Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Weekly Sustainability Announcements, Lawrence Chapter, 27 October 2009

Tuesday, 27 October 2009, 12:00noon ¤ on Kansas City Community Radio
Listen at KKFI-FM 90.1, 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 the state of pollution in Kansas rivers. 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. This article, The Whizzers Of Oz, gives a good overview, and policy wonks may want to delve into SB 204 - The Dirty Water Bill.

Stay tuned at 12:30 when the Bioneers radio series airs "Can't Buy Me Love: Annie Leonard's Story of Stuff" (mistakenly listed for last week). As the consumer feeding frenzy has gone global, each seemingly innocuous purchase of stuff we make today leaves behind a devastating legacy of waste that will envelop and even poison future generations for centuries to come. Annie Leonard's film Story of Stuff basically describes how sustained industrial growth is contingent on the ever-expanding conversion of the natural world into consumer products - the antithesis of sustainability. And ironically, it's not like all that stuff is making us any happier.

2nd session, Tuesday, 27 October 2009, 7:00-9:00pm
UMKC University Center Alumni Room, 50th & Rockhill Rd, KC MO

Urban farmer Steve Mann, owner of Platte Prairie Farms, and Marty Kraft of the Heartland All Species Project will divulge the secrets of no till/minimal till growing methods. Material covered will include no-till as a carbon sequestration method, fall garden preparation, replacing lawns with PermaScape, green roofs, and four season gardening. Class fee is $14, plus $15 for a grower's journal. More info at Platte Prairie Farms, or

Wednesday, 28 October 2009, 7:00pm - $3
Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St., Lawrence KS

Directer Robert Greenwald, of Brave New Films, said on Democracy Now: Rethink Afghanistan that their mission is to reach as many people as possible and to motivate them to take action. Part of their approach is to release Rethink Afghanistan - free segments on-line, and part is to inspire local activists everywhere such as Films For Action - Rethink Afghanistan. Possibly the best print article currently available on Afghanistan is An Open Letter to President Obama in The Nation Magazine, by William R. Polk, fellow professor with Obama at the University of Chicago. Afghanistan is where empires go to die.


German Climate Report States Drastic Numbers
The chief climate adviser of the German WBGU council, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, one of the six most eminent climate scientists, has just issued a report that goes a giant step beyond the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The 26 October Nation Magazine article, Schellnhuber Climate Report, is written by sustainability correspondent, Mark Hertsgaard.

Specifically, the IPCC says that rich industrial countries must cut emissions 25 to 40 percent by 2020 (from 1990 levels). By contrast, the WBGU study says the United States must cut emissions 100 percent by 2020--i.e., quit carbon entirely within ten years. Germany, Italy and other industrial nations must do the same by 2025 to 2030. China only has until 2035, and the world as a whole must be carbon-free by 2050.

This timetable is light-years more demanding than what the world's major governments are talking about. The European Union has pledged 20 percent reductions by 2020. The Waxman-Markey bill would deliver less than 5 percent reductions by 2020. Obama, like other G-8 leaders, agreed in July to limit the global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius. But Schellnhuber cautioned that even the WBGU study timeline would not guarantee staying within the 2C target. It would merely give humanity a two-out-of-three chance of doing so--"worse odds than Russian roulette," he wryly noted.

"I myself was terrified when I saw these numbers" Schellnhuber said. He urges governments to agree in Copenhagen to launch a Green Apollo Project, aimed to put leading economies on a trajectory of zero carbon emissions within ten years.

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European Union Raises the Ante to 95% Decrease by 2050
In a related article from The Guardian UK, Europe offers to cut emissions 95% by 2050, European leaders assert their lead in climate solutions. "This should be seen as a clear message to the world," said Andreas Carlgren, the Swedish environment minister who chaired the Luxembourg meeting.

But his optimism contrasted with the increasing doubts around the world that enough time remains to deliver a binding agreement in Copenhagen. And judging from the Schellnhuber report, the EU's target falls short of effective measures, especially considering that atmospheric CO2 levels must be lowered 40 points to 350ppm. Besides which, EU members are divided on tactics going into Copenhagen, as well as internal disagreement of their own cap-and-trade protocols.

And despite today's agreement, environmental campaigners denounced the EU accord as inadequate. The EU's position is not strong enough to unlock the stalled negotiations," said Greenpeace. "Europe must go much further than this and live up to its historical responsibilities by committing to cut emissions by 40% domestically by 2020" said Sonja Meister, climate campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth.

Thursday, 29 OCTOBER 2009, 4:00pm
City Manager's Conference Rm., City Hall 4th Floor, 6th & Massachusetts St.

At the 1 October meeting, Task Force discussed the first draft of the "Food Security & Supply" section. A draft of the next section, "Peak Oil Transportation Strategies", will be presented and discussed at the 29 October meeting. Meetings are open to the public, and the public is encouraged to attend. And the Peak Oil Task Force web page has developed 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.

Saturday, 31 October 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. Fees may be paid by cash or check.

Electronic recycling will be provided by Extreme Recycling, Inc. http://www.extremerecyclinginc.com/ 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 http://www.lawrencerecycles.org/

Saturday, 31 October 2009, 12:00noon-4:00pm
Quindaro Blvd. between 17th & 18th St., Kansas City KS

Weatherization is one of the best strategies to address climate disruption, and green jobs for low income weatherization is one of the best strategies to strengthen the economy. 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. Conserving 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.

This local event is part of the National Weatherization Campaign from the Laborers International Union of North America, and the Cool Cities Campaign from the Sierra Club. LIUNA has developed a weatherization training program, and the ARRAct has budgeted $5 billion for the DoE's Weatherization Assistance Program. The opportunity and the need is there. If you want to help, donations of candy treats will greatly help the event. Contact Richard Mabion at (913)481-9920 with donations or for information.


Using features drawn from jet engine design, FloDesign Wind Turbine of Wilbraham MA has developed a prototype that is three times more efficient at turning the wind into electricity than today's towering, three-bladed models - Innovative FloDesign wind turbine triples output.

Because it's blades are lighter and smaller, the design starts spinning and making energy at lower wind speeds and is more tolerant of volatile wind patterns, making it a natural for windy niches where big turbines can't fit, such as in cities, on ridgelines and beaches. Scaled down blades also spin faster, reducing the need for the costly gear boxes that today's windmills must use to connect slow-moving rotors to a high-speed generator kits. The technology could transform the commercial wind business with units that are easier to install, longer lasting, and more adaptable to a variety of environments.

Monday, 2 November 2009, 2:00pm
Strong Hall lawn, K.U. campus

There will be a rally by K.U. Environs, Haskell Wetlands Preservation Organization, K.U. EcoJustice, and Save the Wetlands to gather signatures on a petition. Apparently K.U. (and not K.U. Endowment) owns 20 acres of the Wakarusa Wetlands directly in the path of the 32nd Street alignment for the SLT mega highway. The petition requests K.U. officials not convey these 20 acres to KDOT, and the petition will be delivered to the Chancellor. K.U. student groups have been lobbying University officials for more than a year to not cave into the Kansas Dept of Transportation, which lately has given priority to paving the Wetlands. For more info contact

Thursday, 5 November 2009, 6:30pm
Prairie Moon Waldorf School, 1853 E. 1600 Rd. (1/2 mile east of airport)

This will be the third public meeting to refine a Sector Plan draft for the rich alluvial farm region north of Lawrence. This meeting will build upon the visioning conducted at the last meeting. Many different perspectives and issues have been voiced by stakeholders. At this point it is important that goals and policies be prioritized with a distinction between "ecological sustainability" and "sustained economic growth". There can be some overlap, but often these two concepts are at odds. Meeting notes and schedules can be accessed at N.E. Sector Planning Process_Lawrence Planning Dept.

It is in this context that recommendation by the Sustainability Advisory Board take on particular interest regarding prime farm soils. Their letter can be linked at Prime Soils Preservation_SAB Recommendation to City Comm.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009, 5:30pm
Recycling and Resource Recovery Annex, 320 N.E. Industrial Lane, Lawrence KS

The November 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, 11 November 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

Wednesday, 11 November 2009, 7:00pm - free
lecture by Wes Jackson
Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Johnson County Community College
College Blvd. and Quivira Rd., Overland Park KS

Wes Jackson, founder and President of the Land Institute in Salina KS will be giving this lecture. Working with a doctorate in genetics and degrees in biology and botany, Jackson has lead the Land Institute research of long range development of perennial grain crops based on prairie species. NPR recently ran a feature interview on Wes and the Land Institute Wes Jackson's Perennial Grain Research.

He has given hundreds of lectures, many focused on how climate destabilization will disrupt the long-stable agricultural growing zones. He often displays unique insights such as: "Living organisms always seek out the most energy dense carbon. And humans have accelerated our growth by tapping into the five major carbon pools: soil, forests, coal, oil, and natural gas." Demonstrating how we have depleted these carbon pools, he points out that "A child of ten today has witnessed 25% of all oil that has been burned, and a 22 year old, 54% of all oil." Of course, all that carbon has been pumped into the oceans and atmosphere!

For more information on the lecture call James Leiker at (913) 469-8500 x3673

Thursday, 12 November 2009, 7:00-10:00pm - free
Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St., Lawrence KS

"Food Fight" is a fascinating look at how American agricultural policy and food culture developed in the 20th century, and how the California food movement rebelled against big agribusiness to launch the local, seasonal, food movement. The host will be Alan Rhodes, an organic grower from Lawrence Food Fight: local culinary revolt.

Sunday, 15 November 2009, 4:00pm
Mirth Cafe, 8th & New Hampshire St., Lawrence KS

Our speaker this month is Aron Cromwell, Lawrence City Commissioner and owner of Cromwell Environmental which specializes in renewable energy systems as well as healthy building services for indoor air quality, and testing and remediation of mold, asbestos, lead, etc. Aron's talk will focus on the technologies and policies of renewable energy in a state and local context. Q & A may get into the prospect of a Lawrence Sustainability Director and how that person will implement our Climate Protection Plan and the pending Peak Oil Response Plan.

Following the talk by Aron Cromwell, the S.A.N. meeting agenda will include:
  • planning of permaculture presentations
  • Transition Kaw Valley
  • furthering bicycle lanes in Lawrence
  • Peak Oil Plan, suggestions for input
  • fundraising; etc. - Please join us.

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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