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Solutions & sustainability - July 16

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

Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

Real People, Real Preparation, Part One
Carolyn Baker, Speaking Truth to Power

[In the next few months, Truth to Power will be featuring interviews with individuals who are consciously transitioning to a post-carbon lifestyle. In spite of the volumes being written about preparation for collapse, we rarely have the opportunity to hear real people discuss at length the process they have gone through and continue to navigate in their unique journeys through the Long Emergency. Some articles in the series will be published free in their entirety, and some will be partially published, requiring a subscription to Truth to Power in order to read the full article.

Everyone's story of preparation is different; there is no one-size-fits-all model. This series of interviews with real people preparing for collapse will honor the uniqueness of those individuals and the methods of preparation that serve them in their particular situations.--CB]

Some people choose to relocate, others remain in place. Some are no longer working in traditional jobs; others are. Truth to Power subscriber, Susan Bedwell, who happens to work outside her home, graciously shares her transition story in this exclusive interview.

In Public Housing, Talking Up the Recycling Bin

Mireya Navarro, New York Times
... Proselytizing on the issue in housing projects is an enormous challenge but crucial, environmentalists say, given the incentive to cut back on energy and garbage disposal costs and a housing authority’s power to impose recycling rules building by building.

In New York, the incentive may be greatest of all. Only 17 percent of the city’s household waste makes it into recycling bins, and New York has the largest public housing system in the country, with 2,600 buildings, 174,000 apartments and more than 400,000 residents in five boroughs.

Yet the effort initiated by Ms. Allen and Ms. Martin originated as a grass-roots crusade of their own.

Margarita Lopez, the city housing agency’s environmental coordinator, said that residents who step up and organize the efforts defy cynical clichés about public housing. “There are people who think we’re not able to do this, who look at public housing as second-class citizens,” she said. “People would be surprised about how in tune the residents are.”

Polls show that concern about the environment is sometimes broadest in low-income communities because residents bear the brunt of problems like air pollution.

Ms. Allen and Ms. Martin say they see recycling as a way to address the health and quality-of-life issues associated with trash, including the emissions from abundant garbage-truck pickups.
(3 July 2009)

High-rises on hold: What to do with empty lots?

John King, San Francisco Chronicle
The high-rise boom has gone quiet, and a new challenge faces San Francisco: deciding what to do with land cleared for towers that may not rise for another decade - if at all.

At least a dozen large development sites in the city's South of Market district now sit empty or covered by asphalt because of the recession. If history is any guide, developers will either leave them fenced off or use them as parking lots.

But there's another alternative - one that, if successful, could influence cities across the nation.

With ingenuity and a modest investment, San Francisco could breathe life into these voids until the demand for development returns. Some could be landscaped with fast-growing trees and shrubs that offer environmental benefits. Others could display art or offer casual spots for social interaction.
(6 July 2009)

Editorial Notes: Photo credit: Bedwell Transition Homestead in Oklahoma, Speaking Truth to Power

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