Thursday, May 07, 2009

Sustainability Announcements - Lawrence Chapter, Sustainability Action Network, May 5, 2009


Congressional vote may be as early as, Thursday, 7 May 2009

A Renewable Energy Standard (or Renewable Portfolio Standard), if enacted, would require utilities to generate 20% of their electricity from renewable sources - wind, solar, biomass, etc.  Along with other key elements like carbon regulation, a green job program, the economics of energy conservation, and a smart grid, a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) could achieve the critical mass for a renewable energy economy.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, of which Sam Brownback is a member, may soon be voting on an RES, maybe as early as this Thursday.  Last year an RES Senate vote failed by one vote.  Here in Kansas, the Executive Director of the Climate & Energy Project, Nancy Jackson, will be meeting with Sen. Brownback's staff to discuss the benefits of an RES for the Kansas economy and citizens.  She will present to them a list of signatures of supporters for an RES.

If you click on this link, Renew Kansas, you can "click and sign" the petition.  When there, select the link to the right that best describes you (landowner, citizen, environmentalist, etc). and add your name to that letter. 

possibly by, Friday, 8 May 2009

This two year struggle between the dinosaur of 19th Century fossil energy and the zephyr of 21st Century clean energy is at the center stage of U.S. energy policy.  All eyes are on Kansas, the third windiest state.  While vested interests want to keep 75% of Kansas electricity coming from Wyoming coal, thousands of Kansas citizens, many labor and environmental groups, dozens of our Legislators, and our Governor all have spoken up for wind energy.

Since 13 May when Gov. Sebelius vetoed the fourth "Coal Bill" HB 2014an army of special interest lobbyists vowed to overturn the decision, and lock Kansas into an economically untenable past and environmentally disastrous future.  Kansas citizens held them off three times before, and this is the decisive moment.  

At the link below, you can locate your legislator, see how legislators voted, and send a letter to your Representative directly through the website.  Depending on how your Representative voted, the sample letters will either thank legislators, or ask them to reconsider.  Please feel free to personalize the letters before sending.  

Tuesday, 21 April 2009
by the Union of Concerned Scientists

A two-year study, "Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy", found that implementing a suite of climate, energy and transportation policies would allow the United States to meet an emissions-reduction cap of 56 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and save consumers and businesses $465 billion in that year. The average U.S. household would enjoy a net savings of $900 on its energy bills, including $580 on transportation (fuel, vehicle and driving) costs and $320 on electricity, natural gas and heating oil, after investing in home efficiency improvements. Businesses collectively would realize net energy bill savings of $130 billion.  Read the full report atReduce Emissions, Lower Energy Costs | Union of Concerned Scientists    

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

FERC head, Jon Wellinghoff, is in the news again concerning energy economics.  Bloomberg News reported him saying that the U.S. may never need to build new nuclear or coal-fired power plants because renewable energy and improved efficiency can meet future power demand. “They’re too expensive - The last price I saw for a nuke was north of $7,000 a kilowatt. That’s more expensive than a solar system. ... There’s 500 to 700 gigawatts of developable wind throughout the Midwest [and] enough solar in the southwest, as we all know, to power the entire country." There is also “at least 100 gigawatts” of hydropower, not including offshore projects that use wave and tides to generate electricity. 

Saturday, 9 May 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, 9 May 2009, 9:00am-4:00pm
18641 Stairstep Rd, Lawrence KS (four miles north of 24/40 Hwy on E 1500 Rd)

This class is being taught by Diana Henry of the Kaw Valley Seed Project, an organization dedicated to creating a local living seed reserve, and teaching the skills necessary to grow, identify, and store food seeds in a seed bank.  Their primary focus is on the Three Sisters - Corn, Beans, and Squash - but they want to preserve as broad a collection of seeds as possible.

The class is free if a person brings an example of a wild edible plant to share; otherwise they request a $10 donation.  Wear gardening clothes and bring a sack lunch.  For more info contact Dianna at (785)331-2315 or Laura at (785)843-8084.


Earth Day KC ¤ Earth Fest & Earth Walk
Saturday, 9 May 2009, 11:00am-4:00pm (10:00am Earth Walk along Brush Creek)
Volker (Theis) Park, Kansas City MO (just south of Nelson Gallery-Atkins Museum)

Leavenworth Environmental Awareness Day
Tuesday, 12 May 2009, 8:00am-3:00pm
Ft. Leavenworth KS 

Troostwood Community Organization ¤ Earth Day Activities
Friday, 15 May 2009, 9:00am-2:00pm
Troostwood Neighborhood, Kansas City MO

Monday, 11 May 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 May book will be The Sacred Balance 2008 by David Suzuki, Amanda McConnell, and Adrienne Mason.  This special 10th anniversary edition of the David Suzuki classic re-examines our place in the natural world in light of sweeping environmental changes and recent advances in scientific knowledge. 

Upcoming books will be:
June 8:  Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman
July 13: Coming Home to Eat by Gary Nabham 
August 10:  TBA
More info at Lawrence Ecoliteracy Book Club  

Wednesday, 13 May 2009, 8:00am-5:00pm drop by
1198 North 2050 Road, Lawrence KS 

The system fabricator, Rich Wenzel, will be available all day to show and discuss this PV solar installation.  He will explain the capacities of the solar collectors, the function of the inverter, the wiring connections, and more.  This rural home is north of Lawrence and west of Midland Junction.  From Lawrence, go west on U.S. 24 to the Hamm's Landfill turnoff (East 1250 Road), turn left across the RR tracks and go south 1/2 mile to North 2050 Road, and go west 1/2 mile over the levee to the site.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009, 4:00-6:00pm
Mid America Regional Council, Rivergate Center 2nd floor, 600 Broadway, Kansas City MO

The Environmental Management Commission promotes environmental awareness and resource efficiency to the City's leader and staff, to assist the progress of Kansas City toward sustainability. Members of the general public are encouraged to attend and observe meetings and to join and participate in its efforts.  
More information and the December 2008 minutes are available at

Wednesday, 13 May 2009, 5:30pm
SWAN Building, 320 NE Industrial Lane, Lawrence KS

The May agenda will include: chat with our new Mayor, Rob Chestnut; letter of support for hiring a City Sustainability Director; proposals for energy projects funded by Federal Stimulus Bill; Lawrence Energy Conservation Fair.  

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

Wednesday, 13 May 2009, 6:30pm
East Lawrence Center, 15th & Brook St., Lawrence KS

Three years in promotion and planning, this key catalyst for the eastern neighborhoods and key link in the City-wide trail system is about to be built.  The final construction drawings are complete, and the design reflects virtually all the preferences of the neighborhoods.  Construction bids will be let around June, and construction will take place from about August to October.  The public is invited to attend this meeting to review the plans and offer any final suggestions.  The project description is at Burroughs Creek Trail & Linear Park where you can download PDFs of a project map and the Burroughs Creek Corridor Plan.  

Tuesday, 19 May 2009, 7:00-9:00pm
Douglas County Co-op Extension Office, 21st & Harper Ave, Lawrence KS

In this third of seven seminars, Steve Moring of the Kaw Permaculture Collaborative willexplore the patterns of nature and living systems, which are the basis of design principles as taught by David Holmgren and Bill Mollison.  He will also outline the basic steps in planning, assessing land resources, designing and implementing projects including earthworks and swales.  A $15.00 donation is requested.  Pre-registration is required by contacting Steve prior to 16 May.

More info available from Steve Moring, (785)863-4102,<> or Bill Wood at (785)843-7058, <>   KPC is a project of the Sustainability Action Network, Inc

Wednesday, 20 May 2009, 7:00pm
Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th St., Kansas City MO 

Michael Pollan is an enlightening and delightful speaker on food sustainability, local food, food history and more.  He has authored five books including "The Botany of Desire" and "The Omnivore's Dilemma" Michael Pollan.  This event is sponsored by Rainyday Books in Fairway KS and Powell Gardens in Kansas City MO.  Tickets and info available at Rainy Day Books | Michael Pollan 

Recently, the Eco Radio Hour on KKFI FM90.1 in Kansas City (noon on Tuesdays) featured Michael Pollan speaking at a Bioneers Conference.  For a taste of his lectures, listen to the show at Michael Pollan | Bioneers Archives 08 - when there, scroll down the page to "Beyond the Bar Code: The Local Food Revolution", and click on "listen to the MP3" (which you can download with a right click too).  Pollan describes the farming operation of Joel Salatan of Swoope Virginia, who calls himself a grass farmer.  He raises cattle and chickens, rotates them in pastures in a way that builds the grass, increases his top soil, and sustainably produces larger quantities of beef and chicken than do conventional farmers.  Listen to KKFI on the web 

Sunday, 24 May 2009, 4:00pm
Plymouth Congregational Church, 725 Vermont St, Lawrence KS
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ Scott Trettel will speak on energy saving architecture ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤

This month's speaker will be Scott Trettel of Scott Trettel Design Build.  He will discuss how he incorporates elements of green design into his affordable home projects, what he refers to as "grass roots industrial art".  Green design can cover a range of interpretations, and Scott has his own unique expression of green.

Following the talk, the SAN meeting agenda will include: a Transition Initiative for Kaw Valley and Kansas City, brainstorm new SAN projects, net metering and neighborhood electric vehicles, Permaculture events, SAN website, not-for-profit filing.  Please join us.

Thursday, 28 May 2009, 4:00pm
City Manager's Conference Room, City Hall 4th Floor, 6th & Massachusetts St.

The Task Force will discuss how to structure itself into sub-committee focus areas such as: food security, transportation, scarce energy land use planning, medical and public services, emergency planning, etc.  These meetings are open to the public, and the public is encouraged to attend.  And the Peak Oil Task Force web page is developing an extensive list of resources (click on "resources") including other cities' action plans such as San Francisco and Austin, videos, advocacy groups like Post Carbon Institute and Transition Boulder County, and key data and reports.

Saturday, 30 May 2009, 10:00am-2:00pm
Bus tour leaves the Lawrence Farmers' Market at 10:00am

For self-guided touring, a brochure and map will be available at all the garden centers and some hardware stores.  This tour is to demonstrate the range of possibilities for growing your own food inside the Lawrence city limits.  There are a dozen home gardens and community gardens that will be on the tour.  Several members of SLUG "Support Local Urban Gardeners" are organizing the tour SLUG | Urban Garden Planting   For more info, contact  or and watch this space.  

DONATIONS ARE APPRECIATED for the SUSTAINABILITY ACTION NETWORK.  Please send checks 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 & Relocalization - initiating municipal level Peak Oil response planning and transition to a relocalized post-carbon economy.
2) Kaw Permaculture Collaborative - developing skills and resources for sustainable food production.
3) Energy Conservation & Renewables - advancing a green economy through decentralized technologies and regulations, for conservation and renewable energy.
4) Land Consortium - organizing interested stakeholders to acquire prime farmland in the urban fringe for land-based economic development and regional food security.
5) Water Rights and Watersheds - protecting the water commons, the source of all life, from privatization and contamination, and restoring our watersheds.
6) Small Vehicles: Electric & Human Powered - promoting neighborhood electric vehicles and utility tricycles, including infrastructure and pro-active regulations.
7) Weekly Sustainability Announcements - informing and encouraging others to become active in our Sustainability Action Network, or other such action driven groups.
8) Collaboration with sister organizations - such as: The Light Center eco-village; Kaw Valley Food System farm-based economic development; Citizens for Responsible Planning; Films for Action; Kansas River Valley Growers fighting for local water rights; national efforts by the Sustainable Energy Network; KC Metro groups like the Kansas City Food Circle and the All Species Project, etc.

We welcome suggestions for items to be included.  Please send items to 

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