Thursday, February 18, 2010


Tuesday, 16 February 2010, 12:00noon ¤ on Kansas City Community Radio
Listen at KKFI-FM 90.1, or on web-streaming at
Pledge your $$$ to support this programming at (816)931-3122

On EcoRadio KC this week, host Reenie Carmack will interview Jane and Loran VanBenthusen on the subject of "What's Bugging You?" How eating fermented foods is a great way to help our bodies create the healthy internal environment of bio-diverse micro-organisms needed for optimal health.

Stay tuned at 12:30 when the Bioneers radio series presents "Surviving Climate Change: Plants, People and Place" . How secure is a far-flung global economy – and our food supply – in a time of climate change? Native American historian John Mohawk explores how civilizations have coped with previous earth changes, or have collapsed. Renowned seedsman and author Gary Nabhan expresses the power of restoring reciprocal relationships with the foods we eat. Both present compelling perspectives for conserving our collective knowledge of our relationship to plants, and for looking to the local.


Rolling Prairie Community Supported Agriculture is the oldest CSA cooperative in the Midwest, and one of just a few multi-farm CSAs in the country. The Farmers' Alliance grows and markets organic produce cooperatively to over 300 households, from April to November. They distribute weekly in four locations, twice in Lawrence, twice in Johnson County. For more information go to Rolling Prairie Farmers Alliance

Tuesday, 16 February 2010 ¤ deadline TODAY for EIS comments to the USDA

Not satisfied with contaminating the germ plasm of Mexican Maize (Mother corn), Brazilian soy, Egyptian cotton, Irish potatoes, and more, Monsanto is now aiming to dominate another primary crop, alfalfa. This globally predatory corporation tweaks the genetic makeup of a given species, and claims "intellectual ownership" of the entire germ plasm, not just the marker gene. Their next strategic step is to establish legal control and dominance of seed markets by suing any farmer who dares to save the seed, or more deviously, suing any farmer whose own crop is contaminated by drifting Monsanto GE pollen, because they claim the farmer is in "illegal possession of Monsanto's intellectual property"! This corporation is more than evil, pursuing far more than a fair profit, and even more than greedily maximizing profit.

In 2006, the USDA initially approved GE alfalfa without an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), but the Center for Food Safety sued the USDA to force them to comply with the law and conduct EIS hearings. The USDA has now issued the EIS, but it is ludicrously pro-forma, basically reiterating their earlier approval. NOW is the time for public comment.

For a fact sheet and talking points, go to USDA Stance on GM Alfalfa Threatens Organic Industry.
For two action alerts, go to Tell the USDA to reject Monsanto's GE alfalfa, and Tell USDA You Are Concerned About GE Contamination.
Better yet (more effort, but more effective) write and mail four copies of your comments to:
Docket No. APHIS-2007-0044
Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS
Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

Be sure to reference your letter as comments to: Docket No. APHIS-2007-0044

Tuesday, 16 February 2010, 6:00pm
Public Works Confr. Room, lower level, Lawrence City Hall, 6th & Massachusetts St.

The agenda this month includes some key issues: Ghost bike Memorial for killed bicyclists, the 2010 Bicycle Works Program, West 6th St. and Kasold Ave bicycle facilities, a Bicycle Facilities Maintenance Program, and a community bicycle map keyed for rideability. The agenda and information can be downloaded at Bicycle Advisory Comm | agendas & minutes.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010, 6:00pm
Ecumenical Christian Ministries, 1204 Oread Ave., Lawrence KS 66044

The LFTP Lawrence Fruit Tree Project is a co-operative group of pomiculturists who have organized themselves to establish community orchards, and teach folks how to grow and care for fruiting trees and shrubs. They also are setting up a fruit tree register to list existing neighborhood trees that are underutilized, so they can be cared for and harvested. Anyone is welcome who is interested in relocalized food security, environmental literacy, permaculture, fruit tree propagation, etc. Come to our meetings and help our grass roots organization grow!

The agenda will include: revisions to a City ordinance prohibiting picking fruit on public land, having a booth at the Seed Saving and Seed Exchange Fair (see below), upcoming LFTP workshops, and more.


A 35 acre wooded retreat with river bottom soils near Baldwin City KS is looking for interested people to join an eco village, invest in shared ownership of the property, and build their own small portable cabin. The community plan is for cooperative living using sustainability skills for energy and farming, and preferably comprised of people committed to a spiritual path. For more info, contact Robin at (785)255-4583 or , or visit their website The Light Center

Wednesday, 17 February 2010, 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


The great majority of Americans support a bold progressive agenda for our country, and Obama claims he "hopes" to fund a transition to a sustainable economy. So of all the Federal ear-marks, subsidies, bail-outs, and investment tax credits, why is the lion's share still going to banksters and corporate giants? And why is more than half the Federal budget spent on military protection of those corporate assets? - Federal Budget Pie Chart

Jim Hightower, the populist muckraker editor of The Hightower Lowdown, explains that it's not caused by fickle and spineless politicians, but rather by their corporate handlers. He asks "Who, specifically, are these plotters, and how do they impose their narrow agenda of self-interest over the public interest? Most Americans are totally unaware of these interests which have . . . quietly embedded themselves . . . in our society's governing institutions."

It may come as a surprise that Kansas is central to this scheme. For although the folks at Radio Free Kansas have probably probed this matter, how many Kansans have ever heard of the multi-billionaire Koch brothers (pronounced "coke")?

Koch Industries of Wichita Kansas is one of the key players in the shift to government "of, by, and for the corporations". Koch is a major producer of oil, gas, timber, coal, and cattle. It's a petroleum refiner, controls some 4000 miles of pipeline including a piece of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, manufactures asphalt, chemicals, polyethylene, nitrogen fertilizers, concrete, lumber products, and myriad consumer goods. It has 700,000 employees in 60 countries. Why do you know so little of this giant? Because it is purposefully a "closely held company", which means there is no stock ownership for sale, all financing being family controlled. And that means there are few public disclosure requirements. But with it's sales topping $100 billion a year, it is bigger than corporate giants like Verizon and Morgan Stanley.

Charles and David Koch, who control this family-owned business, are tied as the 19th richest billionaires in the world, just below the four heirs of the WalMart fortune. They also have a burning right-wing ideology, following their daddy Fred, who co-founded the John Birch Society. Since 1973, they have strategically funneled more than $1 billion to right-wing groups through their three Koch Family Foundations. Hightower writes "These "charitable" foundations are dedicated to achieving the brother's anti-government, corporate-controlled vision for America. This stealth force includes national and state-level think tanks, Astroturf front groups, academic shills, university centers, political-training programs, fundraising clearinghouses, publications, and lobbyists. Their extremist ideas have never had strong public support, yet they've moved from the back burner in the 1970's to the front burner in the Bush years."

"The Kochs are not the only right-wing funders, of course, for other far-right family foundations as Bradley, Coors, Olin, and Scaife are also major players. But the size, scope, strategic purpose, and secrecy of the Koch investments make the brothers worthy of special attention." And beyond the dollars, the brothers take an active role in running many groups. David is board chair of Americans for Prosperity who bankrolled the Tea Bagger "revolution". He's also on the board of the Cato Institute and the Reason Foundation. While Charles is chair of the Institute for Humane Studies and a director of the Mercatus Center. Read more at - The Corporate Money That Took Over Washington. And to learn more affiliations, go to Koch Industries financial-political connections.

This analysis is fully in keeping with Democracy Incorporated: by Sheldon Wolin. Wolin states that in the U.S. ". . .the government is now governed through the anonymous and largely remote hand of corporate power and finance capital. That is, political sovereignty is largely replaced by economic sovereignty as corporate power takes over the reigns of governance." Apparently "The Hidden Hand of the Market" is a double entendre. And Hightower's report further explains the famous quote by Grover Norquist, that he wants to shrink government "down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub".

To join efforts to counteract this undemocratic trend, go to Source Watch, where they deconstruct corporate PR spin. And check three excellent sites working to undue corporate "personhood": Move to Amend, Center for Media and Democracy, and POCLAD - Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy.

Saturday, 27 February 2010, 12:00noon - 5:00pm
Douglas County Fair Grounds, Dreher 4-H Building, 21st & Harper St., Lawrence KS

Sponsored by the Kaw Valley Seeds Project, this will be their first public event. The group endeavors to foster the sharing, exchanging, buying and selling of locally adapted primary seed varieties of the Kansas River Valley. Their goal is to develop seed security and diversity through a seed growers and exchange network. The Seed Fair will include: a local seed exchange, educational booths, vendor booths, and local music, art, and photography about seeds. For more info, contact Diana Henry at

Report to the Royal Society of the United Kingdom
Wednesday, 10 February 2010

"Peak oil is no longer a matter of theoretical debate. Peak oil has emerged from the fringes of political and economic debate, and security of energy supply has risen to the top of the political agenda." - Dr. Robert Falkner, London School of Economics

"We're not saying that there isn't a lot of oil left in the ground. Some think there is a huge amount left in the ground. What we are saying is there is a limit to the rate at which we can extract oil. We've been extracting it at a peak level of 85 million barrels per day (85Mb/d), and we don't think we'll be able to get above 92Mb/d" - John Miles, Arup Ltd, an innovative engineering design and consulting firm.

Excerpts from the February 2010 report The Oil Crunch.pdf
As we reach maximum oil extraction rates, the era of cheap oil is behind us. The global peak
extraction rate for oil is likely to occur within the next decade (maybe within 5 years) at a value no higher than 92Mb/d. The group Peak Oil Consulting has charted that world demand could reach 105Mb/d by 2030, a very similar figure to the IEA’s 2009 predictions. In the future, 80-90 percent of growth demand will come from the non-OECD countries (the so-called ‘developing world’, most notably China and India). It is anticipated the developing nations growth in demand will outweigh the decline in demand of the developed nations.

Global capacity will then remain in the 91-92Mb/d range until 2015 from which time depletion will more than offset capacity growth from then onwards. Small mismatches in energy supply and demand produce wide price swings as there is no economic actor strong enough to absorb and damp the mismatches. As both UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicholas Sarkozy have publicly observed, this sort of volatility is very damaging to economic activity and one that is becoming increasingly expensive for companies to hedge against.

The implication from our research is that high and volatile oil prices, coupled with supply uncertainties, are likely to become a characteristic of the future world oil markets. In terms of the energy market, the immediate impact of an economic recession is to depress demand, and this is reflected in lower prices. However, recession also depresses the supply side, making new oil field investment more difficult, and renders a number of potential projects uneconomic and subject to cancellation. Oil price uncertainties over the coming few years could make economic recovery particularly difficult.

Based on this assessment, we might expect to see the following effects reflected in our economy within the term of the next government:
• Markedly higher prices for all forms of travel (air, sea, rail and road)
• Increased food prices
• Increased general retail prices
• Increased domestic utility bills for heating and power

As a result of this report and several others in the last year, the mainstream press is sitting up and taking notice. Here are some of the more notable press pieces covering the story:
Branson warns of oil crunch within five years - The Guardian
Their call for urgent government action comes amid a wider debate on the issue and follows allegations by insiders at the International Energy Agency that the organisation had deliberately underplayed the threat of so-called "peak oil" to avoid panic on the stock markets.
Britain should prepare itself for an imminent oil price shock - The Independent
Even if Western economies' thirst for oil is held relatively stable by energy efficiency measures, demand from the rapidly industrialising developing world will push prices up sharply because production much above the current 85 million barrels per day level is not thought possible.
Britain faces 'oil crunch' within five years - The Telegraph
The report said Government must acknowledge the risks to the economy and to produce contingency plans for transport, retail, agriculture and alternative power.
'Unless we do so, we face a situation during the term of the next government where fuel price unrest could lead to shortages in consumer products and the UK's energy security will be significantly compromised,'' it said.
The next crisis: Prepare for peak oil - Wall Street Journal
The latest report from the Taskforce points out how much modern economies depend on oil, whether for transport, heating or even fertilizer. Demand may have peaked in the developed world but any shrinkage there, is likely to be more than outweighed by the developing countries, with their rapidly expanding appetite for energy to fuel industry needs and consumer aspirations.
And, just in case you can't get enough commentary, here's the Oil Drum's own summary and response to the report - The Release of the Industry Taskforce Report on Peak Oil and Energy Security

Thursday, 4 March 2010, 4:00pm
City Manager's Conference Rm., City Hall 4th Floor, 6th & Massachusetts St.

After reviewing in February two draft sections of the Peak Oil Plan, the March agenda will cover a preliminary draft of "Peak Oil Media & Communications". The City Commission extended the time to complete a plan for another six months.

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.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010, 5:30pm
Recycling and Resource Recovery Annex, 320 N.E. Industrial Lane, Lawrence KS

The March 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

Wednesday, 10 March 2010, 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

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 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

To subscribe to this list, please send an e-mail to with the subject line reading “subscribe to Sustainability Announcements”.

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