Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Sustainability Action Network, Weekly Newsletter, 2 May 2017

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
2 May 2017
 

200,000 MARCH FOR CLIMATE IN D.C. - MORE THAN A MILLION WORLD WIDE

From Pacifica's radio show Democracy Now!, "Up to 200,000 people took to the streets of Washington DC, while hundreds of thousands, if not more than a million, poured into the streets around the world Saturday for a global People’s Climate March".  The diverse crowd consisted of labor activists, health groups, faith groups, environmentalists, and community groups of all types, brought together by over 900 organizations that made it happen.  The story can be viewed at - People's Climate March: A Protest Against the Fossil Fuel Industry Taking Over the U.S. Government, with related stories.  There are also many reports and photos at Peoples Climate March 2017, as well as links to coverage by many new organizations.  Longtime climate activist and founder of 350.orgBill McKibben, put it all nicely into perspective when he said "Global warming isn’t really Trump’s fault.  Yes, he’s a uniquely disgusting person, and yes, he’s mounting an all-out defense of the archaic fossil-fuel industry.  But the carbon that melted the ice caps?  That’s from the Eisenhower years and the Deng Xiaoping regime.  Barack Obama was president [when] the United States became the largest producer of hydrocarbons on earth.  So we march against the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines, against fracking wells and mountaintop-removal coal mines, for solar panels and bikes, buses, and electric cars".  Read more at - On April 29, We March for the Future.


FRACKING IN KANSAS

Last August, we reported that an earthquake of 5.6 magnitude with an epicenter near Pawnee OK was felt on 27 August across the Midwest, including in Lawrence KS.  The Oklahoma Geological Survey said that it considers the cause very likely to be wastewater wells from oil and gas fracking operations.  With virtually no significant tectonic activity since the Pennsylvanian and Permian periods, Oklahoma has seen an unnatural jump in earthquakes in direct parallel with fracking operations.  In 2009 there were only 3 quakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater, yet in 2013 there were 109, in 2014 there were 585, and in 2015 there were 907.  Oklahoma has thousands of fracking wells, far more than does Kansas, in part because the geological formations are more favorable, but also because their former Attorney General worked hand in glove with the oil industry - Scott Pruitt.

Fracking was invented at the University of Kansas in the late 1940's, and the first vertical fracking well was drilled in 1947.  Since 2009, the industry has turned to horizontal fracking, extending sideways for thousands of feet from the bore hole.  In 2012 over 140 horizontal wells were drilled in the state, up from 50 in 2011 and 10 in 2010.  The Kansas Geological Survey links earthquakes to fracking waste disposal, and has increased restrictions as a result of the 2016 frackquakes - Kansas tightens fracking restrictions.  Until now, Kansas fracking has clustered near the Oklahoma border, but in January of this year, the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) received a fracking application for near Burdick KS.  This is in the heart of the Flint Hills, about 100 miles north of Wichita, and 30 miles south of Junction City.  The application has been wending its way through the KCC hearing process, and receiving lots of opposition from farmers and ranchers, as well as city dwellers - Fracking the Flint Hills?.  In addition to being only 14 miles from the National Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, the site is in the Humboldt Fault Zone near the Nemaha Uplift.  This geological fault zone has been of serious concern for the Wolf Creek Nuclear Plant, though the operators say it is designed to withstand a 7.0 Richter scale earthquake.  If you are concerned about pressurized fracking waste water being injected into the rock under the Flint Hills, you might want to send you comments to the KCC at - Stop fracking operations in the Flint Hills of Kansas near the National Tall Grass Preserve.


RESPONSIBLE ENERGY VS. FUKUSHIMA DAI-ICHI
 
State life support subsidies for nuclear plants are threatening wind and solar power.
The push to save U.S. nuclear plants for the sake of fighting climate change is threatening support for the bread and butter of clean power: wind and solar.  New York and Illinois have already approved as much as $10 billion in subsidies to keep struggling reactors open for the next decade as part of a wrong-headed plan to limit fossil fuel consumption.  Lawmakers in Ohio, Connecticut and New Jersey are debating whether to do the same.  Renewable energy operators including NRG Energy Inc. and Invenergy LLC say keeping nuclear plants open will leave grids awash with excess power, leaving little demand for new wind and solar farms.  Moreover, there are key differences between wind and solar subsidies and those for nuclear.  Renewable energy credits have spurred an emerging industry, whereas nuclear subsidies are to preserve aging plants.  And while wind and solar developers compete against each other for subsidies, those for nuclear benefit a single technology.  Learn more at - Lifeline for Nuclear Plants Is Threatening Wind and Solar Power.
 
We suggest readers avail themselves of the following sources for news on the demise of nuclear power: Japan for SustainabilityJapan FocusSolartopia, and Fairewinds Energy Education.


SUSTAINABILITY ACTION NEWS ITEMS

THE MONTHLY SCENE - SUSTAINABILITY ACTION WEBSITE FEATURE

"Organizing for Change" is the topic for this month's Scene.  Each month, this feature on our website will take you through a journal of sustainability solutions from a deep ecology perspective.  The Scene will cover a different theme each month. 

You may have noticed in this newsletter, that we're including very few, if any, on-line "clicktavist" petitions any more.  At least, not petitions directed toward the Federal government.  These symbolic gestures are ignored by the Trump administration, and it's questionable if any click-your-name petition with less than a million signers ever had any effect.  In addition, mass demonstrations lack the fulcrum to move the Federal government.  As Juan Cole wrote in his blog "Informed Comment" - As Millions March for Climate, Stab in Back by EPA & NYT - "At the same time that protests were mounted in cities across the US and the world, the Trump Environmental Protection Agency under Scott Pruitt removed its Climate Change web page".  The Trump monolith of White House/Congress/Supreme Court thumbs it's nose at citizen concerns.

How do we then protect our communities and climate from plundering by the oligarchs?  Local organizing is still within our grasp, and many local officials are receptive, even more so than ever before.  This month's Scene brings many examples of community efforts from a range of tactics - Sunflower Community Action in Wichita, Reclaim Kansas City, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Environment, The Ruckus Society, the Green Party, and more.  Yet, if we disregard Trump entirely, we expose ourselves to corporatist power grabs.  Sustainability Action is founded on the dual practices of individual lifestyle change and societal institutional change.  As such, we endorse the approach of the The Next System Project which says: "The climate crisis demands action — but at what scale?  it is vitally important that we work at the community and state level, without losing sight of the larger systemic transformations necessary to avert climate catastrophe" - Climate action, at all scales, is more necessary than ever.   Explore a lot more on the Sustainability Action website at the Scene.

 
SUSTAINABILITY ACTION MEETING
Tuesday, 16 May 2017, 6:30pm
Lawrence Public Library, Conference Room B, 7th & Vermont St., Lawrence KS 66044
Local Solutions for Transition to a Sustainable Economy

Planned agenda topics include:
  • plastic bag restriction organizing
  • Lawrence bikeway projects strategizing
  • lecture series planning
  • grant possibilities
The Sustainability Action Network advances ecological sustainability through societal scale actions.  While we work for personal lifestyle changes for individuals to minimize their carbon footprint, there is an imperative for institutional change to respond to the rapid onset of the triple global crises of Energy-Ecology-Economy.  "Action" is our middle name.  Visit us on the web at - Sustainability Action.

 
CONTINUING EVENT NEWS ITEMS

BICYCLE TO SCHOOL DAY - BE ACTIVE, SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL
Wednesday, 3 May 2017
from your home to your school

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department encourages students to walk or bicycle to school on 3 May in celebration of National Bicycle to School Day.  Walking and bicycling to school enables children to incorporate the regular physical activity they need each day while also forming healthy habits that can last a lifetime.  The Health Department, in collaboration with the City of Lawrence, Lawrence Public Schools, the Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Organization, and LiveWell Lawrence is working to encourage families to walk or bicycle as part of "Be Active Safe Routes", a community initiative to make it easier for people of all ages, ability, background and socioeconomic status to be more active.  Helmets should be worn at all times when riding a bicycle.  Motorists must drive with particular attention to their liability for the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.  Bicyclists should ride safely by following the rules of the road and obeying traffic laws.  Young children should be accompanied by an adult.



COTTIN'S HARDWARE FARMERS' MARKET - ALL SEASON MARKET
Thursday, 4 May 2017, 4:00-6:30pm (and every Thursday)
back parking lot, 1832 Massachusetts St., Lawrence KS 66044

The farmers' market is back outside for the season, on through until October.  Weekly vendors will have a supply of fresh greens, root vegetables, breads, baked goods, farm fresh eggs, meats, live music, and much more.  Local food is healthier and helps your local economy.  This four season market is Lawrence's only winter-weather protected farmers' market, with only three others in the region.  For more info contact them at 843-2981 or .


KKFI COMMUNITY RADIO - ECOLOGICAL SHOWS THIS WEEK
Listen at KKFI-FM 90.1, or link to web-streaming at KKFI 90.1 FM
(courtesy, Mike Murphy, KKFI Programming Committee)


Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 6:00pm - All Souls Forum 
The weekly rebroadcast will be from the "KC March for Science on Earth Day".  
Thousands of people showed up at Washington Square Park in Kansas City on Earth Day to rally for Science.   KKFI was on the scene to record it.

Thursday, 4 May 2017, 12:00pm - 
Sprouts Radio   
This edition of Sprouts will be "Indigenous People Lead Fight Against Climate Change".  This episode will bring multiple indigenous voices speaking about Earth Day and climate change.  Judith LeBlanc, a member of the Caddo tribe of Oklahoma and the director of the Native Organizers Alliance.  Judith speaks about what it means for indigenous people to organize in the 21st century.  Joseph Orozco, a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe and station manager of KIDE in Hoopa, Ca.  Joseph spoke about how climate change has effected both the land and traditional ceremonies of the tribe.  He narrates lessons of the past and how they can inform present struggles and help develop a future after capitalism. 

Friday, 5 May 2017, 9:30am - Bioneers Radio Series
Bioneers presents 
"Women Changing the Story: Mother Bears, Polar Bears and Women’s Leadership".   Women’s truths, perspectives and voices have been largely missing from the global conversation, but that is beginning to change as women awaken to their purposes and power.  Courageous and eloquent women environmental and social justice leaders – journalist Rose Aguilar, biologist Sandra Steingraber, and reproductive justice advocates Vanessa Daniel and Eveline Shen – share their stories of how the leadership of women is changing the story and the world.

Monday, 8 May 2017, 6:00pm - locally produced Eco-Radio KC
This Eco Radio KC program 
will feature another of their ecologically minded shows. 


LAWRENCE FARMERS' MARKET - EVERY SATURDAY
Saturday, 6 May 2017, 7:00am-11:00am
parking lot in the 800 block of New Hampshire St., Lawrence KS 66044

At Kansas' longest running farmers' market, there is a wide variety of seasonal produce: sweet corn, tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, melons, beans, greens, potatoes, snow peas, asparagus, apples and much more.  There's also meats, fresh eggs, preserved food, local craft items, and live music.  For more info go to - Lawrence Farmers' Market.
 

BIRDING WITH BILL BUSBEY - A NATURE WALK
Saturday, 6 May 2017, 8:00am - FREE
Lake View Lake, 
1864 East 1125 Road, Lawrence KS 66049 (north of the Farmer's Turnpike)

This will be a guided walk with Bill Busby observing the birds in the woods and along the Lake View Lake shore line.  Bill Busby is an associate scientist with the Kansas Biological Survey.  Currently the Lake View Club owns most of the scenic oxbow lake and some of the surrounding lands.  This event is free and open to the public.  Beverages and breakfast pastries will be offered following the hike.  RSVP requested.  More info by contacting Jerry Jost at <jjost@klt.org> or 785-749-3297.



KANSAS CITY ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COMMISSION
Wednesday, 10 May 2017, 4:00-6:00pm
Mid America Regional Council, Rivergate Center 2nd floor, 600 Broadway, KC MO

The Environmental Management Commission promotes environmental awareness and resource efficiency to the City's leaders and staff, to assist the progress of Kansas City toward sustainability.  The General public is encouraged to attend and observe meetings and to join and participate in its efforts.  More information is at KC Environmental Management Commission.


LAWRENCE SUSTAINABILITY ADVISORY BOARD
Wednesday
10 May 2017, 5:30pm
Public Works Confr. Room, City Hall ground floor, 6 East 6th St., Lawrence KS 66044

The 
May agenda is not yet available:  The S.A.B. meets monthly to discuss any and all aspects of furthering sustainability policies and practices by the City of Lawrence government and private persons.  The public is welcome.  Minutes are finalized in about a month after each meeting - Sustainability Advisory Board.


LAWRENCE PEDESTRIAN COALITION
Wednesday
10 May 2017, 7:00pm
Lawrence Public Library, Room B, 7th & Vermont St., Lawrence KS 66044
The May agenda is not yet available:  The Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition is a joint effort of the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods and the League of Women Voters.  Monthly meetings are open to the public.  For more info go to Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition, or contact Gary Webber at <gwebber@sunflower.com>.


KANSAS HERBAL WEEDS FOR MEDICINE, FOOD, AND DRINK
Saturday, 13 May 2017, 10:00am-12:00pm - $$
Lawrence Community Orchard, 830 Garfield St., Lawrence KS 66044

Go beyond culinary herbs and embrace the weeds!  This class will teach how to identify, harvest/process responsibly, and turn local weeds into medicine, food, and drink.  Participants will learn about naturally occurring plants in eastern Kansas such as: dandelion, chickweed, cottonwood and plaintain, their constituents and actions (what makes them good for us), and how to recognize and honor them.  Lessons will cover how to make tinctures, infusions, and bitters, and recipes for food and drinks.  The class will be taught by Christine Kosirog, a Lawrence-based folk herbalist and owner of Painted Lady Herbs, an herbal CSA.  She has studied herbs for the past 7 years, and uses her knowledge to feed her family, friends, and community.  A donation is suggested, but no one will be turned away due to lack of funds.  Please RSVP to 



11TH ANNUAL REALLY, REALLY FREE MARKET
Saturday, 13 May 2017, 10:00am to 1:30pm - FREE
Centennial Park, 9th St. shelter (just across from the Merc), Lawrence KS 66049

The gift must always move! This free and open market will be a celebration of cooperation and gift-giving that make life possible beyond the constraints of capitalists markets.  Everyone is invited to give and receive clothing, household items, books, plants, seeds, crafts, information, skills, music, services, art, performances, stories, food, etc.  There is no buying, selling, bartering, or exchanging involved in this market - everything is strictly FREE!  Really, Really Free Markets are a form of alternative economies that are becoming more and more popular in the U.S.  Small items and clothing not obtained from the Really, Really Free Market will be donated to the Penn House or Social Service League thrift store.  However, large items cannot be transported to the thrift store.  People are asked to take responsibility for any large items they bring that are not taken by the end of the event.



DOUGLAS COUNTY FOOD POLICY COUNCIL
Monday, 15 May 2017, 6:30pm
Aunt Netter's Cafe, 336 Elmore St, Lecompton KS 66050

The May agenda will include:  a pre-meeting presentation by Jamin Nally, about his 
Aunt Netter's Cafe in Historic Lecompton.  The Food Policy Council seeks to identify the benefits, challenges and opportunities for a successful, sustainable local food system.  By advising the Douglas County Commission on public policies that will support local producers, preserve local agricultural resources and land, and create more local jobs, the F.P.C. hopes to improve the community's access to a local food supply and distribution networks.  For more info go to Dg County Food Policy Council.


NATIVE PLANT SALE BY GRASSLAND HERITAGE FOUNDATION
Saturday, 20 May 2017, 9:00am-1:00pm
Trinity Episcopal Church, 1011 Vermont St., Lawrence KS 66044

Native plants are adapted to Kansas weather extremes and are ecologically useful in low-maintenance landscaping.  In addition, they are beautiful flowers and grasses that attract pollinators and other beneficial insects.  Landscape and prairie experts will be on hand to help you choose your plants and give advice on how to plant them.  There will be children's activities also.  There will be a number of milkweeds and coneflowers, more common plants like black-eyed susans, and some harder to find prairie wildflowers, as well as some great shade tolerant species.  For more information, contact Kim Bellemere at  or (785)840-8104.



COMMUNITY ORCHARD DAY
Saturday, 20 May 2017, 10:00am-2:00pm

13th and Oregon St., Lawrence KS 66044
(courtesy Emily Hampton)


The Lawrence Fruit Tree Project of the Sunrise Project recently expanded their community orchard at the east end of Garfield St. by about double.  They've added many new trees including: peaches, cherries, jujubes, pears, and persimmons.  The new areas need cardboard and wood chips spread to eradicate the infestation of turf grass.  You can learn the why and how to create the soil life that supports agroforestry crops.  Refreshments will be available, but bring water, gloves, and boots.  Bring a dish or snack to share if you have time.  Please RSVP if you plan to attend at gmail.com>.  The next Community Orchard Day will be on Saturday, June 17th.

 
 
WESTAR ENERGY RATE HEARING FOR SMALL SOLAR AND WIND CUSTOMERS
Friday, 26 May 2017, 5:00pm - public comment DEADLINE


In March of 2015, Westar Energy filed for authorization with the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) to change their residential rate schedules.  The standard residential service charge would have gone from $12 to $27 per month.  For folks with rooftop solar or small wind, the service charge would have been $50 per month, even though they use hardly any utility electricity.  This resembled a pattern in several other states guided by the Koch brother's ALEC group, that burdens small renewable energy folks with excessive fees, making small renewables uneconomic.  After several rounds of hearings, Westar withdrew the $50/mo. solar and wind rate proposal.  All parties agreed that the KCC would hold an investigative hearing to determine if there's justification to charge small solar and wind customers a rate different from non-renewable customers.

The public comment period is now open.  Read the explanation at - Rate Design for Distributed Generation Customers_KCC Docket #16-GIME-403-GIE.  There are three ways to submit comments: 
  1. Go to the KCC website - www.kcc.ks.gov, and click on the link under "Your Opinion Matters".  Scroll down to find Distributed Generation Rate Design Docket 16-GIME-403-GIE.  Enter your comments there.
  2. Send a written letter to the Kansas Corporation Commission, Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, 1500 SW Arrowhead Road, Topeka, KS 66604-4027.  Be sure to reference Docket #16-GIME-403-GIE.
  3. Call the Commission's Public Affairs office at 1(800)662-0027


NATIVE PLANTS: WHAT TO PLANT AND WHERE
Saturday, 27 May 2017, 9:00-10:30am - FREE
K.U. Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden
1865 East 1600 Rd., Lawrence KS 66044

Native plants can be beautiful and beneficial, and wildlife depend on them.  Join the Grassland Heritage Foundation in a workshop series for everyone who wants to learn more about gardening with natives.  This first one will be taught by prairie ecologist, Courtney Masterson, who will talk about the basics of native plant gardening.  The workshops are free, but an RSVP for each workshop is required and space is limited.  E-mail GHF at  for complete workshop descriptions and to RSVP.



LAWRENCE TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
Monday, 5 June 2017, 6:00pm
Commission chamber, Lawrence City Hall, 6 East 6th St., Lawrence KS 66044

The Lawrence Transportation Commission oversees the establishment of strong multimodal transportation in the City of Lawrence, in order to advance the health, safety, and welfare of all residents.  They make recommendations to the City Commission regarding implementation of its Complete Streets policy to equally accommodate all types of transportation users - people who walk, bicycle, skate, use wheelchairs, motor, or ride transit.  As such, they make recommendations about the priority, location, design, maintenance, and funding of transportation projects.  Find agendas and minutes at - Transportation Commission.  The Transportation Commission is the outcome of the Pedestrian-Bicycle Task Force work in 2016. 


We hope this newsletter informs and inspires you.  Please donate to Sustainability Action.  Click on our PayPal button here >> Sustainability Action.  THANK YOU!
___________________________________________________________________________________

We welcome suggestions for Newsletter items.  Please send items to .  The Sustainability Action Newsletter strives to inform, and encourage people to be active in the Sustainability Action Network, or other action-driven groups.

Join the Sustainability Action Network by clicking this link > >Become a Member | Sustainability Action Network, and when there follow the instructions.

The Sustainability Action Mission is to bring awareness of the global crisis caused by climate change, energy vulnerability and economic instability to communities in the Kansas River bioregion, and the tools needed to re-skill and re-localize our economy, and create a more socially just and ecologically sustainable world.

Sustainability Action Programs include:
1) Food Sovereignty and Permaculture - local control of food and food policy, Food Not Lawns workshops, tours, and crop mobs.
2) Bicycles and Alternative Transportation - promoting bicycles, complete streets, ride sharing, and electric vehicles, including infrastructure and pro-active regulations.
3) Energy Conservation and Renewables - reducing our carbon footprint by promoting a carbon diet, an energy diet, conservation, and decentralized renewable energy.
4) Prime Farmland Preservation - protecting Capability I & II farmland from urban development and industrial land uses.
5) Water Rights and Watersheds - Protecting the water commons from privatization and contamination, and restoring watersheds.
6) Local Money and Local Food - fostering money literacy, and implementing a local currency through a buy-local campaign focused on local food.

Sustainability Action sponsored organizations:
1) Lawrence Creates Makerspace - a co-operative community space with tool sharing, recycling, and innovation incubator.
2) Diesel Health Project - promoting eco-justice in neighborhoods exposed to industrial air and water pollution, by monitoring pollution, and changing policies and enforcement.

Collaborative Organizations:
We build synergy with like-minded groups such as: Douglas County Food Policy Council, Jefferson County Food Council, Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition, Cultivate Kansas City, Lawrence Fruit Tree Project, Flint Hills Renewable Energy & Efficiency Co-op, Kansas Permaculture Institute, and Live Well Lawrence.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sustainability Action Network, Weekly Newsletter, 11 April 2017



WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
11 April 2017
 

LARGEST SOLAR PV ARRAY IN LAWRENCE PLANNED AT THE COMMUNITY MERCANTILE

The Community Mercantile grocery co-op, Lawrence's home grown natural foods store, has contracted with Cromwell Solar to install about 200 kilowatts of solar electric collectors.  The 200 KW capacity array will provide 29% of the store's annual electricity demand, save an estimated $1.8 million, and avoid 16.5 million pounds of CO2 pollution.  It will be the largest solar photo voltaic array to date in Lawrence, and will be mounted on the roof as well as on parking lot shade structures.  Added to this will be Lawrence's first solar powered electric car charging station.

Because the solar tax credits for co-ops aren't as beneficial as for individuals, the Merc will be leasing the system instead of outright buying it.  This arrangement has benefits of it's own however.  There won't be a big cash outlay by the Merc, which would have put a large dent in their budget.  They will pay off the lease through Baldwin City's Mid America Bank over 25 years, with an option to purchase the system after 5 years.  Another benefit is that Cromwell Solar is responsible for all maintenance of the system, which otherwise would be quite challenging for the Merc whose expertise is in groceries, not electronics.  Construction will begin this Summer, with an Autumn completion target.  Read more at - The Merc Co+op Newsletter_Spring 2017, page 4.


WILL SMALL SOLAR AND WIND CUSTOMERS WITH WESTAR ENERGY PAY AN UNFAIR RATE?

In March of 2015, Westar Energy filed for authorization with the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) to use any of three residential rate schedules.  The standard residential service charge would have gone from $12 to $27 per month.  For folks with rooftop solar or small wind, the service charge would have been $50 per month, even though they use hardly any utility electricity.  But Westar claimed the rate rise was needed to maintain and upgrade infrastructure such as transmission lines and generating facilities - again all of which are hardly used by folks with small renewable energy systems.  This resembled a pattern in several other states guided by the Koch brother's ALEC group, that burdens small renewable energy folks with excessive fees, making small renewables uneconomic.

A number of solar energy advocates testified in 2015 before the KCC, saying that the proposal unfairly targeted folks with small renewable energy systems.  For one thing, there are only 450 out of a Westar customer base of about 690,000 - or only 0.07%.  After several rounds of hearings, Westar withdrew the $50/mo. solar and wind rate proposal, but they were allowed to raise the standard monthly charge to $14.50.  Furthermore, all parties agreed that a future KCC investigative hearing should be held to determine if there's justification to charge small solar and wind customers a rate different from non-renewable customers.  The rate structure hearing process began in 2016.
 
The public comment period is open now, until 26 May at 5:00pm, and you can read the explanation at - Rate Design for Distributed Generation Customers_KCC Docket #16-GIME-403-GIE.  There are three ways to submit comments: 
  1. Go to the KCC website - www.kcc.ks.gov - to enter your comment.  Click on the link under "Your Opinion Matters".  Scroll down to find Distributed Generation Rate Design Docket 16-GIME-403-GIE.
  2. Send a written letter to the Kansas Corporation Commission, Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, 1500 SW Arrowhead Road, Topeka, KS 66604-4027.  Be sure to reference Docket #16-GIME-403-GIE.
  3. Call the Commission's Public Affairs office at 1(800)662-0027


WICHITA'S NEW SOLAR POWER PLANT THE 2ND LARGEST IN KANSAS
The Prairie Sky Solar Farm, a 1-megawatt facility ten miles N.E. of Wichita, was dedicated on 14 March by KEPCo, a utility cooperative based in Topeka.  The electric co-op wanted to diversify its electricity sources, which already includes some from the Wolf Creek nuclear plant, some from the Iatan coal plant in Missouri, a 20-megawatt diesel generator facility, and hydroelectric power from several locations.  Mark Barbee, the co-op's vice president of engineering, said that "solar PV is cheaper than buying wholesale from other utilities, [and] even if federal tax supports are removed by the Trump administration, solar makes sense".  He added "And in our view the need for carbon reductions will not go away, so we see this as a key part of our portfolio long term".  Read more at - Wichita area gains its first solar power plant.


RESPONSIBLE ENERGY VS. FUKUSHIMA DAI-ICHI

New York Gov. Cuomo's choice: $7.6 billion for nukes or for solar.
There are four ancient and decrepit nuclear power generators in New York for which Governor Cuomo is considering a $7.6 billion cash transfusion to keep them on life support.  Cuomo's handout would enable four extremely old and dangerous nuclear reactors to continue running, that came online in 1969, 1970, 1975 and 1988 respectively.  Solar proponent, Harvey Wasserman, notes that "Because the electricity they produce is so expensive, they will drain a huge pool of resources from a state-wide economy in desperate need of industrial rebirth".  In upstate New York, a visionary future is emerging with the construction of Elon Musk's "Buffalo Billion" gigafactory for photovoltaic (PV) cells.  It's called a gigafactory because it will produce a gigawatt’s (1 million kilowatts) worth of solar panels every year, about the same as a nuclear reactor.

Wasserman points out that if Cuomo chooses to shore up the dying four nuclear reactors that employ only 1200 people, it will be a state investment of $3.64 million per job retained.  In contrast, a choice for jobs investment in manufacturing and installation of solar and energy efficiency and storage batteries would create thousands more jobs, each at only $148,000 per job created.  Plus, solar technology will produce electricity cheaper, cleaner, more safely and more reliably than any fossil or nuclear source of power, including fracked gas.  The Westinghouse bankruptcy which may take down its parent company of Toshiba, is a stark case of global nuclear energy anemia.  Good money after bad for four old nukes, three of them nearly a half-century old, could do the same to the New York economy.  Read more at - Four Dying Nuke Plants vs. Fleet of Gigafactories: Which Will Gov. Cuomo Choose?.

We suggest readers avail themselves of the following sources for news on the demise of nuclear power: Japan for SustainabilityJapan FocusSolartopia, and Fairewinds Energy Education.

 
SUSTAINABILITY ACTION NEWS ITEMS

BE A "SQUEAKY WHEEL" FOR SAFE BIKEWAYS AT CITY COMMISSION 
Tuesday, 11 April 2017, 5:45pm
Lawrence City Hall, 6 East 6th St., Lawrence KS 66044

The Lawrence City Manager has recommended a 2018 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that does not fund any of the four bikeway projects submitted by Sustainability Action: a shared use path on 6th St., a shared use path on Naismith Dr., protected bicycle lanes on Massachusetts St., and a bike-walk street on 13th St.  However, ultimately the City Commission decides whether to fund any of these projects.  They can be convinced by a large showing of bicycle advocates speaking at this meeting.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease, as the saying goes.  So we encourage you to be a squeaky wheel, and speak for bicycle wheels in Lawrence.  They should fund at least one major project each year from here on out.
It's recognized that of about 2/3 of the population want to bicycle.  But of that 2/3rds, 88% don't bicycle because they find the streets too dangerous, and the sidewalks too incomplete and slow and dangerous from turning motor vehicles.  Only 7% of the population feel strong and confident, and won't be deterred.  We want the City of Lawrence to provide bikeways that address the needs of the remaining 60% of the population who are "interested but concerned" about getting out there among 4000lb vehicles going 45mph.  If we're ever going to have safe bikeways to get to the library, schools, or shopping, large numbers of citizens will have to speak up for them.  Join the critical mass at City Hall on 11 April.


BOOKS FROM CHELSEA GREEN PUBLISHING  - OUR WEBSITE FEATURE

A popular feature of the Sustainability Action website is the book purchase affiliate program with Chelsea Green Publishers.  Founded in 1984, Chelsea Green Publishing is recognized as a leading publisher of books on the politics and practice of sustainable living.  They publish authors who bring in-depth, practical knowledge to life, and give readers hands-on information related to organic farming and gardening, permaculture, ecology, the environment, simple living, food, sustainable business and economics, green building, and more.  In 2012, Chelsea Green became an employee-owned company.

You can buy a book from the extensive listings of Chelsea Green, and support Sustainability Action's work.  You'll pay no more than it's list price, but a portion of the purchase price will go to Sustainability Action.  To buy through our affiliate program, simply go to our website at Sustainability Action, choose the "resource" tab, and click on "Chelsea Green sustainability books".  Choose a title from the listings that will display, click on it, and it will take you to the Chelsea Green website where you can buy the book at regular price.  They will automatically credit Sustainability Action a small percentage, so it's a win-win-win.  Thank you for your support!

 
SUSTAINABILITY ACTION MEETING
Tuesday, 18 April 2017, 6:30pm
Signs of Life conference room, 722 Massachusetts St., Lawrence KS 66044
Local Solutions for Transition to a Sustainable Economy

Planned agenda topics include:
  • Food Not Lawns planning
  • plastic bag restriction organizing
  • bikeway project strategizing
  • air toxins monitoring update
  • lecture series update
The Sustainability Action Network advances ecological sustainability through societal scale actions.  While we work for personal lifestyle changes for individuals to minimize their carbon footprint, there is an imperative for institutional change to respond to the rapid onset of the triple global crises of Energy-Ecology-Economy.  "Action" is our middle name.  Visit us on the web at - Sustainability Action.

 
CONTINUING EVENT NEWS ITEMS

KKFI COMMUNITY RADIO - ECOLOGICAL SHOWS THIS WEEK
Listen at KKFI-FM 90.1, or link to web-streaming at KKFI 90.1 FM
(courtesy, Mike Murphy, KKFI Programming Committee)


Friday, 14 April 2017, 9:30am - Bioneers Radio Series
Bioneers presents 
"One Percent Solutions: Climate Disruption, Fossil Billionaires and Democracy Deficits".  Conspicuous climate disruption is here now.  At the same time, a global super-elite of fossil fuel mega-billionaires has cinched a political stranglehold on American democracy, energy policies and politics.  How can these rogue financial titans be stopped?  Activist Victor Menotti, legal scholar john a. powell, and author and political operative Steven Hill outline strategies for rapid transformative change.

Monday, 17 April 2017, 6:00pm - locally produced Eco-Radio KC
This Eco Radio KC program 
will feature another of their ecologically minded shows. 


COMMUNITY ORCHARD DAY
Saturday, 15 April 2017, 10:00am-2:00pm

13th and Oregon St., Lawrence KS 66044
(courtesy Emily Hampton)


The Lawrence Fruit Tree Project of the Sunrise Project recently expanded their community orchard at the east end of Garfield St. by about double.  They've added many new trees including: peaches, cherries, jujubes, pears, and persimmons.  The new areas need cardboard and wood chips spread to eradicate the infestation of turf grass.  You can learn the why and how to create the soil life that supports agroforestry crops.  Refreshments will be available, but bring water, gloves, and boots.  Bring a dish or snack to share if you have time.  Please RSVP if you plan to attend at gmail.com>.  Future Community Orchard Days will be on Saturday, May 20th, and June 17th.


KANSAS CITY ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COMMISSION
Wednesday, 12 April 2017, 4:00-6:00pm
Mid America Regional Council, Rivergate Center 2nd floor, 600 Broadway, KC MO

The Environmental Management Commission promotes environmental awareness and resource efficiency to the City's leaders and staff, to assist the progress of Kansas City toward sustainability.  The General public is encouraged to attend and observe meetings and to join and participate in its efforts.  More information is at KC Environmental Management Commission.


LAWRENCE SUSTAINABILITY ADVISORY BOARD
Wednesday
12 April 2017, 5:30pm
Fire Station #5, Jayhawk Room, 19th & Stewart St., Lawrence KS 66046

The April agenda includes:  
whitewater gimmick at Clinton Lake, update on the S.A.B. strategic plan and S.T.A.R. program, Transportation 2040 Plan, and land use planning.  The S.A.B. meets monthly to discuss any and all aspects of furthering sustainability policies and practices by the City of Lawrence government and private persons.  The public is welcome.  Minutes are finalized in about a month after each meeting - Sustainability Advisory Board.


LAWRENCE PEDESTRIAN COALITION
Wednesday
12 April 2017, 7:00pm
Lawrence Public Library, Room B, 7th & Vermont St., Lawrence KS 66044
The April agenda includes:  City sidewalk funding plan, City Capital Improvement Plan, Safe Routes to Schools, Safe Routes for All Town Hall, visit by Michael Eglinski (City Auditor) and by Michelle Dillon (Transportation Commission).  The Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition is a joint effort of the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods and the League of Women Voters.  Monthly meetings are open to the public.  For more info go to Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition, or contact Gary Webber at <gwebber@sunflower.com>.


DOUGLAS COUNTY FOOD POLICY COUNCIL
Monday, 17 April 2017, 6:30pm
Homestead Kitchen & Bakery, 719 S. 8th St., Baldwin City KS 66006

The April agenda will include:  a pre-meeting presentation at 6:00pm by Lori Gardner, owner of Homestead Kitchen & Bakery.  The Food Policy Council seeks to identify the benefits, challenges and opportunities for a successful, sustainable local food system.  By advising the Douglas County Commission on public policies that willsupport local producers, preserve local agricultural resources and land, and create more local jobs, the F.P.C. hopes to improve the community's access to a local food supply and distribution networks.  For more info go to Dg County Food Policy Council.


FARM TO FIBER FEST: FIBER PRODUCING ANIMALS AND FIBER CRAFT SKILLS

Saturday, 22 April 2017, 10:00am-4:00pm - $$
The Light Center, 1542 Woodson Rd., Baldwin City KS 66006 (3.5mi west of US56, 3mi south to Woodson)
(courtesy, Robin Goff, The Light Center)

In south Douglas County there are a number of little known farms that sustainably raise luxury fiber producing animals.  The Light Center has organized a day to learn about raising and caring for fiber producing animals, harvesting the fiber, and the steps to creating finished products.  Some of the animals on view will be Alpacas, Paco Vicuna, Pygora goats, French Angora rabbits, and sheep.  Learn how to needle felt, learn how to use a drop spindle.  Watch a demonstration on sheep herding, shop local fiber vendors.  Tour fiber farms, and enjoy a delicious homemade lunch.  Learn more at - 
Farm to Fiber Festival, or call (785)255-4583.


LAWRENCE EARTH DAY CELEBRATION
Saturday, 22 April 2017, 11:00am-4:00pm

South Park, Lawrence KS
(courtesy, Jenica Nelson, Lawrence Waste Reduction & Recycling)

The Lawrence Earth Day Parade begins at the Train Park at 11:00am, and travels to South Park.  The Earth Day Festival goes from 11:30am-4:00pm in South Park.  The celebration in the park features live music, children's activities, and food vendors.  Attendees are invited to learn from exhibits about waste reduction, recycling, composting, alternative fuels and vehicles, energy conservation, land preservation, wildlife and habitat preservation, and more.  The Lawrence Transit System will offer free rides on the "T" all day Saturday.  The Earth Day Parade is organized by K.U. Environs, and questions should go to com>.  For general info go to http://www.lawrencerecycles.org/.


NATIVE PLANTS FOR YOUR YARD AND GARDEN
Monday, 24 April 2017, 7:00pm - FREE
Lawrence Public Library Auditorium, 7th & Vermont St., Lawrence KS 66044

Three local native plant experts, Kelly KindscherCourtney Masterson and Frank Norman, will engage in a presentation and discussion about how to incorporate native plants into your yard, garden, or landscape design.  The event is sponsored by the Kaw Valley Native Plant Coalition and the Lawrence Public Library.   Please RSVP to  so they'll know how many to expect.  More information can be found at their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/KVNPC/.


PEOPLE'S CLIMATE MARCH - OUR NATION'S CAPITAL
Saturday, 29 April 2017
District of Columbia
 
SCROTUS* Drumph has been running roughshod over decades of environmental and climate protections, developed by bi-partisan administrations since the 1960's, and handing his billionaire buddies fossil fuel goodies like the Keystone XL pipeline.  His EPA Administrator is giddily doing Drumph's bidding, censoring his staff, slashing staff levels by 25%, and saying provocative things like "The Paris Accord was a bad deal", and "CO2 is not the primary contributor to global warming".  This past February was the second hottest February ever recorded (2016 being the hottest), atmospheric CO2 is at 403 parts per million and rising faster than ever before, and the droughts and floods keep coming. 

The good news is that people are more aware, are galvanized, and are resisting.  There are now over 50 organizations working together as the People's Climate Movement, including the NAACP, Earth Justice, 350.org, Green Latinos, Public Citizen, and Service Employees International Union - Peoples Climate Movement Partner Organizations.  They are organizing what looks to be a massive climate rally one month from now, the Peoples Climate March 2017.  And if folks aren't able to travel at that time or that far, there will be any number of local marches - Peoples Climate March local events.  Kansas City will host a march at 1:00pm in Washington Square Park, 2354 Grand Blvd., Kansas City MO 64108.
*SCROTUS - So Called Ruler of the United States


WHO BEARS THE COST? GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE DEVELOPING WORLD
Sunday, 30 April 2017, 4:00pm - FREE
ECM Center, 1204 Oread Ave., Lawrence KS 66044

This is a talk by Dr. Richard Randolph, a family physician in Lenexa KS, who serves as the Chief Medical Officer for Heart to Heart International.  His talk is part of a series titled "Climate Change Consequences and the Possible Responses", which is hosted by Lawrence Ecology Teams United in Sustainability (LETUS) and the Sierra Club-Wakarusa Group.  A variety of information booths will be at each event providing opportunity for those attending to choose to be involved if not already so engaged.  Future speakers are planned about how food production will be effected by climate change, and possible species extinctions.  For more information contact .



LAWRENCE TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
Monday, 1 May 2017, 6:00pm
Commission chamber, Lawrence City Hall, 6 East 6th St., Lawrence KS 66044

The Lawrence Transportation Commission oversees the establishment of strong multimodal transportation in the City of Lawrence, in order to advance the health, safety, and welfare of all residents.  They make recommendations to the City Commission regarding implementation of its Complete Streets policy to equally accommodate all types of transportation users - people who walk, bicycle, skate, use wheelchairs, motor, or ride transit.  As such, they make recommendations about the priority, location, design, maintenance, and funding of transportation projects.  Find agendas and minutes at - Transportation Commission.  The Transportation Commission is the outcome of the Pedestrian-Bicycle Task Force work in 2016. 


We hope this newsletter informs and inspires you.  Please donate to Sustainability Action.  Click on our PayPal button here >> Sustainability Action.  THANK YOU!
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We welcome suggestions for Newsletter items.  Please send items to .  The Sustainability Action Newsletter strives to inform, and encourage people to be active in the Sustainability Action Network, or other action-driven groups.

Join the Sustainability Action Network by clicking this link > >Become a Member | Sustainability Action Network, and when there follow the instructions.

The Sustainability Action Mission is to bring awareness of the global crisis caused by climate change, energy vulnerability and economic instability to communities in the Kansas River bioregion, and the tools needed to re-skill and re-localize our economy, and create a more socially just and ecologically sustainable world.

Sustainability Action Programs include:
1) Food Sovereignty and Permaculture - local control of food and food policy, Food Not Lawns workshops, tours, and crop mobs.
2) Bicycles and Alternative Transportation - promoting bicycles, complete streets, ride sharing, and electric vehicles, including infrastructure and pro-active regulations.
3) Energy Conservation and Renewables - reducing our carbon footprint by promoting a carbon diet, an energy diet, conservation, and decentralized renewable energy.
4) Prime Farmland Preservation - protecting Capability I & II farmland from urban development and industrial land uses.
5) Water Rights and Watersheds - Protecting the water commons from privatization and contamination, and restoring watersheds.
6) Local Money and Local Food - fostering money literacy, and implementing a local currency through a buy-local campaign focused on local food.

Sustainability Action sponsored organizations:
1) Lawrence Creates Makerspace - a co-operative community space with tool sharing, recycling, and innovation incubator.
2) Diesel Health Project - promoting eco-justice in neighborhoods exposed to industrial air and water pollution, by monitoring pollution, and changing policies and enforcement.

Collaborative Organizations:
We build synergy with like-minded groups such as: Douglas County Food Policy Council, Jefferson County Food Council, Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition, Cultivate Kansas City, Lawrence Fruit Tree Project, Flint Hills Renewable Energy & Efficiency Co-op, Kansas Permaculture Institute, and Live Well Lawrence.
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