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Post-Carbon photos

Post-Carbon London (Ontario) Flickr photo

Post-Carbon Photo "pool"

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Post-Carbon London now has photo pages on Flickr.

We have a section for more local photos submissions -- from around the London, Ontario, Canada area -
http://www.flickr.com/groups/postcarbonlondon/pool/
The images at the top of this post are thumbnails of these local photos.
(Here's a slideshow of those photos - http://www.flickr.com/groups/postcarbonlondon/pool/show/)

We also have a section of bookmarked photos outside of the London, Ontario area -
http://www.flickr.com/photos/34627339@N06/favorites/
(Those photos also can be viewed as a slideshow - http://www.flickr.com/photos/34627339@N06/favorites/show/)

Additional photos will be added to those collections before long.

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These images are tangible examples of issues that our group focuses on. 
(So far some issues are covered more than others in the photos; in part, this slanted focus is a result of what other people have and haven't posted to Flickr -- given how the photos on the Post-Carbon London photo pages generally were already posted on Flickr before the Post-Carbon London photo project was actually set up.)

I hope that people will find this photo collection inspiring. 

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This photo project is very new, and our group may take a different approach to it in the future.  The photo collections were set up after our last meeting, so our group hasn't had a chance to discuss these Flickr pages in-person.

So far I basically have been selecting the photos. Although I have tried to take into account the other organizers' approaches to Post-Carbon London, my perspective on this group and the issues we focus on is my own personal point of view;
but I'll be trying to draw others into making the photo page editorial and administrative decisions.

Other group discussion about what Post-Carbon London is or could be
also will have a bearing on the photo pages.

Fossil fuel industries

Andy Rowell at the Oil Change blog -
“So its heads I win, tails you lose”
"The oil companies are beginning to look like the banks." ...

Andy Rowell at the Oil Change blog -
Despite the Crunch, Shell Makes $86 Million a Day

Clara Ho in The Edmonton Journal -
Ft. Chip Residents, Activists Protest Oilsands Intrusion (November, 2008)

Michael A. Weber at the Planetsave blog -
Activists Detained For Taking Ash Spill Photographs (December, 2008)

John “Ahni” Schertow at the Intercontinental Cry blog -
Groups Denouce ExxonMobil in the Philippines (January)

Jesse Jenkins at the It’s Getting Hot In Here blog
Coal is NOT the Answer

Andy Rowell at the Oil Change blog -
“I Will Point Out Hypocricy” (November, 2008)
Chevron greenwashing

Mitchell Anderson at DeSmogBlog -
The Heartland Institute touts a long list of global warming "experts" (November, 2008)

Gwen at the Sociological Images blog -
After the oil boom: Images of an oil bust

Drought and flooding

Andy Rowell at the Oil Change blog -
"Sea-Level Rise to “Substantially Exceed” Projections" (December, 2008)

Joseph Romm on the Gristmill blog -
"Rising sea salinates India’s Ganges"


Andrew McGraw at The Rural Blog -
"Texas in the grip of worst drought in a decade"

Joseph Romm on his Climate Progress blog -
"Drought land “will be abandoned”" (November, 2008)

"SocProf" at The Global Sociology Blog -
"Water Wars in Spain" (September, 2008)

Emily on her urbanwren blog -
"Water Wars"

Victims of global warming

Joseph Romm at the Climate Progress blog -
"The Human Toll of Climate Change — The Map"
(Approximate estimates)

Mitchell Anderson on DeSmogBlog -
"Australia Government Blames Deadly Heat Wave on Climate Change"

Margarita Windisch in Green Left Weekly -
"Climate refugees — the hidden cost of climate change" (December, 2008)

Prime Sarmiento for the Inter Press Service -
"Phillippines: 'Women Take the Brunt of Climate Change'" (October, 2008)

Stacy Feldman at the Solve Climate blog -
"Atlantic Rising: Sea Swallows Ghanaian Village, More to Come" (August, 2008)

Kristin Underwood at the TreeHugger blog -
"On Climate Change, Africa Votes As One Country And One Continent" (November, 2008)
... Figures from "53 African nations met recently to develop the Algiers Declaration, stating that they will vote as one bloc during climate change negotiations"

March 28th Climate Collaboration and Creativity event poster



(Click that thumbnail to see a larger version)

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The poster is about a free March 28th event at the Aeolian Hall here in London, Ontario --
between 10am and 3pm on that day.

This event is being organized through the Council of Canadians London Chapter.

Post-Carbon London will be there.  Shane and I have agreed to speak at the event.

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The poster was made by the Beehive Design Collective -
www.beehivecollective.org/
 

Priorities in our streets

On a suburban street in London, Ontario, Canada

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Monika Warzecha at the Spacing Toronto blog -
"Think of the children" (November, 2008)
"In the district of Greenwich in London, England, a lot of the speed limit signs in residential areas have pictures beneath them drawn by children." ...

Brad Aaron at Streetsblog -
"Safety in Numbers" (October, 2008)

Brad Aaron at Streetsblog -
"Traffic justice" (October, 2008)

Ben Fried at Streetsblog -
"Study finds cyclists need safer streets" (November, 2008)
That post is a response to a study which was "presented in a way that feeds into the worst stereotypes about cyclists and a blame-the-victim mentality toward traffic injuries and deaths"

A post at m-bike.org -
"Cyclists subsidize motorists"

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A couple of related posts at my blog -
- "Mass bike ride"
- "car subsidies"

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Toban Black

Creative Commons License
 

Common lands

=======

That message is a Digger perspective from the tail-end of the Middle Ages --
during the English Revolution.

I'm posting this because of the message about local autonomy (which some prefer to describe as "relocalization"). As a message about local community food, I think this statement is timely.

I don't mean to celebrate gruelling peasant field labour, and I certainly don't mean to reinforce assumptions about a supposed need to try to return to pre-industrial ways of life in order to reject modern industrial agriculture -- among other modern societal conditions. Even without fossil fuels, I'm sure that we can do better.

As for the rest of the approach of Winstanley and the Diggers, I'm not going to take a position on them right here and now.

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A related YouTube video about scythes -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugSO54WKm8I

The video is titled "The End of Cheap Oil and The Rise of the Scythe" --
which seems to convey a vision of pre-industrial living conditions.

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Toban Black
Creative Commons License
 

Community Visioning Initiatives "For the Duration of the Emergency"

(or: how to sort through all this, and arrive on the same side, so we can help each other)

We now live in very complex times, with challenges ahead which will certainly require unprecedented solutions. The challenges ahead will require unprecedented solutions because these challenges include, but are not limited to: the economic crises, global warming, peak oil, resource depletion, an ever increasing world population, global inequities, cultures of greed, corruption, and overindulgence, a marginalization of the wisdom associated with religious, spiritual, and moral traditions, and insufficient understandings of which basic elements of community life and cultural traditions lead to enduring peace and which do not.

Given the nature of complex societies, it is understandable that many of us would like to believe there are experts “somewhere” who understand how we got into this, and must therefore know how we can get out of it. However, this writer very sincerely hopes that more and more people are coming to the realization that the difficult challenges ahead are not something that the experts will resolve while the rest of us are doing something else…. Everyone is involved when it comes to determining the markets that supply the “ways of earning a living”; and given the unprecedented nature of the challenges ahead, all of us have important responsibilities in the coming months and years ahead.

Unfortunately, sorting out what our responsibilities are—or sorting out what the real challenges are, and what are sound and practical solutions—is becoming more and more difficult, as there is now, in many parts of the world, a multitude of ideas of all kinds coming to the fore in personal, family, community, and cultural life—all at the same time.

Somehow or other, we need to sort through all this, and we need to do so in a way that helps us to realize how much we need to be learning so that we can be part of the solutions… and how much we really need to be on the same side, helping each other.

One suggestion which could assist in bringing many solutions to light at the local community level is a 161 page proposal by this writer titled “1000Communities2”. “1000Communities2” (“1000CommunitiesSquared”) advocates for Community Visioning Initiatives, “Community Teaching and Learning Centers” with ongoing workshops, and “sister community” relationships, as a way of generating an exponential increase in our collective capacity to overcome the challenges of our times.

For readers who would like to explore this idea further, this writer has created more than 5 different introductions to the “1000Communities2” approach. Three of these “introductions” are included in the Fall, 2008 issue of The IPCR Journal/Newsletter (http://ipcri.net/images/The-IPCR-Journal-Newsletter-Fall-2008-B.pdf ). One of those “introductions” is also part of an “Educational Materials Outreach Package”, which is accessible for free, and which is located at the bottom of the homepage of The IPCR Initiative. The most comprehensive introduction to the “1000Communities2” proposal was written in December, 2008 and is titled Transitioning from Less Solution-Oriented Employment to More Solution-Oriented Employment”(http://ipcri.net/images/Transitioning-from-Less-Solution-Oriented-Employ... )

We are in need of innovative and imaginative solutions.

In 1984, the non-profit organization Chattanooga Venture [Chattanooga, Tennessee (USA)] organized a Community Visioning Initiative (“Vision 2000”) that attracted more than 1,700 participants, and produced 40 community goals—which resulted in the implementation of 223 projects and programs, the creation of 1,300 permanent jobs, and a total financial investment of 793 million dollars. (for source references, see p. 9 of the “1000Communities2” proposal, at http://ipcri.net/images/1000Communities2.pdf )

If even a few of the kind of Community Visioning Initiatives described in the “1000Communities2” proposal generated results similar to those achieved by the Chattanooga, Tennessee (USA) Visioning Initiative, people in all parts of the world—keenly attuned when it comes to resolving challenges which require urgent solutions at all levels of society— could be inspired to carry out similar Community Visioning Initiatives. And if many communities carried out similar initiatives, and also achieved significant results, our collective capacity to resolve the challenges of our times would surely begin to accumulate at an accelerating rate.

There is much which leaders could be asking from the people who respect their leadership, both as a matter of civic duty, and as a matter of necessity; and there are many people who will be very appreciative when they find that they have an important role to play in the work ahead. Leaders should guide citizens so that they can discover how they can do their part to contribute to the greater good of the whole.

Even now, as you are reading this, truly inspiring contributions of genuine goodwill are being generated in a variety of ways—and in a variety of circumstances—by countless numbers of people in communities around the world. A combination of Community Visioning Initiatives, “Community Teaching and Learning Centers” and “sister community” relationships can bring to light the many truly inspiring contributions of genuine goodwill in your community and region, and contribute much to the building of “close-knit” communities of people… communities with a healthy appreciation for each others strengths, communities with a well-developed capacity to resolve even the most difficult challenges—and communities which demonstrate a high level of compassion for their fellow human beings.

[Note: In light of the urgent need to increase collaboration between diverse communities of people, anyone may access all IPCR documents (including the above mentioned 161 page “1000Communities2” proposal) for free, at the website of The Interfaith Peacebuilding and Community Revitalization (IPCR) Initiative (at www.ipcri.net )].

With Kind Regards,

Stefan Pasti, Founder and Outreach Coordinator
The Interfaith Peacebuilding and Community Revitalization (IPCR) Initiative

Alternative Energy Trade Fair

I am energetically pursuing alternative energy education for this northern region of Alberta. We can move into a society of consumers who use alternative energy systems. We just need to find out what options are out there. Micro-power generation - Yes!

am I the only one ?

The closest mulliers seem to be in Fairhope, Alabama. Is there anyone else near me that has interest in post peak prep?

"Great cars"

'Get a car;
don't take the bus'

Isn't that message implicit here? --
given how an advertisement about "great cars" was displayed on a bus in that way

At a more implicit level, that auto industry funded advertising also suggests that cars are a superior form of transportation

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The photo was taken here in London, Ontario, Canada. I since have noticed a different car advertisement on the back of a local bus, and yet another car advertisement on the side of a local bus.

In the past, I also have noticed car advertising in a Toronto area "GO Transit" station.

Toban Black
(http://tobanblack.net/blog/?p=1093)
Creative Commons License
 

How Dishwashing Can Contribute to Interfaith Peacebuilding and Community Revitalization

(Or… A Resume of One Person’s Life Path in Response to the Challenges of Our Times)

I have been actively involved in peacebuilding and community revitalization work for over 20 years—as a writer (project-related correspondence, short novel, short story); an editor (newsletters, quotation collections); an advocate of ecologically sustainable communities; a practitioner of voluntary simplicity; and, since 2001, as founder of and outreach coordinator for The Interfaith Peacebuilding and Community Revitalization (IPCR) Initiative. My career goal is to help as many people as possible—by way of writing, facilitating workshops, building community partnerships, and networking with people anywhere who are working along similar lines—to become aware of the countless number of things people can do in the everyday circumstances of their lives which will contribute to peacebuilding, community revitalization, and ecological sustainability efforts in their own communities and regions—and in other parts of the world. I see myself most clearly as a facilitator of workshops associated with The Eight IPCR Concepts (see “Brief Descriptions of The Eight IPCR Concepts” in the section “All IPCR Documents” on the IPCR homepage at www.ipcri.net )

To make the contributions I believe are mine to make, I have, over the years, had to find other work as a way of earning a living; and I have been employed in many different settings, including field worker on organic farms, mail clerk, retail bookstore clerk, door-to-door canvasser for citizen action groups, and as a dishwasher in both university dining service settings and restaurants.

I am currently seeking full time employment as a dishwasher, and as a responsible and courteous part of Dining Services associated with a progressive higher education institution. My first choice would be an educational institution in a medium size town which is rated high for walkability—and which is already aware of the need to provide pathways and safety instruction to encourage bicycle use.

I have taken into account the nature of the work I am doing [building The Interfaith Peacebuilding and Community Revitalization (IPCR) Initiative, see www.ipcri.net], the nature of the challenges associated with this work, the uncertainty in many fields of employment, and what I have found works well for both employers and myself. When I am working on long and difficult pieces of writing (I am working on a writing project now which may take a year to complete), and especially with the challenges in my particular field of activity, I find that I prefer earning a living by way of manual labor in relatively stable and responsible work environments. I also like being associated with educational institutions, because of the prevailing and ongoing focus on learning (which carries over into the local community), because of access to a university library—and especially if university employees receive free tuition for a certain amount of coursework per year. In addition, I believe there is much reform which will be required at educational institutions so that they can be most useful in helping to resolve the unprecedented challenges we are now facing. I believe I have something to contribute to such reform, and would be most willing to contribute whatever I can to positive and constructive approaches to reform, at any educational institution that would have me as an employee. And I do believe that I have the personal qualities to be a responsible and reliable dishwasher, and a good natured, courteous, and helpful member of any dining services unit.

Attached to this post are two files: a draft cover letter, and a draft resume. The resume is four pages long because it includes a supplement titled “Detailed Goals and Challenges Assessment, with Commentary”. I believe it is necessary to provide such a supplement, as a way of helping readers of the resume to fairly evaluate why I might be seeking employment as a dishwasher.

I was wondering if there is anyone who has any helpful comments or recommendations for me. Any progressive educational institutions they would recommend I apply to? Anyone working along similar lines, with similar difficulties, who has some other, different ideas to suggest? Any comments on this particular approach to job seeking: as in do you think this approach might work? What are its strengths and weaknesses? How can it be improved?

Each person has to decide for themselves what will work best when they are trying to adapt to adverse and unsupportive cultural influences. I believe I'm making some good contributions, but feel it's time for a change. I’m listening if anyone has any constructive suggestions.

With Kind Regards,

Stefan Pasti, Founder and Outreach Coordinator
The IPCR Initiative

On Uncertainty in Times of Great Challenges

(with Testimony by U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner)

Below are quoted excerpts from a meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, on February 10, 2009. Much of the meeting was a hearing on “Oversight of the Financial Rescue Program: A New Plan for the TARP”. The quoted excerpts included here are from the “Question and Answer” period following formal testimony by U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner. The excerpts are an exchange between Senator Mike Johanss [(R) Nebraska] and Secretary Geithner, with additional comments at the end by Chairman Christopher J. Dodd [(D) Connecticut]. The complete meeting is accessible on video at the website of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (see http://banking.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.LiveStrea... ; with this section coming from “counter number” 168.27 through 172.29)

As a brief introduction to the excerpts from the above mentioned hearing, I would like to suggest the following: it may be that many people, in communities around the world, understand that there are many very difficult challenges ahead. However, the serious nature of these challenges has not—yet—created priorities capable of uniting us in a way that includes realizing how much we need to be learning so that we can be part of the solutions… and how much we really need to be on the same side, helping each other.

The quoted passages below may help readers appreciate the need for us—for as many of us as possible, in communities around the world—to be working together… and the need for appropriate education so that we can help each other, and so our efforts can be as coordinated as possible.

On the subject of appropriate education, I would like to recommend two essays I wrote (since September 15, 2008) which advocate for Community Visioning Initiatives, “Community Teaching and Learning Centers”, and “sister community” relationships as a way of generating an exponential increase in our capacity to overcome the challenges of our times. The two essays are “A Greater Force than the Challenges that are Now Facing Us” [this essay, in particular, includes a quote from then Director of the Congressional Budget Office Peter R. Orszag, and my own commentary on the subject of increasing “confidence” (see http://ipcri.net/images/A-Greater-Force-than-the-Challenges-We-Are-Now-F... ] and “Transitioning from Less Solution-Oriented Employment to More Solution-Oriented Employment” (see http://ipcri.net/images/Transitioning-from-Less-Solution-Oriented-Employ... ) Note: In 1984, the non-profit organization Chattanooga Venture [Chattanooga, Tennessee (USA)] organized a Community Visioning Initiative that attracted more than 1,700 participants, and produced 40 community goals—which resulted in the implementation of 223 projects and programs, the creation of 1,300 permanent jobs, and a total financial investment of 793 million dollars. [Source references for this information are on p. 9 of the “1000Communities2” proposal (also by this writer), a 161 page document which is discussed in both of the above mentioned essays)].

I do hope that more and more people are coming to the realization that the difficult challenges ahead are not something that the experts will resolve while the rest of us are doing something else—everyone is involved when it comes to determining the markets that supply the “ways of earning a living”; and given the unprecedented nature of the challenges ahead, all of us have important responsibilities. There is much which leaders could be asking from the people who respect their leadership, both as a matter of civic duty, and as a matter of necessity; and there are many people who will be very appreciative when they find that they have an important role to play in the work ahead. Leaders should guide citizens so that they can discover how they can do their part to contribute to the greater good of the whole.

Here are the excerpts referred to above:

Senator Johanns:

“One last question: it comes out of the document you gave us…. (….)… You say a key component of a capital assistance program is a forward looking comprehensive stress test that requires an assessment of whether a major financial institution has the capital necessary to continue lending and to absorb the potential losses that would result from a more severe decline in the economy. And you’re going to do this for everybody (every financial institution) over $100 billion dollars. They’ll be required to do it. How many institutions would be over $100 billion dollars?”

Secretary Geithner:

“I’m not going to get this perfect, but it’s roughly in the scale of 25.”

Senator Johanns:

“25.”

Secretary Geithner:

“And again, this is a critical part of what banks and supervisors have to do. It’s an ongoing normal process… we’re just going to try to bring a little more consistency and realism to how its done.”

Senator Johannes:

“Okay…. My last thought on this, and it’s more of a thought than a question… this stress test… when you publicize to the world that they have—they lack the capital necessary to continue lending, in an economy that is, maybe beyond what they projected…. I would think that will cause a very, very serious problem for those 25 institutions… if not literally a run of the institutions. How do you prevent that?”

Secretary Geithner:

“It’s a very difficult, complicated process. I think it’s important to recognize that the world today looks at these institutions with great uncertainty about the scale of their losses ahead. They know a lot about what their exposures are, and they know they face some risks ahead; and our hope is by bringing more clarity to that process, with some support for capital, you’re going to get the markets in a better position where that uncertainty is dispelled, and they’ve got a (____?) foundation to do it.

“Now, again, the markets may be overestimating those risks—they may be underestimating—but right now, the level of uncertainty that exists—itself—is very damaging. And it’s not something you can solve by – and you’re not suggesting this, and I don’t mean to imply this—by trying to obscure that basic problem. Because right now that problem itself is putting a huge amount of pressure on these institutions, and making it much harder for them to do what’s necessary to grow and expand. They’re being forced—many of them, some of them—are being forced to contract because of that.

“So arresting that process is important; but you’re absolutely right, it’s a very delicate, careful balance, and you need to look at these things together: with some care and rigor and consistency and realism on the supervisory process, combined with access to capital, combined with these other measures we’re going to produce to help provide—help provide some broader financing for these markets. It’s going to be a difficult balance; but again, the markets today are living with this acute cloud of uncertainty about what those basic risks are. And that itself is contributing to this dangerous dynamic where there is more deleveraging, shrinking in balance sheets, than may need to happen.”

Senator Johanns:

“I could see the frown grow on your face as I asked this question, and I understand; but if we don’t figure this out, you’re going to need a gigantic amount of capital to protect these 25 institutions. So I just think it’s something we have to pay a lot of attention to, because it puts a mark on them.”

Secretary Geithner:

“And can I just, before we leave this… I wanted to say that these institutions are all in different circumstances, and the scale of needs vary substantially across institutions. And it’s not fair to tar them with the same brush…. They’re in different circumstances; we’re going to treat them carefully, and differently, recognizing their relative strengths and weaknesses—again, with the basic objective of putting (them) in a position where they’re going to have a stronger foundation to get through this thing. And I don’t believe there’s any realistic way to get through this excerpt by trying to do that.

Senator Johanns:

“Mr. Chairman, thanks for your patience; again I went over—“

Chairman Dodd:

“No, no, I’d like to commend my colleague from Nebraska. We have new members in this committee who are just tremendously valuable, and I include my colleague from Nebraska. It’s very, very good—excellent questions…. (….)…. And let me just say too, before we turn to Senator Merkley, on this very last point—I think it’s a very important exchange that just occurred between you Mr. Secretary and Senator Johanns….”

Additional Note: There are many ways to position the above exchange in the larger context of current events, and having some understanding of the larger context (the “big picture”) will help in arriving at a realistic appreciation of the difficulties ahead. However, some of the very uncertainty discussed above is in fact caused by the many different “narratives” that are being offered to explain current events to the larger public. Some of these “narratives” (frameworks for understanding the “big picture”) are useful and constructive, and some are counter-productive.

The IPCR Initiative website provides a “Ten Point Assessment of the Most Difficult Challenges of Our Times” which includes the following challenge: “10) Sorting out what are real challenges and what are sound and practical solutions is becoming more and more difficult, as there is now, in many parts of the world, a multitude of ideas of all kinds coming to the fore in personal, family, community, and cultural life—all at the same time.” This difficulty, combined with all the other difficult challenges ahead, is what has led to this writer advocating for a combination of Community Visioning Initiatives, “Community Teaching and Learning Centers”, and “sister community” relationships as a way of generating an exponential increase in our collective capacity to overcome the challenges of our times (as mentioned above). Having said that, one way of positioning the above exchange in the larger context of the “Troubled Assets Relief Program” (TARP) would be to refer to the overview of TARP provided by Wikipedia, which is provides sufficient information to be useful as a starting point. As an immediate reference point, here are some excerpts from that overview (at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troubled_Assets_Relief_Program )

“The authority of the United States Department of the Treasury to establish and manage TARP under a newly created Office of Financial Stability became law October 3, 2008, the result of an initial proposal that ultimately was passed by Congress as H.R. 1424, enacting the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and several other acts.” (from last paragraph in the “Purpose” section)

“TARP allows the United States Department of the Treasury to purchase or insure up to $700 billion of ‘troubled’ assets.” (from 1st paragraph in the “Purpose” section)

“Another important goal of TARP is to encourage banks to resume lending again at levels seen before the crisis, both to each other and to consumers and businesses. If TARP can stabilize bank capital ratios, it should theoretically allow them to increase lending instead of hoarding cash to cushion against future, unforeseen losses from troubled assets. Increased lending equates to 'loosening' of credit, which the government hopes will restore order to the financial markets and improve investor confidence in financial institutions and the markets. As banks gain increased lending confidence, the interbank lending interest rates (the rates at which the banks lend to each other on a short term basis) should decrease, further facilitating lending.” (from 5th paragraph in the “Purpose” section)

“On October 14, 2008, Secretary of the Treasury Paulson and President Bush separately announced revisions in the TARP program. The Treasury announced their intention to buy senior preferred stock and warrants in the nine largest American banks.” (from 1st paragraph of the “Timeline of Changes to the Initial Program” section)

“In the original plan presented by Secretary Paulson, the government would buy troubled (toxic) assets in insolvent banks and then sell them at auction to private investor and/or companies. This plan was scratched when Paulson met with England's Prime Minister Gordon Brown who came to the White House for an international summit on the global credit crisis. [needs reference] Prime Minister Brown, in an attempt to mitigate the credit squeeze in England, merely infused capital into banks via preferred stock in order to clean up their balance sheets and, in some economists' view, effectively nationalizing many banks.” (from 3rd paragraph in the “Timeline of Changes to the Initial Program” section)

“One of the most difficult issues facing the Treasury in managing TARP is the pricing of the troubled assets. The Treasury must find a way to price extremely complex and sometimes unwieldy instruments for which a market does not exist. In addition, the pricing must strike a balance between efficiently using public funds provided by the taxpayer and providing adequate assistance to the financial institutions that need it.” (from 3rd paragraph in the “Eligible Assets and Asset Valuation” section)

As of February 9, 2009, $388 billion had been allotted, and $296 billion spent, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.” (Note: The total amount allocated (from the 1st paragraph in the “Expenditures and Commitments” section)

[Above quotes from “Troubled Assets Relief Program” section of Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troubled_Assets_Relief_Program ]

Post submitted by Stefan Pasti, Founder and Outreach Coordinator of The Interfaith Peacebuilding and Community Revitalization (IPCR) Initiative ( www.ipcri.net ).

Scientists will speak out on Climaticide

Scientists will meet next month to urge governments to get off their backsides and do something. NOW!

Check out the Guardian for more. Here's an excerpt, straight to the point.

"Bob Watson, a former head of the IPCC and chief scientist in the environment department warned .... nations
should prepare for an average rise of 4C. The IPCC said temperatures
could soar by up to 6C by 2100 if current rates of carbon pollution
continue."

Are you ready for that!?

Confidence that is Based on the Soundest Kind of Evidence

Here is an excerpt from the “Opening Keynote” to the “Good Jobs, Green Jobs” Conference (Feb. 4-6, 2009) in Washington D.C.—by Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme

“We know, very much as a result of the past 12 months, that markets are not divine creations - they are made by men and women and as such they can be redesigned by human beings and governments to achieve multiple aims.”

I truly believe that there is much good work being done out of the “spotlight” of even the most progressive networks looking to gather together inspiration and “nuts and bolts” how-to information. One of the “countless numbers of things we can do in the everyday circumstances of our lives” to contribute to overcoming the challenges of our times is to “bring to light” the good efforts of people and organizations, from all levels of activity… from international coalition building to helping a neighbor who really needs help.

As an example of “bringing to light” good efforts, I have read a few articles on the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) website related to green jobs, and in each article I found very helpful comments from Achim Steiner, the UNEP Executive Director. So, when I looked at the program for the “Good Jobs, Green Jobs” conference (Feb. 4-6, 2009; Washington D.C.), and saw that Achim Steiner was scheduled for the “opening keynote” on February 4, I immediately began searching to see if I could find a text of that speech. And the UNEP website did have a complete text, here at http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=563&Ar...

I have included some excerpts from the speech here in this post (see excerpts below). I believe this speech is worth noting because it can provide readers with a glimpse of the kind of leader who brings attention to good work wherever it can be found, and whose good intentions are ready to extend to any part of the world. I also believe Achim Steiner is the kind of leader who sets a tone for the kind of positive and constructive information exchange which leads to strong coalitions which can endure the tests of time. And I believe that we need to be learning about, creating, and supporting many more people with these kinds of leadership skills if we are to overcome the challenges of our times.

I encourage readers to read his speech at the above link. And I encourage readers to add links here to other examples of this kind of leadership, and other examples of good efforts, from every level of activity. When there are more examples of this kind of leadership, and more examples of good efforts from every level of activity, than there are examples of misguided leadership and efforts based on poor judgment, then we will have a confidence about the future that is based on the soundest kind of evidence.

Excerpts from Achim Steiner’s Speech:

“In mid-February, the world's environment ministers will meet at UNEP headquarters for the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum.

“Here we will present some of the latest findings on the state of the world's ecosystems, such as forests and soils to coral reefs and fisheries, in our UNEP Year Book 2009….

“Globalization means that the ups - and currently the real downs - of the global economy reach everywhere. But so, too, do ideas and imaginative initiatives….

“The investments being made now in order to counter the various "crunches" need to set the stage for a resource efficient, innovation-led, economic renaissance.

“The challenge today is to embed Green Economic policy in national economies everywhere - to make the many shining examples already pursued here and there part of the mainstream of economic thinking, part of the ‘here and now’….

“UNEP's Global Green New Deal report, bringing some of these global ideas and policy-actionable initiatives and compiled by a team of leading economists, will be published on 16 February at our environment ministers gathering….

“If we are to deal with the immediate crises and the ones just around the corner, then every dollar, Euro, peso and yuan is going to have to work smarter and harder.

“The investments being made now in order to counter the various "crunches" need to set the stage for a resource efficient, innovation-led, economic renaissance….

“There are still many voices being raised saying we cannot afford it - that it is interfering in the market as if the market was some perfect construct - independent of human affairs….

“We know, very much as a result of the past 12 months, that markets are not divine creations - they are made by men and women and as such they can be redesigned by human beings and governments to achieve multiple aims….”

From speech by Achim Steiner, United Nations Environment Programme Executive Director (and United Nations Under-Secretary General)— given as “Opening Keynote” on February 4, 2009 at the “Good Jobs, Green Jobs” National Conference [Feb. 4-6, 2009 in Washington D.C. (USA)]

Comments and excerpts from Achim Steiner speech submitted by Stefan Pasti, Founder and Outreach Coordinator, The Interfaith Peacebuilding and Community Revitalization (IPCR) Initiative

[“Everyone is involved when it comes to determining the markets that supply the ‘ways of earning a living’.” (SP)]

Seeking crop share/communal living situation

Hi there! I'm looking to relocate to Eugene from McMinnville this summer. I am a heirloom OP gardener, crafter, doula, locavore, quiet environmental activist, Cultural Creative, Peak Oil doomer :) I am seeking community and to share land upon which to put in a massive garden and a very small passive solar off-grid balecob cottage. I'd like to eventually grow garlic, medicinal & culinary herbs, and seeds for sale at the farmers market. I currently work as an office manager and want to power down somewhere relatively safe from which to be of service to the local community and raise my child in peace during these increasingly troubled times. I read Astyk, Orlov, Heinberg, Kunstler. Does any of this sound good to you? If so, please contact me at childrenaremylife@hotmail.com. Thanks, folks!

madison

The US can reduce energy use by 30% through efficiency alone.

"Rocky Mountain Institute's Energy and Resources Team has just published a report that shows the opportunity for 30 percent energy savings in the United States. Assessing the Electric Productivity Gap and the U.S. Efficiency Opportunity analyzed electric productivity state by state, and found a significant gap between the highest and lowest performing states.

Electric
productivity measures how much gross domestic product is generated for
each kilowatt-hour consumed ($GDP/kWh). This finding is significant
because if laggard states achieved the electric productivity of the top
ten performing states through energy efficiency, we would achieve
electric savings equivalent to more than 60 percent of U.S. coal-fired
generation. According to Natalie Mims, Consultant on RMI's Energy & Resources Team
(ERT), "closing the electric productivity gap through energy efficiency
is the largest near-term opportunity to immediately reduce electricity
use and greenhouse gases, and move the United States forward as a
leader in the new clean energy economy."

The
electric productivity of top performing states, like New York,
Connecticut, and California, serves as an example of what's achievable.
Those states show the nation how barriers to efficiency practices can
be overcome, how state utilities can be regulated, and how new and
effective technologies can be implemented. Conversely, lower performing
states have a huge opportunity to learn from the successes of higher
performing states by closing their electric productivity gap using
known and tested technology and policy. This will be the focus of
RMI's next step, as ERT concentrates on the efficiency measures that can cost-effectively have the largest impact." - - RMI e alert Newsletter 05/02/09

RMI
has been on the forefront of research and policy recommendations
regarding efficiency for as long as I can remember. Their latest report
is startling. Check out the interactive map to see how your state is doing.

It's Cold Outside

It is a cold snowy morning. I am staying in an old sandstone residence at a boarding school in West Yorkshire dating back to the 18th century. I can feel cold air seeping in around the old single pane windows. This is an historic grade 1 listed building which severely limits the modifications allowed, double glazing isn’t likely any time soon. So, I roll up a couple of tea towels and stuff them into the gap at the bottom of the window and along the join between the upper and lower sections where I could see a cob web blowing in the breeze.

4 of the 6 windows have an extra window on hinges added inside, they are not tight but better than nothing. Adding this feature to the last 2 windows would help and for just the cost of some draft excluder these could be much improved.
We keep the windows covered whenever we don’t need the light as the radiators are directly under the windows in most rooms. This is the worst place to put a radiator. Heat rises and much of it is simply transferred through the glass to the outdoors. This is true for most double glazing as well which is only as effective as a solid wall at holding in heat. High end windows are gas filled and triple glazed with special coatings to reflect the heat back into the room. If you can afford it they may be worth the investment. Drapes should stop at the sill and be heavy enough to insulate the window. If the drape covers the top of the radiator it will route most of the heat heat behind it and along the cold glass, heating the garden. We keep the drapes tucked in behind the radiators to keep the heat away from the cold glass. An inexpensive reflector placed behind the radiator will also reduce heat loss through the wall.

I’m in the kitchen with a warm cup of tea watching the snow fall. I can feel cold air blowing across my legs. Looking under the kitchen counter top I find there is a huge hole in the wall board where the pressure adjust valves for the boiler are accessed. Cold air is pouring in there so I stuff a bath mat into it. Earlier in the week I discovered that the front door had a gap along the edge about a centimeter across. I had some leftover foam draft excluder from tightening up our house in Sheffield and used it up along the worst sections on the edge below the latch.

Now that I’ve stopped up some of the leaks I wonder about insulation. I don’t know if the floor is insulated but judging by the feeling coming through to my stockinged feet I’d guess not. It still amazes me to find buildings in which the simplest things have not been done to save energy and increase comfort. The built environment is responsible for up to half of all energy use. As part of any plan to increase resiliency it must be high on the list. Architecture 2030 has proposed a plan that I heartily support. Check em out at,
http://www.architecture2030.org/

chestervillagecommunity.blogspot.com

To view the blog please go to
chestervillagecommunity.blogspot.com
Thank you!

British Columbia Coastline Faces Being Shaken and Swamped

Resilience within our communities is becoming increasingly urgent as we face the twin threats of Climate Change and Peak Oil. Here's a link to an excellent article about a fascinating report dealing the likely impacts of sealevel rise in the pacific northwest.
Combining as it does the imminent threat of subsidence due to earthquake induced land slip and the more gradual threat of sea level rise due to a number of climate related changes, this report makes good reading.

I think the "probable", 11 to 50cm, is likely too conservative. The "possible" is more likely probable. Here is the "possible" from the report, 80 to 120cm. The report acknowledges that many researchers believe the figures for sea level rise from melting glalciers as projected in the IPCC 2007 are too conservative and that the rate of melting may increase substantially over the century. More recent science confirms this.

Global warming is accelerating due to numerous positive feedback loops. I don't think scientists are sure enough about the severity of the effects, scientists are after all conservative beasts, to predict outcomes with any degree of certainty but I am willing to bet that we are in for a far rougher time of it than what governments and their panels of scientists and beaureaucrats are willing to let on.

Every day that we go about business as usual, applying palliative measures to salve our conscience in form of green consumerism, endless debate instead of action, we are, like lemmings, herding closer to the edge of climate catastrophe.

It will be interesting to see if based on this report the Canadian government is willing to put and end to the disastrous exploitation of the Alberta tar sands.

British Columbia Coastline Faces Being Shaken and Swamped

Download the report at
http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/climate/pdfs/sea-level-changes-08.pdf

Corn Syrup contaminated with Mercury

Industrial agriculture has had some spectacular failures of late, contaminated tomatoes, contaminated spinach, deadly beef. Now they want to irradiate our vegetables, and kill it's nutritive qualities in the process, to kill contamination after the fact rather than cleaning up their act.

On top of all that this a new study finds mercury in Corn Syrup, one of the most common ingredients in processed food and many suspect largely responsible for the epidemic rise in diabetes. The answer seems pretty simple to me, buy whole foods, organic and local or better yet grow your own.

Check out the article at Organic Consumers Association

High Fructose Corn Syrup Contaminated With Mercury

"Mercury is toxic in all its forms," said IATP's David Wallinga, M.D., and a co-author in both studies. "Given how much high fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the FDA to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply."
Have we forgotten Minamata so soon, see picture above.

Secrets of a Lunatic Farmer

Joel Salatin is featured in Michael Pollan's book An Omnivore's Dilemma and looks to be a most interesting man. Follow this link to another take, from Organic Consumers Association writer Joe McCully, on his Polyface farm in Virginia.


http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_16567.cfm

Here's an excerpt;

"He says that everyone has the freedom to "opt out," a favorite phrase he uses to describe the freedom of choice people can exercise when buying locally from farmers instead of supporting the large, industrial farms, often located across the country and the world.
"The only reason the framers of the Bill of Rights did not include freedom of food choice along with the right to bear arms, worship and speech was that they couldn't conceive of the day when food would have to have a USDA sticker on it"

Fun facts about livestock

Used to feed livestock:
73% of grain grown in Canada
40% of wheat grown in the UK
80% of the world's commercial soybean harvest
400,000 hectares of land in the US (an area the size of Germany)

85% of topsoil loss in the US attributable to ranching
15,000 litres of water to make 1 kg of beef
10kg of feed produces 1 kg of beef
66% of deforestation in Central and South America is to create livestock pasture
livestock are administered 8 times the amount of antibiotics as given to humans in the US.
1.3 million tonnes of Manure produced by livestock production in the US much of it treated as waste or becomes pollution.

Still want that burger?

Regardless about how you feel about the ethics of modern livestock production, as we transition towards a more sustainable food system we will have to eat less meat.

source: The Atlas of Food by Millstone and Lang

The value of speaking up

Over the past eight years, the value of free expression has been illustrated so starkly and the barriers to this seemingly simple act of democratic participation in the realm of ideas and values have become more varied and challenging. From the erection of "free speech zones" miles from the ears and eyes of their intended recipients to the illegality of wearing a politically charged t-shirt, Americans are becoming re-acquainted with the numerous cultural gatekeepers, people and institutions that for whatever reason, make it risky or difficult to stand up for your beliefs and values through speech.

Many of us have faced a difficult choice when we wanted to speak out against the Iraq War or the Patriot Act but experienced the chilling effect of our fellow citizens who may have had sons or daughters, fathers or aunts, serving in the military. It became worse when our troops came home for burial and now our speech could have the added acidic effect of challenging these people's familial sacrifice. So we kept our mouth's shut.

On other fronts, such as the immense threats we face from global climate change or post-peak oil, it took years for us once we became familiar with the arguments to gather the courage and muster a few words in the company of people who were not sycophants or fellow members of the choir. Think of the time lost while the climate of acceptability shifted slowly, gradually, incrementally so that we could, ever so carefully, begin to share our thoughts and concerns.

Some of us didn't really care and said whatever we felt. Sometimes those of us who were of that sort paid dearly for their speech. Others had a family, car, mortgage, job and couldn't venture so far out beyond the curve of public opinion. These people were more careful and waited...and waited, until recently when it became acceptable to speak out about climate change or against the war. So again, what do we lose, not only each of us individually but also our society collectively when we hold back our opinions and thoughts? It's up to each of of to answer the question of individual cost. But for society, it's clear that we lose an opportunity to circulate values, beliefs, ideas, and opinions into the realm of public opinion so that the collective sum of what we all believe can be accurately assessed.

Conversely, to not do so risks a dark cloaking of the sum total of these beliefs so that what we're left with is another reality. This alternative reality is picked up almost like radar by the majority of us as "what society thinks" since there is no aggressively competing message. The media, already pre-biased as a corporate appendage, readily picks up on the comfortably ensconced version of public opinion that does not challenge accepted norms and mores which are embedded in to the cultural petri medium of growth, consumption, expansion, acquisition, and profit.

So in the end, again what we have lost over the past eight years most significantly is an opportunity to more aggressively circulate our own ideas and concerns about climate change, post-peak oil, endangered species, community, food, and other issues in the public forum of ideas. I am not suggesting unduly risking your job, circle of friends, or physical well-being in a reckless explosion of charged words. What I do suggest is to be aware of opportunities that you might have to have a conversation with a friend or acquaintance that you might have avoided previously about these issues. Develop your points and arguments in a non-confrontational manner but build a logical, well constructed argument that may change his or her opinion ever so slightly. You don't have to go for the Hail Mary pass but perhaps you might. over time, just shift one or three people's perspectives enough to begin to change the climate on this one topic. The sum total of all of us doing this could approximate a Gladwellian "tipping point". On the other side, keeping silent on these critically important issues risks a "spiral of silence" that may marginalize the issue or at least never give it the public support necessary to compete with the economy or health care for primacy in American political discourse.

Finally, if you have any experiences of holding back your opinion or self censoring yourselves about issues you consider important, please consider filling out a questionnaire that I have developed to learn more about these acts. I am working on a dissertation designed to learn from people who have self-censored so that I can gather what their primary concerns over speaking out were. You can find the form here:

Click Here to take survey

Christopher Ryan, AICP
ConcordCAN & The Localizer Blog

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