooling and job opportunities thanks to decades of racial discrimination against their descendants by schools, banks, and corporations. Or I can acknowledge these advantages, and work to neutralize them as a way to fulfill America’s promise of equality for all under the law.

Building a truly inclusive green economy will demand a level playing field in education, job training, and hiring for those from low-income communities and among the historically underserved. We have the resources to do this, but will privileged Americans extend a hand of partnership across race and class to build the pathways out of poverty into green prosperity that Van has called for? Or will they succumb to bitter hatred, Glenn Beck-style?

Van’s effective and passionate calls for a clean energy economy must have worried America’s old energy CEOs, whose deep pockets typically leave no politician behind. Earlier this year, International Energy Agency Chief Economist Fatih Birol warned that the world is headed for a catastrophic energy crunch by 2020, thanks to the plummeting output of the world’s oil fields. Given that oil is the lifeblood of industrial civilization, learning to make do with less and less of it while transitioning to renewable energy is now all the more urgent. If the green economy message gets too widely accepted, that could mean a shift in billions of investments and subsidies away from fossil fuels toward energy efficiency, clean power, and alternative transportation systems. Heaven forbid!

So a green economy that lifts all boats may not be as easily accepted as we advocates have come to believe, at least not while vested interests are controlling the debate and scaring people from seeing its true promise. Van’s ousting is truly a wake-up call for deeper thinking about how to build a broad-based, resilient movement that can counter these challenges head-on, and to connect more deeply with Americans from all walks of life about how an inclusive green economy cannot only heal our troubled planet, but also heal our troubled past.

Despite this setback, Van will undoubtedly continue on as a powerful advocate for green-collar jobs. And our movement, against the odds, will surely grow by leaps and bounds. Fear cannot stop a potent vision such as this.


.            Green For All, a national organization Jones founded, has issued the following statement: “[Now] is the time to come together around the values our movement stands for: clean air, healthy communities, good jobs, and opportunity for all.” Please sign the Petition in support of the Green Jobs Movement.

.            An independent “I Stand With Van Jones” Facebook campaign has already attracted thousands of supporters within the first day of its launch. Take a moment to Stand With Van through Facebook.

Aaron G. Lehmer is the Co-founder and Network Development Director of Bay Localize, an Oakland-based nonprofit working to build a stronger, more self-reliant Bay Area. He was formerly the Policy Director for the Ella Baker Center’s Green-Collar Jobs Campaign

Energy Bulletin is a program of Post Carbon Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the world transition away from fossil fuels and build sustainable, resilient communities.

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Communications Workshop

Learn about Building Relationships:

New Communication Tools to Transform Your Group, Organization, and Community

Learn about powerful new processes for:

* Non-hierarchical organization

* Effective coalitions

* Inclusive communications

* Group decision making

* Productive meetings

Effective communication — the key to success. In stressful, swiftly changing times, it is more challenging and vital than ever.

Become familiar with a dozen powerful, non-hierarchical techniques that facilitate

communication, organization and decisions — from the grassroots to the enterprise –and when each is most effective.

Becoming practiced in forms of communication that are inclusive and nonhierarchical, and thus draw out the best in each individual, is difficult at best within a culture that values the opposite. The goal of communication and relationship building should be power with, not power over. Then everyone benefits. In an interconnected world, it’s the only way each has any possibility of actually reaching their full potential.

This will necessarily be part of the foundation of any sustainable future.

This half-day workshop provides:

* An overview of a dozen of the most powerful new non-hierarchical organization, communication, planning, and decision making tools that have emerged over the last few decades,

* Instruction on how and when you can most effectively employ these processes to serve the evolving purposes of your organization, plus

* Experiential activities. Come prepared to be outside for about an hour.

Facilitated by Allison and Dave Ewoldt of Natural Systems Solutions

There is a suggested registration fee of $25–$45

For more information and to register, please see

or contact Allison — e-mail: phone: 520-887-2502

Artisans’ Farm

Everyone is welcome to come enjoy the ever-growing display of Artisans! Taking place in the outer-space surrounding \’4th & 4th\’- right
in the Heart of Tucson. Hosting Musical/Performance Acts on our main-shaded porch. A variety of local arts and crafts vendors will be present, as well with their works up for purchase- a great place to gift shop, or find
something unique!

The Artisans’ Farm is FREE to the Public, taking place the 4th Saturday of each month.
Interested in participating as an Artisan vendor, or Performer? We\’re open to artists and crafters of all sorts. Farmers and Gardners, Food Vendors, and those who provide services. Contact us today: or
(520) 762-4947

General Meeting

This special meeting will focus on efforts being made at the city and county level to move our region toward sustainability. We will hear from Tedra Fox, Pima County Sustainability Manager, and David Schaller, Administrator of Tucson’s Office of Conservation and Sustainable Development. This is sure to be a timely and informative discussion. Please come with lots of questions for our guests.

Preface from our ST Co-Coordinators Linda Ellinor & Vera Lander:

“Direct engagement with the wider community is the next step for us to take.  The question we are asking ourselves is “how do we engage the right people in the right positions to make things happen in Tucson and Pima County?” We need to find the right forums for allowing our voices to be heard. Ultimately, Sustainable Tucson must develop its own ideas about how resilience in our region can be implemented. Then we will have to spend time working with our public servants so that we can move in these directions together.”

Our General Meeting this month will begin that process through discussions with the two leaders of our local governments’ sustainability efforts. Please come to that meeting ready to take part in the discussion.

We believe that we are beginning to identify the issues that will be most critical to our region’s future. Our active working groups are beginning to develop some exciting initiatives (especially in the areas of food, water, and planning for sustainability) that we believe will become critical resources for the region.

Our General Meetings will become a primary vehicle for involving our membership and the wider community in the discovery and development of the best ways to put those resources to good use.

We should never forget one of Margaret Mead’s most important insights: “a small group of thoughtful people could change the world… Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”