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Solutions & sustainability - Jan 5

Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

The Turning Of The Worm

Big Gav, Peak Energy (Australia)
Soil seems to be the theme of the week here at Peak Energy (even though its an area I know very little about), so I might continue exploring the subject a little deeper and see what comes to light. ...

I'll start off with something of an oddity - an indoor worm farm called a "digestive table" (or as Futurismic called it "table that eats"). A construction diagram for this contraption is available here.
(6 Jan 2007)
Many links and excerpts on this important subject.

Independence Day: Toward Energy Self-Sufficiency

Ryan McGreal, Raise the Hammer
I mentioned in a previous hammerblog post that this time of year always makes me feel dreary - to the extent that an RTH reader actually pleaded with us to post some good news.

...the age of cheap, abundant energy is passing, and industrial arrangements that depend on that energy will become progressively less reliable. Ignoring this risk is a bad idea, but so is weeping and gnashing your teeth.

Right now, our civilization is mindbogglingly wealthy. Instead of blowing all that wealth on consumer ephemera, we should be investing in ways to reduce our reliance on conventional energy by a) consuming less, and b) generating at least some of our own power.
Consume Less

It seems the easiest thing in the world: just don't do things that use energy, or trade actions that use more energy for actions that use less. Unfortunately, our society is structured in such a way that consuming is virtually mandatory. However, there are plenty of things you can do to kick the habit. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started:
(4 Jan 2007)

Oprah's academy: Why educating girls pays off more

Stephanie Hanes, The Christian Science Monitor
...The World Bank has found that when a country improves education for girls, its overall per capita income increases and its fertility rate drops. Other studies show that improved female education is linked to higher crop yields, lower HIV infection rates, and reduced infant mortality. UNICEF's annual "State of the World's Children Report" calls gender equity - particularly in education - a "double dividend" for developing countries.

"With education, the girl child will grow up and be a better mother - she will be better able to understand the importance of her own children being educated, and will be better able to provide for her children," says Sarah Crowe, a spokesperson for UNICEF in Johannesburg. "Men and boys are often out of the home," she notes, so that fathers are less able to teach their children what they have learned.
(5 Jan 2007)

Local action: a new initiative aims to deglobalize the Bay Area's economy

Jeff Goodman, San Francisco Bay Guardian
In what some experts are hailing as a first for sustainability movements in the United States, a coalition of policy organizations has unveiled a comprehensive campaign to reduce the Bay Area's reliance on global markets in favor of a more locally based economy.

If the plan is embraced by local government agencies and brought to fruition, it could be the first significant reversal of the decades-long march toward globalization, which encourages powerful multinational corporations to exploit cheap labor and transport goods long distances.

The Bay Area is rife with testaments to globalization, from the rusty shells of once prosperous manufacturing plants to the gleaming big-box chain stores filled with cheap Chinese-made clothing and gadgets, from the customer service call answered in India to the foreign parts in our "American made" cars and computers.

Yet at the same time, there are the countervailing forces of localism. For every grocery store stocked with out-of-season produce grown across the world with petrochemicals by big agricultural corporations, there is a community farmers market selling locally grown organic fruit.

...The idea of the localization movement is to analyze the impacts of those choices and start a discussion of how local governments can facilitate the creation of an economy that is more sustainable and less exploitive, one that is unique to the Bay Area.

The coalition, which formed in spring 2006, recently released a 30-page report that details the purpose of its campaign and the group's initial strategy for achieving its goals. The report, titled "Building a Resilient and Equitable Bay Area," and a two-page summary are available online at
(? 3 Jan 2007 ?)
Long article with interviews and background information.

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