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Alinsky's Tactical: Rules for Radicals

by gmoke Thu Apr 28th, 2016 at 10:57:32 PM EST

I read Saul Alinsky's  Rules for Radicals (published 1971) in the 1990s and wanted to remind myself of what my thought was then of what Alinsky wrote long before his name became a conservative slur.  

Alinsky was a successful organizer and a seasoned tactician.  Alinsky, however, was not a strategist.  The difference between strategy and tactics is often confused:  Tactics are the means used to gain an objective and strategy is the general campaign plan or goal.

Here are some of the tactically radical rules of Saul Alinsky that I noted then and now note again:

Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
Never go outside the experience of your people.
Whenever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy.
Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.
A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
Keep the pressure on.
The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.  
The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.  
Pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
The real action is in the enemy's reaction.
The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction is your major strength.
Tactics, like organization, like life, require that you move with the action.

For a different take on community organizing, my notes on Grace Lee Bogg's The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century​ are at http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-next-american-revolution.html

Comments >> (3 comments)

City Agriculture - April 2016

by gmoke Mon Apr 11th, 2016 at 06:39:36 PM EST

Stockholm's new City Districts Environmental and Planning Offices will be a greenhouse
http://inhabitat.com/could-stockholms-new-greenhouse-building-end-boring-municipal-design/
http://media.wix.com/ugd/7d0599_10f53d9ef61a46ad842cbad7c40fd708.pdf - full proposal (in Swedish but the pictures tell a story)

Plug-in ecology urban farm pod
https:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=NO3p4CJS-6E
http://inhabitat.com/urban-farm-pods-brilliant-plug-in-ecology-could-revolutionize-urban-farming/

Nursery Fields Forever - farming for preschoolers
http://www.awrcompetitions.com/competition/31/london-nursery-school
http://inhabitat.com/farming-preschool-would-teach-kids-how-to-grow-their-own-food/

Hong Kong food growing arcology towers
http://www.dezeen.com/2016/03/07/weston-williamson-arcology-skyscraper-kissing-towers-hong-kong-vict oria-harbour

http://inhabitat.com/self-sustaining-arcology-tower-would-bring-urban-agriculture-to-the-heart-of-ho ng-kong/

OxyGen green roofed garden building for Paris business district
http://www.stephanemalka.com/en/2016/02/ogyxen/

Floating Fields - a factory recycled into a multi-ecology growing system
http://www.archdaily.com/783314/floating-fields-wins-shenzhen-uabb-award-and-is-set-to-continue-thro ugh-2016

Infarm - modular vertical grow spaces for supermarkets and homes
https:/infarm.de

Farm Follows Function - a comic book on transforming NYC's MetLife Building into a vertical farm
http://inhabitat.com/nyc/nycs-iconic-metlife-building-becomes-a-vertical-farm-in-quirky-architecture -comic

Ikea indoor garden
https:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv9wD2HNSnA  

Ecoqube desktop aquaponics device
http://getecoqube.com

Energaia - growing spirulina algae on a Bangkok rooftop
https:
/www.youtube.com/watch?v=03FodbygCwU

Augury of Two Towers

by gmoke Tue Mar 29th, 2016 at 01:40:59 PM EST

Found this while going through my archives and thought that it stood the test of time and, unfortunately, might be useful again after Paris and Brussels and Baghdad and Lahore, especially evil with its targeting of children and women, and on and on and on and....

Augury of Two Towers

Now I know what we must do.

We must be as united in our humanity
as we were when we watched
our brothers and sisters falling, dying, burning,
recognizing our own mortality and the Hell
at the heart of those who would do such a thing.

We must be as stern and courageous as the firemen were
in those first moments, running up the stairs
to get the people out before the towers fell.

We must be as gentle with each other
as we were in our first grief and unbelief,
strangers sharing sorrow and tears
until we were strangers no longer.

We must not forget
We must not forget
We must not forget that we are all together.

Now we are united in horror at the terror
a few have wreaked upon us.
They used their own deaths as the fuse
to our destruction.

We must be at least as smart as they were.
We must be at least as determined as they were.
We must never be what they were,
                                                   in love with
hate and death.

September 26, 2001

Energy Model of Boston

by gmoke Fri Feb 26th, 2016 at 01:35:08 PM EST

Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O46GkHSYvYE

The Sustainable Design Lab at MIT has built a model which estimates the gas and electricity demand of every building in Boston for every hour of every day of the year, nearly 100,000 buildings in total.

Next the MIT team will be validating the model against actual energy consumption data.  "We'll do this using any building-level energy dataset that we can get our hands on, so the models become more and more accurate," Professor Christoph Reinhart explained. "Ultimately, our goal is for every city in the world to rely on a citywide energy model to meaningfully manage its future energy supply and carbon emissions."  As Boston has an energy reporting and disclosure ordinance, Prof Reinhart and his team should have a lot of data to work with.

More at http://news.mit.edu/2016/mit-researchers-create-citywide-building-energy-model-boston-0222

The Boston city government will also be using the energy model in its energy planning process and MIT's Sustainable Design Lab is now working on energy models for Lisbon, Portugal and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Christoph Reinhart and his team had previously built a solar map which shows the solar electric potential of every roof in the city:  http://web.mit.edu/SustainableDesignLab/projects/CambridgeSolarMap/

Disclaimer:  I know Christoph and like him.  He is doing some great work.  

Comments >> (6 comments)

City Agriculture: February 7, 2016

by gmoke Sun Feb 7th, 2016 at 12:58:21 PM EST

Cooling towers into green communities
http://inhabitat.com/cypher-co2ling-plant-converts-cooling-towers-into-vibrant-green-communities/
http://www.archdaily.com/780109/this-conceptual-design-reinvents-power-plants-as-mixed-use-megastruc tures

Aker - snap together kits for urban ag
http://www.aker.me
One of the POC [Proof of Concept] ideas from COP 21
http://www.poc21.cc/12-projects/

Agritecture:  "Your source for vertical farming and urban agriculture news, business, and design."
http://agritecture.com

Local Roots Farms - local produce anywhere
http://www.localrootsfarms.com

Bell Book and Candle - NYC farm to table restaurant, rated as one of the best in the country.  "SOME ITEMS WE PRODUCE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR FROM OUR AEROPONIC ROOFTOP GARDEN LISTED BELOW:  Sage, Chive, Chervil, Cilantro, Dill, Genovese Basil, Opal Basil, Italian and Flat Leaf Parsley, Spearmint, Rosemary, 4 varieties of Nasturtium, Cheddar Cauliflower, Purple Tomatillo, Tomatillo, Japanese and Kermit Eggplant, 2 varieties of Arugula, 4 varieties of Cherry Tomato, Great White Tomato, Bibb Lettuce, Red Oak Leaf, Red Romaine, Green Romaine, Lola Rosa, Frisee, Green Crisp, Poblano Pepper, and Fennel."
http://bbandcnyc.com

SPREAD, a Japanese company, will open the world's first robot-controlled farm in Fall 2017, producing 11 million heads of lettuce each year
http://spread.co.jp/en/

Pilgrim's Market to grow its own produce in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho
http://www.spokanejournal.com/local-news/-pilgrims-market-to-grow-its-own-produce/#sthash.WKFT1S9a.d puf

Risk of lead poisoning from urban gardening is low, new study finds
http://www.washington.edu/news/2016/02/02/risk-of-lead-poisoning-from-urban-gardening-is-low-new-stu dy-finds/
https:/dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/jeq/abstracts/45/1/26?access=0&view=pdf

Bright Agrotech - Zip Farms, Farm Walls, and more
https:
/brightagrotech.com

Urban Agriculture? Only 1 Percent Of Seattle Residents Could Eat Locally Even With All Viable Space In Use
http://www.science20.com/news_articles/urban_agriculture_only_1_percent_of_seattle_residents_could_e at_locally_even_with_all_viable_space_in_use-163422

Year round growing in Alaska
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/04/us/closing-the-farm-to-table-gap-in-alaska.html?_r=0

Southeast Asia's largest green development with extensive green roofs and terraces
http://www.archdaily.com/781247/sasakis-forest-city-master-plan-in-iskandar-malaysia-stretches-acros s-4-islands
http://www.sasaki.com/project/383/forest-city-conceptual-master-plan/

World Game Notes: MOOCs, Global Displays, and Existing Technological Opportunities

by gmoke Wed Jan 20th, 2016 at 03:46:09 PM EST

"Quite clearly, our task is predominantly metaphysical, for it is how to get all of humanity to educate itself swiftly enough to generate spontaneous behaviors that will avoid extinction."  R Buckminster Fuller

MOOC [Massive Open Online Course]: Power Agriculture: Sustainable Energy for Food
Feb 1st - March 27, 2016
http://poweringag.org/
"Details: Around one third of the energy used worldwide goes into the production and processing of food from field to table. Given the current energy system mix, the agrifood industry sector is however heavily dependent on fossil fuel inputs for production, transport, processing and distribution, and contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. With a continuously growing world population the need for food and for energy to produce it is increasing. At the same time millions of farmers and processors in developing countries and emerging economies lack access to clean energy technologies for irrigation, drying, cooling, storage and other processes. Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development (PAEGC) seeks to identify and support new and sustainable approaches to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy solutions for increasing agriculture productivity and/or value in developing countries."

There is now technology to show this and other MOOCs' proceedings on, among other things, a dynamic spherical screen like the iGlobe (www.iglobeinc.com/...).  Currently, MIT's Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate and the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences is hosting a two foot diameter iGlobe.

"If you have data or interactive models you'd like to see visualized on the sphere... learn how it can be done and to figure out better ways and how to present information using the iGlobe.  Or try to make a compelling environmental movie using the sphere, an auxiliary screen, and sound.  Or come if you'd just like to experiment with the way things look projected on a spherical surface."

There are open sessions with the IGlobe display every Thursday in January 2016 from 11am to 12pm at MIT, Building 54-1827, 21 Ames Street, Cambridge, the Green Building, the tallest building on campus.  Glenn Flierl, Professor of Oceanography, is the host.

NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] also has a program called Science on a Sphere http://sos.noaa.gov/ ...,

"a room sized, global display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six foot diameter sphere, analogous to a giant animated globe. Researchers at NOAA developed Science On a Sphere® as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth System science to people of all ages."

These ongoing activities approach R Buckminster Fuller's idea of a World Game:  

The goal of the World Game is to "make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone." It's usually played on a large map of the Earth and was designed by R Buckminster Fuller.

Today, we have the technology to play the World Game online in real time with interactive maps and satellite images updated frequently.  Imagine World of Peacecraft or the Final Fantasy of a sustainable, restorative economy and ecology for everybody, all 100% of the human population with a significant number of that 100% participating as co-designers, for the benefit of all who will allow the benefit of all.

Read more... (1377 words in story)

Zero Net Energy - January 2016 edition

by gmoke Sat Jan 9th, 2016 at 10:35:03 PM EST

Greenbuild Unity Home - prefab, affordable net-zero home can be built in less than three days to LEED v4 Platinum and net zero-energy standards and with the largest collection of Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certified building products ever used in a residential project.
http://inhabitat.com/net-zero-unity-home-is-a-solar-powered-prefab-that-pops-up-in-just-3-days/
http://greenbuildexpo.com/greenbuildunityhome

zHome:  the first net zero energy townhome complex in the United States (built in 2011 in Issaquah, WA) with benchmarks of net zero energy use, a 70% reduction in water use, a 90% construction recycling rate and the use of only low- and non-toxic materials among other specifications
http://cleantechnica.com/2015/11/23/washington-based-zhome-sets-national-net-zero-precedent/
http://www.builtgreen.net/library/zhomewhitepaper.pdf

Net Zero Energy Buildings Technical Reports
http://logdd.co/pdf/net-zero-energy-buildings-technical-report.html

DOE's A Common Definition for Zero Energy Buildings
http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2015/09/f26/bto_common_definition_zero_energy_buildings_093015.pd f

Presentations from Building Carbon Zero California 2015
http://www.co2zeroca.org

Net zero 1910 school to lofts conversion in Amsterdam
http://www.opumo.com/magazine/ons-dorp-amsterdam-loft-conversion/

Architecture at Zero 2015 winners
http://www.gabreport.com/2015/11/architecture-at-zero-2015-winners

Zero Net Energy Roadmap for local governments (California)
https:/energycenter.org/zne

Zero net energy building controls report
https:
/docs.google.com/forms/d/1crmcXoJe0MI4J8E4KLp1lLURr2Ms9F4odN0KJn_-rzU/viewform?c=0&w=1

Market Data:  Zero Net Energy Homes (paid access only it seems)
http://www.navigantresearch.com/research/market-data-zero-net-energy-homes

Zero net energy laboratories
http://www.labconco.com/news/zero-net-energy-labs-sustainability-for-laborato

Seattle region near net zero community (including one HERS -1 rated, net positive house)
http://www.gizmag.com/dwell-development-new-rainier-vista/40916/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&u tm_campaign=bae36ce106-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-bae36ce106-919902 61

From energy efficiency lighting expert Fred Davis:
http://www.zerohomes.org/positive-energy-homes/
http://www.netpositiveconference.org/ - February 18-19, 2016 in San Diego, CA

Sidmore Owings and Merrill build a net zero energy school in Staten Island, NYC's first
http://www.som.com/projects/ps_62_the_kathleen_grimm_school_for_leadership_and_sustainability

City Agriculture: December 24, 2015 - Happy Merry New and Bah Humbug Edition

by gmoke Thu Dec 24th, 2015 at 12:02:32 PM EST

Homefarm - a conceptual proposal for the next generation of urban retirement housing. It presents a living and farming typology for Singapore (or elsewhere) that combines apartments and facilities for seniors with vertical urban farming
http://www.sparkarchitects.com/work/homefarm#1

Urban Algae Folly designed by ecoLogicStudio is an interactive pavilion integrating living micro-algal cultures, a built example of architecture's bio-digital future. Microalgae, in this instance Spirulina, are exceptional photosynthetic machines; they contain nutrients that are fundamental to the human body, such as minerals and vegetable proteins; microalgae also oxygenate the air and can absorb CO2 from the urban atmosphere ten times more effectively than large trees.
http://www.ecologicstudio.com/v2/project.php?idcat=3&idsubcat=71&idproj=147

Tinyfield Roofhop Farm grows organic hops for craft breweries in Brooklyn, NY
http://tinyfield.farm

Gangster gardeners in South LA
http://www.ryot.org/trailer-documentary-follows-gangster-gardeners-as-they-beautify-one-of-americas- most-dangerous-neighborhoods/945185

Washington DC building mobile urban farms
http://wamu.org/programs/metro_connection/15/11/13/are_urban_farms_a_good_use_of_space_in_dc

From Mumbai:  Urban Farming & Gardening Goes Online With `Ugaoo.com'
http://businessworld.in/article/Urban-Farming-Gardening-Goes-Online-With-Ugaoo-com-/15-12-2015-89392

Flat pack pop up urban garden
http://www.discovery.com/dscovrd/tech/flat-packed-gardens-pop-up-for-urban-farming/

Detroit urban ag startup growing insects
http://www.modeldmedia.com/startupnews/detroitentodetroit102715.aspx

Urban farming data collection toolkit, now in use in over 40 cities
https:
nextcity.org/daily/entry/community-garden-database-urban-farming-toolkit

Renting chickens and bees
http://www.timescolonist.com/business/urban-farm-popularity-spawns-rentals-of-chickens-bee-hives-1.2 113841

UrbanFarmers' 14,000 square-foot urban rooftop farm in The Hague will be the largest in Europe
http://www.greenhousegrower.com/structures-equipment/europes-largest-rooftop-farm-underway-scheduled -to-open-in-january

American Society of Landscape Architects on The Edible City
https://www.asla.org/sustainablelandscapes/vid_urbanag.htm

Comments >> (5 comments)

Demonstrate Solar IS Civil Defense at the Boston Climate Defense Carnival

by gmoke Mon Nov 30th, 2015 at 12:25:34 AM EST

Update: This event has been cancelled as of November 30, 2015. 350 Maine, 350 Vermont, 350 Massachusetts, 350 New Hampshire & 350 Connecticut are organizing a Boston Climate Defense Carnival on Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 3:30pm - 5:30pm at Fanieul Hall, 1 Faneuil Hall Square, Boston, MA.

I'd like the Boston Climate Defense Carnival to demonstrate that
Solar IS Civil Defense
https:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0mjqjgZ64E
that by using simple Solar Principles
https:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_NN__fS5pM
you can discover that
A South-facing Window Is Already a Solar Collector
https:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdGAdEq242M
and see at least six basic solar devices in a single plastic bottle
https:
/www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_UEtfWrf2A

Zero Net Energy

by gmoke Wed Oct 21st, 2015 at 11:27:58 PM EST

Zero net energy is a growing body of practice in which buildings produce all the energy they consume.  It is the application of high efficiency construction in combination with renewable energy, usually solar or geothermal.  Sometimes it is also called net zero energy building.

I began to collect links to various zero net energy building projects around the world back in 2013 soon after, in the story I heard, Cambridge City Councillor Minka Van Beuzekom  proposed it as a building standard for a large development MIT is planning in East Cambridge.  That idea didn't fly (the development is part of an ecodistrict instead, as I understand it) but did lead to a task force which has prepared a path to zero net energy standards in the city.
http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/Projects/Climate/NetZeroTaskForce

The EU has adopted the building energy target of nearly zero and all new public buildings must be nearly zero-energy by 2018 with all new buildings, public or private, constructed to nearly zero-energy standards by the end of 2020.
https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/energy-efficiency/buildings/nearly-zero-energy-buildings

CA has a 2020 zero net energy goal "focused on new residential construction, including single-family and low-rise multifamily (3 stories or less) buildings, as well as low and moderate income housing within these categories."
http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/energy/Energy+Efficiency/Zero+Net+Energy+Buildings.htm

The knowledge and materials to build buildings that are comfortable without outside energy inputs through advances in energy efficiency and energy production on site have made zero net energy buildings practical and affordable.  They will only become more so as time goes on, examples accumulate, and experience grows.

Since we build about a million new residential units a year, nearly 1% of the units available, these changes in the way we shelter ourselves will have increasingly significant effects on our energy usage in the years and decades after 2020 in, at least, Cambridge, CA, and the EU.

Read more... (1 comment, 1731 words in story)

Zero Emissions Economy to Reversing Global Warming

by gmoke Thu Oct 1st, 2015 at 03:32:17 PM EST

Meteor Blades recently (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/09/28/1425368/-Open-thread-for-night-owls-Mobilizing-for-the-clim ate-crisis) wrote about The Climate Mobilization (http://www.theclimatemobilization.org) which is asking people to sign a pledge to

Reduce our country's [USA's] net greenhouse gas emissions 100 percent by 2025 and implement far-reaching measures to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere...

Establish the following imperatives as our nation's top foreign policy priorities: A 100 percent reduction of global net greenhouse gas emissions at wartime speed, and the deployment of comprehensive measures that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere until a safe climate is restored.

Zero emissions of greenhouse gases is a necessary mental step to take and it is good to see that people are beginning to organize around it.  I've been writing about a zero emissions economy for at least 20 years and that means EVERYTHING not just greenhouse gases.  Zero emissions as an approachable goal as zero defects on a production line in Total Quality Management is an approachable goal.  Zero emissions for all materials and resources within an ecological design framework like Bill McDonough's simple ecological design principles:
waste equals food
use only available solar income
respect diversity
love all the children

We should be doing this as at least a thought experiment now and, I believe, that thought experiment would have enormous benefits as we transition to a new ecological economy where the throw away society begins to realize there is no such place as away.

Recently, I had the opportunity to raise these ideas with the Dr Lynn Orr, DOE Undersecretary for Science and Technology, at MIT as both a public question and in private conversation.  Perhaps I planted a seed.

I'm also glad to see that The Climate Mobilization is taking on another part of the climate question which is not often addressed.  Zero emissions of greenhouse gases is good but it addresses only the source side of the issue.  There are sinks as well.  As systems dynamics teaches, a working system contains both sources and sinks.  John Wick is a CA rancher who has measured for the last 5 years a ton of carbon per hectare per year sequestered on his grazing land and computer models estimate that he can do this for 30-100 years.  See http://www.marincarbonproject.org He says there are 35 soil carbon sequestration methods now recognized by USDA.  Soil scientist Rattan Lal believes that increasing soil carbon on agricultural lands globally could reverse climate change within a decade or two.

I also mentioned this to Undersecretary Orr.

On October 16-18, 2015 there will be a conference at Tufts University on Restoring Water Cycles to Reverse Global Warming (http://bio4climate.org/conferences/conferences-2015/tufts-2015-restoring-water-cycles/).  Last year, the same group held a conference on soil carbon cycles (http://bio4climate.org/conferences/conference-2014/).  You can watch the proceedings on their webpages.  You can also participate in Soil Saturday on October 10 (https:/www.facebook.com/events/559598744189515) to help raise awareness about these issues and practical solutions to reverse climate change now while improving the soil and rebuilding our agricultural systems.

Zero emissions of greenhouse gases is a radical idea in the present context.  A zero emissions economy and reversing climate change through natural soil and water carbon cycles are even more radical and far-reaching.  They are also very much within our grasp if we want to reach for them.

Comments >> (6 comments)

City Agriculture Links List

by gmoke Wed Sep 23rd, 2015 at 11:40:47 PM EST

I've been doing an occasional email on City Agriculture links that I come across navigating the online infosphere for a couple of years now.  Every few weeks there are enough links to warrant an email to the City Ag mailing list.  This one is a little larger than usual.  

If you're interested, contact me and I'll add you to the mailing list.

Atlanta homeless shelter rooftop farm
http://atlantaprogressivenews.com/2015/05/17/task-force-shelter-producing-pounds-of-veggies-on-rooft op-garden/

City trees and health mapping app from Portland State University, funded by the U.S. Forest Service
http://map.treesandhealth.org

Urban Permablitz
https:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTv3M-gu05k

2nd Annual Food+City Challenge Prize (formerly known as the Food Lab at The University of Texas) open to anyone, anywhere with a great idea that will improve how our food system operates.  Submissions open Tues, 9/1 and run through 10/15. Go to
http://www.foodandcity.org/challenge-prize/

SF's Neighborhood Vineyard Project
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/aug/27/can-san-francisco-establish-its-first-urban-vineyard- since-the-19th-century

The Cannery in Davis, CA - a farm to table community development
http://livecannerydavis.com

Sustainable restaurant on a rooftop farm in Copenhagen
http://www.treehugger.com/travel/worlds-most-sustainable-eatery-rooftop-copenhagen.html
http://www.cleansimplelocal.com

Re-Nuble - urban metabollism and local food
http://cleantechnica.com/2015/09/03/reducing-urban-metabolism-with-re-nuble/
http://www.re-nuble.com/

Pop-up urban farm in Norway
http://www.growlab.no/work/work-bygard

Plant This Movie - urban farming around the world, from the incredible story of Havana, Cuba to communities of urban farmers in cities as diverse as Shanghai, Calcutta, Addis Ababa, London, and Lima.  In the US, the story focuses on New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon.  The film is narrated by Daryl Hannah.
http://www.plantthismovie.com

The last decade of urban agriculture in Detroit
http://www.modeldmedia.com/features/10-years-urban-ag-091415.aspx

Cook County Jail flower garden
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/cook-county-jail-flower-garden_55c917cbe4b0f73b20ba69c4?kvcommre f=mostpopular

Can cities feed themselves?  Estimates are that 15 percent of all food in the United States is produced in a metropolitan area
http://www.agprofessional.com/news/urban-farming-can-cities-feed-themselves
https:
www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/7023/Cleveland-Other-Cities-Could-Produce-Most-of-Their-Food-Ohio-S tate-Study.htm - study by OHIO AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER shows that "by using just 80 percent of the vacant land in Cleveland, producers could grow 50 percent of the fruits and vegetables, 25 percent of the poultry and eggs, and 100 percent of the honey that the city consumes..."

GrowOnUs floating garden for food and phytoremediation on Gowanus Canal
http://inhabitat.com/nyc/floating-water-filtering-garden-pops-up-on-the-gowanus-canal/diane-balmori- with-growonus

Research study on Chicago gardens and gentrification
http://community.bowdoin.edu/news/2015/08/in-chicago-michelle-kruk-16-researches-gardening-gentrific ation-link/

Short history of Detroit urban agriculture system
http://www.modeldmedia.com/features/10-years-urban-ag-091415.aspx

Urban farmers around the world
http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/sep/18/urban-farmers-around -the-world-in-pictures

Read more... (397 words in story)

The Current Cost of Carbon

by gmoke Mon Aug 17th, 2015 at 10:55:56 PM EST

In April of 2015 at a forum on the British Columbia carbon tax at MIT, I heard Merran Smith of Clean Energy Canada (http://cleanenergycanada.org) say if you add up the GDP of all the individual countries which have some kind of price on carbon, either an emission trading scheme (ETS) or a direct tax, it adds up to 42% of global GDP now and, by the end of 2016 when another five provinces in China come on board, it will be over 50%. (You can hear and see Merran Smith say this at 28:20 into this video of the MIT event at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWQRi8bmbrw ).

Having heard expert after expert say, "We need a price on carbon" in order to address climate change, this struck me.  Was Merran Smith correct?  Have we already begun to put a price on carbon?  Looking a little further, I found a variety of carbon pricing structures - carbon taxes, emissions trading schemes, and even internal prices on carbon from individual businesses.

The World Bank 2015 carbon report advance brief (http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2015/05/24528977/carbon-pricing-watch-2015-advance-brief-s tate-trends-carbon-pricing-2015-report-released-late-2015) puts it a little differently than Clean Energy Canada:
"In 2015, about 40 national and over 20 subnational jurisdictions, representing almost a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), are putting a price on carbon...

"The total value of the emissions trading schemes (ETSs) reported in the State and Trends of Carbon Pricing 2014 report was about US$30 billion (US$32 billion to be precise). Despite the repeal of Australia's Carbon Pricing Mechanism in July 2014, and mainly due to the launch of the Korean ETS and the expansion of GHG emissions coverage in the California and Quebec ETSs, the value of global ETSs as of April 1, 2015 increased slightly to about US$34 billion. In addition, carbon taxes around the world, valued for the first time in this report, are about US$14 billion. Combined, the value of the carbon pricing mechanisms globally in 2015 is estimated to be just under US$50 billion...

"In addition, the adoption of an internal carbon price in business strategies is spreading, even in regions where carbon pricing has not been legislated. Currently, at least 150 companies are using an internal price on carbon. These companies represent diverse sectors, including consumer goods, energy, finance, industry, manufacturing, and utilities."

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EU 2014 Greenhouse Gas Emissions

by gmoke Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 02:56:36 PM EST

While looking for the current price per ton of carbon in the EU ETS, I came across this release on the 2014 figures:

"The EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) installations emitted 1,584 million tCO2 in 2014, down by 4.4% from previous year. This figure is derived from the verified emissions data submitted so far by 87% (in volume) of the 12,000 installations currently included in the trading scheme."

pdf alert
https://www.carbonmarketdata.com/files/publications/Press%20Release%20EU%20ETS%20Data%20-%201%20Apri l%202015.pdf

It includes a list of the 15 largest CO2 emitters which contribute 251 MtCO2, about a  sixth of the total covered greenhouse gases in the EU ETS.

Still looking for a current price per ton for carbon under EU ETS.

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Costa Rica: 100% Renewable Electricity for 100 Days, Carbon Neutral by 2021

by gmoke Tue May 19th, 2015 at 06:03:10 PM EST

Costa Rica has provided all of its electricity from renewables, usually a mix of 68 percent hydro, 15 percent geothermal, and 17% mostly diesel and gas, for the first 100 days of 2015.  The Tico Times reports (http://www.ticotimes.net/2015/04/22/costa-ricas-renewable-energy-streak-is-still-going-but-what-does -that-really-mean)

"The clean energy streak is likely to continue. Last Friday [April 17, 2015] ICE (Costa Rica Electricity Institute)  released a report estimating that 97 percent of the country's electricity will be produced from renewables this year. This is good news for Costa Rican residents, who will see their electricity prices drop up to 15 percent starting this month."

In 2016, Costa Rica is a launching a satellite to monitor CO2 across the world tropical belt
(http://www.ticotimes.net/2014/04/22/costa-ricas-first-satellite-to-be-launched-into-space-in-2016)

"...the first Central American satellite, built in Costa Rica, will be launched into space in 2016.  The satellite will collect and relay daily data on carbon dioxide to evaluate the effects of climate change."

Costa Rica announced in 2009 that it plans to be a carbon neutral country by 2021 and they are following through on that planning.

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Recycled Solar: Double-Glazed Solar Hot Cap Cloche

by gmoke Wed Apr 29th, 2015 at 01:40:57 PM EST

I was cleaning out my storeroom the other day and came across another recycled solar device that I was fooling with a few years ago.  A one liter clear plastic bottle makes a good hot cap or cloche when you cut the bottom off it.  Plant a seedling, pop the bottomless clear cap over it, and you protect  the seedling from the cold.  It probably adds between 5 and 10 degrees F over the outside temperature by protecting the seedling from the wind and by capturing sunlight in a small, closed space.  My twist on this idea was to find different sizes of clear plastic bottles which could nest one inside the other making a double-glazed hot cap cloche.  A double-glazed hot cap cloche might be able to protect the seedlings even better, keeping that small, closed space even warmer than the outside air.

This afternoon, I planted two tomato seedlings in my garden using this device.  We'll see whether it works.

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Energiewende: Germany's Energy Transition

by gmoke Wed Apr 1st, 2015 at 11:17:52 PM EST

Tuesday, March 31 I saw Andreas Kraemer, International Institute for Advanced Sustainability in Pottsdam, founder of the Ecological Institute of Berlin, and currently associated with Duke University, speak at both Harvard and MIT.  His subject was the German Energiewende, energy turnaround, energy tack (as in sailing), or energy transition, and also the title of a book published in 1980 (Energiewende by Von F. Krause, H. Bossel and K. F. Müller-Reissmann) 1980 which described how to power Germany without fossil fuels or nuclear, partially a response to the oil shocks of the 1970s, and probably the beginning of the nuclear phase-out.  Chernobyl in 1986 gave another shove in that direction and continues to do so as Chernobyl is still happening in Germany with radioactive contamination of soils, plants, animals, and Baltic Sea fish.

In 1990 the feedin tariff began but it was not started for solar.  It was originally intended to give displaced hydroelectric capacity in conservative Bavaria a market and a bill was passed in Parliament very quickly, supported by the Conservatives (Blacks) in consensus with the Greens and Reds as they all agreed on incentizing renewable, local energy production through a feedin tariff on utility bills.  Cross party consensus on this issue remains today.  This is not a subsidy but an incentive with the costs paid by the customers. The feedin tariff has a period of 20 years and some have been retired.

Solar began with the 1000 roofs project in 1991-1994.   There are 1.7 million solar roofs now although, currently, Spain and Portugal have faster solar growth rates than Germany. Renewables provide 27% of electricity, have created  80,000-100,000 new jobs directly in the industry, up to 300,000 if indirect jobs are added, and is contributing 40 billion euros per year to the German economy.  By producing energy domestically Germany has built a local industry, increased tax revenue and Social Security payments, and maintained a better balance of trade through import substitution.  During the recession that began in 2008, Germany had more economic stability and was even able to expand the renewable sector because steel for wind turbine towers was available at lower prices and financing was forthcoming.

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Getting to Net Zero: Cambridge, MA

by gmoke Thu Mar 26th, 2015 at 04:18:28 PM EST

For the past year, the Cambridge, MA city government has had a Getting to Net Zero Task Force studying the implications of a net zero energy building requirement.  They  finished the draft report on March 16, 2015 and will have an open forum to introduce the study to the public on Wednesday, April 8.

The Task Force defined net zero as "an annual balance of zero greenhouse gas emissions from building operations citywide, achieved through improved energy efficiency and carbon-free energy production," applying it to the net zero target at the community level (citywide).

Net zero new construction (at the building level as opposed to citywide) is defined as "developments that achieve net zero emissions from their operations, through energy efficient design, onsite renewable energy, renewable energy infrastructure such as district energy, and, if appropriate, the limited purchase of RECs [Renewable Energy Credits] and GHG [Greenhouse Gas] offsets."

The objectives for the proposed actions from 2015 to 2035 and beyond include
(a)  ...target of Net Zero Emissions for new construction: New buildings should achieve net zero beginning in 2020, starting with municipal buildings and phasing in the requirement for other building types between 2022-2030.
(b)  targeted improvements to existing buildings: The Building Energy Use and Disclosure Ordinance (BEUDO) will provide the information necessary to target energy retrofit activity, including, over the long term, the regulation of energy efficiency retrofits at time of renovation and/or sale of property.
(c)  proliferation of renewable energy: Increase renewable energy generation, beginning with requiring solar-ready new construction and support for community solar projects, evolving to a minimum requirement for onsite renewable energy generation.
(d)  coordinated communications and engagement: Support from residents and key stakeholders is imperative to the success of the initiative.

You can read the full report at http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/Projects/Climate/~/media/6087FF675ADE4D51A6677E689D996465.ashx
and access other information about the Task Force at http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/Projects/Climate/netzerotaskforce.aspx

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Urban Agriculture

by gmoke Sat Mar 7th, 2015 at 09:11:27 PM EST

Here's the text of a presentation I did March 4, 2015 at Northeast Sustainable Energy Association's Building Energy conference in Boston, MA.  This was the first time the conference addressed urban agriculture.

Everybody eats and it's primarily solar powered.  We are all solar powered through the food that we eat.  Officially, we produce between 95 and 100 quadrillion btu's of energy per year in the US, an amount that's remained steady for the last 15 years or so while the GDP has continued to increase.  However, we don't count any of the sunlight that powers photosynthesis on the crops we consume.  All that sunlight is "free" and not included.  A back of the envelope estimate is that there's at least 300 quadrillion btu's of sunlight required for the photosynthesis that grows our food. Our world is solar powered, has always been solar powered, will always be solar powered until the sun dies out.  

Everybody eats and, by last count, 35% of all households in America, or 42 million households, are growing food at home or in a community garden, up 17% in the last five years.  Gardening for food tends to go up in times of economic distress.  Add those households which grow flowers or have a houseplant and I'd estimate about half of us garden.

Everybody eats, half of us garden, and everybody poops. In a fully functioning ecosystem "waste equals food."  Cities, neighborhoods, and buildings are all beginning to be seen and designed as metabolisms, taking in raw materials, processing them, and producing wastes which can then be used as a feedstock for other processes.  We are becoming biomimetic and learning from such fellow creatures as termites how to control heat and cold and humidity.  Termites also "garden" and keep livestock, one of the ways that the temperature and humidity remains constant within their mounds.  We are also learning how we can design ecological systems to process our own wastes safely into fertilizer and food.

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Cities Scale: Boston Living with Water

by gmoke Tue Feb 24th, 2015 at 11:06:30 PM EST

Cities scale is where real climate change adaptation is taking place, now, whether or not we have national or international agreements on greenhouse gases.  Cities and regions have to deal with weather emergencies and, it turns out, preparing for weather emergencies and other natural disasters is very much like adapting to climate change.  The best of it can be climate mitigation, too.

One way cities are climbing the learning curve is by holding design competitions.  In Boston, the city, the Harbor Association, the Redevelopment Authority, and the Society of Architects are hosting Boston Living with Water, an international call for design solutions that create a "more resilient, more sustainable, and more beautiful Boston adapted for end-of-the-century climate conditions and rising sea levels."  They will be announcing the finalist on Thursday, February 26 but you can vote on which of the 49 different plans you like until 12 pm (EST) on Wednesday, February 25 at http://www.bostonlivingwithwater.org/submission-gallery

The contest is based upon the recent reports by the Harbor Association on sea level rise and the Building Resilience in Boston study by the Green Ribbon Commission. Supporting documentation also includes "Designing with Water: Creative Solutions from Around the Globe" which presents twelve case studies from around the world [pdf alert]:
http://www.bostonlivingwithwater.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Designing-with-Water-Creative-Soluti ons-from-Around-the-Globe-Aug-2014.pdf

World-wide networks and best practices case studies can be very helpful.

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