Mother Earth News / Charlyn Ellis / 09 September 2016
Fruit trees are an excellent addition to any homestead, even a small urban lot. We have several: a ‘Macintosh’ apple, an early summer plum, a huge and ancient fig, a new persimmon, and a yellow plum that is too big to harvest. There are also two hazelnut trees on the back lot line. They provide shade in summer, leaf mulch in winter, bee forage in spring — and fruit in the fall.
Dealing with the fruit, especially the apple, which is the largest tree, can be a challenge. We eat it fresh, give it away to friends — who also have fruit trees! — make pies and cakes, and then work to preserve the harvest for the winter.
In another measure to keep hydro bills in check, Ontario is scrapping plans to sign $3.8 billion in contracts for renewable energy like wind and solar, Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault said Tuesday.
The move — which the Progressive Conservatives have been calling for regularly — will keep $2.45 from going on the average homeowner’s monthly hydro bill and halt the building of new wind farms opposed by many rural residents.
Thibeault said the decision was made after the province’s electricity planning agency released a report earlier this month saying there was no “urgent need” to procure additional supply.
Are you optimistic about technology? Let’s talk about why. Could the majority of our proposed technological solutions be doing little more than kicking the can down the road towards ecological collapse? Politicians and economists speak of the ability for technological innovation to boost and grow economies, yet where does their techno optimism come from? Do technologies hold intrinsic values or are they neutral tools that are misused by a species with the wrong intentions?
In Extraenvironmentalist #37 we discuss technological optimism with Dr. Michael Huesemann. Michael explains his fifteen year study into environmental science and philosophies of technology as outlined in his recent book Techno-Fix, co-written with his wife Joyce Huesemann.
The growth economy is historically relatively recent, and is now consuming 1.5 Earths and growing. Compound interest is sucking the lifeblood out of the real economy, from households to countries. Mike Lewis, co-author of The Resilience Imperative, tells the story of the successful JAK cooperative Bank in Sweden, which is based on saving on behalf of others and uses only simple interest. It’s one example from the book which illuminates “alternate pathways to move from a growth imperative to a resilience imperative… It presumes we will transition ourselves back to one Earth and find a different way of dealing with a number of ways we meet our basic needs — whether it’s with food, energy, shelter, land, or finance (an important part of the problem).”
Insurance Journal / Seth Borenstein / 23 September 2016
The summer of 2016 has lurched from one extreme weather disaster to another at great cost in lives and damages. Here are just some of the worst and weirdest, according to insurance statistics and meteorologists:
Flooding in China’s Yangtze Basin from May through August killed at least 475 people and caused $28 billion in losses.
A drought in India that started earlier in the year and stretched through June caused about $5 billion in damage.
Flooding in West Virginia and the mid-Atlantic in June killed 23 people and damaged more than 5,500 buildings.
Typhoon Nepartak hit the Phillipines, Taiwan and China in July, killing 111 people and causing at least $1.5 billion in damage.
Flooding in northeast China in July killed 289 people and caused about $5 billion in damage.
Temperatures reached 129 degrees (54 degrees Celsius) in Kuwait and Iraq in July.
Are bar soaps more of a hassle than liquid soaps? For a culture that covets convenience, sure. Liquid soaps are not messy, they don’t slip out of our hands, they don’t require a soap dish. But to my eyes this is a myopic take on things. If we consider that $2.7 billion was spent on liquid body wash alone in 2015 – even if we randomly (and generously) assign a cost of $10 per bottle – that’s 270,000,000 plastic bottles with pump parts that end up in the waste cycle. And remember that’s just body wash. While some people refill their dispensers and create less waste, it’s still decidedly more plastic than the paper wrapper of a soap bar.
Moreover, Huffington Post reports that the carbon footprint in general is 25 percent more for liquid soap over bar soap.
Inner Transition is occasionally overlooked in favour of more immediately ‘practical’ undertakings, reinforcing an observed and acknowledged division in many Transition Initiatives between “doers” and “talkers”, but for Transition Initiatives looking to foster a kind of community resilience that is equitable, inclusive, nimble, responsive, caring, and cohesive, Inner Transition efforts are a necessary place to start.
— Anne Rucchetto, Blake Poland
Brockville Culture Days
Saturday, October 1, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
King Street West, Brockville
The scientific evidence suggests that the world needs to achieve a full 80% absolute reduction in energy and material consumption even as we face additional population growth, up to 30% more people in the next few decades.
— William Rees, former Director of UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning