Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sustainable Action Network Newsletter, 21 June 2011

The SUSTAINABILITY ACTION NETWORK is a 501(C)(3) tax-exempt organization.
If you value this newsletter, mail donations to P.O.Box 1064, Lawrence KS 66044. Donations are tax deductible.

Our mission is to advocate and organize societal scale action to address sustainability issues. S.A.N. is bringing awareness of the global crisis caused by climate change, energy vulnerability and economic instability to communities in the Kansas River bio-region. We are initiating positive solutions inspired by the Transition and Permaculture Movements. We bring the tools needed to re-skill and re-localize our economy and create a more socially just and ecologically sustainable world. To join the Sustainability Action Network please contact us at or


The following two media tools just may get through to some of those dismissive audiences (although the comfort bubble is all that some folks can tolerate). Nevertheless, it's worth a try to select whichever of these tools may reach that curmudgeon brother-in-law.

The first is a hard-to-contradict video rendition of Bill McKibbin's op-ed in the Washington Post. All the parts come seamlessly together, and the conclusion can't be clearer - Connections between climate disruption and extreme weather?. You can also read McKibbins op-ed to follow the script here - A link between climate disruption and Joplin tornadoes? Never!

The second is one of Tom Tomorrow's typical dry humor exchanges between Sparky Penguin and the proverbial climate skeptic. Sparky loses the argument, but comes out on top anyway - Crazy Climate - Tom Tomorrow.jpg.

Friday, 24 June 2011, 7:00pm - $
Lawrence Community Bldg. Room 2, 11th & Vermont St., Lawrence KS

co-sponsored by the Lawrence Food Garden folks
and the Sustainability Action Network.

Nicole Foss will discuss how resource depletion (peak oil, peak coal, peak natural gas), social behavior, and the economy will shape the coming months and years. Her presentation will explore these three causes of societal instability, how they interact, and what can be done now to best prepare for what is likely to come.
Foss has had a long career in the energy sector working with conventional and alternative energy sources. She has studied social behavior as it relates to greater economic and political action andcorrectly predicted the economic crash in 2008. As an economist, energy industry consultant, co-editor ofThe Automatic Earth blog, and former writer for The Oil Drum Canada, she has had commentaries on nuclear energy, the Canadian housing bubble, overheating of the Chinese economy, peak oil, and more. For more info contact Amber Lehrman at


There has been minimal corporate media coverage of the"level four" nuclear crisis 200 miles upstream from Kansas City, where the Ft. Calhoun Nuclear Power Station suffered a fire, coolant loss, and a threat of flooding by the Missouri River. One plausible theory comes from the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency by way of a Pakastani magazine, The Nation, claiming the U.S. has imposed a news blackout. It may also be possible the media is self-censoring to avoid panic on the heels of the Fukushima disaster. But apparently the media is unable to get reliable information; read The Nation article here - US orders news blackout over crippled Nebraska Nuclear Plant.

Meanwhile, in clearly a disinformation attempt, the Omaha Public Power District claims this emergency is only a "level one" incident. Well, according to the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) - Nuclear Emergency Classification Levels - the 7 June fire and 90 minute loss of coolant to the spent fuel pool certainly constitutes "a loss of safety systems", the essence of a "level four" emergency.

In the absence of regular updates, one good source is the Nuclear Information & Resource Service. They provide a detailed background and analysis sheet here - Ft. Calhoun Reactor Flooding. Currently, the Ft. Calhoun Nuke is at the mercy of sand bags to hold back the Missouri River. But an expert on Missouri River reservoirs, Bernard Shanks, explained "the Fort Peck Dam and five others along the Missouri are already full, several are nearing the end of their life cycles, and the Army Corps of Engineers is releasing record amounts of water to prepare for snow-melt and heavy rain up-river". The Corps said that 135,000 cubic feet per second are flowing down the river right now. Mr. Shanks fears that failure of the Ft. Peck Dam would set off a chain reaction, and "There would be a flood like you've never seen. It would be literally of biblical proportions" - Sand Bags and Nuclear Power Plants Don't Mix.
As this nuclear disaster continues unabated, new reports unfold every day, some alarming and some uplifting. Because excellent coverage is already supplied, we suggest readers avail themselves of reports from the Nuclear Information and Resource Service - Nuclear Crisis in Japan - Updates, Reader Supported News - Disaster in Japan - 21 March 2011, and Fairewinds Associates - Updates on Fukushima.

Here in the United States, we are the Saudi Arabia of wasted energy. Energy conservation is a resource of tremendous size, and the cheapest way to reduce our carbon footprint. The author of this report, Joe Romm, references "wedges" for reducing carbon. As a bit of background, "stabilization wedges" are various techniques and technologies that, wedge by wedge, can bring the increasing curve of atmospheric carbon down to a decreasing curve. Read more here - Climate Stabilization Wedges.

Mr. Romm describes why energy conservation is the easiest and largest of these wedges. In addition to being the cheapest and most abundant, conservation is the fastest to deploy, with no licensing or siting reviews. It's also renewable, with the potential never running out. Truly a no-brainer; read more here - Energy efficiency is THE core climate solution: The biggest low-carbon resource by far.


Early on, Lawrence held the lead over Manhattan in this friendly contest, but presently Lawrence lags behind - http://web.ci.lawrence.ks.us/lists/archive.php?x=2912. While much of the competition has centered on replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, there are many other things you can do to rack up points - schedule a home energy audit, get a free Westar programmable thermostat, give energy presentations at K-12 schools, take a class to become a building efficiency expert, and more. Learn more by contacting Margaret Tran at <takechargelawrence@gmail.com> or go to http://www.lawrenceks.org/take_charge_challenge.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011, 6:00pm
Public Works Conference Rm., City Hall Ground Floor, 6th & Massachusetts St.

This month's agenda includes: review of bicycle-difficult intersections, bicycle updates for the 2040 Transportation Plan, Tour of Lawrence race. The Bicycle Advisory 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.


A law enacted this Spring by the Kansas Legislature will allow bicyclists (and motor cyclists) to proceed through what's known as a "dead red" traffic signal. These are signals that are triggered by a magnetic detection loop in the pavement, but otherwise remain on red. It's a chronic problem that the small size of bicycles and motor cycles are not detected by these signal loops, so riders are stuck at the red light.

Under the new law, after waiting a "reasonable" amount of time, the cyclists may go through the red light. Use caution however, because of cross traffic, and because a policemen can still ticket if they think the cyclist didn't wait adequately. Read more at - Kansas law allows bicycles to proceed through 'dead red' lights.


Almost without exception in most communities, bicycle transportation is a second class citizen, an after thought in transportation planning, and a tag-along in funding allocation. Public works departments are continuously evaluating motorist networks where they can throw money to widen or extend them. But rarely are funds budgeted to fill gaps in bicycle networks as stand-alone projects, but rather funded only as piggy-backed onto motorist projects (if at all).

The general perspective is that "pavement is pavement", and bicyclists are entitled to use it just as are motorists, so bicyclists don't need dedicated areas of pavement. This attitude is not only discriminatory due to the huge size and speed discrepancy between one ton autos and thirty pound bicycles, but also irresponsible of our "public servants". The following article from Siteline Institute in Seattle, WA puts this into a perspective of the average bicyclist, equitable funding of the public infrastructure for all, and complete streets. The intro reads "Good bicycling infrastructure is something few on this continent have seen. It doesn't mean a 'bike route' sign and a white stripe along the arterial. It doesn't mean a meandering trail shared with joggers, strollers, and skaters". Read the article here - What "Bicycle Friendly" Looks Like.

F.U.N. FARMILY FAIR (Free Universal Nutrition Farmers Market Fair)
this & every Friday, 24 June 2011, 4:30-7:30pm
Karlin Family Farm, 3033 Kasold Dr., Lawrence KS 66047

It's a farmers market. It's a barter fair. It's a gift exchange. Vendors set up for free, and take only donations for their produce, art, crafts, etc. It's a family event and kid friendly, with live music too. For more info, call (785)371-4700 or e-mail <karlinfamilyfarms@gmail.com>.

Listen at KKFI-FM 90.1, or web-streaming at http://www.kkfi.org/
Friday, 24 June, 9:30am ¤ Bioneers Radio Series
Bioneers presents another of their award winning shows.

Monday, 27 June, 6:00pm ¤ locally produced Eco-Radio KC
Richard Mabion will host Eco-Radio KC this week.

Saturday-Sunday, 25-26 June 2011, 10:00am-5:00pm - $$
multiple locations

Sponsored by Cultivate Kansas City (formerly the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture), this fourth biennial tour will feature thirty eight urban farms, community gardens, school gardens, and urban homesteads across the metro area, with live music, cooking demonstrations, and children's activities lined up throughout the weekend. For information on the tour, the ten days of events leading up to it, and tour tickets, go to their website -KC Urban Farms and Gardens Tour.
There are a multiplicity of events leading up to the tour all this week: food growing workshops, films, eatery outings, children's activities and more. For complete listings, go to the tour website listed above.

Saturday, 25 June 2011, 2:00-5:00pm - $$
Rethink Energy, 2052 North 3rd St., Kansas City KS 66101

Learn how to mimic the structure and function of forest ecosystems using sheet mulching, layering, planting patterns, species diversity, guilds and more in this introductory workshop on small scale urban forest garden design. Class registration fee of $14, plus bring $15 to class for materials. CONVENER: Steve Mann (816-352-9213). Register at UMKC Communiversity. More info at Food Not Lawns KC, or.
Tuesday, 28 June 2011, 7:00pm
Lawrence Public Library, 7th & Vermont St., Lawrence KS 66044
Considering how corporate oligarchs like the notorious Koch brothers of Wichita are preventing meaningful and significant transition to a clean energy future and sustainable economy, this talk could be an eye opener. Mary Lindsay is the leader of KCMoveToAmend.org, one of many chapters organizing to reverse the Supreme Court "Citizens United" ruling that allows corporate "persons" unlimited power to funnel cash from corporate coffers directly into influencing elections.
Wednesday, 29 June 2011, 7:00pm
Lawrence Public Library, 7th & Vermont St., Lawrence KS 66044
This meeting of the initiating core-group of TKV will be planning how to mobilize the creativity, talents, and resources in Lawrence to create a relocalized, sustainable community. if the many cultural creatives can work together rather than in isolation, the whole will be more than the sum of the parts.

The Kaw Valley Transition Initiative is addressing climate disruption and peak oil inflation at the local level, a relocalization effort similar to hundreds around the globe. The Transition movement was begun by Rob Hopkins in Great Britain, and in the U.S. is coordinated by Transition US based in Sebastapol CA. For more info, or to get on the S.A.N. Transition Kaw Valley e-mail list, contact them at .
Wednesday, 13 July2011, 5:30pm
Recycling and Resource Recovery Annex, 320 N.E. Industrial Lane, Lawrence KS

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, 13 July2011, 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 leaders and staff, to assist the progress of Kansas City toward sustainability. The General public is encouraged to attend and observe meetings and to join and participate in its efforts. More information is at KC Environmental Mgt Commission
Monday, 18 July 2011, 7:00pm
location to be determined - Lawrence, KS 66046

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 Dg County Food Policy Council.
Sunday-Friday, 31 July-5 August 2011 - $$$
Sweetlove Farm in Jefferson County, KS

Spend six days constructing the first of a planned series of farm outbuildings. Starting from an existing foundation, participants will address all aspects of building a straw bale structure from foundation to roof with an emphasis on natural clay plaster enclosure. The focus will be on hands-on learning opportunities that will help participants develop familiarity and skill with the various hand tools and techniques used in straw bale construction and clay plastering. Instructors will be PhilHolman-Hebert, Susan Jones,Michael Crouch, and Scott Strecker.
Stay tuned and mark your calender, watch the SAN newsletter for further details.

Current S.A.N. 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 and Kansas Permaculture Institute - developing skills and resources for polyculture sustainable food production.

3) Eco Village Land Trust - Designing and focalizing a sustainable intentional community near Lawrence.

4) Growers' Land Trust - organizing interested stakeholders to acquire prime farmland in the urban fringe for land-based economic development and regional food security.

5) Weekly Sustainability Announcements - informing and encouraging others to become active in the Sustainability Action Network, or other action driven groups.

6) Water Rights and Watersheds - protecting the water commons, the source of all life, from privatization and contamination, and restoring our watersheds.

7) Electric & Human Powered Vehicles - promoting neighborhood electric vehicles and utility tricycles, including infrastructure and pro-active regulations.

8) Energy Conservation & Renewables - advancing a green economy through decentralized renewable energy and conservation.
9) Collaboration with sister organizations - such as: Films for Action; The Light Center eco-village; Kaw River Valley Food System farm-based economic development; Transition Kansas City; Citizens for Responsible Planning; Kansas River Valley Growers fighting for local water rights; national efforts by the Sustainable Energy Network; the Kansas City Food Circle, the All Species Project, and more.

We welcome suggestions for items to be included. Please send items to com> or .

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Sustainability Action Network, P.O. Box 1064, Lawrence, KS 66044, USA

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