Learn to Save Money in the Kitchen and Home! – January 26

On January 26th, Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market will host 2 DIY workshops to help Tucsonans stretch their dollars with homemade soaps and food preservation techniques.

From 3 to 4pm, Joyce Speirs from Dragnass Soaps will lead a workshop on homemade laundry detergent.

From 4 to 5pm, Tiffany Rose Wood, a local integrative nutritionist, will demonstrate how the use of dehydration and freezing techniques can allow us to preserve our seasonal foods longer while maintaining the food’s vital nutrients. Woods will also explain how these preservation techniques can help with meal planning to ensure you save time and money without letting any of those fresh fruits and vegetables go to waste.

The Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market is located at Mercado San Agustin, 100 S. Avenida del Convento, west of 1-10 near Congress/Grande. For more information please call 882-3304.

Ten Good Things About a (Not So) Bad Year

Ten Good Things About a (Not So) Bad Year
Medea Benjamin, CommonDreams

I had the privilege of starting out the year witnessing, firsthand, the unfolding of the Egyptian revolution in Tahrir Square. I saw people who had been muzzled their entire lives, especially women, suddenly discovering their collective voice. Singing, chanting, demanding, creating. And that became the hallmark of the entire year–people the world over becoming empowered and emboldened simply by watching each other. Courage, we learned in 2011, is contagious!

1. The Arab Spring protests were so astounding that even Time magazine recognized “The Protester” as Person of the Year

Sparked by Tunisian vendor Mohamed Bouazizi’sself-immolation to cry out against police corruption in December 2010, the protests swept across the Middle East and North Africa—including Egypt,Libya, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen, Algeria, Iraq, and Jordan. So far, uprisings have toppled Tunesian President Ben Ali, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi–with more shake-ups sure to come. And women have been on the front lines of these protests, highlighted recently by the incredibly brave, unprecedented demo of 10,000 Egyptian women protesting military abuse.

2. Wisconsin caught the Spring Fever, with Madison becoming home to some 100,000 protesters opposing Governor Walker’s threat to destroy collective bargaining and blame the state’s economic woes on public workers. …

3. On September 17 Occupy Wall Street was born in the heart of Manhattan’s Financial District. Protesters railed against the banksters and corporate thieves responsible for the economic collapse.

The movement against the greed of the richest 1% spread to over 1,400 cities in the United States and globally, with newly minted activists embracing–with gusto–people’s assemblies, consensus decision-making, the people’s mic, and upsparkles. Speaking in the name of the 99%, the occupiers changed the national debate from deficits to inequality and corporate abuse. Even after facing heightened police brutality, tent city evictions, and extreme winter weather, protesters are undeterred and continue to create bold actions–from port shut-downs to moving money out of big banks. As Occupy Wall Street said, “You can’t evict an idea whose time has come.” Stay tuned for lots more occupation news in 2012.

4. After 8 long years, U.S. troops were finally withdrawn from Iraq. …

5. The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize was presented to three terrific women: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the president of Liberia; Leymah Gbowee, the Liberian peace activist; and Yemeni pro-democracy campaigner Tawakkol Karman.

6. The bloated Pentagon budget is no longer immune from budget cuts. The failure of the super-committee means the Pentagon budget could be cut by a total of $1 trillion over the next decade — which would amount to a 23 percent reduction in the defense budget. The hawks are trying to stop the cuts, but most people are more interested in rebuilding America than fattening the Pentagon. That’s why the U.S. Conference of Mayors, for the first time since the Vietnam war, passed a resolution calling for the end to the hostilities and instead investing at home to create jobs, rebuild infrastructure and develop sustainable energy. 2011 pried open the Pentagon’s lock box. Let’s make the cuts in 2012!

7. Elizabeth Warren is running for Senate and Rep. Barbara Lee continues to inspire. …

8. Burmese opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is running for Parliament!

9. Opposition to Keystone pipeline inspired thousands of new activists, together with a rockin’ coalition of environment groups across the U.S. and Canada.

They brought the issue of the climate-killing pipeline right to President Obama’s door, with over 1,200 arrested in front of the White House. The administration heard them and ordered a new review of the project, but the Republican global warming deniers are trying to force Obama’s hand. Whatever way this struggle ends, it has educated millions about the tar sands threat and trained a new generation of environmentalists in more effective, direct action tactics that will surely result in future “wins” for the planet.

10. Following the tragic meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, the growing appetite for nuclear energy has been reversed.

(27 December 2011)

Related: 2011’s Big Wins – Brought to You by Women.

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

The 12 most hopeful trends to build on in 2012

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

by Sarah van Gelder

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

Dreaming New Mexico – Peter Warshall – TEDxABQ video

Dreaming New Mexico has built a map of pragmatic and visionary solutions to create a more localized and green economy with greater local self-reliance and enhanced prosperity.

Peter Warshall is Co-Director of the Bioneers’ Dreaming New Mexico Project, and a world-renowned water steward, biodiversity and wildlife specialist, research scientist, conservationist, and environmental activist.

from 2011 September TEDx in Albuquerque New Mexico, posted to YouTube Nov 22 by TEDx
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbyIlbt5_3g

Monthly Salon – Native Seeds / SEARCH

FREE at the Native Seeds/SEARCH Store, 3061 N. Campbell Ave. 85719

Bring your juiciest ideas and appetite for mind-watering conversations. The Salons are held every third Monday of the month, and have a little something for anyone who has ever wielded a fork or pitchfork.

Our Salon on January 16, 2012 will feature Carolyn Niethammer, author of several books including her newest Cooking The Wild Southwest, and Janet Taylor, author of The Healthy Southwest Table. There will be food to sample, they will autograph their books and talk about their recipe research and food writing.

http://www.nativeseeds.org/index.php/events/native-seedssearch-salons

Pima County Food Systems Alliance – Meeting & Potluck – Nov 30

On November 30th (this Wednesday) from 6-8 pm, there will be a large group meeting of the Pima County Food Systems Alliance (PCFSA) with a potluck at the Sam Lena Library (1607 S. 6th Ave, Tucson; call 520.594.5265 for directions)

The Agenda is as follows:

  1. Welcome & Introduction (Nick) (5 min; 6:00-6:05)
  2. Presentation by PCFSA Consultants (Bryn/Lewis) (25 min; 6:05-6:30)
  3. Break & Get Food; Potluck (5 min; 6:30-6:35)
  4. Workgroup Activity (Bryn/Lewis) (1 hour; 6:35-7:35)
  5. Activity: Getting involved in the Policy Process (Jaime) (5 min; 7:35-7:45)
  6. Next Steps (Lewis) (15 min; 7:45-8:00)

Bring your friends & colleagues, plus a taste of your favorite or signature Thanksgiving dish.  And check out our Facebook page!

The Pima County Food Systems Alliance is an open membership network comprised of a variety of groups and individuals—including but not limited to farmers, chefs, restaurants, schools, educators, youth, gardeners, researchers, food banks, health professionals, attorneys, nonprofits, activists, and consumers.  The Alliance works in a collaborative manner to serve as a space to invite discussion and foster learning and education for those who are directly affected by food insecurity, as well as legislative decision makers about food policy.

Sustainable Tucson comments on proposed Rosemont Mine

Sustainable Tucson comments on proposed Rosemont Mine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GMO Free Project Pure Food Happy Hour 11.11.11

GMO Free Project of Tucson presents Pure Food Happy Hour 11.11.11

Tasty Gluten-Free/Non-GMO/Organic Food

that’s good for you – at happy hour prices.

Gluten-free/non-GMO info, prizes,

mixing & meeting like-minded people.

Learn about your gluten free and non-GMO choices in Tucson.

Friday, November 11, 2011

3:00 to 6:00 pm
Picazzo’s Organic Italian Kitchen

7850 N. Oracle Road (south of Magee, near Trader Joe’s)

Cost:  Whatever you purchase

Please RSVP to 481-1128 or info@gmofreeprojectoftucson.org


GMO Free Project of Tucson
www.gmofreeprojectoftucson.org
Live GMO Free!
Pick up a copy of the non-GMO shopping guide at New Life Health Center
– Speedway or New Life Health Center – Ajo.
Download one at www.gmofreeprojectoftucson.org or responsibletechnology.org

Eco-Sanitation Course with David Omick & Brad Lancaster – Dec 5-7

Eco-Sanitation Course with David Omick & Brad Lancaster

December 5 – 7 in Tucson

Note: Dates have changed from those previously advertized. Early registration extended to Oct 30. Early registration cost is $250. Scholarships are available.

Learn cutting-edge principles in simple living technology in a hands-on setting – join WMG for a Watershed Technical Training in Eco-Sanitation!

Expert instructors David Omick and Brad Lancaster will provide an introduction to the concept of eco-sanitation, an overview and tour of various types of composting toilets, and information on human and environmental health considerations and social acceptability challenges. Students will participate in the design and hands-on construction of a composting toilet.

This training is open to professionals, educators, and activists from a wide variety of backgrounds who have the capacity to implement the principles of eco-sanitation presented in the course, either professionally or personally.

Apply by October 30 for the reduced course fee! For more information and to apply, download the full course announcement and application, available at http://www.watershedmg.org/node/268 or contact Rhiwena Slack at rslack(at)watershedmg.org or 520-396-3266.

Sustainability Lessons for the United States


How Germany became Europe’s green leader: A look at four decades of sustainable policymaking

by Ralph Buehler, Arne Jungjohann, Melissa Keeley, Michael Mehling

In Brief

Over the last 40 years, all levels of government in Germany have retooled policies to promote growth that is more environmentally sustainable. Germany’s experiences can provide useful lessons for the United States (and other nations) as policymakers consider options for “green” economic transformation. Our analysis focuses on four case studies from Germany in the areas of energy, urban infrastructure, and transportation. We show how political challenges to the implementation of green policies were overcome and how sustainability programs were made politically acceptable at the local, state, and federal levels of government. Within the three highlighted sectors, we identify potential opportunities and barriers to policy transfer from Germany to the United States, concluding with specific lessons for policy development and implementation.

Key Concepts

  • Germany’s experience with policies aimed at “greening” the economy provides several lessons for the United States about how to make sustainability politically acceptable in a federal system of government:
  • Start small and implement policies in stages. Many sustainability policies in Germany were first implemented at a small geographic scale or with a small scope. Successful pilot projects were expanded in stages over time.
  • There is no silver bullet. Policies have to be coordinated and integrated across sectors and levels of government to achieve maximum effectiveness.
  • Foster citizen participation and communicate policies effectively. Citizen input reduces potential legal challenges, increases public acceptance, and has the potential to improve projects and outcomes.
  • Find innovative solutions and embrace bipartisanship. Successful green policies in Germany were designed to meet the needs of multiple constituents.

How does one “green” an economy? For governments seeking a cleaner, more efficient, and ultimately more sustainable pathway to economic prosperity, this question entails both promise and great challenges. For one, the scale of transformation it requires is exceptionally daunting: in his 2011 State of the Union speech, for instance, President Barack Obama called on the United States to generate 80 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources and to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail, both within 25 years.1 Compared to where the country stands now, these objectives presuppose unprecedented levels of investment in new infrastructure, new technologies, and relevant skills and education; yet at the same time, they also hold the prospect of new opportunities for job growth, innovation, industrial efficiency, and energy independence. With that in mind, one will invariably wonder, is such a transformation feasible at a time of constrained public budgets and slowly recovering economies? And perhaps more importantly, are the expected benefits of such a green transformation compelling enough to persuade a public that is exposed to conflicting messages about the underlying rationale, is critical of new regulation and expenditure, and generally is disillusioned with political authority?

Fortunately, the green transformation of economies is no longer a theoretical concept. Several nations have put the green economy to the test. While far from being the only country to venture down this path, Germany has earned wide recognition for its successful alignment of prosperous and sustainable growth. Unlike many of its European neighbors, Germany has emerged from the recent recession with a robust economy, thanks in large part to flourishing exports. Germany has a dominant market share in various green technologies as well as a substantial part of its workforce employed in the environmental sector.2 Meanwhile, greenhouse gas emissions have fallen in absolute terms, effectively decoupling economic growth from Germany’s environmental footprint.

Admittedly, not all factors contributing to this success story can be replicated in other countries and regions: challenged with scarce natural resources and a high population density, Germans have traditionally been forced to embrace sustainability in virtually all facets of economic activity, from land use to transportation. Historical transition processes, such as postwar reconstruction and, more recently, the reunification of East and West Germany, also resulted in the renewal of infrastructure and replacement of outdated industrial facilities.

Still, the greening of the German economy is also unmistakably the product of several decades of targeted policy design and implementation, particularly in the past decade. Policies related to environmental protection and resource conservation have been mainstreamed in all areas of economic activity and have been described by a former government minister as central to Germany’s recent success: “green policy is merely good industrial policy.”3 Drawing on a series of relevant case studies, this article shows that the transformation witnessed in Germany would not have been conceivable without the policy decisions that preceded it. Each case study—energy taxation, renewable-energy promotion, green infrastructure, and sustainable transportation—offers valuable insights into how to design and implement green policies.

Photo: Green roofs like this one in Berlin, Germany, support specialized, hearty vegetation and provide environmental services such as stormwater retention, urban heat island effect amelioration, habitat for urban wildlife, and energy savings resulting from better thermal insulation.

Pricing Energy for Jobs and Resource Conservation: Germany’s Energy Tax Reform

After months of heated political debate, especially regarding the role of nuclear power in Germany’s energy mix, the federal government adopted its new Energy Concept document in September 2010, setting out a broad framework for German energy policy until 2050. Developed by the ruling center-right coalition, this document aims at turning Germany into one of the “most energy efficient and greenest economies in the world, while enjoying competitive energy prices and a high level of prosperity.”4 In line with a campaign pledge set out in the government’s coalition agreement, the new energy policy defines ambitious targets for the medium and longer term: primary energy consumption is to fall by 20 percent from 2008 levels by 2020, and at least 50 percent by 2050; renewable energy is to account for 18 percent of final energy consumption in 2020, and at least 80 percent of electricity consumption in 2050; and greenhouse gas emissions are to see cuts of 40 percent by 2020 and at least 80 percent by 2050, both relative to 1990 levels.

Energy pricing through taxes and other fiscal instruments has traditionally held a prominent position in the German energy policy mix. As any visitor to Germany will be quick to notice, gasoline prices are significantly higher than in most other regions: in early 2011, a gallon of regular gasoline cost over U.S.$7, more than double the average price in the United States. The price difference is almost entirely due to higher tax rates on oil and other fuels, a system of excise taxes that dates back to prewar Germany and has since been harmonized at the European level. It was not until the late 1990s, however, that energy taxation also became a vehicle for Germany’s green agenda. In 1998, a center-left coalition of Social Democrats and Green Party members pledged to introduce new fiscal instruments to reduce the tax burden on labor and shift part of it to energy consumption. This campaign promise sought to harness the multiple dividends invoked by advocates of environmental taxes, including greater flexibility and cost efficiency than traditional regulation, incentives to develop innovative clean technologies, and the ability to raise revenues for public investments or tax cuts in other areas, such as labor costs.5

In 1999, the German legislature passed the Ecological Tax Reform Act, which mandated gradual increases in the tax rates on oil and gas and introduced a new levy on electricity.6 This initiative was by no means uncontroversial. From the outset, it encountered public opposition triggered by rising prices for crude oil and concerns over industrial competitiveness. Resistance to this measure was, in fact, so great that many observers expected the energy tax project to be a casualty of partisan politics. And yet, in 2006, new legislation by the European Union and a change of government in Germany, coupled with a yawning gap in the federal budget, heralded a new chapter in German energy taxation. That year, the legislature adopted a comprehensive Energy Tax Act, setting up a common fiscal framework for energy products through harmonized definitions, taxation rules, and exemptions.7 This important step led to a complete revision of the framework for energy taxation in Germany, effectively ending years of deadlock in Parliament; but critics were also quick to say it would do little to help transform the German economy. Nearly half a decade later, what has the German energy tax reform achieved?

A Positive Macroeconomic Balance

Between 1999 and 2003, Germany’s energy tax reform resulted in a gradual increase in energy costs. A number of exceptions motivated by social and economic considerations were initially included to safeguard the competitiveness of the manufacturing, agricultural, and forestry sectors and to avoid undue hardship for lower-income households. Overall, however, the fiscal burden resulting from the energy tax reform has been moderate compared to already existing taxes: for instance, only €0.15 of the €0.66 currently charged as taxes on every liter of gasoline is a result of the tax reform, with the far greater share originating in the excise taxes already imposed prior to 1999. Altogether, the share of environmentally motivated taxes in the overall tax revenue only rose from 5.2 percent in 1998 to 6.5 percent in 2003 and has since declined again to 5.3 percent in 2008, nearly the level where it started in 1999.8 Not only does this reflect the fact that other tax categories—notably value-added taxation—have seen greater increases in recent years, but it also is a direct consequence of changing energy consumption patterns.

Fossil fuel consumption has continually declined in Germany since the introduction of the energy tax reform. According to the German Federal Statistical Office, gasoline consumption in 2000 decreased by 4.5 percent compared to the previous year, and it continued to decrease in 2001 and 2002 by 3 and 3.3 percent, respectively, exceeding the previous average reduction of 2 percent due to general improvements in vehicle technology and transportation planning. The targeted increase in energy costs has also created an identifiable incentive for behavioral change in other sectors, encouraging deployment of energy-efficient technologies and processes, including alternative energy sources. Reductions of CO2 emissions are estimated to have reached 3 percent annually, equivalent to 24 million metric tons of CO2.9 At the same time, revenues of the energy tax reform have been almost fully returned to taxpayers, with the largest share used for a gradual reduction of social security contributions. In 2003, for instance, roughly €16.1 billion raised through the tax reform was used to reduce and stabilize nonwage labor costs, allowing pension contributions to be lowered by 1.7 percent.10 With hiring rendered less expensive, the energy tax reform has helped promote employment and has contributed to the creation of an estimated 250,000 new jobs. A smaller fraction of proceeds has been used to subsidize the deployment of renewable-energy projects and the modernization of buildings.

Lessons from Energy Pricing in Germany

Like everywhere else, taxes are a politically sensitive issue in Germany. Unsurprisingly, opponents of the energy tax reform—including the current ruling coalition—were quick to launch a determined media campaign against the proposed legislation. Given the complexities of its design, it was easy for critics to portray the tax reform as a mere increase in the fiscal burden, while downplaying or disputing the accompanying reduction in labor costs and expected employment benefits. Germany’s parliamentary system and its strict party discipline allowed the governing coalition at the time to pass the tax reform against partisan resistance. In countries with different legislative processes, that option may not be available. Ironically, the need to close a growing budget deficit has made the current conservative government, previously an ardent adversary of environmentally motivated taxes, now dependent on the revenue created by the energy tax. As the rationale and benefits of the tax reform have become more widely known, there has been greater public acceptance of the incremental increase in energy cost.

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Photo credit: Ralph Buehler. The light rail system in the car-free city center of Freiburg, Germany. In the mid-1970s Freiburg was the first German city to ban cars from a network of streets in its city center.

It stands to reason that better communication in the initial stages of the tax reform could have alleviated some of the early concerns. Also, its portrayal as an environmentally motivated tax may have incurred avoidable partisan strife; focusing on the innovation and employment benefits of the proposed tax may have been strategically preferable. And clearly, a gradual and transparent trajectory of rate hikes was of central importance in making the tax reform acceptable in the first place. Ultimately, however, the positive outcome of the tax reform is the most compelling lesson from the German experience: contrary to the early fears, behavioral change and innovation prompted by the rising energy prices have actually strengthened the German economy. Energy-efficient technologies are now among the fastest-growing export products, and the incentive to reduce energy use has helped the German economy become more resilient to fluctuations in global oil and gas prices. Overall, greater efficiency throughout the economy has translated into lower energy costs for households and industry. Despite significantly higher energy tax rates, average German utility bills and fuel expenditures tend to match or lie below those seen in the United States. As the Federal Environmental Agency has concluded, the Ecological Tax Reform Act delivered on its promise of improved labor conditions and greater sustainability, resulting in what the agency describes—in a typically German understatement—as a “positive macroeconomic balance.”11

Promoting Renewable Energy

As a member state of the European Union (EU), Germany’s energy policies are driven by a mix of national and European legislation. Formally, the 27 EU member states regulate energy policies within their own national borders. However, EU treaty provisions concerning the European internal market, free competition, and environmental protection have created a European energy policy.12

In 2009, a major piece of renewable-energy legislation was passed as part of an overall climate and energy package. The European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive13 requires each member state to increase its share of renewable energy—such as solar, wind power, biomass, or hydroelectric—to raise the overall share from 8.5 percent in 2010 to 20 percent by 2020 across all sectors (e.g., power generation, heating and cooling, and transportation fuels).

Achievements in Renewable Energy

Germany has seen a remarkable expansion of renewable energy in the last decade. The share of renewable energy in electricity generation rose from 6 percent in 2000 to 16 percent in 2009.14 Over this time, the German government revised its own targets twice, given that previous targets had been exceeded ahead of schedule. The German government is expecting a share of 38 percent renewable power by 2020 and continues to drive the transformation “towards an energy system based completely on renewable energies.”15,16

The economic benefits of this development are impressive. By 2010, the field of renewable-energy-related jobs employed around 340,000 people, most of them in biomass, wind power, and solar.17 In comparison, the German lignite industry employs only 50,000 people—from mining to the power plant.18 The key policy responsible for this success is the Renewable Energy Sources Act, first enacted in April 2000.19 This feed-in tariff policy is embedded in a climate and energy policy framework that promotes renewable energy and efficiency technologies, including laws to encourage combined-heat-and-power plants, a cap and trade system, the energy tax reform described earlier in the article, and several additional measures. The next planned revision to the law will aim to incentivize grid access and grid improvement, offshore wind power, and technologies for peak management and power storage.20

Comparison with Renewable-Energy Practice in the United States

The United States currently employs a mix of short-term tax credits, loan guarantees, state-level renewable portfolio standards, and limited feed-in tariffs. In contrast to Germany, the U.S. policy framework has evolved less quickly at the federal level, where time horizons have been shorter-term. The uncertainty engendered by this short-term policy framework has led to repeated falloffs in renewable-energy capacity additions in the United States as support measures have neared expiration.21 For example, in contrast to Germany, new wind turbine construction in America has fluctuated greatly from year to year, because incentives have repeatedly expired.22 Even with this policy uncertainty, however, the United States in 2008 still led the world in total installed wind-power capacity, with 20.8 percent.23 In 2008, renewable energy provided 9 percent of electricity production in the United States, with large-scale hydropower being the largest source.24

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Photo credit: Ralph Buehler. Cyclists on Freiburg’s car-free Wiwili bridge. The bridge was closed to cars in the early 2000s and is now open only to cyclists and pedestrians.

In many ways, the United States relies more on a state-level approach through renewable portfolio standards to increase renewable-energy capacity. These standards require power companies to provide a certain proportion of electricity from renewable-energy sources. Currently, renewable portfolio standards regulations apply in 29 states and in the District of Columbia; five additional states have established targets for renewable expansion.25 In many cases, long-term supply contracts for green power have been signed. Typical target percentages for green power are 15 percent for 2015, 20 percent for 2020, and 25 percent for 2025. These figures are significantly lower than the target set in Europe (21 percent for 2010).26

Feed-in tariff policies, the most common renewable-energy policy in the world,27 are slowly spreading in the United States. In most cases, these policies guarantee grid access and a 20-year premium contract for renewable energy technologies. As of January 2011, Gainesville Regional Utilities, Hawaii, and Vermont have adopted feed-in tariff policies based on the cost of generation. Maine and California have also adopted a light version of a feed-in tariff, though in California legal struggles are being fought. In addition, representatives in ten different state legislatures have proposed different feed-in tariff models.28

Transferable Lessons for Renewable Energy in the United States

The German success in rapid renewable-energy deployment relies on a robust feed-in tariff law and an overall comprehensive climate and energy framework with a long-term perspective. This policy environment comes with streamlined administrative procedures that help shorten lead times and bureaucratic overhead and that minimize project costs. All of the above create a high investment certainty that the United States overall and most of its states independently currently lack.

Given the abundance of natural resources (e.g., wind, biomass, solar) in the United States, the deployment of renewable energy should be cheaper than in Germany, which has an average solar input close to that of Alaska (and Iowa’s cornfields alone, which could be used for biogas production, are double the size of Germany’s agricultural land).29

Across the political spectrum, all major German parties support an industrial transformation toward a low-carbon economy, and there is a strong consensus concerning the need to address climate change. Constituent groups from both the progressive (e.g., renewable-energy industry) and conservative side (e.g., farm community) benefit from this approach. The understanding is that strong environmental policies drive ecological modernization and create new market opportunities. Germany as an export-oriented country aims to sell the solutions to a carbon-constrained and high-energy-price world.30 By contrast, the United States lags behind, where political debates over climate-change-related policy actions are hindering opportunities and leadership in this arena. As long as the public perceives a trade-off between environmental regulation and industrial competitiveness, it will be extremely difficult for the United States to fundamentally turn toward a low-carbon economy. U.S. policymakers should adjust elements of a feed-in tariff policy to regional contexts to drive rapid growth in renewable-electricity markets, to promote strong manufacturing industries, and to create new jobs in a cost-effective manner.

Encouraging Green Infrastructure

Over the past 40 years, northern Europe, and Germany in particular, has been a hotbed for the innovation and application of green technologies to enhance the urban environment.31 These technologies, sometimes referred to as green infrastructure or low-impact development, include such innovations as green roofs, green facades, and permeable pavements. They mimic the natural processes of soils and vegetation to provide “environmental services” such as stormwater management, urban heat island amelioration, and habitat, even in dense urban areas.32–38 What is clear is that the proliferation of green roofs and other green infrastructure in Germany has been supported by a complex assortment of incentives and requirements at multiple levels of government.31 Significantly, federal nature-protection laws and building codes require “compensation,” or restoration, for human impairment of natural landscapes and of environmental services in greenfield developments (development on previously undeveloped land).39 In many cases, green infrastructure techniques can be used to fulfill these requirements. Federal laws also require that German states create landscape plans.40 As a result, German states have innovated a variety of approaches to environmental protection, many of which have involved elements that first incentivized and later required the creation and maintenance of green infrastructure.

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Photo credit: Melissa Keeley. Potsdamer Plaz is an office, entertainment, and retail center at the heart of Berlin, raised during World War II and then redeveloped after the reunification of east and west Berlin in 1990. This mixed-use site features an elaborate, naturalistic stormwater retention system designed to minimize the burden on the city’s existing water infrastructure. The system incorporates green roofs (seen here) on most buildings in the complex to reduce stormwater runoff.

In addition to this, a series of German federal and state court rulings beginning in the 1970s have required increased transparency and equitable rate structures for stormwater services.41 As a result, the majority of German households are charged for stormwater services based on an estimate of the stormwater burden generated from their properties. This approach of individual parcel assessments (IPAs) differs from the approach used in the United States, where the same charges are levied on all parcels or all parcels of the same class (such as residential). Since IPAs in Germany are used to assess fees that relate directly to conditions present on specific parcels, and because land-use decisions (like paving a driveway or installing a green roof) have major impacts on the amount of stormwater leaving a property, this approach creates incentives for individuals to incorporate green infrastructure on their properties.41

Comparison with Green Infrastructure Practice in the United States

While there is interest in the multiple benefits of green infrastructure in the United States, green infrastructure techniques have gained recent attention in relation to stormwater management. Federal Clean Water Act programs require that local governments overhaul stormwater-management strategies to protect and improve surface-water quality.42 The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, for instance, has already invested U.S.$3.1 billion in a multiphase tunnel and reservoir plan to improve stormwater management.43 To raise needed funds, the creation of stormwater utilities and the assessment of stormwater fees are becoming increasingly widespread. To date, however, the vast majority of U.S. cities have chosen to assess stormwater fees on a class basis; they assess the same fee to all parcels within a given class based on the average stormwater burden their property type contributes.44 This methodology is used almost exclusively for residential parcels and greatly simplifies billing.

Transferable Lessons for Green Infrastructure in the United States

While the United States has focused attention on green infrastructure in relation to stormwater, most U.S. municipalities currently lack the kind of overlapping, reinforcing incentives and requirements that have led to the prominence of these techniques in Germany. This is particularly important given the multiple benefits provided by green infrastructure—such as stormwater management, air-quality improvements, and enhancement of urban quality of life.

Focusing on stormwater management specifically, however, there are further lessons that the United States could draw from German experience with parcel-level assessments, or IPAs. Specifically, this approach might improve watershed planning and stormwater management and address the public relations needs of cash-strapped water-management authorities in three ways: (1) data from IPAs could increase public awareness of human impacts on watersheds; (2) this detailed information could inform watershed planning; and (3) this data could be the basis of fee systems designed to create incentives for on-site stormwater management where cost effective.41

In Berlin, public participation in assessing IPAs is credited with helping the public understand the connections between land-use decisions on their own property and environmental problems in local lakes and rivers. IPAs also provide detailed spatial information about impervious surfaces and their connectedness to the storm sewer system. The latter can only be assessed through on-site surveys, and thus it is otherwise rarely available to engineers and planners. Since connected impervious surface coverage is such a key variable in estimating stormwater burden, this information could enhance watershed planning and the development of stormwater models designed to optimize the efficiency of existing systems.41,45

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Photo credit: Melissa Keeley. Stormwater runoff in Potsdamer Plaz is collected in this pond. Vegetation on the banks of the pond and other treatments are used to purify and remove nutrients from the water, which is then reused in a grey water system for toilet flushing, irrigation, and fire systems within the complex.

Ascertaining each property’s share of the stormwater burden effectively turns what is a diffuse, nonpoint pollution source into a point-source problem. Such a fee-assessment system makes it possible to reduce fees for parcels that manage stormwater with green infrastructure or other best practices. IPAs could, therefore, create a foundation for economic incentives, such as a fee-and-subsidy system or emissions trading, to encourage green infrastructure where it can cost-effectively manage stormwater.46 A significant obstacle to this in the United States is the low rate currently charged for stormwater removal.47 It could prove politically and legally difficult for U.S. stormwater utilities to charge fees high enough to serve as incentives for on-site stormwater management.48

Implementing Sustainable Transportation

Governments at federal, state, and local levels in Germany determine the sustainability of the transportation system. Federal gasoline taxes, sales taxes, and regulations make automobile use and ownership expensive and encourage demand for less polluting and smaller cars. In 2008, sales taxes on automobiles in Germany were three times higher than in the United States, and gasoline taxes were nine times higher.49–53 However, higher gasoline taxes do not translate to higher household expenditures for transportation in Germany compared to the United States. Germans own fewer and more energy efficient cars and drive fewer miles than Americans. Thus, in 2008 transportation accounted for roughly 14 percent of household expenditures in Germany, compared to about 19 percent in the United States. The German federal government provides dedicated matching funds for investments in local public transportation. Flexible federal matching funds for local transportation improvements can also be used for local public transportation, walking, and cycling projects.54 German states distribute federal funds for regional rail systems and coordinate public transportation services statewide.55 Many German states set minimum parking requirements for local developments. Federal and state governments provide the framework for more-sustainable transportation, but cities have played a crucial role in developing and implementing innovative policies (see Box).

The Freiburg Model of Transport Sustainability

Since the late 1960s, the city of Freiburg (population 220,000) has been at the forefront of promoting sustainable transport.1,2 Since then, the number of trips by bicycle has tripled, transit ridership has doubled, and the share of trips by car has fallen from 38 to 32 percent. Since the early 1990s, the level of motorization has stagnated and per capita CO2 emissions from transportation have fallen, in spite of strong economic and population growth. Up to the late 1960s, Freiburg promoted greenfield development, widened streets, abandoned trolley lines, and built car parking lots. Motorization increased rapidly, transit ridership plummeted, and the city was sprawling. Air pollution, traffic fatalities, and traffic congestion caused by cars and other environmental concerns shifted public opinion away from automobile-centered growth.2 Freiburg achieved a more sustainable transportation system by (1) successfully integrating land-use and transportation planning, (2) coordinating and integrating public transportation regionally, (3) promoting bicycling, (4) restricting automobile use, and (5) encouraging citizen participation throughout the process.2,3

Integrating Transportation and Land-Use Planning

Even though Freiburg started implementing sustainable transportation policies in the early 1970s—such as creating pedestrian zones in the downtown area—there was no formal link between land use and transportation planning. The two have become more formally coordinated since then. The comprehensive transportation plan of 1979 called for explicit integration of both planning sectors. The land-use plan of 1981 prescribed that new development was to be concentrated along public transportation corridors. In 2006, two-thirds of Freiburg’s residents’ jobs were located within a quarter mile of a light-rail stop.2

Freiburg’s most recent land-use and transportation plans in 2008 were developed simultaneously and are fully integrated. Both reiterate the goals of reducing car use and favor central mixed-use development over settlements on the suburban fringe. Vauban and Rieselfeld, two new inner suburbs built around light-rail line extensions, are good examples for today’s complete integration of transportation and land-use planning. Both communities are compactly laid out and mix residential, commercial, educational, and recreational land uses. Car access and parking are limited, and streets are traffic-calmed with speed limits of 30 kilometers per hour, or even 7 kilometers per hour, to give priority to pedestrians, cyclists, and playing children.2

Expanding and Coordinating Public Transportation Services

In the early 1970s, the city decided to expand its public transportation network, but it took until 1983 before the first new light-rail line was added to the existing 14 kilometers of track. Since then, Freiburg has opened four new lines for a total of 36.4 kilometers in 2008, and the amount of light-rail service has tripled. In 1984, Freiburg’s public transportation system offered Germany’s first monthly ticket—transferable to other users.4 In 1991, the geographic coverage of the ticket was expanded to include the city and two adjacent counties. Services, fares, subsidies, and timetables for bus and rail operators are coordinated regionally. The monthly ticket offers unlimited public transportation travel within the entire region for about U.S.$60. Over 90 percent of passengers have monthly or annual tickets.2,3 Due to the high demand, Freiburg’s transit system has become one of the most financially efficient in Germany—requiring operating subsidies of only 10 percent (compared to 65 percent for public transit systems in the United States).4

Making Cycling a Viable Transportation Alternative for All Trips

Separate bike infrastructure and cyclist-friendly streets make the bicycle a feasible option for all trips and all destinations in Freiburg. Since the early 1970s, Freiburg has expanded its network of separate bike paths and lanes fivefold to 160 kilometers in 2007. This network is complemented by bike routes through forests, traffic-calmed roads, and bicycle streets. Additionally, the city has traffic-calmed almost all residential streets. In 2008, nine out of ten Freiburgers lived on streets with speed limits of 30 kilometers per hour or less. Slow automobile speeds encourage more cycling and make it safer. The total number of bike trips in Freiburg has nearly tripled since 1976—amounting to almost one bike trip per inhabitant per day in 2007.2

The city requires bike parking in all new buildings with two or more apartments, as well as in schools, universities, and businesses. Between 1987 and 2009, the number of bike parking spaces in downtown and at transit stops increased significantly—including a major bike parking garage at the main train station, with space for 1,000 bikes.2

Restricting Automobile Use

Many of the policies that promote public transportation, bicycling, and walking involve restrictions on car use—such as car-free zones and traffic-calmed neighborhoods.2,5 Freiburg’s official goal is to reduce car use wherever practical and to accommodate automobile trips that cannot be made by any other mode. Thus, the city combines disincentives to use cars in the town center and residential neighborhoods with improvement of arterials in various ways (such as widening) to increase their carrying capacity. Freiburg’s parking policy is designed to make car use less convenient and more expensive. Parking garages are relegated to the periphery of the city center, which was converted to pedestrian use in the early 1970s. In many residential neighborhoods, parking is reserved for residents only and requires a special permit. On-street parking in commercial areas of the city becomes more expensive with proximity to the center.2,5

Citizen Involvement

Since the 1970s, citizen participation has been a key aspect of transportation and land-use planning in Freiburg. For example, citizen groups worked with the city administration to redevelop Vauban into an environmentally friendly car-free neighborhood.2 Moreover, Freiburg’s latest land-use plan has been developed with sustained input from 900 citizens, 19 neighboring municipalities, and 12 special-purpose governments in the region. Citizen involvement and public discourse has kept the environmental benefits and sustainability of the transportation system in the news for decades in Freiburg. Over time, public opinion has become more and more supportive of sustainable environmental policies. Even politicians from the conservative party have accepted restrictions on car use and have promoted public transportation, bicycling, and walking as alternatives.

Lessons Learned from Freiburg

It is inappropriate to assume that Freiburg’s experience can be copied wholesale in the U.S. However, there are many lessons from Freiburg for U.S. cities that intend to become more sustainable.2,5

First, Freiburg implemented most of its policies in stages, often choosing projects everybody agreed upon first. Residential traffic calming was initially implemented in neighborhoods whose residents complained most about the negative impacts of car travel. Successful implementation in one neighborhood encouraged other areas of the city to request traffic calming as well.

Second, Freiburg phased in and adjusted its policies and goals gradually. The initial decision to stop tearing out the trolley tracks was made in the late 1960s. In the early 1970s, the city council approved the extension of the light-rail system, which finally opened in 1983. Once the expansion proved successful, more light-rail lines followed.

Third, Freiburg has simultaneously made public transportation, cycling, and walking viable alternatives to the automobile, while increasing the cost of car travel. Improving quality and level of service for alternative modes of transportation made car-restrictive measures politically acceptable.

Fourth, citizen participation has been a key aspect of transportation and land-use planning in Freiburg. For example, citizen groups worked with the city administration to redevelop Vauban into an environmentally friendly car-free neighborhood.

Lastly, changing transportation, land-use systems, and travel behavior in Freiburg took almost 40 years. Planners in the United States should curb their expectations for quick success. Clearly, some policies can be implemented quickly, but changes in travel behavior and the development of a more sustainable transportation system take much longer.

References

  1. Please see the sources cited in the four publications listed below for more detailed references and additional information for this case study.
  2. Buehler, R & Pucher, J. Sustainable transport in Freiburg: lessons from Germany’s environmental capital. International Journal of Sustainable Transportation 5, 43–70 (2011).
  3. Buehler, R. Transport policies, automobile use, and sustainable transportation: a comparison of Germany and the USA. Journal of Planning Education and Research 30, 76–93 (2010).
  4. Buehler, R & Pucher, J. Making public transport financially sustainable. Transport Policy 18(1), 128-136 (2011).
  5. Buehler, R, Pucher, J & Kunert, U. Making transportation sustainable: insights from Germany (The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, 2009). www.brookings.edu/reports/2009/~/media/Files/rc/reports/2009/0416_german….

Sustainability Lessons for the United States

Implementing German-style policies in the United States requires careful consideration of the political, cultural, and institutional context. For example, legal and political barriers could hamper a transfer of German policies to the United States. Nevertheless, our case studies of energy, urban infrastructure, and transportation provide some overall lessons that could help encourage development of sustainability policies in the United States.

First, start small and implement policies in stages. Many sustainability policies in Germany were first implemented at a small geographic scale or with a small scope and were expanded in stages over time. Small-scale pilot projects allow policymakers to experiment and the public to experience a real-life example of the proposed program. Unsuccessful projects can be discontinued and successful programs can be expanded. For example, many German cities initially implemented traffic-calming technologies in those neighborhoods where residents complained most about traffic safety, noise, and air pollution from car travel. Successful implementation of a pilot project in one neighborhood led other neighborhoods to demand traffic calming as well. This approach can also work at other scales and in other sectors. For example, the German Renewable Energy Sources Act initially covered only very basic technologies, but it was extended over time and rewarded innovations and new approaches. To some extent the United States is using this approach already, as witnessed by the creation of pedestrian zones in New York City’s Times Square or the new bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. On the federal level, however, the U.S. Congress does not have a consistent history of passing incremental improvements to energy policy or climate legislation.

Another aspect of staged implementation is political acceptability. For example, the German Ecological Tax Reform Act, which increased taxation on energy to reduce social security taxes, was implemented in stages, with taxes increasing annually over a period of five years. Consolidating the staged tax increases into one large tax hike would not have been politically feasible. Staged implementation, the five-year time horizon, and lower social security taxes enabled citizens to adjust to the new taxes. Similarly, many policies encouraging green infrastructure on private properties began as financial incentives and only later were replaced by requirements, once there was greater acceptance and experience with these techniques.

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Photo credit: Ralph Buehler. Pedestrians and light rail in Freiburg’s car-free zone in the city center.

Second, there are no silver bullets. Policies should be coordinated across sectors and levels of government to achieve maximum effectiveness. Despite the high public visibility of flagship projects like the Ecological Tax Reform Act, no silver bullet has proven to be the single factor for successful results. The case studies show that individual policies were integrated into a larger policy framework. At its best, this framework is comprehensive and long-term oriented. For example, in transportation, the German federal government increased taxation on gasoline, while local governments improved conditions for walking, cycling, and public transportation—thus offering a viable alternative to the car. This approach increased political acceptability with the public, since drivers had a choice to continue driving at higher cost or to shift modes of transportation.

In Germany, green infrastructure has been incentivized and in some cases required by a suite of overlapping programs. Significantly, these initiatives come from various governmental levels and sectors and were created because of different benefits provided by green infrastructure—such as stormwater management, air-quality improvements, and urban quality of life. It is this suite of policies as a whole that has moved green infrastructure into the German mainstream. Energy policy is another good example of coordinated decision making and planning: Germany’s policy portfolio comprises more than 30 legislative measures that address all aspects of energy sustainability, with binding long-term targets guiding implementation efforts and the necessary review of policies at regular intervals. In the United States, by contrast, short-term incentives, fragmented regulations, and a lack of planning certainty—in the absence of a binding policy framework—have dampened private-sector investment and technology deployment.

Third, foster citizen participation and communicate policies effectively. Policies that affect people’s everyday lives have to be developed with active citizen participation. Citizen input reduces potential legal challenges, increases public acceptance, and has the potential to improve projects and outcomes. Public participation in assessing parcel-level charges and new stormwater fees in Berlin helped the public to understand how their properties contribute to environmental problems. Further, individuals can take steps to reduce fees by integrating green infrastructure techniques on their properties. The initial draft of the city of Freiburg’s land-use plan was rejected by the citizens as not being progressive enough (see Box). The second draft was developed with the ongoing participation of 900 residents. The public sector has to effectively communicate the intentions of policy. This often involves political trade-offs. For example, Germany’s Ecological Tax Reform Act increased the cost of energy but at the same time reduced social security taxes. While many citizens agreed to increase taxation on energy, the reduction in social security taxes was also very important.

Fourth, find innovative solutions and embrace bipartisanship. The implementation of several of the highlighted policies came with strong political controversy in Germany. However, the policies survived because, over time, parties across the political spectrum benefited from them or could not afford reversing them. For example, the Renewable Energy Sources Act was supported by both the political left and right because both the progressive renewable-energy industry and the conservative German farm community benefited from its implementation. Before and during the introduction of the Ecological Tax Reform Act, Germany’s center-right parties opposed the reform and promised to roll it back once they were in power again. However, after winning elections in 2005, the conservatives found it impossible to forfeit the robust tax revenue generated by the reform.

References

  1. The White House. Remarks by the president in State of Union Address [online] (2011). www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/01/25/remarks-president-state-u….
  2. Henzelmann, T. Weltmarktführer beim Umweltschutz. Harvard Business Manager 30(12), 44–49 (2010).
  3. Theil, S. No country is more ‘green by design.’ Newsweek [online] (2008). www.newsweek.com/id/143679.
  4. Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology & Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. Energy Concept for an Environmentally Sound, Reliable and Affordable Energy Supply [online] (2010). www.bmu.de/files/english/pdf/application/pdf/energiekonzept_bundesregier….
  5. Määttä, K & Mehling, M in Realising the Paradigm Shift towards Energy Sustainability: Climate Change, Technological Innovation, and the Challenge of an Optimal Instrument Mix (Rodi, M, ed), 49–64 (Lexxion, Berlin, 2010).
  6. Mehling, M. The ecological tax reform in Germany. Tax Notes International 26, 871–878 (2000).
  7. Mehling, M in Energy: A Tax Analysts Special Supplement (Almeras, J, ed), 132–135 (Tax Analysts, Arlington, VA, 2006).
  8. Ludewig, D et al. Greening the Budget: Pricing Carbon and Cutting Energy Subsidies to Reduce the Financial Deficit in Germany, 15 (Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Washington, DC, 2010).
  9. Kohlhaas, M. Gesamtwirtschaftliche Effekte der ökologischen Steuerreform, 14 (DIW, Berlin, 2005).
  10. Knigge, M & Görlach, B. Die Ökologische Steuerreform—Auswirkungen auf Umwelt, Beschäftigung und Innovation, 5 (Ecologic, Berlin, 2005).
  11. Umweltbundesamt. Quantifizierung der Effekte der Ökologischen Steuerreform auf Umwelt, Beschäftigung und Innovation, 2 (UBA, Berlin, 2004).
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  23. Global Wind Energy Council. Wind is a global power source [online] (2010). www.gwec.net/index.php?id=13&L=0.
  24. U.S. Energy Information Agency. Annual Energy Review 2009, table 1.3 (U.S. Energy Information Agency, Washington, DC, 2009).
  25. U.S. Department of Energy. Database of State Incentives for Renewable and Efficiency [online]. www.dsireusa.org.
  26. Diekmann, J. Renewable energy in Europe: strong political will required for ambitious goals. DIW Berlin Weekly Report, 36/2009 (December 18, 2009).
  27. Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21). Renewables 2010 Global Status Report, 11 (REN21 Secretariat, Paris, 2010). www.ren21.net/Portals/97/documents/GSR/REN21_GSR_2010_full_revised%20Sep….
  28. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Renewable Energy Prices in State-Level Feed-In Tariffs: Federal Law Constraints and Possible Solutions, NREL Report TP-6A2-47408 [online] (2010). www.nrel.gov/analysis/pdfs/47408.pdf.
  29. Woerlen, C. Clean Energy Jobs for the U.S. Midwest: Lessons Learned from the German Success Story of Low Carbon Growth [online] (Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Washington, DC, 2010). http://boell.org/web/139-658.html.
  30. Hey, C in The New Climate Policies of the European Union (Oberthur, S & Pallemaerts, M, eds), The German paradox: climate leader and green car laggard, 211 (Institute for European Studies, Brussels, 2010).
  31. Köhler, M & Keeley, M in Green Roofs: Ecological Design and Construction (EarthPledge Foundation, ed), The green roof tradition in Germany: the example of Berlin (Schiffer, New York, 2005).
  32. Watchel, J. Take it from the top: storm water management, green roof style. BioCycle, 42–46 (2007).
  33. Mentens, J, Raes, D & Hermy, M. Green roofs as a tool for solving the rainwater runoff problem in the urbanized 21st century. Landscape and Urban Planning 77, 217–226 (2006).
  34. Teemusk, A & Mander, U. Temperature regime of planted roofs compared with conventional roofing systems. Ecological Engineering 36, 91–95 (2010).
  35. Saiz, S, Kennedy, C, Bass, B & Pressnail, K. Comparative life cycle assessment of standard and green roofs. Environmental Science and Technology 40(13), 4312–4316 (2006).
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  39. Keeley, M. Green Roofs Incentives: Tried and True Techniques from Europe. Proceedings from the 2nd Annual Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Conference [online] (2004). www.greenroofs.ca/grhcc.
  40. Keeley, M. The green area ratio: site-scale urban environmental planning. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management (forthcoming).
  41. Keeley, M. Using individual parcel assessments to improve stormwater management. Journal of the American Planning Association 73(2), 149–160 (2007).
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  46. Thurston, HW, Goddard, HC, Szlag, D & Lemberg, B. Controlling storm-water runoff with tradable allowances for impervious surfaces. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 129(5), 409–418 (September/October 2003).
  47. Kaspersen, J. The stormwater utility, will it work for your community? Stormwater 1(1), 22–28 [online] (November/December 2000). www.forester.net/sw_0011_utility.html.
  48. Parikh, P, Taylor, MA, Hoagland, T, Thurston, H & Shuster, W. Application of market mechanisms and incentives to reduce stormwater runoff: an integrated hydrologic, economic and legal approach. Environmental Science and Policy 8(2), 133–144 (2005).
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Ralph Buehler: Assistant Professor in urban affairs and planning at Virginia Tech
Arne Jungjohann: Director for the Environment and Global Dialogue Program of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Washington, DC
Melissa Keeley: Assistant Professor in geography and public policy and public administration at George Washington University
Michael Mehling: President of the Ecologic Institute; Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University

 

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

Published by Solutions on Mon, 10/10/2011 – 08:00

Original article: http://www.thesolutionsjournal.com/node/981

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.


Links:
[1] http://www.thesolutionsjournal.com/node/981
[2] http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2009/~/media/Files/rc/reports/2009/0416_germany_transportation_buehler/0416_germany_transportation_report.pdf
[3] http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/01/25/remarks-president-state-union-address
[4] http://www.newsweek.com/id/143679
[5] http://www.bmu.de/files/english/pdf/application/pdf/energiekonzept_bundesregierung_en.pdf
[6] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:140:0016:0062:EN:PDF
[7] http://www.erneuerbare-energien.de/files/pdfs/allgemein/application/pdf/ee_in_deutschland_graf_tab_2009_en.pdf
[8] http://www.bmu.de/english/current_press_releases/pm/46293.php
[9] http://www.bmu.de/files/pdfs/allgemein/application/pdf/nationaler_aktionsplan_ee.pdf
[10] http://www.bmu.de/english/renewable_energy/downloads/doc/46291.php
[11] http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.362416.de
[12] http://www.braunkohle-wissen.de/#arbeitspl%20
[13] http://www.erneuerbare-energien.de/inhalt/42934/20026
[14] http://www.dbcca.com/dbcca/EN/_media/DBCCA_Creating_Jobs_and_Growth_The_German_Green_Exp.pdf
[15] http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.346123.de
[16] http://www.gwec.net/index.php?id=13&L=0
[17] http://www.dsireusa.org
[18] http://www.ren21.net/Portals/97/documents/GSR/REN21_GSR_2010_full_revised%20Sept2010.pdf
[19] http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/pdfs/47408.pdf
[20] http://boell.org/web/139-658.html
[21] http://www.greenroofs.ca/grhcc
[22] http://www.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/nrc_stormwaterreport.pdf
[23] http://vtchl.uiuc.edu/applied-research/environmental-hydraulics/tarp
[24] http://www.forester.net/sw_0011_utility.html
[25] http://www.taxadmin.org

Sprouting: The Art of Gardening in a Jar

Sprouting: The Art of Gardening in a Jar

We are all trying to eat healthier, right? Growing organic sprouts in our own kitchen is an easy, cheap way to improve nutrition. You can quickly grow organic food in your own home by sprouting seeds, beans, grains, or nuts.

Easy to learn—In one hour, you will be ready to sprout
Economical—Two spoons of seeds grow a quart of sprouts. Low-cost way to improve your diet
Fast—Sprouts are ready to eat in 3-5 days
Uses little water and space
Nutritious: vitamins, protein, minerals, builds good health
Great family activity–Children love to sprout
Pets can benefit from eating sprouts

AND IT’S FUN!!

Handouts and materials provided. You go home with all you need to begin sprouting. (please bring 2 glass jars)

Techniques demonstrated. All questions answered.
$10 per person, Discounts for families and groups of any size.

Sprouting Class Coupon – December Only – Because we are in the season of gratitude, I’m offering this coupon for the Wednesday 14 December class so you can enjoy an oasis of calm learning during the busy holiday season. This is a half-price offer to learn The Art of Gardening in a Jar. Bring one or more friends or family members and you each pay half price – $5. Includes demonstrations, handouts, materials & supplies.

Contact: Wanda Poindexter SproutSolutions(at)yahoo.com

Fall classes at The Tasteful Kitchen, 722 N. Stone Ave. (parking behind the restaurant, enter from the front on Stone)

Wednesdays, 19 October, 16 November, 14 December, at 6 p.m. (please arrive by 5:45)

(other times and locations can be arranged)

Bean Tree Farm Workshops – Fall 2011

Here are Bean Tree Farm’s workshop listings for fall, 2011, plus a special solar energy class we’re excited to be hosting.  For more info and any questions, check out www.beantreefarm.com, or email beantreefarm(at)gmail.com

October 8 ~ Earth Plasters, Paints and Pigments ~ 8am-12noon:
Art, mudslinging and a feast of harvested native foods and garden bounty

The morning will include:
~ harvesting and preparation of native clays (that are most likely right in your back yard);
~ natural additives for durability and workability (also likely in your back yard or kitchen);
~ a tour of existing plaster examples on Bean Tree Farm buildings, local plants used in plasters for their gels and fibers, and their importance in rewilding and regenerating urban landscapes for wildlife, beauty, green building and health;
~ several hands-on projects to explore and develop your skills, both on the wall (or board) and in the round;
~ and complete the workshop with a feast of delicious local food and drink.

November 5: Cob Building and Sculpting more mudslinging, cob building tricks and fall feast

December 3: Making Tinctures and Cold Season Teas – Hot tonics, warm food, good company
Bean Tree Farm workshop facilitators: Barbara Rose, Jill Lorenzini, Julie Newcombe, Sonoran Permaculture Guild team and guests

Workshop schedule: Saturdays 8am-12pm, subject to change with cooler weather.  Each workshop is $50 including native and heritage foods lunch (see registration form for specials and early-bird discount)

Also see Understanding PV (photovoltaics) with Ed Eaton, November 7-11 at Bean Tree Farm.

More info: www.beantreefarm.com or beantreefarm(at)gmail.com

Let us know if you’d like to be on Bean Tree Farm email lists for classes, workshops, or our weekly farm stand.

For more great classes and workshops check out: www.sonoranpermaculture.org

Thanks!

Barbara Rose
Bean Tree Farm
Tucson, Arizona
www.beantreefarm.com

ST Sustainability Book Sale

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

 

Sustainability books and materials –  all proceeds will benefit Sustainable Tucson

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sustainable Tucson – General Meeting – October 2011

Sustainable Tucson General Meeting – at Milagro Cohousing Community

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

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

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

WHAT DO WE NEED OUR WATER FOR?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(and others TBA…)

A Special Sustainable Tucson Book Sale

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

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

 

Moving Planet – Connect 2 Tucson – A Day to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels

Moving Planet – September 24th, 2011: A Day to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels

JOIN THE RIDE: Connect 2 river paths on 2 wheels!

Celebrate the linkup of the Santa Cruz and Rillito river paths and ride beyond fossil fuels. Meet on the plaza south of Drachman Hall on the UMC Campus (Helen St and Martin Av).

Ride starts at 7:00 a.m.  Roundup and information exchange on the plaza, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Connect 2 Tucson is an all-ages, all-speeds, fun and family-friendly 22-mile loop ride (a shorter alternate route is available) through the UA, West University and Dunbar Spring neighborhoods, and Barrio Anita, then along the newly connected portions of the Pima County Urban Loop and the Mountain Avenue Bikeway.

Our event on Sept 24th is sponsored by 350.org, more information is available at

http://www.moving-planet.org/connect2tucson

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Connect-2-Tucson/266441083370150

If you have any questions feel free to contact me at 520.615.0381.

Sincerely,
Patsy Stewart
350.org Volunteer

Vegan Potluck / talk about Ecocide

Hello,

My name is Kaylee Farnolli, I’m a senior in the School of Art at the University of Arizona. I’ve just returned from 6 months living and studying abroad in Mexico City. The people I met there have inspired me to call a community vegan potluck in an effort to spread the word about Polly Higgen’s proposal to make Ecocide the 5th official crime against the peace. I’m hoping to have a turnout of at least 25 hopefully much more. I would love it if one/some of the volunteers could come and share about Sustainable Tucson’s projects and talk about volunteer opportunities or any issue you’d like.

We will meet at Himmel Park in the SW corner at 5:30 PM

Please let me know if this interests you all,

Thanks!

Kaylee

ST September General Meeting

Sustainable Tucson General Meeting
Monday, September 12th,  5:45 – 8:00 pm
Joel D. Valdez Main Library 101 N. Stone
(free lower level parking – off Alameda St

September’s General Meeting will include presentations by members of GMO Free Project of Tucson <http://gmofreeprojectoftucson.org/>  and a film, “Deconstructing Supper”, on GMOs and how genetically modified organisms are threatening our food systems and food supplies. This discussion will help prepare us to participate in the Eat GMO Free Challenge during non-GMO month in October.

GMO Free Project of Tucson
www.gmofreeprojectoftucson.org <http://www.gmofreeprojectoftucson.org>
Live GMO Free!
Pick up a copy of the non-GMO shopping guide at New Life Health Center – Speedway or New Life Health Center – Ajo.
Download one at www.gmofreeprojectoftucson.org <http://www.gmofreeprojectoftucson.org>  or responsibletechnology.org <http://responsibletechnology.org>

 

SEKEM: A visionary Egyptian desert project

Learn about an important example of sustainable development in Egypt.

SEKEM, founded by Ibrahim Abouleish, winner of the Right Livelihood Award — the “Alternative Nobel”

 

Sekem: Born of the sun  5:17

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-D23-OjmoM&feature=fvsr

 

Ibrahim Abouleish – Founder Sekem Group   9:58

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2tmH1wK2YU

 

SEKEM English Part 1   9:51

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXXpamUjYmg

 

SEKEM English Part 2   2:47

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gn7T0bz7sPg

 

Sekem website film

http://www.sekem.com/english/Filmen.aspx

 

Official SEKEM website

http://www.sekem.com

Cob Hot Tub Workshop

A wood-fired cob-insulated hot tub is a low-tech, healthful and beautiful thing. Used like a Japanese bath, one scrubs and showers before entering the heated tub, steaming with desert lavender or chaparral, and soaks away one’s cares. If your shower and bath greywater help to irrigate native and heritage trees, which provide food, shade and privacy, then you’re cleaner, healthier and happier!

This workshop will introduce and reinforce cob building basics, such as building a good foundation, cob mixing and application, venting and finishing. Greywater as a resource and water conservation will be discussed. We’ll be starting one hot tub and finishing another so that you experience a project that takes longer than one day to complete.

Cholla buds will probably be coming on by the end of March, so if you want to take a break from mud-slinging, we’ll harvest some of those delicious morsels and process them! Lunch featuring local foods will be served.

To register, email us at beantreefarm@gmail.com, call for more information, and check out www.beantreefarm.com and www.sonoranpermaculture.org for upcoming classes and workshops.

Common Ground Two

Time again to invite you all to proclaim local community from the rooftops. One rooftop at least.

Join in on the action on the roof of the Pennington St Parking Garage, 110 E. Pennington St.

What is Common Ground?

What it is… is a CELEBRATION, where every group, organization, congregation, small business, performer, artist, EVERYBODY in the Tucson community is invited to show up, share what they do, and… meet the neighbors. It’s a celebration of talent and skills, resources and passions, but most of all, it’s a celebration of connection, of possibility, because in celebrating, the boundaries between us are softened, familiarity then is not so much about agreement as it is about pleasurable proximity. The event is engineered to continually invite interaction, and from that interaction, to draw to the surface defining experiences of what our common needs, and emerging common vision, truly are. What more fertile ground for sustainability could there be?

Come on UP!

Labelling GMO in Foods? Why Not?

Mark Bittman, writing in the New York Times explores this issue.

“If you want to avoid sugar, aspartame, trans-fats, MSG, or just about anything else, you read the label. If you want to avoid G.M.O.’s — genetically modified organisms — you’re out of luck. They’re not listed. You could, until now, simply buy organic foods, which by law can’t contain more than 5 percent G.M.O.’s. Now, however, even that may not work.”

To read the complete article, follow this link.

Our IGT Conversation

On January 10th, as part of our General Meeting, Sustainable Tucson held its own version of the community conversations being held around the city by Imagine Greater Tucson. After completing a paper survey about what we liked and what we wanted to change about the Tucson region, four groups of people discussed their answers to two questions about how we might move forward to plan our future with sustainability in mind. Each group selected their “top three” responses, and we are planning to discuss how to move them forward at our next meetings.

Response to first question

What criteria must be included in planning a sustainable future in the Greater Tucson area?

First Table

Transportation and untransportation-neighborhood networks; focus on urban villages

Reliance on local renewable resources including food and water

Reduced reliance on imported resources

Second Table

Water,

Renewable Energy,

Communication and Trust, transparency

Third Table

Long-term water policy

Long-term energy policy

Carbon neutrality

Fourth Table

Compassionate social justice/sustainable government

Healthy ecosystem

Regional sustainability, green local jobs, nature, water and food

Second Question

Considering these criteria, what changes must we begin to make to create a sustainable future for the Greater Tucson Region?

Table One

Change our emphasis from CAP water to TAP water [Tucson Arizona Project water]

Dedicating water to the environment to increase habitat for wildlife

Identify needs to meet the jobs and services needed here in the local market; create a trade mission for local opportunities and employment possibility [and the education necessary to support that].

Table Two

Accountability and transparency in local government

Individual empowerment and increased meaningful citizen participation

Eliminate influence by monied interests

Table Three

Decrease energy use and supply it from renewables

Increase water harvesting and decrease per capita water consumption

Measuring the carbon footprint of everything

Table Four

Communication is key to enforce transparency of governance

Better ways to access and participate in the policy processes

More structured ways to access local government

Use technology to pool and coordinate efforts that get larger groups involved in the policy process

Bring urgency into our conversation through education and excitement

Limit developers’ access to water

Permaculture workshop

Introduction to Permaculture – In this one day overview of Permaculture design, ethics, and principles you will have the opportunity to put together a long term plan for your sustainable home and landscape – one that takes care of people and takes care of our environment at the same time.

Location: Mesquite Tree Permaculture Site, one and a half miles north of downtown Tucson.  Cost: $59 – includes all course materials, handouts, and mesquite bread cooked in our solar oven. Contact Dan Dorsey at dorsey@dakotacom.net or visit www.sonoranpermaculture.org for more info on all our Fall classes.

Local Climate Change Symposium

A symposium examining recent evidence that climate change may be affecting desert ecology in Saguaro National Park will beheld from 9 am to 4:30 pm, October 2nd at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum’s Warden Oasis Theater.

Jonathon Overpeck, co-director of the Institute of the Environment and leader on the  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Travis Huxman, director of Biosphere 2 and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the Universiy of Arizona, will be keynote speakers addressing reecent research that led to Saguaro National Park being listed among the top 25 national parks most threatened by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization.

Admission is free but RSVPs are required: call 733-5153 to attend.

This event is not to be missed by the sustainability community!

To find directions to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, go to their website: http://www.desertmuseum.org/visit/hours.php

Greater Tucson Indicators Report

The Pima Association of Governments just approved the Second Tucson Region Indicators Report. It provides a snapshot of the region with data on key measures that characterize its current health from an environmental and community perspective.

Five theme areas are: Natural Resources, Air Quality, Water, Transportation and Energy, and
Community and Economy, to represent the essence of the community and its influence on
the land and our environment. This report, built on 2006 baseline data, provides trends for key
indicators, and includes a few new indicators. Buffelgrass is featured for the first time and we are monitoring data to track expanding regional progress to control this invasive plant.

The report (large file) is available for download here.

Kim Fox Fund Raiser

Local chefs cook meals with produce from local gardens at a fundraiser
for Kim Fox’s travels from 4 to 6:30 p.m., Sunday, May 23. $25 to $75.
Mercado San Agustin 100 S. Avenida del Convento. Call 461-1106, or
visit theoriginalhoe.blogspot.com for more information.

Sara Jones of Tucson CSA will make dessert, and Amy Schwemm of Mano Y
Metate will make mole. Rachel Yaseen of The Organic Kitchen and
Justin Dixon of Mercado Sunday Dinners will also be cooking.

TUCSON’S LOCAL FOOD AMBASSADOR

Kim Fox, a Tucson micro-urban farmer and food activist dedicated to
community education and local food production, is embarking on a new
adventure! Up until now, Kim has been busy designing urban sites for
food production and distribution. Her community education programs
focus on local food production, soil science, food security and
health. Now that summer is here, she’s hitting the road with her bike,
and an open plate and mind!

Kim is an observer of and participant in local and international food
ways. She has traveled to 25 countries working on small farms and
urban gardens, visiting farmers’ markets, participating in food
culture and customs, and observing local food production and
distribution methods. Beginning in June 2010, Kim will travel by
bicycle across Europe engaging with people who manage urban and rural
farms, gardens, farmers’ markets, food banks, seed banks, and public
and private agencies in order to exchange perspectives and information
on local sustainable agriculture. In particular, Kim will study and report on
seed saving, climate change consequences, GMO issues, sustainable farming
and urban gardening techniques, and seek to collect recipes straight from the kitchen.

Her community in Tucson and beyond can learn with her, via internet updates
on her blog, at www.theoriginalhoe.blogspot.com or on Facebook “Kim Fox Food Trek 2010.” Your donations or in-kind support will ensure that fresh and enriching ideas, beyond the American perspective, will benefit our community’s local-sustainable food system.

To contribute to her trip or for more information, visit her blog or
contact her at theoriginalhoe@live.com or 520-622-1917. Become a food
trekkie!

Transitioning to a Sustainable Economy: Tucson’s Future?

Sustainable Tucson is republishing the following call to the community which we originally presented in February 2008. The message is not only more relevant today but portends some of the events which have already happened since then. As we prepare to participate in the upcoming Imagine Greater Tucson process this coming Fall, let’s focus on the key challenge we all face: transitioning to a sustainable economy.

Transitioning to a Sustainable Economy: Tucson’s Future?

What is the greatest challenge we now face in Southern Arizona?

This question becomes more important as we join together this year in community conversations about our future. Increasingly, people are realizing the main challenge is not growth, but rather sustaining and improving our quality of life including our economy. Managing growth is necessary, but only part of what is required for success.

Our mounting problems are largely the result of over-dependence on population growth to keep our economy thriving. In addition to our attractive climate, desert landscape, and friendly, diverse culture, people migrate here for the affordable lifestyle. Until recently, we offered many low-cost advantages – cheap water, cheap energy, cheap labor, cheap capital, and cheap land. We also subsidized the expansion of public infrastructure and services to serve growth, mostly out of general revenues. As long as these favorable, artificial conditions for growth prevailed, people continued to move here. Only one year in our history – 1990 – did out-migration outpace population in-flux. And that was a year when our economy last hit bottom.

Our region’s long-term average population growth rate has been a little over 2% per year. The annual growth rate for Arizona as a whole has been more than 3%, resulting in doubling population and the required built environment every two decades. Job creation has generally kept up with population, yielding low unemployment rates, mainly because population growth has been the driver of job growth. Even though public systems and services were under-funded, this growth dynamic benefited most of us as long as the base kept growing.

But what happens when the conditions underpinning growth change? This is the situation we find ourselves in today – a drying, warming Southwest with looming water shortages; the end of cheap oil, natural gas, and coal; unprecedented price rises for food imports; people refusing to subsidize urban sprawl; increasing limitations on jurisdictions to maintain and expand infrastructure and services; a super competitive global economy driven by advances in science and technology; new accounting and costing proposals including measuring and limiting carbon impacts – and in the face of these growing uncertainties – questions about the declining health of the American economy and its financial systems. What does sustainability mean for us here as we confront these major, converging challenges of the 21st century?

Instead of debating the infinite pros and cons of growth, maybe we should focus on what really matters most to us – how are we going to successfully transition to an economy which sustains our quality of life into the future but doesn’t require unsustainable growth to keep it thriving?

The Arizona Department of Commerce initiated an important study several years ago to answer this question. However, that prospectus was mostly neglected and to date, remains little known. The bottom-line finding is that we are well-positioned to sustain our economy by developing a Sustainable Systems Industry based on already existing strengths in engineering, optics, biosciences, environmental design, earth sciences, and natural resources. Our sustainability challenges can all be converted into opportunities for centers of excellence in economic development. These sustainable systems and technologies would include resource-efficient products, services, and practices in the areas of water, energy, food, health, transportation, and housing. And perhaps most important, these industries would supply both the local economy and rapidly growing export markets – all responding to the new demands for higher performance standards.

Development leaders in both Tucson and Phoenix are already discussing the growth limitations of each city – the prospects of “population build-out” in the future. Some say our region should grow to 2 million, some say we can sustain another half million people, but others ask: How will we sustain even the current million people without fundamental economic innovation and investment in our deficient public infrastructure and services to support a new economy? Regardless of scenario, population growth will go away as the driver of the economy.

More immediately, growth is certain to slowdown naturally as development subsidies are reduced and demand for new development declines. Growth patterns will be better managed as we direct development and re-development pressures toward more compact, mixed use, transit-oriented urban form. The big questions that remain are: Will we respond to these sustainability challenges in time to ensure that our quality of life becomes sustained and not further eroded? Will we build a new economy based on the opportunities of sustainability? Or will we witness these converging challenges become the first step of long-term economic decline?

In his inspiring 2008 State of the City address, Mayor Bob Walkup called upon people and groups in the community to join together in building a new sustainable economy. This should be Goal One if we are to build economic resilience and attract sufficient investment within the next five years. Surely, we need clarity about where we are and where we’re headed. And we need a way to common ground, common vision and full community participation.

– Sustainable Tucson, February, 2008

Film Showing: THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MONSANTO

You‚re Invited to a FREE Public Showing

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MONSANTO

GREEN VALLEY LIBRARY

601 N. LA CANADA

GREEN VALLEY, AZ 85614

Saturday, APRIL 24, 2010—-TIME: 9:30 a.m.

The World According to Monsanto, a film by Marie-Monique Robin, documents the devastating cost of Monsanto‚s race over the last decade to genetically engineer and patent the world‚s crops. Ms. Robin has traveled the globe in an effort to capture the human toll of Monsanto‚s drive for GMO market domination. Her interviews with scientists, legislators, agricultural officials, farmers, shepherds and families affected by GMOs, has made this picture critically-acclaimed in every country where it has opened.

ADMISSION: FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Presented by Thought Provoking DVD Films

and the GMO Free Project of Tucson

CONTACTS:  Alma Sychuk: 520.648.6416

Mascha Miedaner ˆ GMO Free Project of Tucson

520.481.1128 info@gmofreeprojectoftucson.org

www.gmofreeprojectoftucson.org <http://www.gmofreeprojectoftucson.org/>

See Where Your Food Is Grown

Double Check Ranch at the Walking J Farm

Amado, Arizona

Here’s one to add to your shopping list on March 27 – fresh, natural, locally grown and grass fed beef.  See where your food is grown!  Go directly to the source!  The Walking J Farm (a member of Arizona ’s Double Check Ranch family) is located in Amado, just an hour south of Tucson .

Join us for this perfect afternoon with the cattle in the pasture, the chickens in their “tractors” and a rapidly expanding garden – all at the Walking J Farm.  Host Jim McManus, owner of the Walking J Farm, will lead a walking tour

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED.  TOUR FEE $10.  For inquiries and reservations, contact LocalFoodConcepts@comcast.net or call 520.395.0663.

Cyclovia Tucson

Cyclovia will give Tucson folks the chance to enjoy our great weather, see neighbors, friends and people from throughout Tucson, and get a little exercise – all on city streets that will be closed to car traffic and open to walkers, joggers, cyclists, skaters and all other forms of natural movement.

Motor vehicles are detoured from the route allowing everyone the freedom to enjoy the outdoors – safely. It isn’t a race, parade or competition. Instead, it’s a chance to enjoy Tucson from a new perspective, get some exercise and have some fun. Walk your dog, roller skate, blow bubbles. Have fun because during Cyclovia, the world stops for you.

Read a recent Arizona Daily Star article here:

For more information visit: www.cycloviatucson.org

To learn more about this event and how to get involved, please attend the event open house, on Tuesday, March 30 from 5:30pm to 7pm, at the Northwest Neighborhood Center at Mansfield Park, 2160 N. 6th Avenue.

eadb3186-3e21-11df-838a-001cc4c03286.image

Put it on the map!

Dear Community Friends and Partners:

The first print edition of the Green Pueblo Map showcasing our community’s favorite “green” places and spaces will be available later this year.  If you haven’t already done so, we encourage you to “make your mark” on the map by nominating your favorite sustainable sites at www.greenpueblomap.org . Please also encourage your friends and colleagues to participate.

Nominations are being accepted in more than 30 categories, including community gardens, solar sites, recycling centers, re-use shops, public parks, scenic vistas, rainwater harvesting locations, and historical sites.  It takes only a minute to nominate a site and you do not have to provide any personal information other than a zip code.  Once a site is nominated, it will typically appear on the website within a month.  A selection of sites will also appear on a printed version of the map.  If you want your site(s) to be considered for the printed map, please submit your nomination(s) by April 1, 2010.

The Green Pueblo Map is a free, community-based mapping effort.  The on-line map is constantly evolving and reflects the community we are all creating together.  Residents are encouraged to visit www.greenpueblomap.org at anytime to help identify and explore the features that promote sustainable living and which makes our region such a special place to live.

Pima County, the City of Tucson, and The Inner Connection are organizing the Green Pueblo mapping effort.  However, the project is part of a much broader, international green mapping initiative that began in New York City in 1995, and has since spread to 55 countries.  For more information, please visit www.greenmap.org .

On the measurement of happiness

This editorial by Nicholas Kristof for the New York Times at first seems to be a plug for living in Costa Rica. In fact, it is filled with numerous links to measures of happiness and well-being, many of which incorporate assessments of sustainability. You can review this article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/07/opinion/07kristof.html

Earth Day Festival and Parade

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about the 16th Annual Tucson Earth Day Festival please visit www.tucsonearthday.org, call (520) 206-8814 or email tucsonearthday@yahoo.com.Earth Day

Sustainable Tucson General Meeting

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

The Story of Stuff, and more!

Q: Why should I care about the Citizens united v. FEC ruling?
A: In this landmark case, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that it is unconstitutional to limit how much money corporations can spend to influence elections. Why? They said limits would violate the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. Since the 2010 ruling, corporations have spent $300 million to influence election results. This money has been used to run ads and engage in other activities to sway us – the voters– to support candidates who serve the interests of those corporations. Since the interests of corporations rarely match up with the interests of individuals like you and me, that’s a real concern!

View this informative and entertaining little film here.

 

Watch “The Story of Cap & Trade”

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The Story of Cap & Trade is a fast-paced, fact-filled look at the leading climate solution being discussed at Copenhagen and on Capitol Hill. Host Annie Leonard introduces the energy traders and Wall Street financiers at the heart of this scheme and reveals the “devils in the details” in current cap and trade proposals: free permits to big polluters, fake offsets and distraction from what’s really required to tackle the climate crisis. If you’ve heard about cap and trade, but aren’t sure how it works (or who benefits), this is the film for you. Find about it here: http://www.storyofcapandtrade.org.

 

And what about bottled water?

And, after you’ve seen this one, you might want to see what they have to say about the story of bottled water at http://www.storyof stuff.org/bottledwater/

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Watch “The Story of Stuff”

The Story of Stuff is a wonderful online video about sustainable production and consumption, a culture of practices we don’t see very much of yet. In addition to the suggested “10 Little and Big Things You Can Do”, there is a pressing need for organized, coordinated action at the grassroots level. This is why Sustainable Tucson is so important. Watch “The Story of Stuff” here.

“The World According to Monsanto” film showing

WHAT:  FREE public showing of The World According to Monsanto

Monsanto’s controversial past combines some of the most toxic products (e.g. PCBs and Agent Orange) ever sold with misleading reports, pressure tactics, collusion, and attempted corruption.  They now race to genetically engineer (and patent) the world‚s food supply, which profoundly threatens our health, environment, and economy. This widely praised film exposes why Monsanto has become the world‚s poster child for malignant corporate influence in government and technology.

WHERE:  Grand Cinemas Crossroads 6, Grant and Swan

WHEN:  Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 7pm

WHY:  Raise awareness of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in our food supply and educate the Tucson Community how to become GMO Free.  Expand the membership of the GMO Free Project of Tucson.

PRESENTED BY: GMO Free Project of Tucson, a project of NEST, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization.  GMO Free Project of Tucson is an educational group that raises awareness about GMOs in our food supply in the Tucson Community and educates them about steps they can take to become GMO Free.

SPONSORED BY:  The Food Conspiracy Co-op and New Life Health Centers

Contact: Mascha Miedaner 520-481-1128 www.gmofreeprojectoftucson.ning.com

International IONS Conference ( Larry Dossey)

13th International IONS Conference
June 17 – 21, 2009
Marriott Star Pass Resort

Join mind-body pioneer Larry Dossey, MD; Bruce Lipton, author of Biology of Belief, and other inspiring, thoughtful, and visionary people to explore insights in science, social innovation, and the world’s wisdom traditions.

Early Registration Discount extended: $369 for members, seniors and students and $399 for nonmembers, Youth Conference $105. Day rates may be available. Info and registration: www.IONSconference.org

EarthDay Conversation on Climate Action

Spotlight Conversation on Climate Action
Be a part of the Conversation!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009      8 a.m.-12 p.m.
The University of Arizona Student Union Grand Ballroom
1303 E. University Blvd.     FREE Registration
www.tucsonaz.gov/ocsd/climateaction

Contact Nicole Urban-Lopez for more information about this event.
nicole.urban-lopez@tucsonaz.gov
520-837-6934

Tucson will host a “Spotlight Conversation on Climate Action” as part of an elite group of 10 communities that were selected by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability to be highlighted nationally.

The goals of the Conversation are to educate the community about the challenges of climate change in southern Arizona, and to discuss the community’s values, perceptions, and priorities regarding climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The discussion will help inform the City’s General Plan update, the County’s Comprehensive Plan revision and the University’s President’s Climate Commitment Plan. The Tucson Community Conversation on Climate Action will feature presentations from local experts followed by Climate Change discussion groups focusing on Human Health and Food Security, Drought Preparedness, Affordable Housing and Building Energy Use, Mobility, and Jobs and Economy.

During the last half hour Sustainable Tucson will present a  brief report on the Sustainable Tucson Sketch Plan.

Event Goals:
•Educate the public about the realities and challenges of climate change.
• Solicit the public’s values, perceptions, and priorities regarding climate change, mitigation and adaptation.
•Obtain information from the public that can be used to inform the City’s General Plan update, the County’s Comprehensive Plan update, and the University’s sustainability plan.

8 a.m.        Registration and Refreshments         UA Student Union Main Ballroom

8:30 a.m.    Welcome by Mayor Walkup, Pima County Board of Supervisors Chairman Elias, and UA President Shelton

8:45 a.m.    Public Presentations
1. Anticipated local environmental changes              Melanie Lenart, Ph.D.
2. Economic Challenges                                                    Pat Patton
3. Human health effects                                                     Dr. Barbara Warren

10 a.m.        Group Discussions*
1.   Climate Change and Human Health/Food Security
2. Climate Change and Drought Preparedness
3. Climate Change and Affordable Housing/Building Energy Use
4. Climate Change and Mobility
5. Climate Change and Jobs/Economy

11:30 a.m.    Report Back and Community Calendar

* Attendees will have to choose one discussion group in which to participate.

Nabhan: ”Flavors Without Borders: Desert Foods, Regional Food Security and Health”

Widely acclaimed author, sustainable food advocate, ethnobiologist and co-founder of Native Seeds/SEARCH, Gary Paul Nabhan speaks on ”Flavors Without Borders: Desert Foods, Regional Food Security and Health” as part of the Well University Partnership’s (Well U) Provost Lecture Series, on March 25th.

Gary Paul Nabhan, PhD ”Flavors Without Borders: Desert Foods, Regional Food Security and
Health”

Who:     Gary Paul Nabhan
Where:  Gallagher Theater, UA Student Union
When:   March 25th, 12-1pm

Free and open to the public

More info at www.wellu.arizona.edu    and    www.garynabhan.com

David Suzuki: “One of the great speeches in history”

On October 30th, Dr. David Suzuki, reknowned Canadian scientist and educator, gave “one of the great speeches in history”  to the 20th Anniversary Roundtable on the Economy and the Environment.

Click on the following to watch a video of that speech:

http://www.cpac.ca/forms/index.asp?dsp=template&act=view3&pagetype=vod&lang=e&clipID=2099

Public Forum: Tackling the Toxic Table: Foraging for healthy food



Public Forum:
Tackling the Toxic Table:
Foraging for healthy food in a global economy

Sunday April 13th 2-4pm
Arizona Grand Resort (formerly the Pointe South Mountain Resort)
Phoenix

Join nitrition and health experts for discussion, presentations, Q&A.

Andrew Weil, MD, “The Optimum Diet”

David Wallinga, MD, “Healthy Food in Healthcare: making change happen”

To register and find out more, visit www.integrativemedicine.arizona.edu

Ten Ways to Prepare for a Post-Oil Society

Ten Ways to Prepare for a Post-Oil Society
By James Howard Kunstler, Kunstler.com. Posted February 10, 2007.

The best way to feel hopeful about our looming energy crisis is to get active now and prepare for living arrangements in a post-oil society.

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Editor’s Note: James Howard Kunstler is a leading writer on the topic of peak oil the problems it poses for American suburbia. Deeply concerned about the future of our petroleum dependent society, Kunstler believes we must take radical steps to avoid the total meltdown of modern society in the face looming oil and gas shortages. For background on this topic, read Kunstler’s essay, “Pricey Gas, That’s Reality.”

Out in the public arena, people frequently twang on me for being “Mister Gloom’n’doom,” or for “not offering any solutions” to our looming energy crisis. So, for those of you who are tired of wringing your hands, who would like to do something useful, or focus your attention in a purposeful way, here are my suggestions:

1. Expand your view beyond the question of how we will run all the cars by means other than gasoline. This obsession with keeping the cars running at all costs could really prove fatal. It is especially unhelpful that so many self-proclaimed “greens” and political “progressives” are hung up on this monomaniacal theme. Get this: the cars are not part of the solution (whether they run on fossil fuels, vodka, used frymax™ oil, or cow shit). They are at the heart of the problem. And trying to salvage the entire Happy Motoring system by shifting it from gasoline to other fuels will only make things much worse. The bottom line of this is: start thinking beyond the car. We have to make other arrangements for virtually all the common activities of daily life.

2. We have to produce food differently. The Monsanto/Cargill model of industrial agribusiness is heading toward its Waterloo. As oil and gas deplete, we will be left with sterile soils and farming organized at an unworkable scale. Many lives will depend on our ability to fix this. Farming will soon return much closer to the center of American economic life. It will necessarily have to be done more locally, at a smaller-and-finer scale, and will require more human labor. The value-added activities associated with farming — e.g. making products like cheese, wine, oils — will also have to be done much more locally. This situation presents excellent business and vocational opportunities for America’s young people (if they can unplug their Ipods long enough to pay attention.) It also presents huge problems in land-use reform. Not to mention the fact that the knowledge and skill for doing these things has to be painstakingly retrieved from the dumpster of history. Get busy.

3. We have to inhabit the terrain differently. Virtually every place in our nation organized for car dependency is going to fail to some degree. Quite a few places (Phoenix, Las Vegas, Miami …) will support only a fraction of their current populations. We’ll have to return to traditional human ecologies at a smaller scale: villages, towns, and cities (along with a productive rural landscape). Our small towns are waiting to be reinhabited. Our cities will have to contract. The cities that are composed proportionately more of suburban fabric (e.g. Atlanta, Houston) will pose especially tough problems. Most of that stuff will not be fixed. The loss of monetary value in suburban property will have far-reaching ramifications. The stuff we build in the decades ahead will have to be made of regional materials found in nature — as opposed to modular, snap-together, manufactured components — at a more modest scale. This whole process will entail enormous demographic shifts and is liable to be turbulent. Like farming, it will require the retrieval of skill-sets and methodologies that have been forsaken. The graduate schools of architecture are still tragically preoccupied with teaching Narcissism. The faculties will have to be overthrown. Our attitudes about land-use will have to change dramatically. The building codes and zoning laws will eventually be abandoned and will have to be replaced with vernacular wisdom. Get busy.

4. We have to move things and people differently. This is the sunset of Happy Motoring (including the entire US trucking system). Get used to it. Don’t waste your society’s remaining resources trying to prop up car-and-truck dependency. Moving things and people by water and rail is vastly more energy-efficient. Need something to do? Get involved in restoring public transit. Let’s start with railroads, and let’s make sure we electrify them so they will run on things other than fossil fuel or, if we have to run them partly on coal-fired power plants, at least scrub the emissions and sequester the CO2 at as few source-points as possible. We also have to prepare our society for moving people and things much more by water. This implies the rebuilding of infrastructure for our harbors, and also for our inland river and canal systems — including the towns associated with them. The great harbor towns, like Baltimore, Boston, and New York, can no longer devote their waterfronts to condo sites and bikeways. We actually have to put the piers and warehouses back in place (not to mention the sleazy accommodations for sailors). Right now, programs are underway to restore maritime shipping based on wind — yes, sailing ships. It’s for real. Lots to do here. Put down your Ipod and get busy.

5. We have to transform retail trade. The national chains that have used the high tide of fossil fuels to contrive predatory economies-of-scale (and kill local economies) — they are going down. WalMart and the other outfits will not survive the coming era of expensive, scarcer oil. They will not be able to run the “warehouses-on-wheels” of 18-wheel tractor-trailers incessantly circulating along the interstate highways. Their 12,000-mile supply lines to the Asian slave-factories are also endangered as the US and China contest for Middle East and African oil. The local networks of commercial interdependency which these chain stores systematically destroyed (with the public’s acquiescence) will have to be rebuilt brick-by-brick and inventory-by-inventory. This will require rich, fine-grained, multi-layered networks of people who make, distribute, and sell stuff (including the much-maligned “middlemen”). Don’t be fooled into thinking that the Internet will replace local retail economies. Internet shopping is totally dependent now on cheap delivery, and delivery will no longer be cheap. It also is predicated on electric power systems that are completely reliable. That is something we are unlikely to enjoy in the years ahead. Do you have a penchant for retail trade and don’t want to work for a big predatory corporation? There’s lots to do here in the realm of small, local business. Quit carping and get busy.

6. We will have to make things again in America. However, we are going to make less stuff. We will have fewer things to buy, fewer choices of things. The curtain is coming down on the endless blue-light-special shopping frenzy that has occupied the forefront of daily life in America for decades. But we will still need household goods and things to wear. As a practical matter, we are not going to re-live the 20th century. The factories from America’s heyday of manufacturing (1900 – 1970) were all designed for massive inputs of fossil fuel, and many of them have already been demolished. We’re going to have to make things on a smaller scale by other means. Perhaps we will have to use more water power. The truth is, we don’t know yet how we’re going to make anything. This is something that the younger generations can put their minds and muscles into.

7. The age of canned entertainment is coming to and end. It was fun for a while. We liked “Citizen Kane” and the Beatles. But we’re going to have to make our own music and our own drama down the road. We’re going to need playhouses and live performance halls. We’re going to need violin and banjo players and playwrights and scenery-makers, and singers. We’ll need theater managers and stage-hands. The Internet is not going to save canned entertainment. The Internet will not work so well if the electricity is on the fritz half the time (or more).

8. We’ll have to reorganize the education system. The centralized secondary school systems based on the yellow school bus fleets will not survive the coming decades. The huge investments we have made in these facilities will impede the transition out of them, but they will fail anyway. Since we will be a less-affluent society, we probably won’t be able to replace these centralized facilities with smaller and more equitably distributed schools, at least not right away. Personally, I believe that the next incarnation of education will grow out of the home schooling movement, as home schooling efforts aggregate locally into units of more than one family. God knows what happens beyond secondary ed. The big universities, both public and private, may not be salvageable. And the activity of higher ed itself may engender huge resentment by those foreclosed from it. But anyone who learns to do long division and write a coherent paragraph will be at a great advantage — and, in any case, will probably out-perform today’s average college graduate. One thing for sure: teaching children is not liable to become an obsolete line-of-work, as compared to public relations and sports marketing. Lots to do here, and lots to think about. Get busy, future teachers of America.

9. We have to reorganize the medical system. The current skein of intertwined rackets based on endless Ponzi buck passing scams will not survive the discontinuities to come. We will probably have to return to a model of service much closer to what used to be called “doctoring.” Medical training may also have to change as the big universities run into trouble functioning. Doctors of the 21st century will certainly drive fewer German cars, and there will be fewer opportunities in the cosmetic surgery field. Let’s hope that we don’t slide so far back that we forget the germ theory of disease, or the need to wash our hands, or the fundamentals of pharmaceutical science. Lots to do here for the unsqueamish.

10. Life in the USA will have to become much more local, and virtually all the activities of everyday life will have to be re-scaled. You can state categorically that any enterprise now supersized is likely to fail — everything from the federal government to big corporations to huge institutions. If you can find a way to do something practical and useful on a smaller scale than it is currently being done, you are likely to have food in your cupboard and people who esteem you. An entire social infrastructure of voluntary associations, co-opted by the narcotic of television, needs to be reconstructed. Local institutions for care of the helpless will have to be organized. Local politics will be much more meaningful as state governments and federal agencies slide into complete impotence. Lots of jobs here for local heroes.

So, that’s the task list for now. Forgive me if I left things out. Quit wishing and start doing. The best way to feel hopeful about the future is to get off your ass and demonstrate to yourself that you are a capable, competent individual resolutely able to face new circumstances.

Tagged as: suburbia, energy crisis, peak oil