Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sustainability Action Newsletter, May 10, 2016

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Each year registers warmer Winters and earlier Spring, and dryer all around, all caused by fossil fuel burning.  And each year the forests become tinderboxes earlier and earlier, experiencing record wildfires.  According to Scientific American, "Scientists say big fires will ignite sooner and sooner in the year in the western U.S. and Canada as the snow pack continues to dwindle during warmer Winters or dries out sooner during warmer Springs, leaving terrain parched for more weeks of the year" - Catastrophic Canadian Wildfire Is a Sign of Destruction to Come.  The Fort McMurray wildfire is in the heart of Canada's oil sands country, and has forced nearby oilsands companies to shut down their operations.  The petroleum extraction drop due to the fires is projected to be one million barrels per day, or roughly 40 per cent of total oilsands production - More oilsands extraction shutdown by Fort McMurray fire, knocking one million barrels offline.  Call it Mother Nature's slap down, or call it a feedback loop, but this time, global warming has directly impacted the root of the problem.  That's what this editor calls "environmental justice"!  However, this temporary setback of oil sands extraction is just an indication that industrial societies must modify our ways of living and leave 80% of fossil fuels in the ground.

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 includes: review of annual work plan and committees' progress, report on Smart & Sustainable Cities, and review of meeting with Planning Commission.  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 includes: Ped-Bike Task Force, Safe Routes to Schools, storytelling project, public awareness campaign, and 2016 goals.  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.


Longtime analyst of global oil markets and oil wars, Michael Klare, wrote recently that complete discord at the 17 April meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) "demonstrated that the petroleum-fueled world we’ve known these last decades -- with oil demand always thrusting ahead of supply, ensuring steady profits for all major producers -- is no more.  Replacing it is an anemic, possibly even declining, demand for oil that is likely to force suppliers to fight one another for ever-diminishing market shares".  Petroleum is seeing an oversupply due to new supplies from Iraq and especially from the expanding shale fields of the United States.  This, combined with dropping demand, caused the 2014 price drop, when Brent crude went from a high of $115 on June 19th to $77 on November 26th.  But it's a self-reinforcing cycle characteristic of peak oil, by which a price high drives consumers to adopt energy saving habits, which drives the price down again, only to find the consumers still buying less, sending the price lower again.  Simultaneously, a price peak enables oil companies to invest in the expensive "unconventional oil" - tar sands, deepwater - but then take a soaking when prices drop again, and they shut down many oil fields.

Then, enter Saudi Arabia playing politics, and intent on denying Iran an opening to increase their oil revenues after the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal and the raising of sanctions.  The Financial Times noted in April, "Saudi Arabia’s oil policy appears to be less driven by the price of crude than global politics, particularly Riyadh’s bitter rivalry with post-sanctions Tehran".  This seems to have been the backstory for Riyadh’s last-minute decision to scuttle the OPED 17 April talks in Doha.  So the Saudis continue to increase their oil pumping - their only form of wealth - at the expense of both global and Saudi oil prices, while threatening further price-depressing rises in oil extraction in the near future.  Peak oil doesn't so much mean a one-time highest oil output and price, but an ongoing instability and unpredictability in supply and demand and prices.  The literal bottom line?  Smart investors are moving their assets to the field of steadily increasing demand for renewable energy.  Learn more at - The Coming World of "Peak Oil Demand," Not "Peak Oil".

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

Wednesday, 11 May 2016, 9:00am - Alternative Radio
Bill McKibbin is the guest this week, talking about "Breaking Away from Fossil Fuels".  For decades we have been hooked on fossil fuels.  Time is long past for humankind to kick this habit.  A coalition of environmental groups calls the Paris climate accord “a dangerous distraction that threatens all of us.  The Agreement relies on voluntary versus mandatory emission cuts that do not meet targets scientists say are necessary to avoid climate catastrophe.”  On an individual level you might say, Hey, I’m doing my part.  I drive a hybrid and bike whenever I can.  It ain’t enough.  We are being lulled into complacency.  Radical action is required to reverse global warming.  Can we break away from our destructive addiction that is endangering life as we know it?

Friday, 13 May 2016, 9:30am - Bioneers Radio Series
Bioneers presents "Inalienable: Belonging to the Earth Community".  Deep Ecology extends an inalienable right to life to all beings.  Yet as the naturalist Aldo Leopold observed, “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.”  Either harden your shell, or be a doctor.  Joanna Macy decided to be an Earth doctor.  A systems theorist, author and lifelong activist, she describes how healing the world and healing your heart and soul go hand in hand.

Monday, 16 May 2016, 6:00pm - locally produced Eco-Radio KC
The Eco Radio KC program will feature another of their ecologically minded shows>  

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.


Radiation is so high in Fukushima Unit 3, that even robots can't function.
Today, the radiation at the #3 Fukushima plant is still so powerful it has proven impossible to get into its bowels to find and remove the extremely dangerous blobs of melted fuel rods.  The fuel rods melted through their containment vessels in the reactor, and no one knows exactly where they are now.  TEPCO has been developing robots, which can swim under water and search for the melted fuel rods.  But as soon as they get close to the reactors, the radiation destroys their wiring.  Comparatively, robots were able to access the less toxic Reactor 4, where 1,535 fuel rod assemblies had previously been removed.  Learn more at - Radiation still so high at Fukushima, TEPCO’s robots can’t survive.

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.

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 next meeting will be on 20 June.  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
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.

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: 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.

Monday, 23 May 2016, 7:00pm
Lawrence Public Library, Auditorium, 7th & Vermont St., Lawrence KS 66044

Dr. Kelly Kindscher and the Kansas Biological Survey was awarded a Douglas County Heritage Conservation Council grant to survey whatever fragments of native prairies and forests remain in Douglas County, and review their conservation status.  Dr. Kindscher will present his findings and analysis, using detailed maps and area images.  For more info, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/1692747574324136/.

Saturday, 4 June 2016, 3:30pm-evening
Brushy Run Farm, 16919 27th St., Oskaloosa KS 6606
(courtesy, Cara Schuster)

This is the K.P.I. annual spring meeting, and will include a tour of the young food forest on site, and a presentation about greenhouse building and fish production.  The pot luck dinner will be at 6:00pm.  The event is in conjunction with an evening contra dance, hosted by Brushy Run Farm.  Bring a chair/blanket to sit on for the meeting and pot luck, sun hat, sun screen, bug repellent, etc.  Directions are at - 16919 27th St, Oskaloosa KS.

Monday, 20 June 2016, 5:00pm-6:30pm
Parks & Recreation Conference Room, 1141 Massachusetts St., Lawrence KS 66044
(courtesy, Jessica Mortinger, Lawrence Transportation Planner)

The  June 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.


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


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

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