Monday, November 24, 2008

Hope & optimism

I go in for surgery tomorrow so I'm looking for hope right now. This quote is from the author of one of the most hope filled books I've read on the topic.

“Climate change says we should change, whereas peak oil says we will be forced to change.”
-- Rob Hoskins, author of The Transition Town

I also thought I'd share this link about health care myths. I firmly believe we should be copying the French or Canadian systems where the health care systems are designed to keep people healthy rather than make the insurance companies profitable. This is an article from the Washington Post, a very center of the road, fact-based paper. I found this very worth my time.

Read about the myths here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cars: green electricity, not natural gas

Today's email is from, an organization focused on building a sustainable future as well as providing a plan for how to get there from here. Maybe it's because I live in the Pacific Northwest where hydropower is plentiful, but I think they're right about going toward electricity which can be generated from wind, sun, and waves. To read their thoughts on why we should go toward plug-in electric cars rather than natural gas (which T. Boone is promoting) go here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Transition Town: Sandpoint Idaho

Today's email brought a link to an article in the London Times about Transition Towns. This is a movement begun by a permaculture professor in Ireland (Rob Hopkins) that has grown to over 700 towns in 2 years. His book is a step by step handbook on building local resiliency and organizing the community to be as independent as possible.

Read the full article here.

I particularly liked the quote I've copied below because I'm a firm believer in doing what I can in my little corner of the world:

In Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia, people started readying themselves in June. Their two-year low-carbon diet is under way, they have met state Anna Bligh, the state premier, and are consulting on a Queensland Government report entitled Towards Oil Resilience. Bush tucker trees are to be planted around the city.

Maggie Johns, a Hervey Bay Transitioner, signed off her e-mail to me thus: “Before, it all seemed so futile. What was the good in changing a few light bulbs? There are ice-shelves breaking off, for goodness sake! But when you know that more and more towns are coming online with Transition, and each has an army of dedicated volunteers, it seems much more do-able.”

Monday, November 17, 2008

National Security & Oil

I know I'm always talking about going green and that's because I'm a long time tree hugger. Not everyone shares those values so for those who don't, here's another perspective on why reducing our dependence on foreign oil is a good thing. This is quoted from the Wall Street Journal, from the first in a series of articles about dealing with our oil addiction. The article continues with recommendations for action and is worth reading. The following is a quote from the article by Stacy Delo published November 12.

Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett
(R., Maryland)
Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, Defense Energy Working Group and Congressional Peak Oil Caucus

DIAGNOSIS: American transportation is more than 95% dependent upon oil, a proportion virtually unchanged since the 1973 Arab oil embargo. Americans will have spent $700 billion on oil imports in the last two years. That is more than we spend annually on defense. If that money stayed here, it would generate $7 trillion in economic activity. Clearly, lower oil prices are better for Americans and worse for the governments of OPEC countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela as well as Russia's military resurgence.

If we reduce our dependence upon oil imports, we eliminate our greatest self-imposed threat to Americans' future economic prosperity and national security. Especially in the absence of price signals, we need leadership at all levels to inspire Americans to continue conserving oil and to innovate to shift our transportation and manufacturing sectors off oil.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The importance of green activism

I've read Bill McKibben's book, Deep Economy, and found it insightful and optimistic while discussing serious issues. So I'm pleased to post a pointer to a column he's written in Orion magazine, Multiplication Saves the Day. I'll also echo his plug for websites to pay attention to:, and I believe president-elect Obama is correct in saying that we're just starting the hard work and I'm pleased to see someone laying out how individuals can contribute.

On a more personal front, I'm scheduled for surgery for the kidney stones on November 25, just in time to make sure I don't bake pies this year. Here's hoping this surgery resolves my medical problems.