Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sustainability Action Newsletter, April 26, 2016

“Global warming isn't a prediction.  It is happening" - Dr. James Hansen
If you appreciate the news and events that we bring you every week, please donate to Sustainability Action.  Click on our PayPal button here >> Sustainability Action. THANK YOU!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016, 5:45pm
Lawrence City Hall, 6 East 6th St., Lawrence KS 66044

The long sought-after urban ag Code amendment will be heard at the City Commission tonight, and can be accessed at - http://www.lawrenceks.org/agendas.  Ever since Sustainability Action challenged the Lawrence Property Maintenance Code on 23 June 2015, the provisions of which could shut down small urban growers for "accumulation of debris" (compost, straw bales, tomato cages, etc,), we have been collaborating for 8 months with the Food Policy Council, the Sustainability Advisory Board, and the Lawrence Planning Office to craft Code language for an Urban Agriculture Text Amendment.  On 22 Februarythe amendment got a unanimous vote by the Planning Commission with a recommendation for approval.

The amendment contains provisions for the following: many types of gardens such as personal, community, CSAs, and urban farms; new animal provisions for rabbits, small goats and sheep, and honey bees and mason bees; urban ag inclusive of aquaculture, horticulture, permaculture, hydroculture, agroforestry, beekeeping, gardening, and animal husbandry; sales of produce within residential zones and at farmers' markets; structures like hoop houses, cold frames, greenhouses, sheds, composting bins, and rain barrel systems; crops exempt from the definition of "weeds"; and agricultural implements, equipment, and materials are not considered "debris" under the Property Maintenance Code.

26 April 2016

At 1:23 a.m. on 26 April 1986, a catastrophic nuclear accident demolished Chernobyl Unit 4.  Power plant operators lost control of the reactor while conducting experiments at low power.  In a series of enormous explosion of the reactor core, a mammoth amount of heat and disintegrated radioactive fuel violently erupted into the atmosphere, 30-40 times the radioactivity of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs.  A fire that burned for 10 days spread radioactive fallout over tens of thousands of square miles.  Estimates of related deaths from cancer range from 4,000 to over 980,000.

Chernobyl is located in the extreme north of Ukraine, just across the border from Belarus.  Because of the prevailing wind direction, most of the radioactive cloud from the Chernobyl explosion drifted into Belarus and Russia, but even as far as Germany and Scandinavia.  The largest areas of Cesium-137 contamination are in Belarus, and to a lesser extent, in Russia.  The land areas are classified in four radioactive hot levels of Cesium-137: above 40 Curies/sq kilometer is permanently closed, above 15 Curies/sq kilometer is compulsory relocation, above 5  Curies/sq kilometer is recommended relocation, and above 1 Curie/sq kilometer is voluntary relocation.  More than a quarter of a million people were driven permanently from their homes.

Belarus - Chernobyl
Now after 30 years, the radiation is still keeping vast areas uninhabitable.  Dr. Yuri Bandazhevsky, one of the most prominent medical critics of the Belarus safety program, is conducting his cancer research in Ukraine with European Union sponsorship.  He told the Associated Press "In Belarus, there is no protection of the population from radiation exposure.  On the contrary, the government is trying to persuade people not to pay attention to radiation, and food is grown in contaminated areas and sent to all points in the country."  The authoritarian Belarus government is moving to restore long-idle land to farm use, in spite of cancer-causing isotopes still to be found in the soil.  Associated Press reporters declined to drink local milk, and samples sent to a laboratory confirmed it contained a radioactive isotope at levels 10 times higher than the nation's food safety limits.  Learn more at - Test Finds Chernobyl Radiactive Residue in Belarus Milk.

Thursday, 28 April 2016, 9:00am-3:30pm - FREE
Spooner Hall, KU Commons, 1340 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence KS 66045
(coutesy Uma Outka, University of Kansas School of Law)

This conference will join academics, professionals, and students in an effort to ensure social justice while transitioning our economy to low-carbon usage practices.  We cannot forget what makes up the four legs of the "sustainability stool": energy, environment, economy, and equity.  Low-carbon practices must be accessible and affordable.  National plenary presenters will be: Shalanda Baker on “Just Energy Pathways”; Rob Verchick on “Energy, Resilience, and Fairness"; Philip Berke on "The Resilience and Climate Change Cooperative Project”; Julian McQueen on “Feeding Two Birds with One Seed: How We Can Address Poverty and Climate Change in All Communities”; and Jacqueline Patterson on “Climate Justice in the Low-Carbon Transition”.  Regional panelists will be: Dorothy Barnett, Climate + Energy Project; Tom Jacobs, Mid-America Regional Council; and Althea Moses, Region 7 EPA.  For more info, and to register go to http://www.carbonjusticeconference.com/.

Listen at KKFI-FM 90.1, or link to web-streaming at KKFI 90.1 FM
(courtesy, Mike Murphy, KKFI Programming Committee)

Friday, 29 April 2016, 9:30am - Bioneers Radio Series
Bioneers presents "The Marriage of the Sun and Moon: The Truth and Reconciliation of Gender".  Today gender reconciliation is a burgeoning new movement for transformational healing.  Gender reconciliation visionaries Pat McCabeCynthia BrixWill Keepin and Pele Rouge share powerful stories of transformation from the personal to the societal, including the nation of South Africa.

Monday, 2 May 2016, 6:00pm - locally produced Eco-Radio KC
The Eco Radio KC program will feature another of their ecologically minded shows>  

Saturday, 30 April 2016, 12:00noon
Outside CenturyLink Arena, 455 N 10th St, Omaha NE 68102 (map)

This is another outstanding event organized by the amazing folks in BOLD Nebraska, famous for defeating the Keystone XL pipeline in Nebraska.  Warren Buffet owns many fossil fuel companies, the BNSF railroad, insurance companies, real estate companies, and much more.  As you can imagine, this one man's climate impact is significant.  So BOLD Nebraska has been working with the Nebraska Peace Foundation to bring a petition before the Berkshire-Hathaway annual meeting requesting that Buffet do a climate risk analysis across all of his companies.  As a bonus, they have gotten Dr. James Hansen to present the petition to the Shareholders in a speech at the annual meeting, in hopes of their voting for it.  Read the background info about Dr. Hansen speaking, and read the Shareholder Resolution at - Climate Scientist Dr. James Hansen to Speak at Berkshire-Hathaway Shareholder Meeting.  There also is a petition that you may want to sign to Tell Berkshire-Hathaway Shareholders to Vote YES on the Climate Resolution.

Monday, 2 May 2016, 5:30pm
Lawrence Public Library, Conference Room B, 7th & Vermont St., Lawrence KS 66044

The Lawrence/Douglass County Sustainability Coordinator, Eileen Horn, and Douglass County Commissioner, Nancy Thellman, will hold an informational meeting for the public to learn about proposed regulations for wind energy.  There had been applications with the County to place wind speed measuring towers in south west Douglass County, but the County Code currently has no provisions for constructing wind farms.  Wind speeds in Douglass County are not as powerful as in western Kansas, but the southern part of the County shows the greatest potential, with speeds around 17-18 MPH at an height off the ground of 100 meters.  This is in the mid-upper range of typical speeds.  The Planning Department has drafted a Code amendment that could permit wind farms, which was discussed in March at the Planning Commission.  Here is a link to the draft Code amendment - Wind Energy Permit Proposal_Planning Commission_21Mar16.pdf.  This will be a Q & A session, but the County Commission will host a formal public hearing on the proposed Code amendment in late May, for official public comment.  To view upcoming agendas for the County Commission, visit: http://douglascountyks.org/services/government/county-commission-and-administration.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016, 5:45pm
Lawrence City Hall, 6 East 6th St., Lawrence KS 66044

The Pedestrian-Bicycle Task Force worked for eight months reviewing bicycle plans and recommendations, reviewing City pedestrian-bicycle policies, prioritize construction projects, develop a vision and a purpose, and finding ways to achieve greater dedicated annual funding.  The final report is complete, and will be discussed and accepted by the City Commission.  The recommdations include: budgeting $1million annually in the Capital Improvement Plan for bicycle and pedestrian improvements, creating a City staff position to coordinate pedestrian-bicycle planning and construction, creating an interdepartmental City staff team for bicycle and pedestrian facilities budgeting and construction, and establish a consolidated Multi-Modal Transportation Commission.  Specifically, they recommend: the creation of a complete sidewalk network by filling all the missing gaps, establishing priority sidewalk and bicycle lanes for Safe Routes To Schools, completion of the Lawrence Loop, prioritizing safety for high bicycle crash roads, develop a bicycle boulevard network, and emphasize accommodation of people with disabilities and seniors in all projects.  it is encouraged that citizens write a letter of support to the City Commission.  The Task Force is compiling all the letters to present to the Commission, so they ask that you send your letter to Charlie Bryan at .  More info can be found at their web page - Pedestrian and Bicycle Task Force.


2015 was a record year for solar electricity in the U.S.
The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) has issued their annual utility solar market survey for 2015, and the record growth rate in solar generation shows the proactive role utilities are playing in the energy transition.  Southern California Edison connected 1,258 new megawatts of solar power to the grid in 2015, more than any other utility in the United States.  Pacific Gas & Electric (787 MW), which had claimed the No. 1 spot in total megawatts for the past eight consecutive years, fell to No. 2.  Duke Energy Progress of North Carolina (461 MW) edged out San Diego Gas & Electric (441 MW) for the No. 3 spot, the first time a utility outside California has broken into the top of the list.  On the watts per customer list, where small utilities have the competitive edge, municipal and electric cooperative utilities took seven of the 10 spots.  The Village of Minster in Ohio headed the Top 10 list.  Other utilities breaking into the Top 10 for the first time include Carey Municipal Power and Light, also from Ohio; the City of Okolona Electric Department in Mississippi, and Dominion of North Carolina.  Read more at - U.S. Utilities, Large and Small, Added Record Amounts of Solar to Grid in 2015.

We suggest readers avail themselves of the following sources for news on the demise of nuclear power: Japan for SustainabilityJapan FocusFukushima Update, and Fairewinds Energy Education.

Thursday, 5 May 2016, 4:00-6:30pm (and every Thursday)
Inside the store, 1832 Massachusetts St., Lawrence KS 66044

This week the farmers' market will be returning outside for the first time since last November.  Weekly vendors will have a supply of fresh greens, root vegetables, breads, baked goods, farm fresh eggs, meats, live music, and much more.  Local food is healthier and helps your local economy.  This four season market is Lawrence's only winter-weather protected farmers' market, with only three others in the region.  For more info contact them at 843-2981 or .

Saturday, 7 May 2016, 9:30am to 12:00pm  -  FREE
Discovery Center of MO Dept. of Conservation, 4750 Troost Ave., Kansas City, MO

At this plant exchange there will be heirloom veggies, herbs, berries, trees, natives, ground covers, perennials, and houseplants.  Bring your extra plants to contribute to the group, and it's all available for the choosing to take home for free.  Please label properly every plant item you bring, and don't bring invasive or weedy or super common plants (like orange daylily, baby redbud, common violet, loosestrife, etc.).  Also, please don't bring bare root plants (except for bulbs, tubers, rhizomes, or peonies), only those potted two weeks in advance for sake of survival.  Bring your own trays or boxes to carry your plants around.  It is all free and they do it to encourage gardening and growing locally.  For more info contact  or call (816)356-9892.

Sunday, 8 May 2016, 11:00am-4:00pm
1501 Learnard Ave., Lawrence KS 66044

The Sunrise Project will hold a plant sale at their new site, the former Sunrise Garden Center.  They will have vegetable plants, native plants, and herb transplants for sale on-site, grown by Moon on the Meadow and Mellowfields Urban Farms.  All plants are certified organic, and proceeds go to benefit the Sunrise Project.  A second sale will be on Mother's Day, Sunday, 8 May 2016, 11:00am-4:00pm.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016, 6:30pm - FREE
Overland Park Lutheran Church, 7810 West 79th St., Overland Park KS 66

The Sierra Club of Kansas presents this talk by Jim Horlacher and John Kurmann.  Fossil fuel divestment is the removal of investment assets including stocks, bonds, and investment funds from companies involved in extracting fossil fuels in an attempt to reduce the impacts of the climate crisis.  The speakers will discuss how we can divest, and the strategies they used in their work to convince Kansas City MO to divest.  While still in process, they have made remarkable progress in these efforts and will discuss their strategies used and the importance of the divestment tool in the climate crisis battle.  More info from .  Find directions at http://www.kansas.sierraclub.org/kanzadirections.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016, 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, 11 May 2016, 5:30pm
Public Works Confr. Room, City Hall ground floor, 6 East 6th St., Lawrence KS 66044

The May 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 - Sustainability Advisory Board.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016, 7:00pm
Carnegie Building Conference Room, 200 West 9th St., Lawrence KS 66044

The May agenda is not yet available.  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 com>.

Thursday, 12 May 2016, 6:30pm (tentative)
Lawrence Public Library, Conference Room A, 7th & Vermont St., Lawrence KS 66044
Local Solutions for Transition to a Sustainable Economy

The Sustainability Action Network advances ecological sustainability through societal scale actions.  While we work for personal lifestyle changes for individuals to minimize their carbon footprint, there is an imperative for institutional change to respond to the rapid onset of the triple global crises of Energy-Ecology-Economy.  "Action" is our middle name. 

Planned agenda topics include: single use bag restriction in Lawrence, reusable shopping bag project, National speaker program, Food Not Lawns planning, and new website content.
Everyone is welcome.

Saturday, 14 May 2016, 9:30am-1:30pm
Lawrence Public Library lawn, 7th & Vermont St., Lawrence KS 66044

Native plants are adapted to Kansas weather extremes and are ecologically useful in low-maintenance landscaping.  In addition, they are beautiful flowers and grasses that attract pollinators and other beneficial insects.  Landscape and prairie experts will be on hand to help you choose your plants and give advice on how to plant them.  There will be a number of milkweeds and coneflowers, more common plants like black-eyed susans, and some harder to find prairie wildflowers, as well as some great shade tolerant species.  For more information, contact Kim Bellemere at  or (785)840-8104.

Monday, 16 May 2016, 5:00pm-6:30pm
Parks & Recreation Conference Room, 1141 Massachusetts St., Lawrence KS 66044
(courtesy, Jessica Mortinger, Lawrence Transportation Planner)

The May 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.

Monday, 16 May 2016, 6:30pm
Hillcrest Elementry, 1045 Hilltop Dr., 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.

Saturday, 21 May 2016, 10:00am-2:00pm
838 Garfield St., Lawrence KS 66044

The LFTP has scheduled Saturday work days through the season.  Other work days will be on: 21 May, 18 June, and 16 July.  They typically do weeding, mulching, and other tasks in the Community Orchard.  Bring water and sun screen.  Some snacks provided, but sharing by pot luck is always welcome.  Walking and bicycling to the orchard are encouraged.  Please park cars on Delaware street.  For more info go to - Lawrence Fruit Tree Project.

Saturday, 21 May 2016 
Everywhere around the planet

There are thousands of local actions planned this year, including in Kansas City MO and Wichita KS.  Others nearby will be in Ozark MO, Springfield MO, and going up against the Monsanto world headquarters in St. Louis MO.  Organizer contact info is:
Kansas City MO, Leigh Ann Little - 
St. Louis MO, Robi Beena - http://on.fb.me/1OoaZJ5
Wichita KS, Tommy Tuttle - 
Ozark MO, Sheree Evans - http://on.fb.me/1ZhdJQw
Springfield MO, Vicke Kepling - 
More info and contact info can be found at - March Against Monsanto.


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

Join the Sustainability Action Network by clicking this link > > Become a Member | Sustainability Action Network, and when there 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 and food policy, Food Not Lawns workshops, tours, and crop mobs.

2) Bicycles and Alternative Transportation - promoting bicycles, complete streets, ride sharing, and electric vehicles, including infrastructure and pro-active regulations

3) Local Community Currency - fostering money literacy, and implementing a local currency through a buy-local campaign, and then introducing a complementary currency of cash or electronic trading.

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 & 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 ecological sustainability. Groups like: the Dg County Food Policy Council, the Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition, Cultivate Kansas City, the Light Center eco village, the Lawrence Fruit Tree Project, and the Flint Hills Renewable Energy & Efficiency Co-op.

Sustainability Action sponsored organizations:
1) Lawrence Creates - Maker space with tool sharing, recycling, and community shared innovation incubator - Lawrence Creates

2) Diesel Health Project - promoting eco-justice in neighborhoods exposed to industrial air and water pollution, by monitoring the pollution and changing policies and enforcement - Diesel Health Project


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 

No comments: