Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sustainability Action Network, Lawrence Chapter, Announcements, 18/August/2009


Tuesday, 18 August 2009, 12:00noon
KKFI-FM 90.1, Kansas City Community Radio
Listen by radio, or on web-streaming at http://www.kkfi.org/

On this week's EcoRadio KC, host Richard Mabion will have Laura Calwell of the Kansas River Keepers discuss her research on low-income fisherman's unsafe fishing habits. The Kansas River is ranked as the 21st most polluted river by the EPA, and the 4th most endangered river due to the Kansas Legislature abdicating it's responsibility to clean up the river when it passed their "dirty water law" in 2001. Low income people often eat the fish from the Kansas River, particularly bottom dwelling fish that absorb concentrated toxins.

Stay tuned at 12:30 when the Bioneers radio series airs "Unembedding the Media: Going Where the Silence Is" with Thom Hartmann and Amy Goodman. Thom Hartmann is billed as the number one progressive talk show host, and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! as the number one progressive news anchor. Whether number one or not, they both dig into stories that most other news neglects. Amy is heard weekdays on KKFI at 8:00am, though unfortunately Thom has not yet been included in the lineup.


Confusion persists over the supposed benefits derived from the Gardner Intermodal Truck Dispatch Center following the recent one-day conference. Some still mistakenly believe this is about transporting consumer products more efficiently using rail (maybe because they're calling it the BNSF-RR Intermodal). In fact, this is about using less rail, and considerably more over-the-road trucks. The accurate image is "hub & spokes" with ocean containers arriving by rail to the hub, and trucks fanning out in spokes throughout the midwest.

Each day, every day, about 35 trains will reach the Truck Dispatch Center , and some 10,000 trucks will be dispatched to communities within an average 400 mile radius market area. Currently, most of these communities are served by rail to regional warehouses. But with the the Gardner facility in place, most communities will lose not only their rail deliveries, but also their warehouses, which would be relocated in Gardner. Trucks would then move goods from these million-square-foot warehouses over our highways to the outlying communities. Obviously, the highest concentration of trucks will be through Gardner and cities closest by - Spring Hill, Louisburg, Ottawa, Baldwin City, Lawrence, Eudora, Desoto, and Kansas City suburbs.

The clearest indication of this pattern is the use of what are called "high volume cross-docking transfer stations". This is a warehouse that does not store product, but instead breaks ocean containers into discreet packages for delivery to retailers in the market area. It is a long building with a rail head along one side, and truck docks on the opposite side. Fork lifts constantly move items from train to truck. And this is the typical warehousing planned for Gardner - low paying, high polluting industry. By no stretch of the imagination is this an environmental or economic benefit.

If you've already sent comments to the Army Corps of Engineers, make even better use of them by copying and sending them to: , gov>, , , and gov>

Tuesday, 18 August 2009, 5:30pm
Public Works Conference Room, ground floor, City Hall, Lawrence KS

The Bicycle Advisory Committee works with the City Transportation Planner and the City Engineer to advise the City Commission on bicycle facilities, plans and funding. They also work to improve bicycle safety and awareness through education of motorists and non-motorists. This month's agenda will include: a presentation by Michael Morley, the S.A.N. Coordinator, about a bicycle/pedestrian bridge over Iowa Street from W. 7th St. to Centennial Park; expansion of the B.A.C.; accurate counts of bicyclists and pedestrians; and more. The agenda is available at http://www.lawrenceks.org/pds/bac_agendas_minutes

Wednesday, 19 August 2009, 7:00-9:00pm ¤ NOTE the correction to Wednesday
Douglas County Co-op Extension Office, 21st & Harper Ave, Lawrence KS

In this sixth of seven seminars, Steve Moring of the Kaw Permaculture Collaborative will describe the collection and dispersal of rainwater as it moves through a site and into the soil. As a major component of creating sustainable human settlements, rainwater irrigation and aquaculture mechanisms can enhance the positive weather effects, and mitigate the negative weather effects on soil erosion and soil building. Pre-registration is required by contacting Steve prior to 15 August. An admission fee of $15.00 is requested to cover course materials.

More info available from Steve Moring at (785)863-4102, <smoring@grasshoppernet.com> or Bill Wood at (785)843-7058, <bdwood@ksu.edu> KPC is a project of the Sustainability Action Network.

Sunday, 23 August 2009, 4:00pm
Davenport Winery, 1394 E. 1900 Rd., Eudora KS
between new K-10 and old K-10; due to construction, use Davenport detour map

Our speaker this month, Greg Shipe, owner of Davenport Orchards & Winery, will update us on the Kansas River Valley Growers fight to protect their rights to essential water resources. Kansas water laws are very complex, and there has been a key decision by the Kansas Supreme Court, as well as regulatory decisions that affect water access by farmers.

After that, the S.A.N. meeting agenda will include: Transition Kaw Valley; Permaculture tour; furthering bicycle lanes in Lawrence; sustainability resource library; fundraising; etc. Please join us.

  • Definition of "peak oil" - New oil discoveries no longer keeping up with current oil extraction rates
  • After the peak, with the supply curve in decline, energy prices will be too high to implement mitigation
  • Communities can transition to a low-energy economy before a crisis hits, only if they choose to move ahead of the curve
Two weeks ago we reported how Fatih Birol, chief economist for the International Energy Agency, warned that oil prices higher than about $70 may strangle economic recovery. This viewpoint has been reinforced by Jeffrey Rubin, former senior economist at CIBC World Markets, in his new book Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller (reviewed on Money Energy). He says "By any benchmark the economic cost of the recent rise in oil prices is nothing short of staggering. A lot more staggering than the impact of plunging housing prices on housing starts and construction jobs. Certainly oil shocks are no stranger to recessions. Four of the last five global recessions were preceded by one. Curiously, an over-500% increase in the real price of oil gets virtually ignored as a culprit behind today’s economic [crisis]."

In reference to peak oil and the end of globalization, Rubin notes "The world is about to get a whole lot smaller in the sense that the goods and services will become increasingly localized. The more expensive oil gets, the more expensive travel becomes, but also commuting to work, and importing fresh fruits and vegetables from other areas. You can expect triple digit oil prices in the near future, which translates to as much as $7-per-gallon gasoline." He concludes "The growing scarcity in fossil fuels supply is going to mandate that we begin to live our lives more locally, more frugally, and more sustainably. We simply won’t have a choice."

Thursday, 27 August 2009, 4:00pm
City Manager's Conference Room, City Hall 4th Floor, 6th & Massachusetts St.

At the July meeting, several Task Force members gave reports on how several other communities have addressed key areas and recommended response plans. At the August meeting, the Task Force will build on that, and 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. 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 Portland, videos, advocacy groups like Post Carbon Institute and Transition Boulder County, and key data and reports.

Sunday, 6 September 2009, 9:00am-4:00pm
a guided tour of six sites

Sponsored by the Sustainability Action Network & the Kaw Permaculture Collaborative, this will be a guided tour of six permaculture operations, three urban, and three rural. Permaculture is a ecological design science to create relationships of soil nutrients, water flow, plant polyculture, animal and insect populations, sunlight and air movement, and human occupants, so the site becomes a self-organizing eco system. The initial investment of time and planning is greater than for the conventional garden tilling and seeding. But in the long term, a permaculture site requires less and less effort, weeding, pest control, ferterlizing, and even watering.

The tour schedule and sequence will be finalized soon, but generally we will visit three sites in the morning and three in the afternoon, with a lunch break between. For more info call (785)863-4102 or (785)832-1300, or visit http://kawpermaculture.wordpress.com/

Monday 27 July 2009

The "Geophysical Research Letters", that considers a wide range of climate mechanics, will soon publish research by Judith Lean, of the US Naval Research Laboratory, and David Rind, of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies predicting faster warming of the Earth in the next five years. Read the article at Faster Warming of Earth is Predicted, which attributes this trend to an upswing in solar flares during the coming active 11 years of the solar cycle, and the El Niño southern oscillation by which the Pacific Ocean flips between warmer and cooler states every few years.

For the last seven years, climate change deniers have pointed to stable global temperatures as their proof. But this new study indicates that the downward phase of the 11-year solar cycle, together with a lack of strong El Niño events have masked the warming caused by CO2 and other greenhouse gases. As solar activity picks up again in the coming years, the research suggests temperatures will shoot up at 150% of the rate predicted by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009, 5:30pm
Recycling and Resource Recovery Annex, 320 N.E. Industrial Lane, Lawrence KS

The September agenda will be available soon. 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 http://www.lawrencerecycles.org/envadvisoryboard.shtml

Wednesday, 9 September 2009, 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 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 EMC April 2009 minutes are available at http://www.kcmo.org/manager.nsf/web/emc

Saturday, 12 September 2009
Fair from 10:00am-4:00pm, Home Tours at 10:00am & 1:00pm
Community Building, 115 West 11th St. (Vermont at 11th St), Lawrence KS

The ninth annual Energy Conservation Fair will feature a wide range of energy conservation organizations and companies. This year the venue has moved to a more central location, and there will be an expert line up of speakers and presenters. The Sustainable Homes Tour is part of the American Solar Energy Society's National Solar Tour, and will feature efficient design and appliances and green building materials. For updates on the fair, visit 2009 Lawrence Energy Conservation Fair.

Saturday-Sunday, 12-13 September 2009, 10:00am-4:00pm
Hwy K-177, 2 miles N. of Strong City, or 17 miles S. of Council Grove

This is an annual prairie outing with prairie hikes, Kansas Native Plant Society education programs, prairie bus tours, special speakers, nature trails, and more. For more info go to Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

The SUSTAINABILITY ACTION NETWORK, Inc. is a Kansas not-for-profit organization. DONATIONS ARE APPRECIATED, and checks can be mailed to P.O.Box 1064, Lawrence KS 66044. 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 occurring in many other communities. To join the Sustainability Action Network please contact us at

Our current projects include:
1) Transition Kaw Valley - initiating transition to a relocalized post-carbon economy, and municipal level Peak Oil response planning.
2) Kaw Permaculture Collaborative - developing skills and resources for poly-cropping 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) Electric & Human Powered Vehicles - 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 the Sustainability Action Network, or other 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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