Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sustainability Action News, Free Newsweekly, 17 July 2012

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In the previous edition of this series, we learned of many readily available solutions to unsupportable debt and problems of energy and ecology.  These are the tools we want to have lying around as crisis hits.  But Heinberg ponders "If so many solutions are available, why do people do the right thing only when all other alternatives have been exhausted?" 

One may not expect a book on economics and energy would delve into psychology and brain chemistry, but for Heinberg those emerge as key to changing our way of life and structures of society.  He observes that "Our 
society as a whole is not inclined to do what is required to solve our problems".  He references neuroscientist Peter Whybrow who notes that evolution equipped early humans to seek status and novelty, and to engage in conspicuous consumption.  But today, amplified by mass production and overpopulation, those behaviors actually undermine our our survival prospects.

Heinberg - "Within our brains, dopamine plays a key role in stimulating the senses of reward and pleasure.  On the primordial savanna, we got a hit of dopamine every time we bagged a prey animal; today, stock trading lights up the same brain circuitry.  But what helped us survive in one situation imperils us in the other.  For the stock trader, no amount of profit is ever 'enough'.  We may even say we are "addicted" to shopping or some other aspect of consumption--but what we are really addicted to is the feeling it gives us."

He goes on - "Repeated use of an addictive drug typically leads to higher levels of tolerance.  The same is true of dopamine-generating activities, while a higher "dose" of activity is needed to get achieve the "high" that came the first time around.  Just as our brain circuitry can addict us to overconsumption, it also keeps us from responding to slowly accumulating environmental threats.  So even though the cost of averting climate change (in terms of loss to GDP) would be less than the eventual cost of climate change itself, we are generally unwilling to pay that smaller, immediate cost."

Furthermore, political and corporate organizations tend to develop their own defenses again change.  "Both political and commercial organizations tend to elevate short-term priorities.  On top of all this, there are entrenched interests--people and institutions that profit from the system the way it is, don't want to give up those profits."

Finally, Peter Whybrow explains why: "Selfish behaviors are reward-driven, wired deeply into the survival mechanisms of the primitive brain, and when consistently reinforced, they will run away to greed.  On the other hand, the self-restraint and the empathy for others are learned behaviors, social behaviors [that] are fragile and learned by imitation."  Heinberg concludes "All of the solutions to our growth-based problems involve some form of self-restraint.  That's why most of those solutions remain just good ideas.  The sustainability revolution will occur, but that revolution will be driven by crisis.  The crucial question is, how serious will that crisis have to be to get our collective attention and force us to change our behavior? - Our Problems are Resolvable - In Principle

Listen at KKFI-FM 90.1, or web-streaming at http://www.kkfi.org/

Tuesday, 17 July 2012, 5:00am ¤ New Dimensions
Featured on New Dimensions will be John Robbins, who left the legacy of the Baskin-Robbins ice cream empire to become a vegan.  He is the author of the bestseller, Diet for a New America andThe New Good Life: Living Better Than Ever in An Age of Less.  He also is the founder of the nonprofit organization, Earth Save International.

Friday, 20 July 2012, 9:30am ¤ Bioneers Radio Series 
Bioneers presents "Escaping Control: Linking Gender, Social Movements, and Democracy".  World-renowned feminist, writer and change-maker Gloria Steinem connects the dots among disparate social movements to reveal the common patterns of oppression that underlie them all. She applies her razor intellect, compassionate heart and nuanced eye to weave a unifying vision of a richly human and humane world where all people are valued for their uniqueness and full humanity - neither treated as property, nor defined by labels or stereotypes.

Monday, 23 July 2012, 6:00pm ¤ locally produced Eco-Radio KC
Host Richard Mbion will have as his guest Commissioner Tarence Maddox, who represents the 4th district in Wyandotte County.  The topic of discussion will be "Is there a need for a black agenda in our city, Kansas City KS?"  The phones will be open for call ins.

Saturday, 21 July 2012, 8:00am-4:30pm  -  FREE
Fiedler Hall, K-State Univ., Manhattan KS

The 7th Annual Dialog on Sustainability is titled Finding an Optimal Path to a Sustainable World.  The conference will discuss current sustainability related activities, and explore future opportunities.  It will include panel discussions and small group dialogs around the topics of climate disruption, solar energy shaded parking, sustainable food systems, transition initiatives in Kansas, and more.

There is no registration fee, but we do ask that attendees pre-register so that we will have a seat and lunch reserved for you.  Please send your name, affiliation, contact information, and e-mail address to Sheree Walsh, chsr@ksu.edu by July 9, 2012.  Detailed information on the Dialog may be found at: http://www.engg.ksu.edu/CHSR/sustainability/Dialogs/2012DOS.


San Onofre quality control is the worst in U.S.
A recent Fairewinds Associates study compared the plugged coolant tubes at both San Onofre Units 2 and 3 to the steam generator plugging history for all other replacement steam generators at US nuclear power plants.  San Onofre's has plugged 3.7 times as many steam generator tubes than the combined total of the entire number of other nuclear power plants in the US - San Onofre's Steam Generators: Significantly Worse than All Others Nationwide.

Meanwhile, San Onofre's Chief Nuclear Officer, Pete Dietricht, sent an e-mail to all employees saying "It is disheartening to see they [Fairewinds] are using "a leaked Southern California Edison document" as part of their source data", and instructed them "It is against our company policy to release company documents to the media or other third-party stakeholders".  The e-mail itself was subsequently leaked to Fairewinds Associates! - http://www.fairewinds.com/demystifying

We suggest readers avail themselves of reports from the following sources: Green Action Japan -Green Action Japan : Beyond Nuclear - Beyond NuclearJapan Focus -Japan Focus;  andFairewinds Associates - Fukushima Updates.


Journalist, author, and blogger, Mark Hertzgaard, has been writing on climate destabilization and energy depletion for 20 years, with some of the most insightful and impassioned material.  But after his daughter Chiara was born seven years ago, he became even more adamant about addressing climate change.  His newest book is dedicated to the "hot generation", and is titled, "Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth".

Now he has set out to organize parents who he calls "the most under-organized constituency on climate change, which is quite bizarre when you think about what's at stake for our kids".  He says that "dealing with the climate issue now is part of your job description as a parent, just like providing your kid with proper food and clothing and shelter and health care and all those things."  The organization is called Climate Parents, and he was interviewed last week on KKFI-FM 90.1 on a show called Between the Lines.  The show is available for listening at "Climate Parents" organize to help "Generation Hot".

Thursday, 26 July 2012, 1:30-3:00pm
Friday, 24 August 2012, 10:00-11:30am

The City of Lawrence is considering establishing a city-wide curbside recycling program.  On 12 June 2012, the Commission passed Resolution No. 6976 beginning a 90-day public comment period, including three public study sessions.  All interested persons are invited to attend the study sessions to learn more about the two parts of the plan.  The first part of the plan would be how to provide the curb-side collections, either by using City crews who currently collect solid waste, or by privatizing the collection with corporate contractors.  The second part of the plan would be howto process and market the collected recyclable materials, to be bid on by private companies (the City has little expertise in these operations).  If a plan is adopted, the City will issue Request For Proposals (RFP) for bids on handling these two service solution types, that of collection and that of processing.

After the public comment period, the City Commission will review a draft plan in early September, and hold a final public hearing in early December.  If you would like to participate in the planning of curb-side collection and of materials processing, you may e-mail your written request and contact information to Kathy Richardson at .  For more info go to - Lawrence Curb-side Recycling Public Meetings.

Saturday-Sunday, 28-29 July 2012, 8:00am-5:00pm
Saturday - a guided tour of urban sites in Lawrence  -  $10
Sunday - a guided tour of rural sites in the region  -  $10

The Kansas Permaculture Collaborative and Sustainability Action are sponsoring the 4th Annual Permaculture Farm & Garden Tour.   Permaculture is a design science by which wepattern our surroundings to harmonize with nature rather than to subdue nature.  The end result is a farm or garden that is a low-input, self-organizing, mature polyculture ecosystem.
This is a guided group tour, but transportation is on your own or by carpooling.
The tour happens rain or shine, within reason - dress appropriately.
Bring water, a hat, sunscreen, bug repellant, and a lunch (or pot-luck option).

Space is limited, so pre-registration is required by contacting (785)832-1300 or.  You will then be given information on how to pay.  Your payment holds your spot.

Tour sponsors:
Kansas Permaculture Collaborative -http://kawpermaculture.wordpress.com/,
Sustainability Action Network - http://sustainabilityaction.net/., and
All-N-1 Landscaping - http://http://www.all-n-1landscape.com/.

Saturday, 4 August 2012, 4:00pm  -  FREE
All Souls Universalist Unitarian Church, 4501 Walnut Street, Kansas City MO 64111
The Kansas City Food Circle will be screening the film Dirt! | The Movie, a description of the living miracle of soil, of the destruction of soil by tilling and chemicals, and of the regeneration of soil by organic and permaculture practices.  The film is free, but donations are gladly accepted.  For more info contact <brandi@kcfoodcircle.org>.

Saturday-Sunday, 4-5 August 2012, 9:00am-4:30pm  -  $$$
Chestnut Charlie's Nut Tree Crops, 1841 E. 1450 Rd. (US 59), Lawrence KS 66044

This weekend workshop will provide instruction in the vision, theory, design and practice of ecological forest agriculture that uses our temperate deciduous forest as a model.  The instructors are four permaculture designers who have been practicing permaculture for decades -Steve Moring of Kaw Permaculture, Michael Almon of Forest Floor Permaculture, Daniel Dermitzel of Cultivate Kansas City, and Charles NovoGradac of Chestnut Charlie's Nut Tree Crops.

The course will cover the basics of Forest Gardens: understanding plant guilds and plant community functions, plant species and site selection criteria and considerations, and how to create a Forest Garden Design.  By mimicking the architecture and function of a natural ecosystem through all stages of growth, a good design can maximize photosynthesis for perennial production of food, fodder and fiber.  At the end of the course, students will leave with plant lists, resources on design strategies, and a base map for scheming and dreaming up your forest garden.  For more info go tohttp://www.kawpermaculture.org/category/training, or contact Steve Moring at.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012, 5:30pm
Public Works Conf. Room, City Hall, 6 East 6th St., Lawrence KS 66044

The July agenda includes: in-depth discussion of S.A.B. position on the proposed curbside recycling plan, and the goals identified by the S.A.B. for 2013.  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, 8 August 2012, 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

tour and sponsorship deadline is Monday, 13 August 2012
exhibitor discount deadline is Monday, 27 August 2012
the Fair is Saturday, 22 September 2011  -  FREE

The twelfth annual Energy Conservation Fair will feature a wide range of energy conservation organizations and companies, and an expert line-up of speakers and presenters.  The Sustainable Homes Tour is part of the American Solar Energy Society's National Solar Tour.  To learn more, visit - http://www.lawrenceks.org/wrr/energyfair, or call 832-3030.  Also find them atwww.facebook.com/LawrenceRecycles.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012, 7:30pm
Delaware Street Commons, Hearth Room, 822 E. 13th Street, Lawrence KS 66044
Local Solutions for Transition to a Sustainable Economy

Discussion topics may include:  
  • 1304 Penn. St. Garden design charette and perma-blitz
  •  workshop on Solar Food Dehydrators (August)
  • fund raising ideas: planning & organizing
  • not-for-profit sponsorship of T.K.V.
  • K.P.C. quarterly meeting
  • S.A.N. generic business cards
Everyone is welcome

Wednesdays, 15 & 22 August 2012, 7:00pm  -  $$
UMKC School of Medicine, Theatre C, 1st Floor, 2411 Holmes, K.C. MO 64108

Permascape is the design and installation of edible, low maintenance, and low ecological footprint landscapes using permaculture and ecosystems management principles.  Learn about: plants for edible landscaping, integrated pest management, ecological engineering for bio-diversity and habitat restoration, site water retention techniques, cover crops and soil fertility, inner cropping vegetable production, and lawn eradication techniques.  Class fee is $14, plus $5 for materials.

There is a bonus field tour about cover crops, inner cropping, and no till fruit and vegetable production, taking place on Saturday, 18 August, 10:00am, at the Food Not Lawns Experiment Station, 6310 NW Waukomis Dr., KCMO 64151.  Class convener is Steve Mann, or (816)235-1407 - http://www.prairietrading.com/.

Monday, 20 August 2012, 7:00pm
Eudora High School, 1235 E 2200th Rd, Eudora, KS 66025

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, andcreate 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.

We welcome suggestions for Newsletter items
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Join the Sustainability Action Network by clicking this link - Become a Member of S.A.N. - and follow the instructions.  The S.A.N. mission isto bring awareness of the global crisis caused by climate change, energy vulnerability and economic instability to communities in the Kansas River bioregion, and the tools needed to re-skill and re-localize our economy and create a more socially just and ecologically sustainable world.

Current S.A.N. projects include:
1) Kansas Permaculture Institute formal training of permaculture designers, and issuing them PDC Certificates.
2) Kansas Permaculture Collaborative - freely and informally sharing knowledge and resources about sustainable food production and dwellings S.A.N. Permaculture Collaborative

3) Bicycles & Electric Vehicles - promoting bicycles, utility tricycles, and neighborhood electric vehicles, including infrastructure and pro-active regulations.

4) S.A.N. Weekly Newsletter - informing and encouraging people to be active in the Sustainability Action Network, or other action-driven groups.

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

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

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

8) Energy Conservation & Renewables - advancing a green economy through decentralized renewable energy and conservation.
9) Collaboration with sister organizations - such as: Films for ActionThe Light Center eco-village; Kaw River Valley Food System farm-based economic development; Cosmic Beauty Schoolurban homestead; Cultivate Kansas City;Transition Kansas City; Kansas River Valley Growers fighting for local water rights; the National Sustainable Energy Network; the Kansas City Food Circle, and more.

S.A.N. sponsored organizations (informal as yet):
1) Transition Kaw Valley - initiating transition to a relocalized post-carbon community by means of an energy descent plan - Transition Kaw Valley

2) Lawrence Fruit Tree Project - educating and inspiring the community to grow and steward perennial food plants and increase local food security - Lawrence Fruit Tree Project


As a guidebook for local transition communities, Rob Hopkins has published this sequel to the original Transition Handbook.  For your copy, e-mail Michael at  and arrange for pick up.  If you want it mailed, shipping will be additional.

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