Save energy and money too!

The Teaching & Helping Program of Empowering Local Communities, Inc. is organizing a project to reduce the energy use of as many Tucson homes as possible on the Day of Climate Action, October 10, 2010 (10-10-10). We are looking for Tucson homeowners who want to participate in doing energy conservation projects on their homes on that day. We are also looking for two qualifying families (low-income homeowners) for September, where we will be training some of our experienced volunteers to be team leaders for the 10-10-10 project.

Are you interested?

Teaching & Helping will be fielding teams of Mentors and volunteers on October 10 to weatherize and insulate as many homes as we can. We expect to be able to simultaneously do 6-10 homes, train 15-30 volunteers, and reduce annual energy use at least $150 and CO2 production by at least 1500 pounds (probably more). We will be doing some combination of weatherization, insulation, and window replacement, depending on the houses’ needs.

On October 10, you can participate, regardless of your income. If you own your own home and are of modest income, we have a County grant to cover the cost of the Mentor and overhead. You pay for the materials. If you have more income, you can still take part in October. The Mentor and overhead cost will be about $300 +/- as well as the materials. Someone will inspect your house in September and give you a closer estimate of the total cost. (Weatherization involves caulking, sealing, and/or weather-stripping outlets, switches, plumbing penetrations, light fixtures, doors and windows.)

Also, if you meet the County’s requirements, we are looking for two homes to weatherize were we can train some of our experienced volunteers to be team leaders on October 10. An experienced Mentor will lead a small volunteer team to practice the special techniques we are developing for efficient weatherization of older homes.

If you are interested in finding out more — either to include your home in the project, or to participate as a volunteer and learn yourself and help others — please contact me, Tres English, at 795-3413 or <tres at>

Wild & Scenic Film Festival

The Loft Cinema, 3233 E Speedway, Blvd., Tucson, Arizona

The Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival On Tour brings together a selection of films from the annual festival held each January in Nevada City, CA. The chosen films not only highlight environmental concerns but also provide solutions, reaching people through beautiful imagery, and inspiring local individuals to get involved in “Conserving the Wild & Scenic Places Close to Home.”

The festival is a natural extension of the work of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection. The
Coalition, comprised of 37 conservation and community groups, has worked for a dozen years to achieve
the long-term conservation of biological diversity and ecological function of the Sonoran Desert through
comprehensive land-use planning, with primary emphasis on Pima County’s Sonoran Desert Conservation

The feature film of the evening is Eric Bendick’s “Division Street.” This film highlights the environmental
challenges presented by North America’s vast system of roads. Roads are the largest human artifact on the
planet; they have fragmented wild landscapes, ushered in the ‘age of urban sprawl,’ and challenged our
sense of community. This film looks at the promise of wildlife corridors, the potential for ‘greening’ our
highway system, and the fusion of high-tech engineering with the best and brightest environmental
research happening today.

Cost: $10 general admission. Tickets on sale August 16th at Summit Hut, Antigone Books, and the Tucson
Audubon Nature Shop. Proceeds benefit the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection.
For more information: Contact Gabe Wigtil,, 520-388-9925 or visit

Compute your water footprint

National Geographic has developed a cute (and informative) water use calculator. Even though it leaves out some of the ways in which we use and save water, you might enjoy giving it a try. Of course, you might want to pass the link on to your friends.

Fall 2010 Local Food Workshop & Tour Series

A personal choice to select, prepare and serve local, fresh, healthy, natural and organic foods is only as good as the available food supply.  Here in the desert, it can be a special challenge – both for customers and those who grow food locally.

Local Food Concepts, the Tucson-based, local food information resource headed by writer/consultant Judith Mattson, has announced the schedule for a series of workshops and farm tours this fall.  Advance registration is required; tour size is limited.

  • Saturday, September 18, 2010               Walking J Farm (Double Check), Amado
  • Sunday, October 3, 2010                        Sunizona Family Farms, Willcox
  • Saturday, October 16, 2010                    San Xavier Co-op Farm, Tucson
  • Saturday, October 30, 2010                    Chiva Risa Goat Ranch, Hereford
  • Saturday, November 13, 2010                Sleeping Frog Farms, Cascabel

The Local Food Workshop & Tour series is designed to lead participants — and those who sit at their tables — to the next step on the evolving food journey.  Participants will have the chance to explore new, local food information and to consider the nuances of sourcing personal food choices in southern Arizona.

Each of the five locations provides a special opportunity to go to the source, see the day-to-day activities that contribute to the creation of our local food supply, and to interact with the host – a knowledgeable Southern Arizona local farmer or rancher.

The event includes a workshop presented by Local Food Concepts to help participants explore topics such as how to find the foods you choose to eat, what is your “food belief system”, or how do you make food choices for yourself and those at your table?  Armed with new facts and insights, participants will be encouraged to consider a fresh approach to food and eating in this unique foodshed.

Early Registration for each scheduled workshop and tour is $70 per adult, with discounts for a spouse or friend, and is only available if reserved two or more weeks prior to each tour date.  For additional information, email, or contact Local Food Concepts at 520-395-0663.

Remembering the remarkable Matthew R. Simmons

By Steve Andrews, Sally Odland, John Theobald and Randy Udall.  Andrews and Udall are retired co-founders of ASPO-USA. Odland is a former ASPO-USA board member. Theobald is a former ASPO-USA conference organizer.

Published by the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas – USA (ASPO-USA) on Mon, 08/16/2010

Original article:

Matt Simmons was arguably the most influential individual on this side of the Atlantic to warn about the coming peak-and-decline of world oil production. Beginning in 2001, when he published his ground-breaking white paper on the world‘s giant oil fields, Matt alerted presidents, politicians and whoever else would listen that our energy joyride was headed for deep trouble. He drove himself tirelessly, riding the speaker circuit at breakneck speed, visiting some 25 countries to deliver over 400 fact-filled energy talks to industry, investment, academic, and general interest audiences.

Then, suddenly, he was gone. Matt died Sunday evening, August 8th, at his home in Maine. He will be missed enormously by his wife Ellen, five daughters, his close associates, and all of us who knew and respected him.

Matt was a contrarian thinker with high-level access and influence. The access was due to his decades of stunning success in the energy investment banking business, where he made his fortune; the influence came from his research, timing, acumen and luck-and from swimming ahead of the crowd. Matt‘s energy investment firm, Simmons & Co., Int’l., helped clients navigate through the oil industry‘s historic down cycles. By the mid-1990s, with a high-profile column in World Oil magazine and a growing number of top-level media appearances, Matt began to leverage the reach of his ideas.

How high up the ladder did his viewpoints climb? To the very top. Matt co-chaired the energy task force of presidential candidate George W. Bush in the fall of 2000. (He also shared his energy insights with staffers for a Democratic candidate earlier in the year.) Matt helped Bill White win election as Mayor of Houston, and provided advice and support to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in his 2008 campaign. During a short session in the Oval Office with President Bush in early 2001, Matt shared his concerns about our emerging energy crisis. In subsequent years, he would testify before several House and Senate committees, an experience he would compare to “shouting down a well.” More recently, he gave a one-hour presentation in the Pentagon auditorium that stretched another hour with intense questioning.

In 2003, Matt began questioning the conventional wisdom that Saudi Arabia could someday produce 15 or even 20 million barrels a day. This forced the Saudis to publicly defend their reserves and production capacity. In early 2004, at a symposium sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Saudi Aramco officials worked hard to directly rebut Matt’s claims that their oil fields were depleting faster than acknowledged.

Of course, Matt wasn‘t the only one speaking about peak oil. In 1998 Campbell and Laherrere had published a landmark piece in Scientific American, “The End of Cheap Oil.” A number of excellent books soon appeared, from Deffeyes, Heinberg and others. But Matt, along with other industry analysts like Charley Maxwell, Henry Groppe and Tom Petrie, helped bring peak oil to the boardroom and to Wall Street. He doggedly pushed the topic on cable news shows, buttressing peak oil‘s intellectual and numeric underpinnings, reinforcing its respectability. In doing so, he helped animate a new generation of researchers whose findings would be published in books, magazines, and websites like

When Matt’s opus, Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, appeared in May 2005, it was an instant sensation. Within Saudi Aramco, engineers fixated on a few of the book‘s factual errors, thereby missing the big picture. On the world stage, however, the book brought a harsh dose of reality to the happy talk proffered by Cambridge Energy Research Associates and others. Daniel Yergin might remain a cheerleader for abundance, but no longer could it be assumed that Saudi Arabia‘s “endless oil” could solve the world‘s larger energy problems.

In response to Twilight’s assertions, Saudi Aramco mounted a PR campaign, stating it could boost production to 12 million barrels a day and maintain that level for decades. Ironically, this knocked some stuffing out of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, whose annual forecasts often seemed like a vision in search of reality, particularly those which foresaw Saudi production reaching 20 million barrels per day by 2020.

Matt was flooded with speaking requests. His presentation style was always memorable: the phrase “drinking from a fire hose” borders on understatement. Passionate, animated, face flushed, words flowing, Matt commanded the podium, bombarding his listeners with facts, figures and original graphics that often connected established dots to make new points. His material was usually fresh, always insightful, often provocative. He brought a teacher‘s mindset as much as a businessman‘s to his talks and appearances. Periodically, he made outlandish statements. Though we admired his chutzpah, Matt‘s $5000 bet with a New York Times columnist in 2005 that oil prices would average $200 a barrel by 2010 struck us as ill-advised.

Throughout this period, several key threads flowed through Matt’s papers and presentations. One was his relentless plea for data transparency; the lack of reliable production numbers frustrated him no end. The most important “missing evidence” was depletion data from mature oil fields. Although drillers took depletion for granted-waged war against it incessantly in their own fields “they hated to talk about it in public. Matt lent his voice early and often on the need to obtain better data on decline rates, thus helping to spark the decline rate study that the International Energy Agency published in 2008. He also called attention to -rust,” the aging of energy infrastructure and trained workforce, and to the high-wire act that is deepwater drilling.

Apart from his book, Matt‘s most insightful analyses derived from two early papers: “Revisiting Limits to Growth: Could the Club of Rome Have Been Right?” (October 2000) and “The World’s Giant Oilfields” (late 2001). In “Revisiting Limits,” Matt swam upstream against cornucopian groupthink, which held that resource limits would never constrain economic growth. When he reread the book, what he found surprised him.

In September 2000, Matt emailed: “I have just finished the most important white paper I‘ve tackled…I always thought this Club of Rome thing was some bad joke. But I am now of the opinion that historians will mark the book as perhaps the most important piece of ‘writing that got ignored’ in the last half of the 20th Century.” Seven years later, Matt hadn‘t changed his mind about the value of the “Limits” study: “The world sleep-walked for three decades while believing all natural resources would last forever.”

The research that fully awakened Matt to the impact of oil field depletion, however, was his trail blazing “Giant Oilfields” paper. In early 2001, he had noted a worrisome fact: almost 30 years had elapsed since the discovery of the last super-giant oil field that could produce 1 million barrels a day. Then he dug into the numbers. The resulting paradigm-shifting paper proposed that, rather than projecting the world‘s oil future by examining the size of its debatable reserves, “perhaps it is time for the energy world to focus on the critical role played by today‘s aging giant oilfields.”

Although he was forced to guesstimate production for some fields, the paper highlighted how critically important giant fields are to world production; the largest 3% of fields produced 47% of the world‘s daily supply. Pair Matt‘s “Giant Oil Fields” with Chris Skrebowski‘s research on future mega-project development and you have all you need to convince alert scientists and astute businessmen that it would be wise to start planning for a pending peak in oil production.

“Petroleum is industrial oxygen,” Matt liked to say. The more he looked, the more convinced he was that much of our energy system was being red-lined, run on the ragged edge of disaster. Matt was alarmed, and sometimes-as with recent ill-advised comments about BP‘s Gulf of Mexico oil spill-he could be alarmist. But no matter. The contribution he made was titanic, in every sense of the word.

Aspects of the private Matt that few knew: he painted with water colors, often used on his Christmas cards. He was a devoted family man – his presentations were sometimes delivered via live webcast so that he could attend a daughter‘s graduation from high school or college. He loved to play the marimba. He liked to cook for his family to relax after a hard day. He and Ellen revived the historic Strand Theatre in his adopted Maine hometown of Rockland-one of the many “pay it forward” endeavors that will be the legacy of this remarkable man.

Let‘s give the last word to him: -As oil becomes a scarce resource, its use will have to be rationed in one way or another. There are ways to allocate oil use and direct it to its most valuable applications. But achieving such a rational plan will require a carefully orchestrated global effort. Left unattended, this process could quickly evolve into genuine chaos. The global economy can function after oil supplies peak, but not in the same manner in which we live today.‖ (Twilight in the Desert, p. 347)


Other remembrances from colleagues and friends

Matt’s impact on the petroleum industry stemmed from his incisive analyses of underlying fundamentals and his willingness to be an effective iconoclast when dictated by his conclusions. As a result, we didn’t always agree, but he sure challenged us to think, and often rethink, our views and expectations of the future. In sum, Matt epitomized “energized thinking outside the box.” Tom Petrie, a vice-chairman of Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

I think there were several important aspects to Matt‘s personality that made him stand out and endeared him to his friends. He was dynamic, diligent and outgoing. He focused on both the big picture as well as the details and was not afraid to speak his mind when he thought the issues were significant. Those who criticized his conclusions missed the global issues he was addressing: maturing oil resources, an over-extended industry, runaway energy demand, and the absence of a “Plan B”. Those issues remain and we are still looking for “Plan B”. Sadad al Husseini, consultant, retired executive vice president of E&P for Saudi Aramco

With the sad and premature death of Matt Simmons, we have lost an important analyst who played a prominent and successful part in raising awareness of the critical issue of so-called Peak Oil. His experience as an investment banker helped him penetrate the barriers of lax reporting to establish the true position. He drew the media’s attention to this critical turning point for Mankind, and he will be sorely missed. Colin Campbell, retired petroleum geologist, founder of ASPO

Matt was a gentleman, a patriot, a talented analyst, a nice man, and a good friend. His contributions to informing the public about the impending dangers of the decline in world oil production are legion. The country and the world owe him a debt of gratitude. Bob Hirsch, senior energy advisor at MISI

Matt’s passion for better understanding all energy issues was stimulating and inspiring to all who had the privilege of knowing and working with him from the time he came to Houston. We will miss him intensely. Henry Groppe, cofounder oil industry consultants Groppe, Long & Littell

As an environmentalist, I found Matt Simmons to be a delightful surprise: a wealthy Republican who talked openly and intelligently about limits to growth! He refused to be held back by friends, colleagues, and perhaps even by clients in the oil and banking businesses who no doubt wished he’d just shut up and go back to making money. He went where curiosity and evidence led him, and that meant probing the inscrutable monolith of the oil industry–Saudi Arabia. I don’t know of anyone else who would have had the courage and respect within the industry to accomplish what he did. Richard Heinberg, senior fellow, Post Carbon Institute

I first met Matt in 1989 when he presented an analysis of the state of the drilling industry and what it would take to get it back to profitability. His presentation featured the insightful analysis, backed up with superb graphs, that we have all become used to. Because I have a hobby of checking out predictions, I followed the drilling business with unusual interest over the next few years. And Matt’s analysis was correct on what it took to slowly evolve back to profitability. I learned a lot from Matt’s analyses of the productive capability of oil and natural gas fields through the years. You might not always have agreed with what he said, but if you ignored what he said, you did so at your own peril. Vince Matthews, State Geologist of Colorado

I first met Matt around 1982 at his Investment firm. Roice Nelson, a founder of Landmark Graphics, was there to introduce me to Matt, but it never got that far. Matt came charging into his “trophy room” with all its glass mementos to the millions of shares of hundreds of companies his company had invested in, shaking both our hands while launching into a blistering dialogue on the “rusting” of the offshore oil industry worldwide. Matt had just calculated, on the literal back of an envelope that he produced on the spot, that within 20 years industrial accidents from rusting old rigs would “explode”. I reflexively thought of Matt when I first heard of the Deepwater Horizon” explosion this spring. Though it was “brand new”, I knew Matt would come out railing. We will sorely miss Matt’s always frank, often politically incorrect, prodding of what he considered “the established group think” of the oil industry. Roger N. Anderson, Con Edison Senior Scholar, Columbia University.

Matt touched my life in a profound way. Within weeks of reading Twilight in the Desert, I was flying to Denver to hear him speak at the ASPO-USA conference. With book and camera at the ready, I pounced on him as he left the podium and he graciously honored me with both a picture and an autograph. Our paths have crossed numerous times since then but I will be most grateful for our last visit this past spring when I had the good fortune to sit with him for several hours and talk about our energy future and to personally thank him for making my life richer and deeper. Matt, we will miss you. Debbie Cook, former City Council Member and Mayor of Huntington Beach (CA)

Matt saw Peak Oil as heralding the end of an era. It was something that struck him with alarm and something which he knew we needed (as a society and as individuals) to prepare for so that it would not sweep away our way of life. He did not have the satisfaction of knowing that his calls to a new preparedness were being answered because he was taken too soon, but he did sound a “certain trumpet” in respect to what he saw ahead. Therefore, his passing could be an occasion when experts and the public alike might take a moment to reconsider Peak Oil as a global force for imminent change. Charles T. Maxwell; senior energy analyst, Weeden & Co.

The Arizona’s Greenest Workplace Challenge

It’s one thing to have a workplace that has a recycling bin, but do you
know of a company that could be named Arizona’s Greenest

Mrs. Green is on the hunt for companies and workplaces that are miles
ahead of the pack when it comes to keeping it green and making conscious efforts to be more eco-friendly.

Do you work for (or know of) a company that takes great steps to save
energy, reduce waste, and provide a nontoxic work environment? We want to hear about it and feature them in the challenge!

We’re taking submissions for green workplaces during August and
September. And, starting September 7th, anyone can vote for which
workplace they think is the greenest!

Enter your nominations here now!

The Green Living Fair

At the HabiStore
3840 S. Palo Verde at Ajo (SW corner of Ajo and Palo Verde)

Learn from the gurus of green, as local experts share tips, info, and ways to go green and save greenbacks at the Green Living Fair in Partnership with AFV Day Odyssey. Discover steps for energy savings, resource conservation, organic gardening, composting, green building/remodeling, weatherization, home water management, food choices,transportation options, zero waste, rain water harvesting, solar, and more. And, thanks to the partnership with AFV Day Odyssey, there will be several alternative fuel vehicles on-site to check out.

Curious about the HabiStore? The Green Living Fair in Partnership with AFV Day Odyssey gives you an
opportunity to donate, shop for great deals, and explore ways to add more green to your life. The event is FREE and FREE green prizes will be given away during the Fair!
For more information – call the HabiStore at 889-7200.

What we don’t know about saving energy

A recent study suggests that even though more of us are concerned about the environment and the importance of reducing our carbon footprint, most of us are poorly informed about the relative impact of energy saving actions we can take in our homes. Arguably “people seem conditioned to think of energy savings as they would of saving money: that they can save by simply reducing use, the study found. But the biggest energy savings are tied to replacing things that use a lot of energy with things that use far less.”

You can read the original study here.

Stone Soup Listening Tour

La Cocina at Old Town Artisan
201 North Court Tucson, AZ 85701
(near the Tucson Museum of Art downtown)

In the 1990’s, author Paul Ray’s research on changing values and lifestyles concluded that in the U.S. alone, there are over 50 million “Cultural Creatives”—adults participating in the social and consciousness movements, which have emerged since World War II. Cultural Creatives care about the planet, relationships and steward leadership, supporting a more organic, systemic view of how we live together.

More recently, in Blessed Unrest, author Paul Hawken’s writes that there are more than two million organizations making a meaningful difference around green and social justice issues.

So why aren’t we hearing about, collecting and connecting all the green and sustainable stories being told by the 50 million Cultural Creatives, who are undoubtedly involved in some of the two million organizations? Are their stories hanging “out there” somewhere like “dangling participles” disconnected and unable to effectively transform, modify or enhance the momentum of the grassroots movement already taking place?

The Stone Soup Listening Tour: Connecting people, places and projects

What “green stories” are happening everywhere? Who’s telling them?

Linda Sechrist, a writer and editor for Natural Awakenings Magazine ( and co-founder of Upstate Green Central Station, and Sharon Joy Kleitsch, founder of The Connection Partners, want to hear the latest in the emerging green story.

On their Stone Soup Listening Tour in 11 cities across the southern U.S., Sechrist and Kleitsch plan to meet hundreds of innovative folks, listen to stories about their projects and learn what they’re doing to create sustainable communities intended to ensure a future for all. Adding sustenance to make a healthy and savory “stone soup,” the women will collect the bounty of conversations and stories from each community as they travel along and contribute them to the next “pot.” The much anticipated result: a truly savory and soulfully good soup story that sustains all.

The prologue to the Stone Soup Listening Tour began when Sechrist’s brother in California gifted her with a car. A resident of Spartanburg South Carolina, she decided to fly to California and drive back, stopping to visit with 11 of the 82 Natural Awakenings publishers as she traveled east. Upon sharing plans with her friend on July 4, the spark ignited in Kleitsch a knowing that she was supposed to join her.

The tour begins in San Diego on September 7th and moves on to Tucson, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, and Chattanooga, ending in Greenville/Spartanburg.

While education is essential, the ways we listen together to discover paths to wise actions are critical. Partnering with the World Café, Open Space and Art of Hosting networks, Kleitsch and Sechrist anticipate co-hosting evening, weekend or afternoon gatherings in each city. While daytime hours include visiting with individuals, organizations, and regional leaders to hear about what is working in their communities, evenings are set aside for stories and conversations that matter. This gives everyone an opportunity to hear about community happenings around slow food, slow money, permaculture, Transition Towns, Awakening the Dreamer, Four Years Go, 10.10. 10, Circle Connections, Social Artistry, Bioneers, transportation, clean energy, green building, sustainable cities, and everything it takes to build and strengthen sustainable communities.

Through their various networks the women are connecting with regional non-profit, business, government and media leaders to support what they and others are already doing in the tour cities. “This adds to an even more satisfying Stone Soup of true sustenance,” says Sechrist. “Many are already hosting conversations to address current issues, offering experiences to recognize the value of listening for what we don’t know. We’re just connecting a few more green dots, stirring the Stone Soup pot and will watch what happens,” adds Kleitsch.

Ray points out, “All the technical and social innovations needed to solve our problems have already been developed and are staring us in the face. Cultural Creatives, who are over 30% of U.S. adults, represent a new emerging consciousness that if made aware and mobilized, could provide critical mass of influence and pressure in the economic, cultural and political domains to shift the balance.”

From Separation to Collaboration

“When Cultural Creatives finally connect and delight in what they share in common, amazing things are going to occur,” say Kleitsch and Sechrist. Among others who are sensing the growing need to connect and move from separate projects to collaboration, Sechrist and Kleitsch are excited about answering the call with their Stone Soup Listening Tour, intended to help others connect, align, synergize and leverage what is showing up faster by paying attention.

Join us for a chance to share what you are noticing, to connect and to be pleasantly surprised. Be part of the Stone Soup Listening Tour. Contact Sharon Joy Kleitsch, The Connection Partners, with ideas, contacts and venue possibilities in any of the 11 cities.

To explore how independent media can support and magnify the new emerging story, video interviews will be posted on Facebook, and Creative Loafing’s Green Communities sites as well as YouTube and

The tour begins in San Diego on September 7th and moves on to Tucson (9/9), Phoenix (9/10), Albuquerque (9/12), Santa Fe (9/13-14), Oklahoma City (9/16-17), Tulsa (9/18), Little Rock (9/20), Memphis (9/21), Nashville (9/22) and Chattanooga (9/23, ending in Greenville/Spartanburg (9/23).

Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program


Are you interested in improving the energy efficiency
of your home?

Approximately 300 homes located within the City of Tucson will be selected to receive energy efficiency upgrades to reduce the home’s energy use by 15-20%.

Residential energy efficiency retrofit work may include things like substituting compact fluorescent light bulbs for incandescent light bulbs, installing low-flow faucets and showerheads, installing solar screens on the windows on the west side of the house and improving overall weatherization of the home.

The City will contract with a non-profit organization to conduct the energy efficiency retrofit work. The organization will meet with each homeowner to identify the areas of greatest need in the home. There is no charge to the homeowner.

To be eligible for the program, you must meet certain criteria.
Please read the INFORMATION SHEET carefully to determine if you are eligible.

Visit the site to get more information here.

Zero Emissions Race

Cheers Sustainable Tucson:

Lots of of serendipity is happening!  The Electrics are coming to town!  So now it’s time to tap into furthering the wellspring of EVnthusiastism with Sustainable Tucson.  Many around the country are jumping in as “Indians” and just being players on the Zero Race Regional Coordinating Teams (RCTs).  EVolunteers are needed for the RCT – Arizona, which with “boots on the ground,” its teammates will determine the AZ routing of a composite of Zero Race EV Teams coming into Kingman, AZ and just before arriving at Lordsburg, NM.  Zero Race is being led by the renown Louis Palmer of the SolarTaxi fame, who was the first to do an EV around the world and in a mere 534 days.

The RCT – AZ also looks at locating 240-volt/30 Amp charging stations, setting up the media, and seeking out lodging, if able.  The RCT – AZ will also be taking a hand-off from the RCT – Nevada, composed of mainly Electric Auto Association (EAA) Chapter member–Las Vegas EVA, and guiding the same to New Mexico and then to hand off to RCT – Texas in El Paso, TX, if at all possible.

Furthermore, there’s also a definite need to have a voluntary Regional Coordinator (RC) or Co-RCs to lead RCT — Arizona.

See for further detailed updates as well as the launch announcement, set for 15 August in Geneva, Switzerland.

Do scroll below for background read, especially the scheduling Zero Race EV Teams on runs through Las Cruces, NM/El Paso, TX after its departure from Tucson, AZ, NV, on Monday, 15 November and before its afternoon arrival in Las cruces/El Paso or vicinity, on Tuesday evening, 16 November (with one overnight stay anticipated either in Las Cruces or El Paso).

On Monday, 15 November, the Zero-Race should be en route down from Phoenixto and on Tuesday afternoon, 16 November, it’s on-ward and Eastward to Lordsburg, NM, then Las Cruces, El Paso, …then some 600 miles to San Antonio, and possibly Austin before going South towards Brownsville, TX on Friday, 19 November and on into Matamoros, Mexico on Saturday, 20 November.  That’s it for the moment…!

EVer in the Year of the Plug-ins…with Zero Race leading the World into 2011,

J. “EVJerry” Asher   Zero Race Coordinator-in-Chief for North America   (202) 486-5450 …and situated here in Tucson at Milagro Cohousing

Gila River Festival

The sixth annual Gila River Festival – planned in and around Silver City, September 16-19, 2010 – will celebrate the role of the Gila River in supporting southwest New Mexico’s rich biological diversity.  One of the Southwest’s premier nature festivals, the Gila River Festival attracts an audience of nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts eager to learn about and experience the Gila’s natural wonders.  Festival attendees will enjoy a variety of expert-guided field trips in the Gila National Forest and along the Gila River, lectures with leading scientists on the Gila’s biodiversity, films, family activities, workshops and downtown art walk.

The Gila is New Mexico’s last free-flowing river, winding its way from its headwaters in the Gila Wilderness Area, through water-carved canyons and valleys before flowing out of the Lower Box into Arizona. Annual snowmelt and monsoonal floods sustain the Gila, one of North America’s biodiversity hot spots, with many plant and animal species that are found nowhere else.

In keeping with the United Nations declaration of 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity, the 6th annual Gila River Festival celebrates the Gila River as the lifeblood of our biologically diverse landscape.

This year’s Festival begins in Silver City’s historic Silco Theater with a keynote address by author, activist, and teacher Mary Sojourner.  Her presentation, “Connections: the Marvelous Complexity of Place,” will speak to the importance of traveling home, “both to the connections with childhood Place and to this remarkable Gila bioregion that needs us so much.”  Sojourner will read from her newest book, Bonelight: Ruin and Grace in the New Southwest, and from essays written from the deserts of New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.

Experience a festival within a festival: for the first time, the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival is part of the Gila River Festival. As the nation’s largest environmental film festival, a variety of exciting films will be featured such as Flathead Wild, A Simple Question, Watershed Revolution, and entertaining short films, including Get Up, Stand Up and Carpa Diem.

The Gila River Festival offers numerous field trips to the Gila National Forest and Gila River lead by experts in the field.  If you can’t tell a toad from a frog, join the Creepy-Crawlies hike.  Want to see a bat up close and personal? There’s an evening bat field trip waiting for you.  Head to the Gila Cliff Dwellings for a visit to a beaver dam or to the Gila River to the site of future river otter reintroduction. Go fishing with New Mexico Game Commissioner and author Dutch Salmon.  If you prefer your nature without teeth, join the Gila River Native Plant field trip.  Back by popular demand, a Gila River kayak trip is the perfect way to relax, cool off and experience one of the Southwest’s last wild rivers. This is just a sampling of the guided trips offered this year.

For the armchair naturalist, a variety of lectures will be presented at the comfy Silco Theater. Come hear about jaguars, the effects of climate change on Gila Trout, ecosystem tipping points, mountain lions, wolves, and much more. Kieran Suckling, founder of the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, will talk about “What We’re Losing, How to Save It All.”

Festival attendees can get more hands-on with workshops on wildlife photography, animal tracking, “Writing from Place” with keynote speaker Mary Sojourner, and backyard habitat restoration.

Learn about the Gila’s historical biodiversity with an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the internationally acclaimed Eisele, Ballmer and Gehlm Collections of prehistoric Mimbres pottery at the Western New Mexico University Museum.  You can also discover clues to ancient biodiversity on a field trip to the Dragonfly Prehistoric Rock Art Site near Fort Bayard.

For the artist in you, visit downtown Silver City galleries featuring work inspired by nature, and join the Blue Dome Gallery’s reception for artist Carlene Roters’ Web of Life show.  Roters’ work, featured on our Festival brochure and poster, freshly interprets our resident wildlife.

For the first time ever, the Gila River Festival is partnering with the Red Hot Children’s Fiesta to bring nature activities to kids right in downtown Silver City. Raptors will be on hand to connect children to the wildlife around them.

Registration is required for most festival events.  The complete festival schedule and on-line registration is available at  For more information about the Gila River Festival, call 575-538-8078 or email

Cool Water, presented by Jerry Yudelson

Tucson Association of REALTORS
2445 N. Tucson Blvd.
Event Phone number: 520-382-8775

The Tucson Association of REALTORS Green Committee presents, this one of a kind event! In this presentation, Jerry Yudelson, author of Dry Run: Preventing the Next Urban Water Crisis (2010), will describe how future water availability will affect the quality of life in Tucson and what you can expect to see in the near future in the way of regulations and response by homebuilders to a growing public awareness of water conservation. Please RSVP by October 21, 2010 at

Tributes to Matt Simmons

Matt Simmons, global energy expert, dies at 67

Statement by the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas  – USA

August 9, 2010

ROCKLAND, Maine — Matt Simmons, Chairman of ASPO-USA’s Advisory Board, died Sunday night at his home in North Haven Island, near Rockland, Maine.

The founder of Houston-based Simmons & Co. International, Matt wrote the 2005 book “Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy,” addressing  concerns about Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves and the impending peak of worldwide crude oil production.

Simmons also founded The Ocean Energy Institute, a think tank and venture capital fund in Rockland to promote offshore wind energy research and development.

The institute is a part of the consortium led by the University of Maine, which aims to design and test floating deep-water wind turbine platforms.

“Matt Simmons was an innovative thinker who pushed ideas that have the potential to yield a more environmentally and economically sustainable future for Maine and the world,” said Maine Gov. John Baldacci, who attended the opening of the institute’s headquarters last month.

Matt was an unstinting supporter of ASPO-USA and an outspoken energy reform advocate. He wrote and spoke fearlessly to warn us about the dangers of status-quo energy policy.

It is impossible to define Matt by any single aspect of his wide ranging interests or any one period of his life and work.  He was a husband and father, an investment banker, an author, and a friend and visionary who lent his name and energy to the organization and evolution of ASPO-USA.  He will be missed by us all.


The Death of Matt Simmons is a Great Loss

By Kjell Alecklett, Geophysicist, Uppsala University, Sweden and President of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas International

August 10, 2010

Yesterday afternoon I received a message from Matt Simmons’ assistant Laura Russell that I found difficult to believe – it read that Matt had died suddenly. A few hours later the news had spread over the entire world . It is with great sorrow that I now write these words.

In the autumn of 2001 I visited Colin Campbell in Ballydehob in Ireland. During the visit we discussed the possibility of organizing an international workshop on Peak Oil in Uppsala during the spring of 2002. I remember that I said that we needed speakers from the Middle East, Russia and the USA if we were to call the conference “international”. From the USA we thought of Matt Simmons. Matt had just studied future conventional natural gas production in the USA and was of the view that the conventional gas production had reached its peak. He was also very concerned about the impending peak in world oil production. We contacted Matt and he agreed to attend.

Our workshop was held during a Thursday and Friday at the end of May in 2002. I remember that Matt was feeling stressed because that Saturday his daughter was to receive her high school diploma. Matt gave his presentation on Thursday and on Friday morning he flew back to Houston. We had managed to interest Bruce Stanley of AP, Associated Press of London, in attending. He came to Uppsala and wrote about our workshop. When Matt awoke on Saturday morning in Houston he could read on the first page of his local newspaper that he had been and spoken in Uppsala. It was in that article that the expression “Peak Oil” was used for the first time in the international press :

”The dispute centers on the precise timing of what is variously described as “peak oil” or “the big rollover” — the predicted date when existing oil production, together with new discoveries of crude, can no longer replenish the world’s reserves as quickly as consuming countries are depleting them.”

The thing that made Matt’s involvement especially interesting was that in 2000 he had been an advisor on energy to George W. Bush during his presidential campaign. Matt’s lecture in Uppsala became the beginning of a deep engagement with Peak Oil.

Since the first Peak Oil conference it was a given to invite Matt Simmons to all those that followed. Together with Colin Campbell his presence was one of the main attractions.

In 2005 the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences established an energy committee and their first project was to research oil depletion, i.e. whether “Peak Oil” was close at hand. I was given the task of organizing a symposium on “Global Oil Reserves” in Uppsala and they wanted me to invite a number of important speakers.

It was obvious that I should invite Matt to this important meeting and, since he also thought it important, he took a plane from Houston and came to the meeting on 23 May, i.e. three years after our first Peak Oil conference in Uppsala. I know that the discussions that the energy committee had with Matt had a significant impact on their final report, ”Statement on Oil”.

During the years since our first meeting we met in person about 10 times but through email and over the phone Matt was always close at hand when I needed his help. We will miss him greatly. Naturally, my thoughts go to his wife Ellen who used to accompany him on his trips. Normally they had time for a dinner or some other social activity. I hope that Ellen will also be with us in future when we ASPO folk meet.

Matt Simmons’ engagement with Peak Oil will continue via innumerable presentations on, for example, YouTube and through his writings. His book on oil production in Saudi Arabia, “Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy” is already a classic that has been translated into several languages.

Thank you Matt for all you did – we needed you also in our future.


Maine Governor Mourns Passing of Matthew Simmons

Statement by the Ocean Energy Institute

Augusta, Maine (August 9, 2010) — Governor John E. Baldacci today learned of the death of Matthew Simmons of North Haven. Simmons was a leading energy investment banker, a former White House energy advisor, an author and the driving force behind the Ocean Energy Institute, based in Rockland, Maine. The Ocean Energy Institute (OEI), founded by Simmons in 2007, is a nonprofit think-tank and venture capital fund dedicated to expanding offshore energy through research and development.

“Matt Simmons was an innovative thinker who pushed ideas that have the potential to yield a more environmentally and economically sustainable future for Maine and the world,” said Governor Baldacci. “I visited Matt and his team last month and thanked them for their partnership with the State as we aggressively build an independent energy future for Maine. Our State has been viewed as a leader in alternative energy in part because of the groundbreaking work spearheaded by Matt Simmons and the Ocean Energy Institute. His leadership and commitment to a better world will be missed, and we need to continue Matt’s work and vision as a way to honor him. Matt was also a kind and generous man. At this difficult time, we send our deepest sympathies to his family.”

Simmons is the author of the 2005 book “Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy,” which laid out an argument of peak oil, that the world was approaching peak oil production. Simmons believed that to meet future energy needs, we need to look beyond fossil fuels and to develop energy by harnessing our vast natural resources in a responsible way. He met with the Governor a number of times and the Ocean Energy Institute is a part of the consortium led by the University of Maine that has received millions of dollars from the federal government to research and develop offshore wind turbines. Governor Baldacci also recognized Matt Simmons’ leadership during his State of the State address delivered earlier this year.


Matt Simmons Embodied Integrity

By Nick Snow,  Oil and Gas Journal, Washington editor

What I remembered first when I learned that Matthew R. Simmons died at his summer home in Maine on Aug. 8 was the anguish in his voice when we spoke by telephone in early 2001 as it became increasingly clear that Enron Corp.’s problems extended to other companies and businesses.

“It’s truly awful,” he said when I mentioned my dismay that the so-called Chinese Wall between investment banks’ research and marketing departments had simply disappeared. “It will take years, if not decades, for our business to regain the trust it has lost. I’m not certain that it ever will.”

Trust mattered a lot to Matt Simmons. Several years before, when his brother, L.E., bought a share of another trade publication I worked for, the two of them tracked me down during the Offshore Technology Conference because I had cited a Simmons & Co. International report in one of my stories. They weren’t satisfied until I assured them I’d used the material because it was good, and not because it came from a company run by the brother of one of the newspaper’s new owners.

I saw Matt frequently in Washington at trade association and government events. Often, he would be on his way out the door to get to the White House or Department of Energy for meetings, yet he always made time to talk. His concerns about the actual extent of Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves still make some people nervous. They deserve to be taken seriously because his track record on other issues is so good.

When he started the Ocean Energy Institute after he retired from the helm of what probably is Houston’s most successful energy investment bank, Matt made OEI a venture capital fund as well as a think-tank to address the challenges of US offshore renewable energy.

“OEI approaches energy R&D and investment from a systems point of view; not just generation, but usage, storage and transmission all together as an interdependent set of opportunities and the next driving force of the international economy,” its web site notes. “OEI is working to coordinate the diverse factors that will help make ocean energy a reality: energy system architecture, offshore wind technology, environmental interests, stakeholder concerns, industrial partners, academic research, financial firepower and political factors.”

“Oceans are the last energy frontier, yet we know so little about how to harness them,” he said. “The Ocean Energy Institute’s mission is to quickly fill this knowledge void and let our oceans supply us the energy that fossil fuels have provided for the last hundred years.” Others share that vision but aren’t working out specific solutions. Matt and other thoughtful men and women began to do something about it. They will continue the work he started. More information about OEI is available online at

Matt Simmons: “Twin Resource Threats – Oil and Water”, Dead at 67

Matt Simmons, a leader of the Peak Oil movement and global energy expert,  died suddenly on August 8th.


His 2005 book, Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, was a significant factor in waking up business and political leaders around the world to the critical implications of the emerging end of cheap oil resources.

When this website first went live, Sustainable Tucson posted an article he and Tucson native son and former U. S. Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall co-wrote concerning the energy myths that plague the world. Click here to read that article.

In early 2010, Matt expanded his campaign to educate leaders everywhere about the twin threats of oil and water shortages. Click here to download his 32-slide PDF presentation.

To read more tributes to his life and work, go here.

During the past five years, Sustainable Tucson Core Team member, Bob Cook discussed sustainable energy systems as well as the risks of peaking world oil production with Matt at the annual world oil conferences of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas .

Lend a Helping Hand

Tom’s of Maine is asking for the public’s vote to determine five non-profit organizations that will each receive $20,000 through its “50 States for Good initiative. This year, the “50 States for Good” program drew submissions from every state with a special focus on non-profits that need volunteers to help get important projects started in their community or to broaden their reach. These projects can be found at, where voting runs today through September 10.

We’d like to invite you to vote for our friends at Arizona Homegrown Solutions….


Arizona Homegrown Solutions is one of 41 national finalists for a $20,000 Tom’s of Maine sponsorship for a project we are doing on water harvesting.  Phoenix receives only 8″ of rain a year, making it the driest metro area in North America.  Our project involves placing four rainwater harvesting cisterns at three local non-profits:  Horses Help Therapeutic Riding Center, Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center and the Downtown Phoenix Public Market (farmer’s market).  Placing cisterns at each of these sites supports the non-profit’s mission in some way.

  • At Horses Help – the water harvested would water the gardens that are used for horticultural therapy and to provide food for some of the special needs youth and veterans that use the facility.
  • At SW Autism, harvested water would be used to water the outdoor classroom AZ Homegrown Solutions designed for their GardenWorks program – a program designed to help adults with autism learn how to install and maintain landscapes and gardens and work towards job placement and self-sufficiency.
  • At the market, two cisterns would be placed prominently along Central Ave and thus would be exposed to over 30,000 commuters every day.  The harvested water would be used to water their landscaping.  The market is fast becoming a gathering spot for urban sustainability and we are working with them to provide classes and hands-on opportunities to help people understand how they can implement sustainable solutions at home.
  • The sponsorship also includes green job training for our Water Harvesting Practitioners and free classes and workshops for the public.

If you could help spread the word to vote for us ONCE EACH DAY until Sept 10th that would be great.  The voting URL is:

Please note that we are up against some heavy hitters.  One of the other finalists was in another voting competition with us and garnered over 80,000 votes. We need as many votes as possible! The top 5 vote-getters will each win $20,000.

Thank you all for being wonderful, community-minded people.  Truly we are not “sustainable” as a culture until EVERYONE is sustained.

If you have any media contacts that you think  would be interested in reporting on this, please let us know.  Attached find the official press release.  Here is the link to the article in USA Today announcing the finalists:

Brad Lancaster Lecture

Mark your calendar now!

August 26th 2010 at 6:30pm. The event will take place at Technicians For Sustainability’s downtown location 612 N. 7th Avenue, will present an informative lecture:

“Water Wanderings and More in the Middle East”, with Brad Lancaster, author of the award-winning Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond.

In this presentation, Brad will share inspiring stories and images gleaned during two recent trips to the Middle East: a U.S. State Department-sponsored trip to Jordan and Saudi Arabia in 2009, and a return trip to the region in 2010 to teach permaculture in Palestine and conduct research in Syria and Israel.

Topics Include:

Sustainable groundwater extraction with ancient gravity-fed qanats; the forgotten and refound cisterns of old Jeddah; revived Nabatean runoff farms producing almonds, carob, olives, pomegranates, grapes, figs, and more on just 4 inches (50 mm) of rain per year; rainwater tea; revolving community loan funds; water wise women of Jordan; tank culture in a water-truck culture, the spiral cisterns of the Bell Caves, salvaged plastic bottle irrigation, and kanafa.

RSVP Encouraged:

For more information, please visit our website at Please RSVP by August 19th by contacting or calling 520-740-0736.