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Recent Diaries
Thrive Solar®
by: gmoke - Nov 19
Voting for Republican Lite?
by: jandrews - Oct 06
1 Comments
Primary Statements
by: scott_laugenour - Sep 06
3 Comments
MIT at Flood Level
by: gmoke - May 03
James Hansen at MIT
by: gmoke - Apr 20

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Brookline Tab endorses MK Merelice for Selectman

by: eli_beckerman

Mon May 04, 2015 at 22:10:16 PM EDT

In an exciting local race that could see current Green-Rainbow Party co-chair MK Merelice elected to the Selectboard of the second largest town in Massachusetts, the Brookline Tab weighed in with a persuasive endorsement for one of the two open spots.

From the Brookline Tab:

Merelice is a longtime progressive stalwart who has worked at the grassroots level and has run for state office. The breadth and depth of civic issues she has delved into in her 44 years in Brookline is formidable: development, zoning, open space, climate change, race relations. As a former vice president at Putnam Investments, she has financial and managerial experience.

But maybe the most important thing Merelice would bring to the Board of Selectmen is the willingness and ability to listen. We've been hearing so much lately about people feeling marginalized in Brookline. It can only help to have someone on the town's executive committee who is willing to hear their stories and engage with their concerns.

Watch Merelice in action at a recent candidates forum:

Before you vote for Brookline selectman, see and hear Merelice speak about how to bring out the best in Brookline and the experience and skills she brings to the table. merelice.org

Posted by Elect Merelice on Monday, May 4, 2015
There's More... :: (1 Comments, 137 words in story)

Recycled Solar: Double-Glazed Solar Hot Cap Cloche

by: gmoke

Wed Apr 29, 2015 at 13:31:17 PM EDT

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.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Energiewende: Germany's Energy Transition

by: gmoke

Wed Apr 01, 2015 at 23:18:26 PM EDT

( - promoted by eli_beckerman)

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.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 557 words in story)

Getting to Net Zero: Cambridge, MA

by: gmoke

Thu Mar 26, 2015 at 16:15:46 PM EDT

( - promoted by eli_beckerman)

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...
and access other information about the Task Force at http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD...

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 138 words in story)

The Big Tent: Rainbow as Model

by: eli_beckerman

Mon Jan 19, 2015 at 13:08:35 PM EST

[John Rensenbrink Speech to MA Green-Rainbow Party Convention in Worcester, Massachusetts, November 15, 2014]

Thank you Roni.

Greetings, very excited to be here with you. One piece of excitement: last Sunday the Maine Green Independent Party's Steering Committee unanimously endorsed the Green Alliance to Stop the Pipeline. GASP! Indeed! That's good news: "As Maine Goes ....!"

When Roni asked me to give the keynote, I was delighted to be invited and asked her what she and the Planning Committee had in mind for my speech. She said the Committee suggested the theme of  "The Big Tent."

My speech, accordingly, centers on the rainbow as a Big Tent model for the vision and accompanying strategy of the Green Party.

For contrast and critical comparison to the rainbow model, I begin by commenting on a Big Tent strategy promoted by Ralph Nader and others.

I will then go on to describe how and why the rainbow is the model of choice. Thereafter, I will finish by outlining two strategies that fit in with the rainbow model: a versatile strategy and a jolt strategy.

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Intertribal Problems Stuck on Stupid

by: gmoke

Fri Jan 09, 2015 at 23:30:18 PM EST

(it would be a step in the right direction to create a non-adversarial police force in our communities. - promoted by eli_beckerman)

We are going into our fifth month of demonstrations and actions all over the USA about police violence and sanctioned summary judgment. Hearing, reading, seeing the news, it seems as if brutality, terror, and torture are breaking out worldwide, with beheadings and mass killings happening at, perhaps, a quickening rate. Violence meeting violence to make more violence, intertribal problems stuck on stupid, here and abroad.

Recently, I saw a DVD of "The Interrupters,"
( http://interrupters.kartemquin... ) on an open cart in the library and I took it home. It's a documentary about a group called Ceasefire which "interrupts" street violence between gangs and violent individuals in Chicago. CeaseFire's founder, Gary Slutkin, is an epidemiologist who believes that violence spreads like an infectious disease and uses a "medical" treatment: "go after the most infected, and stop the infection at its source," to stop it. One part of that treatment is the "Violence Interrupters" program, created by Tio Hardiman, a group of street-credible, mostly former offenders who defuse conflict before it becomes violence. They can speak from experience about consequences and how "no matter what the additional violence is not going to be helpful."

About the same time, a friend wrote me about a radio interview
( http://www.ttbook.org/book/ref... ) with Constance Rice, a civil rights attorney and cousin to the former Secretary of State, who has trained 50 LA police officers over the last five years in "public trust policing" at Nickerson Gardens, an LA public housing project.

I picked up "The Interrupters" because I was wondering why we didn't hear about this group in relation to what has been happening with the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamar Rice and others. I listened to the interview with Constance Rice for the same reason. Why haven't I seen Ms Rice, Gary Slutkin, or Tio Hardiman on my TV screen and all over "social media"? They are doing some things which have proven to work in their own communities. How much of what they've done in Chicago and LA can apply to NYC and Boston and other places all around the world? Can they teach us all how to interrupt our own violence and to build a system of public trust policing? As Tio Hardiman says in the DVD: "We've been taught violence. Violence is learned behavior." Can these people and the others like them teach us how to unlearn our violent behavior?

We'll never know unless their voices are part of the conversation.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 523 words in story)

Thrive Solar®

by: gmoke

Wed Nov 19, 2014 at 13:28:26 PM EST

On Friday 11/14/14, Ranganayakulu Bodavula Ph D, Chairman and Managing Director of Thrive® Solar Energy Pvt Ltd (http://www.thriveenergy.co.in), spoke at Harvard's Center for Population Studies (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/population-development/).  On Monday 11/17/14, he spoke to the MIT student group, e4Dev [Energy for Development] (http://e4dev.tumblr.com).  

Thrive Solar Energy Pvt Ltd is a leading solar powered LED lighting solutions provider from India, offering

"14 types of solar powered LED lights that cater to the lighting needs of children, women, households and villages. Its lights are used by tea estate workers, farmers, weavers, vendors, dairy and any other village level vocation that is in need of a clean, safe and reliable light. Thrive Solar partners with NGOs, women Self Help Groups (SHGs), Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs), funding agencies, banks, donors, educational institutions and businesses to promote and distribute its lighting products to bottom of the pyramid (BOP) communities, located in off-grid and intermittently grid connected geographies."

Thrive is making 2 million lights per year at a price as low as $2 per lamp and are projecting 4 million per year production soon.  They do not sell directly to consumers but through the different agencies with which they work.  Nearly half of India still uses 12 lumen candles and 40 lumen kerosene lamps which can be replaced with 60 lumen solar lights.  Currently, the Indian government subsidizes kerosene and paraffin prices by $6 billion per year.  Thrive says it can provide solar lights to every Indian family now for about $1 billion.  

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Green-Rainbow Party optimistic about future

by: eli_beckerman

Sun Nov 16, 2014 at 09:45:00 AM EST

Nice write up of yesterday's Green-Rainbow Party state convention in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette:

WORCESTER - At their state convention at the First Unitarian Church Saturday, Green-Rainbow Party leaders expressed hope that national discontent with the major parties could lead to their long-sought breakthrough.

"The Democrats and Republicans really have a circling firing squad here, and are continuing to take each other down," said Dr. Jill E. Stein, party co-chairman and 2012 presidential candidate. "It's really created the opening we have known about for quite some time."

The Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts is part of the larger national Green Party, and Saturday's event drew party members from all over New England.

"I think the Green Party is on the way," said Linda Thompson, co-chairwoman of the Connecticut Green Party. "We have to think big."

Read the whole thing here.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Green-Rainbow Party and Green Party highlights from Election Day 2014

by: eli_beckerman

Fri Nov 14, 2014 at 21:00:00 PM EST

Nationally, the Green Party won some important victories and took some small steps forward. Most importantly, the Green mayor of Richmond, CA, Gayle McLaughlin, won her bid for City Council despite Chevron's massive campaign against her. And New York gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins received nearly 5% of the statewide vote, making the Green Party THE third party in New York. Other highlights across the country have been posted by Green Party Watch.

In Massachusetts, the Green-Rainbow Party regained major party status on November 4th when each of its three statewide candidates surpassed the 3% threshold, each gaining more votes and higher percentages than the well- and self-financed Evan Falchuk campaign, which also received more media coverage. Since Falchuk's campaign also surpassed the 3% threshold, his United Independent Party will join the official party ranks along with the Green-Rainbow Party.

Discrepancies between federal and state recognition of political parties along with Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin's apparent contempt for the Green-Rainbow Party have made it difficult to consistently organize a progressive political alternative to the Democrat/Republican national duopoly, or one-party rule in Massachusetts. The latest example was Galvin's dismissal of Green-Rainbow Party candidate Jason Lowenthal's nomination papers to challenge incumbent Democratic Congressman Michael Capuano, who went on to run unopposed on the November ballot. Galvin, with a proud history of ducking debates despite being the state's elected overseer of elections, took a cheap shot at the Green-Rainbow Party for the party's stubborn refusal to continue on in electoral politics:

From The Republican (Springfield):

Secretary of State William Galvin said the state will be required to print primary ballots for all the parties, even if there are no competitive races. In the past, the state has used paper, rather than the more expensive cardstock, to print ballots for the Green-Rainbow Party or other third parties. "We'll have to kill many trees," Galvin told reporters on Monday. "We do this all the time with the Greens, which is ironic."

Isn't it ironic, don't you think? Coming from the man who mailed all registered Green-Rainbow Party voters, twice now -- at taxpayers' expense -- postcards that made it sound like the Green-Rainbow Party no longer existed (it did, both as a political designation and as the state affiliate of a federally recognized political party) and that if they wanted to vote in a primary they would have to change their registration?  Or the man with so much contempt for the democratic process that he oversees that "scheduling difficulties" and various other phony excuses have prevented him from agreeing to debates against his opponents, other than last-minute sham debates. Spare us the sermonizing, Bill.

On a more positive note, GRP State Auditor candidate MK Merelice's letter to the Brookline Tab, does a nice job of summarizing the highlights for the Green-Rainbow Party slate and the pockets of strong, local support they received, so I'll leave you with that:

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 240 words in story)

Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming

by: gmoke

Tue Oct 28, 2014 at 00:01:10 AM EDT

(Great stuff. Be there or be rare. - promoted by eli_beckerman)

Just wanted to make sure people know about this upcoming conference which may be the start of something really exciting.  I know from my monitoring of Harvard, MIT, and other universities that ecosystem solutions to climate change are not only not on their radar but met with antagonism when brought up.  The conference organizers can use your help (and mine) in getting the word out.

Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming

We have solutions!
More of our man-made carbon emissions to date have come from land mismanagement and the resulting loss of soil carbon than from burning fossil fuels. The good news is that we know how to remove that atmospheric carbon and store it back into the soils where it belongs, by harnessing the power of nature.

The Conference
Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming is a 3-day conference with the goal to bring the power of biology front and center in the climate conversation. We are bringing together a stellar roster of speakers-scientists, land managers and activists-and participants from around the world to learn from one another and to devise strategies to expand vast natural soil carbon sinks around the world. To learn more about the speakers: http://bio4climate.org/confere...

Register here:
http://bit.ly/1qOBfAo

Help us support the conference!
http://www.razoo.com/story/Con...
Donations will keep tickets affordable, provide scholarships, pay for materials, assist with major outreach efforts before and after the conference, and help support our hard-working and dedicated staff. Any contribution is greatly appreciated!

Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming is hosted by the Tufts Institute of the Environment and the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 91 words in story)

Carbon Farming: Organic Agriculture Saves the World [Geotherapy]

by: gmoke

Tue Oct 07, 2014 at 22:56:30 PM EDT

(the answer's been right under our feet all along? - promoted by eli_beckerman)

Something is happening in the organic farming community. This year the Northeast Organic Farming Association has been exploring carbon farming, "regenerative organic agricultural techniques for sequestering atmospheric carbon in stable soil aggregates." The NOFA Summer Conference at the beginning of August (http://www.nofasummerconference.org) had a Soil Carbon and Climate Track with eight presenters, including the keynoter, Dr. Elaine Ingham, who gave workshops about farming methods that take carbon from the air and add it to the soil while improving fertility and tilth.

The sessions are available at
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/9j2...

In September, the MA chapter of NOFA (NOFAMASS) (http://www.nofamass.org) held two seminars in Amherst and Newton with the Australian soil scientist, Christine Jones explaining the science of soil systems and talking about practical ways to sequester carbon in soil:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/lvp...
My notes from the Newton workshop
http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot...

On Monday, November 3, 2014, NOFAMASS will have an all-day workshop on Succeeding with Grass-Fed Beef: Human Health, Carbon Sequestration, and Farm Viability at Heifer International, 216 Wachusett Street, Rutland, MA led by Ridge Shinn, an expert in grass-fed and grass-finished beef with experience in all parts of the industry.

http://www.nofamass.org/events...
Registration questions: Christine Rainville, 508-572-0816, registrationma@nofamass.org
Event information: Ben Grosscup, 413-658-5374, ben.grosscup@nofamass.org

"What we are learning from the presenters recorded above is that not only is the world in enormous danger from climate disruption, but also the regenerative organic agricultural practices that NOFA promotes offer genuine promise for a livable future on this planet."

Organic farming saves the world. Rebuild soils while producing more and more nutritious food all while taking carbon out of the atmosphere. Sounds to me like ecological systems design or geotherapy.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 192 words in story)

Voting for Republican Lite?

by: jandrews

Mon Oct 06, 2014 at 12:59:42 PM EDT

(and so it goes... - promoted by eli_beckerman)

The lead article on Bluemassgroup, the Democratic Party blog, is telling everyone to get behind Martha Coakley for Governor.  It is entitled "Coakley for Governor: The Small Differences That Matter."

It starts with this telling comment:

"I understand the frustration with the candidates. The differences between Coakley and Baker don't seem to be the yawning chasm that we'd like. But in the immortal words of Donald Rumsfeld, you go to war with the army you have."

In other words:  "The Democratic Party candidate is only marginally better than the Republican.  She doesn't really provide leadership on the things important to us.  But she's the only choice for those of us with a two-party mentality.  So shut up and vote to endorse business-as-usual."

Thank goodness the Green-Rainbow Party doesn't engage in such shameful attempts to talk people into abandoning their values.

If you want to see three candidates who are really different from Charlie Baker, go to
http://www.green-rainbow.org/c...

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Primary Statements

by: scott_laugenour

Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 12:20:32 PM EDT

(Voting (and not voting) your conscience. - promoted by eli_beckerman)

My Green-Rainbow Party voter registration is a stronger statement on the issues that I care about than are the votes that I cast for various candidates.  My Green-Rainbow Party affiliation is a public record and is in effect every day.

So what does that mean for the Democratic Party primary on Sep 9, 2014?  It means that I will not vote in it.

Not very many other voters will vote in the primary, either.  The Lenox Town Clerk predicts an extremely slow day (less than 20% turnout).  In my case, I do not participate in that primary because I am not a Democrat (and I would not be given a ballot to cast even if I showed up).  Not participating in other parties' primaries is one of the statements that I made with my registration as a Green-Rainbow Party voter.

For the 2014 state elections it's too bad that a Green-Rainbow Party gubernatorial candidate did not surface, although the party has nominated three fine candidates running statewide for the offices of Treasurer, Auditor and Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Our small party does sometimes have primaries of its own, which voters registered in other parties may not vote in.  When we have had primaries our voter turnout is much higher than it is for other parties.  

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 440 words in story)

GMO Labeling: House Speaker Doesn't Play Softball and Nor Should We

by: scott_laugenour

Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 13:50:08 PM EDT

(That's one approach. Or we could play even harder... and try to get Speaker DeLeo indicted for his role in the crony Probation Department hiring scandal. - promoted by eli_beckerman)

Softball advocacy for GMO labeling is the kind of boneheaded strategy that several of us were invited to play this morning.  

We must play hardball, instead.  We are up against food manufacturers who are oppose GMO labeling and who provide lavish funding to Democratic Party political leaders like House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who then block the legislation despite its popularity.  DeLeo and the lobbyist donors fully understand the game of political hardball.  DeLeo wants the industry lobby money and he knows securing the money is conditioned on doing just the sort of blocking he's doing.  Votes that bestow power on his office, though, are taken for granted.

Against this backdrop is a ludicrous game of softball being espoused by MoveOn.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 292 words in story)

Climate Change and Geotherapy: Two Conferences, Two Workshops, and Another Chance

by: gmoke

Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 19:32:24 PM EDT

(Good stuff, thanks George! - promoted by eli_beckerman)

I've been going to public lectures on climate change at Harvard, MIT, and other places since at least 1980.  Lately I've been thinking that I have yet to hear an ecologist talk about the subject.  I've seen climatologists, atmospheric chemists, atmospheric physicists, glaciologists, rocket scientists (thanks, S Fred Singer), oceanographers, and geologists address the subject.  But I can't recall hearing an ecologist talk about climate change and ecological systems.  This becomes even more frustrating to me when I attend a lecture on geoengineering.  In the last couple of years, a joint Harvard and MIT group has been meeting to discuss this topic and the enormous intellectual effort devoted to rather simplistic solutions to complex systems problems is astonishing to me, especially since there seems to be such a great reluctance to engage on the systems issues.

Recently, some friends and colleagues have begun trying to remedy the situation, focusing on the global carbon cycle and, in particular, soil carbon.  Part of this is through the work of Allan Savory and his practice of Holistic Management in relation to livestock grazing patterns.  Another part is through the work of Tom Goreau protecting and, in some cases, restoring coral reefs.  Through their efforts, this year's Northeast Organic Farming Association Summer Conference will have an extensive "Soil Carbon and Climate Track" introducing practicing farmers to ways in which their daily work can sequester carbon from the atmosphere for years, decades, and even centuries, becoming an important tool in diminishing climate change and, just possibly, reversing it.

A few weeks later, the NOFA Massachusetts chapter will host two day-long workshops with Dr. Christine Jones, an Australian soil biologist, on "Practical Options for Food Production Resilience in an Increasingly Variable Climate."  One workshop will be in the Boston area and the other will be in Western Massachusetts.

Lastly and certainly not least, they are organizing a conference at Tufts University at the end of November on "Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming."  Not only will the conference bring together experts from all over the world to talk about ecosystem solutions to confront climate change and global warming but it is also designed to start a global conversation and network to begin practicing these systemic solutions, sharing what works and understanding what doesn't and why.

This is a development I have long waited for and will participate in as much as I can.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1562 words in story)
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