Tags >> solar
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 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.

Mar 30
2010

Proposition 16 and Local Electricity

Posted by Bruce Robinson in solar , politics , nonprofit orgs , Green , environment , election , climate change , carbon , California , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

Buried among the ballot measures in California’s June 8th primary election is one that could define the future of electricity in our state.

Finding land for sprawling solar trough farms, such as the one seen below, is often less difficult than securing routes for the transmission lines to carry the electricity from the generation site to the population centers that need it.

The electoral process is only beginning to unfold, but as the power behind placing Proposition 16 on the ballot, PG&E is certainly prepared to spend big to get it passed. Ann Hancock, Executive Director of the  Climate Protection Campaign notes that the utility has not been bashful about funding similar moves in the past.

Marin County Supervisors voted narrowly last month to create the Marin Energy Authority, a new and hotly debated distribution entity. that the and Other cities or counties would be blocked from creating such a clean energy facility if Proposition 16 passes, Ann Hancock warns, and MEA’s ability to operate could be severely constrained.

 

Learn about greening our electric supply and the impact of Prop. 16
Wednesday, March 31st from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Glaser Center:
547 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. This event is free and open to all.

Renata Brillinger (left)  of the Climate Protection Campaign will describe ongoing  efforts to green Sonoma County's electric supply and the impact of Proposition 16 - if passed. Proposition 16 will be on the June 2010 ballot. It  would enact a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote of any community before spending public money to investigate or implement non-profit power options such as municipalization or Community Choice Aggregation.  Co-sponsors: Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Santa Rosa - Seventh Principle Working Group and League of Women Voters Sonoma County

Oct 01
2009

The Greening of Greensburg

Posted by Bruce Robinson in weather , teens , speaker , solar , planning , housing , government , farms , families , environment , design , construction , community , climate change , carbon , business , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

Just two years after being leveled by a tornado, Greensburg, a tiny town in the middle of Kansas has become a model for green rebuilding.

Nearly 95% of the town's homes and other buildings were destroyed by the storm, as seen in this photo, taken a week after the tornado hit.

The green rebuilding of Greensburg, Kansas cannot be attributed to an unlikely enclave of progressive thinkers in the American heartland. Rather, says Daniel Wallach, (right) founder and Executive Director of Greensburg GreenTown, the fact this has happened in a small, deeply conservative town makes it even more significant.

FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) was quick to respond to the Kansas tornado that flattened Greensburg, in part to improve their public profile after the Gulf Coast hurricanes. But Wallach says the agency had to be persuaded at length to buy into the green vision that the community shared.

There's an extensive photo gallery of the damange caused by the tornado and the new buildings that have emerged in its wake on one page of the Greensberg GreenTown website. Another page hosts their design competition for eco-friendly homes. "The Chain of Eco-Homes"  has attracted 150 entries, which can be viewed and voted for online. The winnign design will be built as part of the town's ongoing effort to promote itself as "a living science museum" on green consrtruction and muncipal planning.

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