SEF News-Views Digest No. 74 (11-20-14)

Clifton Ware, Editor-Publisher


FEATURED EVENTS (More Events at End)

> THIRD ANNUAL EVENT: SUSTAINABILITY FAIR, Thurs., Nov. 20th, 5:30-8:00 p.m., Silverwood Park Visitors Center, St. Anthony Village (Map). Co-sponsored by the cities of St. Anthony Village, Lauderdale, and Falcon Heights, in collaboration with Three Rivers Park District and U of MN sustainability faculty and students. Exhibits include poster projects presented by 43 students and 20 exhibits presented by local sustainability groups, including CFS. Free and open to the public. 

EDITOR — Hey, Ho, Let’s Go To The Fair!

As the above “featured event” shows, a unique sustainability fair will be held Thursday evening in the eco-friendly visitor center at beautiful Silverwood Park, a natural oasis in the northeast area of the Twin Cities metro. Citizens interested in sustainability are a very supportive group, so a respectable turnout is expected.

As one of the U.S’s top-rated progressive states, Minnesota ranks high in most lifestyle categories — economy, politics, education, environment, social programs, health, and so on. Twin Citians, in particular, are fortunate to have plentiful opportunities for participating in sustainability events and initiatives. Any sustainability enthusiast can select specific areas of interest to pursue, including causes related to protecting endangered species, promoting local food programs, cleaning up waterways, reducing pollution, promoting renewable energy, and working on climate change issues, among other worthwhile pursuits. In sum, there’s something for everyone.

Sustainability fairs provide a prime opportunity for gaining a broader and deeper perspective of relevant issues. They also provide a gathering place for networking with like-minded citizens and establishing collaborative connections. By participating—as a presenter, an exhibitor, a performer, an organizer, or as an observer—the sustainability movement gains strength, and the requisite power for making substantial progress. So let’s go to the fair!

P.S. Don’t miss the movie preview of Origins (see following listing).

ENVIRONMENT (Natural Resources • Wildlife • Climate)

Well.orgOrigins: Our Roots, Our Planet, Our Future (  The film crew spent the last four years traveling the world to make this piece and, as part of their directive to “help the world first”, they are opening it up for this no-cost world premier preview window for all to enjoy. It will be available until Nov. 22, so view it soon!

> On Earth: Interstellar: Could The New Film Be A Survival Guide For The Planet? Here’s the basic plot: The environment gets so bad that Earth is no longer a suitable habitat for Homo sapiens. As our species hangs in the balance, a handful of amateur astronauts head off into space to find another home.

> Scientific American: 7 Solutions To Climate Change Happening Now (David Biello). Even as the world continues to spew more carbon pollution, change has begun—and is accelerating—regardless of the political scene in D.C.

> Ecological Gardening: Where Do We Find Beauty In A Landscape? (Adrian Ayres).  As our climate changes, hedgerows and greenways could be crucial not only for their carbon-storage properties, but also for their ability to serve as corridors linking larger, wilder areas so that animals and even plants can migrate to more favorable habitats.

> CBS News: Salt-Water Fish Extinction Seen By 2048. The apocalypse has a new date: 2048.That’s when the world’s oceans will be empty of fish, predicts an international team of ecologists and economists. The cause: the disappearance of species due to overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, and climate change.

ENERGY (Fossil Carbon • Natural Resources • Renewables)

> Peak Prosperity: Shale Oil – Crash Course Chapter 21 (Expensive, Over-Hyped, and Short Lived). If you’ve watch the previous video chapter on Peak Cheap Oil, you may be wondering how any of that could be still be true given all the positive recent stories about shale oil and shale gas, many of which have proclaimed that “Peak Oil is dead”. The only problem with this story is that it is misleading in some very important ways. And entirely false in others.

> Resilience: Watching The Watchdogs: 10 Years Of The IEA World Energy Outlook (David MacLeod). Over the last decade the IEA World Energy Outlook has gradually moved from rosy to pessimistic reports, or “increasingly reality-based.” Projected oil demand has gradually decreased by 20 million barrels per day (mb/d), and the projected costs have continued to rise. Yet even their most pessimistic reports fail to capture true reality, largely because of politics.

> On Earth: Dirty Legacy. (article, plus videos) Exposing the lax regulation and health risks of Alberta’s tar sands industry.

> NEF Blog: Energy Round-Up: The Road To Decarbonisation? The latest energy and climate news – subscribe now to get updates straight to your inbox.

> Grist: With Eyes In The Sky, Researchers Try To Link Fracking And Illness. Fracking has long been the oil and natural gas industry’s best-kept secret – in particular, the chemicals found in fracking fluids, which have been linked to a host of weird mystery ailments, like respiratory or gastrointestinal distress.

ECONOMY (Local/Global • Wealth • Finances)

> The Atlantic: Why Aren’t Milennials Saving Money? (Bourree Lam)  This mistrust of banks, along with historically low income and investment, is added to the fact that saving money is just really hard—for everyone. It may be that we need to trick ourselves to do it: Harvard economist David Laibson has some suggestions on how to raise the savings rate for those with jobs, namely an opt-out (rather than an opt-in) system that would make it easier for Americans to save.

> Bloomberg: World Economy Worst In Two Years, Europe Darkening, Deflation Lurking: Global Investor Poll (Rich Miller). Much of the concern is again focused on the euro area: Almost two-thirds of those polled said its economy was weakening while 89 percent saw disinflation or deflation as a greater threat there than inflation over the next year.

> CASSE-The Daly News: Use And Abuse Of The “Natural Capital” Concept (Herman Daly).  In the ecosystem money is fungible, natural stocks are not; money has no physical dimension, natural populations do. Exchanges of matter and energy among parts of the ecosystem have an objective ecological basis. They are not governed by prices based on subjective human preferences in the market.

> The Guardian: US Wealth Inequality – Top 0.1% Worth As Much As The Bottom 90% (Angela Monaghan). Over the past three decades, the share of household wealth owned by the top 0.1% has increased from 7% to 22%. For the bottom 90% of families, a combination of rising debt, the collapse of the value of their assets during the financial crisis, and stagnant real wages have led to the erosion of wealth. See also: Why Economic Inequality Leads To Collapse.

> Resilience: Frugal Value: Designing Business For A Crowded Planet (Carina Millstone).  Growth seems to have become an end in itself. In this article, I critically examine the notion of business growth in our time, reflecting on the purpose, nature and workings of individual firms in the age of the Anthropocene.

EXPECTATIONS (Knowledge • Psychology • Beliefs • Views • Future)

> The New York Review of Books: Can Climate Change Cure Capitalism? (Elizabeth Kolbert). In Naomi Klein’s ambitious new polemic, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, “ she claims that “Climate change can’t be solved within the confines of the status quo, because it’s a product of the status quo . . . Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war.” The only hope of avoiding catastrophic warming lies in radical economic and political change.

> Yes! Magazine7 Ways To Get Happy—Without Costing The Planet (Sarah Van Gelder).  The starting point is to realize we have choices—like meaningful work, authentic relationships, and gratitude. [Adapted from Sustainable Happiness: Live Simply, Live Well, Make a Difference, edited by Sarah van Gelder and YES! Magazine staff; published by Berrett Koehler. Order now at

> HowEricLives: Energy And The Future Of Food (Eric Garza). The problems we must overcome procuring food over the next 100 years will differ from those we’ve faced before, both in their complexity and their magnitude.

EQUITY (Equality • Health • Social Concerns)

> Common Dreams: The Unforgiven: How College Debt Is Crushing A Generation.  According to the report (pdf), the average bachelor-degree graduate—along with a diploma of increasingly questionable value— leaves school with and an average of $28,400 in personal debt. That number is a full 2 percent increase over 2012.

> Common Dreams: Study: More Homeless Children Now Than Any Point In US History (Jon Queally). Prepared by the National Center on Family Homelessness, the report—America’s Youngest Outcasts (pdf)—shows that with poverty and inequality soaring in recent years, approximately 2.5 million children in 2013 found themselves without a roof over their head or place to call home.

> New Republic: Extreme Wealth Is Bad For Everyone—Especially The Wealthy (Michael Lewis).  In a 2014 book, Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust by Darrell M. West, the author notes that the concentration of wealth in the top 1 percent of American citizens has returned to levels not seen in a century. One percent of the population controls a third of its wealth, and the problem is only getting worse: from 1979 to 2009 after-tax income for the top 1 percent rose by 155 percent while not changing all that much for everyone else.

> Common Dreams: The Super-Rich And Sordid Tales Of Selfishness (Paul Buchheit). Compelling research has demonstrated that the accumulation of wealth leads to a sense of entitlement and qualities of narcissism. For example, rich people are more likely to flout traffic laws, to take items of value from others, and to cheat when necessary to win a prize or position.

> On the Commons: Walking Is Going Places (Jay Walljasper). Sixty percent of Americans would prefer to live in a neighborhood with stores and services within easy walking distance, according to a recent survey from the National Association of Realtors, nearly twice as many who want to live where stores can be reached only by car.

ENGAGEMENT (Goals • Activism • Solutions)

> ENSIA: To Feed The World In 2050 We Have To Change Course (Timothy A. Wise).  In order to feed a growing population we need to focus on reducing biofuel production and food waste (one third) and spoilage. A U.N. report confirmed that the best area to invest in agriculture is small-scale farming, where the “yield gaps” are the largest and where hunger in the most prevalent.

> Shareable: Community Supported Everything Incubates Social Change In Portland. When people are faced with a dire community challenge, they often turn to their neighbors to create a solution. There’s something powerful about starting where you are, with what you have, with the support of those around you.

> RedOrbit: Fish And Vegetable Diet Could Save The Planet As Well As Our Lives (Jon Hopton). The best diet for both humans and the planet is one built around local foods, especially fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. If you eat meat and dairy products, make sure they’re local and make sure they’re organic. Also, avoid “empty calories” such as sugar, fat, oils and even alcohol, which are contributing to greenhouse gases and poor human health.

> MinnPost: Community Voices: Agriculture And Climate Change: A Cause, A Victim And A Potential Solution (Katie Siegner). Properly managed soil is a natural carbon sink, and organic farming is increasingly recognized as a viable, more adaptable, and healthier alternative to conventional modern agriculture.

> Sierra Club: How Solid Waste Is Doing You A Solid (Chelsea Leu). Many zoos compost thousands of tons of manure produced by herbivores like giraffes and rhinos, converting poop to nutrient-rich fertilizer that they sellgive away, or use to enrich their grounds. But the Toronto Zoo is taking their composting to the next level: building the first zoo-based biogas plant in North America.


> MN350-MCAD: Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (feature-length documentary of a filmmaker’s undercover investigation of the cattle industry). Sun., Nov. 23, 6:30 p.m., MN Institute of Arts Auditorium. 2501 Stevens Ave, Mpls. Free (donation requested).

> U of MN Arboretum: Winter Farmers Market, Sat., Nov. 29th, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Oswald Visitor Center. Learn more >

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By Clifton Ware

Sustainability Education Forum Editor-Publisher Dr. Clifton Ware is an international figure in the world of voice pedagogy. During the the past fifty years of teaching students how to sing -- both nationally and internationally -- Clif developed his signature "Efficient and Authentic Voice Technique". What distinguishes his method is its holistic approach, simplicity, and effectiveness. Siingers find that they are able to ensure their vocal health while cultivating their own unique, expressive sound. This approach stands in sharp contrast to faddish techniques that encourage mimicking the vocalism, style, and qualities of other singers, possibly limiting their own vocal imprint and even harming their vocal instrument. The "Efficient and Authentic Voice Technique" produces singers that enjoy vocal power, range, ease, individuality, and a liberating learning process.

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