Climate Carbon Wedges

Now maybe you’re saying to yourself, “Why is he talking about those things that bullies do where they pull someone’s underwear way up?”, ya know “wedgies”.  Nope, but you’re close! I could take an hour to explain it, but these guys are on it.

Carbon wedge graph

The climate carbon wedge concept was introduced by two Princeton professors, Rob Socolow and Stephen Pacala. These wedges describe a portfolio of energy technologies and choices about how we live, that when taken together form wedges against increasing carbon emissions. This is perhaps better explained by looking at the diagram above… READ MORE >>

Inner and Outer Support to Make Sustainable Real!

As we work together to build, test and deploy rapid social, economic, and ecological prototype scenarios for sustainability, we can kick the ball farther down the road sooner, if we build in support.

My experience is the creative process pushes my buttons. My expectations of perfection cripples me.  How can I ask for help if my ideas are “halfbaked”?… READ MORE >>

Polar Sam-On a mission to save his people, one ice cream at a time

A polar bear, sent by his people to save their way of life, finds himself driving an ice cream truck around suburbia, on a mission to reverse global warming, one ice cream at a time

The Real Life Adventures of Polar Sam

Episode #1-a Shootout at the Eco Corral.

Scene: A shootout on the streets of suburban Santa Fe, a couple of miles west of the Plaza.

Santa Fe: beautiful, expensive capitol of New Mexico with aspirations to become the sustainability and alternative energy capitol of the country. The City Housing/ Econ Development Department wants to maintain the quality of life and have affordable housing.  The Mayor dreams of having the river run year round.

Kid Suburbia: Long time resident recently retired, has lived for 30 years in Casa Solana, one of Santa Fe’s original suburban tract. Currently fighting the proposed Northwest Quadrant Affordable Housing Development.

NIMBY : “Not in My Back Yard” the cry of suburbia dwellers trying to stop poorly conceived, or any kind of growth.

Doc Plaza: in his 80’s, a fourth generation born and raised in Santa Fe,  Doc longs for a simpler, walkable, more affordable way of life. Santa Fe used to be a mixed use, mixed income, pedestrian friendly community with a plaza at its heart, where the whole community came to shop and hang out. Now the downtown is mostly empty of locals; it’s become the third largest art market in the US, a shadow of its former self; Still beautiful, but missing a realness, a vitality lost to a tourist economy, gentrication (expensive), and sprawl.

Polar Sam: A polar bear on a mission to save his people; selling ice cream, frozen fish and sustainability out of his ice cream truck….  READ MORE >>

If it ain’t FUN, it ain’t sustainable!

I think that says it all!  “If it ain’t Fun, it ain’t sustainable!”

I can get overwhelmed by the immensity of it all; the Impending Bummers, the complexity of all these systems within  systems, trying to figure out how we are gonna learn to collaborate on such large scales, when we’re so busy it’s hard to get three people together at any one time.

As a visionary wannabe facilitator of sustainable neighborhoods, who’s  been going for “What else can we do beside suburbia?” for 30 + years, I’ve learned some useful tools along the way. A major learning is working with the inspiration within. At times I call it “Letting go, and letting God”.  Now I know we have deep convictions about separating church and state, and I don’t want to use language that might create separation between us, so please just consider this concept, and substitute the words that work for you…. READ MORE >>

Entrepreneurship-Innovation from here on out

http://www.train-them-well.com/page42.htm

Collaboration!

Our times call for rapid prototyping social, economical, and ecological strategies so the emerging sustainable economy can….emerge! Many of the jobs being created from evolving technologies, don’t even exist yet. We are inventing the future as we travel forward.

Half of the hottest futurist jobs don’t even exist yet, according to Daniel Burrus, author of Technotrends and CEO of Burrus Research Associates. “We’re in the early stages of shifting gears into the e-society,” he says. “Virtually every part of an enterprise will be e-enabled, which includes connectivity, content, commerce, communication, collaboration, and community.”… READ MORE >>

BioChar-Carbon Sequestration and Soil Fertility

Black Soil, biochar, a special kind of charcoal, has been discovered in the Amazon jungles, as well as in Japan.  Tierra Preta,  as it is also called in Brazil, has amazing properties.  In the midst of large amounts of rainfall, where large quantities of biochar have been introduced into the soil, the soil’s fertility has lasted for centuries. This special kind of charcoal retains nutrients for plants and creates a most hospitable environment for microorganisms and has provided fertile soils for large populations in the Brazilian jungles for several thousand years.

As the “charcoal” withstands being broken down for long periods of time, modern soil scientists and farmers have realized Biochar could be the most effective way to sequester carbon out of the atmosphere, while adding to a soil’s fertility.  Most any material that contains carbon can be “cooked” to not only create a charcoal like product, but also the gases released during cooking process, pyrolysis, can be used as a substitute for fossil fuel. These two together have raised the specter that creating biochar out of waste carbonaceous material (agricultural wastes, etc) could be a major part of a long term solution to global warming, while adding to a soil’s fertility… READ MORE >>

Cap & Trade-smoke and mirrors?

I’ve read a couple of articles about cap and trade, and the authors seem to think it’s bogus.  Way too complicated. A boondoggle to make the same clever people who brought us the foreclosure bummer even richer.

Here’s Anne Leonard’s take on it.

The idea I like is to tax carbon, and lift taxes on income.  In this way, folks will be encouraged to take their savings and invest in renewable energy.  I cannot believe how happy newspaper stories report on increase fossil fuel production, or the good news about nuclear energy…What planet are these people living on???… READ MORE >>

Turning Trash into Gold!

Red Wigglers Rock!  

They thrive in rotting vegetation, compost, and manure; They are rarely found in soil, preferring conditions where others cannot survive. I am, of course, referring to the earthworm also called manure worms, or as their friends call em Eisenia foetida.  But whatever you call em, Red Wigglers rock!

Red WigglersOver the years I’ve had several “defining moments” with earthworms.  Early on, I found I wasn’t that enthusiastic about growing food, but I loved building compost piles. Maybe it was all the effort that double digging required, or the book by Ruth Stout about just building a compost pile on the driveway and things will grow. Somehow I got the message earthworms and compost piles are where it’s at…. READ MORE >>

Meltdowns and Other Impending Bummers

“Oh so many, ways to be wicked”
I woke this morning to the song playing in my head, Maria McKee and Lone Justice belting it out, my personal soundtrack….the Japanese Meltdown is in Day 6.

I call em Impending Bummers. When I think about doing something unknown, I can have a lot of apprehension, I can feel downright scared. I bite my finger nails, tear at my cuticles.

Maybe it’s the thousands of years of our collective worrying about getting eaten by a sabertooth tiger.  Or if Genghis Khan is going to show up in the spring this year…That may explain where the dread, this background anxiety, comes from. It certainly pushes me on a spiritual path in an attempt to find relief, but face it, as stewards of our amazing beautiful spinning green and blue planet, we suck…. READ MORE >>

SUSTAINABLE URBAN VILLAGE -turning SUVs into SUVS

Sustainable Urban Village is an odd phrase.

Sustainable Urban Village is a mash up of opposites. “Village” is pastoral, dreamy, idealistic, old fashioned, small and intimate. “Urban” conjures up pretty much the opposite-gritty, concrete and asphalt, contemporary, hip, huge and cold. Add “sustainable” to the mix, and it becomes ….an odd phrase. Where would one find such a creature? And what qualities will it embody?

As we contemplate where we’re going as a people and we feel the ground shifting under us as we transform from a car dominated sprawl lifestyle to a pedestrian friendly, ecologically sound, lowered consumptive way of life, I’m suggesting we pick and choose from the best options; incorporating best practices, and lessons learned of what works and what doesn’t, leaving those choices with harsh unintended consequences behind.

vida streetscape

Live, work, play, learn, shop, all within walking. Kids play, while you catchup with a friend!

“What works” for me, rolls into 5 principles; “Mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods, with lifelong learning and open space……everywhere.” Another way to put it? Sustainable Urban Villages, and they are found…..everywhere.

It takes a certain number of residential to make commercial be successful.  These economies of scales hold true no mater where we live, in a rural setting, a grayfield, or in the suburbs. We will learn what works, what it takes to be sustainable. As we reinvent our economy, we will pick wisely, and base our investment in the future on the real, lasting values we hold collectively. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to live in balance with our earth.

Redeveloping ourselves sustainable is complicated and requires collaboration. We’re wired to innovate. As we rise to the greatest challenge humanity has ever known,  we will be amazing. Share your vision!

Together, we can bring forward the emerging sustainable economy, a lifestyle that is “Good for people, good for the planet, and good for the polar bears”.

Let’s make sustainable real!… READ MORE >>

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