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To Be of Use – Serving the Community
Janaia Donaldson, Peak Moment
pm102_150.jpg A vocal proponent of going local, Dave Smith co-founded the BriarPatch cooperative market, then the tool store Smith and Hawken, and now he owns a local book shop in Ukiah, California.

His book To Be Of Use honors “creative action heros” who meet real needs at the community level. He suggests judging others not by their “values” but by their “virtues” – their character and actions.

(22 March 2008)
Dave Smith is an EB contributor. He hosts the website Organic to be, and

Dave Pollard reviews his book “To Be Of Use”.

Rev. Billy at the auto show

Elizabeth Press (producer), StreetFilms
This protest/happening at Saturday’s N.Y. Auto Show was most amusing:

Lady Liberty Marries Mr. Transit

Thousands of people flocked to the NY International Auto Show at the Javits Center on Saturday. In the midst of it all, Lady Liberty ended her 100 year “spectacularly combustible love affair” with the automobile. Lady Liberty said, “Frankly, this relationship has just gotten to be much more work than it’s worth. My health, liberty and freedom have suffered greatly, and now I hope that my new relationships will finally give me security and happiness.” Then Reverend Billy officiated her marriage to “Mr. Transit” and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir sang in celebration.
(24 March 2008)
Video at original. Suggested by David Roberts at Gristmill

Sunsetbeachguy at Gristmill opines:
Rev Billy comes as close to true sustainability as any of the economic or engineering posts at Gristmill.

We won’t clever our way out of this mess.

Social Norms are the only real way to affect long term sustainability.

Kunstler’s novel: ‘a horse and some pepper would be nice’

Jon S., Peak Energy (Seattle)
James Kunstler’s new novel “World Made By Hand” is an excellent, brisk read which I recommend. This novel, along with the nonfiction “… Geography of Nowhere” are two essential works by the author. The novel certainly may be safely passed along to a reader who normally lacks interest in the topics which define it.

Many people hear the word oil as “blah blah blah.” Times are changing, though.

The narrative speed accompanied with the first person perspective of the “World Made By Hand“ seem quite by design, reflective of an era in which there is no survival value in morose reflection, navel gazing or irony. Strong emotions and shock are expressed to the reader as a series of thunder shakes and tornados on an already stormy day.

… And for all that, the town described in the novel, upstate New York twenty years in the future, is perfectly plausible. It is just one little place that may come into existence, in a world of many small places.

I imagine a raggedy view of the future, and certainly this possibility is not precluded in Kunstler’s novel. One where existing technology fails to pop like a soap bubble a few seconds after the oil and gas deliveries stop. And that time could be soon. Certainly it will be a big world after all, and the steady hum of hydroelectric in the Pacific Northwest won’t help millions of people walk out of the desert Southwest if there is no gas at the gas stations one fine day. Terroir. The shape of possible outcomes is defined by essence of territory, region by region, river to valley.

The novel “World Made By Hand” allows a reader the chance to internalize these possibilities for themselves, a valuable service. One cannot read the book without looking around their neighborhood. Bravo.
(23 March 2008)
Recommended by Big Gav of Peak Energy (Australia).

Relocalize Newsletter #17

Poste Carbon Institute

  • New Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg

  • Relocalization: Resources & Links
  • Post Carbon Cities: Update
  • New on Global Public Media
  • Review: LUZ – Girl of the Knowing
  • The Future of Our Shared Environment – Today
  • Climate Cafés: BC’s New Carbon Tax

(March 2008)