The Techno Fix Pathology in a Kansas Wheat Field

The Techno Fix Pathology in a Kansas Wheat Field

Techno-Optimism is preventing us from considering low tech real solutions for critical problems. A Techno Fix never addresses the root problem. It just litters the future with unintended consequences.

The Big Lie used by Industrial Agriculture, that their technology alone can feed the world, relies on the Techno-Optimism of most Americans and obscures the unsustainable, environmentally destructive results of mining and destroying the living soil Kansas was blessed with.

Agroecology and agroforestry are just two potential technologies that are more likely to feed the world sustainably than destructive monoculture factory farming. Industrial Agriculture focuses on profit and efficiency at the expense of the environment relying on inputs derived from finite fossil fuel, Ecocide and the theft of Earth’s Genetic Heritage.

Techno-Fix: Why Technology Can’t Save Us or the Environment is a crucial book examining these issues coauthored by Michael and Joyce Huesemann. Check it out.

Here are some links to Huesemann’s work:

Can Technology Save Us? TV Interview https://youtu.be/BQm0gkZdzIY

Presentation at Town Hall, Seattle, Washington https://youtu.be/GQ_kci8n09M

Publisher website: https://www.newsociety.com/Books/T/Techno-Fix

Another primer with insight into this issue is the 1982 book, OVERSHOOT: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change by the late environmental sociologist William R. Catton.

Overshoot should be available at your local library or from the publisher at: http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/63fae3tq9780252008184.html

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

What we did with 5000lb KU dorm debris

What we did with 5000lb KU dorm debris

We (1) kept at least 5,000 pounds of reusable or recyclable goods out of the dumpster, (2) provided over 3000 items of clothing, bedding, housewares, appliances and more to KU students and community members at a nominal cost of $1 per item (or free in some cases), and (3) raised money to help the Lawrence Creates Makerspace better serve the community.

Renewables vs. Nuclear

Renewables vs. Nuclear

Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts-Bar-2 nuke is operational: winning the battle, but losing the war. The 1,270 MW Watts-Bar-2 nuclear reactor is the nation’s first new nuclear power plant since 1996.  Construction was originally began in 1973, but was halted in 1985.  The project was restarted in October 2007, and cost $4.7 billion to complete this year.  By comparison, new capacity of 1,088 MW in the single month of October from solar, wind, biomass, and hydropower nearly matched what it took the nuclear industry over 20 years to bring online.  The TVA could have used that time and money more productively on developing renewables and energy efficiency.  In those 20 years, construction costs for solar and wind have plunged by 60-70%.  According to Ken Bossing of the Sun Day Campaign, “The long construction times to bring new nuclear reactors on line, and nuclear power’s rapidly rising costs (compared to the dramatically declining costs for renewable sources) all underscore that the nuclear era is over”.  Read more at – Watts-Bar-2 Nuke: Wind & Solar Power is 21 Times Greater.
We suggest readers avail themselves of the following sources for news on the demise of nuclear power: Japan for Sustainability, Japan Focus, Fukushima Update, and Fairewinds Energy Education.

December 20, 2016 Newsletter

December 20, 2016 Newsletter

“For waste is not found in nature.  It’s strictly a human concept, a result of our own ignorance” – Joseph Jenkins

DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE  –  UPDATES
Water Protectors: The second front against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) has been in the less publicized State of Iowa where the pipeline goes through 18 counties.  In addition to opposition by citizen groups like BOLD Iowa and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI), the Boone County Board of Supervisors (just west of Ames) voted 3-0 against the pipeline, and 15 landowners filed suit last April to challenge the use of eminent domain by a private profit-driven corporation.  The Iowa Utilities Board dismissed the Boone County complaint and issued permits anyway.  Eight months later, the eminent domain lawsuit finally went to court this past week, after the entire pipeline has been completed through Iowa.
The Iowa Utilities Board is arguing that since the pipeline is already in the ground, the lawsuit is moot.  Keith Puntenney, one of the landowners suing, responded by arguing, “The pipe can be pulled out, and there is no oil running through it, and even if there was it doesn’t make it right.  The rule of law is what we think is important.  If it wasn’t lawful for them to put the pipeline in the ground they should pay damages….  We believe in the rights of private property owners to determine how they are going to use their own land.  We don’t believe another private company should be able to come in and tell us how they are going to use our property”.  The Iowa Sierra Club also argued that the IUB never proved the pipeline would serve “public convenience and necessity”, so the pipeline’s permit should be revoked.  A decision by the Polk County District Court is expected by the end of the year, and an appeal is anticipated as well.  Learn more at – Landowners Fighting DAPL Pipeline Get Their Day in Court.

click here for the Bakken Pipeline Interactive Map

Allies: The owner of DAPL, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) has been very opaque in their plans and permit applications.  Though official construction maps of the exact location of the pipeline do exist, ETP requested that officials restrict public access to the data.  But a resident of Ames Iowa, Nitin Gadia, took it upon himself to comb through hundreds of public record maps, and created a detailed map using the open source mapstory.orgThe result is the Bakken Pipeline Interactive Map.  Ongoing updates can be found at his site – Nitin Gadia: Mapping the Bakken (aka Dakota Access) Pipeline.  Another Water Protector, Yvonne Scott, has publicized this map through her blog – Healing the Heartland, as she travels the entire route from Illinois to the Bakken region where the petroleum will be fracked. ___________________________________________________
KKFI COMMUNITY RADIO – ECOLOGICAL SHOWS THIS WEEK Listen at KKFI-FM 90.1, or link to web-streaming at KKFI 90.1 FM (courtesy, Mike Murphy, KKFI Programming Committee)
Wednesday, 21 December 2016, 9:00am – Alternative Radio David Barsamian interviews Wenonah Hauter on the topic of “Smoke, Fumes and Big Oil”.  2016 will be the hottest year in 136 years of record keeping.  Donald Drumph says he will gut the Environmental Protection Agency and pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord.  But there is an abundance of low-cost solar and wind energy.  Nevertheless, the corporado’s addiction to fossil fuelishness continues.  Now there is push back.  The resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline project by the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota has inspired indigenous people and their allies the world over.  The needs of humanity and Mother Nature are much more important than the bottom lines of the fossil fuel industry.  Wenonah Hauter is the founder and Executive Director of Food & Water Watch.
Thursday, 22 December 2016, 12:00pm – Sprouts Radio Today’s show is “Bakken in the Heartland”.  Iowans reflect on their lives, their towns, and their environments as the Dakota Access Pipeline (AKA Bakken Pipeline) is built through their communities by Energy Transfer Partners.  One citizen of Ames, Iowa, a map maker, makes the first publicly available map of the pipeline’s route as an act of civil disobedience.  Featuring: Mayor Leda Burton and Jeff Lass of Pilot Mound IA, Nitin Gadia, mapmaker, and Yvonne Scott, blogger.
Friday, 23 December 2016, 9:30am – Bioneers Radio Series Bioneers presents “Circles of Concern: The Secret Sauce of Social Movements”.  From nature’s viewpoint, people are one species.  Categories such as race, class, nation, religion and even many gender roles are human constructs.  Yet the world is riven by exploitation and violence driven by these perceived divisions at an epic moment of demographic change toward the U.S. becoming a majority minority nation.  john a. powell, Director of U.C. Berkeley’s Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, and Manuel Pastor, Director of the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at University of Southern California, show how to build effective movements to overcome these divisions and come together to solve the planetary emergency that threatens our common home
Monday, 26 December 2016, 6:00pm – locally produced Eco-Radio KC This Eco Radio KC program will feature another of their ecologically minded shows. ___________________________________________________
“MINORITY VOTE” PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD DRUMPH’S ROGUES GALLERY UPDATE
Hillary Clinton got 2,860,000 more votes than Donald Drumph, but on Monday, the undemocratic Electoral College awarded Drumph 304 votes to 227 for Ms. Clinton (7 voted for someone else).  So as Jim Hightower put it “a narcissistic, misogynous, racist, nativist, ignorant, Klan-endorsed blowhard, and compulsive liar” has become our 45th President.  His gold plated cabinet member nominees could soon begin to do real damage to our climate, our public lands, our water resources, and our farmlands.  Here are some more of Drumph’s choices.
Rick “Ooops” Perry, as Secretary of the DOE: In a 2011 presidential debate, Rick Perry blanked on the Energy Department’s name when trying to list it among the agencies he promised to abolish — memorably concluding with “Ooops”.  Now Donald Drumph has chosen the former Texas governor to lead the department he once wanted to eliminate.  The DOE which oversees the security of the nation’s nuclear weapons, has played major roles in President Barack Obama’s climate agenda, and factored heavily in the Iran nuclear deal.  If confirmed, Perry would succeed MIT nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz as Energy secretary.  But hey, who needs energy anyway?  Energy is only the flip side of matter – not a biggie.  On a related note, Drumph’s transition team asked DOE to supply the names of all agency employees who had worked on Obama’s climate initiatives.  The DOE declined to disclose any such names.  Read more at – Rick Perry Tapped to Run Energy Agency He Vowed to Kill.
Scott Pruitt, as Secretary of the EPA: In parallel with Rick Perry’s record, as the Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt has repeatedly sued the EPA over Federal regulations that limit air pollution haze in national parks, methane leaks from drilling, and mercury and arsenic seeping from power plants, and he helped lead the lawsuit against the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  All this begs the question “Just what part of the environment would Pruitt consider worth protecting?”  In a May 2016 National Review article, he falsely claimed that ‘scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind’.  Read more at – Scott Pruitt’s EPA: a dream for oil and gas firms is nightmare for environment.
Ryan Zinke, as Secretary of the Interior: Last week’s supposed leading candidate, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, was passed over.  Instead Drumph named Montana Representative Ryan Zinke as his choice to lead Interior.  Drumph said Zinke “has built one of the strongest track records on championing regulatory relief, forest management, responsible energy development and public land issues.  My administration’s goal is to repeal bad regulations, and use our natural resources to create jobs and wealth for the American people”.  Unlike other leading candidates like Sarah Palin and oil executive Harold Hamm, Zinke is more an unknown quantity.  He makes noises about respecting Native American peoples and honoring Teddy Roosevelt’s ideal that public lands are ‘for the benefit and enjoyment of the people’.  But those who praise his nomination typically see Zinke as making public lands productive, as managing them rather than preserving them, and as using them for ranching and sporting.  Read more at – Ag and Hunter Groups Pleased with Secretary of Interior Nominee. ___________________________________________________
RESPONSIBLE ENERGY VS. FUKUSHIMA DAI-ICHI
Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts-Bar-2 nuke is operational: winning the battle, but losing the war. The 1,270 MW Watts-Bar-2 nuclear reactor is the nation’s first new nuclear power plant since 1996.  Construction was originally began in 1973, but was halted in 1985.  The project was restarted in October 2007, and cost $4.7 billion to complete this year.  By comparison, new capacity of 1,088 MW in the single month of October from solar, wind, biomass, and hydropower nearly matched what it took the nuclear industry over 20 years to bring online.  The TVA could have used that time and money more productively on developing renewables and energy efficiency.  In those 20 years, construction costs for solar and wind have plunged by 60-70%.  According to Ken Bossing of the Sun Day Campaign, “The long construction times to bring new nuclear reactors on line, and nuclear power’s rapidly rising costs (compared to the dramatically declining costs for renewable sources) all underscore that the nuclear era is over”.  Read more at – Watts-Bar-2 Nuke: Wind & Solar Power is 21 Times Greater.
We suggest readers avail themselves of the following sources for news on the demise of nuclear power: Japan for Sustainability, Japan Focus, Fukushima Update, and Fairewinds Energy Education. ___________________________________________________
LAWRENCE HOLIDAY TREE-CYCLING PICKUP Monday-Thursday, 3-6 January 2017, 6:00am collection by Lawrence recycling service trucks
“Tree-cycling” of live-cut trees will take place at your curbside during the first week of January, Monday-Thursday (on your normal trash collection day).  Remove all artificial items including tinsel, lights, and tree stand, and have the tree by the curb or in the alley by 6:00am.  For more info call 832-3030 or visit 2017 Tree-Cycling Collection.  A second chance will be the following Monday, 9 January, in any Lawrence neighborhood. ___________________________________________________
KANSAS CITY ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COMMISSION Wednesday, 11 January 2017, 4:00-6:00pm Mid America Regional Council, Rivergate Center 2nd floor, 600 Broadway, KC MO
The Environmental Management Commission promotes environmental awareness and resource efficiency to the City’s leaders and staff, to assist the progress of Kansas City toward sustainability.  The General public is encouraged to attend and observe meetings and to join and participate in its efforts.  More information is at KC Environmental Management Commission. ___________________________________________________
LAWRENCE SUSTAINABILITY ADVISORY BOARD Wednesday, 11 January 2017, 5:30pm Public Works Confr. Room, City Hall ground floor, 6 East 6th St., Lawrence KS 66044
The January agenda is not yet available.  The S.A.B. meets monthly to discuss any and all aspects of furthering sustainability policies and practices by the City of Lawrence government and private persons.  The public is welcome. Minutes are finalized in about a month after each meeting – Sustainability Advisory Board. ___________________________________________________
LAWRENCE PEDESTRIAN COALITION Wednesday, 11 January 2017, 7:00pm Lawrence Public Library, Room A, 7th & Vermont St., Lawrence KS 66044
The January agenda is not yet available.  The Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition is a joint effort of the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods and the League of Women Voters.  Monthly meetings are open to the public.  For more info go to Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition, or contact Gary Webber at <gwebber@sunflower.com>. ___________________________________________________
SUSTAINABILITY ACTION MEETING Tuesday, 17 January 2017, 6:30pm Lawrence Public Library, Meeting Room C, 7th & Vermont St., Lawrence KS 66044 Local Solutions for Transition to a Sustainable Economy
Planned agenda topics include:

  • 2017 annual meeting final plans
  • adopt the 2017 budget
  • new website update
  • year-end financial reports wrap up

The Sustainability Action Network advances ecological sustainability through societal scale actions.  While we work for personal lifestyle changes for individuals to minimize their carbon footprint, there is an imperative for institutional change to respond to the rapid onset of the triple global crises of Energy-Ecology-Economy.  “Action” is our middle name.  Everyone is welcome. ___________________________________________________
DOUGLAS COUNTY FOOD POLICY COUNCIL Monday, 23 January 2017, 6:30pm location TBA, Lawrence KS 66044
The January agenda is not yet available.  The Food Policy Council seeks to identify the benefits, challenges and opportunities for a successful, sustainable local food system.  By advising the Douglas County Commission on public policies that will support local producers, preserve local agricultural resources and land, and create more local jobs, the F.P.C. hopes to improve the community’s access to a local food supply and distribution networks.  For more info go to Dg County Food Policy Council.