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Jun 18
2010

Natural Capitalism

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , speaker , Sonoma County , solar , Santa Rosa , resources , policy , Napa , Marin , jobs , Ideas , Green , environment , economy , current events , climate change , California , business , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

Capitalism doesn’t have to be an economic system that devours raw materials with massive waste. An advocate of a variant termed “Natural Capitalism” contends it can deliver greater prosperity through increased efficiency and careful stewardship of natural and human resources.

Lovins argues that human productivity could learn a lot from Nature, which is powered almost exclusively by the sun, and leaves no waste that isn’t fuel for some other natural process.

Modern day free marketers often invoke Adam Smith and his “invisible hand” as the guiding principle behind the policies they advocate, including globalism and free trade. But Lovins counters that doing so is a distorted misreading of what Smith actually said.

Reducing or greatly eliminating the enormous amount of waste that is built  into our economy is not enough, but itself, to ensure long-term prosperity. But Lovins says it would be a good start.

Hunter Lovins will be among the speakers at the Solar Energy and Efficiency Fair in Santa Rosa’s Finley Park June 19,from 11am to 5pm. You can get more detailed event information here.

 

Jun 16
2010

Mediators Beyond Borders

Posted by Bruce Robinson in rights , resources , policy , peace , nonprofit orgs , justice , international , Ideas , government , environment , community engagement , climate change , activism

Bruce Robinson

Mediation isn’t just for family or business disputes. It can also be applied to tribal or international conflicts, and the organization called Mediators Beyond Borders was created to do just that.

One challenge frequently encountered in mediation, explains Camelia Patino, is a need to “level the playing field” among the participants

 

 

 

Jun 01
2010

"Searching for A Miracle"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in technology , solar , resources , research , policy , nonprofit orgs , news , lifestyle , environment , economy , climate change , carbon , author , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

What’s the ultimate solution for replacing fossil fuels with affordable alternatives? A detailed study by the  Post-Carbon Institute says the only good answer available now is reduced demand and intensive conservation.

The study tried to provide a comprehensive analysis, explains author Richard Heinberg, and surprisingly seems to have blazed a trail in doing so. [You can read or download the full report here.]

Energy sources are rarely located close to the areas of concentrated demand for energy, so in addition to shifting to a diverse array of renewable power generation methods, nations will also need to find ways of transporting electricity and other forms of energy to the places it is most needed. Heinberg predicts that will lead to hardships for the populations most reliant on energy imports.

Not only has the United States failed to conduct such a study of its own—something Heinberg suggests should be done ASAP, but he worries that the larger question of long-term energy policy planning is also getting scant attention, even as the oil continues to leak from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico.

Richard's reflections and analysis of the larger implications of the Deepwater Horizon disaster are the subject of his most recent "Museletter," which you can read here.

May 14
2010

Energy Bills & Climate Protection

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , transportation , speaker , Sonoma County , resources , politics , policy , nonprofit orgs , Green , government , go green , events , environment , economy , Congress , climate change , carbon , California , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

There’s a legislative brawl brewing over national energy policy and climate change. The 6th annual Climate Protection Everybody Profits Conference in Sebastopol laid out a preview of where those battle lines are being drawn.

Since 2005, every local government in Sonoma County has signed on to a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2015. But progress toward that goal has been elusive. And while a comprehensive local plan to move this county in that direction has been developed, Ann Hancock (left) , Executive Director of the Climate Protection Campaign, points out that local actions alone will not be effective.

The graph below breaks down where those local emissions are coming from. As solar photovoltaic systems and other measures bring down the shares attributable to residential and commercial energy use, the relative proportion of transportation emissions has increased.

The CLEAR (Carbon Limits and Energy for American Renewal )Act was introduced jointly by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in 2009, an indication of early bipartisan backing for the “cap and dividend” measure. Peter Barnes, Senior Fellow at the Tomales Bay Institute in Point Reyes Station sees multiple reasons why that approach could find further support from Republicans in Congress.

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