Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sustainability Action Network: Weekly Announcements 14, Sept., 2010

14 September 2010

Tuesday, 14 September 2010, 12:00noon-1:00pm ¤ 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 be talking with Anna Goldstein of 350.org and Sarah Tuttle of 350KC.org. They will be discussing the campaign to build a global movement to get atmospheric CO2 below the safe level of 350 parts per million (ppm) and avert a climate catastrophe. Currently, one of the most prominent actions is the Global Work Party event on 10 October 2010 - Ideas For Your 10/10 Work Party. (see below for more info)

On Friday, listen as the Bioneers radio series presents another of their award wining presentations at 9:30am.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010, 6:00pm
Waldo Library, 201 East 75th St., Kansas City MO

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 program title is "Transition and Local Food Production", and will feature presentations by Caroline Egle and Marty Kraft talking about edible landscaping and community gardens.

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

Saturday, 18 September 2010, 10:00am-12:00noon - FREE
meet at the Medicinal Native Plant Research Garden, 1865 E 1600 Road, Lawrence KS 66044
(just north of the Prairie Moon Waldorf School)

Ethnobotanist Kelly Kindscher will lead this tour of both the newly established Medicinal Native Plant Research Garden and the well established Rockerfeller Prairie. Dr. Kindscher heads the botany side of the Native Medicinal Plant Research Program at the University of Kansas, and he will be assisted by Kirsten Bosnak, the Garden Manager. For more info contact Ms. Bosnak at 785-864-6267 or .

Sunday, 19 September 2010, 11:00am
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:
  • 350.org "10-10-10 Challenge" event planning
  • Transition Kaw Valley power point trial run
  • Kansas Permaculture Institute possible merger
  • community workshops: solar food dehydrator, cold frames, rain barrels, etc.
  • S.A.N.web site developments
  • Lawrence Peak Oil Plan, draft review
Please join us


Michael Klare and others have made it clear, the Era of Cheap Oil Is Over. The easy oil is gone and what is left for extraction is more remote and locked deeper in the earth. Ecological disasters are made of such, the Deepwater Horizon being one, and Canadian tar sands being another. Tar sands oil extraction in Canada is devastating Indigenous communities, wildlife, and vast areas of boreal forests, as well as being three times more carbon-intensive than producing ‘conventional’ oil. It's a dirty process for water, the atmosphere, and human and animal health.

Tar sands are found in the ground in the form of bitumen, which is solid at normal temperatures and mixed in with sand, clay and water. The bitumen is found in two locations: when it’s closer to the surface it is extracted using giant open pit mining techniques, and when it’s further down, high pressure steam injection (in situ) technology is required to remove it.

Open pit mining strips away the trees from the top layers of the earth to expose the bitumen beneath it. This process destroys the local environment and ecosystems, leaving gaping open pit mines up to 75 meters deep as scars on the landscape. In situ mining, the technique needed to reach 80% of the bitumen, requires injecting the bitumen with high pressure steam to separate the oil from the sand so that it can be piped to the surface. Producing the steam requires heating huge quantities of water with huge quantities of natural gas - British banks finance tar sands companies.

But the devastation doesn't stop there. Such a gargantuan undertaking requires enormous infrastructure: excavation, rail, truck, slag ponds, fuel depots, pipelines, etc. It is possibly the largest industrial project in human history and will likely become North America's single largest industrial contributor to climate change. In the 1980's, people were horrified when the U.S. Department of Energy wanted to declare the Black Hills of South Dakota to be a "National Sacrifice Zone" for coal and uranium extraction. Nowadays, sacrifice zones are everywhere without the courtesy of a declaration.

One effect of tar sands oil extraction is that huge swaths of wilderness will be scoured through Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alberta to make way for mega truck loads of 500,000 pound Korean equipment to the Athabasca oil region - Trucking Toward Climate Change. And at the downstream end of the process, they plan to pump up to 900,000 barrels of crude oil per day to Texas via the Keystone XL Pipeline through Alberta, Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

Dakota Rural Action sent a letter to the State Department expressing concern about “the disruption of farming and ranching operations, the damage to roads, the risk of water contamination, and the risk of leaks and spills to the environment”, including fragile ecosystems such as the Nebraska Sandhills and the Ogallala Aquifer. In June, 50 members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requesting more information and stating, “Building this pipeline has the potential to undermine America’s clean energy future and international leadership on climate change.” Henry Waxman, chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce said “This pipeline is a multibillion dollar investment to expand our reliance on the dirtiest source of transportation fuel currently available.” - Canada-to-Texas Tar Sands Oil Pipeline.

An Imperial Oil spokesperson reassuringly said "Obviously, the safety of the people transporting the equipment and the safety of the public are paramount. If we didn't think it was safe, we wouldn't do it". Hmmm, obviously those sentiments didn't stop BP.

Monday, 20 September 2010, 7:00pm
Fire Station #5, Iowa & 19th Streets, Lawrence, KS 66046

In existence for one full year now, the Food Policy Council seeks to identify the benefits, challenges and opportunities for a successful, sustainable local food system. By advising the Douglas County Commission on public policies that will support local producers, preserve local agricultural resources and land, and create more local jobs, the F.P.C. hopes to improve the community’s access to a local food supply and distribution networks. For more info go to Douglas County Food Policy Council.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010, 6:00pm
Public Works Conference Rm., City Hall Ground Floor, 6th & Massachusetts St.

The agenda will include: the City ordinance against bicycles on sidewalks, bicycle parking downtown, a bicycle side-path on Iowa from 15th-Yale Streets, 7th Street bicycle bridge over Iowa St., 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.

Weekly on Thursdays, 23 Sept. - 18 Nov. 2010, 6:00-9:00pm - $$$
Matt Ross Community Center, 8101 Marty St., Overland Park KS

This nine-session course is being offered by Steve Moring of the Kaw Permaculture Collaborative. If the registrant chooses, it can be combined with more extensive training leading to a Permaculture Design Certificate from the Kansas Permaculture Institute. The course consists of 48 hours of lecture, video and field work covering topics including food security, permaculture ethics, ecological principles, system design, sustainable soils, food production, earth works and construction of human habitats.

The first session is "Food Security and Energy Depletion" with a video "The Power of Community". The full course costs $240, or 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, 23 September 2010, 7:00pm - FREE
Country Club Christian Church, 6101 Ward Parkway, Kansas City MO 64113

"To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival" - Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry is a longtime bioregionalist and wholistic thinker, whose life is fully consistent with his ethics. His poetry, fiction and essays embrace the earth with reverence, ponder the values of the good life, and celebrate the miracle of ordinary relationships. The author of more than 50 books, Berry taught at New York University and the University of Kentucky. He lives and farms in Kentucky. His honors and awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts.

The talk is co-sponsored by The Land Institute, a non-profit research, education, and policy organization dedicated to sustainable agriculture based on perennial grain crops. An exhibit entitled Art of the Prairie accompanies Berry’s appearance, featuring the works of regional artists Louis Copt, Dan Coburn, Phil Epp, Allan Chow, James Borger and Arlie Regier. The exhibit will be in the church’s first floor gallery beginning 9 September.

Thursday-Saturday, 23-25 September 2010, 8:00am-3:00pm (til 4:00 on Sat.)
1420 E 11th Street, Lawrence KS (east of 11th and Haskell, over the tracks)

The material is composted from leaves, grass clippings, and prunings collected by the City. Quantities are restricted to pick-ups and small trailers for residential use, not commercial use. Cost is $10 per load if loaded by tractor, or free if self-loaded by hand. For more info, contact the Waste Reduction and Recycling Division at 832-3030 or visit www.LawrenceRecycles.org. The City certifies that the material has been tested for the herbicide, chlorpyralid, which has a potency measured in parts per billion. Nevertheless, because it is impossible to test every cubic food of the compost, it is advised to use it only on ornamental plants and NOT food plants.

Friday-Sunday, 24-26 September 2010 - $$
2440 East Waterwell Rd., Salina KS 67401

Wendell Berry will be the keynote speaker at this year's Prairie Festival, but there is a great lineup beyond him. Some other presenters will include: ecologist Sandra Steingraber, Seed Savers Exchange co-founder Kent Whealy, and economist Josh Farley. The festival is an annual mecca for some of the best thinkers and doers on sustainable agriculture, economics, and energy policy. For more info and registration go to The Land Institute - 2010 Prairie Festival.

Saturday-Saturday, 25 September-9 October 2010 - $$$$
Wildscape Acres, Bonham TX 75418, (828)669-7632

Patricia Allison is the lead instructor, along with Dylan Ryals-Hamilton and Mateo Ryall. Ms. Allison is a member of Earthhaven Ecovillage in North Carolina, and has taught permaculture design courses since 1994. Information on the Permaculture Design Course, including an extensive curriculum can be viewed at Permaculture Design Course - Allison. A Dallas-Fort Worth internet radio station, Enlumnia Radio, has an hour-long interview with Ms. Allison - Patricia Allison interview on Sustainable Planet. At about 14 minutes into it, she begins describing permaculture design.

The course will be held at Wildscape Acres which has it's own permaculture design in process. Completion of the course will result in a Permaculture Design Certificate. To register, call Melissa at (828)669-7632, or e-mail .


A group of French scientists investigating the safety of genetically modified food published their results in the International Journal of Biological Sciences, which pointed toward kidney and liver damage in rats fed GMO corn - Monsanto GMO Corn Linked to Organ Damage. in addition to producing the genetically modified corn, Monsanto produces several other genetically modified crops such as soy, potatoes, sugar beets, and cotton. Many of these crops form the foundation of our diets: 70 to 80 percent of American processed foods contain genetically engineered ingredients, according to the Grocery Manufacturers of America. A large percentage of the cotton in our clothes and homes begins in Monsanto's labs. Sixty percent of genetically modified corn goes to feed America’s beef cattle. Additionally, Monsanto’s recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is used to increase milk production in many dairy cows.

Armed with this information, April Dávila decided to see if she could go an entire month without consuming any Monsanto products. She committed to an all organic, vegan diet, and reluctantly invested in a small organic cotton wardrobe. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few national brands (check out Annie’s, Inc. Massa Organics, and Lundberg Farms for a good start), there is no easy way to avoid Monsanto. It requires talking with the person who grew your food—every ingredient of every bite. She did come up with a few rules of thumb: Avoid processed foods, consider going vegetarian, buy organic dairy products, and buy organic cotton (Michael Pollan's advice is to avoid buying anything from the center shelves of the supermarket). But Monsanto's influence is so pervasive in the seed houses, the growers and the markets, that it's impossible to completely avoid their gene splicing, only to minimize it. For the full article go to A Month Without Monsanto: What Does it Take to Avoid the GMO Giant?

Friday, 1 October 2010, 6:00pm - $$
Liberty Hall, 642 Massachusetts St., Lawrence KS 66044

This is a fun and informative event sponsored by the farms that grow food within the North East Kansas region of twelve counties, and locally owned businesses that support them. There will be presentations about various local school gardens, and proceeds will go to support those programs. There also will be local food samplings, children's activities, and a screening of What's on Your Plate?. Watch the Whats On Your Plate? trailer here. For more info go to Our Local Food-Kaw River Valley.

Saturday-Sunday, 2-3 October 2010, 10:00am-6:00pm - $$
self-guided tour of 22 participating farms

This annual tour of sustainably run farms covers a broad range from a bee apiary to a bison ranch to school-based CSA/gardens to orchards to wineries to market farms and goat dairies. The common thread is that these operations all are local-regional food suppliers, are as ecologically sustainable as farms can get, and acre-for-acre their specialty crops contribute more significantly to the local economy than do commodity mono-culture crops. More info at Kaw Valley Farm Tour 2009

Sunday, 10 October 2010
your community

350.org, the inspiration of Bill McKibben, has launched 10/10/10, a major campaign of grassroots action on climate disruption. On 10 October 2010, they are asking communities world wide to plan some tangible and real action locally that will contribute to reversing CO2 emissions, global temperature rises, and the 480ppm atmospheric concentration of CO2. These solutions could be planting trees or community gardens, installing solar collectors or wind turbines, holding bicycle workshops, etc. They have some suggested Ideas For Your 10/10 Work Party, and once you have something organized, they are asking you to Register an Event For 10/10/10. Then with a hopefully long list of global civic actions, they plan ask world leaders: “We're getting to work--what about you?” One of their targeted actions is called Put Solar On It, so individuals can directly e-mail world leaders.

conference discount registration through 1 September 2010, (sorry for the late notice)
conference dates, 15-17 October 2010, San Rafael CA

The Bioneers are social and scientific innovators who develop solutions that mimic nature's operating systems. They are visionaries who, in their own communities, are creating a healthy, diverse, equitable and beautiful world. With phenomenal effectiveness, the Bioneers reach tens-of-thousands of people at their conference and simultaneous satellite conferences, through their year-round radio show, by their professional intensive seminars, in their Eco Schools program, and by their Democracy School training.

The conference lineup matches prior years quality with presenters such as: Jane Goodall, Peter Warshall, Jessy Tolkan, James Hansen, Mallika Dutt, John A Powell, and more. A particularly notable session will be "The Buckminster Fuller Challenge: Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science". The Challenge awards a $10,000 prize for whole-systems solutions to global crises, and finalists will present their proposals. For conference info, schedule, and registration go to the 2010 Bioneers Conference.

Revolution From the Heart of Nature
It's all alive; it's all connected; it's all intelligent; it's all relatives

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.

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