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New Stirrings & Targets for Activism – Steve Kretzmann.

Steve Kretzmann, Oil Change International via Transition Culture
One of the best presentations at last weekend’s International Forum on Globalization in London (of which more soon) was called “New Stirrings & Targets for Activism” and was by Steve Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International. He has very kindly given me permission to share it with you here… -Rob Hopkins

…Campaigners working on energy are at a moment where we face a fork in the road. Although the need for upstream campaigns [on issues related to energy sources] has never been more pressing, the powerful levers for action are newly downstream related to public concern over energy security and global warming.

…This presents a dilemma from a campaigning perspective. While intellectually the upstream and emissions issues are coherently linked, successful advocacy campaigns are not about intellectual elegance. Successful campaigners must focus and package their issues to eliminate many priorities and strike a resonant chord. It is our job to distill the complexities down to that essence which is both most resonant and most effective. Doing too many things, having too many priorities, communicating multiple messages all leave campaigns with no “pointy end” and thus little ability to drive forward. Furthermore, a primary purpose of strategy is to correctly anticipate where the issues are going and get out in front to a leadership position where we have the opportunity to set the agenda for action.

Its important that we understand we are not policy geeks who are advising legislators. We’re campaigners who are selling and creating systemic change in defense of the pre-existing natural systems.

Energy and climate issues have not been led by NGO’s in recent years, certainly not in North America. The nature of the debate, the solutions pathways, yardsticks for success have all been set by elites in the scientific, international governance, and media communities. As a case in point, the main rallying cry penetrating public consciousness in countries such as Canada and the United States is to “live up to Kyoto” – not only a pitifully inadequate agenda, but entirely reactive to boot.
(1 March 2007)

Julian Darley: “Relocalize Now!”
Julian Darley, Global Public Media
Presenting in Port Townsend, Washington, the founder/director of Post Carbon Institute lays out the problem of “overshoot”, highlighting the impending worldwide oil and natural gas crisis, with a snapshot of Washington State’s energy profile. Relocalization is the prime strategy to reduce community fossil fuel dependence. Post Carbon initiatives include Global Public Media, the Relocalization Network, Municipal Toolkit, Energy Farms Network, and the forthcoming book Relocalize Now!
(Aug 2006, but just posted)

All the News…

Sharon Astyk, Casaubon’s Book
Well, there were two bits of excitement yesterday. The one you probably missed was that an indpendent panel of scientists from all over the world warned that we are closer than we think to an irrevocable tipping point that will lead to the planet warming by as much as 11 degrees by the end of the century (no one ever hypothesizes what will happen after the end of the century – don’t think too much about why that might be), and the deaths of millions or billions of people from climate change.

…The event I bet you noticed was the stock market….Now I don’t know if this recession is a big economic crisis, but if other countries find themselves in trouble and stop propping up our currency (note, the problem started in China), we’re in big trouble, and it could take a long time to get out of. And that long time is just what we don’t have in terms of peak oil and climate change. It may be that what we go into a recession with today is much of what we’ll have when we come out.

All of which is just an argument for being prepared. Who cares if are set at risk because you lose your job or because of peak oil? The solutions are the same. Get the heck out debt – cut everything you can out of your budget – new clothes, meat, vacations, all extraneous driving, etc… and put it towards your debt, or, if you don’t have any, your mortgage. Have a solid economic reserve not entirely dependent on the stock market… Use less, need less, get used to fixing things and making do. Find a way to get water, heat and light without power, just in case.
(28 Feb 2007)

Will green tech become the Silicon Valley’s new bubble?

Dean Takahashi, Mercury News
Reality of the problems make boom, bust unlikely
Silicon Valley’s shift toward green technology is in high gear. Will it create the same kind of bubble, bust and lasting change as the Internet itself? Are we going to party like it’s 1999? Will we hear venture capitalists like John Doerr describe “green tech” the way they did the Internet boom in the 1990s as the “largest legal creation of wealth in human history”?

I don’t think we’re in danger of going over the edge into a bust just yet. It’s so early, and the bubble warning signs just aren’t there. For instance, we don’t have any 50-person green tech start-ups valued at $10 billion yet.

But the velocity of news about clean tech is certainly accelerating. Clean coal is going to get a boost with the proposed $45 billion buyout of Texas utility TXU, funded in part by San Francisco’s Texas Pacific Group. BP is investing $500 million in a consortium led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that is exploring alternative energy sources. There’s a conference every week. Today, for instance, Energy Crossroads 2007 starts at Stanford University.

Investments in clean start-ups climbed to $1.3 billion worldwide in 2006, more than double the $664 million in 2005 and far above the $416 million in 2001, according to a report this week by Dow Jones VentureOne and Ernst & Young. That’s 4 percent of all venture funding, up from earlier years.
(1 March 2007)

Top Five US Cities for Cleantech

Warren Karlenzig, SustainLane
Cleantech (“clean technology”) incubation is fast becoming a hot topic with national significance as opportunities for regional sustainable growth boom in response to recent climate change news and energy price instability.

SustainLane Government analyzed US cities to see which led in combining Cleantech investments, infrastructure and supportive policies into a physical “cluster.” The ideal existing model for a Cleantech incubation cluster combines:

* Start-up or advanced stage venture capital (VC) and investor network access, including mentoring.
* Academic or federal research lab collaboration.
* Active state or local government participation (field testing, prototyping, and pilot programs) and incentives.

…So which cities are leading the Cleantech economic revolution?
1. Austin, Texas: Cluster Maven …
2. San Jose, CA: Cleantech 1.0 …
3. Berkeley, CA: Biofuels and Beyond …
4. Pasadena, CA: Coming up Roses …
5. Greater Boston: State of Incubation …

Runners up: San Francisco, New York, Seattle, San Diego and Houston.
(16 Feb 2007)
Contributor Abendigo Reebs writes:

This story has gotten good coverage:
WorldChanging (
Grist (
Biz Journals (
Green Biz (
Wired Magazine’s blog (
Austin Chronicle