Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sustainability Announcements: "Lawrence Chapter, May 18, 2010"

Local Solutions for Transition to a Sustainable Economy

NOTICE: Sustainability Announcements will be on hiatus over the next week. Staff will be temporarily indisposed, returning the first of June. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Tuesday, 18 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 Reenie Carmack will interview Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, an author and master of Kriya Yoga. This is a meditative and yogic discipline that may help experience three cosmic elements of light, vibration, and sound by using techniques of concentration, posture, and breathing.

Stay tuned at 12:30 when the Bioneers radio series presents "Indigeneity: Becoming Native, Staying Native" . W hat would life be like if we could hear the land ask us to be a certain way, a way that leads us and the Earth back to wholeness and health? Native American activists, educators, and leaders Jeannette Armstrong, Leslie Gray, and Katsi Cook share an inspiring Earth-honoring vision of what it means to "re-indigenize" ourselves.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Cutting through the voluminous flow of oil spill news and updates is this amazing outlook on biology, geology, oceanography, and politics, stirred with a smidgen of human hubris. It is from the periodic blog of Albert Bates from the Farm Eco Village - BP Strikes Rich Creamy Nougat Center of the Earth

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.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010, 6:00pm
Public Works Conference Rm., City Hall Ground Floor, 6th & Massachusetts St.

There are many key items on this month's agenda:
  • a possible bicycle side-path along Iowa St. from 15th St. north to near the Mercantile
  • a proposal for a 7th & Iowa St. bridge into Centennial Park
  • a Lawrence Complete Streets policy
  • West 6th St. bicycle side-path signage
  • strengthening the B.A.C. when advising the MPO traffic policies, and more
The Committee works to improve bicycle safety and awareness through education of motorists and non-motorists, develops bicycle plans and maps, and advises the City and County Commissions on bicycle priorities and needs. The agenda and information can be downloaded at Bicycle Advisory Comm | agendas & minutes.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Does it come as any surprise that the greatest use of petroleum in the world is to project U.S. military power globally? As always, the American Power Act is about security, it's stated purpose being "To secure our energy future . .", to secure our energy independence, and secure an uninterruptable supply chain.

Through the long convoluted road of the Waxman-Markey Bill, the Barbara Boxer Bill, the Collins-Cantwell Bill, the Kerry-Lieberman-Graham Bill, and many more with amended versions, it is near impossible to decipher what is included or not in the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act. But these Senator's craven capitulation to off-shore oil drilling in the face of the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon blowout clearly demonstrates that the bill is not about conserving energy. There is no entertaining even the suggestion that the U.S. rethink our corporate driven oil dependency or consumptive lifestyle.

By now, many groups have weighed in on the bill, listing a litany of it's shortcomings. Perhaps the best analysis comes from CREDO Action, saying if this legislation actually would eventually stop global warming, it would be worth many compromises. But this legislation does not. Some of the bill's supporters claim it would add important safeguards and restraints to off-shore drilling, but in reality, it expands off-shore drilling. The bill's climate protection targets are far too weak, and it guts key sections of the Clean Air Act and state laws that would assure progress. The massive tax credits and loan guarantees to the nuclear industry are uncalled for. Please call your Senator to fix the climate and energy bill, save the Clean Air Act, protect state laws, and ban new off-shore drilling - action page at An inconvenient truth about the climate bill

The Nuclear Information and Resource Center points out that the Bill would:
  • Provide $54 billion in taxpayer "loan guarantees" for construction of new nuclear reactors. These "loan guarantees" would actually be direct taxpayer loans from the government's Federal Financing Bank. It would also provide a 10% tax break to wealthy utilities for nuclear construction costs.
  • Create a "Clean Energy Deployment Administration" (CEDA) with the authority to provide unlimited taxpayer loans for new reactor construction without Congressional oversight.
  • Support dirty and dangerous reprocessing technologies, authorize billions of dollars in nuclear research and development, and legislatively attempt to speed the nuclear reactor licensing process despite a recent report from the Bipartisan Policy Center that found the industry is primarily to blame for the slow pace of licensing.
  • Removal of EPA authority to regulate carbon emissions.
  • Continue to support offshore oil drilling near much of the U.S. coastline despite the calamitous BP oil spill.
  • Provide $10 billion for wasteful and impossible "clean coal" development.
  • Target a reduction in carbon emissions of only 17% from 2005 levels by 2020-far lower than most scientists believe is necessary.
Action page at Nuclear Information and Resource Service

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.


Puzzled and disappointed about our hope-dispensing President, who can justify greater aggression against Afganistan while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize? Or promising to close Guantanamo while simultaneously extending the Military Tribunals and sanctioning secret black prisons? - Obama’s War Crimes Commission Stands Law on its Head. Or mouthing "clean energy" while funding new nuclear power plants and furthering off-shore oil drilling? As Albert Bates has noted (the Farm Eco Village) in his blog, "While Michelle Obama plants an organic garden in her backyard, her husband has put forward no plan to replace fertilizer dependency with healthy soil programs, ban terminator seeds, or wean the nation from its oil-dependent food vulnerability." - How’s that Hopey, Changey Stuff Doin’?

And speaking of terminator seeds, Obama's stealth nominee for the Supreme Court, Elena Kagen appears to be an unknown quantity, except in one stark aspect: corporatism - Elena Kagan Goes to Bat for Monsanto; that's right - as part of her slim track record as Solicitor General. We previously reported on the Center For Food Safety winning a lower court case to ban Monsanto from growing GMO Alfalfa. On 27 April 2010, the Supreme Court heard an appeal by Monsanto - CFS Fighting Monsanto in the Supreme Court. Even though the U.S. Government had no role in the case whatsoever, Elena Kagan ignored her duty to protect the welfare of all citizens and filed a legal brief in support of Monsanto's claims. As Kagan's office argued, "The judgment of the court of appeals should be reversed, and the case should be remanded with instructions to vacate the permanent injunction entered by the district court."

This cannot even be described as a "friend of the court" filing, but plainly as a "friend of Monsanto" filing. Obama is a corporatist, first and foremost. The U.S. Congress, where 44 percent are millionaires, is corporatist. The Democrats and Republicans agree to disagree on the pretense of debate, while their corporate benefactors funnel funds and become corporate beneficiaries. Republican corporatists play the easy role of the callous fat cats with no regrets. Democrat corporatists have a more difficult role, but have perfected the art of speaking from both sides of their mouths. But this 111th Congress has blown their cover, with a 60 vote majority in the Senate, and somehow still unable to pass any progressive legislation. How can that be?! Faced with the unsavory task of fulfilling the electoral mandate for change, they have adroitly fumbled towards "enlightened" bipartisanship, a clever trick which has guaranteed legislative gridlock - except, that is, in cases of corporate-friendly bills.

If Teapartyers understood this realpolitik dynamic, they might know where to place their justifiable anger. Liberals, who have been sucker-punched with hope, still assume that, given enough clear and compelling information, our Legislators will do the right thing. Progressives must keep pressuring the Congress, if for no other reasons than to forestall their damage. But ultimately change will come only from below, in households, neighborhoods, farms, and communities. For example Four Years. GO. and Community Solutions and Transition United States and Get to Work in 2010.

Sunday, 23 May 2010, 1:30pm reception, 2:00-5:00pm planting by volunteers
1865 E. 1600 Rd., Lawrence KS (just north of Prairie Moon Waldorf School)

This latest project of the K.U. Biological Survey and the K.U. Field Station will be launched with a public planting of 2,000 plants from 40 different species of native medicinal plants. There will be two parts to the day's activities. The reception will feature a talk by Kelly Kindscher of the Biological Survey, poetry by Denise Low, and food by the Community Mercantile. Then volunteers are then asked to help plant the garden, with guidance by team leaders. Also, immediately next door, the Prairie Moon Waldorf School will be open for those interested, and to use the facilities. For more info go to Native Medicinal Plant Research Program, or contact <moonfarm@ku.edu>.

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

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

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