Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lawrence Sustainability Announcements, 11/May/2010

Tuesday, 11 May 2010, 12:00noon ¤ on Kansas City Community Radio
Listen at KKFI-FM 90.1, or on web-streaming at http://www.kkfi.org/

On Eco-Radio KC this week, host John Kurmann will continue last month's discussion about what we need to do to make the air in Kansas City genuinely healthy. The guests will be Stephanie Cole, Associate Regional Representative of the Kansas Sierra Club, and Ron McLinden, Chair of the Transportation Committee of the Missouri Sierra Club.

Stay tuned at 12:30 when the Bioneers radio series presents "Returning to the Roundhouse: Revolution from the Heart of Women". The environment in developing countries of the South has often suffered most, and how these nations relate to the environment from here on is a make-it-or-break-it factor in planetary survival for all of us. Ethiopian visionary Bogaletch Gebre depicts how the interconnecting forces of environment, economy, women, health and ecological technologies are creating a future environment of hope.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010, 7:00pm
Plaza Library, 4801 Main St., Kansas City MO - first floor, large room

The Kansas City Transition Initiative is addressing climate disruption and peak oil inflation at the local level, a relocalization effort similar to hundreds of others around the globe. The meeting agenda includes: local participation in the 350.org Get to Work in 2010 campaign, a report on transition activities in other communities including Great Unleashings, and a report on other recent local activities.

The Transition movement was begun by Rob Hopkins in Great Britain Transition Towns, and in the U.S. is coordinated by Transition US based in Sebastapol CA. They help local initiatives with resources and publications, and they have 22 trainers traveling to conduct local training sessions. For more info, or to get on the Kansas City e-mail list, call (816)767-8873, or contact them at

Monday, 10 May 2010

Did you say "contingency plans", or "precautionary principal"? Remember a month ago when President Obama oiled his way across the floor with soothing reassurances that “We’ll employ new technologies that reduce the environmental impact of offshore exploration.”? - Offshore Drilling to Use New & Safe Technologies. Now that we know that BP was exempted from strict oversight of their Deepwater Horizon platform, it's evident they jumped in feet first with no idea how to cope with potential crisis.

BP's primary line of defense is to drill a relief well that will take three months (begging the question, What will prevent this new well from having a methane explosion?). Meanwhile, all they have up their sleeve is stop-gap guesswork for stemming the flow of the 5000 barrels-a-day geyser. On Saturday, the 78 ton, four story, containment dome, which had never been used deeper than 200feet, failed to stop the oil plume when its outlet clogged with methane hydrate ice crystals - Containment Dome Fails to Stop Oil Gusher: No Plan B. This is the same methane hydrate that melted and exploded after Haliburton cemented the well casing on 20 April.

So BP is desperately reaching for their grab bag. One option BP is considering is melting the methane ice crystals inside the dome to unclog it - uhhh, making it gaseous and explosive again? They also may do a so-called "junk shot" to shoot golf balls and shredded tires into the well leaks (Editor: I'm not making this stuff up). Or they may cut the leaking pipe fully off, and try to splice a larger pipe over it to carry oil to the surface; they're hesitating on that one, because if that fails, the oil could flow twelve times faster. The BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said "We're going to pursue the first option that's available to us and we think it'll be the top hat," a much smaller two ton box - What next? After failure, BP mulls gusher options. But with ocean floor currents at 4-5 feet per second, it seems pure luck to position the box correctly using 1-mile deep remote control - BP Underwater Oil Geyser video. Suttles kept expectations low, saying "It's very difficult to predict whether we will find solutions".

And the slick keeps drifting - NASA Oil Spill photos 25 Apr - 9 May

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Sen. Bill Nelson (FL-D) introduced a bill to stop the Obama administration from moving forward with a plan to expand offshore oil drilling to the area of the Outer Continental Shelf - S. 3308: Offshore Drilling Ban Under S.3308, the Secretary of the Interior shall suspend--
(1) all activities relating to the development of a new or revised 5-year plan for the outer Continental Shelf under section 18 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1344);
(2) any new exploration, development, and production activities in the outer Continental Shelf, including the conduct of seismic and other geological and geophysical surveys; and
(3) any exploration or development activities that have commenced before the date of enactment of this Act, unless the Secretary of the Interior certifies that the activities pose no significant risk of accident.
Read more at Sen. Bill Nelson Wants to Stop Offshore Drilling. With only four co-sponsors, the bill needs public support to overcome opposition. To sign a petition, go to Sen. Nelson's no drilling legislation, and ask your Senator to co-sponsor at by using Congressional Contact Directory.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010, 5:30pm
Recycling and Resource Recovery Annex, 320 N.E. Industrial Lane, Lawrence KS

The May agenda includes: "Horizon 2020" comprehensive plan Environmental Chapter 16, Les Blevin's AAE pyrolysis generator, Local Foods Policy Council, and more. 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.lawrenceks.org/wrr/envadvisoryboard

Wednesday, 12 May 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 http://www.kcmo.org/manager.nsf/web/emc

Saturday, 15 May 2010, 9:00am to 12:00pm - FREE
Discovery Center of MO Dept. of Conservation, 4750 Troost, K.C. MO

Bring your labeled extras to put in the group, and it's all available to choose take home. Herbs, heirlooms, veggies, trees, seeds, bulbs, cuttings - you name it people bring it. It is all free and they do it to encourage gardening and growing locally. For more info contact dthrumc@sbcglobal.net.

Saturday, 15 May 2010, 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 ($10.00) and televisions ($15.00). There are no charges for other electronic equipment. Items not accepted are large appliances such as refrigerators and AC units. 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/


Local food production is gaining interest rapidly, both for home gardeners and for local farmers growing for the local market. But because the U.S. conventional farm population is only 2 percent of the total, this expansion of local foods requires a new generation of growers in much larger numbers. And these greenhorns have a steep learning curve - of soil science, crop varieties, organic controls, small farm management and marketing, etc.

Grower "reskilling" is happening in various ways. In the Kansas City area, the Growing Growers KC network helps new growers learn through apprenticeships and an on-line list-serve. Another way is the informal crop mobbing, where a group of volunteers help at a local farm for a day. The host farmer, who typically has expertise but is understaffed, receives a large influx of person-hours to help with a start-up farm. And the volunteers who can help with the heavy lifting gain knowledge from their experience with the farmer. It's win-win - read more at Crop Mob - NY Times and Crop Mob.org.

In the Lawrence area, crop mobbing has blossomed across the spectrum of growers, including the Lawrence Fruit Tree Project, the Support Local Urban Gardeners group, the Kaw Permaculture Collaborative, and the Douglas County Food Policy Council. A couple mobs have already happened at the Karlin Permaculture Farm, and three other farms are planning mobs too: Steve Moring's Vajra Farm, Saturday 15 May, 1-5pm (RSVP at ); Rachel & Wade Myslivy's Farm, date TBA in 2-3 weeks; and Sally Birmingham's Washington Creek Lavender Farm sometime later. To get involved in the Lawrence Crop Mob, join their list-serve at LawrenceCropMob | Google Group.

Sunday, 16 May 2010, 4:00pm
Aimee's Coffee House, 1025 Massachusetts St., Lawrence KS

Local Solutions for Transition to a Sustainable Economy
S.A.N. organizes societal scale action for ecological sustainability both in our personal lives, and through public policy changes. "Be the change you want to see". The S.A.N. meeting agenda will include:
  • plans for Transition Kaw Valley presentations
  • plans for 18 July Permaculture Tour
  • refinements on our Challenge Statement and Mission Statement
  • S.A.N.web site design
  • report on new features of the Films For Action web site
  • Lawrence Peak Oil Plan, suggestions for input
Please join us

Monday-Saturday, 17-22 May 2010 - $$
Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix AZ

Produced by the American Solar Energy Society, it claims to be the leading conference on the emerging trends, technology, and opportunities shaping the new energy economy. There will be many workshops, seminars, and tours, including a tour of Taliesin West by Frank Lloyd-Wright (which incidentally, he designed to be a large-lot, horizontally spreading development that became a prime inspiration for urban sprawl). For more details and registration info go to SOLAR 2010 Program.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

5:00-6:00pm, Lawrence City Commission Chambers
The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) will meet with Lawrence and Douglas County officials to present a feasibility study for a possible Amtrak "Northern Flyer" train from Dallas-Ft. Worth to Kansas City. They will explain potential ridership, schedules, costs, and requirements for communities to be "train ready", as well as grants that communities could apply for.
6:30-8:00pm, Lawrence Union Pacific Depot
KDOT will hold a public meeting with formal presentations at 6:45pm and 7:30pm. They are soliciting input about the options for the Northern Flyer. For more info go to Northern Flyer Alliance, Inc.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010, 6:00-9:00pm - $$
12th Street Homestead, 1145 Pennsylvania St., Lawrence

Steve Moring of the Kaw Permaculture Collaborative will describe the concept of polyculture forest garden systems. Food forests involve creating plant associations of trees, shrubs, and berries into "guilds", arranged by size, height, and sun-orientation, called "stacking". The emphasis will be on the development and maintenance of nut and fruit tree food forests. This lecture is the seventh in a nine-session permaculture lecture series, presented every two weeks. Interspersed with the lectures will be occasional field trips.

The lecture will be followed by a viewing of the film "Establishing a Food Forest" by Geoff Lawton. A $30.00 admission fee will be requested at the door. The fees will support both the K.P.C. and it's parent organization, Sustainability Action Network. For more information contact Steve Moring at 785-691-7305 or

Thursday, 20 May 2010, 7:00-8:30pm - $
Liberty Hall, 644 Mass St., Lawrence KS

In celebration and exploration of all things green, two bicyclists are on a year-long journey around the United States to share what they've learned about sustainable communities. They have visited and filmed 100 sustainable communities of all types as a project to make the film "Within Reach", to be released in 2011. The evening will include an interactive presentation, video-clips from the film in progress, and a dynamic group exercise in community building. For more info Watch the trailer, and check their website.

Monday, 24 May 2010, 7:00-8:40pm - $
Liberty Hall, 644 Mass St., Lawrence KS

Though the term "soil" might be more reverential for the sublime subject matter that this film honors, Dirt: The Movie nevertheless provides a superb view of our planet's living skin. It features a range of agronomists, activists, and organizers like Vadana Shiva, Wes Jackson, and Wangari Maathai, describing how healthy soil supports all life, how industrial abuse is destroying our soils, and how we have the means to preserve and heal the soil. For more info go to Dirt! The Movie. Free Veggie Burger bites provided by Local Burger. More films at Films for Action.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010, 6:00-9:00pm - $$
12th Street Homestead, 1145 Pennsylvania St., Lawrence

Steve Moring of the Kaw Permaculture Collaborative will cover a critical component of any site design, that of maximizing water absorption and minimizing run-off. Several techniques can be used to modify the terrain as needed, and they are best done at the outset before any planting takes place. Water catchments can be roofs with tank storage, or ground basins like ponds or water gardens. Swales and Key Lines are water channels that spread run-off horizontally by gravity. Terraces are on-level contours that slow the down-hill flow of water. This lecture is the eighth in a nine-session permaculture lecture series, presented every two weeks. Interspersed with the lectures will be occasional field trips.

The lecture will be followed by a viewing of the film "Water Harvesting" by Geoff Lawton. A $30.00 admission fee will be requested at the door. The fees will support both the K.P.C. and it's parent organization, Sustainability Action Network. For more information contact Steve Moring at 785-691-7305 or

Thursday, 3 June 2010, 4:00pm
Public Works Conference Rm., City Hall Ground Floor, 6th & Massachusetts St.

Last month the task force gathered chapters of the draft Peak Oil Plan into a unified document. Graphics are being added as well as some new content, and an editor is creating a consistent format. The public is welcome to provide input at the meetings.

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, 5 June 2010, 9:00am-12:00noon
multiple sites

This will be a self-guided tour to any of a dozen gardens by using a brochure and map available from all the garden centers and some hardware stores. This tour will feature community gardens and home gardens, in front yards and back yards, with chickens and fruit trees and more. It is being organized by several members of SLUG "Support Local Urban Gardeners" - SLUG | Urban Garden Planting For more info, contact or .

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

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