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Prof. Keith Barnham on solar and nuclear

Richard Scrase, Global Public Media (Audio)
Keith Barnham is a professor of physics at Imperial College London. In this interview with GPM correspondent Richard Scrase, Barnham comments on the recent UK government energy review. He makes the link between the UK military demand for nuclear material and the governments decision to go for the nuclear option. Barnham also explains how solar energy can provide the UK with much of its energy, if we follow the lead of Germany, Japan and many other countries.
(25 August 2006)

Relaunching Energize America; launching Energize Europe

Jerome a Paris, European Tribune and Daily Kos
C’est la rentrée… Au boulot

So I’m relaunching Energize America over at DailyKos (your support appreciated as always), but it’s high time I put the same effort into European issues.

At this stage, I’d like ideas and suggestions on how to proceed, as well as (non-binding) offers to contribute/participate. Here are a few reference documents:

The EU Green paper and the consultation process which is our obvious target (due 24/9);
My take on the Green paper (as posted in March)
My first attempt at an overview of energy policiy issues
(3 Sept 2006)

Where’s your ecovillage as meltdown approaches?

Jan Lundberg, Culture Change
The first part of the essay is a description of Jan’s dark vision of petrocollapse.

…The above atrocities and other factors are why many an intelligent person actively seeks a way out. That way seems to typically mean an escape from the city and finding a real community that has ecological consciousness. The U.S. has a small but growing ecovillage movement. People join these home-owner associations or communes with the hope of riding out petrocollapse and bringing about their own cultural change toward sustainable living.

A larger movement is the ecocity or green cities movement, more tied to the existing infrastructure while aspiring to change it radically. This movement shares many of the same values as the ecovilage movement, but wants to greatly alter today’s cities by stopping urban sprawl and redevelop the urban landscape to improve density and open up spaces for nature and food production. The movement hopes to see transportation transformed from car-based to walking, bicycling and rail. Whether these goals are realistic – considering the time and resources available prior to petrocollapse – the ecocities/green cities adherents are right that there are too many people for everyone to “go back to the land.”

Dovetailing with the ecovillage and ecocities movements is a recent effort, the relocalization movement. It is developing projects, tools, networks and relationships to enhance regional self-reliance, sustainability, and equity at a time when the end of cheap energy for global mega-trade is anxiously anticipated.

Ecovillages may consist of lower-intensity consuming and small systems that may indeed represent the bringing of city problems into small, semi-isolated, rural locations. But escape has its appeal and logic for ecovillage dwellers and enthusiasts. One ecocity activist who understands peak oil refuses to admit that die-off of urban populations will happen, simply because the thought of it is too unthinkable while one can still agitate for sane planning and redesign of cities.

…Over the past month I visited five ecovillages in the U.S. None except the L.A. Ecovillage was accessible by train, and only one of the rural ones was accessible by bus. There is increased interest in ecovillages due to growing awareness of peak oil and climate change.

…Upcoming reports from Culture Change will offer details and news of specific ecovillages and their admirable progress, so this general report can focus on burning issues: Keeping in mind the main purpose of ecovillages in this time of global petroleum dependence and corporate hegemony, we can look at some drawbacks and challenges for most of today’s U.S. ecovillages:

…Lastly, there’s a form of urban ecovillage that is a state of mind if nothing else. I’m thinking of the one in Oakland, California known unofficially as “The Ecovillage” or “Ecovillage510” (after the area code). Its website bills the group as “A community of relationships of people who like to do things together.” It’s a “social ecovillage” but not a residential or spiritual ecovillage (as in a religious community). It has no geographic boundaries; most of the people associated with it live around Oakland’s Lake Merritt. “The Ecovillage” has no organization, no officers, no membership, no dues, no rules, but folks meet at least monthly for a potluck to create a “neighborhood” calendar of free events that are “sponsored” or led by the individual who shows up to propose the event. Its calendar, published monthly, maintains the focus on relationships as much as the content of listed events and classes.

One of the regulars in “The Ecovillage” is also involved in peak oil issues. She is actively concerned about the reluctance people have to change their lifestyles toward conserving energy as if petrocollapse is going to hit during our life times – even when some people know well what may be ahead. … Despite the prevalent mindset [iin the U.S.], at least some awareness grows and spreads with today’s growing ecovillage consciousness. That’s more than what 99% of the U.S. public is up to.
(Sept 2006)
Recent related column by Jan Lundberg: Cutting out fossil fuels by building community. -BA

New Carpool Website Aims to Advance Oil Depletion Protocol

Randy White, Carpool Crew is a new Portland based carpool site that exists to help people when they are ready to seek alternatives to driving alone. Launched September 1st, aims to help introduce people that are ready to carpool to one another and ease the challenges of finding the right carpool partners.

Nationwide, media reports and polls indicate many Americans and businesses are feeling the effects of gas pains, due to people stomaching the financial impacts of high fuel prices. Recent economic reports indicate that American consumers are beginning to tighten their belts and reduce spending, slowing the economy.

“Increasing gas prices are hurting people, and it is only going to get worse with Peak Oil.” says Randy White, a member of a newly formed Peak Oil Task Force charged with helping the City of Portland explore the effects of rising energy costs. “There may be some ups and downs, but overall Americans need to prepare for everything to just keep getting more expensive.” ..
(7 Sept 2006)