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Solutions & sustainability - Apr 17

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LaDuke focuses on climate change, peak oil and food security in address at DBU

Michelle Ruckdaschel, Bemidji Pioneer
Winona LaDuke believes a brighter future for the world starts today.

LaDuke spoke about this vision in her keynote address, “Climate Change, Peak Oil and Food Security: Challenges and Strategies for this Millennium,” Wednesday at Bemidji State University ...

LaDuke, an American Indian land rights activist, environmentalist, economist, politician and author who lives on the White Earth Reservation, said she is currently working on issues of climate change, peak oil and food security.

... LaDuke said the White Earth Reservation is addressing issues of food security and climate change, including increasing efficiency.

White Earth, for example, has installed solar heating panels on the south side of some tribal houses. Not only is solar power renewable energy, but it can save up to 20 percent on a heating bill, LaDuke said.

She said White Earth is also putting up wind turbines.

“We are technically the poorest people in the state of Minnesota and we are putting up turbines,” she said.

She said White Earth is also growing more food locally, having plowed 150 gardens.

“My theory is if we can do it, anybody can do it,” she said.
(X April 2008)


Australia's 2020 Summit: subject leaders outline priorities
'Now that's a bright idea'

Herald Sun
ONE thousand of Australia's best minds will gather this weekend to discuss the nation's future. The 10 leaders of the 2020 Summit's key areas outline their priorities.

... Roger Beale, population, climate, sustainability

AUSTRALIA is more vulnerable to climate change than other developed nations. We are a high emitter of CO2; we depend heavily on coal for energy and exports.

But our creativity, strong science base, agile economy and renewable resources can be the ways to shift to a lower greenhouse footprint. How?

Many farmers need to reduce water use to restore stressed rivers and most cities are drought-affected.

We have restricted water use, but is it time we paid for water more like gas and electricity?

We love our Aussie cars, big houses and gardens. But peak oil, cutting emissions and growing congestion will challenge our aspirations.

How can urban form, design, building codes and futuristic transport make cities sustainable?

What incentives will encourage households to reduce waste?

Population growth helps us deal with ageing and maintain our skilled workforce but puts pressure on community and environment.

Can good policies bring the advantages of a bigger, younger and more diverse population while managing the downsides?

Roger Beale is an economist who headed the federal Department of Environment ...
(17 April 2008)
The selection process seems to have winnowed out peak oil and permaculture representatives (see Wither peak oil at Rudd's 2020 Summit? and the comments under the EB excerpt. Despite this rather glaring omission, the conference looks interesting and "peak oil" has made it onto the agenda.

Attention, staffs for candidates Obama, Clinton and McCain. Are you paying attention to what the new Australian PM is doing? Could the US learn from his "2020 Summit"?
-BA


Global crises inspire local action in city of the future

Sheena Hastings, Yorkshire Post
YOU know an idea is hovering around the edges of the mainstream when it makes it into the script of Radio 4's The Archers.

Organic farmer Pat Archer is starting an action group called Transition Ambridge, a move to plan how the community can act now and survive rather than allow itself to be battered by two mammoth geopolitical and environmental problems ahead of us in the real world [peak oil and climate change]...

A growing network of communities around the UK, Ireland and beyond are deciding to take the future into their own hands, rather than waiting around for governments to come up with solutions.

They are becoming "transition" villages, towns or cities, which means they're planning how they can move forward into an era when we can no longer depend on oil and must also find a sustainable way of living

... The time after "Peak Oil" has been called the era of "energy descent", when the oil we do use will be difficult to get hold of and very expensive. We can either wait until that time to react with a knee-jerk, or start planning now in a more rational way, says Paul Chatterton, senior lecturer in human geography at Leeds University. He's one of a group spreading the word about the birth of Transition City Leeds.

"In Totnes, where there are lots of progressive types like greenies (including Green Party councillors) and Lefties, it was easy to get the idea off the ground," says Dr Chatterton. "It took off like wildfire, and now involves thousands of people, working on areas from agriculture and distribution to local food directories, health and education, transport and energy.

"After years of declining interest in local elections, the Transition Totnes thing has involved loads of people in discussion of the future of their town. It's a whole different approach to politics.

"It's about saying, 'Let's not be doom-mongers, but let's not be climate change deniers either, or pretend that oil isn't getting more expensive. Let's plan, prepare and tackle the problems together'."
(16 April 2008)
More about the Leeds conference at the Yorkshire Evening Post.

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