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Solutions & sustainability - Sept 10

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

Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

Transition Towns project helps kick oil addiction

Graham Readfern, Courier Mail
Now there's a new program sweeping the world with its own 12-step program, but this time the substance is not booze, but oil, and the binge drinkers are the countries of the developed world.

"We are looking at the challenges and tackling them – head on," says mother-of-three Emma-Kate Rose.

Ms Rose is one of the founders of the world's 114th Transition Town initiative – a global movement that's trying to protect towns and cities from the impacts of oil shortages and climate change.

"This is one of the first movements that's focussed on a positive vision and positive scenarios of the future," says Rose, 38, who is part of the Transition Kurilpa group, based around Brisbane's West End suburb...
(8 Sept 2009)
submitted by Stuart McCarthy

Cuban Ambassador visits Cloughjordan

Graham Strouts, Zone 5
On Saturday 29th August the village of Cloughjordan was visited by the Cuban Amabassador, Noel Carillo. This was the first visit of an ambassador to the village, and came about through a Cuban connection between a family member of one of the founders of the Cloughjordan Eco-village. The Ambassador had been intrigued by the eco-village and paid a visit there to see if links could be made with similar projects in Cuba.

On Saturday 29th August the village of Cloughjordan was visited by the Cuban Amabassador, Noel Carillo

This was the first visit of an ambassador to the village, and came about through a Cuban connection between a family member of one of the founders of the Cloughjordan Eco-village. The Ambassador had been intrigued by the eco-village and paid a visit there to see if links could be made with similar projects in Cuba.

...The Ambassador made quite an impression and came over as a very personable character, and echoed the comments of the previosu speakers: Cuba is no paradise on earth. It continues to be a struggle for the Cuban people, and although he knows they have to work it out for themseleves, he also wants to make links with the eco-village in Cloughjordan.

Cuba, he told us, had made a lot of mistakes. During the Soviet era it was just too easy to take the fossil energy from their allies and trade with Eastern Europe. Twenty years ago they were importing 13million tonnes of energy every year. They had serious pollution problems because of their industrial model, and had become very lazy. At the same time, they had been just as keen as the west to develop consumer lifestyles, an ideology that had been deeply rooted in their minds after being taught for 60 years by the Americans!...
(5 Sept 2009)

In a small patch of land, hope reborn for Sudanese refugees

Kelsey Munro, Sydney Morning Herald
"I'M GROWING a lot of varieties of vegetables, some Australian and some African," says Bolis Longy, walking through neat rows on a small plot where frilly leaves of rocket poke through the soil.

A few metres away, coriander, radishes and spinach are emerging. There are plans for okra and watermelon.

Mr Longy, a former school principal, and his wife, Awatif Shomoo, have invested a lot in this tiny farm, leased from the Sisters of Mercy nuns at Mamre Homestead in St Marys.

They are refugees from the Nuba Mountains region of Sudan, and have lived in Australia since late 2005. But despite speaking English and being well-educated, Mr Longy has found it impossible to get a job. As a descendant of farmers in Sudan, he hopes this tiny farm will become a viable small business...
(5 Sept 2009)
Submitted by EB reader Michael Lardelli

Community Supported Agriculture thrives around Osceola, Wis.

Andy Rathbun, TwinCities.com
As hunger for Community Supported Agriculture grows in the Twin Cities, the small-farm community in western Wisconsin is reaping the rewards.

The area is a hotbed for the CSA food movement, in which farmers provide customers a weekly delivery of fresh vegetables, fruits, meats and dairy products. The number of CSAs serving the Twin Cities rose by nearly 50 percent over last year, according to the Minneapolis-based Land Stewardship Project.

It's a sense of community that makes the area so special, said Christine Elmquist, co-founder of Community Homestead, a live-and-work farm for several families and people with special needs.

...It's huge growth," said Brian DeVore, communications coordinator for the Land Stewardship Project, which advocates for sustainable farming in the Upper Midwest. Last year, DeVore's organization counted 33 CSAs serving Minneapolis and St. Paul; this year, there are 48.

"We were really interested in watching what would happen this year because of the slow economy," DeVore said.

"There's a real desire of going back to basics -- people are cooking at home more," he added. "It turns out to be, especially if you eat a lot of vegetables, a pretty affordable way to get your food."...
(2 Sept 2009)
Thanks to kalpa for this link and for the one below.

Celebrating the abundant growth of the farmers market

Mary MacVean, Los Angeles Times
When Lorraine Tenerelli tried to get her husband to bring their peaches to sell at Los Angeles County's first farmers market 30 years ago, he didn't want to be bothered. But he tagged along with her to a church parking lot in Gardena.

"When he saw the mob of customers, he said, 'We've got to plant more,' " Tenerelli said Thursday at the weekly farmers market outside City Hall. There, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other officials joined with farmers, market organizers and some of the city's best-known chefs to celebrate the anniversary and the growth of farmers markets to a total of 121 today -- more than any other county in the country, the mayor said.

The celebration ranged from serious to fun, including a salsa contest -- the eating kind, not the dancing kind -- plus chef demonstrations and plenty of food vendors, naturally.

Villaraigosa also announced a food policy task force that will "help turn L.A. into the farmers market capital of the world."

"When you think of it, what is more important than the food we put on our table?" he said...
(4 Sept 2009)

Algae biofuel propels a braves’ new world

Dominic Rushe, Times Online
The sun shines on Coyote Gulch for an average of 300 days a year. The land in southwest Colorado belongs to the Southern Utes, the region’s oldest continuous residents and now one of the wealthiest American Indian communities.

Beneath their ancestral lands lies one of the world’s richest natural-gas fields. Energy and property investments have made the Utes a wealthy people. Now they believe they have spotted another opportunity: they have literally gone green.

Coyote Gulch is home to a high-tech plant that uses algae to make biodiesel. Pond scum and its relatives are fast becoming one of the hottest research and investment areas in biofuels, part of a second generation of fuels trying to escape the controversies that tainted their forerunners based on food crops such as corn.

As a fuel crop, algae have a lot of advantages over corn and other plants. They are among the fastest-growing plants in the world and about 50% of their weight is oil. Grown in either open-pond or closed-pond systems, once the algae have been harvested, the oils can be extracted and refined to make biodiesel...
(6 Sept 2009)
related: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/17/business/energy-environment/17algae.ht...? -KS

Transition towns

Greg Muller, Bush Telegraph
When we talk of adaptation to climate change and we often talk about national emissions targets and what likely to be discussed at Copenhagen later this year.

But ultimately the nuts and bolts of this change will happen at a very local level.
Small scale agriculture, local currency trading systems and neighbourhood skills banks are among some of the ideas which are being talked about with local councils.

It's part of a worlwide movement called transition towns and already there are about 20 in Australia
For more information, go to: www.transitiontowns.org

In this report: Andrew Lucas, Bell Transitions; Eizabeth Campbell from sustainable Maleny
(10 Sept 2009)
submitted by Stuart McCarthy

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