Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Sustainability Action Network, Weekly Newsletter, 2 May 2017

2 May 2017


From Pacifica's radio show Democracy Now!, "Up to 200,000 people took to the streets of Washington DC, while hundreds of thousands, if not more than a million, poured into the streets around the world Saturday for a global People’s Climate March".  The diverse crowd consisted of labor activists, health groups, faith groups, environmentalists, and community groups of all types, brought together by over 900 organizations that made it happen.  The story can be viewed at - People's Climate March: A Protest Against the Fossil Fuel Industry Taking Over the U.S. Government, with related stories.  There are also many reports and photos at Peoples Climate March 2017, as well as links to coverage by many new organizations.  Longtime climate activist and founder of 350.orgBill McKibben, put it all nicely into perspective when he said "Global warming isn’t really Trump’s fault.  Yes, he’s a uniquely disgusting person, and yes, he’s mounting an all-out defense of the archaic fossil-fuel industry.  But the carbon that melted the ice caps?  That’s from the Eisenhower years and the Deng Xiaoping regime.  Barack Obama was president [when] the United States became the largest producer of hydrocarbons on earth.  So we march against the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines, against fracking wells and mountaintop-removal coal mines, for solar panels and bikes, buses, and electric cars".  Read more at - On April 29, We March for the Future.


Last August, we reported that an earthquake of 5.6 magnitude with an epicenter near Pawnee OK was felt on 27 August across the Midwest, including in Lawrence KS.  The Oklahoma Geological Survey said that it considers the cause very likely to be wastewater wells from oil and gas fracking operations.  With virtually no significant tectonic activity since the Pennsylvanian and Permian periods, Oklahoma has seen an unnatural jump in earthquakes in direct parallel with fracking operations.  In 2009 there were only 3 quakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater, yet in 2013 there were 109, in 2014 there were 585, and in 2015 there were 907.  Oklahoma has thousands of fracking wells, far more than does Kansas, in part because the geological formations are more favorable, but also because their former Attorney General worked hand in glove with the oil industry - Scott Pruitt.

Fracking was invented at the University of Kansas in the late 1940's, and the first vertical fracking well was drilled in 1947.  Since 2009, the industry has turned to horizontal fracking, extending sideways for thousands of feet from the bore hole.  In 2012 over 140 horizontal wells were drilled in the state, up from 50 in 2011 and 10 in 2010.  The Kansas Geological Survey links earthquakes to fracking waste disposal, and has increased restrictions as a result of the 2016 frackquakes - Kansas tightens fracking restrictions.  Until now, Kansas fracking has clustered near the Oklahoma border, but in January of this year, the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) received a fracking application for near Burdick KS.  This is in the heart of the Flint Hills, about 100 miles north of Wichita, and 30 miles south of Junction City.  The application has been wending its way through the KCC hearing process, and receiving lots of opposition from farmers and ranchers, as well as city dwellers - Fracking the Flint Hills?.  In addition to being only 14 miles from the National Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, the site is in the Humboldt Fault Zone near the Nemaha Uplift.  This geological fault zone has been of serious concern for the Wolf Creek Nuclear Plant, though the operators say it is designed to withstand a 7.0 Richter scale earthquake.  If you are concerned about pressurized fracking waste water being injected into the rock under the Flint Hills, you might want to send you comments to the KCC at - Stop fracking operations in the Flint Hills of Kansas near the National Tall Grass Preserve.

State life support subsidies for nuclear plants are threatening wind and solar power.
The push to save U.S. nuclear plants for the sake of fighting climate change is threatening support for the bread and butter of clean power: wind and solar.  New York and Illinois have already approved as much as $10 billion in subsidies to keep struggling reactors open for the next decade as part of a wrong-headed plan to limit fossil fuel consumption.  Lawmakers in Ohio, Connecticut and New Jersey are debating whether to do the same.  Renewable energy operators including NRG Energy Inc. and Invenergy LLC say keeping nuclear plants open will leave grids awash with excess power, leaving little demand for new wind and solar farms.  Moreover, there are key differences between wind and solar subsidies and those for nuclear.  Renewable energy credits have spurred an emerging industry, whereas nuclear subsidies are to preserve aging plants.  And while wind and solar developers compete against each other for subsidies, those for nuclear benefit a single technology.  Learn more at - Lifeline for Nuclear Plants Is Threatening Wind and Solar Power.
We suggest readers avail themselves of the following sources for news on the demise of nuclear power: Japan for SustainabilityJapan FocusSolartopia, and Fairewinds Energy Education.



"Organizing for Change" is the topic for this month's Scene.  Each month, this feature on our website will take you through a journal of sustainability solutions from a deep ecology perspective.  The Scene will cover a different theme each month. 

You may have noticed in this newsletter, that we're including very few, if any, on-line "clicktavist" petitions any more.  At least, not petitions directed toward the Federal government.  These symbolic gestures are ignored by the Trump administration, and it's questionable if any click-your-name petition with less than a million signers ever had any effect.  In addition, mass demonstrations lack the fulcrum to move the Federal government.  As Juan Cole wrote in his blog "Informed Comment" - As Millions March for Climate, Stab in Back by EPA & NYT - "At the same time that protests were mounted in cities across the US and the world, the Trump Environmental Protection Agency under Scott Pruitt removed its Climate Change web page".  The Trump monolith of White House/Congress/Supreme Court thumbs it's nose at citizen concerns.

How do we then protect our communities and climate from plundering by the oligarchs?  Local organizing is still within our grasp, and many local officials are receptive, even more so than ever before.  This month's Scene brings many examples of community efforts from a range of tactics - Sunflower Community Action in Wichita, Reclaim Kansas City, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Environment, The Ruckus Society, the Green Party, and more.  Yet, if we disregard Trump entirely, we expose ourselves to corporatist power grabs.  Sustainability Action is founded on the dual practices of individual lifestyle change and societal institutional change.  As such, we endorse the approach of the The Next System Project which says: "The climate crisis demands action — but at what scale?  it is vitally important that we work at the community and state level, without losing sight of the larger systemic transformations necessary to avert climate catastrophe" - Climate action, at all scales, is more necessary than ever.   Explore a lot more on the Sustainability Action website at the Scene.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017, 6:30pm
Lawrence Public Library, Conference Room B, 7th & Vermont St., Lawrence KS 66044
Local Solutions for Transition to a Sustainable Economy

Planned agenda topics include:
  • plastic bag restriction organizing
  • Lawrence bikeway projects strategizing
  • lecture series planning
  • grant possibilities
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.  Visit us on the web at - Sustainability Action.


Wednesday, 3 May 2017
from your home to your school

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department encourages students to walk or bicycle to school on 3 May in celebration of National Bicycle to School Day.  Walking and bicycling to school enables children to incorporate the regular physical activity they need each day while also forming healthy habits that can last a lifetime.  The Health Department, in collaboration with the City of Lawrence, Lawrence Public Schools, the Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Organization, and LiveWell Lawrence is working to encourage families to walk or bicycle as part of "Be Active Safe Routes", a community initiative to make it easier for people of all ages, ability, background and socioeconomic status to be more active.  Helmets should be worn at all times when riding a bicycle.  Motorists must drive with particular attention to their liability for the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.  Bicyclists should ride safely by following the rules of the road and obeying traffic laws.  Young children should be accompanied by an adult.

Thursday, 4 May 2017, 4:00-6:30pm (and every Thursday)
back parking lot, 1832 Massachusetts St., Lawrence KS 66044

The farmers' market is back outside for the season, on through until October.  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 .

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

Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 6:00pm - All Souls Forum 
The weekly rebroadcast will be from the "KC March for Science on Earth Day".  
Thousands of people showed up at Washington Square Park in Kansas City on Earth Day to rally for Science.   KKFI was on the scene to record it.

Thursday, 4 May 2017, 12:00pm - 
Sprouts Radio   
This edition of Sprouts will be "Indigenous People Lead Fight Against Climate Change".  This episode will bring multiple indigenous voices speaking about Earth Day and climate change.  Judith LeBlanc, a member of the Caddo tribe of Oklahoma and the director of the Native Organizers Alliance.  Judith speaks about what it means for indigenous people to organize in the 21st century.  Joseph Orozco, a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe and station manager of KIDE in Hoopa, Ca.  Joseph spoke about how climate change has effected both the land and traditional ceremonies of the tribe.  He narrates lessons of the past and how they can inform present struggles and help develop a future after capitalism. 

Friday, 5 May 2017, 9:30am - Bioneers Radio Series
Bioneers presents 
"Women Changing the Story: Mother Bears, Polar Bears and Women’s Leadership".   Women’s truths, perspectives and voices have been largely missing from the global conversation, but that is beginning to change as women awaken to their purposes and power.  Courageous and eloquent women environmental and social justice leaders – journalist Rose Aguilar, biologist Sandra Steingraber, and reproductive justice advocates Vanessa Daniel and Eveline Shen – share their stories of how the leadership of women is changing the story and the world.

Monday, 8 May 2017, 6:00pm - locally produced Eco-Radio KC
This Eco Radio KC program 
will feature another of their ecologically minded shows. 

Saturday, 6 May 2017, 7:00am-11:00am
parking lot in the 800 block of New Hampshire St., Lawrence KS 66044

At Kansas' longest running farmers' market, there is a wide variety of seasonal produce: sweet corn, tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, melons, beans, greens, potatoes, snow peas, asparagus, apples and much more.  There's also meats, fresh eggs, preserved food, local craft items, and live music.  For more info go to - Lawrence Farmers' Market.

Saturday, 6 May 2017, 8:00am - FREE
Lake View Lake, 
1864 East 1125 Road, Lawrence KS 66049 (north of the Farmer's Turnpike)

This will be a guided walk with Bill Busby observing the birds in the woods and along the Lake View Lake shore line.  Bill Busby is an associate scientist with the Kansas Biological Survey.  Currently the Lake View Club owns most of the scenic oxbow lake and some of the surrounding lands.  This event is free and open to the public.  Beverages and breakfast pastries will be offered following the hike.  RSVP requested.  More info by contacting Jerry Jost at <jjost@klt.org> or 785-749-3297.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017, 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.

10 May 2017, 5:30pm
Public Works Confr. Room, City Hall ground floor, 6 East 6th St., Lawrence KS 66044

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.

10 May 2017, 7:00pm
Lawrence Public Library, Room B, 7th & Vermont 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 Gary Webber at <gwebber@sunflower.com>.

Saturday, 13 May 2017, 10:00am-12:00pm - $$
Lawrence Community Orchard, 830 Garfield St., Lawrence KS 66044

Go beyond culinary herbs and embrace the weeds!  This class will teach how to identify, harvest/process responsibly, and turn local weeds into medicine, food, and drink.  Participants will learn about naturally occurring plants in eastern Kansas such as: dandelion, chickweed, cottonwood and plaintain, their constituents and actions (what makes them good for us), and how to recognize and honor them.  Lessons will cover how to make tinctures, infusions, and bitters, and recipes for food and drinks.  The class will be taught by Christine Kosirog, a Lawrence-based folk herbalist and owner of Painted Lady Herbs, an herbal CSA.  She has studied herbs for the past 7 years, and uses her knowledge to feed her family, friends, and community.  A donation is suggested, but no one will be turned away due to lack of funds.  Please RSVP to 

Saturday, 13 May 2017, 10:00am to 1:30pm - FREE
Centennial Park, 9th St. shelter (just across from the Merc), Lawrence KS 66049

The gift must always move! This free and open market will be a celebration of cooperation and gift-giving that make life possible beyond the constraints of capitalists markets.  Everyone is invited to give and receive clothing, household items, books, plants, seeds, crafts, information, skills, music, services, art, performances, stories, food, etc.  There is no buying, selling, bartering, or exchanging involved in this market - everything is strictly FREE!  Really, Really Free Markets are a form of alternative economies that are becoming more and more popular in the U.S.  Small items and clothing not obtained from the Really, Really Free Market will be donated to the Penn House or Social Service League thrift store.  However, large items cannot be transported to the thrift store.  People are asked to take responsibility for any large items they bring that are not taken by the end of the event.

Monday, 15 May 2017, 6:30pm
Aunt Netter's Cafe, 336 Elmore St, Lecompton KS 66050

The May agenda will include:  a pre-meeting presentation by Jamin Nally, about his 
Aunt Netter's Cafe in Historic Lecompton.  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, 20 May 2017, 9:00am-1:00pm
Trinity Episcopal Church, 1011 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 children's activities also.  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.

Saturday, 20 May 2017, 10:00am-2:00pm

13th and Oregon St., Lawrence KS 66044
(courtesy Emily Hampton)

The Lawrence Fruit Tree Project of the Sunrise Project recently expanded their community orchard at the east end of Garfield St. by about double.  They've added many new trees including: peaches, cherries, jujubes, pears, and persimmons.  The new areas need cardboard and wood chips spread to eradicate the infestation of turf grass.  You can learn the why and how to create the soil life that supports agroforestry crops.  Refreshments will be available, but bring water, gloves, and boots.  Bring a dish or snack to share if you have time.  Please RSVP if you plan to attend at gmail.com>.  The next Community Orchard Day will be on Saturday, June 17th.

Friday, 26 May 2017, 5:00pm - public comment DEADLINE

In March of 2015, Westar Energy filed for authorization with the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) to change their residential rate schedules.  The standard residential service charge would have gone from $12 to $27 per month.  For folks with rooftop solar or small wind, the service charge would have been $50 per month, even though they use hardly any utility electricity.  This resembled a pattern in several other states guided by the Koch brother's ALEC group, that burdens small renewable energy folks with excessive fees, making small renewables uneconomic.  After several rounds of hearings, Westar withdrew the $50/mo. solar and wind rate proposal.  All parties agreed that the KCC would hold an investigative hearing to determine if there's justification to charge small solar and wind customers a rate different from non-renewable customers.

The public comment period is now open.  Read the explanation at - Rate Design for Distributed Generation Customers_KCC Docket #16-GIME-403-GIE.  There are three ways to submit comments: 
  1. Go to the KCC website - www.kcc.ks.gov, and click on the link under "Your Opinion Matters".  Scroll down to find Distributed Generation Rate Design Docket 16-GIME-403-GIE.  Enter your comments there.
  2. Send a written letter to the Kansas Corporation Commission, Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, 1500 SW Arrowhead Road, Topeka, KS 66604-4027.  Be sure to reference Docket #16-GIME-403-GIE.
  3. Call the Commission's Public Affairs office at 1(800)662-0027

Saturday, 27 May 2017, 9:00-10:30am - FREE
K.U. Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden
1865 East 1600 Rd., Lawrence KS 66044

Native plants can be beautiful and beneficial, and wildlife depend on them.  Join the Grassland Heritage Foundation in a workshop series for everyone who wants to learn more about gardening with natives.  This first one will be taught by prairie ecologist, Courtney Masterson, who will talk about the basics of native plant gardening.  The workshops are free, but an RSVP for each workshop is required and space is limited.  E-mail GHF at  for complete workshop descriptions and to RSVP.

Monday, 5 June 2017, 6:00pm
Commission chamber, Lawrence City Hall, 6 East 6th St., Lawrence KS 66044

The Lawrence Transportation Commission oversees the establishment of strong multimodal transportation in the City of Lawrence, in order to advance the health, safety, and welfare of all residents.  They make recommendations to the City Commission regarding implementation of its Complete Streets policy to equally accommodate all types of transportation users - people who walk, bicycle, skate, use wheelchairs, motor, or ride transit.  As such, they make recommendations about the priority, location, design, maintenance, and funding of transportation projects.  Find agendas and minutes at - Transportation Commission.  The Transportation Commission is the outcome of the Pedestrian-Bicycle Task Force work in 2016. 

We hope this newsletter informs and inspires you.  Please donate to Sustainability Action.  Click on our PayPal button here >> Sustainability Action.  THANK YOU!

We welcome suggestions for Newsletter items.  Please send items to .  The Sustainability Action Newsletter strives to inform, and encourage people to be active in the Sustainability Action Network, or other action-driven groups.

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 and 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) Energy Conservation and Renewables - reducing our carbon footprint by promoting a carbon diet, an energy diet, conservation, and decentralized renewable energy.
4) Prime Farmland Preservation - protecting Capability I & II farmland from urban development and industrial land uses.
5) Water Rights and Watersheds - Protecting the water commons from privatization and contamination, and restoring watersheds.
6) Local Money and Local Food - fostering money literacy, and implementing a local currency through a buy-local campaign focused on local food.

Sustainability Action sponsored organizations:
1) Lawrence Creates Makerspace - a co-operative community space with tool sharing, recycling, and innovation incubator.
2) Diesel Health Project - promoting eco-justice in neighborhoods exposed to industrial air and water pollution, by monitoring pollution, and changing policies and enforcement.

Collaborative Organizations:
We build synergy with like-minded groups such as: Douglas County Food Policy Council, Jefferson County Food Council, Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition, Cultivate Kansas City, Lawrence Fruit Tree Project, Flint Hills Renewable Energy & Efficiency Co-op, Kansas Permaculture Institute, and Live Well Lawrence.

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