Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sustainability Action News, 16 Oct. 2012

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Is it wise, or even needed, to allow utilities to practice "big brother" energy conservation?  Should Westar be allowed to power-down your air conditioner or appliances using wireless radio frequency signals through a smart meter?  Because the price you pay is both loss of privacy, and a high likelihood of health effects from the 900 MHz to 5 GHz radiation (900 million cycles per second to 5 billion cycles per second).  Health effects from smart meters can be genetic mutation, metabolic disorders, central nervous system disorders, pace maker disruption, and more.  And the World Health Organization has classified RF radiation as a class 2B carcinogen.

On 12 April 2012, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine issued a position paper on electromagnetic field (EMF) and radiofrequency (RF) health effects, calling for immediate caution regarding smart meter installations.  President elect of the AAEM, Dr. Amy Dean, said "Immediate action is necessary to protect the public's health." - Precaution Needed on Smart Meter Installation.pdf.

There was an international day of action to stop smart meters on 4 October - Stop Smart Meters! - and we regret this Newsletter was on hiatus then.  Lawrence resistance is already behind the curve, because Westar began installing smart meters in January of this year.  There have been instances of them installing smart meters over the objections of home owners.  Westar claims, as yet, they are using smart meters only to monitor use rates, not to interfere with privacy and the use of home appliances - "yet", they say, but when?Smart Grids offer new opportunities for electronic trespass.  Plus, do you really want the utilities remotely-controlling your appliances?  And that's just the indoor part.  On the outside of each building, the Smart Meter will transmit an even more powerful wireless frequency to a central hub installed in local neighborhoods.  And RF exposure from house-to-house signals could accumulate from possibly 100-to-500 of your neighbors' meters as well - The Problems with Smart Grids

But there are things you can do.  If Westar already installed one at your home, you can use this Sample Letter to Utility Opposing RF Trespass to demand it be removed (you can download it and tailor it to your needs).  Address it to: Mark Ruelle, President, and Matt Lehrman, SmartStar Program Analyst, Westar Energy, Inc., 818 S. Kansas Ave., Topeka, Kansas 66601.

If Westar has not yet installed one at your home, you can send the letter, and put a mechanical lock on your existing analog meter - Defend Your Analog Meter.

Wednesdays, 17,24 October 2012, 2 remaining sessions, 7:00-9:00pm  -  $$
UMKC School of Medicine, Theatre C, 2411 Charlotte Street, KC MO

Grow food not lawns!  Increase local food security, improve your diet, beautify your surroundings, build community, reduce pollution and energy use (It takes 87 calories of fuel to transport one calorie of perishable fresh fruit from west coast to east coast).  As supporters of the Food Not Lawns national movement, we will hold four sessions dealing with topics that include whole system design, garden preparation, permaculture, water-wise gardening, seed saving, planting, and free resources.  Presenters include master and highly-qualified gardeners.  Class fee is $18, plus $5 for materials; bring picture ID.  Register at UMKC Communiversity.  More info at Food Not Lawns KC, or .

Listen at KKFI-FM 90.1, or web-streaming at http://www.kkfi.org/
(courtesy Mike Murphy, KKFI Programming Committee)

Friday, 19 October 2012, 4:00am ¤ If You Love This Planet
David Freeman will talk on the "Urgency to Fight the Nuclear, Gas, and Coal Industries to Save the Earth".  He is former Chair of the Tennessee Valley Authority where he stopped construction of eight nuclear power plants.  He is currently adviser with Friends of the Earth's nuclear program.

Friday, 19 October 2012, 9:30am ¤ Bioneers Radio Series 
Bioneers presents "The Alphabet vs. the Goddess: How the Technology of Images is Feminizing the Planet and Restoring the Environment".  Is it just a coincidence that the wholesale destruction of the environment paralleled the decline of Goddess-worshipping cultures and the traditional power of women in society?  Author and surgeon Leonard Shlain provocatively attributes both to the rise of alphabetic literacy.

Monday, 22 October 2012, 5:00am ¤ Explorations in Science with Dr. Michio Kaku
Explorations covers the world of science, war and peace, and the environment.  The first half hour is Dr. Robert Lanza on the "Future of Biotechnology".  The second half hour is Lester Brown on the "State of the Earth".

Monday, 22 October 2012, 6:00pm ¤ locally produced Eco-Radio KC
Host Richard Mabion will be discussing "Dismantling Racism in the Environmental Movement in the Black Community".  Few if any black professionals are getting grants to work with black people, and environmental organizations are predominately white, even in the black community.

Friday-Sunday, 19-21 October 2012  -  $$$
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.  There are dozens of simultaneous regional conferences with speakers and workshops and major speakers beamed live from the San Rafael conference - Bioneers beaming to regional conferences.

The conference lineup matches prior years quality with presenters such as:
  • Annie Leonard
  • Paul Hawken
  • Andy Lipkis (Tree People)
  • John Liu (Chinese permaculture)
  • Bill McKibben
  • Asher Miller (Post Carbon Institute)
  • Vicki Robin (Your Money or Your Life)
  • Carolyne Stayton (Transition U.S.)
  • Sandra Steingraber
  • Daniel Wildcat (Haskell University), and more. 
For conference info, schedule, and registration go to the 2012 Bioneers Conference.
Revolution From the Heart of Nature
It's all alive; it's all connected; it's all intelligent; it's all relatives

Sunday, 21 October 2012, 10:00am-5:00pm
AND  -  November 4, 17, and 24, 2012
1304 Penn. St. Permaculture Garden, Lawrence KS 66044

These four perma-blitzes will transform an empty city lot into a lush permaculture community garden.  The Kansas Permaculture Collaborative has been holding design charettes to develop and plan the garden.  On 21 October, a water line will be installed, and water catchment swales will be staked on level contours.  The next three days will involve more volunteer labor, so please consider helping.  The second day is to begin modifying the site with a pond, a rain garden, and fence posts.  The third day will focus on growing-bed preparations with sheet mulch, manure and topsoil, spreading wood chips on paths, and detailing the pond and rain garden.  And the final day will entail planting many berry bushes, fruit trees, brambles, and support species like flower bulbs, comfrey, garlic, etc.

Materials donations are welcomed too.  If you can find some large corrugated cardboard at appliance or bedding stores, please bring lots.  If you are thinning out any plant material from your garden, we could use it - for a list of species we need, and other questions, please contact Steve at (785)691-7305 or <moringse@gmail.com>.


More radioactive water leaks at Fukushima
As we approach 600 days since the meltdown at Fukushima Dai-ichi, the prospects of a "quick" and "complete" clean up are increasingly beyond reach.  The lesson, of course, is that this is a "pandora's box" technology that cannot be contained once released.  Just this week, a pipe carrying radioactive water to a purifier burst (which begs the question also, what becomes of the radioactive residue retained in the "purifier"?).  And it's not the first time; the company said it had trouble with the same pipe in August, when 4 tons of water leaked out - Further leak at Fukushima, photos reveal other damage.

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

Thursday, 25 October 2012, 8:30am-3:00pm  -  FREE
Dreher Building, Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2120 Harper St., Lawrence KS 66046
(a healthy, local lunch will be provided for $10)

This workshop will feature a presentation by Kimberley Hodgson of Cultivating Healthy Places.  As a certified planner and registered dietitian, Ms. Hodgson conducts policy-relevant research and provides technical assistance to private, public, and non-profit organizations on the design and development of healthy, sustainable communities.  Workshop participants will learn why community leaders should engage in planning local food systems, how communities are revitalizing their food system through policies and programs, and how we can foster healthier citizens and a vibrant agricultural economy here in Douglas County.  For more info contact Eileen Horn, Sustainability Coordinator, at <ehorn@douglas-county.com>.

Saturday, 27 October 2012, 1:00-5:00pm  -  $$
University of Manhattan, 1221 Thurston St., Manhattan KS 66052
(courtesy, Amber Lehrman)

Ever wondered what to have on hand in case of a short term power outage?  Or a longer term outage?  Then again, a true crisis?  Or do you just want to know what foods keep well and how to store them?  This workshop will answer all of that by discussing specific supplies you should have available for anything from a 2 day power outage to a multiple week crisis.  We will also do hands on demonstrations of several skills useful in an emergency situation.  The workshop will end with a delicious meal made from supplies discussed in the workshop. 

Pre-registration is required, and to register, go to http://tryufm.org/ and click on Non-Credit Classes.  You can search by any of the methods given (date, topic, instructor).  The workshop will be taught by Amber Lehrman, who can answer questions about course content at jajlehrman@yahoo.com.  For questions about registering, please contact the Univ. of Manhattan at 785.539.8763 or info@tryufm.org.

Saturday, 10 November 2012, 9:00am-3:30pm  -  FREE
Fiedler Auditorium, Kansas State University, 17 St. & College Heights Rd., Manhattan KS 66506
(courtesy, Kim Bellemere, KNRC)

This forum entitled "Making Connections, Growing the Grassroots", will focus on the history and future of environmental stewardship in Kansas, brainstorm new ideas for expanding the work of forum participants, and build partnerships with others across the state.  It is co-sponsored by Kansas Interfaith Power & Light and the Kansas Natural Resource Council.  For more info go to - Kansas Environmental Forum at K-State University.  To register send an e-mail to <ksenviroforum@gmail.com> with your name, organization, address and phone.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012, 6:30pm
Lawrence Public Library, 7th & Vermont St., Lawrence KS 66044
Local Solutions for Transition to a Sustainable Economy

Possible discussion topics
  • 1304 Penn. St. Garden Perma-blitz - 17 Nov. & 24 Nov.
  • Lawrence OnBoard rideshare program
  • Annual Campaign fund raising progress
  • workshops: Rainwater Catchment Design, Food Pickling & Fermentation
  • Kansas Community Garden Grant writing
  • U.S.D.A. SARE grant writing
  • S.A.N. generic business cards
  • S.A.N. website upgrades
Everyone is welcome

Wednesday, 14 November 2012, 5:30pm
location TBA, Lawrence KS 66045.

The November agenda is not yet available.  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, 14 Novem
ber 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

Monday, 19 November 2012, 7:00pm
location TBA, Lawrence KS 66044

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.

We welcome suggestions for Newsletter items
.  Please send items to .

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 is to 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 - Kansas Permaculture Institute.
2) Kansas Permaculture Collaborative - freely and informally sharing knowledge and resources about sustainable food production and dwellings -Kansas 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 Action; The Light Center eco-village; Kaw River Valley Food System farm-based economic development; Cosmic Beauty School urban 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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