Bisbee Solar Cook-Off and Festival – June 1

Free, at the Bisbee Farmers Market in Vista Park, Warren District, Bisbee Arizona

 

Bisbee Solar Cook-Off and Festival

Join Baja Arizona Sustainable Agriculture and the Bisbee Farmers Market for the 11th Annual Solar Cook-Off & Festival on Saturday, June 1 from 9am to 1pm.

Activities will include solar cooking demonstrations as well as solar ovens and accessories for sale.  At 10:30am, join local experts for a Solar Cooking Basics class.  At 11:30, learn how to build your own solar oven with a cardboard box and aluminum foil.  Feel free to bring a solar oven and join in the fun (a potluck will follow the event for those who prepare solar food).

Location: Bisbee Farmers Market (in Vista Park, Warren District).
For more info, visit www.bajaaz.org/calendar.  Free.

Questions?  Contact Meghan at meghan.mix(at)bajaaz.org or 520-331-9821.

Bisbee Organic Garden Tour – May 26

Free, starting at Ecoasis, 54 Brewery Avenue, Bisbee Arizona

 
Join Baja Arizona Sustainable Agriculture (BASA) and Ecoasis on the first annual Bisbee Organic Garden Tour on Sunday, May 26 from 10am to 2pm.

This year’s tour will showcase four successful vegetable gardens along Brewery Gulch in the heart of Old Bisbee.  Come out to view artistic, inventive ways to grow produce in unconventional spaces.  Also learn how to start (or improve) your own garden, get growing tips, observe spring crops, and learn about mulching, composting, and watering systems.  Or just meet some fellow gardeners.

The tour is self-guided; stop by Ecoasis (54 Brewery Avenue) before you begin to pick up a tour map and get information on backyard growing, sustainable agriculture, and gardening for market.

This is a free event.  Contact BASA for details at www.bajaaz.org, 520-331-9821 or meghan.mix(at)bajaaz.org

Building Sustainable Cities – New York Times Conference April 25

See the online video archive of the entire conference at nytenergyfortomorrow.com

ENERGY FOR TOMORROW – BUILDING SUSTAINABLE CITIES

A NEW YORK TIMES CONFERENCE
IN COLLABORATION WITH RICHARD ATTIAS AND ASSOCIATES

APRIL 25, 2013
THE TIMESCENTER, NEW YORK CITY

 
THE CONCEPT

According to U.N. data, the worldwide urban population over the next 40 years will increase by 3.1 billion people. Where will the water come from for these people to drink and use? The fuel to heat and cool their homes? The fresh fruit and vegetables for them to eat? The modes of transportation to move them from home to workplace and back? And how can we build buildings, develop infrastructure and diversify transport in ways that limit the waste and pollutants that could make these urban areas unpleasant and unhealthy places to live? These are the issues The New York Times will tackle in its second annual Energy for Tomorrow Conference: Building Sustainable Cities.

In America and in other countries around the world, there is an enormous amount of innovation going on to make our cities more eco-friendly and sustainable. There are fleets of natural gas-fueled trucks and hybrid taxis. LEED-certified buildings are being constructed. Cutting-edge technology is helping cities cut down on energy and resource use. Summers bring urban and rooftop farming. And this innovation is occurring at both a micro and macro level.

THE FORMAT AND AUDIENCE

The New York Times will bring together some 400 thought leaders, public policy makers, government urbanists and C-suite level executives from energy, technology, automotive and construction industries among others, to debate and discuss the wide range of issues that must be addressed if we can create an urban environment that can meet the needs of its citizens and, thanks to innovation, run cleanly and efficiently. The conference will be invitation-only.

There will be a fee of $795 to attend the one-day conference, but The Times will make some grants available for N.G.O.s, entrepreneurs and start-ups to attend at a discount. The format will mix head-to-head debates, panel discussions, keynote addresses, case studies and audience brainstorming sessions.

 
APRIL 24 EVENING
(THE EVE OF THE CONFERENCE)

7 – 9p.m.
SCREENING OF THE DOCUMENTARY “TRASHED”

The documentary feature film “Trashed” highlights solutions to the pressing environmental problems facing us all. Academy Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons has teamed up with British filmmaker Candida Brady to record the devastating effect that pollution has had on some of the world’s most beautiful destinations. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Irons.

Confirmed speakers:
Jeremy Irons, actor and executive producer, “Trashed”
in conversation with David Carr, media and culture columnist, The New York Times

 
APRIL 25 AGENDA

Throughout the day, we will be conducting networking and discussion sessions (via smartphones and BlackBerries) to gather, as well as to submit questions to the panel

7 a.m.
REGISTRATION AND BREAKFAST

7:45 – 8:45 a.m.
BREAKFAST DISCUSSION
SMART VEHICLES ARE HERE: CAN GOVERNMENT KEEP PACE?

The pressures are building for safer and smarter vehicles on our roads, raising questions about the national, state and local policies that will emerge. Several states are already early adopters of legislation to enable the use of autonomous vehicles. But every law is different, no national policies exist and innovations are unfolding rapidly. With the evolution of connected vehicles, intelligent roadways, and cloud-based technologies (first maps, soon much more), there will be a host of choices for consumers and governments.

Moderated by Gordon Feller, director of urban innovations, Cisco Systems; founder, Meeting of the Minds

Confirmed Panelists:
Anthony Levandowski, manager, Google autonomous vehicle project
Alex Padilla, state senator, California
Jim Pisz, corporate manager, North American business strategy, Toyota Motor Sales Inc.
Dan Smith, senior associate administrator for vehicle safety, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Bryant Walker Smith, fellow, Center for Automotive Research, Stanford University

9 – 9:30 a.m.
OPENING ADDRESS

Michael Bloomberg, mayor of the City of New York and chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

Introduced by Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher, The New York Times

9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
THE MAYORS’ PANEL
HOW DO WE REINVENT OUR CITIES FOR THE THIRD INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION?

The city of 2025 could be crisis-ridden if the world doesn’t create more sustainable models of urban development. Research says that our cities will continue to expand and increase in population, while their populations will bring rising consumption and emissions. Alongside these huge challenges, there are also opportunities for businesses: electric vehicles, new low-carbon means of cooling, and energy efficient buildings. We ask a group of mayors to outline an urban planning strategy for 2025.

Moderated by Bill Keller, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

Confirmed panelists:
Jaime Lerner, former mayor of Curitiba, Brazil
Stephanie Miner, mayor of Syracuse
Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia
Greg Stanton, mayor of Phoenix

10:15 – 10:40 a.m.
COFFEE BREAK

10:40 – 11 a.m.
COLUMNIST CONVERSATION

Jeremy Irons, actor and executive producer, “Trashed”
in conversation with Andrew Revkin, Op-Ed columnist and author, Dot Earth blog, The New York Times

*Please note, there is a screening of “Trashed” on the eve of the conference. Seats are limited and the
screening will be open to the public. Confirmed conference participants will get priority.

11 – 11:30 a.m.
PLENARY: THINK NATIONAL, BUT POWER LOCAL

A sustainable city will use a high proportion of renewable energy, but there is a catch-22: sites that generate renewable electricity – wind farms, solar farms and tidal generators – tend to be far away from urban centers. How can we create grids that get renewable energy from the places it is made to the hundreds of millions who will use it? Meanwhile, how can we increase and incentivize localized power generation and supply? Options include district heating and cooling, and buildings producing their own power through solar powered roofs or single wind turbines, and then sharing that power through a smart grid.

Moderated by Thomas L. Friedman, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

Confirmed panelists:
Sabine Froning, C.E.O., Euroheat and Power
Patricia Hoffman, assistant secretary, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S.
Kevin Burke, chairman, president and C.E.O., Consolidated Edison Inc.

11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
COLUMNIST CONVERSATION

Shaun Donovan, United States secretary of housing and urban development
in conversation with Thomas L. Friedman, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

12 – 12:40 p.m.
GAMECHANGERS: THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION

Cutting-edge technology is helping cities cut down on energy and resource use and this innovation is occurring at both a micro and macro level. Can we innovate quickly enough?

Moderated by Joe Nocera, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

Confirmed panelists:
Stephen Kennedy Smith, president, Em-Link LLC
Judi Greenwald, vice president for technology and innovation, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Adam Grosser, group head and partner, Silver Lake Kraftwerk
Neil Suslak, founder and managing partner, Braemar Energy
Steven E. Koonin, director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP)

12:40 – 2:05 p.m.
LUNCH AND BRAINSTORMING, URBAN FOOD SUPPLY

Lunch will take place in the Hall downstairs; during lunch we will host a brainstorming discussion featuring expert panelists on the Urban Food Supply.

Moderated by Mark Bittman, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

Discussion leaders:
Will Allen, founder and C.E.O., Growing Power
Dave Wann, president, Sustainable Futures Society
Dan Barber, chef and co-owner, Blue Hill at Stone Barns and director of program, President’s Council on
Fitness, Sports and Nutrition

2:05 – 2:40 p.m.
DISCUSSION: GREEN BUILDINGS AND URBAN DESIGN

Sustainable cities need energy-efficient buildings and the current symbol of urban architecture – the glass and metal skyscraper – scores badly in this regard. What kinds of building should be the centerpieces of new sustainable cities? Are current green building codes leading us in the right direction? Nearly half of the world’s new megacities will be in China and India: how can their leaders ensure that the millions of new structures in these cities use energy sparingly and follow sustainable urban planning?

Moderated by Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic, The New York Times

Confirmed panelists:
David Fisk, co-director of the BP Urban Energy Systems Project and Laing O’Rourke Professor in Systems Engineering and Innovation, Imperial College London
Hal Harvey, C.E.O., Energy Innovation: Policy and Technology LLC
Katrin Klingenberg, Passivehouse Institute, USA
Jonathan Rose, founder and president, Jonathan Rose Companies
Martha Schwartz, professor in practice of landscape architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and co-founder, Working Group for Sustainable Cities, Harvard University

2:40 – 3:15 p.m.
DISCUSSION: TRANSPORT AND TRAFFIC

An effective and energy-efficient transport network is the skeleton of a sustainable city, allowing residents to move from home to work with a minimum of congestion, pollution or emissions. The solutions are different for old cities and new cities, and for rich cities and poor cities. But the traditional model of urban expansion followed by new roads has created a vicious spiral where new roads beget more cars, which beget the need for more roads. New, more sustainable ideas for city transportation not only reduce emissions, but also improve quality of life.

Moderated by Joe Nocera, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

Confirmed panelists:
Walter Hook, C.E.O., Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
Peder Jensen, head of programme, governance and networks, European Environment Agency
Anna Nagurney, director, Virtual Center for Supernetworks, Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts
Naveen Lamba, intelligent transportation lead, IBM
Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC transportation commissioner

3:15 – 3:30 p.m.
COLUMNIST CONVERSATION
PLANET-WARMING EMISSIONS: IS DISASTER INEVITABLE?

Klaus Jacob, adjunct professor, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
in conversation with Joe Nocera, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

3:30 – 4:15 p.m.
NETWORKING DISCUSSION:
Participants will be split into two concurrent sessions to brainstorm two issues on the sustainable agenda. Led by a member of The Times team, and with an expert panel to comment and shape the discussions, participants will brainstorm ideas together. The results of the brainstorming – including suggested actions – will be released after the event.

DISCUSSION 1: TRANSPORT

Ingvar Sejr Hansen, head of city planning, City of Copenhagen
Ari Kahn, policy adviser for electric vehicles, New York City Mayor’s Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability
Bruce Schaller, deputy commissioner for traffic and planning, New York City Department of Transportation
Greg Stanton, mayor of Phoenix

DISCUSSION 2: GREEN SPACES

Kai-Uwe Bergmann, partner, Bjarke Ingels Group
Steven Caputo Jr., deputy director, New York City Mayor’s Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability
Susan Donoghue, senior adviser and assistant commissioner for strategic initiatives, New York City Parks
Deborah Marton, senior vice president of programs, New York Restoration Project

4:15 – 4:35 p.m.
COFFEE BREAK

4:35 – 4:55 p.m.
COLUMNIST CONVERSATION

Carol Browner, senior counselor, Albright Stonebridge Group, and former energy czar
in conversation with Bill Keller, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

4:55 – 5:45 p.m.
CLOSING PLENARY
DEALBOOK: INVESTING IN THE CITY OF TOMORROW

The challenge is to reinvent and retool the cities and urban life in a guise that is more sustainable – and to do it fast. Some of the best minds in the developed and developing worlds are trying to address this global issue. Architects, urban planners and engineers are drawing up plans. Business consultants are looking for new business opportunities as these sustainable cities evolve. The World Bank is trying to figure out how to finance their growth. How can we finance the creation of the city of tomorrow?

Moderated by Andrew Ross Sorkin, columnist/editor, DealBook, The New York Times

Confirmed panelists:
Alicia Glen, managing director, Urban Investment Group, Goldman Sachs
Richard Kauffman, chairman of energy and finance, Office of the Governor, State of New York
William McDonough, chairman, McDonough Advisors

5:45 p.m. CLOSING AND RECEPTION

 
See the online video archive of the entire conference at nytenergyfortomorrow.com

Awakening the Dreamer workshops – Circle Tree Ranch – June 10, Sep 9, Dec 9

 
Free (RSVP) at Circle Tree Ranch, 10500 E Tanque Verde Road, Tucson AZ 85749

 

 

Awakening the Dreamer – Changing the Dream

“Cultural Wisdom: The Indigenous Worldview as a Model for Social and Environmental Justice”

The Awakening the Dreamer – Changing the Dream Symposium is a profound inquiry into a bold vision: to bring forth an environmentally sustainable spiritually fulfilling and socially just human presence on Earth.

The symposium involves dynamic group interactions, cutting-edge information, and inspiring multimedia. Participants of this half-day event are inspired to reconnect with their deep concern for our world, and to recognize our responsibilities to each other, future generations, our fellow creatures, and the planet we jointly inhabit.

Designed with the collaboration of some of the finest scientific, indigenous and socially conscious minds in the world, the symposium explores the current state of our planet and connects participants to a powerful global movement to reclaim our future.

This dynamic and innovative presentation will explore the ancient wisdom of cultures around the globe and their spiritual, social, and environmental worldview. Recognizing the critical role of community, participants engage with one another in analyzing methods that create earth-honoring systems and ways of being. Experiencing the world as profoundly interconnected, participants will understand how in their living practices they can bring forth an environmentally sustainable, socially just, and spiritual fulfilling human presence on our planet. The goal of the presentation is to provide an experience that inspires each person to stand for an entirely new possibility for our future by embracing the indigenous worldview as a model for social and environmental justice.

Amity Foundation – Circle Tree Ranch
Bear Hall
10500 E Tanque Verde Road
Tucson, AZ 85749

RSVP to Pamela Jay at 520-749-5980 ext.252 or email pjay(at)amityfdn.org

3 Continuing Education Hours, NAADAC Provider #538

Donations welcomed for Dragonfly Village – dedicated to the inclusion and habilitation of children and families marginalized by homelessness, poverty, addiction, crime, racism, sexism, trauma, and violence.

www.circletreeranch.org

Watershed Management Workshop at Avalon EcoVillage – May 25

at Avalon Organic Gardens & EcoVillage in Tumacácori, AZ

 

A Food Forest Enhancement Project within an EcoVillage

Learn Stormwater Management Techniques
Prevent Erosion • Reduce Runoff • Conserve Water

Guest Speakers David Seibert (Conservation Director of Borderlands Habitat Restoration Initiative-BHRI, Seibert Ecological Restoration, LLC) and Caleb Weaver (BHRI-Ecologist, Environmental Educator, and Sustainable Landscape Designer) will share their expertise in restoring native pollinator habitats on and around Southern Arizona farms.

Borderlands Habitat Restoration Initiative has pioneered a 3-pillared approach to habitat restoration in the Arizona/Sonora Borderland region by:

1) Restoring the physical processes such as stream flow and groundwater recharge necessary to support both people and wildlife.

2) Restoring vegetation and filling gaps at the base of the food chains that support biological diversity.

3) Reconnecting people and nature by engaging local citizens in the restoration of local ecosystem services.

Time: Saturday, May 25, 2013 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Location: Avalon Organic Gardens & EcoVillage in Tumacácori, AZ
Cost: Workshop fee is $50 (includes a Certificate of Completion and Organic Lunch)
Contact: Call (520) 603-9932 to register

Co-Sponsors:
Avalon Organic Gardens & EcoVillage
Borderlands Habitat Restoration Initiative
Sonoran Institute
Watershed Management Group

For information visit avalongardens.org/events

Move to Amend – Corporations Are Not People – May 10

May 2 planning meeting at Unitarian Church, 22nd between Swan and Craycroft

May 10 demonstration at Miracle Mile freeway entrance

 

Move to Amend – Corporations Are Not People

JOIN US IN A NATIONWIDE ACTION ON MAY 10TH (details below) urging Americans to take the next step in passing a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT which declares that corporations are not persons, and money is not speech.

The disastrous “Citizens United” ruling was just the death knell in the 127-year-long corporate takeover of our government, and must be overturned, to return control of our government to the people.

Until we do that, we will not be able to achieve any of the changes necessary for stopping the slide of the middle class into poverty, creating jobs instead of soaring unemployment, holding Wall Street, Big Banks, and other financial entities accountable for their crimes against Americans, social justice, freedom from war waged for corporate profit, preventing reckless plundering and poisoning of natural resources, and saving our environment. Currently, we can’t even pass legislation for background checks on gun purchases.

Twelve states have already formally requested a Constitutional Amendment to overturn “Citizens United”

We need 22 more to make it happen.

May 10th is the date of the action, and we need volunteers now to help in planning and preparation, and to help in executing it on the 10th IN LARGE ENOUGH NUMBERS THAT THE MEDIA CANNOT IGNORE IT.

COME TO OUR MEETING at 7:00 PM WED MAY 2ND AT THE UNITARIAN CHURCH ON 22ND BETWEEN SWAN AND CRAYCROFT, TO HELP US IN OUR PLAN TO GET THE WORD OUT TO ALL AMERICANS ON MAY 10TH !

The plan is to have a very large group of real “persons” holding a 45-foot long banner on the walkway over the freeway at the Miracle Mile freeway entrance from 7:00 AM until 9:00 AM facing incoming rush hour traffic, and from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM facing outgoing rush hour traffic on Fri. May 10th.

www.MoveToAmend.org

Local Food Summit at U of A – Gary Nabhan & Jeff Silvertooth – May 14

at Student Union Memorial Center, South Ballroom, University of Arizona, Tucson AZ

 

Local Food Summit

with Gary Nabhan and Jeff Silvertooth

At this working summit, participants will develop action plans for how University of Arizona entities and partners can support socially equitable, economically viable, and environmentally sound local food systems. To break out of our disciplinary silos, this summit will foster collaboration within the university for those working on issues related to local food systems. The summit is free but limited to 100 participants, so application is required with this form.

http://www.portal.environment.arizona.edu/events/local-food-summit

Pima County Food Alliance – April Meeting – April 29

at the Sam Lena Library, 1607 S 6th Ave, Tucson AZ

 
Join the Pima County Food Alliance for our monthly meeting on Monday, April 29 from 6:00 to 8:00pm at the Sam Lena Library (1607 S 6th Ave, Tucson).

April is Native Foods Month at the Pima County Food Alliance!

This month we’ll be hearing from two experts on native foods. The first is Chef Barry Infuso, who works with Pima Community College and is known for his work with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. In particular, Infuso’s work has explored the use of native, culturally appropriate foods as an avenue to (re-)establishing health with a population that has suffered tremendously from the pervasiveness of the Western diet.

Amy Schwemm, known around town for her delicious mesquite cookies and prickly pear lemonade, comes to us from a local organization called Desert Harvesters. If you’re not familiar with the organization, well…you should be. Come learn about all the great native food- and plant-related work they’re doing, and find ways to plug in.

The Pima County Food Alliance works to engage community partners to understand and develop our food system through the following strategies:

Education: Creating opportunities for coalition members, their families, friends, neighbors, schools, and elected officials to learn about the importance of sustainably growing and eating healthful food as well as relevant food policy issues.

Networking: Having a space to meet and learn from other food councils and individuals in the community who are involved in community-based food projects and programs.

Outreach: Meeting with and inviting other individuals, organizations, agencies and policy makers to collaborate around the goals of the group.

Policy change: Determining what governmental, institutional, and corporate policies are barriers to or opportunities to improve the conditions involved in growing and eating sustainable, local, and healthful food. Work to promote healthy and sustainable policies based on community-wide collaboration.

Contact Meghan at 520-331-9821 with any questions!

Cooking the Books: The True Climate Impact of Keystone XL


Click to view/download a pdf of the full report

Cooking the Books: The True Climate Impact of Keystone XL

April 16, 2013

A new report out today from environmental groups shows that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would, if approved, be responsible for at least 181 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) each year, comparable to the tailpipe emissions from more than 37.7 million cars or 51 coal-fired power plants.

In documenting the emissions associated with the controversial pipeline project, the report makes real the scale of climate impact and the further hurdles the project would create for the battle against climate change, putting the State Department’s “business as usual” scenarios into doubt.

The major findings of “Cooking the Books: How The State Department Analysis Ignores the True Climate Impact of the Keystone XL Pipeline” are:

– The 181 million metric tons of (CO2e) from Keystone XL is equivalent to the tailpipe emissions from more than 37.7 million cars. This is more cars than are currently registered on the entire West Coast (California, Washington, and Oregon), plus Florida, Michigan, and New York – combined.

– Between 2015 and 2050, the pipeline alone would result in emissions of 6.34 billion metric tons of CO2e. This amount is greater than the 2011 total annual carbon dioxide emissions of the United States.

– The International Energy Agency has said that two-thirds of known fossil fuel reserves must remain undeveloped if we are to avoid a 2 degree C temperature rise. Constructing the Keystone XL pipeline and developing the tar sands make that goal far more difficult, if not impossible, to reach.

“When evaluating this project, the State Department should apply a simple test: Does its completion bring the U.S. closer to meeting its climate goals? The answer is clearly no, and therefore the project must be denied,” said Steve Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International.

In its 2012 World Energy Outlook, the IEA is very clear about the impact of climate policy on U.S. oil demand. If meaningful climate policy is pursued, U.S. oil demand would necessarily be cut 50 percent by 2035 and 70 percent by 2050 based on a 2012 baseline.

“Alberta’s premier was just in Washington, DC noting how essential the pipeline is to meeting increased production of the dirtiest oil on the planet. The numbers in this report make it clear that we can’t afford to help Big Oil meet that goal,” said Elizabeth Shope of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

U.S. demand for oil has declined since 2005 by 2.25 million barrels per day – or the equivalent of almost three Keystone XL pipelines.

“Any objective analysis of the impact of building Keystone shows that it would be a climate catastrophe,” said Ross Hammond, senior campaigner for Friends of the Earth. “Instead, the State Department seems ready to buy into the pipeline propaganda of an army of lobbyists who are trading on their ties to Secretary Kerry and President Obama to taint the decision. The president must act in the national interest, not the interests of Big Oil, and reject the Keystone XL pipeline.”

“Today’s report clearly demonstrates that we can’t protect future generations from the worst impacts of global warming while allowing ourselves to become hooked on even dirtier sources of fuel,” said Daniel Gatti, Get Off Oil Program Director for Environment America. “We need President Obama and Secretary Kerry to say no to tar sands, and no to the Keystone XL pipeline.”

“If he’s to keep his promise to confront climate change to protect America’s wildlife and communities, President Obama should say no to the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline,” said Jim Murphy, senior counsel at the National Wildlife Federation. “Our leaders can’t have it both ways – if they’re truly committed to protecting America’s wildlife and communities from climate change, they need to say no to Keystone XL and massive amounts of climate-disrupting carbon pollution it would deliver.”

The report was researched and written by Oil Change International with input and review by the Natural Resources Defense Council, 350.org, Environment America, National Wildlife Federation, Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club and Greenpeace.

Original article by David Turnbull – http://priceofoil.org/2013/04/16/cooking-the-books-the-true-climate-impact-of-keystone-xl/

Submit a comment to the State Department regarding the Keystone XL pipeline here.

100% Renewable Energy – Earth Day Weekend Rally – April 20

at Tucson Electric Power Headquarters, 88 E Broadway Blvd, Tucson AZ (corner of Broadway and Scott, just west of 6th Ave)

100% Renewable Energy: Earth Day Weekend Rally

This Saturday April 20 at 10:00 am, the Tucson Climate Action Network continues its campaign to stop TEP’s stockpiling and burning of coal and push ahead with a full transition to renewable energy for southern Arizona.

Bring your brightest yellow shirt or top (to symbolize solar energy) AND a black shirt or top (to symbolize fossil fuels). We will do two group photos to demonstrate our preference for renewable energy. Bring signs if you can. We will supply some signs and other props. This demonstration will only be one hour long. Bring your family and friends for this community event.

When: Saturday, April 20, 2013, 10 to 11 am (group photo at 10:45 am)

Where: Tucson Electric Power Headquarters, 88 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson (this is the corner of Broadway and Scott, just west of 6th Ave.)

To share the event via Facebook, sign up here www.facebook.com/events/449689741774850/

Fore more info, contact rongoproctor(at)hotmail.com, 520-629-9788

How Can Arizona Survive the Coming Dust Bowl? – Climate presentation at Milagro – May 4

at Milagro Cohousing, 3057 N Gaia Place, Tucson, AZ
Come early for a tour of Milagro at 4 pm.

How Can Arizona Survive the Coming Dust Bowl?

Presentation by renowned climate scientist Dr. Steve Ghan, a Fellow of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Editor-in-Chief of the Atmospheres Section of the Journal of Geophysical Research.

Refreshment will be available before any dust bowl conversations! And during as well as afterwards. Come early for a tour of Milagro at 4:00PM as well.

For more info, contact EVJerry, email EVisionA2Z(at)usa.net or phone (202)486-5450

Hosted by the ECO ED Committee of Milagro Cohousing

www.milagrocohousing.org

A Fierce Green Fire – A Film and Panel on Green Activism – April 19

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

Join us for a special post-film panel discussion on opening night, featuring local experts in the field of environmental studies!

Maria Baier – Executive Director of the Sonoran Institute

Roger Clark – Grand Canyon Program Director for The Grand Canyon Trust

Paul Green – Executive Director of the Tucson Audubon Society

Diana Liverman – IE coDirector and Regents Professor of Geography and Development

Kenny Walker – Rachel Carson Fellow and PhD candidate in the University of Arizona’s English Department’s Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English (RCTE) program, studying the rhetoric of science and technology.

Fierce Green Fire movie poster

 
Time: Friday, April 19th at 7:00pm
Location: The Loft Cinema, 3233 East Speedway Blvd. Tucson [MAP]

Spanning 50 years of grassroots and global activism, A Fierce Green Fire, from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Mark Kitchell (Berkeley in the Sixties), brings to light the vital stories of the environmental movement where people fought – and succeeded – against enormous odds. From halting dams in the Grand Canyon to fighting toxic waste at Love Canal; from Greenpeace to Chico Mendes; from climate change to the promise of transforming our civilization, A Fierce Green Fire is “nothing less than the history of environmentalism itself.” (Los Angeles Times).

Inspired by the book of the same name by Philip Shabecoff and informed by advisors like Edward O. Wilson, this fascinating documentary chronicles the largest movement of the 20th century and one of the major keys to the 21st. Through awe-inspiring stories of triumph and struggle, the film focuses on real world activism, people fighting to save their homes, their lives, their futures – and succeeding against all odds.

Narrated by Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Ashley Judd, Van Jones and Isabel Allende. Directed by Mark Kitchell, 2012, 101 mins., Not Rated, First Run Features, Digital.  Watch the Trailer

“Winningly spans the broad scope of environmental history.” Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter

“Rousing … the most ambitious environmental documentary since An Inconvenient Truth tries to make the case that we just might win. Noggin-shaking historical truths … jabs you in the heart.” Michael Roberts, Outside Magazine

“Rarely do environmental-themed films come with the ambitious scope of A Fierce Green Fire… which aims at nothing less than the history of environmentalism itself.” Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times

Sustainable Tucson Community Fundraising Appeal

Sustainable Tucson needs your support to continue to present timely, interesting and informative monthly programs. With minimal financial support from the larger community we have provided continuous monthly programs for nearly seven years, drawing particularly on local talent and sustainability leaders. As we increasingly bring in cutting-edge speakers from other cities and regions, Sustainable Tucson faces greater costs and increased organizational needs.

A brief review of previous programs archived on our website shows the breadth and depth of subject matter we have produced for the emerging sustainability community free of charge. More than 2,000 people have directly benefited from our educational, networking, and advocacy opportunities. Efforts to provide media coverage of our events will reach many thousands more.

There are two ways you can help us further our mission to foster greater understanding  and collaborative activities ensuring resilience and a sustainable future.  One way is to use your credit card and go to our online donation webpage: (http://www.sustainabletucson.org/contactcontribute/donate). The other is simply to write a check to “NEST Inc — Sustainable Tucson”  and mail it to P.O. Box 41144, Tucson, AZ 85717

Thank you for your support and remember that every dollar donated to Sustainable Tucson goes a long way to help all of us find our way to more sustainable lives and a more sustainable community.

Tucson Time Traders – Tucson’s Local Timebank

Please see timetraders.metasofa.org for more information on our Timebank orientation meetings and other events.

We’re also at Sustainable Tucson Monthly Meetings to give information about timebanking and Tucson Time Traders, and help you sign up online.

 

TUCSON TIME TRADERS

Helping Build Community 1 Hour at a Time

Tucson Time Traders is our local Timebank for the Tucson region.  Check the website for our latest news and events, or open a new account, or login if you’re a member – http://timetraders.metasofa.org

 

What Is A Time Bank?

A Timebank is a group of people who trade an hour of work for an hour of work – everyone’s time is valued equally.  The hours are recorded in the timebank software so we can trade them around the timebank community.  Timebanking is a great way for people to exchange assistance and help build healthy communities.

Core Values

We are all assets – Every human being has something to contribute.

Redefining work – Some work is beyond price.  We need to value whatever it takes to raise healthy children, build strong families, revitalize neighborhoods, make democracy work, advance social justice, make the planet sustainable.

Reciprocity – Helping works better as a two-way street.  “How can I help you?” becomes “How can we help each other build the world we both will live in?”

Community – We need each other.  Networks are stronger than individuals… People helping each other reweave communities of support, strength and trust.

Respect – Every human being matters.  Respect underlies freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and supplies the heart and soul of democracy.

Intrigued?

Open a Tucson Time Traders account online, and come to an orientation meetingMembership is free and open to everyone.

For some background information, take a quick look at these excellent short videos and a sample of resources within our local timebank.

timetraders.metasofa.org

 
Also see Sustainable Tucson joins Tucson Timebank
and ST February Meeting – Tucson’s Economy

ST May Meeting – Food Resilience in the Time of Global Climate Change – May 13

at Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N Stone, Downtown Tucson (in the large lower-level meeting room, free lower-level parking off Alameda St)

Food Resilience in the Time of Global Climate Change

Almost all the food we eat in Tucson is not grown here. It isn’t even grown in Arizona.

Please join us for the May Sustainable Tucson meeting, and discuss with a panel of local food experts what Tucson can do to become more food resilient, and connect with local food organizations and vendors. Find out what you can do here in Tucson at the Resource and Networking session.

Nobody knows for sure how much of Tucson’s food is grown in Arizona, but the best informed guesses are that it is only a small percentage (perhaps as little as 2%-3%). The rest comes from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Are we food secure? Can we be? Should we even try? Can we become more food resilient? Tucson can grow a lot more of our food locally than we do today, and do it sustainably and healthily. Is that important? What will it take? What are our options?

Our panel of speakers will be

Bill McDorman, Native Seeds/SEARCH
Elizabeth Mikesell, Pima County Food Alliance
Stéphane Herbert-Fort, Local Roots Aquaponics
Rafael de Grenade, Desert Oasis Initiative
Adam Valdivia, Sleeping Frog Farms
Dan Dorsey, Sonoran Permaculture Guild

And take the opportunity to meet with these organizations that are making Tucson more food resilient,

Community Gardens of Tucsonwww.communitygardensoftucson.org
Local Roots Aquaponicswww.localrootsaquaponics.com
Tucson Aquaponics Projectwww.tucsonap.org
Baja Arizona Sustainable Agriculturewww.bajaza.org
Native Seeds/SEARCHwww.nativeseeds.org
Flor de Mayo Artswww.flordemayoarts.com
Iskashitaa Refugee Networkwww.iskashitaa.org
Tucson Organic Gardenerswww.tucsonorganicgardeners.org
Walking J Farmwww.walkingjfarm.com
Pima County Public Library Seed Library – www.library.pima.gov/seed-library

Explore with us what Tucson could become: 
“Resilient Tucson 2020 – Visions of a local, healthy, sustainable food supply for Tucson”. Find out what’s happening now, what’s possible, and what you can do.

We meet at the Joel Valdez downtown library, lower level meeting room (free parking under the Library, enter from Alameda Street).

Doors open at 5:30 pm
The meeting will begin at 6:00 pm
Free and open to the public

Also see Local Food Summit May 14 at U of A with Gary Nabhan & Jeff Silvertooth

Sonoran Permaculture Guild – Spring Semester Workshops

For full information, go to

www.sonoranpermaculture.org/courses-and-workshops

 
The Sonoran Permaculture Guild finishes out its Spring Semester of workshops…

The Art of Fermentation – Sunday, April 7th

Wild Foods Walkabout – Saturday, April 13th

Bee Keeping – Saturday and Sunday, April 20th and 21st

How to Raise Chickens the Natural Way – Saturday, May 18th

Ask for Transportation Alternatives! – ADOT hearing in Tucson – Apr 12

at Pascua Yaqui Justice Center – Albert V Garcia Auditorium, 7777 S Camino Huivism, Building C, Tucson AZ

ADOT hearing in Tucson – Fri, Apr 12th, 9 AM
Ask for Transportation Alternatives!

Come to a public hearing and speak in support of transportation options.

There will be a hearing in Tucson this Friday, April 12th at 9:00 am on ADOT’s 5-year plan. We’re asking ADOT to include transit, passenger rail, biking, and pedestrian projects in their 5-year plan.

Some quick background:

Every spring, ADOT comes out with an updated 5-year construction plan and gets public comment on the plan. The 5-year plan has huge implications for our transportation system because the projects in it are the ones that get funded and built. And as usual, this year the only projects in the plan are highways and airports, which means that there won’t be any rail, transit, pedestrian, or bicycling projects that get funded and built through the 5-year plan.

This is in disconnect with the trend of Arizonans driving less, young people choosing not to drive (which was covered in a great article in the Arizona Republic last year), and as our aging population will need options other than automobiles. It doesn’t make sense to invest Arizona’s scarce transportation dollars in yesterday’s transportation system. ADOT would say that their hands are tied in a lot of ways, so they can’t fund transportation alternatives. That’s true to extent – for example, they can’t use gas tax money to fund transit like other states can – but there is more that they could be doing, such as flexing their federal Surface Transportation Program dollars to fund transit or by making sure that bike paths and sidewalks are included and funded when they build or expand a road.

We’re asking ADOT to do what they can to make sure their 5-year plan reflects that Arizonans want and need more transportation options. To do this, we’ll need to show them that there’s broad support for walking, bicycling, transit, and passenger rail.

This Friday’s hearing (Friday, April 12th; 9:00 am) will be held in the Pascua Yaqui Justice Center in the Albert V. Garcia Auditorium at 7777 S. Camino Huivism, Building C in Tucson.

If you can attend, please contact Serena Unrein of Arizona PIRG – email sunrein(at)arizonapirg.org or phone 602-252-1184 – and she can provide you with sample talking points and more information.

Community Vision for the Ronstadt Transit Center – Tucson Bus Riders Union – April 2

at the Rialto Theatre, 318 East Congress Street, Tucson AZ

 

Community Vision for the Ronstadt Transit Center

Music, food, information, and the opportunity to give YOUR input.

As downtown development proceeds, what will become of the Ronstadt Center? The City of Tucson has begun a public process aimed at “seeking a qualified development team to plan, design, construct and own/lease/manage some components of an integrated mixed use development/transit center.”

Tucson Bus Riders Union is taking the lead by hosting a community discussion about the future of Ronstadt. Help make sure the Ronstadt Center truly serves Tucson’s bus riders and that our downtown is for everyone!

Join the conversation.
Bring your ideas… Your story… Your voice

Hosted by Tucson Bus Riders Union and Primavera Foundation.
For information or to help with this event, contact Suzanne, 289-4088, chelcdavid(at)gmail.com


Ronstadt Center user survey, Wednesday, April 10

Tucson Bus Riders Union is seeking volunteers to help survey bus riders at the Ronstadt Center, in cooperation with Sun Tran and the Downtown Tucson Partnership.

If you’d like to participate for a 3-hour shift between 4:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., contact Suzanne, 289-4088, chelcdavid(at)gmail.com, for info about the brief training session to be held in the preceding days.

A great opportunity to learn about transit users and the current downtown scene!

Rethinking Money in Tucson – meetings with Bernard Lietaer & Jacqui Dunne – March 25 & 26

Monday – Santa Rita Room, Student Union, University of Arizona, Tucson AZ
Tuesday – City of Tucson Public Works Building, 201 N. Stone Avenue, Meeting Room C in the basement

 
Both events are Free. Monday’s will also be webcast (ask for address). Please RSVP for Tuesday.

Rethinking Money: A Wildcat Currency?

Date: Monday, March 25, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Location: Santa Rita Room, Student Union, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721
Contact: rshatz(at)inno-tech.org / mfoudy(at)gmail.com

“Currently, we stand at an extraordinary inflection point in human history. Several intergenerational, even millennial cycles are coming to a close including the end of the Cold War (50 years), of the Industrial Age (250 years) of Modernism (500 years), of Hyper-Rationalism (2,500 years), and of Patriarchy (5,000 years).” from Rethinking Money by Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne

Recognizing the complex duality played by the market economy and the invisible economy (unpaid ‘volunteer’ work), we see that goods and services produced for oneself and one’s circle are quite real, but they are not measured nor valued in the Gross Domestic Product. What we create in the invisible economy does more than complement the array of goods and services generated in the market economy. It engenders Community Spirit. Now 4000 Communities around the planet have started to monetize the invisible economy to improve quality of life for all.

Jacqui and Bernard will help us begin to explore ways to monetize the Wildcat Mystique into our own currency. What would it look like, how would it be earned, how would it be used, how would it be recycled, how is it managed, what are the metrics, how much money do we start with, how will it be funded, how do all of the pieces fit together? How do we brand this?

Bernard Lietaer, MIT PhD in economics, served as an official of the Central Bank of Belgium, and as President of Belgium’s Electronic Payment System. He was an architect of the European Currency Unit that transformed into the Eurocurrency System, and Business Week named him “Top World Currency Trader” in 1992. Ms. Jacqui Dunne is an award winning journalist and a leader in identifying, evaluating and promoting environmentally friendly technologies.

Rethinking Money: A Tucson Currency?

Date: Tuesday, March 26, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. (doors open at 1 pm)
Location: City of Tucson Public Works Building, 201 N. Stone Avenue, Meeting Room C in the basement
Contact: rshatz(at)inno-tech.org / mfoudy(at)gmail.com

What is complementary currency? How can we promote economic activity especially among small businesses and build the Tucson community?

You are invited to attend a conversation with the Author of “Rethinking Money”, Bernard Lietaer. Mr Lietaer holds a PhD in economics from MIT and served at the Central Bank of Belgium, and as President of Belgium’s Electronic Payment System. He was an architect of the Euro. He will be joined by Jacqui Dunne, an award winning journalist, and Tucsonan Tom Greco, a currency expert. Learn how 4000 communities around the world have started to monetize the invisible economy for a quality of life for all.

Jacqui, Bernard and Tom will help us explore opportunities to create our own complementary currency; discussing for example: “What would it look like, how would it be earned, how would it be used, how would it be recycled, how is it managed, what are the metrics, how much money do we start with, how will it be funded, how do all of the pieces fit together? How do we brand this?”

There is no cost to attend, but RSVP is requested to mfoudy(at)gmail.com

Co-sponsored by University of Arizona, National Law Center, Sunbelt World Trade Association, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and SABHA.

 
Also see Money and Life – Fox Theater March 26 and Tucson Time Traders – Tucson’s Local Timebank

Arctic Methane: Why The Sea Ice Matters

Arctic Methane: Why The Sea Ice Matters:

An interview with four top climate scientists: Peter Wadhams, Director, Polar Ocean Physics Group, Cambridge University: Natalia Shakhova, International Arctic Research Centre; David Wasdell, Director, Apollo-Gaia; James Hansen, NASA, Goddard Institute.

By Nick Breeze, Envisionation, Communicating Climate Change

If there is one short video you need to share with others unconvinced that the challenge of climate change is the number one urgent challenge that humanity faces — this is surely near the very top of the list.

 

Click here to watch the 20-minute video.

 

 

The End of Growth: David Suzuki & Jeff Rubin

The End of Growth: Rubin & Suzuki

From Ideas with Paul Kennedy

Economist Jeff Rubin and biologist David Suzuki might seem an unlikely pairing. But they’ve been touring Canada together, talking about the natural limits to growth from their very different perspectives. We listen in as they try to convince a Calgary audience that we’ve already exceeded the capacity of the planet.

Click here to listen to Jeff Rubin and David Suzuki.

 

Originally published by CBC Radio on 2013-03-15; article: http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2013/03/13/the-end-of-growth/ by Jeff Rubin , David Suzuki

Re-published on Resilience (http://www.resilience.org)

 

 

Michael Shuman – Keynote Address on Local Investment

Bob Russell, Co-Director of the Neahtawanta Research and Education Center (nrec.org) organized a special economic development workshop with co-sponsorship of the Chamber of Commerce on local business investment. Champion and leading innovator of re-localization, Michael Shuman, gave the keynote presentation in Traverse City Michigan, October 2, 2012 at the Hagery Center, Northwestern Michigan College.

Click here to watch the video.      (1 hour, 15 minutes)

Phoenix in the Climate Crosshairs

Phoenix in the Climate Crosshairs

by William deBuys

 

If cities were stocks, you’d want to short Phoenix.

Of course, it’s an easy city to pick on. The nation’s 13th largest metropolitan area (nudging out Detroit) crams 4.3 million people into a low bowl in a hot desert, where horrific heat waves and windstorms visit it regularly. It snuggles next to the nation’s largest nuclear plant and, having exhausted local sources, it depends on an improbable infrastructure to suck water from the distant (and dwindling) Colorado River.

In Phoenix, you don’t ask: What could go wrong? You ask: What couldn’t?

And that’s the point, really. Phoenix’s multiple vulnerabilities, which are plenty daunting taken one by one, have the capacity to magnify one another, like compounding illnesses. In this regard, it’s a quintessentially modern city, a pyramid of complexities requiring large energy inputs to keep the whole apparatus humming. The urban disasters of our time — New Orleans hit by Katrina, New York City swamped by Sandy — may arise from single storms, but the damage they do is the result of a chain reaction of failures — grids going down, levees failing, back-up systems not backing up. As you might expect, academics have come up with a name for such breakdowns: infrastructure failure interdependencies. You wouldn’t want to use it in a poem, but it does catch an emerging theme of our time.

Phoenix’s pyramid of complexities looks shakier than most because it stands squarely in the crosshairs of climate change. The area, like much of the rest of the American Southwest, is already hot and dry; it’s getting ever hotter and drier, and is increasingly battered by powerful storms. Sandy and Katrina previewed how coastal cities can expect to fare as seas rise and storms strengthen. Phoenix pulls back the curtain on the future of inland empires. If you want a taste of the brutal new climate to come, the place to look is where that climate is already harsh, and growing more so — the aptly named Valley of the Sun.

In Phoenix, it’s the convergence of heat, drought, and violent winds, interacting and amplifying each other that you worry about. Generally speaking, in contemporary society, nothing that matters happens for just one reason, and in Phoenix there are all too many “reasons” primed to collaborate and produce big problems, with climate change foremost among them, juicing up the heat, the drought, and the wind to ever greater extremes, like so many sluggers on steroids. Notably, each of these nemeses, in its own way, has the potential to undermine the sine qua non of modern urban life, the electrical grid, which in Phoenix merits special attention.

If, in summer, the grid there fails on a large scale and for a significant period of time, the fallout will make the consequences of Superstorm Sandy look mild. Sure, people will hunt madly for power outlets to charge their cellphones and struggle to keep their milk fresh, but communications and food refrigeration will not top their list of priorities. Phoenix is an air-conditioned city. If the power goes out, people fry.

In the summer of 2003, a heat wave swept Europe and killed 70,000 people. The temperature in London touched 100 degrees Fahrenheit for the first time since records had been kept, and in portions of France the mercury climbed as high as 104°F. Those temperatures, however, are child’s play in Phoenix, where readings commonly exceed 100°F for more than 100 days a year. In 2011, the city set a new record for days over 110°F: there were 33 of them, more than a month of spectacularly superheated days ushering in a new era.

In Flight From the Sun

It goes without saying that Phoenix’s desert setting is hot by nature, but we’ve made it hotter. The city is a masonry world, with asphalt and concrete everywhere. The hard, heavy materials of its buildings and roads absorb heat efficiently and give it back more slowly than the naked land. In a sense, the whole city is really a thermal battery, soaking up energy by day and releasing it at night. The result is an “urban heat island,” which, in turn, prevents the cool of the desert night from providing much relief.

Sixty years ago, when Phoenix was just embarking on its career of manic growth, nighttime lows never crept above 90°F. Today such temperatures are a commonplace, and the vigil has begun for the first night that doesn’t dip below 100°F. Studies indicate that Phoenix’s urban-heat-island effect may boost nighttime temperatures by as much as 10°F. It’s as though the city has doubled down on climate change, finding a way to magnify its most unwanted effects even before it hits the rest of us full blast.

Predictably, the poor suffer most from the heat.  They live in the hottest neighborhoods with the least greenery to mitigate the heat-island effect, and they possess the least resources for combatting high temperatures.  For most Phoenicians, however, none of this is more than an inconvenience as long as the AC keeps humming and the utility bill gets paid. When the heat intensifies, they learn to scurry from building to car and into the next building, essentially holding their breaths. In those cars, the second thing they touch after the ignition is the fan control for the AC. The steering wheel comes later.

In the blazing brilliance of July and August, you venture out undefended to walk or run only in the half-light of dawn or dusk. The idea for residents of the Valley of the Sun is to learn to dodge the heat, not challenge it.

Heat, however, is a tricky adversary. It stresses everything, including electrical equipment. Transformers, when they get too hot, can fail. Likewise, thermoelectric generating stations, whether fired by coal, gas, or neutrons, become less efficient as the mercury soars.  And the great hydroelectric dams of the Colorado River, including Glen Canyon, which serves greater Phoenix, won’t be able to supply the “peaking power” they do now if the reservoirs behind them are fatally shrunken by drought, as multiple studies forecast they will be. Much of this can be mitigated with upgraded equipment, smart grid technologies, and redundant systems.  But then along comes the haboob.

A haboob is a dust/sand/windstorm, usually caused by the collapse of a thunderstorm cell. The plunging air hits the ground and roils outward, picking up debris across the open desert. As the Arabic name suggests, such storms are native to arid regions, but — although Phoenix is no stranger to storm-driven dust — the term haboob has only lately entered the local lexicon. It seems to have been imported to describe a new class of storms, spectacular in their vehemence, which bring visibility to zero and life to a standstill. They sandblast cars, close the airport, and occasionally cause the lights — and AC — to go out. Not to worry, say the two major utilities serving the Phoenix metroplex, Arizona Public Service and the Salt River Project. And the outages have indeed been brief.  So far.

Before Katrina hit, the Army Corps of Engineers was similarly reassuring to the people of New Orleans. And until Superstorm Sandy landed, almost no one worried about storm surges filling the subway tunnels of New York.

Every system, like every city, has its vulnerabilities. Climate change, in almost every instance, will worsen them. The beefed-up, juiced-up, greenhouse-gassed, overheated weather of the future will give us haboobs of a sort we can’t yet imagine, packed with ever greater amounts of energy. In all likelihood, the emergence of such storms as a feature of Phoenix life results from an overheating environment, abetted by the loose sand and dust of abandoned farmland (which dried up when water was diverted to the city’s growing subdivisions).

Water, Water, Everywhere (But Not for Long)

In dystopic portraits of Phoenix’s unsustainable future, water — or rather the lack of it — is usually painted as the agent of collapse. Indeed, the metropolitan area, a jumble of jurisdictions that includes Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Mesa, Sun City, Chandler, and 15 other municipalities, long ago made full use of such local rivers as the Salt, Verde, and Gila. Next, people sank wells and mined enough groundwater to lower the water table by 400 feet.

Sometimes the land sank, too.  Near some wells it subsided by 10 feet or more. All along, everyone knew that the furious extraction of groundwater couldn’t last, so they fixed their hopes on a new bonanza called the Central Arizona Project (CAP), a river-sized, open-air canal supported by an elaborate array of pumps, siphons, and tunnels that would bring Colorado River water across the breadth of Arizona to Phoenix and Tucson.

The CAP came on line in the early 1990s and today is the engine of Arizona’s growth. Unfortunately, in order to win authorization and funding to build it, state officials had to make a bargain with the devil, which in this case turned out to be California. Arizona’s delegation in the House of Representatives was tiny, California’s was huge, and its representatives jealously protected their longstanding stranglehold on the Colorado River. The concession California forced on Arizona was simple: it had to agree that its CAP water rights would take second place to California’s claims.

This means one thing: once the inevitable day comes when there isn’t enough water to go around, the CAP will absorb the shortage down to the last drop before California even begins to turn off its faucets.

A raw deal for Arizona? You bet, but not exactly the end of the line. Arizona has other “more senior” rights to the Colorado, and when the CAP begins to run dry, you may be sure that the masters of the CAP will pay whatever is necessary to lease those older rights and keep the 330-mile canal flowing. Among their targets will be water rights belonging to Indian tribes at the western edge of the state along the lower reaches of the river. The cost of buying tribal water will drive the rates consumers pay for water in Phoenix sky-high, but they’ll pay it because they’ll have to.

Longer term, the Colorado River poses issues that no amount of tribal water can resolve. Beset by climate change, overuse, and drought, the river and its reservoirs, according to various researchers, may decline to the point that water fails to pass Hoover Dam. In that case, the CAP would dry up, but so would the Colorado Aqueduct which serves greater Los Angeles and San Diego, as well as the All-American Canal, on which the factory farms of California’s Imperial and Coachella valleys depend. Irrigators and municipalities downstream in Mexico would also go dry. If nothing changes in the current order of things, it is expected that the possibility of such a debacle could loom in little more than a decade.

The preferred solution to this crisis among the water mavens of the lower Colorado is augmentation, which means importing more water into the Colorado system to boost native supplies. A recently discussed grandiose scheme to bail out the Colorado’s users with a pipeline from the Mississippi River failed to pass the straight-face test and was shot down by then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

Meanwhile, the obvious expedient of cutting back on water consumption finds little support in thirsty California, which will watch the CAP go dry before it gets serious about meaningful system-wide conservation.

Burning Uplands

Phoenicians who want to escape water worries, heat waves, and haboobs have traditionally sought refuge in the cool green forests of Arizona’s uplands, or at least they did until recently. In 2002, the Rodeo-Chediski fire consumed 469,000 acres of pine and mixed conifer on the Mogollon Rim, not far from Phoenix. It was an ecological holocaust that no one expected to see surpassed. Only nine years later, in 2011, the Wallow fire picked up the torch, so to speak, and burned across the Rim all the way to the New Mexico border and beyond, topping out at 538,000 charred acres.

Now, nobody thinks such fires are one-off flukes. Diligent modeling of forest response to rising temperatures and increased moisture stress suggests, in fact, that these two fires were harbingers of worse to come. By mid-century, according to a paper by an A-team of Southwestern forest ecologists, the “normal” stress on trees will equal that of the worst megadroughts in the region’s distant paleo-history, when most of the trees in the area simply died.

Compared to Phoenix’s other heat and water woes, the demise of Arizona’s forests may seem like a side issue, whose effects would be noticeable mainly in the siltation of reservoirs and the destabilization of the watersheds on which the city depends. But it could well prove a regional disaster.  Consider, then, heat, drought, windstorms, and fire as the four horsemen of Phoenix’s Apocalypse. As it happens, though, this potential apocalypse has a fifth horseman as well.

Rebecca Solnit has written eloquently of the way a sudden catastrophe — an earthquake, hurricane, or tornado — can dissolve social divisions and cause a community to cohere, bringing out the best in its citizenry. Drought and heat waves are different. You don’t know that they have taken hold until you are already in them, and you never know when they will end. The unpleasantness eats away at you.  It corrodes your state of mind. You have lots of time to meditate on the deficiencies of your neighbors, which loom larger the longer the crisis goes on.

Drought divides people, and Phoenix is already a divided place — notoriously so, thanks to the brutal antics of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City, Andrew Ross offers a dismal portrait of contemporary Phoenix — of a city threatened by its particular brand of local politics and economic domination, shaped by more than the usual quotient of prejudice, greed, class insularity, and devotion to raw power.

It is a truism that communities that do not pull together fail to surmount their challenges. Phoenix’s are as daunting as any faced by an American city in the new age of climate change, but its winner-take-all politics (out of which has come Arizona’s flagrantly repressive anti-immigration law), combined with the fragmentation of the metro-area into nearly two dozen competing jurisdictions, essentially guarantee that, when the worst of times hit, common action and shared sacrifice will remain as insubstantial as a desert mirage. When one day the U-Haul vans all point away from town and the people of the Valley of the Sun clog the interstates heading for greener, wetter pastures, more than the brutal heat of a new climate paradigm will be driving them away. The breakdown of cooperation and connectedness will spur them along, too.

One day, some of them may look back and think of the real estate crash of 2007-2008 and the recession that followed with fond nostalgia. The city’s economy was in the tank, growth had stalled, and for a while business-as-usual had nothing usual about it. But there was a rare kind of potential. That recession might have been the last best chance for Phoenix and other go-go Sunbelt cities to reassess their lamentably unsustainable habits and re-organize themselves, politically and economically, to get ready for life on the front burner of climate change. Land use, transportation, water policies, building codes, growth management — you name it — might all have experienced a healthy overhaul. It was a chance no one took. Instead, one or several decades from now, people will bet on a surer thing: they’ll take the road out of town.

 

William deBuys, a TomDispatch regular, is the author of seven books, most recently A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest. He has long been involved in environmental affairs in the Southwest, including service as founding chairman of the Valles Caldera Trust, which administers the 87,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch book, Nick Turse’s The Changing Face of Empire: Special Ops, Drones, Proxy Fighters, Secret Bases, and Cyberwarfare.

Copyright 2013 William deBuys

Original article published by TomDispatch on 2013-03-15
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175661/tomgram%3A_william_debuys%2C_exodus_from_phoenix/


Republished on Resilience.org 3/17/2013

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

Resilience 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.resilience.org/stories/2013-03-15/phoenix-in-the-climate-crosshairs

Money and Life / Rethinking Money – Tucson film premier – Fox Theater March 26

at the Fox Theater, 17 West Congress Street, downtown Tucson AZ

 

Tucson film premier of Money & Life with filmmaker Katie Teague
and a presentation by Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne

Please join us for a very special event on March 26, 2013 at the Fox Theatre. The Tuscon Premiere of the documentary film Money & Life in conjunction with a presentation by Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne, co-authors of Rethinking Money: How New Currencies Turn Scarcity into Prosperity.

Communities, businesses and governments around the globe are rethinking money. Transformation is taking place, not through conventional taxation, enlightened self-interest or government programs, but by people simply reconsidering the concept of money.

In Rethinking Money, Lietaer and Dunne explore the origins of our current monetary system – built on bank debt and scarcity – revealing the surprising and sometimes shocking ways its unconscious limitations give rise to so many serious problems. They will offer real world examples of ordinary people and their communities using new money, working in cooperation with national currencies, to strengthen local economies, create work, and beautify cities.

Time: March 26, 2013, 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:00)
Location: The Fox Theatre, 17 West Congress Street, Tucson AZ 85701
Cost: $30 per person; $45 per couple (includes one copy of the book Rethinking Money)

Watch a trailer for the film at www.moneyandlifemovie.com, including an appearance by Tucsonan Tom Greco, and see a three-minute clip of Bernard from his interview for Money & Life at vimeo.com/41960492, along with other clips and interviews from the film.

Also see Rethinking Money in Tucson – meetings with Bernard Lietaer & Jacqui Dunne – March 25 & 26 – two free presentations / discussions in Tucson with the authors of Rethinking Money.

Hungry for Change: Food, Ethics, & Sustainability – starting March 27

for 6 Wednesdays, near Congress & Grande, Tucson AZ

Hungry for Change: Food, Ethics, & Sustainability Discussion Course

Baja Arizona Sustainable Agriculture offers “Hungry for Change”, a 6-session discussion course that analyzes the connection between food, ethics, and sustainability. The goals of the course are to explore the interconnected nature of food systems & our relationship to them; examine the impact our food choices have on our health, the health of others, & the planet; and consider the ethical & political implications of our current food system & our personal food choices.

Participants meet for discussion on six Wednesdays, March 27 to May 1, from 6:30 to 8:00pm (attendance required at all sessions).

Location: downtown/west Tucson, near Congress & Grande.
Cost: $30 BASA members, $35 non-members; or $50 for the course and a 1-year BASA membership.

See www.bajaaz.org/calendar for more info.
Contact Meghan at meghan.mix(at)bajaaz.org or 520-331-9821 to register.

31st Annual Solar Potluck – Catalina State Park – April 6

at Catalina State Park near Tucson AZ

Citizens for Solar – 31st Annual Solar Potluck

Saturday, April 6 from 10 am to sunset at Catalina State Park

The Solar Potluck is free and open to the public, although the park charges a $7/carload entry fee.

Please go to Citizens for Solar website for more info – citizensforsolar.org

ST April Meeting – Power to the People: Should TEP be municipalized? – April 8

at Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone, Downtown Tucson (in the large lower-level meeting room, free lower-level parking off Alameda St)

Power to the People:
Should TEP be municipalized?

with guest speaker Leslie Glustrom, Research Director for Clean Energy Action, Boulder Colorado

also speaking – Dan Millis (Sierra Club)

The science is clear. We need to slow the rate of atmospheric carbon emissions to avoid the worst effects of run-away climate change. A “Manhattan Project”-scale effort is needed to de-carbonize our culture if present and future generations are to have a chance to adapt. There is plenty we can do as individuals to tackle the problem: modify our lifestyle; reduce our energy and material consumption, the carbon footprint of our travel, diet, and so forth. But there are aspects of our energy consumption where we seem to have little or no choice – like the carbon-intensive electricity supplied by our local utility, Tucson Electric Power (TEP).

Or is there a choice?

Initiatives have begun to spring up around the country to municipalize privately owned utilities, like TEP, that are resisting the transition to clean energy sources. In 2011, voters in Boulder, Colorado approved two ballot measures to allow the city to create a municipal utility placing it among the nations’ first communities in decades to do so.

The city’s most recent analysis found that Boulder could get 54% of its energy from renewable resources and cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% at a lower cost than the current provider, Xcel Energy.

On Monday, April 8th, Sustainable Tucson is bringing Leslie Glustrom, Research Director for Clean Energy Action, to town to share the lessons learned from Boulder’s campaign to reclaim its energy future. We hope you’ll come and join the conversation about whether or not Tucson might pursue a similar path.

We meet at the Joel Valdez downtown library, lower level meeting room.

Doors open at 5:30 pm
The meeting will begin at 6:00 pm
Free and open to the public

Followup – For a download of Leslie’s informative powerpoint, an audio recording of this important presentation, and further info & notes, please see (and contribute to) the comments on this post, below…

Sprouting: The Art of Gardening in a Jar – April 11

at The Tasteful Kitchen, 722 North Stone Avenue, Tucson AZ

 

Sprouting: The Art of Gardening in a Jar

Join BASA and Wanda Poindexter on Thursday, April 11 to learn basic and intermediate tips for sprouting. Taste various types of sprouts, learn how economical it is to grow organic sprouts right in your own kitchen, and leave with recipes and all the materials you need to get started (please bring two clean 16-32 ounce glass jars).

Taught by Wanda Poindexter, Tucson’s local sprouting expert.

Cost: $10 or $25 for the class and a one-year BASA membership.
Date/Time: Thursday, April 11, 5:45 to 7:00pm (please arrive by 5:40 so we can get started right on time).
Location: The Tasteful Kitchen (recently voted one of Tucson’s best vegetarian, raw food, local foods restaurants), 722 North Stone Avenue.

Seating is limited and registration is required.
Contact Meghan at 520-331-9821 or meghan.mix(at)bajaaz.org to sign up.

Cholla and Nopal Harvesting Workshop – April 18

West Side Tucson near Trails End and Camino de Oeste, Tucson AZ

 

Cholla Bud and Nopal Harvesting Workshop

Join Baja Arizona Sustainable Agriculture and Flor de Mayo to learn how to harvest, process, preserve, and cook with cholla buds and nopales, both traditional foods of the Native Peoples of the Sonoran desert. Cholla buds are a superfood with high available calcium and complex carbohydrates that help balance blood sugar levels and provide sustained energy. Nopales (prickly pear cactus pads) are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, and also help balance blood sugar levels (great for diabetics!).

Taught by Martha Ames Burgess, ethnobotanist, herbalist, and traditional harvester.

Cost: $35 BASA members; $40 non-members (or $55 for the workshop and a one-year BASA membership).

Advance registration required. Contact Meghan at 520-331-9821 or meghan.mix(at)bajaaz.org for further information or to sign-up.

The surprising conclusion to an important new book

The surprising conclusion to an important new book

by Herman Daly

Book Review: The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and the Economic Dissolution of the West (Towards a New Economics for a Full World), by Paul Craig Roberts

About the author: Dr. Roberts was educated at Georgia Tech, University of Virginia, UC Berkeley, and Oxford University. He was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury in the Reagan Administration, associate editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and holder of the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at Georgetown University. His honors include the US Treasury’s Meritorious Service Award, and France’s Legion of Honor.

As evident from this description, Paul Craig Roberts writes from a very solid establishment background in academic political economy, financial journalism, and high public office. His radical critique of today’s economics and public policy will no doubt be surprising to some, but it is based on impressive knowledge and experience, as well as irresistibly convincing honesty. He did not inherit his present understanding of political economy, but developed it through study and experience, with openness to the persuasive power of facts, and willingness to question economic dogmas of both the right and the left.

The book is of special interest to ecological economists, not only for the explicit and insightful support his reasoning gives us, but also for the larger financial and political context in which he places steady-state economics. Although written mainly from a US perspective, the book includes a very clear and informative explanation of the European crisis.

Perhaps the best way to whet the prospective reader’s appetite is to reproduce the brief conclusions with which the book ends, and to testify that the rest of the book solidly supports these conclusions by clear reasoning from relevant facts.

“This book demonstrates that empty-world economic theory has failed on its own terms and that its application by policymakers has resulted in the failure of capitalism itself. Pursuing absolute advantage in cheap labor abroad, First World corporations have wrecked the prospects for First World labor, especially in the US, while concentrating income and wealth in a few hands. Financial deregulation has resulted in lost private pensions and homelessness. The cost to the US Treasury of gratuitous wars and bank bailouts threatens the social safety net, Social Security and Medicare. Western democracy and civil liberties are endangered by authoritarian responses to protests against the austerity that is being imposed on citizens in order to fund the wars and financial bailouts. Third World countries have had their economic development blocked by Western economic theories that do not reflect reality.

All of this is bad enough. But when we leave the empty-world economics and enter the economics of a full world, where nature’s capital (natural resources) and ability to absorb wastes are being exhausted, we find ourselves in a worse situation. Even if countries are able to produce empty-world economic growth, economists cannot tell if the value of the increase in GDP is greater than its cost, because the cost of nature’s capital is not included in the computation. What does it mean to say that the world GDP has increased four percent when the cost of nature’s resources are not in the calculation?

Economist Herman Daly put it well when he wrote that the elites who make the decisions “have figured out how to keep the benefits for themselves while ‘sharing’ the cost with the poor, the future, and other species (Ecological Economics, vol. 72, p. 8).

Empty-world economics with its emphasis on spurring economic growth by the accumulation of man-made capital has run its course. Full-world economics is steady-state economics, and it is past time for economists to get to work on a new economics for a full world.”
Original article: http://steadystate.org/surprising-conclusion-to-important-new-book/ by Herman Daly  published by CASSE on 2013-03-12. Re-published on Resilience (http://www.resilience.org)

Citizens Climate Lobby monthly conference call & planning meeting – (usually) first Saturdays

at 255 W University Blvd, Tucson AZ

Groups meet at 9:45am PT / 12:45pm ET, the international conference call starts at 10:00 am PT / 1:00 pm ET. The conference call is about an hour long, and the groups meet for another hour after that to plan actions.

 

Citizens Climate Lobby – Monthly Conference Call

www.citizensclimatelobby.org

 

Saturday, July 13th 2013, 9:45am (3rd Saturday)
Guest Speaker: Lynne Twist of the Pachamama Alliance

 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Guest speaker: Dr. Amanda Staudt, National Wildlife Federation

Dr. Amanda Staudt is a climate scientist with the National Wildlife Federation who uses her expertise to translate complex scientific theories into terms the public can understand.  Dr. Staudt connects the dots between global warming and weather related phenomenon including wildfires, hurricanes, increased flooding and drought in certain areas of the country. On our next call, she will give an overview of the National Climate Assessment, a report that will be finalized and released later this year.

 

Actions:

1) Write letters to your two senators asking them to improve and co-sponsor the Climate Protection Act, and plan your group’s strategy for generating additional support in your state for this legislation.

2) Confirm which members of Congress your group will research and schedule meetings with during the conference in Washington this summer.

 

For more info, come to a meeting, or email Tucson Climate Action Network tucan.news(at)gmail.com or phone 400-1775

Also see: Tucson Climate Action Network monthly meetings, the March 2013 Sustainable Tucson meeting on Climate Change Activism, and the Citizens Climate Lobby website

Navigating the Perfect Water Resources Storm – U of A – Feb 28

at Integrated Learning Center, Room 140 (underground), 1500 E University Blvd, University of Arizona, Tucson AZ

Las Vegas – Navigating the Perfect Water Resources Storm

Speaker: Patricia Mulroy, General Manager, Southern Nevada Water Authority

What does a water manager do when the perfect storm strikes? Las Vegas, for decades the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the United States, serves as an excellent case study for those interested in navigating through extreme conditions.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear a prominent leader in western water talk about the many challenges of sustaining our limited water supplies. Open to all.

Bio: Patricia Mulroy oversees the operations of the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Las Vegas Valley Water District. Mulroy joined the LVVWD in 1985 and assumed the role of general manager in 1989. She was a principal architect of the SNWA, which has served as a model for other Western water agencies since its creation in 1991. Mulroy is President of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Water Research Foundation and the National Water Resources Association. She is a member of the American Water Works Association.

Co-Sponsors: UA Water Sustainability Program, Water Resources Research Center, James E. Rogers College of Law

Contact: Jackie Moxley jmoxley(at)cals.arizona.edu

UA Water Sustainability Program – http://wsp.arizona.edu

ST March Meeting – Climate Change Activism – March 11

at Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone, Downtown Tucson (in the large lower-level meeting room, free lower-level parking off Alameda St)

Climate Change Activism – Messaging and Solutions

with guest speaker Julie Robinson, Center for Climate Change Communication, George Mason University

In our future there will be no more important issue to the health of humans and continuance of civil society than that of Climate Change and its disruptive effects.

Projections of increasing heat in our region (now 6-10 degrees F by the turn of the century), increasing severity of drought and wildfire, decreasing water supply, distant crop failures and super storms lay before us a challenge to which we either respond or succumb. Detrimental environmental, health and economic effects all stem from a historic reliance on fuels producing carbon dioxide, and exacerbated by a region planning for an ever increasing population.

The timeframe for effective action to mitigate the worst outcomes continues to shrink, and we find ourselves at our own localized ground zero. It is this paradigm that motivates a growing number of concerned citizens to put aside other life tasks to concentrate more of their time on tackling the climate change challenge.

The goal of this Sustainable Tucson meeting is to increase participation in effective climate change activism in Tucson.

Please join us this month and learn about climate change messaging from our guest speaker Julie Robinson, a recent post-doc with the Center for Climate Change Communication (George Mason University). She will present an overview of relevant work in this field including the latest research conducted by her colleagues at Mason and Yale on Global Warming’s Six Americas.

And please acquaint yourselves with the work being done locally and globally by Tucson Climate Action Network (TUCAN), the local activist community… and hopefully lend your support for TUCAN’s mission and these initiatives, presented by some of our local activists,

350.org – Patsy Stewart
Sierra Club – Dan Millis
Interfaith Power and Light – Lisa McDaniels-Hutchings
Tucson Bus Riders Union – Susan Willis
Physicians for Social Responsibility – Dr. Barbara Warren
National Institute for Peer Support – Bridget Stoll
Citizen’s Climate Lobby for national Carbon Fee and Dividend legislation – Ron Proctor

If there was ever a time to support a climate action solution, the time is now. Come find out about solutions to this most-challenging dilemma, and join a growing community of activist-friends in the process.

See you there,
Ron Proctor
Coordinator, Sustainable Tucson

Monday, March 11th, 2013 at the Joel Valdez Library
in the large lower-level meeting room.

Doors open at 5:30 pm
The meeting will begin at 6:00 pm
Free and open to the public

p.s. Here are Julie Robinson’s powerpoint slides for this presentation, other notes and audio recordings will be available here soon…

Also see: Tucson Climate Action Network meetings and monthly conference call with the Citizens Climate Lobby. View this recent interview with Anthony Leiserowitz, Yale climate change communication expert, by journalist Bill Moyers.

The 4th Annual Water Festival – Tucson Arts Brigade – Earth Day – April 21

Earth Day at Reid Park, Tucson Arts Brigade presents
 

THE WATER FESTIVAL

Synergy of Art, Science, and Community

The 4th Annual Water Festival, presented by Tucson Arts Brigade, raises awareness and promotes stewardship for water and water-related themes relating to sustainability, health, and community.

The Water Festival brings community together through creative and diverse activities for learning, networking, and family friendly fun – featuring an exhibitor fair, workshops, speakers, performances, art show, “The Vibe” Live Art Happenings, Design for Water Solutions Contest, 3-mi Walk for Water, and a mermaid in a wishing well.

This year, The Water Festival is partnering with The Earth Day Festival at Reid Park on Sunday, April 21, 2013, 9am-2pm, and expects over 5,000 people.

 
CALL FOR PARTNERS, EXHIBITORS, ARTISTS & VOLUNTEERS!

Register as a Sponsor, Exhibitor, Artist / Inventor, Activity Leader, or Volunteer.

More info / Register:
phone: 520-623-2119
email: info(at)WaterFestivalTucson.org
web: www.WaterFestivalTucson.org

c/o Tucson Arts Brigade
PO Box 545, Tucson AZ 85702
www.TucsonArtsBrigade.org

The World According To The Automatic Earth: A 2013 Primer Guide

For the past five years, Nicole (Stoneleigh) Foss and Raul Ilargi Meijer have been providing the world with keen analyses of critical sustainability subjects: finance and economics;  energy; scale, society, and trust; and preparation. The Automatic Earth’s 2013 Primer is an excellent summary of their work including dozens of links to cutting-edge articles and clear writing.

Click here for article.

 

The “Stay Informed” section of Sustainable Tucson’s homepage recommends that periodic visits to our two favorite News and Views websites: Resilience.org and AutomaticEarth.com, provide the best “two-stop” coverage of sustainability subjects on the Internet.

 

Edgar Cahn, TimeBanks USA – How President Obama Can Beat The Odds And Make Good On His Commitments

How President Obama Can Beat The Odds And Make Good On His Commitments

from Edgar S. Cahn, CEO TimeBanks USA,
Distinguished Professor of Law, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

In his Inaugural Address, President Obama made some commitments that seem to defy fiscal reality:

  “A little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anyone else.”

  “We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.”

  “We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.”

The problem: there are not enough funds, public, private, philanthropic to pay the cost, at market prices, for all the educational services and all the health care services needed to make good on those promises.

For a quarter century, the TimeBanking community has been demonstrating how to make the impossible possible.  There is vast untapped capacity in community.  We have proven that:

  • Healthy seniors and their families can provide reliable, informal care that reduces medical costs.

  • Fifth graders can tutor third graders who otherwise fail to attain essential reading levels.

  • Teenagers can tutor elementary school children using evidence-based cross-age peer tutoring.

How could this get paid for?  How can we record, recognize and reward labor from a work force that is not recognized or valued by the GDP?  For decades, the TimeBank community in the United States and thirty four other countries has been learning how to do it, teaching us all that every one of us has something special to give.

The function of a medium of exchange is to put supply and demand, capacity and need together.  What money does not value, TimeBanking does.  TimeBanking provides a tax-exempt, local medium of exchange that uses Time as a currency.  One hour helping another (regardless of mainstream market value) equal one Time Credit.  TimeBanking has proven capable of harnessing vast untapped capacity that the market does not value to address vast unmet needs.

Ask the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation which just made a major award to Neighborhood Health Centers of Lehigh Valley to utilize its TimeBank program as a resource to help build a super utilizer intervention program to reduce health care costs.  For ten years, home visits by Lehigh Valley TimeBank members functioning as health coaches and providing informal support have helped folks with chronic problems stay healthy and at home.

Ask Mayor Bloomberg’s Department for the Aging which has established TimeBank programs for seniors in all five boroughs to provide the kind of informal support needed to promote health and prevent unnecessary utilization of the emergency room care by elders.

Ask the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (with a 3,000 member TimeBank) that reports that 79% of TimeBank members felt that their membership gives them support they need to be able to stay in their homes and community as they get older and 100% reported they have benefited from becoming a TimeBank member.

Ask the National Education Association or do a Google search to see if Cross-Age Peer Tutoring rates the status of an evidence-based instructional and remedial strategy.

Ask the Washington State Office of Public Instruction for its authoritative manual on Cross-Age Peer Tutoring.

Ask the National Science Foundation why it granted nearly $1million dollars to Pennsylvania State University Center for Human-Computer Interaction to develop mobile apps for TimeBanking so every Smartphone user can be a time banker.

It’s time America discovered its vast hidden wealth: people not in the work force – seniors, teenagers, children, the disabled – whose energy and capacity has been tapped by TimeBanking for over a quarter century to strengthen fragile families, rebuild community, enhance health, promote trust, restore hope.

President Obama, if you want to do the impossible, it’s time to bet on each other and on our collective capacity.  TimeBanking supplies a medium of exchange that translates “Created Equal” into a currency that embodies that equality.  If we take it to scale, we can make good on delivering those “inalienable rights” to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness promised to every one of us by the Founding Fathers.

Also see TimeBanks USA and Tucson Time Traders

ST February Meeting – Tucson’s Economy – Feb 11

at Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone, Downtown Tucson (in the large lower-level meeting room, free lower-level parking off Alameda St)

Local Economy • Financial and Monetary Innovation

Please join us for Sustainable Tucson‘s February Meeting where we’ll hear leaders and experts from Tucson and Phoenix, and engage everyone in discussion on the subject of sustainable local economy.

Our speakers will sketch the current economic condition of Tucson and the state of Arizona – prospects, challenges, and possible futures, and describe innovative approaches to exchange and finance that are emerging and could have a significant impact over the near term. We will look at the possibilities of public banking and alternative local currencies and exchange systems including community time banking, as well as innovative approaches to economic development for enterprises contributing to community resilience and sustainability – mutual credit clearing, micro-lending, and crowd-funding.

Tom GrecoBeyond Money – Tom, moderator of this evening’s program, is Tucson’s own world-renowned expert on innovative economic systems supporting community resilience and local economic independence.

Michael GuymonTucson Regional Economic Opportunities – Michael will speak on the state of Tucson’s economy. He is responsible for planning, developing and implementing the business development strategies of TREO to attract, retain and expand jobs and capital investment for the region.

Jim HannleyProgressive Democrats of America – Jim will describe ongoing efforts to institute Public Banking in Arizona. Also see the Public Banking Institute website.

C J CornellPropel Arizona – C J Cornell is Professor of Digital Media & Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University, and founder of Propel Arizona, a new platform for internet crowd-funding for local projects in Arizona.

Winona Smith & Chris VansproutsTucson Time Traders – Winona and Chris are coordinators for Tucson’s local timebank, and will talk about how community timebanking can be significant in the healing and prevention of economic troubles. Participating in Tucson Time Traders is something everyone can do right now to strengthen local community and economy!

There will also be a tour and demonstration of Tucson Time Traders‘ website on the big screen from 5:30 to 6:00 pm before the main meeting starts. Come early, and/or join us online at timetraders.metasofa.org

Join us Monday, February 11th, 2013 at the Joel Valdez Library
in the large lower-level meeting room.

Doors open at 5:30 pm
The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm
Free and open to the public

Also see Public Banking InstituteCenter for Advancement of Steady-State EconomySlow Money investing in local food • SeedSpotGangplanka message to President Obama from Edgar CahnST joins Timebank and past ST articles on Economy and Relocalization

Also see the comments on this article for audio recordings and followup notes & links…

Sonoran Permaculture Guild – 18th Annual Permaculture Design Course – 5 weekends starting Feb 9

5 weekends starting Feb 9 in Tucson AZ

Sonoran Permaculture Guild
18th Annual Permaculture Design Course

This Permaculture certification course covers all aspects of sustainable design with a Southwest dry lands flavor, including a balance of hands on experience, classroom time, and design practicum. Dynamic exercises encourage pattern recognition, noticing the links between plants and animals, climate, and landforms that make up natural ecosystems.

The course focuses on dry land communities with a strong urban and semi-rural emphasis, addressing individual site and neighborhood “problems”, such as storm water flooding. Students learn to read the landscape, to map and analyze energies flowing through a site, and to develop integrated designs for sustainable systems.

Our course closely follows the standard 72 hour format developed by Bill Mollison and others. The weekend format of the course makes it easier for people who hold a week day job to attend and promotes better integration of the course material into daily life.

Dates for the the upcoming 2013 course are the following weekends – Feb. 9-10, Feb. 16-17, March 2-3, March 16-17, March 23-24

Cost $695, or $650 for early registration before January 25th.  There is also a class book fee of $42 for a copy of Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison. Also highly recommended is Brad Lancaster’s Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands Vol 1 and Vol 2.

For the last seventeen years this course has been full with a waiting list, so early registration is encouraged. To give a high quality educational experience, we limit the size of the class to eighteen participants. A limited number of Partial scholarships are available.

Contact Dan, the course registrar, dorsey(at)dakotacom.net or 520-624-8030 to register or receive more information.

Sonoran Permaculture Guildwww.sonoranpermaculture.org

Worldwide GLOBE at Night 2013 Campaign

Worldwide GLOBE at Night 2013 Campaign

What would it be like without stars at night? What is it we lose? Starry night skies have given us poetry, art, music and the wonder to explore. A bright night sky (aka light pollution) affects energy consumption, health and wildlife too. Spend a few minutes to help scientists by measuring the brightness of your night sky. Join the GLOBE at Night citizen-science campaign. The first campaign starts January 3 and runs through January 12.

GLOBE at Night is a worldwide, hands-on science and education program to encourage citizen-scientists worldwide to record the brightness of their night sky. During five select sets of dates in 2013, children and adults match the appearance of a constellation (Orion or Leo in the northern hemisphere, and Orion and Crux in the southern hemisphere) with seven star charts of progressively fainter stars. Participants then submit their choice of star chart at www.globeatnight.org/webapp with their date, time and location. This can be done by computer (after the measurement) or by smart phone or pad (during the measurement). From these data an interactive map of all worldwide observations is created.

There are 5 GLOBE at Night campaigns in 2013: January 3 – 12, January 31 – February 9, March 3 – 12, March 31 – April 9, and April 29 – May 8.

Over the past 7 years of 10-day campaigns, people in 115 countries have contributed over 83,000 measurements, making GLOBE at Night the most successful, light pollution citizen-science campaign to date. The GLOBE at Night website is easy to use, comprehensive, and holds an abundance of background information. Guides, activities, one-page flyers and postcards advertising the campaign are available at www.globeatnight.org/pdf. Through GLOBE at Night, students, teachers, parents and community members are amassing a data set from which they can explore the nature of light pollution locally and across the globe.

Listen to a fun skit on GLOBE at Night in a 7-minute audio podcast at http://365daysofastronomy.org/2012/12/17/december-17th-the-dark-skies-crusader-retires-globe-at-night-returns/

Visit us on the Web: www.globeatnight.org
Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GLOBEatNight
Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/GLOBEatNight
Subscribe to our mailing list for updates: globeatnight-list-on(at)noao.edu
Contact us: globeatnight(at)noao.edu

TUCAN – Tucson Climate Action Network – (usually) 2nd Wednesdays

at Pima Friends Meeting House, 931 N 5th Ave, Tucson AZ

Also see: monthly conference call with Citizens Climate Lobby, and the March 2013 Sustainable Tucson meeting on Climate Change Activism

 
March 16 thru 23 is the Stop Tar Sands Profiteers Week of Action – details at www.tarsandsblockade.org/actionweek

 
Jan 7, 2013

Dear friends of a sustainable future,

Happy 2013! Let’s make it a healthier one for the planet.

The regular monthly meeting of the Tucson Climate Action Network is THIS WEDNESDAY, Jan. 8, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Pima Friends Meeting House, 931 N. 5th Ave., Tucson. Parking is in back and it’s a block from Sun Tran’s route 4.

Tar Sands Action is heating up! You can follow at TarSandsBlockade.org or the Tar Sands Blockade Facebook page. February 17 should be the biggest action yet, in Washington, D.C. The announcement below is excerpted from the letter from 350.org and the Sierra Club announcing the Feb. 17 action. If you can attend or are considering it, please contact Patsy Stewart, 520-615-0381, p.s.patsystewart(at)gmail.com, as soon as you can so we can coordinate a Tucson contingent and plan our transportation. Patsy gets a lot of e-mail! so if you contact her that way, please put “Presidents Day” or “Feb. 17 action” in your subject line and include your phone number.

Dear friends,

It’s never been clearer that we need bold and immediate climate leadership – that’s why this Presidents Day weekend thousands of activists will head to the White House and tell President Obama to shut down the climate-killing Keystone XL pipeline once and for all.

Something this big has to start early, and it has to start with the people who care the most. Commit to join us in Washington D.C. on February 17th and make this the biggest climate demonstration yet: act.350.org/signup/presidentsday

The last time we stood up against Keystone XL, thousands of us surrounded the White House – and it worked. Right when every political and energy “expert” said the tar sands pipeline was a done deal, we beat the odds and convinced President Obama to take a year to study it.

Now that year is over, and Mother Nature has filed her public comments: the hottest year in American history, a horrible ongoing drought, and superstorm Sandy. And still Big Oil is pushing as hard as ever for their pet project, looking for even more private profit at public expense.

There is also good news: Together, we’ve proven time and time again that grassroots voices can speak louder than Big Oil’s dollars. So this Presidents Day weekend, the Sierra Club, 350.org, and other environmental groups are working with our partners across the progressive community to organize the biggest climate demonstration yet.

Our goal for Presidents Day is to form a massive human pipeline through Washington, and then transform it into a giant symbol of the renewable energy future we need – and are ready to build, starting right away.

You can make this a Presidents Day weekend that the president can’t ignore and won’t forget – sign up to join the rally, bring your friends, and stop the climate-killing Keystone XL pipeline on February 17th: act.350.org/signup/presidentsday

Sustainable Tucson joins Tucson Timebank

Sustainable Tucson joins Tucson Timebank

Sustainable Tucson is a co-sponsor of our local timebank Tucson Time Traders, and Sustainable Tucson is also a member of Tucson Time Traders.

If you volunteer for Sustainable Tucson in the working groups, monthly meetings, or in other ways, you can get hours of credit in the timebank from Sustainable Tucson for the hours you contribute.  Likewise, if you benefit from the work of Sustainable Tucson, or would like to make a donation in support of the work, you can give some of your timebank credit to Sustainable Tucson.

Here is Sustainable Tucson’s member profile in the timebank,

About

Sustainable Tucson
Tucson Arizona USA Earth
www.sustainabletucson.org

Sustainable Tucson is a non-profit grass-roots organization, building regional resilience and sustainability through awareness raising, community engagement, and public/private partnerships.  Our members focus their action, advocacy, and research through working groups addressing the unprecedented challenges of our time, economic meltdown, climate change, population pressures, and resource depletion.

The mission of Sustainable Tucson is to create a community-wide network of people and organizations, facilitating and accelerating Tucson’s transition to sustainability through education and collaborative action.

Offered

Free Public Presentations – monthly meetings with speakers, documentaries, and audience discussion on sustainability issues in relation to education, politics, technologies, projects, and organizations – see www.sustainabletucson.org

Working Groups and Networking on sustainability topics – Water, Food, Green Building, Health & Healthcare, Nature Conservation, Waste Management & Recycling, Money & Local Currency, Neighborhoods & Communities, Transportation, Whole Systems, Climate Change, Renewable Energy, Economics & Relocalization, Politics & Activism, Education & Media, Arts & Culture – also see wanted

Website – current events calendar, local & global sustainability resource links (business, educational, government, and nonprofit organizations), and an archive of news & information articles and event postings since 2006 – www.sustainabletucson.org

Wanted

Leadership and participation in our sustainability working groups, and speakers and facilitators for our monthly public meetings on sustainability (see offered)

Help with updating and organizing our wordpress-based website www.sustainabletucson.org

Funding and donations to cover our operating expenses.  Also, your personal donations of timebank credit here in appreciation for the value of what we are providing (for example if you learned something important at a monthly meeting or from the website).  Your donated timebank credit will help us give timebank credit to our volunteers who are donating their time to the work of Sustainable Tucson.  Thank you!

If you’d like to join Tucson Time Traders, or would like more information, please go to timetraders.metasofa.org or come to a timebank orientation meeting.

Watershed Management Group – Short Courses – Jan Feb March

Tucson AZ

 

Watershed Management Group’s Watershed Technical Trainings (WTT) are hands-on design and implementation trainings to build the knowledge and skills of property-owners and practitioners alike.

As a non-profit organization, WMG’s goal is to offer green job trainings based in collaboration not competition; build applied skills of professionals; and teach universal principles and systems instead of product promotion.  Our courses bring together a wide variety of people, such as architects, engineers, resource managers, consultants, educators, policy makers, community activists, and property owners.

Upcoming courses are:

Urban Stream Restoration, Next scheduled course: Friday, January 18, 2013.  Apply by December 10 to get the most affordable rate.

Ferrocement Cistern Construction, Next scheduled course: January 31 – February 2, 2013 (tentative dates)

Community-based Green Infrastructure & Parking Lot Retro-fits, Next scheduled course: March 15-16, 2013 (tentative dates)

For more information and registration visit watershedmg.org/tech-trainings

WMG Water Harvesting Certification Program – Feb & April

Feb 22 – March 2 in Phoenix, and April 5-13 in Tucson AZ

 

Water Harvesting Certification Program

The Watershed Management Group’s Water Harvesting Certification program is a hands-on training course that provides certification in water harvesting system design and implementation.

WMG’s goal is to transfer water harvesting knowledge to those who will utilize these practices in their professions and teach them to others. Our program provides the highest quality and greatest depth of training in integrative water harvesting offered in the nation.

The course teaches design, implementation, and installation of:

  • Greywater systems
  • Water harvesting earthworks
  • Plastic cisterns

February 22 – March 2, 2013: Phoenix, Arizona (register by January 21, 2013)

April 5-13, 2013: Tucson, Arizona (register by February 25, 2013)

For more information and registration visit watershedmg.org/tech-trainings

ST January 2013 Meeting – Jan 14

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

Sustainable Tucson 2013
How We Can Take Action in the New Year

Lots of powerful efforts are happening in Tucson and around the world to make a more sustainable and secure future. Join Sustainable Tucson on Monday, January 14 as we begin a new year and decide on the main focuses of Sustainable Tucson in 2013.

This year, Sustainable Tucson will continue our efforts to help you find ways you can take action to make your own life, Tucson, and the whole world more and more sustainable.

At the January meeting, we will join our passions and find the areas that we really want to act on. Our goal is to find those things that not only excite you, but excite a lot of people. That way, it isn’t each of us acting alone. It is many people acting together.

What’s your passion – Having healthy, local food to eat? Tackling our share of global climate change? Developing a sustainable local economy that serves Tucson? – Come to this month’s Sustainable Tucson General Meeting and find others who share your passions. It is time to act… together.

Please join us Monday, January 14th, 2013 at the Joel Valdez Library, lower level meeting room.

Doors open at 5:30 pm
The meeting will begin at 6:00 pm
Free and open to the public

Also see Sustainability Actions Everyone Can Do and personally What You Can Do – Top 10, sketches for community-wide Sustainability Plans in the menu above, and articles & resources in the Topics in Focus menu and Archive Categories below.

The Beginning of the World

The Beginning of the World

By  John Michael Greer,

The Archdruid Report ,

December 27, 2012

 

Last Friday was, as I’m sure most of my readers noticed, an ordinary day. Here in the north central Appalachians, it was chilly but not unseasonably so, with high gray clouds overhead and a lively wind setting the dead leaves aswirl; wrens and sparrows hopped here and there in my garden, poking among the recently turned soil of the beds. No cataclysmic earth changes, alien landings, returning messiahs, or vast leaps of consciousness disturbed their foraging. They neither knew nor cared that one of the great apocalyptic delusions of modern times was reaching its inevitable end around them.

 

The inimitable Dr. Rita Louise, on whose radio talk show I spent a couple of hours on Friday, may have summed it up best when she wished her listeners a happy Mayan Fools Day.  Not that the ancient Mayans themselves were fools, far from it, but then they had precisely nothing to do with the competing fantasies of doom and universal enlightenment that spent the last decade and more buzzing like flies around last Friday’s date.

 

It’s worth taking a look back over the genesis of the 2012 hysteria, if only because we’re certain to see plenty of reruns in the years ahead. In the first half of the 20th century, as archeologists learned to read dates in the Mayan Long Count calendar, it became clear that one of the major cycles of the old Mayan timekeeping system would roll over on that day.  By the 1970s, that detail found its way into alternative culture in the United States, setting off the first tentative speculations about a 2012 apocalypse, notably drug guru Terence McKenna’s quirky “Timewave Zero” theory.

 

It was the late New Age promoter Jose Arguelles, though, who launched the 2012 fad on its way with his 1984 book The Mayan Factor and a series of sequels, proclaiming that the rollover of the Mayan calendar in 2012 marked the imminent transformation of human consciousness that the New Age movement was predicting so enthusiastically back then.  The exactness of the date made an intriguing contrast with the vagueness of Arguelles’ predictions about it, and this contrast left ample room for other authors in the same field to jump on the bandwagon and redefine the prophecy to fit whatever their own eschatological preferences happened to be.  This they promptly did.

 

Early on, 2012 faced plenty of competition from alternative dates for the great transformation.  The year 2000 had been a great favorite for a century, and became 2012’s most important rival, but it came and went without bringing anything more interesting than another round of sordid business as usual.  Thereafter, 2012 reigned supreme, and became the center of a frenzy of anticipation that was at least as much about marketing as anything else.  I can testify from my own experience that for a while there, late in the last decade, if you wanted to write a book about anything even vaguely tangential to New Age subjects and couldn’t give it a 2012 spin, many publishers simply weren’t interested.

 

So the predictions piled up.  The fact that no two of them predicted the same thing did nothing to weaken the mass appeal of the date.  Neither did the fact, which became increasingly clear as the last months of 2012 approached, that a great many people who talked endlessly about the wonderful or terrible things that were about to happen weren’t acting as though they believed a word of it.  That was by and large as true of the New Age writers and pundits who fed the hysteria as it was of their readers and audiences; I long ago lost track of the number of 2012 prophets who, aside from scheduling a holiday trip to the Yucatan or some other fashionable spot for the big day, acted in all respects as though they expected the world to keep going in its current manner straight into 2013 and beyond.

 

That came as a surprise to me.  Regular readers may recall my earlier speculation that 2012 would see scenes reminiscent of the “Great Disappointment” of 1844, with crowds of true believers standing on hilltops waiting for their first glimpse of alien spacecraft descending from heaven or what have you. Instead, in the last months of this year, some of the writers and pundits most deeply involved in the 2012 hysteria started claiming that, well, actually, December 21st wasn’t going to be the day everything changed; it would, ahem, usher in a period of transition of undefined length during which everything would sooner or later get around to changing.  The closer last Friday came, the more evasive the predictions became, and Mayan Fools Day and its aftermath were notable for the near-total silence that spread across the apocalyptic end of the blogosphere. Say what you will about Harold Camping, at least he had the courage to go on the air after his May prophecy flopped and admit that he must have gotten his math wrong somewhere.

 

Now of course Camping went on at once to propose a new date for the Rapture, which flopped with equal inevitability a few months later.  It’s a foregone conclusion that some of the 2012 prophets will do the same thing shortly, if only to kick the apocalypse marketing machine back into gear.  It’s entirely possible that they’ll succeed in setting off a new frenzy for some other date, because the social forces that make apocalyptic fantasies so tempting to believe just now have not lost any of their potency.

 

The most important of those forces, as I’ve argued in previous posts, is the widening mismatch between the fantasy of entitlement that has metastasized through contemporary American society, on the one hand, and the ending of an age of fossil-fueled imperial extravagance on the other. As the United States goes bankrupt trying to maintain its global empire, and industrial civilization as a whole slides down the far side of a dizzying range of depletion curves, it’s becoming harder by the day for Americans to make believe that the old saws of upward mobility and an ever brighter future have any relevance to their own lives—and yet those beliefs are central to the psychology, the self-image, and the worldview of most Americans.  The resulting cognitive dissonance is hard to bear, and apocalyptic fantasies offer a convenient way out.  They promise that the world will change, so that the believers don’t have to.

 

That same frantic desire to ignore the arrival of inescapable change pervades today’s cultural scene, even in those subcultures that insist most loudly that change is what they want.  In recent months, to cite only one example, nearly every person who’s mentioned to me the claim that climate change could make the Earth uninhabitable has gone on to ask, often in so many words, “So why should I consume less now?”  The overt logic here is usually that individual action can’t possibly be enough.  Whether or not that’s true is anyone’s guess, but cutting your own carbon footprint actually does something, which is more than can be said for sitting around enjoying a standard industrial world lifestyle while waiting for that imaginary Kum Ba Ya moment when everyone else in the world will embrace limits not even the most ardent climate change activists are willing to accept themselves.

 

Another example? Consider the rhetoric of elite privilege that clusters around the otherwise inoffensive label “1%.”  That rhetoric plays plenty of roles in today’s society, but one of them pops up reliably any time I talk about using less.  Why, people ask me in angry tones, should they give up their cars when the absurdly rich are enjoying gigantic luxury yachts?  Now of course we could have a conversation about the total contribution to global warming of cars owned by people who aren’t rich, compared to that of the fairly small number of top-end luxury yachts that usually figure in such arguments, but there’s another point that needs to be raised. None of the people who make this argument to me have any control over whether rich people have luxury yachts. All of them have a great deal of control over whether and how often they themselves use cars. Blaming the global ecological crisis on the very rich thus functions, in practice, as one more way to evade the necessity of unwelcome change.

 

Along these same lines, dear reader, as you surf the peak oil and climate change blogosphere and read the various opinions on display there, I’d encourage you to ask yourself what those opinions amount to in actual practice.  A remarkably large fraction of them, straight across the political landscape from furthest left to furthest right and including all stops in between, add up to demands that somebody else, somewhere else, do something. Since the people making such demands rarely do anything to pressure, or even to encourage, those other people elsewhere to do whatever it is they’re supposed to do, it’s not exactly hard to do the math and recognize that here again, these opinions amount to so many ways of insisting that the people holding them don’t have to give up the extravagant and unsustainable lifestyles most people in the industrial world think of as normal and justifiable.

 

There’s another way to make the same point, which is that most of what you’ll see being proposed in the peak oil and climate change blogosphere has been proposed over and over and over again already, without the least impact on our predicament. From the protest marches and the petitions, through the latest round of grand plans for energy futures destined to sit on the shelves cheek by jowl with the last round, right up to this week’s flurry of buoyantly optimistic blog posts lauding any technofix you care to name from cold fusion and algal biodiesel to shale gas and drill-baby-drill:  been there, done that, used the T-shirt to wipe another dozen endangered species off the face of the planet, and we’re still stuck in the same place.  The one thing next to nobody wants to talk about is the one thing that distinguished the largely successful environmental movement of the 1960s and 1970s from the largely futile environmental movement since that time, which is that activists in the earlier movement were willing to start the ball rolling by making the necessary changes in their own lives first.

 

The difficulty, of course, is that making these changes is precisely what many of today’s green activists are desperately trying to avoid. That’s understandable, since transitioning to a lifestyle that’s actually sustainable involves giving up many of the comforts, perks, and privileges central to the psychology and identity of people in modern industrial societies.  In today’s world of accelerating downward mobility, especially, the thought of taking any action that might result in being mistaken for the poor is something most Americans in particular can’t bear to contemplate—even when those same Americans recognize on some level that sooner or later, like it or not, they’re going to end up poor anyway.

 

Those of my readers who would like to see this last bit of irony focused to incandescence need only get some comfortably middle class eco-liberal to start waxing lyrical about life in the sustainable world of the future, when we’ll all have to get by on a small fraction of our current resource base.  This is rarely difficult; I field such comments quite often, sketching out a rose-colored contrast between today’s comfortable but unsatisfying lifestyles and the more meaningful and fulfilling existence that will be ours in a future of honest hard work in harmony with nature.  Wait until your target is in full spate, and then point out that he could embrace that more meaningful and fulfilling lifestyle right now by the simple expedient of discarding the comforts and privileges that stand in the way.  You’ll get to watch backpedaling on a heroic scale, accompanied by a flurry of excuses meant to justify your target’s continued dependence on the very comforts and privileges he was belittling a few moments before.

 

What makes the irony perfect is that, by and large, the people whom you’ll hear criticizing the modern lifestyles they themselves aren’t willing to renounce aren’t just mouthing verbal noises. They realize, many of them, that the lifestyles that industrial societies provide even to their more privileged inmates are barren of meaning and value, that the pursuit and consumption of an endless series of increasingly shoddy manufactured products is a very poor substitute for a life well lived, and that stepping outside the narrowing walls of a world defined by the perks of the consumer economy is the first step toward a more meaningful existence.  They know this; what they lack, by and large, is the courage to act on that knowledge, and so they wander the beach like J. Alfred Prufrock in Eliot’s poem, letting the very last inch or so of the waves splash over their feet—the bottoms of their trousers rolled up carefully, to be sure, to keep them from getting wet—when they know that a running leap into the green and foaming water is the one thing that can save them. Thus it’s not surprising that their daydreams cluster around imaginary tidal waves that will come rolling in from the deep ocean to sweep them away and make the whole question moot.

 

This is why it’s as certain as anything can be that within a year or so at most, a good many of the people who spent the last decade or so talking endlessly about last Friday will have some other date lined up for the end of the world, and will talk about it just as incessantly.  It’s that or face up to the fact that the only way to live up to the ideals they think they espouse is to walk straight toward the thing they most fear, which is the loss of the perks and privileges and comforts that define their identity—an identity many of them hate, but still can’t imagine doing without.

 

Meanwhile, of course, the economy, the infrastructure, and the resource flows that make those perks and privileges and comforts possible are coming apart around them.  There’s a great deal of wry amusement to be gained from watching one imaginary cataclysm after another seize the imagination of the peak oil scene or society as a whole, while the thing people think they’re talking about—the collapse of industrial civilization—has been unfolding all around them for several years now, in exactly the way that real collapses of real civilizations happen in the real world.

 

Look around you, dear reader, as the economy stumbles through another round of contraction papered over with increasingly desperate fiscal gimmicks, the political system of your country moves ever deeper into dysfunction, jobs and livelihoods go away forever, whatever social safety net you’re used to having comes apart, towns and neighborhoods devastated by natural disasters are abandoned rather than being rebuilt, and the basic services that once defined a modern society stop being available to a larger and larger fraction of the people of the industrial world.  This is what collapse looks like. This is what people in the crumbling Roman Empire and all those other extinct civilizations saw when they looked out the window.  To those in the middle of the process, as I’ve discussed in previous posts, it seems slow, but future generations with the benefit of hindsight will shake their heads in wonder at how fast industrial civilization went to pieces.

 

I commented in a post at the start of this year that the then-current round of fast-collapse predictions—the same predictions, mind you, that had been retailed at the start of the year before, the year before that, and so on—were not only wrong, as of course they turned out to be, but missed the collapse that was already under way. The same point holds good for the identical predictions that will no doubt be retailed over the next few weeks, insisting that this is the year when the stock market will plunge to zero, the dollar and/or the Euro will lose all their value, the economy will seize up completely and leave the grocery shelves bare, and so on endlessly; or, for that matter, that this is the year when cold fusion or algal biodiesel or some other vaporware technology will save us, or the climate change Kum Ba Ya moment I mentioned earlier will get around to happening, or what have you.

 

It’s as safe as a bet can be that none of these things will happen in 2013, either.  Here again, though, the prophecies in question are not so much wrong as irrelevant.  If you’re on a sinking ocean liner and the water’s rising fast belowdecks, it’s not exactly useful to get into heated debates with your fellow passengers about whether the ship is most likely to be vaporized by aliens or eaten by Godzilla.  In the same way, it’s a bit late to speculate about how industrial civilization will collapse, or how to prevent it from collapsing, when the collapse is already well under way.  What matters at that stage in the game is getting some sense of how the process will unfold, not in some abstract sense but in the uncomfortably specific sense of where you are, with what you have, in the days and weeks and months and years immediately ahead of you; that, and then deciding what you are going to do about it.

 

With that in mind, dear reader, I’d like to ask you to do something right now, before going on to the paragraph after this one.  If you’re in the temperate or subarctic regions of the northern hemisphere, and you’re someplace where you can adjust the temperature, get up and go turn the thermostat down three degrees; if that makes the place too chilly for your tastes, take another moment or two to put on a sweater.  If you’re in a different place or a different situation, do something else simple to decrease the amount of energy you’re using at this moment.  Go ahead, do it now; I’ll wait for you here.

 

Have you done it?  If so, you’ve just accomplished something that all the apocalyptic fantasies, internet debates, and protest marches of the last two decades haven’t:  you’ve decreased, by however little, the amount of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere. That sweater, or rather the act of putting it on instead of turning up the heat, has also made you just a little less dependent on fossil fuels. In both cases, to be sure, the change you’ve made is very small, but a small change is better than no change at all—and a small change that can be repeated, expanded, and turned into a stepping stone on the way to  bigger changes, is infinitely better than any amount of grand plans and words and handwaving that never quite manage to accomplish anything in the real world.

 

Turning down your thermostat, it’s been said repeatedly, isn’t going to save the world.  That’s quite true, though it’s equally true that the actions that have been pursued by climate change and peak oil activists to date don’t look particularly likely to save the world, either, and let’s not even talk about what wasn’t accomplished by all the wasted breath over last Friday’s nonevent.  That being the case, taking even the smallest practical steps in your own life and then proceeding from there will take you a good deal further than waiting for the mass movements that never happen, the new technologies that never pan out, or for that matter the next deus ex machina some canny marketer happens to pin onto another arbitrary date in the future, as a launching pad for the next round of apocalyptic hysteria.

 

Meanwhile, a world is ending.  The promoters of the 2012 industry got that right, though they missed just about everything else; the process has been under way for some years now, and it won’t reach its conclusion in our lifetimes, but what we may as well call the modern world is coming to an end around us.  The ancient Mayans knew, however, that the end of one world is always the beginning of another, and it’s an interesting detail of all the old Mesoamerican cosmological myths that the replacement for the old world doesn’t just pop into being.  Somebody has to take action to make the world begin.

 

It’s a valid point, and one that can be applied to our present situation, when so many people are sitting around waiting for the end and so few seem to be willing to kickstart the beginning in the only way that matters—that is, by making actual changes in their own lives.  The deindustrial world of the future is poised to begin, but someone has to begin it.  Shall we?

 

Original article: http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-beginning-of-world.html

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/2012-12-26/the-beginning-of-the-world

Links:

[1] http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-beginning-of-world.html

[2] http://irnfiles.com/audio/JustEnergyRadio_JohnMichaelGreer.mp3

[3] http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2012/01/waiting-for-great-pumpkin.html

 

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

Stop TUSD closing eco-schools before Dec 20th ! – Public meetings Dec 8 & 10

at Catalina Magnet High School Auditorium, 3645 East Pima St (at Dodge Blvd)

 
Dear climate activists,

As you probably know, many Tucson schools are slated for possible closure, especially on the west and southwest sides of town. Some of these schools have shown great leadership in preparing our students for the real future: teaching ecology, climate science, and practical skills like gardening and bicycling.

These decisions cannot be finalized without public input, and a series of meetings is taking place in preparation for a final vote by the TUSD governing board, set for Dec. 20.

Public meetings at Catalina High, tomorrow and Monday, will address the closings of Manzo Elementary and Wakefield Middle schools, among others. – Saturday, Dec. 8, at 10:00 a.m., and Monday, Dec. 10, at 6:00 p.m., Catalina Magnet High School Auditorium, 3645 E. Pima St. (at Dodge Blvd.)

Tucson Audubon Society is participating in a campaign to save Manzo Elementary in particular. According to the Tucson Audubon Society,

“Tucson has a groundbreaking elementary school that engages students in practical ecology. … This innovative flagship school serves an unmet need … in Tucson. As such it is a key asset in Tucson’s future ability to reverse habitat loss, support declining wildlife species, mitigate for and adapt to climate change, and make the most of our scarce water resources. Manzo’s rainwater harvesting, urban food production and wildlife programs provide a model for all schools across the arid southwest and beyond.”

They invite you to view their letter to the TUSD board, tucsonaudubon.org/images/stories/temporary%20events/Manzo_Letter_LO_Final.pdf, and to write to the board yourself; contact info here tusd1.org/contents/govboard/govboard.html

A good source of info on the school closings issue in general is Equity for TUSD Schools, on Facebook, facebook.com/equityforTUSDschools?ref=stream

Wakefield is one of the schools most involved in bike education and with among the highest proportion of students who bike to school: tucsonvelo.com/news/pima-countys-biggest-bicycle-school-on-tusd-closure-list/14967

Thanks for giving your attention to the health of our planet at all scales, from local to international!

Suzanne and Miriam, members of the Tucson Climate Action Network

Tucson’s visionary Graywater Ordinance is at risk – Mayor and Council meeting at City Hall – Dec 4

Mayor and Council regular meeting at City Hall, 255 W Alameda, Tucson AZ

 

ACTION ITEM: Urge Mayor and Council Not to Repeal Tucson’s Graywater Ordinance

In 2008, the City of Tucson passed a Residential Graywater Ordinance, mandating inclusion of graywater plumbing stub outs on all new homes built in Tucson. This ordinance is among the first of its kind in the nation and demonstrates a visionary approach to address water scarcity through creative, community-driven solutions. By using graywater as an on-site landscape irrigation resource, Tucson can offset demand on potable water supplies and ultimately reduce water treatment costs.

Now the ordinance is under attack. Concerns over the added cost to homebuilders have led to a recommendation to repeal the ordinance with no review by the stakeholders who helped craft the ordinance originally.

Mayor and Council will address this issue at their regular meeting on December 4, Tuesday 5:30 p.m., at City Hall (255 W Alameda). Consider attending the meeting to support this ordinance that is an important part of our local, non-extractive water portfolio.

If the meeting doesn’t fit your schedule, please call or email Mayor Rothschild and the council members to urge them to vote NO on repealing the Residential Graywater Ordinance.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater — instead, ask Mayor and Council to establish a stakeholder committee to address cost concerns and identify opportunities to improve the ordinance.

Email addresses and phone numbers for the mayor and all the council members are available here – cms3.tucsonaz.gov/citygov?qid=197768

Need more information before you call? — read WMG’s letter to Mayor and Council here – watershedmg.org/node/489

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/