Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lawrence Sustainability Annoucements, March 24, 2009

24 March 2009

Thursday, 26 March 2009, 4:00pm
City Manager's Conference Room, City Hall 4th Floor, 6th & Massachusetts St.

The Task Force will review what some other cities are doing about Peak Oil, potentially to bring a consultant here to brief this Task Force.  They will begin the selection of committees to focus on key areas such as: food security, transportation, scarce energy land planning, medical services, emergency planning, etc.  A web page for the Task Force on the City's web site will also be discussed.  The meeting is open to the public, and the public is encouraged to attend.

Saturday, 28 March 2009, 10:00am-4:30pm
The Light Center, 1542 Woodson Road, Douglas County KS
(just south of US56, 8 miles west of Baldwin City KS)

The workshop will be by Steve Moring of the Kaw Permaculture Collaborative as anintroduction to the principles of ecologically sustainable agriculture for our future food security during times of energy depletion.  The workshop will focus on steps to implement Permaculture practice for The Light Center’s planned eco-village.  The Light Center is a 501(C)(3) not-for-profit retreat center and intentional community on 34 acres of woods and prairie.  A $30 tax-deductible donation is requested.
Info on the Light Center at The Light Center   Info on the Kaw Permaculture Collaborative at Kaw Permaculture Collaborative   

Saturday, 28 March 2008, 9:00am-2:00pm
Shawnee Civic Centre, Phlumm & Johnson Dr, Shawnee KS

Saturday, 4 April 2008, 9:15am-2:00pm
Sermon Community Center, 201 N Dodgion St, Independence MO (near Truman & Noland Roads)

There will be local organic and free range producers selling their wares, including garden plant starts, as well as free organic gardening information and free 2009 Producers Directory.  There will be a free workshop at 9:30 AM: "How to Buy Local - CSA's and Organic Farmers Markets", and workshops about growing gardens not lawns, and eating at locally supplied restaurants.

Both Food Expos are free admission with free parking and free music.  More information on the KC Food Circle and the two food expositions can be found at  or (913)334-0556 or email to   

Monday, 30 March 2009, 7:00pm  --  $3 donation to benefit for the new Solidarity! Center
Liberty Hall, 644 Mass St., Lawrence KS

The Take is a political thriller that follows Argentina’s groups of workers who are claiming the country’s bankrupt workplaces and running them without bosses.  The Take provides a timely and inspiring look at a democratic and community-based alternative to globalization and predatory-based economics.

Voter Education Coalition Forum
Monday, 30 March 2009, 7:00-9:00pm

Lawrence High School, 1901 Louisiana St.  The Voter Education Coalition consists of 15 partners, including the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and the Lawrence Homebuilders Association.  Questions can be sent to Bobbie Flory at the Lawrence Homebuilders Association  Selected questions will allow candidates to present their views on a variety of topics.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009, 6:30pm
Lawrence City Hall, 6th & Massachusetts St.

At their 24 February meeting, the Climate Protection Task Force finalized the Draft Report.  This represents a year of intensive work by many dedicated citizens.  To download the Final Climate Protection Report, and a Powerpoint Presentation of the Report, go to Climate Plan & Power Point Presentation at the City Commission future agenda item page.

While the Lawrence Climate Protection Final Report has some strong points and some weak points, on balance it is a document worthy of support.  We would advise, however, that any such support be accompanied with urging to strengthen the weak areas, primarily the implementation protocols.

The Report presents some notably aggressive green house gas (GHG) reduction targets for Lawrence, commensurate with prevalent targets world wide.  The GHG reduction targets, measured below 2005 levels, are: 30% by 2020, 50% by 3030, 70% by 2040, and 80% by 2050.  A weak point is that these are only "suggested" targets; they must be adopted as a hard timeline, otherwise the targets are meaningless.  Lawrence used 2005 as the base year (rather than the typical 1990 base year) because our 2005 GHG emissions were already 45% below the 1990 level.

To reach these goals, the Climate Report proposes seven strategies of implementationincluding: energy conservation for buildings, land use planning, and transportation policies and plans.  Additionally, the Task Force proposes funding for full time Sustainability Director, public educational programs, and a City leadership role in climate matters.

Energy Conservation for Buildings may be the most important of the strategies, yet the Report's recommendations devalue it's potential.  Buildings account for 38% of GHG emissions, more than emissions from industrial process or transportation.  Furthermore, 70% of energy used in buildings is electricity, 75% of Kansas' electricity is from coal, and coal emits twice the green house gases than any other fossil fuel.  Building energy is THE low hanging fruit, with the most rapid potential for reductions, and the greatest ability to leverage small changes into large results.  On a positive note,the Report calls for enhanced building codes, yet remains unclear as to what extent.  There isno reference to either Zero Energy Homes or The 2030 Challenge for carbon neutral buildings.  Beyond that, the Report emphasizes only "education" and "incentives", which will mean a slow adoption curve.  

Land Use Planning has some quite good proposals, which are found in Appendix D.  Oddly, the list mostly describes transportation policies.  This section would be improved if it included items like tower height exemptions for wind generators, south facing building lots with solar access, or covenant waivers for clothes lines, etc.  

Transportation Policies & Plans proposes a strong transit commitment, as well as policies to reduce auto idling.  A more detailed listing is in Appendix E, with an emphasis on bicycling and transit coordination.  

An agricultural strategy and a natural habitat strategy are both conspicuous in their absence from the Climate Protection Report.  It is suspected that these have been avoided for the same reasons that the section on Energy Conservation for Buildings lacks any meaningful teeth - resistance by the local land developers and builders, upon which our economy is disproportionately dependent.  Considering how agricultural soils and trees are both veritable sponges for carbon sequestration, their exclusion is a serious flaw in the Climate Protection Report.

Yes, this is an important document for security and livability of Lawrence.  But to be fully effective in as timely a fashion is required by the impending climate crisis, this Climate Protection Report needs some serious strengthening before it can rightly be called a Plan.

A series of 2009 workshops sponsored by Badseed Farm and Market    

Thursday, 2 April 2009, 6:00-8:00pm  --  fee required
1909 McGee St, Kansas City MO
This class will teach you how to stock your cupboards, freezers, basements, and closets with the luxury of local food, and how to make food preservation a part of your life.  Canning, freezing and dehydration methods will all be discussed.  Recipes for standard items like tomato sauce, salsa, pickles, dried herbs, jams and other goodies will be reviewed.  Registration materials can be downloaded from their website.
Thursday-Wednesday, 2-8 April 2009, and Wednesday-Tuesday, 7-13 October 2009
Lewellen NE (western Nebraska)

The course will be taught by Sandy Cruz with the assistance of Becky Elder and Jason Gerhardt. Ms. Cruz holds a Diploma of Permaculture Design from the International Permaculture Institute.  The course will include sessions on "designing ecosytems", "cultivating organic foods", "appropriate technologies", and "designing for community".  It is sponsored by Volunteers of America which is a national, nonprofit, faith-based organization dedicated since 1896 to helping those in need to rebuild their lives and reach their full potential.  For more information, contact Jean Jensen at (308)778-5548 or> or P.O.Box 128, Lewellen NE 69147.

Saturday, 4 April 2009, 1:00-2:30pm
Lawrence Public Library Auditorium, 7th & Vermont St, Lawrence KS

Steve Moring of the Kaw Permaculture Collaborative will present an introduction to the principles, ethics and application of permaculture for the urban and rural landscape.  The lecture will be followed by a group discussion of permaculture applications, resources, local organizations and community projects.  A $5.00 donation is requested at the door.  

This will be the first in a series of seven monthly lectures through spring and summer.  More info available from Steve Moring, 785-863-4102,<  KPC is a project of the Sustainability Action Network

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Three of the five positions are being voted on.
The candidates are, alphabetically: Mike Amyx, Price Banks, James Bush, Dennis Constance, Aron Cromwell, Lance Johnson, Tom Johnson, Gwen Klingenberg

Monday, 13 April 2009, 7:00pm
Lawrence Public Library, Gallery Room, 7th & Vermont St.

Monthly coordinated reading and discussion of noteworthy books on ecology, sponsored by theLawrence Community Environmental School.  Meetings are always on the second Monday of the month.  The April book will be Big Coal by Jeff Goodell.  Goodell debunks the faulty assumptions underlying coal's revival and shatters the myth of cheap, clean coal energy.  Jeff Goodell interview on Big Coal   

Upcoming books will be:
May 11:  The Sacred Balance by David Suzuki, Amanda McConnell, and Adrienne Mason
June 8:  Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman
July 13: Coming Home to Eat by Gary Nabham 
More info at Lawrence Ecoliteracy Book Club  

Saturday, 18 April 2008, 11:00am parade, 11:30-4:00pm park festival

The Lawrence Earth Day Parade begins at the Train Park, and is sponsored by K.U. Environs   The Earth Day Celebration will be held in South Park, and is sponsored by the City of Lawrence Waste Reduction & Recycling Department.  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.  For more information, for a parade participant form, or for an exhibitor registration form, please visit   Exhibitor Registration deadline is Monday, 30 March.  

Saturday-Sunday, 18-19 April 2009, 9:00am-5:00pm both days
125 Crescent Lane, Stelle, IL 60919, Ph: 815-256-2215

Transition Town Initiatives guide communities to jointly address Peak Oil and Climate Instability by building local self-reliance and resilience that can carry us to a post carbon society.  The Transition Handbook was written by Rob Hopkins of Great Britain, and this short YouTube segmentRob Hopkins | Transition Initiatives describes the concept and methods of Transition Towns with three principal elements: reduce carbon emissions, rebuild energy resilience, and strengthen the local economy.  The seminar will be hosted and taught by Bill and Becky Wilson of  Midwest Permaculture  for two days of intensive Transition Training in Stelle Illinois.  For more info, e-mail Bill at    

Saturday, 25 April 2009, 9:00am to 1:00pm
Free State High School (north parking lot), 4700 Overland Drive, Lawrence KS

Electronics devices typically contain toxic heavy metals like lead and mercury and cadmium, and precious metals like silver and gold.  If recycled properly, these metals can be materials feed stock for new industrial processes, not to mention saving production costs, and keeping them out of the landfill.

This one day event will provide Lawrence residents and businesses a way to conveniently recycle old, unwanted electronics equipment.  Items accepted for recycling are computer monitors, desktops, laptops, keyboards, printers and other peripherals, televisions, copiers, scanners, telephones, cell phones, pagers, fax machines, VHS/DVD drives, and hand held devices. There is a recycling fee for computer monitors and televisions, $5 per monitor, and $10 per TV.  There are no charges for other electronic equipment.  There is also an optional on-site hard drive destruction available for $5 per hard drive.  Fees may be paid by cash or check.

Electronic recycling will be provided by Extreme Recycling, Inc.  recycling the E-waste in accordance to Federal and Kansas Electronic Waste Processing Regulations.  The event is sponsored by the City of Lawrence Waste Reduction & Recycling Division

to DONATE to the SUSTAINABILITY ACTION NETWORK, send a check to P.O.Box 1064, Lawrence KS 66044

The SUSTAINABILITY ACTION NETWORK, Inc. is a Kansas not-for-profit organization
Our mission is to advocate and organize societal scale action to address sustainability issues.  The triple crises of Energy-Ecology-Economy, the global "3E Trifecta", are building so rapidly that large scale action is needed immediately and methodically to overcome institutional barriers and advance public policy that preserves ecological sustainability.  Our focus is to build a relocalized economy-ecology in concert with the Transition Town movement in many other communities.  To join the Sustainability Action Network (until our website is operational) please contact us at  

Our current projects include:
1) Peak Oil Action - initiating municipal level Peak Oil resolutions and response planning.
2) Permaculture Collaborative - developing skills and resources for sustainable food production.
3) Land Consortium - organizing interested stakeholders to acquire prime farmland in the urban fringe for land-based economic development and regional food security.
4) Water Rights and Watersheds - protecting the water commons, the source of all life, from privatization and contamination, and restoring our watersheds.
5) SAN Sustainability Announcements - informing and encouraging others to become active in our Sustainability Action Network, or other such action driven groups.
6) Collaboration with sister organizations - such as: Citizens for Responsible Planning; Films for Action; Kansas River Valley Growers fighting for local water rights; Lawrence Future Food advocating farm-based economic development in Lawrence; national efforts by the Sustainable Energy Network; KC Metro groups like the Kansas City Food Circle and the All Species Project, etc.

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