Chasing Ice – special film opening at The Loft – Dec 14

at The Loft, 3233 E Speedway, Tucson AZ
Tucson Climate Action Networking starting at 7pm

Chasing Ice

Co-presented by the University of Arizona’s Institute of the Environment, featuring a special introduction by the Institute of the Environment on opening night, Friday, December 14th at 7:30 pm

Tucson Climate Action Network will be tabling before and after the screening as a networking opportunity for our local groups working on the climate crisis, including TUCAN and 350Tucson as well as Citizens Climate Lobby, Sustainable Tucson, and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Best Cinematography, Sundance Film Festival 2012
Named to the short list for the 2013 Academy Award for best documentary!
Watch the trailer at www.chasingice.com

Acclaimed National Geographic photographer James Balog was once a skeptic about climate change. But through his Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), he discovers undeniable evidence of our changing planet. In Chasing Ice, Balog deploys revolutionary time-lapse cameras to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate.

Traveling with a team of young adventurers across the brutal Arctic, Balog risks his career and his well-being in pursuit of the biggest story facing humanity. As the debate polarizes America, and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Chasing Ice depicts a heroic photojournalist on a mission to deliver fragile hope to our carbon-powered planet.

Directed by Jeff Orlowski, 2012, US, 75 min., Rated PG-13, Submarine Films, HD Digital

“NYT CRITICS PICK! Full of stunning images in addition to being timely … as watchable as it is important.” —Neil Genzlinger, New York Times

“This amazingly beautiful, and amazingly frightening, documentary captures the immediacy of what climate change is doing to the Arctic landscape.” —Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News

“Dramatic … Chasing Ice aims to accomplish, with pictures, what all the hot air that has been generated on the subject of global warming hasn’t been able to do: make a difference.” —Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post

The Loft Cinema, www.loftcinema.com, phone 520-795-7777

Review: The Resilience Imperative: Cooperative Transitions to a Steady State Economy

Review: The Resilience Imperative: Cooperative Transitions to a Steady State Economy

by Jon Walker

 

What I love most about this book is the feeling you get that there is hope: solutions to environmental, social and financial crises do exist, they have been tried and tested all over the planet and all we have to do is get on with it.

 

The book is remarkable from several points of view. The extent and the depth of knowledge on which the arguments are based is truly impressive: it provides a history of money and corporations and co-operatives and land trusts from all over planet – emphasising the initiatives which have worked and survived and those which have been crushed by authoritative regimes.

 

Much of this needs to be common knowledge, for example, many successful banks which charged low-cost fees rather than interest were simply rendered illegal by their governments; booming cooperative movements were destroyed in Italy in 1921 (8,000 coops), in Germany in 1933 (4.5 million members) and Russia in 1918 (26,000 coops).

 

As the history unfolds it becomes clear that many of the kinds of institutions I had assumed were just out-performed by the corporations and banks were never given a chance. In reality, those in power just got rid of them. But there are many survivors – like the JAK bank in Sweden (which doesn’t charge interest) and the Cooperative Group in the UK – both of which continue to flourish.

 

The conclusions derived from this and several other innovations in the book are unavoidable: interest free banking does work and slashes the costs of borrowing, community land trusts are growing and enable far cheaper housing than freehold land schemes, cooperatives continue to grow and employ more people than all the multi-nationals put together. There are better co-operative economy ways to do almost everything: we don’t have to destroy our eco-systems and economics can be re-designed to benefit everyone.

 

The book is packed with inspiration – on local food, energy, housing, farming and, weaving all of this together, a better way of dealing with money. Perhaps the most impressive achievement is the way that the authors manage to hold all these elements together and demonstrate that resilience requires changes in all aspects of our lives. They show we need to change basic attitudes to almost everything, and to create a new set of values where well-being and eco-system health are more important than a set of numbers in your digital bank account. And, as the title suggests, a policy change away from economic growth as the primary objective to a resilient, sustainable way of living is fundamental.

 

The answers are everywhere. We can build houses which require almost no heating, we can feed ourselves with predominantly local foods, we can use the sun and wind and tides to generate energy, we can create communities which live in balance with their environment. The big questions still remain unanswered, however. Can we turn away from the current paradigm and begin to put all these ideas into practice for everyone, rather than see them working just in isolated pockets of resilience?

 

The authors argue their case at several levels but, for me, a constant thread is the need to reform the money-system; this stands out as a pre-requisite for broad-based change. As long as the majority of humanity is trapped into massive debt repayment, the possibilities for change will remain muted.

 

The solutions emerge clearly. We need access to debt-free money, we need access to commonly-held land, we need cooperative businesses which are designed for the benefit of the people who work or use them, we need regional solutions. And we need everyone to play their part in the transformation: a resilient society will only emerge from the efforts of resilient individuals and families. Functioning participatory democracy is needed at all levels from the work-place to the community to local government right up to the global. The authors are clear that international organisations like the farmers federation, La Via Campesina, are of crucial importance in building global alternatives to the current economic systems controlled by corporations and unelected bodies like the WTO.

 

So what if we all decided to live like this? The authors lead us gently through the consequences for the (very average) Hartwick family. For several of the proven innovations they provide us detailed calculations that they bring down to the household level to show the achievable dollar and cent savings. For example, the combined savings for an average household like the Hartwick’s in Canada over 25 years would be $363,000 if fee based financing, community land trust and basic energy conservation measures were applied. For the Hartwicks, a middle class family on average income, this translates into 12,095 hours of work at their wage level; imagine, this saving of almost 500 working hours per year. If one then adds back in the increased cost of paying a fair price for organic food over that time period, one would be better off to the tune of $286,969 plus have time left over to raise some food. Less debt means less pressure to grow, thus one could help save the planet and also save significant cash.

 

In many ways the books feels like a (nonviolent) call-to-arms: everything is collapsing around us, solutions exist and have been shown to work, and as governments seem completely incapable of doing anything, it really is down to the rest of us to stand up and be counted. So get this book and read it slowly – there is a huge amount to inwardly digest – and then decide what you’re going to do.

 

To misquote a previous work proposing radical change: all we have to lose are our economic chains and the threat of catastrophic climate collapse.

 

Jon Walker has worked in the UK co-operative sector since the 1970s, setting up and co-managing shops, warehouses, small-scale manufacturing coops, and most recently a community owned green grocer. He is also a member of the local Transition Town which is working to establish a local food economy, and finding ways to make with the local housing stock more energy efficient. He also lectures and publishes on the application of systems theory to co-operative organisational issues: his current book written with Angela Espinosa “A complexity approach to sustainability” examines the application of the Viable Systems model to the creation of a sustainable world from the individual to the global.

 

Published by Resilience.org on November 26, 2012

Published on Energy Bulletin (http://www.energybulletin.net)

 

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.

 

Source URL: http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2012-11-26/review-the-resilience-imperative-cooperative-transitions-to-a-steady-state-economy

 

Links:

[1] http://www.resilience.org/stories/2012-11-26/review-the-resilience-imperative-cooperative-transitions-to-a-steady-state-economy

 

World Energy Report 2012

World Energy Report 2012

by Michael Klare

 

Rarely does the release of a data-driven report on energy trends trigger front-page headlines around the world.  That, however, is exactly what happened on November 12th when the prestigious Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) released this year’s edition of its World Energy Outlook.  In the process, just about everyone missed its real news, which should have set off alarm bells across the planet.

 

Claiming that advances in drilling technology were producing an upsurge in North American energy output, World Energy Outlook predicted that the United States would overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the planet’s leading oil producer by 2020.  “North America is at the forefront of a sweeping transformation in oil and gas production that will affect all regions of the world,” declared IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven in a widely quoted statement.

 

In the U.S., the prediction of imminent supremacy in the oil-output sweepstakes was generally greeted with unabashed jubilation.  “This is a remarkable change,” said John Larson of IHS, a corporate research firm.  “It’s truly transformative.  It’s fundamentally changing the energy outlook for this country.”  Not only will this result in a diminished reliance on imported oil, he indicated, but also generate vast numbers of new jobs.  “This is about jobs.  You know, it’s about blue-collar jobs.  These are good jobs.”

 

The editors of the Wall Street Journal were no less ecstatic.  In an editorial with the eye-catching headline “Saudi America,” they lauded U.S. energy companies for bringing about a technological revolution, largely based on the utilization of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) to extract oil and gas from shale rock.  That, they claimed, was what made a new mega-energy boom possible.  “This is a real energy revolution,” the Journal noted, “even if it’s far from the renewable energy dreamland of so many government subsidies and mandates.”

 

Other commentaries were similarly focused on the U.S. outpacing Saudi Arabia and Russia, even if some questioned whether the benefits would be as great as advertised or obtainable at an acceptable cost to the environment.

 

While agreeing that the expected spurt in U.S. production is mostly “good news,” Michael A. Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations warned that gas prices will not drop significantly because oil is a global commodity and those prices are largely set by international market forces.  “[T]he U.S. may be slightly more protected, but it doesn’t give you the energy independence some people claim,” he told the New York Times.

 

Some observers focused on whether increased output and job creation could possibly outweigh the harm that the exploitation of extreme energy resources like fracked oil or Canadian tar sands was sure to do to the environment. Daniel J. Weiss of the Center for American Progress, for example, warned of a growing threat to America’s water supply from poorly regulated fracking operations.  “In addition, oil companies want to open up areas off the northern coast of Alaska in the Arctic Ocean, where they are not prepared to address a major oil blowout or spill like we had in the Gulf of Mexico.”

 

Such a focus certainly offered a timely reminder of how important oil remains to the American economy (and political culture), but it stole attention away from other aspects of the World Energy Report that were, in some cases, downright scary.  Its portrait of our global energy future should have dampened enthusiasm everywhere, focusing as it did on an uncertain future energy supply, excessive reliance on fossil fuels, inadequate investment in renewables, and an increasingly hot, erratic, and dangerous climate.  Here are some of the most worrisome takeaways from the report.

 

Shrinking World Oil Supply

 

Given the hullabaloo about rising energy production in the U.S., you would think that the IEA report was loaded with good news about the world’s future oil supply.  No such luck.  In fact, on a close reading anyone who has the slightest familiarity with world oil dynamics should shudder, as its overall emphasis is on decline and uncertainty.

 

Take U.S. oil production surpassing Saudi Arabia’s and Russia’s.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  Here’s the catch: previous editions of the IEA report and the International Energy Outlook, its equivalent from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), rested their claims about a growing future global oil supply on the assumption that those two countries would far surpass U.S. output.  Yet the U.S. will pull ahead of them in the 2020s only because, the IEA now asserts, their output is going to fall, not rise as previously assumed.

 

This is one hidden surprise in the report that’s gone unnoticed.  According to the DoE’s 2011 projections, Saudi production was expected to rise to 13.9 million barrels per day in 2025, and Russian output to 12.2 million barrels, jointly providing much of the world’s added petroleum supply; the United States, in this calculation, would reach the 11.7 million barrel mark.

 

The IEA’s latest revision of those figures suggests that U.S. production will indeed rise, as expected, to about 11 million barrels per day in 2025, but that Saudi output will unexpectedly fall to about 10.6 million barrels and Russian to 9.7 million barrels.  The U.S., that is, will essentially become number one by default.  At best, then, the global oil supply is not going to grow appreciably — despite the IEA’s projection of a significant upswing in international demand.

 

But wait, suggests the IEA, there’s still one wild card hope out there: Iraq.  Yes, Iraq.  In the belief that the Iraqis will somehow overcome their sectarian differences, attain a high level of internal stability, establish a legal framework for oil production, and secure the necessary investment and technical support, the IEA predicts that its output will jump from 3.4 million barrels per day this year to 8 million barrels in 2035, adding an extra 4.6 million barrels to the global supply.  In fact, claims the IEA, this gain would represent half the total increase in world oil production over the next 25 years.  Certainly, stranger things have happened, but for the obvious reasons, it remains an implausible scenario.

 

Add all this together — declining output from Russia and Saudi Arabia, continuing strife in Iraq, uncertain results elsewhere — and you get insufficient oil in the 2020s and 2030s to meet anticipated world demand.  From a global warming perspective that may be good news, but economically, without a massive increase in investment in alternate energy sources, the outlook is grim.  You don’t know what bad times are until you don’t have enough energy to run the machinery of civilization.  As suggested by the IEA, “Much is riding on Iraq’s success… Without this supply growth from Iraq, oil markets would be set for difficult times.”

 

Continuing Reliance on Fossil Fuels

 

For all the talk of the need to increase reliance on renewable sources of energy, fossil fuels — coal, oil, and natural gas — will continue to provide most of the additional energy supplies needed to satisfy soaring world demand.  “Taking all new developments and policies into account,” the IEA reported, “the world is still failing to put the global energy system onto a more sustainable path.”  In fact, recent developments seem to favor greater fossil-fuel reliance.

 

In the United States, for instance, the increased extraction of oil and gas from shale formations has largely silenced calls for government investment in renewable technology.  In its editorial on the IEA report, for example, the Wall Street Journal ridiculed such investment.  It had, the Journal’s writers suggested, now become unnecessary due to the Saudi Arabian-style oil and gas boom to come.  “Historians will one day marvel that so much political and financial capital was invested in a [failed] green-energy revolution at the very moment a fossil fuel revolution was aborning,” they declared.

 

One aspect of this energy “revolution” deserves special attention. The growing availability of cheap natural gas, thanks to hydro-fracking, has already reduced the use of coal as a fuel for electrical power plants in the United States.  This would seem to be an obvious environmental plus, since gas produces less climate-altering carbon dioxide than does coal.  Unfortunately, coal output and its use haven’t diminished: American producers have simply increased their coal exports to Asia and Europe.  In fact, U.S. coal exports are expected to reach as high as 133 million tons in 2012, overtaking an export record set in 1981.

 

Despite its deleterious effects on the environment, coal remains popular in countries seeking to increase their electricity output and promote economic development.  Shockingly, according to the IEA, it supplied nearly half of the increase in global energy consumption over the last decade, growing faster than renewables.  And the agency predicts that coal will continue its rise in the decades ahead.  The world’s top coal consumer, China, will burn ever more of it until 2020, when demand is finally expected to level off.  India’s usage will rise without cessation, with that country overtaking the U.S. as the number two consumer around 2025.

 

In many regions, notes the IEA report, the continued dominance of fossil fuels is sustained by government policies.  In the developing world, countries commonly subsidize energy consumption, selling transportation, cooking, and heating fuels at below-market rates.  In this way, they hope to buffer their populations from rising commodity costs, and so protect their regimes from popular unrest.  Cutting back on such subsidies can prove dangerous, as in Jordan where a recent government decision to raise fuel prices led to widespread riots and calls for the monarchy’s abolition.  In 2011, such subsidies amounted to $523 billion globally, says the IEA, up almost 30% from 2010 and six times greater than subsidies for renewable energy.

 

No Hope for Averting Catastrophic Climate Change

 

Of all the findings in the 2012 edition of the World Energy Outlook, the one that merits the greatest international attention is the one that received the least.  Even if governments take vigorous steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the report concluded, the continuing increase in fossil fuel consumption will result in “a long-term average global temperature increase of 3.6 degrees C.”

 

This should stop everyone in their tracks.  Most scientists believe that an increase of 2 degrees Celsius is about all the planet can accommodate without unimaginably catastrophic consequences: sea-level increases that will wipe out many coastal cities, persistent droughts that will destroy farmland on which hundreds of millions of people depend for their survival, the collapse of vital ecosystems, and far more.  An increase of 3.6 degrees C essentially suggests the end of human civilization as we know it.

 

To put this in context, human activity has already warmed the planet by about 0.8 degrees C — enough to produce severe droughts around the world, trigger or intensify intense storms like Hurricane Sandy, and drastically reduce the Arctic ice cap.  “Given those impacts,” writes noted environmental author and activist Bill McKibben, “many scientists have come to think that two degrees is far too lenient a target.”  Among those cited by McKibben is Kerry Emanuel of MIT, a leading authority on hurricanes. “Any number much above one degree involves a gamble,” Emanuel writes, “and the odds become less and less favorable as the temperature goes up.” Thomas Lovejoy, once the World Bank’s chief biodiversity adviser, puts it this way: “If we’re seeing what we’re seeing today at 0.8 degrees Celsius, two degrees is simply too much.”

 

At this point, it’s hard even to imagine what a planet that’s 3.6 degrees C hotter would be like, though some climate-change scholars and prophets — like former Vice President Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth — have tried.  In all likelihood, the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets would melt entirely, raising sea levels by several dozen feet and completely inundating coastal cities like New York and Shanghai.  Large parts of Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East, and the American Southwest would be rendered uninhabitable thanks to lack of water and desertification, while wildfires of a sort that we can’t imagine today would consume the parched forests of the temperate latitudes.

 

In a report that leads with the “good news” of impending U.S. oil supremacy, to calmly suggest that the world is headed for that 3.6 degree C mark is like placing a thermonuclear bomb in a gaudily-wrapped Christmas present.  In fact, the “good news” is really the bad news: the energy industry’s ability to boost production of oil, coal, and natural gas in North America is feeding a global surge in demand for these commodities, ensuring ever higher levels of carbon emissions.  As long as these trends persist — and the IEA report provides no evidence that they will be reversed in the coming years — we are all in a race to see who gets to the Apocalypse first.

 

Michael Klare is a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, a TomDispatch regular, and the author, most recently, of The Race for What’s Left (Metropolitan Books).  A documentary movie based on his book Blood and Oil can be previewed and ordered at www.bloodandoilmovie.com.

Published by TomDispatch on November 28, 2012

Republished on Energy Bulletin (http://www.energybulletin.net)

Copyright 2012 Michael T. Klare

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.

 

Source URL: http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2012-11-28/world-energy-report-2012

 

Links:

[1] http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175621/tomgram%3A_michael_klare%2C_a_thermonuclear_energy_bomb_in_christmas_wrappings/

[2] http://www.iea.org

[3] http://www.iea.org/newsroomandevents/pressreleases/2012/november/name,33015,en.html

[4] http://m.npr.org/news/Business/163565485

[5] http://www.ihs.com

[6] http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323894704578114591174453074.html

[7] http://www.cfr.org/experts/energy-climate-oil-security/michael-a-levi/b11890%20

[8] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/13/business/energy-environment/report-sees-us-as-top-oil-producer-in-5-years.html

[9] http://www.americanprogress.org/about/staff/weiss-daniel-j/bio

[10] http://www.amazon.com/dp/0805091262/ref=nosim/?tag=tomdispatch-20

[11] http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo

[12] http://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/name,33339,en.html

[13] https://www.iea.org/newsroomandevents/pressreleases/2012/october/name,32060,en.html

[14] http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=8490

[15] http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=8070

[16] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/why-775-billion-in-fossil-fuel-subsidies-are-hardto-scrap/2012/06/18/gJQABaQUlV_blog.html

[17] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/world/middleeast/jordan-faces-protests-after-gas-price-proposal.html

[18] http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719

[19] http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175435/tomgram%3A_bill_mckibben,_jailed_over_big_oil%27s_attempt_to_wreck_the_planet/

[20] http://eaps4.mit.edu/faculty/Emanuel

[21] http://esp.gmu.edu/people/facultybios/lovejoy.html

[22] http://www.amazon.com/dp/1594865671/ref=nosim/?tag=tomdispatch-20

[23] http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/greenland-glacier-loses-large-mass-of-ice/2012/07/17/gJQAf5CQsW_story.html

[24] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/11/science/earth/global-warming-makes-heat-waves-more-likely-study-finds.html

[25] http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175573/william_debuys_the_west_in_flames

[26] http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175579/michael_klare_the_hunger_wars_in_our_future

[27] http://www.bloodandoilmovie.com

[28] http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michael-Klare/316344375093469

[29] http://www.facebook.com/tomdispatch

[30] http://www.amazon.com/The-Changing-Face-Empire-Cyberwarfare/dp/1608463109/

 

The World According to Monsanto Screening

More Than a Food Fight: Monsanto’s War Against Food Security, the Environment, Local Farmers, Local Economies, and Democracy

More Than A Food Fight:

Monsanto’s War Against Food Security, the Environment, Local Farmers, Local Economies, and Democracy

Video clips from “The World According to Monsanto” and a discussion led by Bill McDorman & Belle Starr of Native Seeds/SEARCH and Mascha Miedaner, Founder of GMO Free Project of Tucson.

The is event is FREE and open to the public.

Co-sponsored by Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Native Seeds/SEARCH, Physicians for Social Responsibility, GMO Free Project of Tucson, Iskashitaa Refugee Network, and Progressive Democrats of America – Tucson.

The Historic Y
738 N. 5th Avenue, Tucson

November 30th, 2012 7 – 9 pm

Food Policy links & resources on the internet

Food Policy links & resources on the internet (ST Food working group, November 2012)

National Websites:

http://www.foodsecurity.org/FPC/council.html * (List of Food Policy Councils in North America)

http://www.foodfirst.org/sites/www.foodfirst.org/files/pdf/PB_19_Cutting_Through_the_Red_Tape.pdf (Food First/Institute for Food and Development policy brief)

http://www.socialenterprise.net/assets/files/REDI_Summary_May_2011.pdf (4 food initiatives case studies)

–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –

Austin, TX: http://www.farmlandinfo.org/index.cfm?function=article_view&articleID=38548/Austin,_TX_Sustainable_Food_Policy_Board.doc (Ordinance creating the Sustainable Food Policy Board)

Baltimore, MD: http://baltimorecity.gov/Government/AgenciesDepartments/Planning/BaltimoreFoodPolicyInitiative.aspx (Food policy website) http://cleanergreenerbaltimore.org/uploads/files/Baltimore City Food Policy Task Force Report.pdf (FP report)

Delaware Valley/Philadelphia, PA: http://www.farmlandinfo.org/documents/38512/Food_System_Planning_4.2010.pdf (Food system planning tool)

Eugene, OR: http://www.eugene-or.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1087 (Food security plan)

Los Angeles:  http://goodfoodla.org/good_food_for_all_agenda.php (LA food policy council website)

New Mexico: http://www.dreamingnewmexico.org/food (Comprehensive food system research website.)

Northern New Mexico: http://www.socialenterprise.net/assets/files/REDI_Summary_May_2011.pdf. (Excellent report created by student interns.)

Portland, OR: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/416389  (Food policy study)

http://web.multco.us/sustainability/portland-multnomah-food-policy-council  (Food policy council website)

http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?a=8728&c=27429 (A resolution creating the council)

Salt Lake City, NV: http://www.slcclassic.com/slcgreen/food/ (Food policy website)

San Diego:  http://aginnovations.org/alliances/sandiego/ (Food system alliance website)

San Franciscohttp://www.sfgov3.org/index.aspx?page=754 (SF food policy website)

http://sfenvironment.org/sites/default/files/editor-uploads/zero_waste/pdf/sfe_zw_mandatory_fact_sheet.pdf (SF recycling & composting ordinance); http://sfenvironment.org/zero-waste/recycling-and-composting (Food composting program)

Santa Fe, NM: http://www.santafecounty.org/userfiles/FoodPolicyResolution2008-26.pdf  (The resolution creating the food council); http://www.santafefoodpolicy.org (Food policy council website)

Seattle, WA: http://www.seattle.gov/council/conlin/food_initiative/ (Food initiative website) http://clerk.seattle.gov/~archives/Resolutions/Resn_31019.pdf  (Local Food Action Initiative Resolution)

http://www.seattle.gov/util/MyServices/FoodYard/index.htm (Food composting program; includes excellent video on how to handle food/yard waste for collection.)

Shelburne Falls, MA: http://issuu.com/conwaydesign/docs/foodsecurity (Food security plan)

Stop Keystone XL tar sands pipeline – 350.org & TUCAN – Nov 18 & 19

Sunday 1 pm MST (3 pm EST) – online live stream from Washington DC

Monday 12 noon at TEP corporate headquarters, 88 E Broadway Blvd, downtown Tucson AZ

Action Alert – SUNDAY onlineMONDAY in downtown Tucson

Nov 18 Sunday 1 pm MST, live online from Washington DC

350.org is gathering outside the White House and they ask everyone to sign up online. Here is the link: 350.org/en/stop-keystone-xl. And from there you can live stream to watch the event.

Nov 19 Monday 12 noon in downtown Tucson

Young activists blockading the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in East Texas are doing a mass action. They have asked for support rallies, and the Tucson Climate Action Network and 350Tucson are sponsoring a solidarity action at 12 noon in front of the TEP corporate HQ, downtown at 88 E. Broadway Blvd.

This will be a relatively brief demonstration (scheduled for 12:00 to 12:30 pm) and no civil disobedience is planned. However, it will be an important show of strength and solidarity, and a great opportunity to connect with others who are ready to seize the momentum of this crucial moment and raise our voices to STOP the pipeline and bring on a serious and effective approach to climate change in the U.S.

Please come stand in solidarity. Bring your signs and banners. We will speak on behalf of both national actions as well as connecting the dots between TEP as a coal-burning utility, and tar sands, and global warming, and extreme climate events.

Tar Sands Blockade is on Facebook too: facebook.com/TarSandsBlockade?fref=ts

RECENT MAINSTREAM MEDIA

The mainstream media is showing a flurry of unaccustomed attention in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and Obama’s re-election, and new World Energy Outlook report from the IEA—check out David Remnick on why Obama MUST address the nation on climate change NOW

newyorker.com/talk/comment/2012/11/19/121119taco_talk_remnick

and this report on the U.S. military’s latest warnings:

nytimes.com/2012/11/10/science/earth/climate-change-report-outlines-perils-for-us-military.html

Even our Arizona Daily Star is starting to catch on:

azstarnet.com/news/opinion/were-obama-and-romney-derelict-in-not-stressing-climate-change/article_8b3c9710-1122-5594-a2ae-ed8dc740b0e4.html and

azstarnet.com/news/science/global-warming-talk-heats-up-renewing-idea-of-a-carbon/article_fa6862f3-2e08-5ed3-ba2e-390908816e29.html

Hope to see you Monday! Stay tuned for ideas for actions you can take, both on your own and by joining with us as we go forward — because THERE IS NO PLANET B.

Tucson Climate Action Network – tucan.news(at)gmail.com

More Than a Food Fight – Monsanto’s War Against Food Security, the Environment, Local Farmers, Local Economies, and Democracy – film clips & discussion – Nov 30

Free, at the Historic Y, 738 N 5th Avenue, Tucson

 

More Than a Food Fight:

Monsanto’s War Against Food Security, the Environment,
Local Farmers, Local Economies, and Democracy

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom presents
video clips from “The World According to Monsanto
and a discussion with Bill McDorman & Belle Starr of Native Seeds Search
and Mascha Miedaner, Founder of GMO Free Project.

Friday, November 30, 7 to 9 PM, at the Historic Y, 738 N. 5th Avenue

Admission Free

Co-sponsored by WILPF, Native Seed Search, Physicians for Social Responsibility, GMO Free Project, Iskashitaa, and Progressive Democrats of America – Tucson.

Eco-Health Relationship Browser – EPA Sustainable and Healthy Communities

Eco-Health Relationship Browser
EPA Sustainable and Healthy Communities (SHC) Research News Flash
September 25, 2012

The EPA Sustainable and Healthy Communities Research Program is pleased to announce the launch of the Eco-Health Relationship Browser, an easy-to-use new online tool from the SHC program.

The Eco-Health Relationship Browser illustrates the linkages between human health and ecosystem services—benefits supplied by nature. This interactive tool provides information about our nation’s ecosystems, the services they provide, and how those services, or their degradation and loss, may affect people and communities.

Ecosystems, such as wetlands and forests, provide a wide variety of goods and services, many of which we use every day. However, some of these services, such as air filtration, are not obvious and it therefore may be hard to understand the impact they have on our daily lives.

Scientific studies have documented the many tangible and intangible services and health benefits that are provided by our surrounding ecosystems. This tool is designed so that users can easily explore the services ecosystems provide and how those services affect human health and well-being. It is important to note that the studies summarized in this tool are by no means an exhaustive list. However, the inclusion of over 300 peer-reviewed papers makes this browser an exceptional compendium of current science on this topic.

If you have questions or comments please contact Laura Jackson at jackson.laura(at)epa.gov

This service is provided to you at no charge by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Welcome to the EPA Sustainable and Healthy Communities (SHC) research program News Flash. SHC is developing data, tools and approaches to help communities make decisions that better protect human health and community well being. This News Flash will provide subscribers periodic updates about SHC science, products or information. You were added to this mailing list because you are involved or have expressed an interest in sustainable communities work, ecosystem services research, or related topics.

For questions about the SHC News Flash contact Melissa McCullough mccullough.melissa(at)epa.gov, or Carolyn Hubbard Hubbard.carolyn(at)epa.gov

270 minutes of silence – Presidential debates avoiding Climate change – 350.org

Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2012 22:32:25 +0000
From: Jamie Henn – 350.org <organizers(at)350.org>
Subject: 270 minutes of silence.

Dear Friends,

Not one word.

After 270 minutes of Presidential and Vice Presidential debates, no one has mentioned climate change or global warming. If the candidates don’t speak up tonight, this will be the first time since 1988 that climate change hasn’t been discussed in a Presidential debate.

Our social media team has whipped up a hard-hitting graphic that you can use to help drive the discussion in the lead up to the debate tonight. The more noise we make online, the more likely it is that the candidates or moderator will make a last minute decision to mention climate and, just as important, that the pundits covering the event will talk about climate change.

Can you raise the volume by sharing this on your social networks?


 

The silence is unacceptable, after the country broke 17,000 heat records this summer, drought smothered half of the nation’s corn crop, and millions of acres of the American west went up in smoke. Right now, just miles away from the site of tonight’s debate, parts of Miami are underwater due to an unusually high tide — a problem that will only worsen if sea levels continue to rise.

The warning signs can’t be ignored, but our politicians have gone silent. The reason couldn’t be more obvious the fossil fuel industry has spent over $150 million dollars on this election already, with more on the way. This September alone, ExxonMobil PAC and Koch Industries PAC spent a whopping $200,000 and $354,500 apiece to influence the election.

This afternoon, we’re working with our allies to make a last minute push to put climate back on the agenda.

Your action online will be joined with action on the ground, as well: our friends from Forecast the Facts, Friends of the Earth and the Energy Action Coalition have been working to break the climate silence in the debates, and there will be a rally at the debate in Florida to call for an end to the silence today.

Thanks for making your voice heard,

Jamie

350.org is building a global movement to solve the climate crisis. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for email alerts. You can help power our work by getting involved locally, sharing your story, and donating here.

Seeds of Freedom – Tucson Film Premiere – Oct 16

at Native Seeds / SEARCH Conservation Center, 3584 E River Road, Tucson AZ

 

Seeds of Freedom – Tucson film premiere

In conjunction with World Food Day and part of the Act for Seed Freedom Fortnight, we will screen a short documentary exploring the importance of seed saving and the current threats to the practice.

A discussion led by NS/S Executive Director Bill McDorman will follow the film.

Location: NS/S Conservation Center, 3584 E River Road

$5 suggested donation.

Limited seating – register at info@nativeseeds.org

NativeSeeds.orgGMOFreeTucson.org

Special Food Day Screening of Genetic Roulette – Oct 24

at The Loft Cinema, 3233 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson AZ

Special Food-Oriented Presentation for Food Day, a day to celebrate healthy, sustainable food production: Movie Screening at 7 p.m. of the new groundbreaking definitive documentary on the health risks of genetically modified foods, Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives, followed by a panel discussion of modern-day issues, problems, and solutions surrounding GMOs and the takeover of our seed supply with Bill McDorman, Executive Director of Native Seeds/SEARCH, and Melissa Diane Smith, GMO Free Project of Tucson Director of Education. $5.00 suggested donation, but no one will be turned away.

Be sure to arrive early – both to get a good seat and to visit a mini-expo of tables from sustainably oriented businesses on the patio in front of the theater before the movie. Seating will begin at 6 p.m.

See the movie trailer

More about the movie:

Are you and your family on the wrong side of a bet?

When the US government ignored repeated warnings by its own scientists and allowed untested genetically modified (GM) crops into our environment and food supply, it was a gamble of unprecedented proportions. The health of all living things and all future generations were put at risk by an infant technology.

After two decades, physicians and scientists have uncovered a grave trend. The same serious health problems found in lab animals, livestock, and pets that have been fed GM foods are now on the rise in the US population. And when people and animals stop eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their health improves.

This seminal documentary provides compelling evidence to help explain the deteriorating health of Americans, especially among children, and offers a recipe for protecting ourselves and our future.

GMO Free Project of Tucson – www.gmofreetucson.org

Genetic Roulette – Free Movie Showing – Oct 11

Free, at the Crossroads Theater, 4811 E Grant Road, Tucson AZ

 
A FREE movie screening  of the new groundbreaking definitive documentary on the health risks of genetically modified foods, Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives, followed by a Q & A by Melissa Diane Smith, GMO Free Project of Tucson Director of Education.

Please register for your free seat at www.geneticrouletteoct11.eventbrite.com

(If you don’t have internet access, you may call 520-481-1128 to register)

This screening is part of the NON-GMO Month Education Series presented by GMO Free Project of Tucson, Native Seeds/SEARCH, Wellness First, Baja Arizona Sustainable Agriculture, Envision Tucson Sustainable Festival, and Tucson Food Day.

Thank you to our sponsors New Life Health Centers, Native Seeds/SEARCH, The Tasteful Kitchen and Wellness First.

See the movie trailer

More about the movie:

Are you and your family on the wrong side of a bet?

When the US government ignored repeated warnings by its own scientists and allowed untested genetically modified (GM) crops into our environment and food supply, it was a gamble of unprecedented proportions. The health of all living things and all future generations were put at risk by an infant technology.

After two decades, physicians and scientists have uncovered a grave trend. The same serious health problems found in lab animals, livestock, and pets that have been fed GM foods are now on the rise in the US population. And when people and animals stop eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their health improves.

This seminal documentary provides compelling evidence to help explain the deteriorating health of Americans, especially among children, and offers a recipe for protecting ourselves and our future.

GMO Free Project of Tucson – www.gmofreetucson.org

No Coal in Tucson – Please help leaflet TEP – Aug 9

Wednesday 7pm – TUCAN meeting (every second Wednesday) at the Quaker Meetinghouse, 931 N 5th Ave, Tucson AZ

Thursday 11:30am – press conference and leafletting outside the TEP Headquarters, 88 E Broadway, Tucson AZ

Please help leaflet TEP – No Coal in Tucson

Dear Tucsonan Concerned About Health and Climate,

Tucson Electic (TEP) has refused to stop stockpiling its mountain of coal at its plant on Irvington on the Southside of Tucson, despite our well-publicized media report documenting the deaths of 4 people every year it burns coal – along with $28 million in economic damages to the community!

The Tucson Climate Activist Network (TUCAN) is a coalition of organizations and individuals concerned about climate change.

Burning fossil fuels, especially coal, is the moral issue of our generation, the apartheid of our times. Burning coal releases carbon dioxide causing global warming and thus the droughts, forest fires, heavy rains and wind storms which are becoming the “new normal.”

TEP is a coal company. Over 80% of its generating capacity is coal-fired. Less than 2% is solar. TEP and the fossil fuel industry is rendering our planet uninhabitable, just to make a buck.

Please join us at 11:30 a.m. this Thursday, August 9th, for a press conference and leafletting outside the TEP Headquarters at 88 E. Broadway.

We are demanding that TEP:

  * Immediately cease all further purchases and delivery of coal for the Irvington plant;

  * Pledge not to burn and to remove the current supply of coal being held at the Irvington plant;

  * Develop a plan to achieve a goal of 80% renewable energy sources for the all of its generating facilities including the Sundt plant on Irvington by 2050; and

  * Present the aforementioned plan to the Mayor, City Council, and the general Tucson community by December 31, 2012.

If you would like to join TUCAN and help us prepare for this event, our next monthly meeting (every second Wednesday) is next Wednesday, August 8th (the night before our leafleting) at 7-9 p.m. at 931 N. 5th Ave., the Quaker Meetinghouse.

Thanks for all you do.

Jim Driscoll

National Institute for Peer Support (NIPS)
4151 E. Boulder Springs Way
Tucson, AZ 85712
Phone: 520-250-0509
Email: JimDriscoll(at)NIPSPeerSupport.org
Website: www.NIPSPeerSupport.org

Sustainable Tucson August Film Festival – August 12th and 13th

at Joel D. Valdez Main Downtown Library, Large Lower Level Meeting Room, 101 N. Stone, (free lower level parking off Alameda St)

 

Sunday, August 12th 1:00 to 5:00pm, Sustainable Tucson will show three top-rated sustainability films covering critical sustainability topics:

• The U.S. financial crisis erupted in 2008 and still looms on the horizon.

• Resource depletion including non-renewable fossil fuels and clean water threatens further economic growth.

• Global warming and climate change threaten most life-forms including people and future food.

• Social disruption following economic dislocation and government contraction can threaten our capacity to solve-problems and build a more sustainable culture.

• Many solutions are being identified but most require abandoning “business as usual.”

The first film will be shown from 1:00 to 2:30pm and includes a comprehensive presentation of the sustainability crisis and a path way out of our predicament. Many sustainability leaders are interviewed including  Wes Jackson, Paul Hawken, David Suzuki, Kenny Ausubel, David Orr, Janine Benyus,, Stuart Pimm, Richard Heinberg, Paolo Soleri, Thom Hartmann, Lester Brown, James Hillman, Joseph Tainter, James Woolsey, Stephen Schneider, Stephen Hawking, Sandra Postel,  Bill McKibbon, James Hansen, Dr. Andy Weil, Ray Anderson, Andy Lipkis, Tom Linzey, Herman Daly, Peter Warshall, Jerry Mander, Mikhail Gorbachev, Bruce Mau, William McDonough, John Todd, and Gloria Flora among others.

The second film is an award-winning documentary describing the financial crisis which erupted in 2008 and continues to play out today as the global economy is beginning to contract. Financial experts help tell the story of how the largest financial bubble in history grew and finally burst. These include Simon Johnson, George Soros, Satyajit Das, Paul Volker, Nouriel Roubini, U. S. Rep. Barney Frank, Eliot Spitzer, Kenneth Rogoff, Raghuram Rajan, Martin Wolf, Christine Lagarde, and Martin Feldstein among others. This film will be shown from 2:30 to 4:15.

The final film to be shown from 4:15 to 5:00 is a special film which describes how the island nation of Cuba became more self- sufficient and resilient after the food and energy subsidies ended from the Soviet Union which collapsed in 1991.

 

Monday, August 13th, 5:00 to 8:00 pm, Sustainable Tucson will present two excellent films.

The first is a documentary about how the many electric street car systems in U.S towns and cities were intentionally scrapped by a group of automobile-related corporations. The result is that the U.S. is the only industrial country in the world without electric rail systems within and between most cities.  This film will be shown from 5:00 to 6:00pm.

The second film will be shown from 6:15 to 7:45pm and includes a comprehensive presentation of the sustainability crisis and the need to find a path way out of our predicament. Many sustainability leaders are interviewed including Richard Heinberg, Lester Brown, U. S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, Albert Bartlett, Joseph Tainter, David Pimental, Terry Taminen, Bill McKibben, James Hansen, David Korten, Derrick Jensen, and William R. Catton, Jr. among others.

Due to unanswered questions about public licensing, the titles of the films were omitted in this public announcement. The Pima-Tucson Library System does have a general license for showings of films free to the public for educational purposes. This license is granted by a film company consortium but we don’t know for sure about each film. ST falls back on its “fair use” rights under copyright laws to show the films for educational purposes.

We believe that building a sustainable future will take the cooperation and partnering of residents, businesses, government, institutions and organizations. It is in this spirit that we are reaching out to our members, interested people, and community leaders, bringing them together to focus the wider public on these critical sustainability discussions. Our ultimate intent is to build partnerships and work together toward our common goals.

Join us for viewing five great sustainability films in August!

PLEASE NOTE:

Doors open at 1:00 pm on Sunday, August 12th.
Doors open at 4:45 pm on Monday, August 13th

Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math – by Bill McKibben in Rolling Stone

Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math

Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe – and that make clear who the real enemy is

by Bill McKibben (350.org)

This story is from the August 2nd, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone.
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719

If the pictures of those towering wildfires in Colorado haven’t convinced you, or the size of your AC bill this summer, here are some hard numbers about climate change: June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10^99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.

Meteorologists reported that this spring was the warmest ever recorded for our nation – in fact, it crushed the old record by so much that it represented the “largest temperature departure from average of any season on record.” The same week, Saudi authorities reported that it had rained in Mecca despite a temperature of 109 degrees, the hottest downpour in the planet’s history.

Not that our leaders seemed to notice. Last month the world’s nations, meeting in Rio for the 20th-anniversary reprise of a massive 1992 environmental summit, accomplished nothing. Unlike George H.W. Bush, who flew in for the first conclave, Barack Obama didn’t even attend. It was “a ghost of the glad, confident meeting 20 years ago,” the British journalist George Monbiot wrote; no one paid it much attention, footsteps echoing through the halls “once thronged by multitudes.” Since I wrote one of the first books for a general audience about global warming way back in 1989, and since I’ve spent the intervening decades working ineffectively to slow that warming, I can say with some confidence that we’re losing the fight, badly and quickly – losing it because, most of all, we remain in denial about the peril that human civilization is in.

When we think about global warming at all, the arguments tend to be ideological, theological and economic. But to grasp the seriousness of our predicament, you just need to do a little math. For the past year, an easy and powerful bit of arithmetical analysis first published by financial analysts in the U.K. has been making the rounds of environmental conferences and journals, but it hasn’t yet broken through to the larger public. This analysis upends most of the conventional political thinking about climate change. And it allows us to understand our precarious – our almost-but-not-quite-finally hopeless – position with three simple numbers.

The First Number: 2° Celsius

If the movie had ended in Hollywood fashion, the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009 would have marked the culmination of the global fight to slow a changing climate. The world’s nations had gathered in the December gloom of the Danish capital for what a leading climate economist, Sir Nicholas Stern of Britain, called the “most important gathering since the Second World War, given what is at stake.” As Danish energy minister Connie Hedegaard, who presided over the conference, declared at the time: “This is our chance. If we miss it, it could take years before we get a new and better one. If ever.”

In the event, of course, we missed it. Copenhagen failed spectacularly. Neither China nor the United States, which between them are responsible for 40 percent of global carbon emissions, was prepared to offer dramatic concessions, and so the conference drifted aimlessly for two weeks until world leaders jetted in for the final day. Amid considerable chaos, President Obama took the lead in drafting a face-saving “Copenhagen Accord” that fooled very few. Its purely voluntary agreements committed no one to anything, and even if countries signaled their intentions to cut carbon emissions, there was no enforcement mechanism. “Copenhagen is a crime scene tonight,” an angry Greenpeace official declared, “with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport.” Headline writers were equally brutal: COPENHAGEN: THE MUNICH OF OUR TIMES? asked one.

The accord did contain one important number, however. In Paragraph 1, it formally recognized “the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below two degrees Celsius.” And in the very next paragraph, it declared that “we agree that deep cuts in global emissions are required… so as to hold the increase in global temperature below two degrees Celsius.” By insisting on two degrees – about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit – the accord ratified positions taken earlier in 2009 by the G8, and the so-called Major Economies Forum. It was as conventional as conventional wisdom gets. The number first gained prominence, in fact, at a 1995 climate conference chaired by Angela Merkel, then the German minister of the environment and now the center-right chancellor of the nation.

Some context: So far, we’ve raised the average temperature of the planet just under 0.8 degrees Celsius, and that has caused far more damage than most scientists expected. (A third of summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone, the oceans are 30 percent more acidic, and since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the atmosphere over the oceans is a shocking five percent wetter, loading the dice for devastating floods.) Given those impacts, in fact, many scientists have come to think that two degrees is far too lenient a target. “Any number much above one degree involves a gamble,” writes Kerry Emanuel of MIT, a leading authority on hurricanes, “and the odds become less and less favorable as the temperature goes up.” Thomas Lovejoy, once the World Bank’s chief biodiversity adviser, puts it like this: “If we’re seeing what we’re seeing today at 0.8 degrees Celsius, two degrees is simply too much.” NASA scientist James Hansen, the planet’s most prominent climatologist, is even blunter: “The target that has been talked about in international negotiations for two degrees of warming is actually a prescription for long-term disaster.” At the Copenhagen summit, a spokesman for small island nations warned that many would not survive a two-degree rise: “Some countries will flat-out disappear.” When delegates from developing nations were warned that two degrees would represent a “suicide pact” for drought-stricken Africa, many of them started chanting, “One degree, one Africa.”

Despite such well-founded misgivings, political realism bested scientific data, and the world settled on the two-degree target – indeed, it’s fair to say that it’s the only thing about climate change the world has settled on. All told, 167 countries responsible for more than 87 percent of the world’s carbon emissions have signed on to the Copenhagen Accord, endorsing the two-degree target. Only a few dozen countries have rejected it, including Kuwait, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Even the United Arab Emirates, which makes most of its money exporting oil and gas, signed on. The official position of planet Earth at the moment is that we can’t raise the temperature more than two degrees Celsius – it’s become the bottomest of bottom lines. Two degrees.

The Second Number: 565 Gigatons

Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees. (“Reasonable,” in this case, means four chances in five, or somewhat worse odds than playing Russian roulette with a six-shooter.)

This idea of a global “carbon budget” emerged about a decade ago, as scientists began to calculate how much oil, coal and gas could still safely be burned. Since we’ve increased the Earth’s temperature by 0.8 degrees so far, we’re currently less than halfway to the target. But, in fact, computer models calculate that even if we stopped increasing CO2 now, the temperature would likely still rise another 0.8 degrees, as previously released carbon continues to overheat the atmosphere. That means we’re already three-quarters of the way to the two-degree target.

How good are these numbers? No one is insisting that they’re exact, but few dispute that they’re generally right. The 565-gigaton figure was derived from one of the most sophisticated computer-simulation models that have been built by climate scientists around the world over the past few decades. And the number is being further confirmed by the latest climate-simulation models currently being finalized in advance of the next report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “Looking at them as they come in, they hardly differ at all,” says Tom Wigley, an Australian climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. “There’s maybe 40 models in the data set now, compared with 20 before. But so far the numbers are pretty much the same. We’re just fine-tuning things. I don’t think much has changed over the last decade.” William Collins, a senior climate scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, agrees. “I think the results of this round of simulations will be quite similar,” he says. “We’re not getting any free lunch from additional understanding of the climate system.”

We’re not getting any free lunch from the world’s economies, either. With only a single year’s lull in 2009 at the height of the financial crisis, we’ve continued to pour record amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, year after year. In late May, the International Energy Agency published its latest figures – CO2 emissions last year rose to 31.6 gigatons, up 3.2 percent from the year before. America had a warm winter and converted more coal-fired power plants to natural gas, so its emissions fell slightly; China kept booming, so its carbon output (which recently surpassed the U.S.) rose 9.3 percent; the Japanese shut down their fleet of nukes post-Fukushima, so their emissions edged up 2.4 percent. “There have been efforts to use more renewable energy and improve energy efficiency,” said Corinne Le Quéré, who runs England’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. “But what this shows is that so far the effects have been marginal.” In fact, study after study predicts that carbon emissions will keep growing by roughly three percent a year – and at that rate, we’ll blow through our 565-gigaton allowance in 16 years, around the time today’s preschoolers will be graduating from high school. “The new data provide further evidence that the door to a two-degree trajectory is about to close,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist. In fact, he continued, “When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of about six degrees.” That’s almost 11 degrees Fahrenheit, which would create a planet straight out of science fiction.

So, new data in hand, everyone at the Rio conference renewed their ritual calls for serious international action to move us back to a two-degree trajectory. The charade will continue in November, when the next Conference of the Parties (COP) of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change convenes in Qatar. This will be COP 18 – COP 1 was held in Berlin in 1995, and since then the process has accomplished essentially nothing. Even scientists, who are notoriously reluctant to speak out, are slowly overcoming their natural preference to simply provide data. “The message has been consistent for close to 30 years now,” Collins says with a wry laugh, “and we have the instrumentation and the computer power required to present the evidence in detail. If we choose to continue on our present course of action, it should be done with a full evaluation of the evidence the scientific community has presented.” He pauses, suddenly conscious of being on the record. “I should say, a fuller evaluation of the evidence.”

So far, though, such calls have had little effect. We’re in the same position we’ve been in for a quarter-century: scientific warning followed by political inaction. Among scientists speaking off the record, disgusted candor is the rule. One senior scientist told me, “You know those new cigarette packs, where governments make them put a picture of someone with a hole in their throats? Gas pumps should have something like that.”

The Third Number: 2,795 Gigatons

This number is the scariest of all – one that, for the first time, meshes the political and scientific dimensions of our dilemma. It was highlighted last summer by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a team of London financial analysts and environmentalists who published a report in an effort to educate investors about the possible risks that climate change poses to their stock portfolios. The number describes the amount of carbon already contained in the proven coal and oil and gas reserves of the fossil-fuel companies, and the countries (think Venezuela or Kuwait) that act like fossil-fuel companies. In short, it’s the fossil fuel we’re currently planning to burn. And the key point is that this new number – 2,795 – is higher than 565. Five times higher.

The Carbon Tracker Initiative – led by James Leaton, an environmentalist who served as an adviser at the accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers – combed through proprietary databases to figure out how much oil, gas and coal the world’s major energy companies hold in reserve. The numbers aren’t perfect – they don’t fully reflect the recent surge in unconventional energy sources like shale gas, and they don’t accurately reflect coal reserves, which are subject to less stringent reporting requirements than oil and gas. But for the biggest companies, the figures are quite exact: If you burned everything in the inventories of Russia’s Lukoil and America’s ExxonMobil, for instance, which lead the list of oil and gas companies, each would release more than 40 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Which is exactly why this new number, 2,795 gigatons, is such a big deal. Think of two degrees Celsius as the legal drinking limit – equivalent to the 0.08 blood-alcohol level below which you might get away with driving home. The 565 gigatons is how many drinks you could have and still stay below that limit – the six beers, say, you might consume in an evening. And the 2,795 gigatons? That’s the three 12-packs the fossil-fuel industry has on the table, already opened and ready to pour.

We have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn. We’d have to keep 80 percent of those reserves locked away underground to avoid that fate. Before we knew those numbers, our fate had been likely. Now, barring some massive intervention, it seems certain.

Yes, this coal and gas and oil is still technically in the soil. But it’s already economically aboveground – it’s figured into share prices, companies are borrowing money against it, nations are basing their budgets on the presumed returns from their patrimony. It explains why the big fossil-fuel companies have fought so hard to prevent the regulation of carbon dioxide – those reserves are their primary asset, the holding that gives their companies their value. It’s why they’ve worked so hard these past years to figure out how to unlock the oil in Canada’s tar sands, or how to drill miles beneath the sea, or how to frack the Appalachians.

If you told Exxon or Lukoil that, in order to avoid wrecking the climate, they couldn’t pump out their reserves, the value of their companies would plummet. John Fullerton, a former managing director at JP Morgan who now runs the Capital Institute, calculates that at today’s market value, those 2,795 gigatons of carbon emissions are worth about $27 trillion. Which is to say, if you paid attention to the scientists and kept 80 percent of it underground, you’d be writing off $20 trillion in assets. The numbers aren’t exact, of course, but that carbon bubble makes the housing bubble look small by comparison. It won’t necessarily burst – we might well burn all that carbon, in which case investors will do fine. But if we do, the planet will crater. You can have a healthy fossil-fuel balance sheet, or a relatively healthy planet – but now that we know the numbers, it looks like you can’t have both. Do the math: 2,795 is five times 565. That’s how the story ends.

So far, as I said at the start, environmental efforts to tackle global warming have failed. The planet’s emissions of carbon dioxide continue to soar, especially as developing countries emulate (and supplant) the industries of the West. Even in rich countries, small reductions in emissions offer no sign of the real break with the status quo we’d need to upend the iron logic of these three numbers. Germany is one of the only big countries that has actually tried hard to change its energy mix; on one sunny Saturday in late May, that northern-latitude nation generated nearly half its power from solar panels within its borders. That’s a small miracle – and it demonstrates that we have the technology to solve our problems. But we lack the will. So far, Germany’s the exception; the rule is ever more carbon.

This record of failure means we know a lot about what strategies don’t work. Green groups, for instance, have spent a lot of time trying to change individual lifestyles: the iconic twisty light bulb has been installed by the millions, but so have a new generation of energy-sucking flatscreen TVs. Most of us are fundamentally ambivalent about going green: We like cheap flights to warm places, and we’re certainly not going to give them up if everyone else is still taking them. Since all of us are in some way the beneficiaries of cheap fossil fuel, tackling climate change has been like trying to build a movement against yourself – it’s as if the gay-rights movement had to be constructed entirely from evangelical preachers, or the abolition movement from slaveholders.

People perceive – correctly – that their individual actions will not make a decisive difference in the atmospheric concentration of CO2; by 2010, a poll found that “while recycling is widespread in America and 73 percent of those polled are paying bills online in order to save paper,” only four percent had reduced their utility use and only three percent had purchased hybrid cars. Given a hundred years, you could conceivably change lifestyles enough to matter – but time is precisely what we lack.

A more efficient method, of course, would be to work through the political system, and environmentalists have tried that, too, with the same limited success. They’ve patiently lobbied leaders, trying to convince them of our peril and assuming that politicians would heed the warnings. Sometimes it has seemed to work. Barack Obama, for instance, campaigned more aggressively about climate change than any president before him – the night he won the nomination, he told supporters that his election would mark the moment “the rise of the oceans began to slow and the planet began to heal.” And he has achieved one significant change: a steady increase in the fuel efficiency mandated for automobiles. It’s the kind of measure, adopted a quarter-century ago, that would have helped enormously. But in light of the numbers I’ve just described, it’s obviously a very small start indeed.

At this point, effective action would require actually keeping most of the carbon the fossil-fuel industry wants to burn safely in the soil, not just changing slightly the speed at which it’s burned. And there the president, apparently haunted by the still-echoing cry of “Drill, baby, drill,” has gone out of his way to frack and mine. His secretary of interior, for instance, opened up a huge swath of the Powder River Basin in Wyoming for coal extraction: The total basin contains some 67.5 gigatons worth of carbon (or more than 10 percent of the available atmospheric space). He’s doing the same thing with Arctic and offshore drilling; in fact, as he explained on the stump in March, “You have my word that we will keep drilling everywhere we can… That’s a commitment that I make.” The next day, in a yard full of oil pipe in Cushing, Oklahoma, the president promised to work on wind and solar energy but, at the same time, to speed up fossil-fuel development: “Producing more oil and gas here at home has been, and will continue to be, a critical part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy.” That is, he’s committed to finding even more stock to add to the 2,795-gigaton inventory of unburned carbon.

Sometimes the irony is almost Borat-scale obvious: In early June, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled on a Norwegian research trawler to see firsthand the growing damage from climate change. “Many of the predictions about warming in the Arctic are being surpassed by the actual data,” she said, describing the sight as “sobering.” But the discussions she traveled to Scandinavia to have with other foreign ministers were mostly about how to make sure Western nations get their share of the estimated $9 trillion in oil (that’s more than 90 billion barrels, or 37 gigatons of carbon) that will become accessible as the Arctic ice melts. Last month, the Obama administration indicated that it would give Shell permission to start drilling in sections of the Arctic.

Almost every government with deposits of hydrocarbons straddles the same divide. Canada, for instance, is a liberal democracy renowned for its internationalism – no wonder, then, that it signed on to the Kyoto treaty, promising to cut its carbon emissions substantially by 2012. But the rising price of oil suddenly made the tar sands of Alberta economically attractive – and since, as NASA climatologist James Hansen pointed out in May, they contain as much as 240 gigatons of carbon (or almost half of the available space if we take the 565 limit seriously), that meant Canada’s commitment to Kyoto was nonsense. In December, the Canadian government withdrew from the treaty before it faced fines for failing to meet its commitments.

The same kind of hypocrisy applies across the ideological board: In his speech to the Copenhagen conference, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez quoted Rosa Luxemburg, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and “Christ the Redeemer,” insisting that “climate change is undoubtedly the most devastating environmental problem of this century.” But the next spring, in the Simon Bolivar Hall of the state-run oil company, he signed an agreement with a consortium of international players to develop the vast Orinoco tar sands as “the most significant engine for a comprehensive development of the entire territory and Venezuelan population.” The Orinoco deposits are larger than Alberta’s – taken together, they’d fill up the whole available atmospheric space.

So: the paths we have tried to tackle global warming have so far produced only gradual, halting shifts. A rapid, transformative change would require building a movement, and movements require enemies. As John F. Kennedy put it, “The civil rights movement should thank God for Bull Connor. He’s helped it as much as Abraham Lincoln.” And enemies are what climate change has lacked.

But what all these climate numbers make painfully, usefully clear is that the planet does indeed have an enemy – one far more committed to action than governments or individuals. Given this hard math, we need to view the fossil-fuel industry in a new light. It has become a rogue industry, reckless like no other force on Earth. It is Public Enemy Number One to the survival of our planetary civilization. “Lots of companies do rotten things in the course of their business – pay terrible wages, make people work in sweatshops – and we pressure them to change those practices,” says veteran anti-corporate leader Naomi Klein, who is at work on a book about the climate crisis. “But these numbers make clear that with the fossil-fuel industry, wrecking the planet is their business model. It’s what they do.”

According to the Carbon Tracker report, if Exxon burns its current reserves, it would use up more than seven percent of the available atmospheric space between us and the risk of two degrees. BP is just behind, followed by the Russian firm Gazprom, then Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell, each of which would fill between three and four percent. Taken together, just these six firms, of the 200 listed in the Carbon Tracker report, would use up more than a quarter of the remaining two-degree budget. Severstal, the Russian mining giant, leads the list of coal companies, followed by firms like BHP Billiton and Peabody. The numbers are simply staggering – this industry, and this industry alone, holds the power to change the physics and chemistry of our planet, and they’re planning to use it.

They’re clearly cognizant of global warming – they employ some of the world’s best scientists, after all, and they’re bidding on all those oil leases made possible by the staggering melt of Arctic ice. And yet they relentlessly search for more hydrocarbons – in early March, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson told Wall Street analysts that the company plans to spend $37 billion a year through 2016 (about $100 million a day) searching for yet more oil and gas.

There’s not a more reckless man on the planet than Tillerson. Late last month, on the same day the Colorado fires reached their height, he told a New York audience that global warming is real, but dismissed it as an “engineering problem” that has “engineering solutions.” Such as? “Changes to weather patterns that move crop-production areas around – we’ll adapt to that.” This in a week when Kentucky farmers were reporting that corn kernels were “aborting” in record heat, threatening a spike in global food prices. “The fear factor that people want to throw out there to say, ‘We just have to stop this,’ I do not accept,” Tillerson said. Of course not – if he did accept it, he’d have to keep his reserves in the ground. Which would cost him money. It’s not an engineering problem, in other words – it’s a greed problem.

You could argue that this is simply in the nature of these companies – that having found a profitable vein, they’re compelled to keep mining it, more like efficient automatons than people with free will. But as the Supreme Court has made clear, they are people of a sort. In fact, thanks to the size of its bankroll, the fossil-fuel industry has far more free will than the rest of us. These companies don’t simply exist in a world whose hungers they fulfill – they help create the boundaries of that world.

Left to our own devices, citizens might decide to regulate carbon and stop short of the brink; according to a recent poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans would back an international agreement that cut carbon emissions 90 percent by 2050. But we aren’t left to our own devices. The Koch brothers, for instance, have a combined wealth of $50 billion, meaning they trail only Bill Gates on the list of richest Americans. They’ve made most of their money in hydrocarbons, they know any system to regulate carbon would cut those profits, and they reportedly plan to lavish as much as $200 million on this year’s elections. In 2009, for the first time, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce surpassed both the Republican and Democratic National Committees on political spending; the following year, more than 90 percent of the Chamber’s cash went to GOP candidates, many of whom deny the existence of global warming. Not long ago, the Chamber even filed a brief with the EPA urging the agency not to regulate carbon – should the world’s scientists turn out to be right and the planet heats up, the Chamber advised, “populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological and technological adaptations.” As radical goes, demanding that we change our physiology seems right up there.

Environmentalists, understandably, have been loath to make the fossil-fuel industry their enemy, respecting its political power and hoping instead to convince these giants that they should turn away from coal, oil and gas and transform themselves more broadly into “energy companies.” Sometimes that strategy appeared to be working – emphasis on appeared. Around the turn of the century, for instance, BP made a brief attempt to restyle itself as “Beyond Petroleum,” adapting a logo that looked like the sun and sticking solar panels on some of its gas stations. But its investments in alternative energy were never more than a tiny fraction of its budget for hydrocarbon exploration, and after a few years, many of those were wound down as new CEOs insisted on returning to the company’s “core business.” In December, BP finally closed its solar division. Shell shut down its solar and wind efforts in 2009. The five biggest oil companies have made more than $1 trillion in profits since the millennium – there’s simply too much money to be made on oil and gas and coal to go chasing after zephyrs and sunbeams.

Much of that profit stems from a single historical accident: Alone among businesses, the fossil-fuel industry is allowed to dump its main waste, carbon dioxide, for free. Nobody else gets that break – if you own a restaurant, you have to pay someone to cart away your trash, since piling it in the street would breed rats. But the fossil-fuel industry is different, and for sound historical reasons: Until a quarter-century ago, almost no one knew that CO2 was dangerous. But now that we understand that carbon is heating the planet and acidifying the oceans, its price becomes the central issue.

If you put a price on carbon, through a direct tax or other methods, it would enlist markets in the fight against global warming. Once Exxon has to pay for the damage its carbon is doing to the atmosphere, the price of its products would rise. Consumers would get a strong signal to use less fossil fuel – every time they stopped at the pump, they’d be reminded that you don’t need a semimilitary vehicle to go to the grocery store. The economic playing field would now be a level one for nonpolluting energy sources. And you could do it all without bankrupting citizens – a so-called “fee-and-dividend” scheme would put a hefty tax on coal and gas and oil, then simply divide up the proceeds, sending everyone in the country a check each month for their share of the added costs of carbon. By switching to cleaner energy sources, most people would actually come out ahead.

There’s only one problem: Putting a price on carbon would reduce the profitability of the fossil-fuel industry. After all, the answer to the question “How high should the price of carbon be?” is “High enough to keep those carbon reserves that would take us past two degrees safely in the ground.” The higher the price on carbon, the more of those reserves would be worthless. The fight, in the end, is about whether the industry will succeed in its fight to keep its special pollution break alive past the point of climate catastrophe, or whether, in the economists’ parlance, we’ll make them internalize those externalities.

It’s not clear, of course, that the power of the fossil-fuel industry can be broken. The U.K. analysts who wrote the Carbon Tracker report and drew attention to these numbers had a relatively modest goal – they simply wanted to remind investors that climate change poses a very real risk to the stock prices of energy companies. Say something so big finally happens (a giant hurricane swamps Manhattan, a megadrought wipes out Midwest agriculture) that even the political power of the industry is inadequate to restrain legislators, who manage to regulate carbon. Suddenly those Chevron reserves would be a lot less valuable, and the stock would tank. Given that risk, the Carbon Tracker report warned investors to lessen their exposure, hedge it with some big plays in alternative energy.

“The regular process of economic evolution is that businesses are left with stranded assets all the time,” says Nick Robins, who runs HSBC’s Climate Change Centre. “Think of film cameras, or typewriters. The question is not whether this will happen. It will. Pension systems have been hit by the dot-com and credit crunch. They’ll be hit by this.” Still, it hasn’t been easy to convince investors, who have shared in the oil industry’s record profits. “The reason you get bubbles,” sighs Leaton, “is that everyone thinks they’re the best analyst – that they’ll go to the edge of the cliff and then jump back when everyone else goes over.”

So pure self-interest probably won’t spark a transformative challenge to fossil fuel. But moral outrage just might – and that’s the real meaning of this new math. It could, plausibly, give rise to a real movement.

Once, in recent corporate history, anger forced an industry to make basic changes. That was the campaign in the 1980s demanding divestment from companies doing business in South Africa. It rose first on college campuses and then spread to municipal and state governments; 155 campuses eventually divested, and by the end of the decade, more than 80 cities, 25 states and 19 counties had taken some form of binding economic action against companies connected to the apartheid regime. “The end of apartheid stands as one of the crowning accomplishments of the past century,” as Archbishop Desmond Tutu put it, “but we would not have succeeded without the help of international pressure,” especially from “the divestment movement of the 1980s.”

The fossil-fuel industry is obviously a tougher opponent, and even if you could force the hand of particular companies, you’d still have to figure out a strategy for dealing with all the sovereign nations that, in effect, act as fossil-fuel companies. But the link for college students is even more obvious in this case. If their college’s endowment portfolio has fossil-fuel stock, then their educations are being subsidized by investments that guarantee they won’t have much of a planet on which to make use of their degree. (The same logic applies to the world’s largest investors, pension funds, which are also theoretically interested in the future – that’s when their members will “enjoy their retirement.”) “Given the severity of the climate crisis, a comparable demand that our institutions dump stock from companies that are destroying the planet would not only be appropriate but effective,” says Bob Massie, a former anti-apartheid activist who helped found the Investor Network on Climate Risk. “The message is simple: We have had enough. We must sever the ties with those who profit from climate change – now.”

Movements rarely have predictable outcomes. But any campaign that weakens the fossil-fuel industry’s political standing clearly increases the chances of retiring its special breaks. Consider President Obama’s signal achievement in the climate fight, the large increase he won in mileage requirements for cars. Scientists, environmentalists and engineers had advocated such policies for decades, but until Detroit came under severe financial pressure, it was politically powerful enough to fend them off. If people come to understand the cold, mathematical truth – that the fossil-fuel industry is systematically undermining the planet’s physical systems – it might weaken it enough to matter politically. Exxon and their ilk might drop their opposition to a fee-and-dividend solution; they might even decide to become true energy companies, this time for real.

Even if such a campaign is possible, however, we may have waited too long to start it. To make a real difference – to keep us under a temperature increase of two degrees – you’d need to change carbon pricing in Washington, and then use that victory to leverage similar shifts around the world. At this point, what happens in the U.S. is most important for how it will influence China and India, where emissions are growing fastest. (In early June, researchers concluded that China has probably under-reported its emissions by up to 20 percent.) The three numbers I’ve described are daunting – they may define an essentially impossible future. But at least they provide intellectual clarity about the greatest challenge humans have ever faced. We know how much we can burn, and we know who’s planning to burn more. Climate change operates on a geological scale and time frame, but it’s not an impersonal force of nature; the more carefully you do the math, the more thoroughly you realize that this is, at bottom, a moral issue; we have met the enemy and they is Shell.

Meanwhile the tide of numbers continues. The week after the Rio conference limped to its conclusion, Arctic sea ice hit the lowest level ever recorded for that date. Last month, on a single weekend, Tropical Storm Debby dumped more than 20 inches of rain on Florida – the earliest the season’s fourth-named cyclone has ever arrived. At the same time, the largest fire in New Mexico history burned on, and the most destructive fire in Colorado’s annals claimed 346 homes in Colorado Springs – breaking a record set the week before in Fort Collins. This month, scientists issued a new study concluding that global warming has dramatically increased the likelihood of severe heat and drought – days after a heat wave across the Plains and Midwest broke records that had stood since the Dust Bowl, threatening this year’s harvest. You want a big number? In the course of this month, a quadrillion kernels of corn need to pollinate across the grain belt, something they can’t do if temperatures remain off the charts. Just like us, our crops are adapted to the Holocene, the 11,000-year period of climatic stability we’re now leaving… in the dust.

This story is from the August 2nd, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone.
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719

Also see http://350.org

Occupy Arcology – ecological city design lecture & discussion – June 26

Free, at Historic Y conference room, 738 North 5th Ave (at University)

 

OCCUPY ARCOLOGY LECTURE – June 26

Come be a part of a lecture and lively discussion on Occupy Arcology. In this part of the lecture series, hosted by Occupy Tucson’s Doctress Neutopia, we will focus on the question of ecology and economy within the context of an arcology (ecological city design). Any knowledge you have about alternative economics—alternative currencies, time banks, labor relationships, the rights of nature, etc, are welcome in our discussion. So, please come and share your wisdom and knowledge.

Some of the questions to be raised in the discussion are:

What kind of economy fosters health and sustainability with our natural resources?
How do we move into a no-growth, zero-carbon city?
How would William McDonough’s “cradle-to-cradle industrials” move us beyond 20th Century industrials that are polluting our world?
What kind of labor-force is needed to construct an evolutionary city design?
Do we need a new definition of work?
What would a feminist economy, outlined in Riane Eisler’s book The Real Wealth of Nations, look like?
How do we convert military monies into building solar-powered arcologies so that a peace time economy can lead us into a beautiful future?

When: Tuesday June 26th, 2012
Time: 5:00 – 6:30 P.M.
Place: Historic Y’s conference room, 738 North 5th Ave (at University)

For More Info: Contact doctress(at)lovolution.net

Also see http://www.lovolution.net/MainPages/arcology/arcology.htm

Tucson Climate Activists Network – 2nd Wednesdays

 

Every second Wednesday 7-9pm at the Quaker Meetinghouse, 931 N. 5th Ave, Tucson AZ

 

TUCAN (Tucson Climate Activists Network)

TUCAN meets the 2nd Wednesday of each month, 7-9 pm at the Quaker Meetinghouse on 5th Ave, to connect the work of local Climate Change activists.

Contact: Jim Driscoll, Jimdriscoll(at)NIPSPeerSupport.org

Tucson Climate Activists Network – planning meeting & free 350.org activist leadership training – May 9 & 25-27

May 9 (and 2nd Wednesdays) at the Quaker Meetinghouse, 931 N. 5th Ave, Tucson
May 25-27 free workshop at Dunbar Cultural Center Pavilion and boardroom, 325 W. 2nd Street, Tucson AZ

TUCAN (Tucson Climate Activists Network) will meet Wednesday, May 9, 7 pm, 931 N. 5th Ave. (Quaker Meetinghouse) to debrief our highly publicized protest on May 3 asking TEP to stop using coal, and we will plan next steps for all our Action Groups.

In particular, 350.org is offering a free Climate Leaders Workshop Friday thru Sunday, May 25-27 at Dunbar Community Center, no charge, free meals.

DYNAMITE FREE LEADERSHIP TRAINING FOR CLIMATE ACTIVISTS
May 25 – 27

To take the climate change movement to a new level here in Tucson and Southern Arizona, 350.org is paying for a FREE (including meals) weekend leadership training and flying in two of their national trainers to build the skills of about 30 people who would like to do more to save our planet and our species. The content is state-of-the-art, developed by Marshall Ganz from Harvard’s Kennedy School, who designed Barack Obama’s 2008 grassroots campaign and worked with Cesar Chavez for sixteen years. Learn one-on-one, relational organizing (the gold standard for serious campaigns), strategy-making, working with the media and other specific skills. We will tailor the training to the needs of the participants and use our skills to design a local strategy and tactics.

You are invited, as a local climate and clean energy organizer and activist, to join us and other selected environmental leaders for a free three-day Climate Leadership Workshop, sponsored by 350.org. These workshops are being offered across the U.S. and around the world with the purpose of building the strongest possible climate and clean energy movement to address the climate crisis by building the organizing skills of local leaders. Please feel free to pass this invitation on to other climate activists.

The Tucson Climate Leadership Workshop will focus on campaign planning and story-telling, including practical information on traditional and social media, campaign planning, engaging allies, and other critical organizing tools. We will share lessons learned from our experience organizing both local events and international campaigns, and will equip you with skills that can bolster the work you do locally and empower you to more effectively contribute to the broader climate movement.

Dates: Saturday and Sunday, May 26 and 27 (with a welcome event the evening of Friday, May 25)
Times: 5pm-8pm Friday, 9am-5pm Saturday and 9am-4pm Sunday
Location: Dunbar Cultural Center Pavilion and boardroom; 325 W. 2nd St., Tucson, AZ, with low-carbon catering by the Green Gourmet (please indicate dietary preferences)

Please RSVP by May 21 if at all possible. After that, we cannot guarantee dietary requests or give you input to the design of the training. Please go to our Facebook page — 350Tucson (scroll down on the left to the blue box) and fill out the linked questionnaire if you wish to attend, and we will get back to you as soon as possible to confirm.

For more information, contact Vince @ 520-400-7517, or arizona1sky (at) dakotacom.net. There is additional information about the 350 workshops in general at www.350.org.

This training will be capped at approximately 30 participants, and RSVPs will be accepted at least until Monday, May 21. The training is free; we provide all the food and materials. Please consult with us about travel expenses and lodging if you will be travellling in from out of town.

We hope you can join us!
Vince, Patsy, Jim, Dave and the rest of 350’s Team Tucson
Deirdre, Ryan – facilitators
The staff of 350.org and partners

 
Jim Driscoll
Jimdriscoll(at)NIPSPeerSupport.org

TUCAN meets the 2nd Wednesday of each month, 7-9 pm at the Quaker Meetinghouse on 5th Ave. to connect the work of local Climate Change activists.

Overpeck lecture – audio recording online here

An audio recording of Dr. Jonathan Overpeck’s presentation at DuVal Auditorium in Tucson February 13th 2012 is now available here on the Sustainable Tucson website.

To listen or download, please go to the first comment on ST February Meeting – Climate Change in Tucson and the Southwest – Dr Jonathan Overpeck.

Melissa Diane Smith – GMO Free Project of Tucson – Native Seeds/SEARCH Salon – May 21

at Native Seeds/SEARCH Retail Store, 3061 N Campbell Ave, Tucson

 

Native Seeds/SEARCH – Free Monthly Salon – A little something for anyone who has ever wielded a fork or pitchfork. Bring your juiciest ideas and appetite for mind-watering conversations.

May 21 Monday 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Melissa Diane Smith, nutritionist, author and Director of Education for the GMO Free Project of Tucson, will discuss what we can do to assure our food supply is GMO free. She will also show a short film, “Hidden Dangers in Kids’ Meals.”

www.nativeseeds.org

Clean Elections – and other projects – To Stop Climate Change – Feb 22

CLEAN ELECTIONS – AND OTHER PROJECTS – TO STOP CLIMATE CHANGE — Wed, Feb 22, 7 PM, 931 N. 5TH AVE.

Dear Climate Change Activist,

Please join us Wednesday, February 22nd at 7 p.m. at the Quaker Meetinghouse, 931 N.5th Ave., Tucson, to learn more about the Clean Elections Law and ways to use it to stop climate change.

Also learn about our new Action Groups to stop coal burning at TEP’s Irvington plant; the Citizens’ Climate Lobby national carbon fee (tax) and dividend campaign; strengthening Tucson’s new climate change plan; 350.org’s bird-dogging, probably of Congressional District 8 candidates who take fossil fuel money, other election projects, our Neighborhood Sustainability and Climate Change Houseparties, and other ways to use listening and peer support in this fight.

Jim Driscoll and Vince Pawlowski

P.S. Please RSVP to Jim at the National Institute for Peer Support

Jim Driscoll
National Institute for Peer Support (NIPS)
4151 E. Boulder Springs Way
Tucson, AZ 85712
Phone: 520-250-0509
Email: JimDriscoll(at)NIPSPeerSupport.org
Website: www.NIPSPeerSupport.org

What Are We Planning For? – A New Advocacy Initiative

What Are We Planning For?
A Sustainable Tucson Issues Paper                                                  March 2012

Since Imagine Greater Tucson’s initiating phase began more than three years ago, Sustainable Tucson has been engaged with the IGT Project at many levels, participating in the steering, community values, outreach, and technical committees. Imagine Greater Tucson has consistently requested input and Sustainable Tucson has tried to contribute ideas in order to make IGT a more relevant and successful visioning process for the Tucson region.

The following text summarizes seven key issues which Sustainable Tucson has previously presented and which the IGT process has yet to address. This document concludes with four specific requests to modify the Imagine Greater Tucson Project.

 

1. There has been no step or focus in the IGT process to sensitize and ground the community in the context of the emerging future. The impacts of climate change, resource depletion, food security, water use, conservation of our natural environment and economic and financial crises were all avoided.

Problem:  Without a grounded understanding of the emerging context, how can we realistically connect our values to a preferred future for the region? IGT views the problem of addressing growth as disconnected from the unprecedented challenges facing us. What does it mean to envision the future with our eyes closed and our heads in the sand?

 

2. Every IGT scenario is built on doubling population and the purpose of the visioning process is to determine the preferred way this growth should happen.

Problem: If this doubling of growth does not happen, IGT will have left us less prepared to adapt to any other possible future. Planning on the basis of doubling population growth constrains the investigation of what is best for the Tucson region. Population may or may not grow as current trends are showing (See Appendix A) and far different scenarios follow from those different assumptions. In planning a sustainable future it would be prudent, considering issues of climate change and resource limitations, to be considering population “build out” or planned decrease. A doubling population may make it impossible to decrease carbon emissions enough to limit uncontrollable climate change effects – important since Tucson is frequently described as “ground zero” for the worst effects of global warming.

 

3. IGT is intended to inform the 10-year comprehensive plans of the regional jurisdictions.

Problem: If IGT is only concerned about how we shape and support growth and if growth does not happen in the next decade (See Appendix A), then what value does IGT actually offer to inform the 10-year comprehensive jurisdictional plans? Worse still is the diversion of time and energy away from addressing the coming unprecedented challenges in what may be the most critical decade of our region’s history.

IGT has surveyed the region’s “values” but again not within the present context of changing eras. These survey results can be used by the jurisdictions but they will not reflect the community’s response to what is important in a coming period of unprecedented social, environmental, and economic change. The elephant in the room that IGT does not address is how to restructure our economy without population growth being the primary economic driver.

 

4. The scope of IGT is limited to how we shape the land-uses and infrastructures for the addition of one million future residents. It is true that the existing community was asked what we value and how we should shape this future addition. But existing residents had no option to define what land-use and infrastructure options we want for ourselves.

Problem: How can we define a preferred future without including the desired changes the existing community would like to see in its mix of infrastructures, especially given that becoming more sustainable and resilient requires significant changes in existing systems? Are the existing residents’ needs and preferences for urban form not an important part of the region’s future?

 

5. The impact of debt restructuring and credit availability were not included as key indicators.

Problem: Preparing for growth and preparing for sustainability both require significant public and private investments. How can we plan for change without estimating availability of funding, especially given the unprecedented local and global credit contraction ongoing these past three years. Population increase, development, economic growth, and protecting our natural environment will all be constrained by credit availability.

 

6. Scalability of scenario features was not included as an indicator or evaluative criterion.

Problem: Regional investment capacity is inherently constrained regardless of population growth level. So it is important that for each level of actual growth, a balanced approach is taken to ensure that all infrastructure categories are adequately addressed. If the investment approach is not balanced, some systems become over-built with excess capacity and others suffer with insufficient investment and capacity. Worse yet is the lack of financial planning for maintenance and repair of both existing and newly planned infrastructures. An obvious example of the latter is our crumbling regional and neighborhood roadways described by Pima County officials as  “rapidly deteriorating”.

IGT staff response to the problematic construct of doubling population has been that if this doubling growth doesn’t happen we will simply scale the implementation of the final “preferred” scenario to what actually happens. However, if an infrastructure cannot be “smoothly” or “linearly” scaled, investment in such infrastructure may preclude other critically-needed system choices should growth not happen as projected.

Thus, the scalability value of features in the alternative scenarios should be presented so that community participants can choose their preferred scenario, in part, by the characteristic of scenario features to be scalable or adaptable to lower growth levels.

 

7.  The 3 IGT scenarios  compare indicators with the reference projection or “trend” scenario, not with current conditions.

Problem:  Because the reference scenario is constructed in such a way as to demonstrate the unsustainability of continuing “business as usual”, the alternative future scenarios automatically show “improvement” over the reference scenario.

Not comparing the 3 alternative scenarios to current conditions – conditions that people can experience and verify now – obscures the very real possibility that for important indicators like greenhouse gas emissions, the values will actually get worse not better under what becomes the final “preferred” scenario.

In the case of greenhouse gases, the goal of regional climate change mitigation planning is to reduce emissions by at least 80% below current levels. It would appear these reductions cannot be met by adding population, even at greatly improved infrastructure efficiencies.

 

Bottomline Conclusion:  The intent of the IGT project to educate the community about “smart growth” concepts and how they can be applied to jurisdictional planning is by itself a worthy effort. Unfortunately, this should have happened 10 to 15 years ago when the region was experiencing the pressures of rapid growth.  Further, these concepts have not been re-calibrated to embody new constraints such as current greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The biggest challenge now is: how do we maintain prosperity and quality of life and environment without continuous population growth and how will we adapt to the unprecedented sustainability challenges in the coming decade.

 

We invite other individuals and organizations to join us in requesting that IGT:

 

1) Directly address and facilitate greater regional understanding of the unprecedented challenges which we face including climate change, peak oil, resource depletion, food security, water use, economic crises, and conservation of our natural environment.

2) Augment its future scenarios to include at least one scenario that considers population stabilization or “build-out” at no or low growth levels.

3) Broaden the scope of participant choices to register “optimal population levels“ along with their scenario preferences.

4) Compare indicators of the alternative future scenarios to actual current conditions, not hypothetical projections.

To support and add your endorsement of this proposal, please post a comment below.

 

Appendix A: Evidence that a new era without growth has begun

The IGT Project’s assertions that regional population “is projected to double in the coming decades” or more recently,  “is expected to grow by as many as 1 million people during this century” are misleading and not substantiated by any facts. At recent rates of change, our population would not even double in a hundred years – a timeframe that climate change and resource depletion research indicate would likely be unfavorable for growth.

For many decades up until five years ago, Arizona and the Tucson region did double their populations at rapid rates: every 20 and 35 years respectively. A major task for every jurisdiction was to manage the pressures and impacts of this growth dynamic. But the rapid growth era has ended as we find increasing evidence that the factors governing growth have indeed changed.

For four years, Americans have been moving less, driving less, and in great numbers, walking away from homes worth less than the mortgage obligation.  The 2010 US Census shows that the Tucson region had less population in 2010 than the 1 million 2006 population estimate. CNBC News recently named Tucson, “The Emptiest City in America” because of high apartment and home vacancies. UA economist Marshall Vest recently revealed that the Tucson region lost net population in 2011.

Declining regional home prices have erased ten years of gains and experts conclude that the local housing market will never return to past levels of activity. All of this points to the likelihood of a  “growthless” decade ahead, perhaps even longer.

www.SustainableTucson.org

Citizens’ Climate Lobby Tucson Meeting – January 7th

The Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Tucson Chapter is meeting at 11 am on Saturday at 255 W. University Blvd to join the national chapters’ conference call and discuss local climate lobby plans. If you have any comments before the meeting, please forward them to Vince Pawlowski:  pawlowski (at) ultrasw.com
Reminders for our call on Saturday:

  • Please call  review the individual planning form ( CCLindividplan2012, ) and bring any questions.  This will help the meeting move quickly.
  • If anyone wants to ask a question on the call, please email Vince and he will let Mark know.
  • Link to Mark’s interview: http://citizensclimatelobby.org/video/mark-reynolds  (on our site under press room)

The 12 most hopeful trends to build on in 2012

The 12 most hopeful trends to build on in 2012
Published by YES! Magazine on Sat, 12/31/2011
Original article: http://www.yesmagazine.org/blogs/sarah-van-gelder/12-most-hopeful-trends-to-build-on-in-2012

by Sarah van Gelder

Who would have thought that some young people camped out in lower Manhattan with cardboard signs, a few sharpies, some donated pizza, and a bunch of smart phones could change so much?

The viral spread of the Occupy Movement took everyone by surprise. Last summer, politicians and the media were fixated on the debt ceiling, and everyone seemed to forget that we were in the midst of an economic meltdown—everyone except the 99 percent who were experiencing it.

Today, people ranging from Ben Bernake, chair of the Federal Reserve, to filmmaker Michael Moore are expressing sympathy for the Occupy Movement and concern for those losing homes, retirement savings, access to health care, and hope of ever finding a job.

This uprising is the biggest reason for hope in 2012. The following are 12 ways the Occupy Movement and other major trends of 2011 offer a foundation for a transformative 2012.
 

1. Americans rediscover their political self-respect. In 2011, members of the 99 percent began camping out in New York’s Zuccotti Park, launching a movement that quickly spread across the country. Students at U.C. Davis sat nonviolently through a pepper spray assault, Oaklanders shut down the city with a general strike, and Clevelanders saved a family from eviction. Occupiers opened their encampments to all and fed all who showed up, including many homeless people. Thousands moved their accounts from corporate banks to community banks and credit unions, and people everywhere created their own media with smart phones and laptops. The Occupy Movement built on the Arab Spring, occupations in Europe, and on the uprising, early in 2011, in Wisconsin, where people occupied the state capitol in an attempt to block major cuts in public workers’ rights and compensation. Police crackdowns couldn’t crush the surge of political self-respect experienced by millions of Americans.

After the winter weather subsides, look for the blossoming of an American Spring.


2. Economic myths get debunked. Americans now understand that hard work and playing by the rules don’t mean you’ll get ahead. They know that Wall Street financiers are not working for their interests. Global capitalism is not lifting all boats. As this mythology crumbled, the reality became inescapable: The United States is not broke. The 1 percent have rigged the system to capture a larger and larger share of the world’s wealth and power, while the middle class and poor face unemployment, soaring student debt burdens, homelessness, exclusion from the medical system, and the disappearance of retirement savings. Austerity budgets just sharpen the pain, as the safety net frays and public benefits, from schools to safe bridges, fail. The European debt crisis is front and center today, but other crises will likely follow. Just as the legitimacy of apartheid began to fall apart long before the system actually fell, today, the legitimacy of corporate power and Wall Street dominance is disintegrating.

The new-found clarity about the damage that results from a system dominated by Wall Street will further energize calls for regulation and the rule of law, and fuel the search for economic alternatives


3. Divisions among people are coming down. Middle-class college students camped out alongside homeless occupiers. People of color and white people created new ways to work together. Unions joined with occupiers. In some places, Tea Partiers and occupiers discovered common purposes. Nationwide, anti-immigrant rhetoric backfired.

Tremendous energy is released when isolated people discover one another; look for more unexpected alliances.


4. Alternatives are blossoming. As it becomes clear that neither corporate CEOs nor national political leaders have solutions to today’s deep crises, thousands of grassroots-led innovations are taking hold. Community land trusts, farmers markets, local currencies and time banking, micro-energy installations, shared cars and bicycles, cooperatively owned businesses are among the innovations that give people the means to live well on less and build community. And the Occupy Movement, which is often called “leaderless,” is actually full of emerging leaders who are building the skills and connections to shake things up for decades to come.

This widespread leadership, coupled with the growing repertoire of grassroots innovations, sets the stage for a renaissance of creative rebuilding.


5. Popular pressure halted the Keystone KL Pipeline — for the moment. Thousands of people stood up to efforts by some of the world’s most powerful energy companies and convinced the Obama administration to postpone approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would have sped the extraction and export of dirty tar sands oil. James Hansen says, “If the tar sands are thrown into the mix, it is essentially game over” for the planet. Just a year ago, few had heard of this project, much less considered risking arrest to stop it, as thousands did outside the White House in 2011.

With Congress forcing him to act within 60 days, President Obama will be under enormous pressure from both Big Oil and pipeline opponents. It will be among the key tests of his presidency.


6. Climate responses move forward despite federal inaction. Throughout the United States, state and local governments are taking action where the federal government has failed. California’s new climate cap-and-trade law will take effect in 2012. College students are pressing campus administrators to quit using coal-fired sources of electricity. Elsewhere, Europe is limiting climate pollution from air travel, Australia has enacted a national carbon tax, and there is a global initiative underway to recognize the rights of Mother Nature. Climate talks in Durban, South African, arrived at a conclusion that, while far short of what is needed, at least keeps the process alive.

Despite corporate-funded climate change deniers, most people know climate change is real and dangerous; expect to see many more protests, legislation, and new businesses focused on reducing carbon emissions in 2012.


7. There’s a new focus on cleaning up elections. The Supreme Court’s “Citizens United decision,” which lifted limits on corporate campaign contributions, is opposed by a large majority of Americans. This year saw a growing national movement to get money out of politics; cities from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles are passing resolutions calling for an end to corporate personhood. Constitutional amendments have been introduced. And efforts are in the works to push back against voter suppression policies that especially discourage voting among people of color, low-income people, and students, all of whom tend to vote Democratic.

Watch for increased questioning of the legal basis of corporations, which “we the people” created, but which now facilitate lawlessness and increasing concentrations of wealth and power.


8. Local government is taking action. City and state governments are moving forward, even as Washington, D.C., remains gridlocked, even as budgets are stretched thin. Towns in Pennsylvania, New York, and elsewhere are seeking to prohibit “fracking” to extract natural gas, and while they’re at it, declaring that corporations do not have the constitutional rights of people. Cities are banning plastic bags, linking up local food systems, encouraging bicycling and walking, cleaning up brown fields, and turning garbage and wasted energy into opportunity. In part because of the housing market disaster, people are less able to pick up and move.

Look for increased rootedness, whether voluntary or not, along with increased focus on local efforts to build community solutions.


9. Dams are coming down. Two dams that block passage of salmon up the Elwha River into the pristine Olympic National Park in Washington state are coming down. After decades of campaigning by Native tribes and environmentalists, the removal of the dams began in 2011.

The assumption that progress is built on “taming” and controlling nature is giving way to an understanding that human and ecological well-being are linked.


10. The United States ended the combat mission in Iraq. U.S. troops are home from Iraq at last. What remains is a U.S. embassy compound the size of the Vatican City, along with thousands of private contractors. Iraq and the region remain unstable.

Given the terrible cost in lives and treasure for what most Americans see as an unjustified war, look to greater skepticism of future U.S. invasions.


11. Breakthrough for single-payer health care. The state of Vermont took action to respond to the continuing health care crises, adopting, but not yet funding, a single-payer health care system similar to Canada’s.

As soaring costs of health insurance drain the coffers of businesses and governments, other states may join Vermont at the forefront of efforts to establish a public health insurance system like Canada’s.


12. Gay couples can get married. In 2011, New York state and the Suquamish Tribe in Washington state (home of the author of this piece) adopted gay marriage laws. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta won a raffle allowing her to be the first to kiss her partner upon return from 80 days at sea, the first such public display of gay affection since Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was expunged. The video and photos went viral.

2011 may be the year when opposition to gay marriage lost its power as a rallying cry for social conservatives. The tide has turned, and gay people will likely continue to win the same rights as straight people to marry.


With so much in play, 2012 will be an interesting year, even setting aside questions about “end times” and Mayan calendars. As the worldviews and institutions based on the dominance of the 1 percent are challenged, as the global economy frays, and as we run headlong into climate change and other ecological limits, one era is giving way to another. There are too many variable to predict what direction things will take. But our best hopes can be found in the rise of broad grassroots leadership, through the Occupy Movement, the Wisconsin uprising, the climate justice movement, and others, along with local, but interlinked, efforts to build local solution everywhere. These efforts make it possible that 2012 will be a year of transformation and rebuilding — this time, with the well-being of all life front and center.


Sarah van Gelder wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful idea with practical actions. Sarah is YES! Magazine’s co-founder and executive editor, and editor of the new book: “This Changes Everything: Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement.”

YES! Magazine encourages you to make free use of this article by taking these easy steps. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License

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. Content on this site is subject to our fair use notice.


Source URL: http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2011-12-31/12-most-hopeful-trends-build-2012

Links:
[1] http://www.yesmagazine.org/blogs/sarah-van-gelder/12-most-hopeful-trends-to-build-on-in-2012
[2] http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/occupywallstreet
[3] http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/this-changes-everything-how-the-99-woke-up
[4] http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/stand-up-to-corporate-power/table-of-contents
[5] http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/rejecting-arizona-the-failure-of-the-anti-immigrant-movement
[6] http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/what-makes-a-great-place/community-land-trusts
[7] http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/the-new-economy/dollars-with-good-sense-diy-cash
[8] http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/time-banking-an-idea-whose-time-has-come
[9] http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/the-yes-breakthrough-15/henry-red-cloud-solar-warrior-for-native-america
[10] http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/lessons-from-a-surprise-bike-town
[11] http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/the-new-economy/clevelands-worker-owned-boom
[12] http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/nebraskans-speak-out-against-the-pipeline
[13] http://www.yesmagazine.org/blogs/brooke-jarvis/protesters-win-pipeline-delay
[14] http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/new-livelihoods/students-push-coal-off-campus
[15] http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/04/13-2
[16] http://www.yesmagazine.org/blogs/madeline-ostrander/after-durban-climate-activists-target-corporate-power
[17] http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/water-solutions/real-people-v.-corporate-people-the-fight-is-on
[18] http://www.energybulletin.net/people-power/keeping-it-clean-maines-fight-for-fair-elections
[19] http://www.energybulletin.net/people-power/turning-occupation-into-lasting-change
[20] http://www.energybulletin.net/planet/how-to-fight-fracking-and-win
[21] http://www.energybulletin.net/issues/the-yes-breakthrough-15/cities-take-up-the-ban-the-bag-fight
[22] http://www.energybulletin.net/blogs/richard-conlin/reflections-on-a-growing-local-food-movement
[23] http://www.energybulletin.net/issues/the-yes-breakthrough-15/hope-for-salmon-as-dams-come-down
[24] http://www.energybulletin.net/issues/columns/building-peace-in-iraq
[25] http://www.energybulletin.net/people-power/wendell-potter-on-vermonts-health-care-plan
[26] http://www.energybulletin.net/issues/health-care-for-all/has-canada-got-the-cure
[27] http://www.yesmagazine.org
[28] http://www.energybulletin.net/products/this-changes-everything/this-changes-everything
[29] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/
[30] http://www.yesmagazine.org/about/reprints

ST February Meeting – Climate Change in Tucson and the Southwest – Dr Jonathan Overpeck

at DuVal Auditorium, University Medical Center, 1501 N Campbell Avenue

Sustainable Tucson’s February Meeting will be a special public lecture event in collaboration with the Tucson Audubon Society and the Community Water Coalition.

University of Arizona climate scientist Dr. Jonathan Overpeck will speak on Climate Change: What does it mean for Tucson and the Southwest?

drought mapLast year’s increase in carbon emissions to our atmosphere, an estimated extra half-billion tons, was almost certainly the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution, and the largest percentage increase since 2003.

This trend of ever-rising emissions will make climate change an increasing challenge in coming decades. What are the particular possible outcomes for Tucson and the southwest? Water supply, food security, fire risk, habitability for people and wildlife will all be affected.

Dr. Overpeck is a founding co-director of the Institute of the Environment, as well as a Professor of Geosciences and a Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona, and an author of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment.

Monday, February 13, 7:00pm
Free and open to the public

DuVal Auditorium
University Medical Center
1501 N Campbell Avenue
(NE section of the main University Medical Center building)

Directions: Go in the main entrance of the Medical Center building, which faces east toward Campbell Avenue. Immediately turn right down the hall where you will find the doors to the DuVal Auditorium on your left.

Parking Note: There is parking in the multi-tiered Patient/Visitor parking garage closest to the auditorium; however, a fee is charged. Free parking is available south of Mabel Street, across from the College of Nursing.

See map at http://www.azumc.com/body.cfm?id=13

[The audio recording of this lecture is now available here online – go to the first comment below…]

ST January Meeting – Topics and Working Groups for 2012

at Joel D. Valdez Main Library
101 N. Stone, Downtown (free lower level parking off Alameda St)

ST December 2011 Meeting

How do we “green” our homes and neighborhoods?
How do we work together and contribute to each other?
How do we prepare for climate change?

Join us on January 9th to learn of some exciting efforts now underway in your home town to prepare for the challenges ahead.  A half-dozen of the most innovative and effective people in Tucson will distill their ideas for a sustainable Tucson into concise presentations to ignite your own ideas and enthusiasm…

» Karin Uhlich (Tucson City Council) – Re-establishing PRO Neighborhoods
» Bob Cook (NEST, Inc) – Green re-development initiative
» Dan Dorsey (Pima Community College) – Co-op Permaculture projects program
» Winona Smith (Tucson Time Traders) – Time Banking and local communities
» Tres English (Empowering Local Communities) – Secure food supply
» Ron Proctor (Sustainable Tucson) – Mobilizing for climate change

… and we’ll have a review of working group topics and project ideas from discussion tables in the ST December meeting, including

Recycling / Waste management
Composting toilets
Water use
Water harvesting
Solar Hot Water / Energy / Gas
Paradigm change
Land use planning (density, etc.)
Climate Change – Reducing greenhouse gases
Defining sustainability & adopting it legally
Food security

(This is not a complete list and can be added to… please use the comment form for this page!)

Sustainable Tucson is committed to engaging our audience in a participatory process. Following the presentations, we will ask everyone to engage in table discussions focusing on what actions we can take to make Tucson a more vibrant and sustainable community. Actions might be in the form of policy development, support of on-going projects, or the initiation of new projects.

The ideas generated will be used to develop topics and working groups for future Sustainable Tucson meetings, where in-depth presentations and audience discussions will continue. The goal is to create projects and initiatives that we believe will build our resilience as a Desert People.

also see recent 2011 Sustainable Tucson meetings,

ST December Meeting – The Politics of Sustainability
ST November Meeting – Food Security
ST October Meeting – Water Priorities
ST September Meeting – Non-GMO Food
ST August Meeting – Natural Building in the Desert
and an index of past ST Monthly / General Meetings

Doors open at 5:30 pm.
The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

Tucson: Support a City Resolution to Curb Global Warming – Dec 20

at Tucson City Hall, 255 W. Alameda, Tucson, AZ 85701 – downtown, just east of Granada in the Presidio Park Plaza

From: Center for Biological Diversity
Subject: Tucson: Support a City Resolution to Curb Global Warming

Arizona state bird, the cactus wrenSeattle has just become the latest city to join the Center for Biological Diversity’s Clean Air Cities campaign; Tucson could be next.

On Tuesday the Tucson City Council may pass a resolution urging President Barack Obama to curb global warming now using the most effective tool we have: the Clean Air Act.

Please, attend the council meeting to support the resolution.

Some members of Congress are trying to gut the Act by preventing the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating emissions, not only of carbon dioxide but also of smog, soot, mercury and other toxic metals. We’re looking to our cities to stand up to big polluters and stand up for the Clean Air Act.

Come to the council meeting this Tuesday and voice your support for becoming a Clean Air City — and soon we may become a clean-air nation.

When: Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Tucson City Hall, 255 W. Alameda, Tucson, AZ 85701 – downtown, just east of Granada in the Presidio Park Plaza

What: Council meeting to decide if Tucson will join Albany, N.Y.; Berkley, Santa Monica and Richmond, Calif.; Boone, N.C.; and Seattle, Wash. as a Clean Air City

RSVP to Rose Braz, climate campaign director – rbraz(at)biologicaldiversity.org

If you can’t come, please take a minute to email the mayor and city council to let them know you support this resolution.

Then tell your friends on Twitter and Facebook.

Click here to find out more and take action – http://action.biologicaldiversity.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=9038

Sample letter content:

Subject: Support the Clean Air Act Climate-Change Resolution

To Mayor Rothschild and the Tucson City Council Members:

As a resident of Tucson I’m writing to express my full support for the resolution introduced by Council Member Romero urging the Environmental Protection Agency to use the Clean Air Act to curb global warming pollution now. This resolution will be considered on Tuesday, Dec. 20.

For 40 years the Clean Air Act has protected the air we breathe through a proven, comprehensive, successful system of pollution control that saves lives and creates economic benefits exceeding its costs many times over. The Act can just as successfully tackle the challenge of carbon dioxide pollution and global warming.

But the Act and the EPA are under heavy fire in Congress, even as we see more and more evidence that climate change is happening now, that we are causing it and that the longer we wait to act, the harder it will be to solve.

As a leader in the fight against climate change and for clean air, I trust that the city of Tucson will stand up to big polluters and stand up for the Clean Air Act by passing this resolution.

Thank you.

Please take action by December 20, 2012

Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 710
Tucson, AZ 85702
1-866-357-3349
http://biologicaldiversity.org

The Center for Biological Diversity sends out newsletters and action alerts through DemocracyinAction.org.

Photo of cactus wren courtesy Flickr Createive Commons / AlanVernon

Rapid rise in Arctic methane shocks scientists

Rapid rise in Arctic methane shocks scientists
By Steve Connor
Wednesday Dec 14, 2011, New Zealand Herald

Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane – a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide – have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region.

The scale and volume of the methane release has astonished the head of the Russian research team who has been surveying the seabed of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for nearly 20 years.

In an exclusive interview with the Independent, Dr Igor Semiletov, of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that he had never before witnessed the scale and force of the methane being released from beneath the Arctic seabed.

“Earlier, we found torch-like structures like this but they were only tens of metres in diameter. This is the first time that we’ve found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures, more than 1000m in diameter. It’s amazing,” Semiletov said. “I was most impressed by the sheer scale and high density of the plumes. Over a relatively small area, we found more than 100 but, over a wider area, there should be thousands.”

Scientists estimate that there are hundreds of millions of tonnes of methane gas locked away beneath the Arctic permafrost, which extends from the mainland into the seabed of the relatively shallow sea of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf.

One of the greatest fears is that with the disappearance of the Arctic sea-ice in summer, and rapidly rising temperatures across the entire region, which are already melting the Siberian permafrost, the trapped methane could be suddenly released into the atmosphere, leading to rapid and severe climate change.

Semiletov’s team published a study last year estimating that the methane emissions from this region were about 8 million tonnes a year, but the latest expedition suggests this is a significant underestimate of the phenomenon.

In late northern summer, the Russian research vessel Academician Lavrentiev conducted an extensive survey of about 25,900sq km of sea off the East Siberian coast. Scientists deployed four highly sensitive instruments, seismic and acoustic, to monitor the “fountains” – or plumes – of methane bubbles rising to the sea surface from beneath the seabed.

“In a very small area, less than [25,900sq km], we have counted more than 100 fountains, or torch-like structures, bubbling through the water column and injected directly into the atmosphere from the seabed,” Semiletov said.

“We carried out checks at about 115 stationary points and discovered methane fields of a fantastic scale – I think on a scale not seen before. Some plumes were 1km or more wide and the emissions went directly into the atmosphere – the concentration was 100 times higher than normal.”

Semiletov released his findings for the first time last week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

Oppose the Rosemont Mine – public meetings Dec 1st, 7th, 8th, 10th

Thursday, Dec. 1, at Corona Foothills Middle School, 16705 S. Houghton Rd., from 5 to 9 PM (and see comments below for further meetings at other locations)

From: Keith Willmarth <canduthis(at)toast.net>
Subject: Oppose the Rosemont Mine

I am sending this message to mobilize informed opposition to the proposed Rosemont Mine. Several organizations, in particular Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, are doing yeoman work for the same purpose. I was only slightly acquainted with this issue until a few weeks ago. As I‘ve become more fully informed, I feel impelled to do what I can so that this mine will not become a reality.

The National Forest Service held its first public meeting, on November 12, to hear comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Rosemont copper mine. (View the DEIS at www.rosemonteis.us). The Arizona Daily Star reported that comments ran 50 to 6 in favor of the project. However, all major local news media completely ignored the second meeting, held a week later at Empire High School, at which a huge majority in the packed hall, at least 3 to 1, opposed the project.

Whatever their reasons for failing to cover the second meeting, it’s important to ensure that:

· There is an even greater turnout at the next meeting, on Thursday, Dec. 1, at Corona Foothills Middle School, 16705 S. Houghton Rd., from 5 to 9 PM.

· The media show up at subsequent public meetings on this issue

· Local residents express their opposition to Rosemont in other ways, through written statements, phone calls, networking, etc.

There are many good reasons to oppose the Rosemont Mine:

1. The sheer size of the tract of land within Coronado National Forest which would be obliterated: roughly seven square miles, including a vast pit half-a-mile deep and over a mile wide.

2. It would suck an enormous quantity of groundwater from the Earth — many times more than the annual usage of Nogales, for example — for the profit of a single company.

3. It will be across the road from one of the few protected and relatively undisturbed riparian areas left in the desert Southwest. A more incompatible land use than the mine is hard to imagine.

4. It would significantly reduce the night sky darkness, to the detriment of astronomical research in southern Arizona, and to the dismay of campers and nearby residents.

5. Rosemont has latched onto the premise that hybrid cars use three times as much copper as conventional cars, to greenwash the public. Considering the heavy machinery, small army of large trucks, plant-site emissions, electricity, de-vegetation, etc. that would be required, it is most doubtful that the mine would contribute to fighting climate change..

6. The scale of environmental degradation which would occur due to the Rosemont Mine runs contrary to the stated mission of the Forest Service to “sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands for present and future generations.” Rights granted by the Mining Act of 1872 do not pre-empt the provisions of the Forest Service Act.

7. Mitigation plans are not insurance against environmental damage. The largest EPA Superfund site is the result of copper mining (The Upper Clark Fork River Superfund Site in Montana). In 1990, at the Ray Mine near Kearny, AZ, rainwater washed 324,000 gallons of wastewater loaded with copper sulfates into the Gila River.

8. Rosemont’s boasts of long-term job creation are conjectural. Copper prices are currently at a peak; consequently there is a clamor of activity to develop new mines and expand production at existing ones. In Arizona alone, at least four other new copper mine proposals are seeking regulatory approval. Resolution Copper reports that their planned mine could supply 25% of expected US demand for decades. When prices drop with rising supply, or for any other reason, some mines can be expected to close.

9. The economic viability of the Rosemont Mine over its projected 20-year productive life is questionable, since it depends on the continued growth of the US and global economies. But we know that the perpetual growth paradigm is unrealistic on a finite planet. There are portents of a global ecological and economic crash, possibly in the near future. Projects like the Rosemont Mine are obsolescent.

There are numerous other reasons. Your reason here: info(at)rosemonteis.us

If your schedule allows, please come to the public meeting this Thursday evening, to
let your views be known. I’m supporting Project Alternative 1 – no action!!

Thanks,

Keith Willmarth
(520-661-0034)

P.S. — I welcome passengers in my car as long as there is room.

ST December Meeting – The Politics of Sustainability

at Joel D. Valdez Main Library
101 N. Stone, Downtown (free lower level parking off Alameda St)

Activism, Advocacy, and Political Action are ramping up all over the world.  Tucson is no exception, and so Sustainable Tucson begins an exploration into the realm of political expression and action, and how we can use it to promote sustainability and resilience.

The December 12th Sustainable Tucson General Meeting promises to offer provocative ideas from three local experts…

  First, Dave Ewoldt, ecopsychologist and founder of Natural Systems Solutions, will speak on the importance of establishing a legally defensible definition of sustainability.

  Our second speaker is Margaret Wilder, an associate professor in Latin American studies and in the School of Geography and Development, and an associate research professor of environmental policy with the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at The University of Arizona.  Margaret will be speaking on the relationship between sustainability and social equity.

  Finally, Randy Serraglio from the Center for Biological Diversity, will talk about biodiversity and ecological rights.

Following the presentations, the speakers will engage in a lively panel discussion.

Sustainable Tucson is committed to the practice of engaging our audience in a participatory process.  Following the panel discussion we will ask participants to engage in lively table discussions focusing on what actions we can take to make Tucson a more vibrant and sustainable community.  Actions might be in the form of policy development, support of on-going projects, or the initiation of new projects.

The ideas generated will be used to develop the content for our January meeting, where presentations and audience discussions will continue.  The goal is to create a list of activities, projects and initiatives that we believe will build our resilience as a Desert People.

The ultimate goal for this process is to invite our public officials to a future meeting and ask them to share with us those projects/initiatives on our list with which they resonate.  Where can we partner with City or County initiatives that align with our philosophy?  Where can we find common ground, and how can we support each other’s common goals?

Doors open at 5:30 pm.
The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

6 Burning Questions About the Violent Crackdowns on Occupations Around the Country

6 Burning Questions About the Violent Crackdowns on Occupations Around the Country

By Lynn Parramore, AlterNet
Posted on November 15, 2011
http://www.alternet.org/story/153083 /6_burning_questions_about_the_violent_crackdowns_ on_occupations_around_the_country

Occurring without provocation, the Occupy crackdown gives the appearance of an orchestrated effort to thwart an emerging protest movement. Early morning Tuesday, in New York City, hundreds of police officers, many in riot gear, swept down on Zuccotti Park, throwing away private property, restricting press and using aggressive tactics to remove protesters and supporters. Here are some things we’d really like to know.

1. Who convened the mayors call? In an interview with the BBC, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan alluded to her participation in a conference call with leaders of 18 US cities just prior to the raids on encampments across the country. Mayors’ associations do exist, but they do not typically organize police interventions or local decision-making in such detail. Given the abuses of the past, such as the notorious COINTELPRO and other intervention programs that the U.S. government organized during the Vietnam protests, the public has a right to know the details of who organized that call.

2. Was there an attempt to control press coverage? New Yorkers awoke to front-page stories and photographs in both the New York Post and the New York Daily News. Coverage by the two papers was supportive of the mayor and the police actions but disparaging toward the protesters. An AlterNet reporter, arriving on the scene at 1:30am, shortly after the raid began, could get nowhere near Zuccotti Park due to police barricades (and was subjected to pepper spray while attempting to report on events). How did the friendly reporters gain their access? Was there advance coordination to allow certain media outlets access and block the rest? Why was press access restricted? Were some reporters’ credentials confiscated? How will reports of unwarranted force on the part of police toward the press be addressed?

3. What, if any, was the role of the White House? Who was in charge of following the nationwide Occupy crackdown at the White House? What does President Obama, the man who celebrated the uprisings in Egypt (and who is currently out of the US, in Asia), think about the raids and the encroachments on the civil liberties of peacefully protesting Americans? As a constitutional scholar, what is his view of the restrictions of the press and the arrests of journalists?

4. Was the Department of Homeland Security involved in the raids? Filmmaker Michael Moore tweeted this question, asking if the Department may have given the green-light to the raid. The DHS has been reportedly following Occupy Wall Street Twitter feeds and other social media networks. Did it play any role in the crackdown?

5. What, if any, was the role of the FBI? Suggestions are circulating that the FBI and other federal agencies may have advised local law enforcement agencies on how to conduct the raids and even how to handle press relations. Did this happen? Was there any coordinating of arrests across the country on the part of the FBI?

6. Where are the libertarians? In the face of all the clamor about “states’ rights,” local government and the Constitution, we want to know where all the libertarians have suddenly gone. It’s enough to drive you to drink an emergency cup of tea.

Lynn Parramore is an AlterNet contributing editor.

© 2011 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/153083/

http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/153083/

Sustainable Tucson comments on proposed Rosemont Mine

Sustainable Tucson comments on proposed Rosemont Mine

Sustainable Tucson is a non-profit, grass-roots organization that builds regional resilience and sustainability through awareness raising, community engagement and public/private partnerships. We recognize the need to focus on sustainability within the Sonoran bioregion.

The proposal by the Augusta Resources Corporation to develop a copper mine in the Santa Rita mountains is troubling to us for many reasons.

One of our visions is that water sustainability be assured for future generations and the environment. The mine will be pumping precious groundwater for mining operations in an area surrounded by farming and ranching operations, already stretched beyond local carrying capacity. They will have an allotment of CAP water for recharge, which may or may not fully replace the pumped water and likely be of higher salinity. Climate research continues to reinforce the likelihood that Arizona faces a future that will become more arid and include multi-decadal droughts. Decreasing snowpack in the Colorado river watershed increases the likelihood that waters delivered as our CAP allotment is far from assured into the future. This leaves ground water and renewable harvested rainwater as our major water sources going forward. Sustainable Tucson believes this mine would be a serious threat to water security in the region and would harm nearby communities, farms, and ranches irreparably. On the issue of groundwater quality, all the activities associated with mining, e.g., tailings, leach pits, waste rock, etc., present an unacceptable risk of harm to the aquifer. Additionally, the secondary effects on riparian habitats and their plant and animal populations would most likely be devastating.

Another of our visions is that food be safe, healthy, and regionally produced. Our attempts to move toward regional food security would be threatened by the negative impact the mine would have on water resources available for growing food. We oppose any operation that would jeopardize the success and even the very existence of the small family farms in the area. We consider water for growing food to be a higher use for a precious and very limited resource.

Another vision is that life-affirming cultural and spiritual practices be honored. We believe the negative impacts on or actual destruction of the cultural resources of the area, such as historic properties, critical archaeological sites, tribal sacred sites and resource gathering sites are unacceptable.

Our vision that meaningful work be available to every person is not fulfilled by this mine. We believe that right livelihood does not undermine the natural world that supports us and that short term jobs are no compensation for a degraded future.

Considering the potentially negative economic impacts to our important recreational and tourist industry, degradation of roadways, harm to public health through reduced air quality, loss of the natural beauty of the area, and degradation of astronomical “night sky” quality, we conclude that any potential economic benefit that can be claimed by the developers of the mine is far outweighed by the harms and damages to people and nature that will likely result. It is very important to keep in mind that long after this mining operation ends, we will be left with the permanent damage to a vital area forever.

Greenhouse emissions exceed worst case scenario

The global output of carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the US Department of Energy has calculated, a sign of how feeble the world’s efforts are at slowing man-made global warming.

The new figures for last year mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst-case scenario outlined by climate experts four years ago.

”The more we talk about the need to control emissions, the more they are growing,” the co-director of the joint program on the science and policy of global change at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), John Reilly, said.

The world pumped about 512 million tonnes more of carbon into the air last year than it did in 2009, an increase of 6 per cent. That amount of extra pollution eclipses the individual emissions of all but three countries – China, the US and India, the world’s top producers of greenhouse gases.

It is a “monster” increase that is unheard of, said Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State University, who has helped calculate Department of Energy figures in the past.

Extra pollution in China and the U.S. account for more than half the increase in emissions last year, Marland said.

“It’s a big jump,” said Tom Boden, director of the Energy Department’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at Oak Ridge National Lab. “From an emissions standpoint, the global financial crisis seems to be over.”

Boden said that in 2010 people were traveling, and manufacturing was back up worldwide, spurring the use of fossil fuels, the chief contributor of man-made climate change.

India and China are huge users of coal. Burning coal is the biggest carbon source worldwide and emissions from that jumped nearly 8 percent in 2010.

“The good news is that these economies are growing rapidly so everyone ought to be for that, right?” Reilly said Thursday. “Broader economic improvements in poor countries has been bringing living improvements to people. Doing it with increasing reliance on coal is imperiling the world.”

In 2007, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its last large report on global warming, it used different scenarios for carbon dioxide pollution and said the rate of warming would be based on the rate of pollution. Boden said the latest figures put global emissions higher than the worst-case projections from the climate panel. Those forecast global temperatures rising between 4 and 11 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century with the best estimate at 7.5 degrees.

Even though global warming skeptics have attacked the climate change panel as being too alarmist, scientists have generally found their predictions too conservative, Reilly said. He said his university worked on emissions scenarios, their likelihood, and what would happen. The IPCC’s worst case scenario was only about in the middle of what MIT calculated are likely scenarios.

But Reilly and University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver found something good in recent emissions figures. The developed countries that ratified the 1997 Kyoto Protocol treaty limiting greenhouse gases have reduced their emissions overall since then and have achieved their goals of cutting emissions to about 8 percent below 1990 levels. The U.S. did not ratify the agreement.

Associated Press    November 4, 2011

IEA: Time running out to limit earth’s warming

The International Energy Agency warned Wednesday that the world is hurtling toward irreversible climate change and will lose the chance to limit warming if it doesn’t take bold action in the next five years.

In its annual World Energy Outlook, the agency spelled out the consequences if those steps aren’t taken and what needs to be done to cap global temperature increases at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels. That’s the threshold beyond which some scientists have said catastrophic changes could be triggered.

But the agency’s chief economist, Fatih Birol, said this week that he’s not optimistic that leaders are willing to make the necessary sacrifices.

“We are going in the wrong direction in terms of climate change,” he said in an interview Monday ahead of the report’s official release.

He noted, for instance, that governments around the world have put increasing energy efficiency at the top of their to-do lists, but efficiency has worsened for two years in a row now.

Birol said such backslides have real consequences.

“After 2017, we will lose the chance to limit the temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius,” he said.

The report said that the current promises to reduce emissions, when taken together, will likely result in an increase of more than 3.5 degrees Celsius _ and there isn’t any guarantee those commitments will even be carried out. Without them, the picture is bleaker: an increase of 6 degrees Celsius or more.

Birol said the world doesn’t lack the technology to tackle the problem _ just the political will.

“Even with existing technologies, you can improve substantially, but to do that, you need some price incentives and these price incentives are not there,” he said.

In fact, there are incentives to consume more: The report said subsidies for fossil fuels have risen past $400 billion. Birol said those need to be cut and instead a price needs to be levied on carbon. Only when “dirty” fuels become more expensive, he said, will governments follow through on their commitments to increase energy efficiency.

The report pushes hard the need to increase efficiency, generally considered the easiest way to reduce consumption since it has a price-incentive built in. It has become even more important since Japan’s nuclear accident sparked a rethinking of the use of atomic technology previously seen as key to cutting emissions.

“The most important contribution to reaching energy security and climate goals comes form the energy that we do not consume,” the report said.

It also predicted that oil prices would rise over the long term, though a weak global economy and the return of Libyan oil to the market would ease short-term pressures.

How high the price goes will depend, in part, on whether investors are willing to cough up what the Middle East and North Africa needs to keep pumping. Birol said last month that unrest in the region has made investors reluctant to pour money in.

Associated Press    November 9, 2011

“The world is looking straight into the face of a great depression”.

New recession threatens the globe as debt crisis grows

by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard – Telegraph  (UK)  published 11/10/11

Europe’s escalating debt crisis has cast a black shadow over the world’s fragile recovery, threatening to tip large parts of the global economy into a deep downturn and even outright recession.

The OECD’s index of leading indicators for China, India, Brazil, Canada, Britain and the eurozone have all tipped below the warning line of 100, with the pace of the decline in Europe exceeding the onset of the Great Contraction in early 2008. Professor Simon Johnson, a former chief economist at the IMF, rattled nerves earlier this week by warning the world is “looking straight into the face of a great depression”.

The grim data is coming thick and fast. Japan’s machinery orders fell 8.2pc in September as the post-Fukushima rebound lost steam and the delayed effects of the super-strong yen began to bite. Export orders have been declining for eight months. “Outright contraction is possible in the quarters ahead,” said Mark Cliffe from ING.

Exports in the Philippines dropped 27pc in September, the sharpest fall in two years. Korea’s exports have showed sharply, caused by a 20pc slide in shipments to Europe. Manufacturing has been contracting for the past three months.

Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s chief, warned in Asia that “there are dark clouds gathering in the global economy. Countries need to prepare for any storm that might reach their shores”. She said “adverse feedback loops” are at work as financial stress and economic woes feed on each other.

China’s carefully managed soft landing has turned uncomfortably hard, with ripple effects through the commodity markets. Spot iron-ore prices have dropped 30pc since July to $126 a tonne. Copper prices have fallen 20pc since August. Barclays Capital said the risk of contagion to China has become serious. The bank is monitoring the country’s “key high frequency data” for early warning signs of the sort of sudden crash in metals demand seen during the Lehman crisis.

China had the firepower to respond to the 2008 crisis with blitz of credit that helped lift the whole world out of slump, a feat that cannot easily be repeated if there is a second shock. The IMF said loans have doubled to almost 200pc of GDP, including off-books lending. This is an unprecedented level of credit growth, twice the intensity of the Japanese bubble in the late 1980s.

The authorities are trying to deflate the excesses slowly with higher interest rates and reserve ratios. This is proving painful. Yao Wei from Societe Generale said prices of new residential property fell 14% in October. Railway investment collapsed by 40% as the insolvent railway ministry struggled to cope with $300 billion of debt. Highway construction dropped 2pc.

Europe is in a deeper, more intractable crisis. Industrial output buckled in September with falls of 4.8pc in Italy, 2.7pc in Germany, and 1.7pc in France from a month earlier as the effects of the debt crisis – as well as fiscal contraction and prior monetary tightening – finally hit with a vengeance.

EU commissioner Olli Rehn slashed growth forecasts from 1.6pc to 0.5pc next year, warning “that recovery has now come to a standstill and there’s the risk of a new recession unless determined action is taken”. This did not stop Brussels sending a letter to Italy calling for yet more fiscal cuts to meet it is balanced budget target by 2013.

“It is imposing pain for pain’s sake, and it is going to cause creditors to collect even less on their Club Med debts than if austerity were abandoned. Even in the early 1930s they weren’t as bad as this,” said Charles Dumas from Lombard Street Research.

Humayun Shahryar from the hedge fund Auvest said the eurozone faces a “major economic collapse”, perhaps with double-dgit falls in GDP. “European banks are massively over-leveraged and almost every one is worthless if you mark to market. This is going to be worse than 2008 because they have run out of bullets. The sovereign states are not strong enough to stand behind the banks,” he said.

Professor Johnson said the EU authorities had made a serious mistake by raising capital ratios for banks to 9pc rather than forcing them to raise fresh capital. “That will lead to a further contraction of credit.”

Banks have already taken drastic steps to cut their loan books rather than raise money in a hostile market, earmarking over €700bn for the next year. There will be knock-on effects for the rest of the world. European banks account €2.5 trillion cross-border loans to emerging markets.

In the US, the economy has held up better than feared so far but faces a fiscal shock early next year. Tax write-offs have pulled capital expenditure forward into late 2011, flattering the picture. Payroll taxes will rise automatically from 4.2pc to 6.2pc in January. Dumas said the combined fiscal squeeze could be as much as 2pc of GDP, heavily “front-loaded” in the early months. “Sharp recession is likely,” he said.

“The credit spigot has been turned off in the US,” said Chris Whalen from Institutional Risk Analytics. “Almost every bank is still running down its loan book, so we are facing a slow motion credit-crunch.”

Fiscal and monetary stimulus has disguised the underlying sickness in the debt-laden economies of the West over the past two years. This heavy make-up has at last faded away, exposing the awful visage beneath.

It is a delicate moment. The risk of a synchronised slump in Europe, the US and East Asia is bad enough. What is chilling is to face such a possibility with the monetary pedal already pushed to the floor in the US, UK and Japan.

Worse yet is to do so with Europe spiralling into institutional self-destruction, allowing its debt crisis to metastasize because EMU has no lender of last resort. That is an unforced error we could do without.

 

Move Your Money: Campaign grows to divest from “Too Big to Fail” banks to local banks, credit unions

 

UA Professor Walks Away From Empire

UA Natural Resources Professor Emeritus Guy McPherson and Sustainable Tucson founding coalition member addresses the International Conference on Sustainability, Transition and Culture Change: Vision, Action, Leadership recounting his journey to personal accountability in the current crisis of civilization. Taking material from his latest book, “Walking Away From Empire” , Guy demonstrates Gandhi’s  recommendation: “Become the change you want to see in the world.” This TED-like talk is video-streamed from the conference and is viewable here:

 

http://www.livestream.com/localfuture/video?clipId=pla_91f8a1ea-47fd-42b7-a983-e9bd2cd9d76d

 

 

 

The Dark Side of the ‘Green’ City

The Dark Side of the ‘Green’ City
By Andrew Ross

PHOENIX

The struggle to slow global warming will be won or lost in cities, which emit 80 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases. So “greening” the city is all the rage now. But if policy makers end up focusing only on those who can afford the low-carbon technologies associated with the new environmental conscientiousness, the movement for sustainability may end up exacerbating climate change rather than ameliorating it.

While cities like Portland, Seattle and San Francisco are lauded for sustainability, the challenges faced by Phoenix, a poster child of Sunbelt sprawl, are more typical and more revealing. In 2009, Mayor Phil Gordon announced plans to make Phoenix the “greenest city” in the United States. Eyebrows were raised, and rightly so. According to the state’s leading climatologist, central Arizona is in the “bull’s eye” of climate change, warming up and drying out faster than any other region in the Northern Hemisphere. The Southwest has been on a drought watch 12 years and counting, despite outsized runoff last winter to the upper Colorado River, a major water supply for the subdivisions of the Valley of the Sun.

Across that valley lies 1,000 square miles of low-density tract housing, where few signs of greening are evident. That’s no surprise, given the economic free fall of a region that had been wholly dependent on the homebuilding industry. Property values in parts of metro Phoenix have dropped by 80 percent, and some neighborhoods are close to being declared “beyond recovery.”

In the Arizona Legislature, talk of global warming is verboten and Republican lawmakers can be heard arguing for the positive qualities of greenhouse gases. Most politicians are still praying for another housing boom on the urban fringe; they have no Plan B, least of all a low-carbon one. Mr. Gordon, a Democrat who took office in 2004, has risen to the challenge. But the vast inequalities of the metro area could blunt the impact of his sustainability plans.

Those looking for ecotopia can find pockets of it in the prosperous upland enclaves of Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and North Phoenix. Hybrid vehicles, LEED-certified custom homes with solar roofs and xeriscaped yards, which do not require irrigation, are popular here, and voter support for the preservation of open space runs high. By contrast, South Phoenix is home to 40 percent of the city’s hazardous industrial emissions and America’s dirtiest ZIP code, while the inner-ring Phoenix suburbs, as a legacy of cold-war era industries, suffer from some of the worst groundwater contamination in the nation.

Whereas uptown populations are increasingly sequestered in green showpiece zones, residents in low-lying areas who cannot afford the low-carbon lifestyle are struggling to breathe fresh air or are even trapped in cancer clusters. You can find this pattern in many American cities. The problem is that the carbon savings to be gotten out of this upscale demographic — which represents one in five American adults and is known as Lohas, an acronym for “lifestyles of health and sustainability” — can’t outweigh the commercial neglect of the other 80 percent. If we are to moderate climate change, the green wave has to lift all vessels.

Solar chargers and energy-efficient appliances are fine, but unless technological fixes take into account the needs of low-income residents, they will end up as lifestyle add-ons for the affluent. Phoenix’s fledgling light-rail system should be expanded to serve more diverse neighborhoods, and green jobs should be created in the central city, not the sprawling suburbs. Arizona has some of the best solar exposure in the world, but it allows monopolistic utilities to impose a regressive surcharge on all customers to subsidize roof-panel installation by the well-heeled ones. Instead of green modifications to master-planned communities at the urban fringe, there should be concerted “infill” investment in central city areas now dotted with vacant lots.

In a desert metropolis, the choice between hoarding and sharing has consequences for all residents. Their predecessors — the Hohokam people, irrigation farmers who subsisted for over a thousand years around a vast canal network in the Phoenix Basin — faced a similar test, and ultimately failed. The remnants of Hohokam canals and pit houses are a potent reminder of ecological collapse; no other American city sits atop such an eloquent allegory.

Published 11-6-2011, The New York Times

Andrew Ross is a professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University and author of Bird on Fire: Lessons From the World’s Least Sustainable City.

Occupy Tucson Event: Tar Sands Keystone XL Pipeline Protest

Event: Occupy Tucson: Tar Sands Keystone XL Pipeline: Decision by Obama on behalf of the American People
Sunday, November 6, 11:30–12:30, followed by General Assembly meeting.
Amory Park, 221 S. 6th Ave. ??? moved to Veinte de Agosto Park at Church & Congress ???

This Sunday, exactly one year before the next presidential election, protesters plan to encircle the White House in the hope of convincing President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

In solidarity and support, Tucsonans concerned about climate change, other environmental threats and overdependence on fossil fuels will gather at Armory Park. Together with Occupy Tucson, they will echo the White House action with a circling of the park, invited speakers, and an open mike for public comments.

11:30 a.m.: Open mike for XL Pipeline comments
12:00–12:20: Formal speakers addressing the impact of the XL Pipeline on the Environment, Economy, Equity.
12:20–12:30: Ceremonial circling of the White House (cake) in solidarity with same-day Washington DC action.
12:30:  “Have your cake and eat it too”: cake cutting and eating. Beginning of Occupy Tucson General Assembly meeting.

President Obama has the executive decision-making power to stop or allow a pipeline from Canada to transport tar sands oil to refineries in Texas. He must determine whether the pipeline is in our national interest.

Aside from the risks of tragic damage to farmland, soil, and the groundwater sources that supply the midsection of our country, the release of carbon emissions from this very dirty fuel source could mean “game over” in the fight against global warming, overwhelming other efforts to keep climate change within a range to which humans can adapt.

Clean and renewable energy sources are the logical and economical alternative if fossil fuel subsidies, environmental destruction, and health costs are taken into account. Americans must direct their energies towards restoring the environment upon which we depend and to transition our cultural goals away from quantity consumption and towards quality of life.

ST November General Meeting – Food Security

at  Joel D. Valdez Main Library
101 N. Stone, Downtown (free lower level parking off Alameda St)

FOOD SECURITY

What is it? … Do we have it? … What can we do about it?

Please join us for the next Sustainable Tucson General Meeting, where we will begin to tackle the issue of creating a secure food supply for Tucson.

We have about three days of fresh food in the region.  The average bit of food travels at least 1500 miles to get to our table, and often it comes from around the world.  Is this acceptable, and what can we do about it?

Come and be part of the dialog. Speakers for the evening are:

Jaime de Zubeldia, Community Food Bank & Pima County Food Systems Alliance
Bill McDorman, Native Seeds/SEARCH
Beth Sanders, Pima County Food Systems Alliance

Their presentations will address these key questions:

What IS a secure food supply for our community and our region?
What factors might make us FOOD INSECURE?
What can we do now to achieve Food Security?

Before and after the presentations, there will also be a Resource Center, with tabling and displays from local gardening, farming, and food organizations with expertise to share.  In addition, the presentations will be followed by hands-on activities:  Sprouting: The Art of  Gardening in a Jar, and a local Seed and Plant Exchange.

To participate in the Seed and Plant Exchange, please bring seeds, plant starts, pups, and cuttings of your favorite successful Tucson produce and food plants to share with others.  Also, bring bags, pencils, and envelopes for taking home shared seeds and starts.

Doors – and the Resource Center – open at 5:30 pm – so come early!
The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

Also see Sustainability Food Sketch Plan and Local Gardening & Farming Resources

Occupy Wall Street & the Climate Movement

Subject: #OccupyWallStreet and the #Climate Movement
From: organizers(at)350.org
Date: Fri, 7 Oct 2011 19:49:56 +0000

Dear friends,

I’m writing from New York City, where the Occupy Wall Street movement is taking off.

What started as a small group of young people with a vague call to action is evolving into something truly inspiring — and our crew at 350.org is excited to support this nascent movement.

Here’s what Bill McKibben had to say about “The 99%” who are Occupying Wall Street — and how climate change fits into the picture:

(Can’t see the image above? Click here)

Let’s show the activists in New York (and in cities all over the country and the world) that the climate movement stands in solidarity with them. Share this image on Facebook, post it on Twitter, and consider joining a local “occupation”near you. Engage in dialogue and join the conversation that is shaping one of the most exciting grassroots movements in recent memory.

It’s hard to believe that just 10 days ago, I was in the afterglow of Moving Planet, sorting through inspirational photos from people all over the world who were moving beyond fossil fuels. The images were powerful, and they fired me up for whatever came next.

What came next was the Occupy Wall Street movement. In the last two weeks it has grown from something small, local, and overlooked by the media into something massive, global, and unignorable. There are now non-violent protests springing up in hundreds of cities, and stories of “the 99%” are dominating headlines everywhere. No one knows exactly what it will become — but it has the potential to be a true game-changer.

We now face exciting questions: what can we all do to support and expand this groundswell? And how might Occupy Wall Street’s amazing energy further embolden the climate movement?

The answers to these questions are starting to become clear. Two days ago I joined a crew of passionate climate activists in Manhattan to march with tens of thousands of people as part of Occupy Wall Street. The demands from the crowd were varied, but it all boils down to this: just about every problem we now face — from foreclosures to the climate crisis — is made worse by unchecked corporate greed and a corrupt political process. As I marched through the city, it struck me that naming (and acting on) the root causes of the world’s biggest problems is precisely what this moment demands.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be zeroing in on the root causes of the climate crisis, and focusing on the iconic battles in the fight for our planet’s future. In the near term, we’ll be focused on stopping the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline–a key fight where corporate corruption and environmental justice collide. If we can stop the pipeline we’ll send a resounding message across the country: that it’s time for the health of our communities and our planet to come before the profits of Wall Street and big polluters. President Obama will decide by the end of the year on whether to approve the pipeline, and we’ll be scaling up our activism to keep the pressure on.

From Wall Street to Washington DC to cities across the country, big things are coming together, and there are ways for people everywhere to join in. You can go to TarSandsAction.org to get plugged into the fight to stop the Keystone pipeline, and OccupyTogether.org to find out more about joining the 99%.

The next phase of these movements will be a sprint, not a marathon. It’s an honor to be running it with all of you.

Onwards,

Phil Aroneanu

MORE INFO ON OCCUPY WALL STREET AND THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE

350.org is building a global movement to solve the climate crisis. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for email alerts. You can help power our work by getting involved locally and donating here.
What is 350? Go to our website to learn about the science behind the movement.

 

Also see Questions about the violent crackdown on the Occupy Movement

ST Sustainability Book Sale

Sustainable Tucson is offering a very special Book Sale fundraising event at our October  General Meeting. We have more than 150 titles, including some hard-to-find classics. The winter reading season is coming, so come and browse this rich collection of sustainability literature. You can shop with gifts in mind for particular friends, relatives, or colleagues and remember that most of these books are used and are being recycled. The Sale will begin before the meeting at 5:15 and will end after the meeting at 8:30.

 

Sustainability books and materials –  all proceeds will benefit Sustainable Tucson

 

Architecture and Energy, Richard G. Stein, 1997, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert’s Peak, Kenneth S. Deffeyes, 2005, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, Janine M. Benyus, 1997, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Biosphere 2: Human Experiment, John Allen, 1991, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Biosphere Catalogue, Tango Parrish Snyder, 1985, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Biosphere, A Scientific American Book, 1970, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Biospheres: Reproducing Planet Earth, Dorion Sagan, 1990, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Blueprint for Survival, The Ecologist, 1972, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Breaking Gridlock: Moving Toward Transportation That Works, Jim Motavalli, 2001, paperback/hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Build it with Bales, Matts Myhrman and S.O. MacDonald, 1997, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Building a Bridge to the Eighteenth Century: How the Past Can Improve Our Future, Neil Postman, 1999, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Building the Earth, Teilhard De Chardin, 1969, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Building with Straw, VHS video Set: Vol 1 Strawbale Workshop, Vol 2 Strawbale Home Tour, Vol 3 Strawbale Code Testing, Black Range Films, 1995,   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Cradle to Cradle, William McDonough & Michael Braungart, 2002, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Deep Ecology: Living as if Nature Mattered, Bill Devall & George Sessions, 1985, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Desert Gardening, Sunset Magazine & Sunset Books, 1967, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Design For a Livable Planet: How You Can Help Up the Environment, Jon Naar, 1990, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Direct Use of the Sun’s Energy, Farrington Daniels, 1964, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Divorce Your Car: Ending the Love Affair With the Automobile, Katie Alvord, 2000, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Dr. Art’s Guide to Planet Earth: For Earthlings Ages 12 to 120, Art Sussman, 2000, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Dream of the Earth, Thomas Berry, 1988, paperback/hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture, Rosemary Morrow, 1993, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Ecological Identity: Becoming a Reflective Environmentalist, Mitchell Thomashow, 1995, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Ecology and the Biosphere: Principals and Problems, Sharon La Bonde Hanks, 1996, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Ecology of Commerce: Declaration of Sustainability, Paul Hawken, 1993, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind, Theodore Roszak, Mary E. Gomez, & Allen D. Kanner, 1995, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Encounters with the Archdruid, John McPhee, 1971, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

End of Money and the Future of Civilization, Thomas H. Greco Jr., 2009, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

End of Nature, Bill McKibben, 1989, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

End of Nature, Bill McKibben, 1990, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Environment, Power, and Society, Howard T. Odum, 1971, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Envisioning a Sustainable Society: Learning Our Way Out, Lester W. Milbrath, 1989, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Evaporative Cooling Made Easy: Complete Operating Manual, 1985 paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Every Drop For Sale, Jeffrey Rothfeder, 2001, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Evolution’s End: Claiming the Potential of Our Intelligence, Joseph Chilton Pearce, 1992, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Exploring New Ethics for Survival: Voyage of the Spaceship Beagle, Garrett Hardin, 1966, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change, Elizabeth Kolbert, 2006, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future, Herman E. Daly and John B. Cobb Jr., 1989, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Forgotten Pollinators, Stephen L. Bachmnann and Gary Paul Nabhan, 1996, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Full House: Reassessing the Earth’s Population Carrying Capacity, Lester R. Brown & Hal Kane, 1994, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Fundamentals of Ecology, Eugene P. Odum, 1959, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Fundamentals of Ecology, Eugene P. Odum, 1971, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Future of Life, Edward O. Wilson, 2002, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Gaia: The Atlas of Planet Management, Dr. Norman Myers, 1984, paperback/hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World, Alan Weisman, 1998, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Global Brain: Speculations on the Evolutionary Leap to Planetary Consciousness, Peter Russel, 1983, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Global Mind Change: Promise of the Last Years of the Twentieth Century, Willis Harman, 1988, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Global Warming: Are We Entering the Greenhouse Century?, Stephen H. Schneider, 1989, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Green Plans: Greenprint for Sustainability, Huey D. Johnson, 1995, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Green Reader: Essays Toward a Sustainable Society, Andrew Dobson, 1991, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Healthy House, John Bower, 1997, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Heat Is On: The High Stakes Battle Over Earth’s Threatened Climate, Ross Gelbspan, 1997, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Hothouse Earth: Greenhouse Effect and Gaia, John Gribbin, 1990, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

House of Straw: Strawbale Construction Comes of Age; U.S. Department of Energy, 1995, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

How Much is Enough: Consumer Society and the Future of the Earth, Alan Durning, 1992, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Hubbert’s Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage, Kenneth S. Deffeyes, 2001, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Human Impact on Ancient Environments, Charles L. Redman, 1999, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Humanure Handbook: Guide to Composting Human Manure, Joseph Jenkins, 1999, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

I Seem To Be a Verb, R. Buckminster Fuller, 1970, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, Michael Pollan, 2008, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcity, Sandra Postel, 1992, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Last Whole Earth Catalog, Portola Institute, 1971, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World, Margaret J. Wheatley, 1999, paperback/hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Limits to Growth, A Potomac Associates Book, 1972, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century, James Howard Kunstler, 2005, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Machinery of Nature: Living World Around Us-And How it Works, Paul R. Ehrlich, 1986, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Making Peace With the Planet, Barry Commoner, 1975, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Mankind at the Turning Point, Mihajlo Mesarovic and Eduard Pestel, 1974, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Millennium Whole Earth Catalog, Howard Rheingold, 1994, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Money and Debt: A Solution to the Global Crisis. Thomas H. Greco Jr., 1990, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender, Thomas H. Greco Jr., 2001, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Natural House Book: Creating a Healthy, Harmonious, and Ecologically-Sound Home Environment, David Pearson, 1989, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Natural House Book: Creating a Healthy, Harmonious, and Ecologically-Sound Home Environment, David Pearson, 1989, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Nature and Properties of Soils, Harry O. Buckman & Nyle C. Brady, 1960, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

New Economy of Nature: The Quest to Make Conservation Profitable, Gretchen C. Daily and Katherine Ellison, 2002, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

New Money for Healthy Communities, Thomas H. Greco Jr., 1994, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Next Whole Earth Catalog, Stewart Brand, 1980, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

No More Secondhand God, R. Buckminster Fuller, 1963, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

One-Straw Revolution, Masanobu Fukuoka, 1978, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, R, Buckminster Fuller, 1963, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, R. Buckminster Fuller, 1969, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Our Common Future: The Bruntland World Commission on Environment and Development, The Commission, 1987, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth, Mathis Wackernagel & William Rees, 1996, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Owner Built Home: A How-to-do-it Book, Ken Kern, 1972, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Passages About Earth: An Exploration of the New Planetary Culture, William Irwin Thompson, 1973, paperback/hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble, Lester R. Brown, 2006, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Plant and Planet, Anthony Huxley, 1974, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Population Resources Environment: Issues in Human Ecology, Paul & Anne Ehrlich, 1970, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Power Down: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World, Richard Heinberg, 2004, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Quiet Crisis, Stewart L. Udall, 1963, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Real Goods: Designing & Building a House Your Own Way, Sam Clark, 1996, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Rebirth of Nature: Greening of Science and God, Rupert Sheldrake, 1991, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Rebirth of Nature: Greening of Science and God, Rupert Sheldrake, 1991, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & the Fate of Humanity, James Lovelock, 2006, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Safeguarding the Health of Oceans, Ann Platt McGinn, 1999, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Sand Country Almanac, Aldo Leopold, 1966, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Save the Earth, Jonathon Porritt, 1991, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Sea Around Us, Rachel L. Carson, 1950, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Seven Life Lessons of Chaos: Timeless Wisdom from the Science of Change, John Briggs & F. David Peat, 1999, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Silent Spring, Rachel Carson, 1962, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, E.F. Schumacher, 1973, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Soft Energy Paths: Toward a Durable Peace, Amory B. Lovins, 1977, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Revolutionary Approach to Man’s Understanding of Himself, Gregory Bateson, 1972, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Strawbale Homebuilding, Alan T. Gray & Anne Hall, 2000, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

The Way: An Ecological World-View, Edward Goldsmith, 1992, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Thinking Ecologically: The Next Generation of Environmental Policy, Marian R. Chertow and Daniel C. Esty, 1997, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Timeless Way of Building, Christopher Alexander, 1979, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Toward a Transpersonal Ecology: Developing New Foundations for Environmentalism, Warwick Fox, 1990, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What it Says About Us), Tom Vanderbilt, 2008, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Turning Point: Science, Society, and the Rising Culture, Fritjof Capra, 1982, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Twenty-Ninth Day: Accommodating Human Needs and Numbers to the Earth’s Resources, Lester R. Brown, 1978, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Voluntary Simplicity: An Ecological Lifestyle the Promotes Personal and Social Renewal, Duane Elgin, 1981, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems, Fritjof Capra, 1996, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Wisdom for a Livable Planet, Carl N. McDaniel, 2005, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

World Changes: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century, Alex Steffen, 2006, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

World Made by Hand, James Howard Kunstler, 2008, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

World Without Us, Alan Weisman, 2007, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Worlds in Collision, Immanuel Velikovsky, 1965, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M. Pirsig, 1974, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

 

Other Books – may or may not relate to sustainability, you decide…

Adventures of Ideas: A Brilliant History of Mankind’s Great Thoughts, Alfred North Whitehead, 1933, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Age of Missing Information, Bill McKibben, 1992, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Age of Paradox, Charles Handy, 1994, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Age of Unreason, Charles Handy, 1989, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1969, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004, Steven Pinker, 2004, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Biotech Century: Harnessing the Gene and Remaking the World, Jeremy Rifkin, 1998, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Cities and the Wealth of Nations: Principals of Economic Life, Jane Jacobs, 1984, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

City In History, Lewis Mumford, 1961, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students, Allan Bloom, 1987, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Complete Pregnancy Exercise Program, Diana Simkin, 1980, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Complexity: Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos, M. Mitchell Waldrop, 1992, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Crackpot or Genius: A Complete Guide to the Uncommon Art of Inventing, Francis D. Reynolds, 1993, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Essays in Pragmatism, William James, 1948, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Facts on File Biology Handbook, Diagram Group, 2000, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Free to Choose: A Personal Statement, Milton & Rose Friedman, 1980, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstruction of Social Order, Francis Fukuyama, 1999, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Grunch of Giants, Pre-publication Draft, R. Buckminster Fuller, 1982, Xerox copy   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Hegel Selections, Jacob Loewenberg, 1929, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built, Stewart Brand, 1994, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

How Things Are: A Science Tool-Kit for the Mind, John Brockman & Katinka Matson, 1995, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society, Norbert Wiener, 1950, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Introduction to Organic Laboratory Techniques: Microscale Approach, Saunders Golden Sunburst Series, 1990, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Ironwood 28: Listening to the Invisible, Emily Dickinson & Jack Spicer, 1986, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Liar’s Poker, Michael Lewis, 1989, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Man and Wildlife in Arizona: American Exploration Period 1824-1865, Goode P. Davis Jr., 1982, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Man, the Unknown, Alexis Carrel, 1935, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Mankind Evolving, Theodosius Dobzhansky, 1962, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Maps of the Mind: Charts and Concepts of the Mind and its Labyrinths, Charles Hampden-Turner, 1981, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Masonry, Time-Life Books, Home Repair and Improvement, 1976, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Our Final Hour, Martin Rees, 2003, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Our Knowledge of the External World, Bertrand Russell, 1929, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Periodic Kingdom: Journey Into the Land of the Chemical Elements, P.W. Atkins, 1995, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy, Michael Polanyi, 1958, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Politics of Experience, R.D. Laing, 1967, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Pragmatism, William James, 1907, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Reconstruction in Philosophy, John Dewey, 1920, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Rocks and Minerals, Herbert Zim and Paul Shaffer, 1957, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling, James Hillman, 1996, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas S. Kuhn, 1962, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

This Man from Lebanon: Study of Kahlil Gibran, Barbara Young, 1945, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

True Believer, Eric Hoffer, 1951, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Uncommon Wisdom: Conversations with Remarkable People, Fritjof Capra, 1988, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Up From Eden: Transpersonal View of Human Evolution, Ken Wilber, 1981, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Virtual Reality, Howard Rheingold, 1991, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century, Michio Kaku, 1997, hardcover   [search amazon google wikipedia]

What is Cybernetics?, G.T. Guilbaud, 1959, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

What to Eat When You’re Expecting, Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi Murkoff, and Sandee Hathaway, 1986, paperback   [search amazon google wikipedia]

Sustainable Tucson – General Meeting – October 2011

Sustainable Tucson General Meeting – at Milagro Cohousing Community

Monday, October 10th, 5:45 – 8:30 pm, and come early at 5:15 pm for a tour

Note: this meeting will be at the Milagro Cohousing Community instead of the library (click here for map). If you can come earlier, there will be a tour of Milagro from 5:15 to 5:45 pm before the meeting starts.  Also, bring a flashlight!

Also, because of VERY LIMITED PARKING at Milagro, we need to CARPOOL from the Safeway parking lot at Grant and Silverbell (park on the north side of the Wells Fargo building).  Try to come 15 minutes early to the Safeway parking lot for carpooling (5:00 pm for the tour, 5:30 pm for the meeting), and no single occupant cars to Milagro, please!

WHAT DO WE NEED OUR WATER FOR?

Sustainable Tucson will continue to tackle the central question for a sustainable community – What are our water priorities? Find out where our water really comes from, and what we really use it for (the answers will surprise you!)

Hear from a panel of VERY thoughtful people about what our priorities could/should be, if we really become One Desert Community. Find out things that YOU can do now, to make your own life and neighborhood, to be more efficient in our water use, or to capture or reuse the water we aren’t using.

Gary Nabhan (Institute for the Environment) – Water for relocalization

Kelly LaCroix (Water Resources Research Center) – Where does our water come from now and what do we use if for now?

Dan Dorsey (Sonoran Permaculture Guild) – Water for food and nature

Sandy Elder (Tucson Water) – Sustainable water from the perspective of current policy

Tres English (Empowering Local Communities) – Connecting people, creating community

(and others TBA…)

A Special Sustainable Tucson Book Sale

A Special Sustainable Tucson Book Sale will be held before and after this General Meeting. The Sale will start at 5:15.  Visit this page to browse more than 150 titles. All proceeds to benefit Sustainable Tucson.

Last minute news flash! – There will be a door prize from the books for sale – a book by Gary Nabhan …

 

Regional Water Assessment Task Force ThinkTank Report

иконописJoin an interactive community meeting to help shape the greater Tucson region’s efforts to achieve a sustainable water future. This meetings will present the results of the <Regional Water Assessment Task Force ThinkTank Report>. The meeting will be held at the Tucson Association of Realtors building, 2445 N. Tucson Blvd., Tucson.

The report was the result of extensive computer-based in put from 64 ThinkTank participants. As a result of this input, four themes were identified: coordination-cooperation; sustainability; supply; and cost-pricing-funding. Moving these ideas into actionable categories, the Task Force recommended forming the following regional solution/strategy groups: 1) Supply, 2) Infrastructure, 3) Conservation/demand management and 4) reliability/ sustainability/aquifer health.

The taskforce members overseeing this process: Madeline Kiser, Community Water Coalition, Sharon Megdal, UA Water Resources Research Center, Mark Stratton, Southern Arizona Water Users Association, Vince Vasquez, Tucson Regional Water Coalition, and Claire Zucker, Pima Association of Governments. They coordinated a series of four Internet-based ThinkTank sessions in late 2010 to garner input and guidance on priority regional water issues and water management options from stakeholders throughout the Tucson Active Management Area.

Be prepared for some fireworks, however. The report and working groups are missing one gigantic piece: Priorities. Nowhere in the report or future plans is there any consideration of the key question – “What do we need our water for?” For that, you should come to the October Sustainable Tucson General Meeting on October 10 at Milagro Co-housing.

Massive default is best way to fix the economy

Massive default is best way to fix the economy
by Brett Arends – MarketWatch

Clearing away the debt is the only way forward

You want to fix this economic crisis? You want to put people back to work? You want to light a fire under the economy?

There’s a way to do it. Fast. And relatively simple. But you’re not going to like it. You’re not going to like it at all.

Default. A national Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The fastest way to fix this mess is to see tens of millions of homeowners default on their mortgages and other debts, and millions more file for bankruptcy. I told you that you wouldn’t like it. I don’t like it much either. It sticks in the craw that people got to borrow all that money and won’t have to pay it back.

But you know what? The time to stop that was five or 10 years ago, when the money was being lent. It’s gone.

And mass Chapter 11 is, by far, the least obnoxious solution to our problems. That’s because the real cause of our economic slump isn’t too much government or too little government. It isn’t red tape, high taxes, low taxes, the growing divide between the rich and the poor, too much government debt, too little government debt, corporations, poor people, “greed,” “socialism,” China, Greece, or the legalization of gay marriage. It isn’t, in short, any of the things all the various nitwits say it is.

It’s the debt, stupid. We’re hocked up to the eyeballs, and then some. We’re at the bottom of a lake of debt, lashed to an anchor. American households today owe $13.3 trillion. That has quadrupled in a generation. It has doubled just in the last 11 years. We owe more than any other nation, ever. And for all the yakking about how people are “repairing their balance sheets,” they’re not. From the peak, four years ago, they’ve cut their debts by a grand total of 4%. And a lot of that was in write-offs.

More than a quarter of American mortgages are underwater. Many are deeply underwater. In states like Nevada and Florida the figures are astronomical. The key thing to understand is that most of that money has gone to what a fund manager friend of mine calls “money heaven.” Most of these debts will never, ever be repaid in real money. Not gonna happen.

Think how corporations handle this kind of situation. It happens all the time. Banks and bondholders find they have lent, say, $1 billion to a company whose assets and earning capacity will only repay, say, $300 million. What happens? Does the company soldier on with $1 billion in debt it can never repay? Do the stockholders send back their dividend checks? Do they sell their homes to pay off the bonds?

Not a chance. The company goes through Chapter 11. The creditors ‘fess up to their blunder, they face up to their losses, and they fix it. They write down the loans and take the equity instead. The balance sheet is cleaned up, and the company starts again. Why not homeowners?

Most of the objections to this idea are well-meant, but misinformed. A fund manager I asked raised the issue of “moral hazard.” Why should anyone pay their mortgage if some people were getting a pass, he asked? The answer: For the same reason GE and Verizon kept paying the coupon on their bonds while Lehman Brothers defaulted. You want to keep your credit standing. And you want to keep your equity.

If a company defaults, the stockholders get wiped out. If a homeowner defaults, the bank takes the home. I like keeping my home, as well as my savings, and my credit rating. Most people are the same. Some will say the financial impact would be terrible. But the banks would just be facing up to reality. And a lot of these mortgages are already trading at distressed levels. Some will say, “why should people get away with borrowing imprudently?” The response: Why should the banks get away with lending imprudently?

There’s no point telling people not to borrow money. They always will. I have yet to see a Wall Street executive turn down free money. I have yet to see a company in an IPO say, “Don’t give us so much money!” People like money. They will take as much as they are offered. In a free economy, the people who are supposed to ration the loans are the lenders. Banks are supposed to lend carefully and responsibly. What else are they paid for? Accepting deposits? You could hire people on minimum wage to do that.

Some will say, “it’s immoral” for borrowers to default. Alas, most of these people are being inconsistent. They are usually the first ones to defend a company when it closes down a factory and ships the jobs to China, or pays the CEO $50 million for doing a bad job, on the grounds that “this ain’t morality, pal, this is business!” But when Main Street wants to do the same thing, they start screaming “Morality! Morality!”

We don’t live in an economy based on morals and fairness. T Mobile doesn’t charge me what’s “fair” each month. They charge me what’s on the contract. Your employer doesn’t pay you more if you need more. He pays you your economic value. Did Dick Grasso give back his bonus? Bob Nardelli? Dick Fuld? We operate in an economy based very firmly on contracts, and nothing else. Companies, and the wealthy, live by the letter of the law.

American mortgage contracts allow for default. Half of the states in this country are “non-recourse,” which broadly speaking means you can send in the keys and walk away from a bad loan. The other half are sort of “semi-recourse.” The bank can come after you for any shortfall, but only in a limited way. Broadly speaking they can’t touch retirement accounts and basic assets. You can typically keep your car, personal effects, often things like life insurance.

Most of the people who are deeply underwater don’t have that much anyway. And the banks knew this. When they were lending $500,000 to a bus driver with $1,000 in his checking account, they knew that their loan was only guaranteed by the value of the home. If they didn’t know it, they should have. Their incompetence is not our problem.

It’s tempting to say, “if someone borrows money, they should repay it.” Generally speaking, I agree. I pay all my debts. But while that makes sense when applied to any individual, it doesn’t work so well when it’s applied to everyone.

We have tens of millions who cannot repay their debts. But they are all trying to. That sucks huge amounts of money out of the economy. And that means these people cannot function properly as consumers or workers. That’s the reason people aren’t coming into your restaurant. It’s the reason people aren’t taking your yoga class. It’s the reason they haven’t hired you to redo the kitchen.

And so tens or hundreds of millions of perfectly responsible business owners and employees are also suffering from this slump. That’s the reason we have a shortage of demand. That’s the reason no one is hiring. Even worse: People who are underwater on their mortgage, but who do not want to default, cannot move to where the jobs are either. They are stuck with their home.

You want to break this logjam? Try Chapter 11 for the nation. Massive defaults. Clear the decks, clean the books.

What are the alternatives? Government cutbacks, higher taxes, and a balanced budget? In a normal economy, fine. But in this situation, when the private sector is also slashing its spending, that could lead to absolute catastrophe. That’s what happened in the Great Depression. And our debt levels are worse than in the Great Depression.

Government borrowing? That’s the Keynesian solution. “The consumer can no longer borrow like a crazy person,” says the Keynesian, “so Uncle Sam has to do so instead.” It’s just transferring private madness to public madness. Inflation? That’s probably the least bad alternative. But it’s just default by another name. And instead of taking money from the imprudent banks that caused the problem, it robs grandma’s savings.

Twice before, advanced economies have gone through what we are going through now — namely a massive hangover after a massive debt binge. The first was the U.S. in the 1930s, the second was Japan in the 1990s. The U.S. didn’t get out of it until the 1940s unleashed inflation and reduced the debt’s value in real terms.

Japan still hasn’t gotten out of it. They have deflation, while government debt has skyrocketed. The correct moral hazard is to punish the banks who lent imprudently by making them eat their own losses.

I told you that you wouldn’t like it. I don’t either. But the alternatives are worse.

Updated Primer on Ongoing Financial Crisis

The Automatic Earth is a unique, one-stop website which presents the world’s best current writing on the ongoing financial and economic crises. The following Primer lists key articles and analyses written by the Automatic Earth team.

Nicole Foss (aka Stoneleigh) writes:

It is time to undertake the yearly review and update of our primer guide, with a view to making it easier for our readers to see the entirety of our TAE worldview in one place. Primers are continuously added in order to flesh out the biggest possible big picture. This will continue as we move over to our new site later this year. These essays are not tied to the events of a specific day, week or month, but are the ones that take a step back and look at the world through a wide angle lens.

We have covered a wide variety of topics in the three and a half years of our existence. The point is to tackle complexity and make it comprehensible, rather than assuming away the context as most analyses do. All the strands of our century of challenges are interwoven, with each affecting the others. It is vital to understand those interactions, as well as to understand each separate topic and their relative timelines. Different factors will act as primary drivers at different times.

We retain our primary focus on Ponzi finance and the nature of markets, since the consequences of a major bubble implosion will have the greatest impact in the shortest time. Exploring those consequences, both within and beyond the financial realm is of immediate importance, given the scale of the impacts and how quickly they can manifest as a contraction picks up momentum to the downside.

As always, we cover energy as the master resource, and this year the major focus of new energy primers has been the catastrophe at Fukushima. We have also begun to cover the natural gas situation in North America in some detail, returning to the familiar theme of Ponzi dynamics.

Ponzi Finance:

The Resurgence of Risk, which appeared at The Oil Drum Canada in August 2007 provides the background to how we came to be in our present predicament. It is by far the longest of the primers, and its purpose is to explain in some depth the nature of our credit bubble, the role of ‘financial innovation’, the distinction between currency inflation and credit hyper-expansion and the mechanism by which value disappears as a bubble deflates.

For further explanation of the ponzi nature of bubbles, the spectrum of ponzi dynamics underlying many economic phenomena and the implications of this for where we are headed, see From the Top of the Great Pyramid.

This ties in with an earlier piece from The Oil Drum Canada, Entropy and Empire, detailing the progression of hegemonic power from empire to empire, as each rises, over-reaches, falls and passes the mantle on to its successor.

Real Politik:

The picture in terms of real politik (ie the way the world really works behind the scenes) is further developed in

A more specific look at Europe can be found in The Imperial Eurozone (With all That Implies).

Deflation:

When bubbles reach their maximum extent, they invariably deflate. Our explanation as to why this is inevitable can be found in Inflation Deflated, followed by, The Unbearable Mightiness of Deflation, a rebuttal to inflationist Gary North, and Debunking Gonzalo Lira and Hyperinflation.

The Nature of Markets:

We dispute classical economic theory and the received wisdom as to the nature of markets. Markets are not objective, mechanical and rational as the Efficient Market Hypothesis would have you believe. Our explanation of markets as human phenomena grounded in destabilizing positive feedback can be found in Markets and the Lemming Factor, A Glimpse Into the Stubborn Psychology of Fish and The Future Belongs to the Adaptable (with kudos to Robert Prechter, who has been developing the hugely important theory of socionomics for many years). Historical perspective with regard to bubbles and financial crisis is provided in The Infinite Elasticity of Credit, and a view of finance and ecology as analogous systems structure can be found in Fractal Adaptive Cycles in Natural and Human Systems.

Real Estate:

We have a number of articles on specific aspects of our current crisis. Our view of real estate can be found in Welcome to the Gingerbread Hotel and Bubble Case Studies: Ireland and Canada. Employment is covered in War in the Labour Markets and An Unstable Tower of Breaking Promises.

Currencies:

The Special Relativity of Currencies and Dollar-Denominated Debt Deflation address our view of currency inter-relationships and the value of currency relative to available goods and services.

Precious Metals:

Our take on the future for gold can be found in A Golden Double-Edged Sword, and our view of -global- trade is covered in The Rise and Fall of Trade.

Oil and Gas:

Our view of the intersection between peak oil and finance can be found in Energy, Finance and Hegemonic Power and Oil, Credit and the Velocity of Money Revisited. The notion of shale gas as a game-changer and a clean source of energy is challenged in Get Ready for the North American Gas Shock and Fracking Our Future. Ponzi dynamics feature once again.

Renewables and Electricity:

The prospects for renewable power are encapsulated in Renewable Power? Not in Your LifetimeA Green Energy Revolution? and The Receding Horizons of Renewable Energy.

Nuclear Power:

Nuclear power, in the aftermath of the Fukushima catastrophe, is covered in a series of articles written in the two months following the earthquake: How Black is the Japanese Nuclear Swan?The Fukushima Fallout FilesFukushima: Review of an INES class 7 AccidentFukushima: Fallacies, Fallout, Fundamentals and Fear and Welcome to the Atomic Village.

Health:

Departing from finance and energy, our contribution to the health debate, which is relevant to future food supply and storage, can be found in Our Daily Bread, or Not, As the Case May Be.

Summary and Lifeboat Prescriptione:

A point-form summary of our views for the future is available in 40 Ways to Lose Your Future, and our prescription for facing hard times is presented in How to Build a Lifeboat.

This is our attempt to convey what we as individuals can hope to do about it for ourselves, our families and friends. We cannot avoid living through a Greater Depression, but we can take action, and, being forewarned, we can hopefully avoid many pitfalls. We can attempt to avoid becoming part of the herd that is determined to throw itself off a cliff.

The big picture is of crucial importance as we have reached, and passed, the pinnacle of a golden age. We are moving into an era of uncertainty and upheaval such as none of us have hitherto experienced but all of us must try to navigate successfully. We at The Automatic Earth will continue to provide what assistance we can with that process. The TAE world tour continues, recently in the US, currently in Europe and in Australia after Christmas.

The peak oil crisis: reality on hold

The peak oil crisis: reality on hold

by Tom Whipple

 

As much of America bakes in some of the highest temperatures ever recorded and while Washington argues interminably over taxes, budget cuts and debt caps, one is struck by the unreality of it all. When the House of Representatives votes to preserve the incandescent light bulb for a while as a symbol of personal freedom, it is as if we have entered a wonderland where black is white, up is down and as a nation we have lost touch with reality.

 

Our media, the cornerstone of our democracy, clearly has failed to communicate something of great import to us. Perhaps it is the information overload of the electronic age. There is so much news that the big picture is lost in mountains of trivia – there are only so many minutes in day. Another possibility is that there is so much bad news out there, that nobody really wants to hear or think about it. Denial is overwhelming us.

 

At last count there were at least a dozen mega dangers looming on the horizon all of which have the potential to change the nature of global civilization in profound ways. Yet the body politic seems to take little or no notice and concerns itself largely with issues that will soon be swept away by change. These dangers range from the depletion of our fossil fuel and mineral resources, to shrinking food and water supplies, to rising oceans, to political upheavals.

 

Someday either the atmosphere will get so hot and food will run so short, or the gasoline will become so expensive, that every last sensate being will have absorbed the message that our civilizations and lifestyles are changing whether we like it or not. Not even the most demagogic politician’s claims that things can be put back the way they were will be believed. This day is clearly some years and more likely a decade or so away.

 

Thus we are in a period when some, perhaps much, of what we are doing will be in the long run prove to be counterproductive and lead to the widespread waste of non-renewable resources that could have been of much benefit in easing the hardships for ourselves and our progeny in the centuries ahead. Some of the problem we face is vested interests that fight to the end to preserve the current way of life. It is ironic that prominent among the opposition to the House vote to extend the life of the incandescent bulb was General Electric that had already spent heavily on producing the next generation of bulbs.

As a founding father said “We all hang together, or we all hang separately.”

 

The massive waste of resources that comes with continued construction of massive highways, inefficient gadgets, poorly insulated buildings, aircraft, etc. that are bound to be underutilized in the coming era of ultra-high energy costs is only one problem. The massive waste of education in training our young for jobs and professions that will not be useful in the coming age is another.

During the current period of denial, we are caught in a circle. Many are reluctant to admit that the problems we will soon be facing are so pervasive that only government can set policies and guide civilization in generally sensible directions. Most of those arguing for freedom to choose light bulbs have not grasped the idea that 90 percent of us would have trouble lasting six months should our electricity stop, our gasoline stations close, the water cease flowing, and the food stores shut. We live in a complex, interdependent civilization in which most have lost skills and the means necessary for self-sufficiency. As a founding father said “We all hang together, or we all hang separately.”

 

However, so long as a lot of us believe that we can reestablish economic growth, and wait for the return of the climate to “normal” our politicians will try to satisfy or at least say they will try to satisfy these aspirations. Change will only come when enough people realize that a return to life-as-we-knew-it a few years back is no longer possible or is at least unlikely. Unfortunately most of our media starts with the assumption that our current woes are only temporary and if we only wait long enough economic growth will resume has it always has in living memory and climate change will not turn out to be so bad as alarmists fears.

 

Changing a circle of unwarranted optimism that starts with the media, and carries on the voters, their elected representatives, and senior government officials, and then back to the media will be difficult. Realistically we can expect little to happen in the immediate future. Even weeks of 100 degree temperatures or even $4, $5 or $6 gasoline is unlikely to shift many prejudices in the short term. It is going to take a more severe shock — say food shortages or $10 plus gasoline — to shake the notion that a return to life as we knew it is still possible.

 

The idea that an economy can continue very long based on borrowed money, financial services, retail, and building houses will fade. America has some real assets to cope with the troubles ahead. Although we will no longer be able to enjoy the current rate of energy consumption, there is considerable room for the world to keep moving through more efficient utilization of dwindling energy resources. A simple shift in dietary habits to include less grain-wasting meat would have a major effect on the U.S. and world food supply. From transportation to recreation to housing, opportunities for massive efficiencies at very little cost abound.

 

Some of these efficiencies will come on their own merits; other will take some help. While alternatives to the incandescent bulb may cost much more, their much longer life and much lower power consumption will lead to much lower consumption and great benefits to society as a whole. Someday we will all understand this, but until that day there is much education to be done.

 

Tom Whipple is a retired CIA analyst who volunteers his services to ASPO-USA, the Association for the Study of Peak Oil -USA.

 

Published by Falls Church News-Press on 07/20/2011

Original article: http://www.fcnp.com/commentary/national/9712-the-peak-oil-crisis-reality-on-hold.html

 

 

Welcome to the Post-Growth Economy

Welcome to the Post-Growth Economy

by Richard Heinberg

 

During recent weeks, evidence has piled up that U.S. and European economies, far from recovering, are swirling back into recession. Failure of American politicians to address the federal debt crisis, the U.S. credit rating downgrade, and increasing fragility of European economies have investors running for the hills.

 

Concern is being voiced that we may be at a fundamental economic turning point. Deutsche Bank’s strategist Jim Reid even suggests that the western world’s financial system might be “totally unsustainable.”

 

As it happens, I’ve just published a book, The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality, that reaches the same conclusion, and that foresaw the economic relapse that’s playing out in headlines. The book’s content was finalized in March, when economic data appeared to show the nation in a recovery. I suppose I’m justified in saying “I told you so,” but others are as well. Herman Daly, former World Bank economist, has pointed out the absurdity of expecting continual economic growth on a planet with limited resources. Paul Gilding, former head of Greenpeace International, explains in his book The Great Disruption why climate change and resource depletion are bringing world economic growth to a close. And Jeremy Grantham, co-founder of GMO (one of the world’s largest investment funds), argues that, with ever more humans competing for a finite supply of natural resources, rising prices of metals, oil, and food are decisively choking off GDP growth.

 

Even if we are being proven right, this is no time for victory laps. Here’s the point. Daly, Gilding, Grantham, and I are saying that as humanity has chewed through the low-hanging fruit of our natural resources and has turned to lower-grade and more expensive ores and fuels, managers of the economy have attempted to keep growth going by piling up debt in the mistaken belief that it is money that makes the economy run rather than energy and raw materials. Now we’ve reached limits to government and consumer debt, and the realization of that fact is sending financial markets into fibrillation. If energy supplies and debt are both stretched tight, that means more economic growth isn’t possible. Worse, if policy makers fail to realize this and continue assuming that the current crisis is merely another turning of the business cycle, then we lose whatever opportunity still remains to avert a crash that could bring civilization to its knees.

 

Admittedly this is still a minority point of view. After all, in the “real” worlds of politics and economics, growth is essential to creating more jobs and increasing returns on investments. Questioning growth is like arguing against gasoline at a NASCAR race.

 

Liberals believe that stimulus spending by government will boost employment and consumer spending, thus flipping the economy back to its “normal” growth setting. But stimulus packages of the past few years have produced only anemic results, and governments can’t afford more of the same.

 

Conservatives nurture faith that if government spending shrinks, that will liberate private enterprise to grow profits and jobs. Yet countries that implement austerity programs show less economic growth than those whose governments borrow and spend—until the spending spree ends in bond market mayhem.

 

Neither side wants to acknowledge that its prescription no longer works, because that would imply the other side is correct. But maybe both liberals and conservatives are wrong, and growth is finished.

 

If Daly, Gilding, Grantham, and I are right, this is scary business. But there will be life after growth, and it doesn’t have to play out under conditions of misery. With less energy to fuel globalization and mechanization, there should be increasing need for local production and labor. We can reorganize our financial and production systems so that everyone’s basic needs are met. Indeed, if we focus on improving quality of life rather than increasing quantity of consumption, we could all be happier even as our economy downsizes to fit Nature’s limits.

 

But that benign future is unlikely to transpire if we all continue living in a dream world where growth knows no bounds.

 

The alarm bells are ringing. Wake up to the post-growth economy.

 

Published by Post Carbon Institute on  09/08/2011

Original article: http://www.postcarbon.org/blog-post/479727-welcome-to-the-post-growth-economy

 

 

Moving Planet – Connect 2 Tucson – A Day to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels

Moving Planet – September 24th, 2011: A Day to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels

JOIN THE RIDE: Connect 2 river paths on 2 wheels!

Celebrate the linkup of the Santa Cruz and Rillito river paths and ride beyond fossil fuels. Meet on the plaza south of Drachman Hall on the UMC Campus (Helen St and Martin Av).

Ride starts at 7:00 a.m.  Roundup and information exchange on the plaza, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Connect 2 Tucson is an all-ages, all-speeds, fun and family-friendly 22-mile loop ride (a shorter alternate route is available) through the UA, West University and Dunbar Spring neighborhoods, and Barrio Anita, then along the newly connected portions of the Pima County Urban Loop and the Mountain Avenue Bikeway.

Our event on Sept 24th is sponsored by 350.org, more information is available at

http://www.moving-planet.org/connect2tucson

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Connect-2-Tucson/266441083370150

If you have any questions feel free to contact me at 520.615.0381.

Sincerely,
Patsy Stewart
350.org Volunteer

Vegan Potluck / talk about Ecocide

Hello,

My name is Kaylee Farnolli, I’m a senior in the School of Art at the University of Arizona. I’ve just returned from 6 months living and studying abroad in Mexico City. The people I met there have inspired me to call a community vegan potluck in an effort to spread the word about Polly Higgen’s proposal to make Ecocide the 5th official crime against the peace. I’m hoping to have a turnout of at least 25 hopefully much more. I would love it if one/some of the volunteers could come and share about Sustainable Tucson’s projects and talk about volunteer opportunities or any issue you’d like.

We will meet at Himmel Park in the SW corner at 5:30 PM

Please let me know if this interests you all,

Thanks!

Kaylee