Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sustainability Action Newsletter, Jan. 13, 2015

"I don't know if I've ever seen a bill that starts with the name of a particular company that's the beneficiary (TransCanada). We're supposed to be establishing policy, not issuing building permits to individual companies." - Sen. Angus King (I-ME)

Friday, 9 January 2014

After working its way through the Nebraska court system for more than two years, a landowner lawsuit against the Keystone XL route was dismissed by the Nebraska Supreme Court, essentially on technicalities. Any hope by President Obama that the Court would save him the political anguish of making the permit decision was swept away last Friday. It's his legacy, for what he makes of it. Now the U.S. State Department review process will resume, and because they will most likely recommend in favor of the pipeline permit, Obama will have to make the final decision on the pipeline.

The Nebraska Supreme Court actually ruled 4-3 to uphold a lower court finding that the Nebraska pipeline routing law was unconstitutional, but the decision required a super majority vote of 5-2 to prevail. The other technicality cited was the landowner plaintiffs' claim was deemed invalid, claiming they were injured as taxpayers. The dissenting judges said the plaintiffs should have tried a more traditional theory of standing, by arguing that their private property rights would be infringed by the use of eminent domain. This was an unfortunate legal choice by the plaintiffs, so now they are considering a new lawsuit by any of the other 115 landowners who have refused to sign a contract with TransCanada. Meanwhile, TransCanada will begin legal action against landowners who have refused to let the company purchase easements. Learn more at - With Nebraska Supreme Court ruling, Keystone battle over, but war drags on, and Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders Blast the Keystone Bill.

Today is a national day of protest against the Keystone XL pipeline, with actions in dozens of cities including Kansas City. To learn more of the protest, you can go to -Reject Keystone XL -- Now - The Action Network. Another action devised by the clever people at Bold Nebraska is to - Send a 'Veto' Pen to President Obama from Bold Nebraska. Very elegant scheme, and shows that the (ballpoint) pen is mightier than the sword.


Although last Friday's kabuki legislation "granted" a construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, it is purely symbolic because they don't have the votes to override a Presidential veto. But a veto is still a big "if". Over 100,000 citizens have signed a "pledge of resistance", having committed to risk arrest if necessary to stop Keystone XL. The pressure is building on Obama. When the Nebraska lawsuit halted the U.S. State Department's permit review process, it was about two thirds done. The permit review now resumes, expected to be complete in about two months. Protectors of the land and air need to be ready when the time comes.

With over 400 volunteer action leaders trained in 25 cities nationwide, the local sit-in actions will be deployed when and if the Obama Administration recommends approval of Keystone XL. Chances are there's one near you. To stop Keystone XL, you can take the next step and sign up with your local pledge action. You can Find your nearest Pledge of Resistance action and sign up to be part of it. The passive resistance actions will be at places like the State Department, EPA and Federal offices, oil industry contractor ERM offices, and branches of TD Bank. If you click the above link and plug in your zip code, you will learn where the nearest action is to you.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015, 3:30-5:00pm
West Middle School Cafeteria, 2700 Harvard Rd.,Lawrence KS 66049
The public is invited to learn about data collected during the 2014 beginning months of the Lawrence Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program. SRTS is a local movement to create safe opportunities for children to bicycle and walk to and from schools. The goal is to get children moving again and to reverse the growing rate of childhood obesity. In 1969, approximately 50 percent of children in the U.S. walked or biked to school. Today, fewer than 15 percent do. As a result, kids today are less active, less independent and less healthy. This effort was launched in 2014 by the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department in conjunction with the National Center for Safe Routes To School. So far, sixteen local schools are participating in the planning and data gathering, with hopes that all Lawrence public and private schools will join the effort. For more info go to - Lawrence Safe Routes to School.

14 January 2015, 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 Management Commission.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015, 5:30pm
Public Works Conference Room, City Hall ground floor, 6 East 6th St., Lawrence KS 66044

January agenda includes: Multi-Modal Plan review, Safe Routes To Schools update, Bike-Ped Town Hall, Non-motorized Transportation Advisory Board, and PACE legislation. 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/sustainability/sab.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015, 7:00pm
Carnegie Building Conference Room, 200 West 9th St., Lawrence KS 66044

The January agenda includes: 6th & Rockledge child injury, Bike-Ped Town Hall, and Non-motorized Transportation Task Force. The Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition is a joint effort of the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods and the League of Women Voters. Monthly meetings are open to the public. For more info go to Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition, or contact Erin Paden .

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

Friday, 16 January 2015, 9:30am - Bioneers Radio Series
Bioneers presents "Busting the Drug War: The Dawn of Drug Policy Reform". Ethan Nadelmann, founder/director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the nation's leading drug policy reform organization, traces the hidden history of drugs laws, which are intimately connected with racism and the political exploitation of people's fears. He offers a set of practical and effective policy reforms that are now being advocated by a rising tide of former drug warriors.

Monday, 19 January 2015, 5:00am - Exploration with Dr. Michio Kaku
This week on Exploration, is "Green, Greener, Greenest", with Lori Bongiorno. She's the author of the book by the same name which is a practical guide to making eco-smart choices a part of everyday life.

Monday, 19 January 2015, 6:00pm - locally produced Eco-Radio KC
The EcoRadioKC gang takes off for the holidays and we present the syndicated program, Radio Ecoshock.


Brownback's 2016 Kansas budget short-sheets water in favor of nukes
While claiming that his drastic tax cuts to Kansas wealthy will boost the state's economy, Gov. Brownback is really enacting Grover Norquist's neocon maxim of "shrinking government to the size where he can drown it in the bathtub". It's not good for the economy to plunge the state coffers into a $648 million deficit, 11% of general revenues. Standard & Poors reduced Kansas' bond status, jeopardizing the state's ability to borrow. So Brownback's solution? Why, take it out on the poor and elderly, cutting social services, rejecting Obamacare support, and threatening to cut Medicaid and Kansas employee retirement funds.

His other strategy is to short change some Kansas programs and plans in favor of others, and even terminate some programs. For example, the newly updated Kansas Water Plan will be cut from $25 million to $15 million. But Brownback still plans on dredging the John Redmond Reservoir, which is silting up like all Kansas reservoirs. In contrast, all other reservoirs will have to be dredged by municipalities. Why favor John Redmond? It's not for irrigation or drinking water, that's for sure, because the John Redmond Reservoir is the back-up cooling water for the Wolf Creek Nuclear Plant. A couple years ago, it was 95% empty, endangering the ability of Wolf Creek to operate safely. But Brownback is a caring family man, and he'll never let down his Wolf Creek nuclear family.

We suggest readers avail themselves of the following sources for news on the nuclear demise: Japan for Sustainability - http://www.japanfs.org/; Japan Focus - http://japanfocus.org/;Fukushima Update - http://fukushimaupdate.com/; and Fairewinds Energy Education - http://www.fairewinds.com/.


For the first time, a research team has quantified which fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned if the world is to keep atmospheric global warming below 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. From the report by Christophe McGlade and Paul Ekins, "To have at least a 50 percent chance of keeping warming below 2 degrees C, carbon emissions between 2011 and 2050 need to be limited to around 1,100 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide. However, the greenhouse gas emissions contained in present estimates of global fossil fuel reserves are around three times higher than this. We show that development of resources in the Arctic, and any increase in unconventional oil production [tar sands, fracking] are incommensurate with efforts to limit average global warming to 2 degrees C. We now have tangible figures of the quantities and locations of fossil fuels that should remain unused in trying to keep within the 2 degrees C temperature limit" said Christophe McGlade, at the University College London.

The research shows that 82 percent of coal reserves, 49 percent of gas reserves, and 33 percent of petroleum reserves must stay in the ground. This is energy conservation in its truest form - don't use it, rather than use it efficiently. The challenging question is "How can corporations that "own" these reserves be convinced, incentivized, or forced to not capitalize on their "energy property"? This is the essence of what nations are faced with when negotiating at the U.N. Climate Conference. If an effective climate pact is enacted, major fossil fuel companies face the risk that significant parts of their reserves will become worthless. Though socially justifiable or not, corporations have claimed "ownership" over large swaths of the public commons, and they will surely sue for compensation in "property takings" proceedings. If compensation is deemed appropriate, this Editor thinks it should be for no more than their initial lease purchase price of exploration rights or extraction rights, and not for the presumed value of the energy reserves on the open market. A U.N. treaty should rightly decree that these fuels no longer have value on the open market. Read more at - Leave fossil fuels buried to prevent climate change.

Saturday, 17 January 2015, 11:00am-2:00pm - FREE, but bring seeds to barter
Missouri Department of Conservation Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave., Kansas City MO 64110
(courtesy Star Jordan)

This is Kansas City's 3rd annual organic, non-GE seed exchange. This is a place to bring something and get something. Items featured in this event include: organic, heirloom, non-GE vegetable, herb & flower seeds, starter plants, shrubs, vines, bulbs, fermentation starters like kombucha, kefir grains, food grade essential oils, skin products, soaps, free range eggs, honey, bread starters, seed jewelry and much MUCH more - door prizes and free samples too. Please bring a little, take a little, bring a lot, take a lot. Items brought to share must be packaged, labeled and dated. All are welcome, come learn about our expanding Seed Library, proper seed harvesting, saving and planting. Join the revolution and promote organic biodiversity in your community, your yard and your home. For more information go to - Seed Savers Kansas City, or contact Dana McDaniel at .

Sundays, 18 January 2015 (and beyond), 9:40-10:45am - FREE
First Presbyterian Church 2415 Clinton Parkway, Fireside Room, Lawrence KS 66047

18 January - The Demise of Pollinators: The Importance of Butterflies and Bees
25 January - One Thing Leads to Another - Even to a Slow Money Network in Northeast Kansas
1 February - What Would the Construction of the Keystone Pipeline have to do with Kansas Interfaith Power and Light?
Series coordinated by the Eco-Team of First Presbyterian Church. For more info contact Thad Holcombe .


The Common Ground Program provides opportunities for individuals and groups to lease idle land owned by the City of Lawrence, and use it for growing food. Proposals can be for a community garden or a market garden, can be not-for-profit or for profit, and can be a group endeavor of by and individual. Sites vary in size, but the lease is for $1 per year, and runs for three years with an option to extend it longer. The purpose of the program is to encourage local food production, serve population members who have limited access to fresh produce, be a form of agriculture business incubator, as well as promote agri-tourism. Two of the available sites are up-and-running community gardens that Sustainability Action developed, ready for growers to sign on to. For more information and to learn how to apply, go to -Common Ground Request for Applications_2015.pdf.

Monday, 19 January 2015, 7:00pm
location TBA, Lawrence KS 66047
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.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015, 5:00pm
Parks & Recreation Conference Room, 1141 Massachusetts St., Lawrence KS 66044

The January agenda is not yet available. 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 Commission on bicycle priorities and needs. The agenda and information can be downloaded at Bicycle Advisory Committee.

Friday, 23 January 2015, 5:00pm-9:00pm
Lawrence Creates Makerspace, 512 East 9th St. (9th & NJ), Lawrence KS 66044
Local Solutions for Transition to a Sustainable Economy

Please join us to celebrate our seventh birthday featuring a potluck dinner at 5:00pm, a talk by Kris Adair, and conviviality!

After the potluck, we will recap our 2014 achievements in bicycle transportation,community gardens, food sovereignty, and more. Following that we will elect our Directors for the coming year. Our highlight of the evening will be a keynote talk by Kris Adair, urban sustainability advocate and member of the Lawrence School Board. She has interests in the Safe Routes To Schools program, curtailing urban sprawl, walkable neighborhoods, and non-motorized transportation. Following Ms. Adair's talk, we will have small group envisioning to share ideas for our 2015 activities. Since forming in late 2007, Sustainability Action has been bringing to our community local solutions for transition to a sustainable economy.Everyone is welcome, non-members and members alike. We hope to see you there!

Saturday, 24 January 2015, 10:00am-12:00pm
Lawrence Public Library Auditorium, 7th & Vermont St., Lawrence KS 66044
(courtesy Michael Morley, Pearl Clark Community Garden)

Billed as "Don't settle for dirt when you can have living soil", this presentation will be given by Kathy Hoggard, a Master Gardener from Kansas City. Shade trees and fruit trees produce an annual leaf bonanza that can replenish our soil's organic matter and make unnecessary most other amendments for soil fertility or structure. These leaves feed the legions of soil microbes that nourish plants and manage soil structure to benefit plant growth. The program will delve deeply into nutrient cycles and why harvesting the leaves from your trees will be the primary ingredient you will need to produce living soil. Several informative handouts will be available. For more info contact Michael Morley .

Tuesday-Thursday, 27-29 January 2015 - $$$
Bicentennial Center, 800 The Midway, Salina KS 67401

Industrial agriculture considers the soil as inert and dead, being there only to hold up the crops, so loss of nutrients or tilth, or loss of the soil itself is inconsequential. Just throw chemicals at it! While no-till agriculture still uses heavy machinery, no-till farmers minimize the equipment and the number of passes over the land. But there two schools of no-till farmers - those who avoid plowing under weeds and weed seeds by killing weeds with herbicides (granted less than used in conventional till farming), and those who avoid weed growth entirely by planting a combination cover crop after harvest. The No-Till on the Plains farmers are the cover crop type. They have developed sophisticated mixes of cover crops and rotational schedules that not only avoid soil erosion, but boost crop production. At this year's conference, Dr. Fred Provenza from Utah State University will deliver the keynote address. The other featured speaker will be Joshua Dukart, a certified educator of wholistic management from Bismark, North Dakota. For more info and to register, go to - No-till on the Plains 2015 Winter Conference.

Thursday-Saturday, 29-31 January 2015 - $$$
Hilton Baltimore Hotel, 401 West Pratt Street, Baltimore MD 21201

Smart growth is an urban planning and transportation design method emphasizing compact walkable urban centers to avoid urban sprawl into farmland. It also advocates bicycle friendly complete streets and compatibly mixed land use. However, smart growth tends to neglect urban green space such as community gardens and urban agriculture, whereas the related movement of New Urbanism embraces open space and even permaculture as part of the mix.

The annual conferences began in 1997, and this year in Baltimore is the 14th annual. A significant portion of the conference focuses on environmental justice, and this year will feature three-hour interactive sessions designed to increase understanding of the poverty through "poverty simulation experiences". For more conference info go to - Smart Growth Conference Registration.

Saturday, 31 January 2015, from 8:00am-3:00pm
2nd Presbyterian Church, 318 East 55th St., Kansas City MO 64113
(courtesy Ami Freeberg, Cultivate K.C.)

Come meet other growers and supporters and learn about Cultivate Kansas City's projects over the past year. We'll have pie, coffee, conversation, and learning together (and, if you'd like to bring a pie or two, it would be much appreciated!). They're hosting a potluck lunch in addition to the famous pie potluck. Please bring a homemade (and preferably homegrown or locally sourced) dish to share. The event will have a "Dreamers and Doers" panel, and some group visioning activities that are fun and creative. Founded in 2004, Cultivate Kansas City operates the Kansas City Community Farm, and trains folks as urban growers. Their vision is for urban areas of small community farms, providing a livelihood for growers, and local healthy food for the community. For more info go to - Cultivate Kansas City Annual Farmers & Friends Meeting.

Thursday - Saturday, 5 - 7 February 2015 $$$
University Plaza Hotel, 333 S. John Hammons Pkwy, Springfield, MO 65806

This year's conference presenters include
Dr. Jaime Pinero, Gary Zimmer, andJoseph Simcox known as the Botanical Explorer. There will be the M.O.A. Poultry Symposium, a film about genetically engineered crops called "GMO-OMG", followed by a GE food plenary led by Robyn O'Brien. Speakers will be presenting throughout the conference including David Yarrow on Carbon Smart Farming. There also will be numerous workshops, a trade show, an organic cooking competition, and an auction. More info and registration form available at - Missouri Organic Association Annual Conference.

Saturday, 14 February 2015, 9:00am-3:00pm - FREE
Douglas County Fairgrounds, Building 21, 2110 Harper St., Lawrence KS 66046

The annual Kaw Valley Seed Fair is a pre-spring celebration where people can share seeds, information and other resources. The fair features a free seed exchange that includes books, catalogs and other gardening and seed-saving materials, plus exhibits, local producers and food for sale. Information on the fair, including a list of vendors, will be updated on the fair's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/kawvalleyseeds. The Kaw Valley Seed Fair is a not-for-profit organization.

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

Join the Sustainability Action Network by clicking this link - Become a Sustainability Action Member - and follow the instructions.The Sustainability Action 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.

Sustainability Action Programs include:
1) Food Sovereignty & Permaculture -local control of food, permaculture workshops, tours, and crop mobs.

2) Bicycles & Alternative Transportation - promoting bicycles, complete streets, ride sharing, and electric vehicles, including infrastructure and pro-active regulations - Bicycle Transportation Funding: Lawrence 2015 Budget

3) Local Community Currency- fostering money literacy, and implementing a local currency, either cash or electronic or both, that will transition to a sustainable local economy and weather global economic instability.

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

5) Energy Conservation & Renewables - reducing our carbon footprint by promoting a carbon diet, an energy diet, conservation, and decentralized renewable energy.
6) Prime Farmland Preservation - protecting Capability I & II farmland from urban development and industrial land uses.

7) Water Rights and Watersheds - protecting the water commons from privatization and contamination, and restoring watersheds.
8) Collaboration with sister organizations - building synergy with the combined talents and creativity of like-minded groups to achieve a transition to sustainable local economies. Groups such as: Films for Action; The Light Center eco-village; churches and civic groups; Kaw River Valley Food System farm-based economic development; Cultivate Kansas City; Kansas River Valley Growers fighting for local water rights; the National Sustainable Energy Network; the Kansas City Food Circle, and more.

ustainability Action sponsored organizations:
1) Lawrence Creates - local tool sharing, recycling, and community shared innovation incubator - Lawrence Creates

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

3) Moving Forward Network - Diesel Health Project - promoting eco-justice in neighborhoods subject to industrial air and water pollution, by monitoring the pollution and changing policies and enforcement. -Moving Forward Network

To subscribe to this newsletter, please click this link >> Subscribe to the Sustainability Action Newsletter. Enter your name and e-mail address, and follow the instructions. The system will send you a confirmation message with a "Confirmation Link" which you MUST click in order to complete your subscription confirmation. If you don't get the confirmation message, check in your junk mail folder for blocked as spam. 
Sustainability Action Network, P.O. Box 1064, Lawrence, KS 66044, USA

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