Sustainability Education Forum March 14th
(Clifton Ware, Editor/Publisher)
Bettye and I returned Tuesday from a winter getaway trip to the Southwest, so my commentary and this newsletter will be abbreviated. I hope to be back in normal publishing mode by next week.
The main thoughts I have to share relate to SEF’s educational mission, including the occasional forums we organize to address sustainability issues and concerns. I sent a notice last week about the SEF Meeting (Saturday, March 14th, 2:30-4:30, at the St. Anthony Village Library), but I wanted to issue a final invitation, as a gentle reminder. Our main topic will be focused on Chris Martenson’s ‘Accelerated’ Crash Course, a one-hour video/text participants are encouraged to watch or read in preparation for group discussion.
Our intimate group has enjoyed some very stimulating discussions of various sustainability topics in our previous three forums, and we welcome other committed seekers and learners to join us. Seating is limited to 20 persons, so please let me know if you’re coming.
ENVIRONMENT (• Natural Resources • Wildlife • Climate)
> MinnPost: A Q&A With Paul Douglas, The Evangelical Christian Republican Poster Boy For Climate Change (Brian Lambert). “At this point, debating climate science is roughly equivalent to debating gravity.” And the thing is, the “debate,” if you can call it that, really is just here in the United States. China gets it. The debate is over in Europe. Only here, with the powerful vested interests, the special interests and the money in play, is it still a “debate.”
> MPR: St. Paul Mayor Calls For Cities To Play Larger Role In Climate Change Talks (Elizabeth Dunbar). Leaders from St. Paul and other cities around the country gathered in Washington, D.C. on Friday to discuss the role cities should play in global climate change efforts. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said cities have been active on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and find ways to build resiliency in the face of climate impacts.
> On Earth: You Won’t Believe How Much Plastic We Dump in the Ocean (Brian Palmer). Humans release between 5.3 million and 14 million tons of plastic into the ocean annually. Here’s some perspective on that hard-to-fathom number. Nine million tons of plastic is the equivalent of 136 billion plastic milk jugs! Stack them up and they’d reach more than halfway to Mars.
ENERGY (• Carbon Based • Renewable)
> Peak Oil: The Science Of Peak Oil (Andrew McKay, Southern Limits). One of the many barbs often pointed at peak oil proponents is that they are constantly shifting the goal posts. Peak oilers are accused of changing the definition of what peak oil actually means, therefore the entire concept of oil production peaking is rubbish. Far from a valid criticism however, this is actually a scientific virtue.
> The Guardian: Keep Fossil Fuels In The Ground To Stop Climat Change (George Monbiot). The extraction of fossil fuels is a hard fact. The rules governments have developed to prevent their use are weak, inconsistent and negotiable. In other words, when coal, oil and gas are produced, they will be used. Continued production will overwhelm attempts to restrict consumption. Even if efforts to restrict consumption temporarily succeed, they are likely to be self-defeating. A reduction in demand when supply is unconstrained lowers the price, favouring carbon-intensive industry.
ECONOMY (• Finances • Commerce • Global-Local)
> Sierra Club: A Fast Track To Disaster (Michael Brune). Who might profit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive trade deal with Mexico, Canada, Japan, Vietnam, and seven other countries? Answer: Multinational corporations — including some of the planet’s biggest polluters. Are corporate profits more important than protections for clean air, clean water, climate stability, workers’ rights, and more?
> Resilience: Can Public Banks Become America’s New Engines Of Prosperity? (Mike Krauss, Occupy.com). New bedfellows are writing what may be the next chapter in the story of American democracy: a network of public banks to facilitate a lateral and collaborative distribution of affordable credit, enabling the diversity of American enterprise and initiative to challenge Wall Street and the Federal Reserve’s control of banking and finance.
ENLIGHTENMENT (• Expectations • Ideas • Beliefs • Psychology)
> The Archdruid Report: Peak Meaninglessness (J.M. Greer). Last week’s discussion of externalities—costs of doing business that get dumped onto the economy, the community, or the environment—is reinforced by a previous article in Grist. It pointed out the awkward fact that none of the twenty biggest industries in today’s world could break even, much less make a profit, if they had to pay for the damage they do to the environment.
> Resilience: Pulling The Plug, Part 2 (Vera Bradova; Read Part 1-). The only way for us to win is not to play. At the core of the Machine is a whirlwind of human and planetary energy sucked into a global positive feedback loop that’s formed a funnel of destruction and death, mowing down everything in its path. An out-of-control vicious circle is very difficult to stop; there is no point underestimating the daunting nature of this task.
EQUITY (• Equality • Health • Social Concerns)
> Sierra Club: A Win for Walmart Workers (Dan Byrnes). Rarely would an environmental organization put “Walmart” and “win” in the same headline, but when a company increases wages for half a million employees and makes big gains in clean energy, it’s a victory for grassroots activism in our books.
ENGAGEMENT (• Goals • Activism • Solutions)
> Treehugger 11 Easy Ways To Reduce Your Plastic Waste Today (Margaret Badore). Learn about 11 different ways you can reduce the plastic use and waste in your life and help your local and global communities be less burdened with plastic waste management.
> Associated Press (US News): Solar-Power Plane Takes Off From Abu Dhabi. A Swiss solar-powered plane takes off at an airport in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, early Monday, March 9, 2015, marking the start of the first attempt to fly around the world without a drop of fuel.
EVENTS AND INFORMATION
> Global Solutions Forum: Overpopulation Is Solvable, David Paxson (http://www.worldpopulationbalance.org/), Thurs., Mar.19, 6:45 p.m., Plymouth Congregational Church (Jackson Room, lower level), 1900 Nicollet Ave. S. Mpls.
> MN350: Action Projects. Several are planned for this spring, including meetings related to Tar Sands, divestments, climate change, energy legislation, teach-in/solutions workshop, and oil shipping. See info on the MN350 website: http://mn350.nationbuilder.com/ ; Also see: Calendar of events, Community meetings, Campaigns, Join an action teams
> Midwest Solar: Midwest Solar Expo 2015, May 13-14, Hilton, Minneapolis. Info: Midwest Solar Expo 2015