Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Peace Train

Shanghai maglev
It's one thing to hear our war pimpers talk about nuclear strikes on Iran.

It's quite another to see the people and the land

they seem so willing to destroy.

Watch this.

Peace Train
by Cat Stevens

Now I've been happy lately, thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be, something good has begun

Oh I've been smiling lately, dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be, some day it's going to come

Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country, come take me home again

Now I've been smiling lately, thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be, something good has begun

Oh peace train sounding louder
Glide on the peace train
Come on now peace train
Yes, peace train holy roller

Everyone jump upon the peace train
Come on now peace train

Get your bags together, go bring your good friends too
Cause it's getting nearer, it soon will be with you

Now come and join the living, it's not so far from you
And it's getting nearer, soon it will all be true

Now I've been crying lately, thinking about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating, why can't we live in bliss

Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country, come take me home again

Hat tip to M. W.


Molly boarded her personal peace train today.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content III

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Pressure Change


After listening to NPR's "All Things Considered" today, they managed to not consider this.

Scientists charge White House pressure on warming
Tue Jan 30, 2007
By Deborah Zabarenko

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. scientists were pressured to tailor their writings on global warming to fit the Bush administration's skepticism, in some cases at the behest of a former oil-industry lobbyist, a congressional committee heard on Tuesday.

"Our investigations found high-quality science struggling to get out," Francesca Grifo of the watchdog group Union of Concerned Scientists told members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

A survey by the group found that 150 climate scientists personally experienced political interference in the past five years, for a total of at least 435 incidents.

"Nearly half of all respondents perceived or personally experienced pressure to eliminate the words 'climate change,' 'global warming' or other similar terms from a variety of communications," Grifo said.

Rick Piltz, a former U.S. government scientist who said he resigned in 2005 after pressure to soft-pedal findings on global warming, told the committee in prepared testimony that former White House official Phil Cooney took an active role in casting doubt on the consequences of global climate change.

Cooney, who was a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute before becoming chief of staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, resigned in 2005 to work for oil giant ExxonMobil.

Documents on global climate change required Cooney's review and approval, Piltz said.

"His edits of program reports, which had been drafted and approved by career science program managers, had the cumulative effect of adding an enhanced sense of scientific uncertainty about global warming and minimizing its likely consequences," Piltz said.


These discussions are part of the run-up to release of a major United Nations report on climate change, scheduled for Friday in Paris. Drafts of the report strengthened the case that humans are the principal cause of global warming after 1950."

And here is a different twist on the same story in the International Herald.

Rep. Henry Waxman said he and the top Republican on his oversight committee, Rep. Tom Davis, have sought documents from the administration on climate policy, but repeatedly been rebuffed.

"The committee isn't trying to obtain state secrets or documents that could affect our immediate national security," said Waxman, opening the hearing. "We are simply seeking answers to whether the White House's political staff is inappropriately censoring impartial government scientists."

Waxman said his committee had not received documents it requested from the White House and other agencies, and that a handful of papers received on the eve of the hearing "add nothing to our inquiry."

I bet Henry will get those documents,

and even make NPR when he does.

I heard Noam Chomsky say that he has been on NPR twice.

Both times, his responses to questions had to be written,

and approved. He then read from that script.

Maybe" a Cooney" is over there too.

Oz note:
I just heard. NPR ran the story with a business slant on Market Watch.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content III

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Monday, January 29, 2007

Climate Premiums


It seems clear that those who are serious about changing our fire burning climate changing ways agree, Cap and Trade markets, although modestly effective, will not do the job we need to get done in the time we have to do it.

What we do not agree on is this:

Quit calling what we need to do a TAX.

It's not a tax. It's the charge we should all pay for using our air as a dump.

Call it a permit. Call it a dumping fee. Call it Elmer Fudd.

Perhaps we should call it a Climate Stabilization Premium.

Just don't call it a Tax.

Well, you may remember Nicholas Stern. He is the former World Bank chief economist and author of the English Government-commissioned report on the economic effects of climate change.

And he agrees with Gore that putting the cost of emitting carbon into the market price is essential to our survival.

Stern favours world carbon tax
Edmund Conway
Daily Telegraph at Davos 2007

Sir Nicholas Stern has spoken out in favour of a global carbon tax, warning that global warming represents "the biggest market failure the world has ever seen".

The former World Bank chief economist and author of the Government-commissioned report on the economic effects of climate change, said environmental taxes should play an essential role in combating global warming.

In a debate at the World Economic Forum, Sir Nicholas, who has since left the Treasury, argued that environmental taxes – such as those on transport and energy – should not be discounted in favour of worldwide carbon markets.

Although he said his comments should not be interpreted as the Government position, his proximity to Gordon Brown will lead many to suspect that further green taxes could be in the pipeline. clip

Climate change has already become the most hotly-debated subject at the meetings in Davos this year, and the debate in which Sir Nicholas took part was one of the most eagerly awaited events of the conference.

Sir Nicholas said that ruling out green taxes was "a risk we cannot take".

"Unless we act quickly and effectively, we will not bring down carbon emissions," he said. "And we must cut our emissions from current levels by around 40pc.

"This is the biggest market failure the world has ever seen. The market hasn't worked because we haven't fixed it." more

The debate's panelists also included Vinod Khosla, founding chief executive of Sun Microsystems, who argued against the proposition that nuclear and clean coal technologies were the only long-term rivals to oil.

Here is Khosla's view from a Grist interview.

"On the technology side, we will see a horse race between clean coal, solar thermal (not photovoltaic), and wind for central utility-grade power generation. I would personally handicap this in favor of solar thermal power because it can be stored easily as heat and is half the cost of solar photovoltaic and is dispatchable by the utility when it is needed, unlike wind power which must be used when the wind blows. Heat is much cheaper to store than electricity and that gives solar thermal technologies (often called CSP for concentrated solar power) a big leg up over wind and photovoltaic.

Contrary to popular belief, I suspect we will find that clean coal plants (often called IGCC plants with carbon capture and sequestration) will prove to be too unreliable and the cost of gasification of coal (the G in IGCC), the separation of carbon dioxide from the waste gases, and compression too high. Liquefaction, handling, and eventually underground storage in large reservoirs will be so expensive that it is likely that solar thermal technologies will win the cost race.

The financial risk of building a fifty year lifetime coal plant will become much more visible in 2007, and utilities that are doing it will see their stock suffer as investors recognize this risk fully!

You have got to be crazy to build a fifty year asset with the escalating risk of environmental regulations and the certainty of carbon pricing at some point which will triple the effective price of coal." more

Anyone who thinks that the CO2 produced from coal can be sequestered needs to take 8th grade chemistry again. One trainload of coal means you've got 3.66 (44/12) trainloads to remove and sequester.

The best way to sequester our carbon will likely be in the biosphere as we induce the markets to allow the earth to grow a beard. But the best way to sequester coal is to leave it where it is.

Yesterday, the chair massage guy at the bookstore asked me what my books are about, so I gave him my 20 second energy vision.

It went something like this.

Every material that humans build or have built will someday be coated with an advanced material that converts photons to electrons. Instead of allowing those photons to de-accelerate into heat, we will use their quantum energy to produce usable electron energy that is stored in an advanced solid state grid that is loaded with capacitance. We will use these same materials in reverse to make our ceilings and walls glow, thus replacing light fixtures. We will use them to suck energy from our bodies, thus replacing standard air conditioning.

When we drive our electric transportation appliances, we will charge them at the red light as the onboard computer recognizes the magnetic charging plate embedded in the road itself. We will drive around all day with never a thought about fuel.

The gas station will become as quaint, and as useless, as the wood shed

When, I saw that I had him, I took it to the next level.

Our surfaces will then become transductional boundary layers, converting one form of energy to another, dividing the creation without dividing it, and thus becoming a technological metaphor for reality itself. Because after all, our divisions of reality are only in our minds.

I read in my new Krishnamurti book that loneliness is simply a blocking of energy.

Clearly, there's a lot of lonely out there.

Who knows, maybe unblocking the energy in our lives and in our world,

will become the Real Climate Premium.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content III

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Sunday, January 28, 2007

Energy Vision

Instead of watching the mind numbing propagandistic corporate dribble drone that is pawned off on us all , take a tour with Julie O'Neil and Werner Grundl as they visit the World's Largest Solar Field in Arnstein, Germany.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content III

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Good Explosion

Explosion of the Sun

For the last several days, I have been reviewing the four climate change bills that are in the Senate right now. There is the Sanders/Boxer bill, the Feinstein bill, the McCain/Lieberman bill, and the Bingaman bill.

The Sanders bill calls for a 80 % reduction of emissions by 2050. The Feinstein bill creates a Presidential Panel to determine the right amount, but starts off by capping emissions right now, then electric emissions reduce from 1 to 1.5 % a year from there. The McCain bill reduces emissions by 2/3rds by 2050.

That means that we will have to get a lot of help from energy efficiency and renewables.

According to this report, we can.

Energy roadmap backs renewables
BBC News

Half of the world's energy needs in 2050 could be met by renewables and improved efficiency, a study claims.

It said alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar, could provide nearly 70% of the world's electricity and 65% of global heat demand.

Following a "business as usual" scenario would see demand for energy double by 2050, the authors warned.

The study, by the German Aerospace Center, was commissioned by Greenpeace and Europe's Renewable Energy Council.

The report, Energy Revolution: A Sustainable World Energy Outlook, provided a "roadmap" for meeting future energy needs without fuelling climate change, said Sven Teske from Greenpeace International.

"We have shown that the world can have safe, robust renewable energy, that we can achieve the efficiencies needed and we can do all of this while enjoying global economic growth," he said.

He added that the strategy outlined in the report showed that it was economically feasible to cut global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by almost 50% over the next 43 years.


"What we want to believe is that there is a change in the minds of politicians, especially after what we have seen happen to the climate," Professor Zervos told BBC News.

"We hope this report will have an effect on the political decision making process."

And it's time for some decisions as this Guardian story reports.

UN's vast report will end the scientific argument.
Now will the world act?

David Adam
January 27, 2007
The Guardian

For the hundreds of scientists arriving in Paris this weekend, next week will mark the end of a tortuous three-year process to put everything they know about climate change down on paper. But for the politicians who must read the results, the tortuous process is only beginning.

If 2006 was the year the world accepted climate change as a serious problem, then 2007 is the year that its leaders must do something about it.


Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, told Reuters: "I hope this report will shock people, governments into taking more serious action as you really can't get a more authentic and a more credible piece of scientific work. So I hope this will be taken for what it's worth. There are a lot of signs and evidence in this report which clearly establish not only the fact that climate change is taking place, but also that it really is human activity that is influencing that change." more

Personally, I doubt if it will shock people.

But the scale is moving.

The plethora of these cap and trade bills we see in the Senate are an indication that the time for a decision and action is nearing.

Who knows?

Maybe someone will introduce a bill which declares that polluting the air is illegal.

And if you must pollute, then you need a permit.

You need a permit to fish.

Cheney and his hunting pals need one to shoot raised caged birds.

If each of us paid for the right to dump our carbon waste into our air,

the market for non-carbon sources of energy would explode.

And who wouldn't rather see a gigantic good explosion there,

than a really big bad one in the Mid East,

or perhaps even here.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content III

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



art courtesy of by Narmina Veliyeva, age 11, from Azerbaijan

Friday, January 26, 2007

Seed Pods


About 15 years ago, I started building a model of a sustainable city. It was called Argonon. In its completed stage, it took over my garage. It also provided a unique place for many of us to think and plan for the future.

Now, the Global EcoVillage company has begun preliminary designs on its Lovelock EcoVillage project. GEV's intention for this community is to be the first truly sustainable modern village with respect to both Ecology and Economy.

The location for the Lovelock EcoVillage site is 580 acres of sculptured land on the western outskirts of Amarillo, Texas.

Most interestingly, Phil Hawes, architect of record of the $250 million Biosphere2 has relocated to Amarillo to design and build the Ecovillage.

As an associate of R.Buckmister Fuller, Phil designed architectural solutions for Martian colonization which lead to the conception of the idea for Biosphere2 in Arizona. As a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, Phil also trained in the humanistic tradition of architecture.

I was born in Amarillo, and it somehow touches me that a seed pod for 5000 people is developing there.

But why even speak of Seed Pods?

Here is part of an important piece by William Kotke that might help in laying the predicate.

The Earth Speaks

We who can read these words are civilized people who have been mentally conditioned by the culture of civilization and the industrial society from birth. We have precepts loaded into our subconscious minds which cause us to see reality in a certain way.

To a native Maya person in the State of Chiapas, Mexico, the earth speaks through them.

They live integrated with the earth in their everyday energy systems and in their mental attitudes. To them the fact that the earthlife has manifest these living things around us, and us, means that we are children of the Mother Earth and we speak as one of the voices of the earth.

To the Maya this is obvious on a deep level.

To us, it is an interesting intellectual proposition only, because we have been conditioned by a cultural upbringing that filters out this deep understanding, and we do not mentally link our life with the life of the living earth.


The culture of the Maya of Chiapas is not like that of civilization. They are survival remnants of a culture impacted by imperial colonization. In order to protect themselves, their culture and their living world, they have risen up in resistance.

In many parts of the Southern Hemisphere the indigenous at the base are arising, but the EZLN, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, were in the lead. The Zapatistas are anti-capitalist, but no propagandist could get away with calling a Native American an industrial communist.

They are more properly termed anti-civilization, against civilization in its present form.


They are creating a new kind of culture out from under the burden of colonialism. They have a culture of sharing, cooperation and care of the earth. This is being made the cultural basis of governance.

They scorn the political class along with the electoral politics which is its control mechanism. The Zapatistas control from the base through community meetings. Theirs is a culture of human community rather than social isolates in mass industrial society who vote periodically for a list of names.

They have power over their way of life of their community rather than voting on someone in a far-off parliament.


To the Zapatistas, transferring to the young the tremendously valuable fund of information that the species has amassed is certainly possible without also placing it in the context of the values of industrial civilization.

They even have plans for a Zapatista university.

But the manner of teaching is different. In their view the teacher comes to class to learn just like the students. It is a combined inquiry, and the contribution of each participant is valuable. An important ingredient in their culture is respect; respect for the elders, respect for the earth and respect for each other.

Life is valuable.


The worm has turned. In former decades, revolutionaries vied to grab the industrial power of the elites in order to redistribute wealth. Now, we have seen what the wealth of the industrialist/banker has done to the earth and our future. Now, we in the culturally poor but wealthy societies are looking to the richness of a new kind of human culture that cannot be directed but can only grow out of the base.

The base is in motion.

The earth is speaking.

Those involved with infinite demands upon finite resources

will not survive,

but the earth will survive

along with those children embedded within her."

William H. Kötke, is author of Garden Planet . He is also the author of the out-of-print, underground classic, The Final Empire: The Collapse of Civilization and the Seed of the Future, which may be downloaded for free here.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content III

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Thursday, January 25, 2007

We see what we are


Here is an interesting piece in the Guardian by Simon Jenkins. It is a well written piece that deserves a full read. It is interesting because it is prime example of how our view of things can be shaped by the words and the mind forms that we use to describe them.

The age of technological revolution is 100 years dead

Dazzled by neophiliacs, we have lost the power of scepticism - the new is grotesquely oversold, the tried and tested neglected

Simon Jenkins
January 24, 2007
The Guardian

I rise each morning, shave with soap and razor, don clothes of cotton and wool, read a paper, drink a coffee heated by gas or electricity and go to work with the aid of petrol and an internal combustion engine. At a centrally heated office I type on a Qwerty keyboard; I might later visit a pub or theatre. Most people I know do likewise.

Not one of these activities has altered qualitatively over the past century, while in the previous hundred years they altered beyond recognition. We do not live in the age of technological revolution. We live in the age of technological stasis, but do not realise it. We watch the future and have stopped watching the present.

When I finish reading most books, they hang around on shelves, prop up tables or go to friends. David Edgerton's The Shock of the Old is a book I can use. I can take it in two hands and bash it over the heads of every techno-nerd, computer geek and neophiliac futurologist I meet.

Edgerton is a historian of science at Imperial College in London and must be a brave man. He has taken each one of his colleagues' vested interests and stamped on it with hobnailed boots.
No, research and development do not equate with economic progress.

No, the computer is not a stunning technological advance, just an extension of electronic communication as known for over a century. No, the internet has not transformed most people's lives, just helped them do faster what they did before. No, weapons technology has not transformed warfare, merely wasted stupefying sums of money while soldiers win or lose by firing rifles. more

When I got up this morning, I checked my cell phone. I walked into the office and checked my favorite internet sites for news. I looked at my counter to see who had read yesterday's post within the last few hours. There, I saw that someone from Rome, from Denmark, from Ireland, from Aragon, from Beijing, and from New South Wales Australia had slipped the bonds of space to visit the mind of a man raised in the Texas Panhandle.

I drank orange juice out of season and jumped into my remote startable car with its warm seats. With my girl friends nano, the lifelike Bose sound system in it is never short of our favorite music.

In my morning office, I log on to the server at the downtown office and telecommute my presence without moving my form.

I read this man's opinion from a newspaper in England which I would never read without the internet. I can read the opinions of the Chinese, of the Russians, and of the Iranian state.

My phone captures video and allows me to post images to the world via You Tube and a host of other video hosts. I rarely dial numbers anymore, I just speak the name as if I have an attached secretary. With my tiny tablet computer, I can travel all over the world and work. With Skype, I can transport my voice and image any place on earth with a modest penny a minute charge.

And yet, there is still great truth in Jenkins' article.

I too shaved with a razor in water warmed by natural gas.

The engine in my car does indeed run on petro.

The play I may see tonight will indeed be a variant of the

Age Old Greek three act play.

Jenkins will probably use a microwave oven today,

and book a flight over the internet.

He might even give his opinion that the tech revolution is dead,

via a world video conference from his laptop.

Maybe the paradox of his opinion will strike him

as he shaves in the morning,

while he looks in the mirror,

through the miracle of our minds.

For we see what we are,

not what is there.

And that is part of the mystery that makes the gods smile,

and allows the children to play.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content III

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



God Smile courtesy of Lilly Willis

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Toadie Speaks

President Toadie tells it to us.

Official Text SoTU 2007


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content III

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Last Act

Last Act of Hamlet

Somewhere I read about a bar
where they provide rolled-up socks
for people to throw at the television
when the President speaks.

Neruda said the socks which Maru Mori
knitted for him were made of golden threads,
threads made of twilight —

She was a poor woman, so maybe
twilight, probably not gold.

I doubt if socks
will do the trick tonight, or even Neruda’s
wonderful poem.

The American president is a war
criminal — Dems in Congress aren’t
going to stop him.

Endless carnage is good for weapons dealers,
WWIII looms, the Nuclear Clock is set
to five minutes before annihilation.

Another line comes to mind —
"something rotten in the Sate of Denmark" —

Hillary Clinton leads the pack to refuse public
money so she can fund her political campaign
from the coffers of the war mongers.

The only speech I want to hear tonight
is one introducing Articles of Impeachment
against George W. Bush, Dick Chaney,
Alberto Gonzales, Condolizza Rice —

I want to hear a speech by Dems saying they
will stop authorizing funds to support an
illegal and incompetent war effort.

No, socks won’t do it tonight.

I’ve got the final act of Hamlet in mind —

We can't take five more minutes
of this villainy.

And while I doubt if we need
poisoned chalices, daggers or swords,
we do need resolve, decision, courage
and well placed Articles of Impeachment.

©Susan Bright, 2007

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Monday, January 22, 2007

The Final Verdict

poetic justice
The Fourth Assessment of the International Panel on Climate Change is due to come out in February. Here is an early look from The Observer .

Global warming: the final verdict

A study by the world's leading experts says global warming will happen faster and be more devastating than previously thought

The Observer
Robin McKie,
science editor
Sunday January 21, 2007

Global warming is destined to have a far more destructive and earlier impact than previously estimated, the most authoritative report yet produced on climate change will warn next week.

A draft copy of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, obtained by The Observer, shows the frequency of devastating storms - like the ones that battered Britain last week - will increase dramatically.

Sea levels will rise over the century by around half a metre; snow will disappear from all but the highest mountains; deserts will spread; oceans become acidic, leading to the destruction of coral reefs and atolls; and deadly heatwaves will become more prevalent.

The impact will be catastrophic, forcing hundreds of millions of people to flee their devastated homelands, particularly in tropical, low-lying areas, while creating waves of immigrants whose movements will strain the economies of even the most affluent countries.

'The really chilling thing about the IPCC report is that it is the work of several thousand climate experts who have widely differing views about how greenhouse gases will have their effect. Some think they will have a major impact, others a lesser role.

Each paragraph of this report was therefore argued over and scrutinised intensely. Only points that were considered indisputable survived this process. This is a very conservative document - that's what makes it so scary,' said one senior UK climate expert.

Climate concerns are likely to dominate international politics next month. President Bush is to make the issue a part of his state of the union address on Wednesday while the IPCC report's final version is set for release on 2 February in a set of global news conferences."


The report reflects climate scientists' growing fears that Earth is nearing the stage when carbon dioxide rises will bring irreversible change to the planet. 'We are seeing vast sections of Antarctic ice disappearing at an alarming rate,' said climate expert Chris Rapley, in a phone call to The Observer from the Antarctic Peninsula last week.

'That means we can expect to see sea levels rise at about a metre a century from now on - and that will have devastating consequences.'

However, there is still hope, said Peter Cox of Exeter University. 'We are like alcoholics who have got as far as admitting there is a problem. It is a start. Now we have got to start drying out - which means reducing our carbon output."

According to many, society must reduce its emissions of carbon by 90% in the next 23 years, if we are to have a chance in avoiding dramatic species ending repercussions.

Folks, this is not some quadrennial presidential campaign.

This is not something that might go the way of Y2K.

We simply must begin to move boldy from carbon to light.

Simultaneously, we must also begin to prepare for the coming changes.

We must transform our economic systems,

we must change our transportation appliances,

we must transform and reconfigure our settlements,

we must change our sense of who we are, and

we must become the best that we can imagine.

It will only be horrible,

if we don't do it.

digital mail art


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content III

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



art courtesy of Hyatt Moore


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Perma Principles

A friend and reader sent these Permaculture Priniciples from Pattern

Although, I in no way think we should imagine that all of us want to be gardeners, and that we each should grow our own food, perhaps each of us should at least have a garden; (no matter how small) and, each of us would probably do well to understand these principles and contemplate how they might apply to many of our other endeavors.

Primary Principles for Functional Design:

1. Observe. Use protracted and thoughtful observation rather than prolonged and thoughtless action. Observe the site and its elements in all seasons. Design for specific sites, clients, and climates.

2. Connect. Use relative location: Place elements in ways that create useful relationships and time-saving connections among all parts. The number of connections among elements creates a healthy, diverse ecosystem, not the number of elements.

3. Catch and store energy and materials. Identify, collect, and hold the useful flows moving through the site. By saving and re-investing resources, we maintain the system and capture still more resources.

4. Each element performs multiple functions. Choose and place each element in a system to perform as many functions as possible. Increasing beneficial connections between diverse components creates a stable whole. Stack elements in both space and time.

5. Each function is supported by multiple elements. Use multiple methods to achieve important functions and to create synergies. Redundancy protects when one or more elements fail.

6. Make the least change for the greatest effect. Find the “leverage points” in the system and intervene there, where the least work accomplishes the most change.

7. Use small scale, intensive systems. Start at your doorstep with the smallest systems that will do the job, and build on your successes, with variations. Grow by chunking.

Principles for Living and Energy Systems

8. Use the edge effect. The edge—the intersection of two environments—is the most diverse place in a system, and is where energies and materials accumulate. Optimize the amount of edge.

9. Accelerate succession. Mature ecosystems are more diverse and productive than young ones, so use design to jump-start succession.

10. Use biological and renewable resources. Renewable resources (usually plants and animals) reproduce and build up over time, store energy, assist yield, and interact with other elements.

11. Recycle energy. Supply local and on-site needs with energy from the system, and reuse this energy as many times as possible. Every cycle is an opportunity for yield.

12. Turn problems into solutions. Constraints can inspire creative design. “We are surrounded by insurmountable opportunities.”— Bill Mollison

13. Get a yield. Design for both immediate and long-term returns from your efforts: “You can’t work on an empty stomach.” Set up positive feedback loops to build the system and repay your investment.

14. Abundance is unlimited. The designer’s imagination and skill is a bigger limit to yield than any physical limit.

15. Mistakes are tools for learning. Evaluate your trials. Making mistakes is a sign you’re trying to do things better.

In the 1820s in the US, 2 million farmers fed the 2.9 million population. Today less that 1% of the population feeds our 300 million people.

My hope is that the wisdom found in permaculture will be applied to a new generation of large scale robotic food growing techniques so that balance and health can be restored to the seriously deteriorated petro-dependent corporate food chains we depend on today.

Time to eat.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content III

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Friday, January 19, 2007

Ultra Cap Wrap

The little company in Texas with the big hope has peeked out of the woodwork again.

Here is part of the press release:

"The first commercial application of the EESU is intended to be used in electric vehicles under a technology agreement with ZENN Motors Company. EEStor, Inc. remains on track to begin shipping production 15 kilowatt-hour Electrical Energy Storage Units (EESU) to ZENN Motor Company in 2007 for use in their electric vehicles.

The production EESU for ZENN Motor Company will function to specification in operating environments as sever as negative 20 to plus 65 degrees Celsius, will weigh less than 100 pounds, and will have ability to be recharged in a matter of minutes. (clip)

EEStor, Inc. is dedicated to the design, development, and manufacturing of high-density energy storage devices. Utilizing revolutionary ultra capacitor architecture and environmentally friendly materials the EEStor, Inc. EESU will compete against all existing battery technologies.

The EESU is capable of microsecond recharging and millions of 100% charge/discharge cycles. The technology is affordable and designed for versatile "racked and stacked" configurations."

If EEStor can provide the radical energy storage capability it says it can, there will be a plethora of GM Volt announcements.

Just think about it.

15 Kwhs will give you a range of about 60 miles with a weight of 100 lbs. That weight is equal to about 14 gallons of gas. So the energy density ratio per pound is equal to 1/4 of the energy punch of gasoline. But, the energy ratio per cubic foot is approximately 1/2. So the size of a 240 mile electric gas tank would only be twice as big as a regular gas tank and it would be perhaps four times heavier.

Considering that a plug in hybrid would only need the 15 Kwh size, the energy storage increase in weight is less than one skinny pre-teen. That difference can easily be made up with the use of advanced composite materials and other reductions in weight achieved with the elimination of the transmission and the use of a much smaller engine.

With a platform consisting of in wheel electric motors and capacitors imbedded in a new advanced composite chassis, powered by a highly efficient internal combustion engine or micro turbine running at optimum efficiency and speeds, a whole new kind of transportation device becomes a reality.

In the meantime, a huge market for affordable energy storage will also develop in the electric sector.

With cost effective energy storage, you can say goodbye to the need for more coal plants, because utility companies will be able to run their plants heavier at night.

With cost effective energy storage, you can say hello to more off grid homes.

With cost effective energy storage,

We can kiss defending those Mideast oil supplies goodbye,

And run our transportation system on West Texas wind

and Southwest Texas solar.

We can also save our corn.

For eating.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content III

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Thursday, January 18, 2007

Tick Tock

While reading the NYT last night, I noticed a new ad in the bottom right hand corner of the editorial section. You know, it's that space that generally has an Exxon Mobil piece of excrement in it. This time, the ad space was purchased by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

And they were moving their famous doomsday clock to five minutes to midnight. It had been set at 7 minutes til.

Here is part of the board statement:

We stand at the brink of a second nuclear age. Not since the first atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki has the world faced such perilous choices. North Korea’s recent test of a nuclear weapon, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, a renewed U.S. emphasis on the military utility of nuclear weapons, the failure to adequately secure nuclear materials, and the continued presence of some 26,000 nuclear weapons in the United States and Russia are symptomatic of a larger failure to solve the problems posed by the most destructive technology on Earth.

As in past deliberations, we have examined other human-made threats to civilization. We have concluded that the dangers posed by climate change are nearly as dire as those posed by nuclear weapons. The effects may be less dramatic in the short term than the destruction that could be wrought by nuclear explosions, but over the next three to four decades climate change could cause drastic harm to the habitats upon which human societies depend for survival.

This deteriorating state of global affairs leads the Board of Directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists--in consultation with a Board of Sponsors that includes 18 Nobel laureates--to move the minute hand of the “Doomsday Clock” from seven to five minutes to midnight.


The international community faces a dilemma: How to mitigate climate change without increasing the dangers of nuclear materials proliferation.

Global warming poses a dire threat to human civilization that is second only to nuclear weapons. The most authoritative scientific group on these issues, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has concluded, “Most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.”

Carbon dioxide, principally from fossil fuel burning, has been accumulating in the atmosphere, where it acts like a blanket keeping Earth warm and heating up its surface, ocean, and atmosphere. As a result, current levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are higher than at any time during the last 650,000 years.

Observations of changes in the atmosphere, on land, in the oceans, in glaciers, and in polar ice cores have led to worldwide scientific consensus about the causes of climate change. The most distinguished scientific bodies in the United States, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Meteorological Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have come to conclusions similar to those of the IPCC.


Turning back the Clock will depend on humanity’s ability to think in new ways about how to cooperate to achieve common goals. We ask scientists, in the words of Eugene Rabinowitch, not to "retire in resignation and despair to their laboratories" but to publicly engage these issues and make their voices heard. And we implore governments to actively engage the scientific community for sound, nonpartisan technical advice.

We urge immediate attention to climate change and caution those who believe nuclear energy is a problem-free solution. Finally, and most importantly, we call upon policy and opinion leaders, business and civic leaders, and the public to place the dangers of nuclear weapons at the top of their agendas for action.


The terrible and still unprecedented destructive power of nuclear weapons led Albert Einstein to observe, “With nuclear weapons, everything has changed, save our way of thinking.”

As we stand at the brink of a second nuclear age and at the onset of an era of unprecedented climate change, our way of thinking about the uses and control of technologies must change to prevent unspeakable destruction and future human suffering.

The Clock is ticking."

In balance, this is not the closest the clock has moved to the dreaded midnight.

In 1953, it moved to 2 minutes before midnight after the the United States decided to pursue the hydrogen bomb, a weapon far more powerful than any atomic bomb. In October 1952, the United States tested its first thermonuclear device, obliterating a Pacific Ocean islet in the process; nine months later, the Soviets tested an H-bomb of their own.

And it's been "three minutes til" twice, in 1949 and in 1984.

In 1981, the election of Reagan managed to move the clock to four minutes.

The clock was a full 17 minutes away (the record) in 1991 under Clinton when the US and Russia began to make deep cuts in their arsenals. The Bulletin was so optimistic they said, “The illusion that tens of thousands of nuclear weapons are a guarantor of national security has been stripped away".

But yesterday's tick represented the first time that the Atomic Scientists have warned us about something besides nuclear destruction.

They now view climate change as dangerous as nuclear destruction.

"Climate change could cause drastic harm to the habitats upon which human societies depend for survival."

And destroyed habitats lead to military confrontations.

I suppose Exxon will have their place back today, so they can inject more gobbletygook into the mouths and eyes of those who continue to cover their hearts with their pocketbook.

Who knows?

Maybe they'll be able to sell their "snake oil" to the Dolphins.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content III

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Ride

In the course of history, there have been perhaps a handful of times when people have come together and peacefully made their voices heard so that history itself is altered.

Certainly, the great gathering of August 28 th, 1963 where Martin Luther King delivered his dream speech is a remarkable example.

Gandhi's salt march is another. Here, on the 12th of March 1930 ,Mahatma Gandhi, at age 61, started walking from Sabarmati Ashram with a band of 78 handpicked volunteers. Their destination was a beachhead 241 miles to the south, Dandi. Around the 6th of April, Mahatma Gandhi and his band of followers reached Dandi, along with the thousands who had joined him en-route.

It was at Dandi that the British Empire lost its moral high ground as wave after wave of unarmed nonviolent soldiors stormed the British lines. With each brutal hit of their sticks on the unarmed satyagrahas, the British soldiers lost their ability to inflict their violence.

There are many signs pointing to an expansion of the War and violence in the Mideast. Here is one more from China View.

This is not new. Scott Ritter has said an attack is imminent since 2005. Seymour Hersh has written and spoken often about it. Even this Russian MP believes it.

And the POTUS is no help either in quieting our worried minds.

Meanwhile, the liberal press continues to conflate Iran's legal processing of nuclear fuel with the creation of nuclear weapons.

The other night, while at a fund raiser for a truly progressive guardian of the truth, I found myself explaining to a reporter friend how such an attack would not seem so crazy in the eyes and minds of the military and corporate elite.

The price of oil would probably shoot up as Iran shuts down the straits in the Persian Gulf. That would mean that the big major oil companies could make huge profits. Simultaneously, the problem of peak oil would be temporarily solved as demand drops due to the price increase.

As a bonus, The POTUS and the VPOTUS change the dialogue away from their past failures to the future need for complete victory.

If all goes right, we end up controlling the 200 billion barrels of Oil in Iraq (including the western field), the 150 Billion barrels or so in Persia, and we keep the Saudis and Kuwaitis in our protectorate for a grand total of perhaps 600 billion barrels in our control. That would be perhaps 50% of the remaining oil reserves on earth.

That would look pretty good on paper.

Unfortunately, the game is not played on paper.

And it most certainly is not a game.

If our leaders move forward on this plan,

it will be a ride into hell.

This all leads me to this.

I'm thinking about another Ride.

I'm thinking about a Ride to Washington.

Imagine 2 or 3 million people of conscience,

Riding their bikes into Washington after gathering in Philadelphia.

Imagine Washington so full of bikes, the cars can't move.

Imagine a show of love and force that might actually change this.

I can.

Can You?


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content III

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Monday, January 15, 2007

Tomorrow is Today

Here is the last part of the "Time to Break the Silence" speech by Martin Luther King.

His words are as timely today as they were 40 years ago. By 1967, King had become the country's most prominent opponent of the Vietnam War, and a staunch critic of overall U.S. foreign policy, which he deemed militaristic.

In his "Beyond Vietnam" speech delivered at New York's Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 -- a year to the day before he was murdered -- King called the United States "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."

Time magazine called the speech "demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi," and the Washington Post declared that King had "diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people."

You decide

"A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept -- so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force -- has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response.

I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John:
Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God.

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate.

History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says : "Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word."

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The "tide in the affairs of men" does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out deperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on.

Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on..." We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.
We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world -- a world that borders on our doors.

If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.
Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response.

Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets?

Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:

Once to every man and nation

Comes the moment to decide,

In the strife of truth and falsehood,

For the good or evil side;

Some great cause, God's new Messiah,
Off'ring each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever

Twixt that darkness and that light.

Though the cause of evil prosper,

Yet 'tis truth alone is strong;

Though her portion be the scaffold,

And upon the throne be wrong:

Yet that scaffold sways the future,

And behind the dim unknown,

Standeth God within the shadow
Keeping watch above his own.

And, if you have not heard it yet today,

Here is the dream speech with a video link.

" We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest." MLK


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content III

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Revolution courtesy of Bret Hostetler