One of the basic goals of environmental and economic sustainability is not to pull our houses "off the grid" but to collectively make our houses the actual power grid its self, and thereby reducing the cost of energy by both individual unit production and still having collective usage of the surplus, and thereby making the paradigm shift to more environmentally friendly sources and cooperation instead of domination by under regulated, overpriced corporate utilities.
If every neighborhood cluster in the City of Fort Wayne generated through solar and wind, with a substation electric or natural gas backup, for its own power supply it would reduce the need for so many power lines and transformers across the City and therefore the sky line could get cleaned up by at least 50 percent in 10 years; and by burying the power lines like they do in the subdivisions it would clean up the remainder of the power lines, with only the minimum of high voltage lines still required to be airborne.
1. COMMIT TO USING LESS POWER: SWITCH 2 COMPACT FLUORESCENT OR LED LIGHTS.
There has been enough chatter about this over the local and national airwaves, so that most people are aware that in 2011 the incandescent light bulb is going the way of the eight track and a VCR, oblivion. When President Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, besides requiring "fuel producers to use at least 36 billion gallons of biofuel in 2022; and a national standard of 35 miles per gallon by 2020" one of the other things according to a USA TODAY report, that happened was that all light bulbs must be 25 to 35 percent more efficient by 2012 to 2014. So, any day now, you'll find yourself in the hardware store, staring at a vast display of CFLs - most of which don't live up to their hype. That's why you need to know that not all CFL bulbs are equal.
Is your house one bursting light bulb away from a HAZMAT clean up?
Because the government hasn't done the job, the Enviromental Working Group released a study guide based on CFLs called "Lighten Up in '09", that helps the consumer pinpoint a few good bulbs, that contain a fraction of the toxic mercury that is found in most CFLs and last up to 2 to 3 times as long.
An Environmental Working Group investigation has identified 7 bulb lines made by Earthmate, Litetronics, Sylvania, Feit, MaxLite and Philips that trump the rest. These bulbs, listed in our Green Lighting Guide contain a fraction of the toxic mercury allowed by Energy Star, reducing the mercury contamination from a broken bulb. All last 8-15,000 hours, dramatically longer than the Energy Star standard of 6,000 hours, and also offer high efficiency. (Photo: Towle Road)
2. CLAIM YOUR TAX CREDITS FOR 2009 BY MAKING CHANGES THIS YEAR
On October 3, 2008, President Bush signed into law the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008." aka "The Wall Street Bailout" One of the things that this legislation did was to reactivate tax credits for energy efficient home improvements (windows, doors, roofs, insulation, HVAC, and non-solar water heaters). Tax credits for these residential products, which had expired at the end of 2007, will now be available for improvements made during 2009. However, improvements made during 2008 are not eligible for a tax credit. The bill also extended tax credits for solar energy systems and fuel cells to 2016. New tax credits were established for small wind energy systems and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Tax credits for builders of new energy efficient homes and tax deductions for owners and designers of energy efficient commercial buildings were also extended. For more information and a detailed list of tax credits, visit the US Government's ENERGY STAR website.
3. ATTEND WORKSHOPS TO LEARN HOW TO MAKE YOUR HOME ENERGY SELF SUFFICIENT
Last week the Indiana Office of Energy Development (OED) held a workshop at the Main Branch of the Allen County Public Library on solar domestic hot water heaters. This was the first of three 2009 alternative energy workshops, to be held throughout the state of Indiana. These free workshops and are open to all Hoosiers. To register for the OED workshops contact: Chris Dorman (info is @ bottom of page), as space is limited. Once you register, more detailed information will be sent to you. There are two remaining courses Basic Photo Voltaics on the 4th of February and Introduction to Residential Wind on the 17th of March this quarter.
4. WATCH THE DOCU-DRAMA: LIQUID ASSETS WHEN IT REBROADCASTS IN FEBRUARY
"Liquid Assets" tells the story of essential utility systems: drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater. These complex and aging systems-some in the ground for more than 100 years-are critical for basic sanitation, public safety, economic development, and a host of other necessities of life. The documentary highlights communities from across the United States, providing an understanding of hidden water infrastructure assets, demonstrating watershed protection approaches, and illustrating twenty-first century solutions. You will be able to watch it on WFWA PBS 39 @ random times throughout the month of February.
Better yet, get involved in the discussion about the multi million dollar, 20 year project that Fort Wayne has finally been forced by the EPA to participate in order to clean up our three rivers, by eliminating our fifty Combined Sewer Overflows per year, over the next twenty years. On the 28th of January the Allen Co. Public Library will be hosting a screening and community discussion of the issues at hand and how the project is going to unfold.
"Over the next couple of decades, Fort Wayne will be making enormous investments in our utility systems. In order to protect our environment and ensure that our utilities can serve the community for years to come we must invest now. We see this event on January 28 as a beginning of ongoing discussions about the need to invest in improving our utility infrastructure." (Kumar Menon Director of City Utilities)
As most of my long time readers are aware, I serve on the Council of Stewards (Board of Directors) of Heartland Communities, Inc., a local non for profit, which is a strategic partner and fiscal agent for Save Maumee Grassroots Organization, which was founded by Abigail Frost.
Abigail Frost, had this to say regarding the original broadcast last year of LIQUID ASSETS on PBS39, "I saw this documentary, it is very informative for people to understand the process from toilet to faucet." She also had this to say regarding the original "local council of City officials" that were available for a question and answer session after that original broadcast in the Fall, "It was dry and without answering real questions. It did not:
- speak about why our city has waited so long to even begin the work;
- place emphasis on non point source pollution;
- answer how citizens should be responsible for their actions;
- about how this work could occur faster;
- speak about all the breaking sewer pipes almost daily in the middle of our roadways;
- speak about how Harrison Square Ball Park is on top of an underground waterway and has to have pumps that cost thousands of dollars PER YEAR to keep ground from sagging and their bad planning."
For now the fourth year in a row, Abi and Ryan Bailey are planning putting together Save Maumee's Earth Day Project this year it will take place on Divine Mercy Sunday, the 19th of April, 2009 from 11A-4P plan ahead to come out and get dirty for clean water. We will be planting riparian native seed to further establish erosion control on the river banks (one of the primary reason our waters are so murky and contaminated), as well as clean up all the trash and refuse that was left behind by various people not paying attention to their surroundings and caring about the effects of their actions on our three rivers. There will be Watershed and River Education opportunities every hour and activities for the little ones when they are tired of cleaning or planting. If you can donate money, goods, or services, to the cause of cleaning up Our Three Rivers, and make the Summit City sing with new life, then donate to Save Maumee via Heartland Communities, Inc. by calling Abi @ 260-417-2500!
6. INSIST THE CITY MANDATE PEDAL POWER FOR ALL CONCERTS AND EVENTS DOWNTOWN
We have all heard of Rock The Vote initiatives since the early nineties to get people out to exercise their civil duties and participate in the political process. Do you want to see something really cool and a way to literally return the power to the people? Then check out Rock The Bike and these soon possibilities of people generated power supplies coming to a concert venue near you. These next videos are from the second annual Bicycle Music Festival on the 21 June 2008 in San Francisco. The first video (above) is a basic introduction to the Concert Series and explanation of the Pedal Powered Public Address System. The second video (below) is from the band Antioquia's (pic to left) performance on the third of five stops during the Festival, enjoy the free power music and dancing.
Mentioning the power of the pedal and safe drinking water supplies, I also need to remind readers of this post from St. Valentine's Day last year when F6 covered the AQUADUCT a Tricycle Water Filtration System designed for obtaining drinking water during emergencies and provide an active supply chain for third world countries.
7. WORK WITHIN TO PRODUCE WHAT YOU NEED OR CAN TRADE FOR PRODUCTS
One of the things that our culture has lost besides the value of money is the ability to barter or trade for goods and services which is why we are in the trouble we are in financially. Bartering or fair trade for goods and services was such a viable system that it is what our current credit system was originally based on but we have allowed it to spin out of control by corporate greed and government taxation of property and income aside from pointe of purchase sales taxes and tariffs. One way to correct the economy is to bring back this system of fair trade of labor value for products and services and that will limit the power that money has over the individual and the economy as a whole. If we simplify the value of goods and services, by controlling the markets, we will save it rather than kill it.
8. PLANT PUBLIC FRUIT TREES & "VICTORY GARDENS"!
How can you help create an secure food supply in Fort Wayne and Allen County? Allow Sacred Scripture to be your guide, starting with these principles of fair provision for the poor, outlined in Leviticus Chapter 19:
When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not be so thorough that you reap the field to its very edge, nor shall you glean the stray ears of grain. Likewise, you shall not pick your vineyard bare, nor gather up the grapes that have fallen. These things you shall leave for the poor and the alien. (v. 9-10)Fallen Fruit has a manifesto which includes a few palatable ideas for urban planning, "Fruit can grow almost anywhere, and can be harvested by everyone. Our cities are planted with frivolous and ugly landscaping, sad shrubs and neglected trees, whereas they should burst with ripe produce. Great sums of money are spent on young trees, water and maintenance. While these trees are beautiful, they could be healthy, fruitful and beautiful."
"When you come into the land and plant any fruit tree there, first look upon its fruit as if it were uncircumcised. For three years, while its fruit remains uncircumcised, it may not be eaten. In the fourth year, however, all of its fruit shall be sacred to the LORD as a thanksgiving feast to him. Not until the fifth year may you eat its fruit. Thus it will continue its yield for you. (v. 23-25)
They take a more socialist approach with how to approach the policy change, which I whole heartily disagree with when it is this far reaching. These are the parts I can support: encouraging local governments, "to support community gardens" and allowing "our streets to be lined with" fruit trees. I do have one caution though, we as a people have enough problems shoveling our sidewalk, let alone the City picking up leaves from the curb, which locally still hasn't been completed from last year. How are we going to assure the roads will be safe to travel on without any the fallen fruit rotting in the Indiana late summer and autumn rainstorms? I don't know, I'm just waiting for the day when I get to hear, "Hey, um Dad?"; "Yes, Son?"; "Dad I was getting ready to pull my new moped into the driveway and it slipped on a rotten banana peel!": "Are you okay?"; "Yeah Dad I'm fine, but I almost ran over the neighbor's cat, and the moped is under Mom and Dad and your new Boyfriend's truck." We also can not forget the squirrels. They will go after your nuts if they cant find their own.
The part of the manifesto which demands "only plant fruit-bearing trees in public parks" and the "demand that all parking lots be landscaped with fruit trees which provide shade, clean the air and feed the people, is poor sighted land management and violations of property rights. Sometimes those evergreens or firs are necessary for shelter and windbreaks. Yes even other creatures depend on those non fruit trees for shelter!
The failure to Government Owned Community Gardens is that not everyone will get involved, which is necessary for success in political based organization and structure. As a rule of thumb, for the City Park employees assigned to oversee the project, their paycheck must be reflective to a certain portion of the success or failure of the project, otherwise their main goal is just to get the assignment out of the way as they would still get paid the same amount.
Edible Estates @ Descano Gardens in Los Angeles is a little more immune (video) to that rule of thumb. EDIBLE ESTATES is the brain child product of Designer and Artist Fritz Haeg, where he explores and practices the history, horticulture, and art as well as the pragmatic implications of functioning gardens and a truly living your life with your neighbors off your front porch versus manicured lawns. There is more information about Edible Estates at the bottom of this post and in the two videos above and below this section.
9. BECOME A WORKER OWNER IN A GREEN COOP BUSINESS
The solution is where the green collective and worker-owner cooperative paradigms intersects with the capitalist economic spirit of entrepreneurial initiatives, and thereby removes Government obscure grasp and drives the economy in a revitalized manor while providing equal opportunities for success to increase, with a limit to individual failure and reprisals. Join with other like minded individuals and become worker owners of companies, serving a growing dynamic across the current boundaries of industry lines and coercive union & labor struggles against the corporate dollar, by making the employees the owners of their own destiny and profit or loss.
Heartland Communities is currently working on an Economic Sustainability Project and we have four of the twelve prong process being forged under the heat of a great fire (the determination of the human soul to become something bigger than its self), along with some other like minded people, whom have the same drive and passion, to make the world a better, cleaner, more sane, place to dwell with one another. If you care to get involved contact me below in the comments or email or any other STEWARD through MySpace, or Yahoo! Group.
We have also begun the process to be recognized by the City Government as a Community Housing Development Organization for the near northwest area of the City and Downtown, which is going to open up a mother load of opportunities for us to showcase both green technologies and worker owner businesses that will establish economic sustainability, the procurement of local food resources, and cooperative housing models of ownership, amongst other opportunities for everyone to be involved in at the ground level.
UPDATE via CSPANJUNKIE.ORG 26 January 2009:
President Barack H. Obama releases Administration policy on Environment and Energy Dependency
He began the press conference by confirming massive layoffs of thousands of people at each of these major companies across the country including MicroSoft, Intel, United Airlines, Home Depot, Caterpillar, Sprint/Nextell, . He continued with a short history of broken promises by previous Presidents and other politicians for the last three decades, and then announced today that His Administration's Policy is to reverse our nation's dependence on foreign oil through several steps. Through these first steps, beginning with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka, the next trillion dollar bailout currently going through the Congress) as a down payment, on this "new energy economy, that will put hundreds of million of people to work. He proceeded to list the objectives:
- Put 460,000 Americans to work with clean energy investments;
- Double the capacity to create alternative energy over the next 3 years;
- Lay down three thousand miles of transmission lines to deliver the new energy;
- Assert savings of two billion dollars per year by making 75% Federal Properties efficient;
- Assert savings of hundreds of dollars on energy bills by weatherizing two million homes;
- Implements new fuel efficiency standards for model year 2011;
- Restore States Rights when determining Energy and Environmental Policies (sort of maybe);
- Global Coalition on Climate and Energy Economy
Environmental Working Group [Website]
1436 U St NW Suite 100 Washington, DC 20009
Cris Dorman [EMail][Website]
Coordinator of Public Outreach and Education
Indiana Office of Energy Development
101 W. Ohio St. Ste 1250 Indianapolis, IN 46204
PASSAGE: Leviticus 19:9-10, 23-25, as copied from the New American Bible
and provided by the United States Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops.
Fallen Fruit & Public Fruit Jam: Think scavenger hunt & quilting bee but with Fruit for Canning.
EDIBLE ESTATES with FRITZ HAEG
OTHER URBAN FARMING/ NEIGHBORHOOD REVITALIZATION INITIATIVES
Dudley Street Neighborhood Initatives in Roxbury Massachusetts.
Growing Power locations in Milwaukee, and Chicago with National Training Centers in Arkansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi and future locations in Georgia, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.
PATH TO FREEDOM By The Dervaes Family, Urban Homesteaders [MySpace][Facebook][YouTube]