Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New resource book for the new reality: Toolbox for Sustainable City Living

Just ordered a copy here. $20 delivered to Salem. Looks fantastic. These skills will be increasingly important in the years to come:

About the book

The Toolbox for Sustainable City Living is a DIY guide for creating locally-based, ecologically sustainable communities in today's cities. Its straightforward text, vibrant illustrations and accessible diagrams explain how urbanites can have local access and control over life's essential resources: food production, water security, waste management, autonomous energy, and bioremediation of toxic soils. Written for people with limited financial means, the book emphasizes building these systems with cheap, salvaged and recycled materials when possible. This book will be an essential tool for transitioning into a sustainable future threatened by the converging trends of global warming and energy depletion.

Topics covered in the book include:

  • Aquaculture: ponds, plants, fish and algae
  • Microlivestock and city chickens
  • Rainwater Harvesting
  • Low-tech bioremediation: cleaning contaminated soils using plants, fungi and bacteria
  • Constructed Wetlands/ Greywater
  • Autonomous energy: bicycle windmills, passive solar
  • Biofuels: veggie oil vehicles, methane digesters
  • Struggles for land and gentrification
  • Humanure and worm composting
  • Floating Islands to clean stormwater
  • Asphalt removal and air purification
  • And much more!

About the Authors:

Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew are co-founders of the Rhizome Collective, a non-profit organization based in Austin, Texas. Over the past seven years, they have transformed a burnt-out warehouse into the Rhizome Collective: a thriving Center for Community Organizing and Educational Center for Urban Sustainability.

Stacy and Scott both have extensive experience in the fields of ecological design and community activism. Stacy is Rhizome's Program Coordinator and Scott is the Director of the Educational Center for Urban Sustainability. They have designed and built numerous sustainable systems for display as teaching models, including constructed wetlands, rainwater collectors, aquaculture ponds, windmills, passive solar devices, and bioremediation tools. They also created and host RUST, an intensive weekend seminar in urban ecological survival skills. Scott and Stacy have authored numerous articles on sustainability and the Rhizome Collective and frequently give presentations on radical sustainability at universities and political gatherings across the country. They have taught workshops in locations as diverse as the Bronx to East Timor. Scott has also been active in building a community based bioremediation program in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Support Salem Cinema

One of Salem's unsung treasures is Salem Cinema, bravely offering films that speak well of people, complete with the rare options that were once considered standard features in better movies:  plot, characters, intelligence, charm, and a window into the common humanity of other people, people whom you would have thought were completely unlike yourself.  When you only have one screen, you don't waste it on movies you aren't proud to show.

A little independent movie house that shows terrific small movies, week after week, is a rare treasure indeed, especially in a town the size of Salem.  Like running a bookstore, there is more than a grain of truth to the saying that the way to make a small fortune as an independent movie house is to start with a large one.  One of the ways you can help ensure that this little gem stays around is to give yourself and your friends some respite from Netflix and cable --- make a point to support Salem Cinema, far and away Salem's best movie option.

cinebucks savings 
At Salem Cinema we passionately believe that while the current economic news is bleak, escaping to the movies is still one of the most inexpensive forms of leisure and enjoyment available in this great country of ours.  We know we are all in this crisis together and are happy to not only continue to provide a sanctuary of exceptionally high quality, thought-provoking entertainment at the same reasonable prices we charged well over a year ago, but to bring back our special annual holiday savings offer as well.
You can once again purchase $30 worth of our CineBucks
for only $25 during the entire month of December!
CineBucks come in $5 increments and work just like cash at our box office or concession stand. Pick some up for friends, co-workers, teachers and relatives...and even pocket a few for yourself!

Good advice for citizens: Establishing the performance-target ethic

How can citizens determine whether their government is performing well?

One way is to compare its current performance with past performance, but this has some obvious shortcomings.

Another way is to compare its current performance with that of similar agencies in similar jurisdiction. This approach, however, also comes with some flaws.

Another possible approach is to compare a jurisdiction's or agency's performance with the targets it has set for itself. For this to work, however, public officials will have to accept the responsibility for setting such targets.

Consequently, Bob has focused the November issue "On why citizens need to establish The Performance-Target Ethic." You can find it at:

Survey re: Cherriots Cuts (do before 12/8)

Please take this survey to help us decide what services are important to you!

The Public Hearing on proposed service reductions will be held at the Board of Directors meeting on December 11, 2008, at 6:30 PM, at 555 Court Street NE, Senator Hearing Room, Salem, Oregon.

This survey will help us make the best choice for you.

The last day to take the survey will be Monday, December 8, 2008

Opportunity to Help Shape Cherriots Cuts

Dates and times for four (4) Open Houses to receive input from the community about service cut options. 

These events will be held in the Senator Hearing Room:

·       Dec 1, Monday from 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM 
·       Dec 2, Tuesday from 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
·       Dec 2, Tuesday from 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
·       Dec 5, Friday from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

The Senator Hearing room is the main meeting room at Courthouse Square Transit Center (Court St. @ High St.)

There will also be a public hearing on December 11.  

(503) 588-2424 x2328

Salem-Keizer Transit

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Appalling Crisis

A story about teen pregnancy states that Marion County has the highest teen pregnancy rates in Oregon, a state with nearly twice the teen pregnancy rate of the lowest state.

Here's a brief summary of an excellent book on population and our misconceptions about it (now out of print, available for free download in pdf at the link below):

Misplaced Blame

The Real Roots of Population Growth

Misplaced Blame argues that much of the population growth overrunning parts of North America originates from five rarely noted root causes: poverty, sexual abuse, underfunded family planning services, subsidies to domestic migration, and ill-guided immigration policy.

Misplaced Blame

By Alan Thein Durning and Christopher D. Crowther

"In Misplaced Blame, the authors have assembled the statistical data from hundreds of sources and combined them into a story of how the growing Northwest is growing in all the wrong ways." - Ed Hunt, Tidepool

Note: Misplaced Blame is out of print, but you can download the pdf version for free with registration.

Misplaced Blame argues that much of the population growth overrunning parts of North America originates from five rarely noted root causes: poverty, sexual abuse, underfunded family planning services, subsidies to domestic migration, and ill-guided immigration policy. Along the way, Misplaced Blame uncovers one revelation after another. Some examples:

  • The population of the Pacific Northwest is increasing almost 50 percent faster than global population.

  • 83 percent of American teen mothers come from poor families.

  • 62 percent of teen mothers have been raped or molested as children.

  • 36 percent of babies born in the Northwest are conceived by accident.

  • Long-distance moving is subsidized by taxpayers.

  • Excessively high national immigration quotas hurt both the North American poor and immigrants' home countries.

Read Misplaced Blame and you'll see that when we take care of people, population growth will take care of itself.

Here are a few links to key fact sheets from Misplaced Blame.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Be Present in Your Own Life

Turn off your TV.

It's amazing how much time you have to participate in your community, to garden, to read, to connect with your family, when you put the box in a closet and only bring it out for things you specifically plan and schedule time to watch.

In the upcoming difficult period we will be experiencing for the indefinite future, one of the most important things you can is your own thinking, something that's next to impossible if you've got the TV on.

If you have kids, getting them weaned from TV is one of the best things you can do for their future, and your own stress levels.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How do we get into that chicken outfit?

What chicken outfit is that?

That's the outfit of cities who have decided, sensibly, that people smart enough to pay taxes are smart enough to be allowed to own chickens.

Like Ann Arbor, Michigan (among others, including Portland, Ore.)

If you read the Must-Read Essay on Our Energy Future, you know what a great idea some food independence and relocalization is. And chickens are about the perfect small animal husbandry project for urban environs. [And if you didn't, please do so now.]

Waste Incineration: The self-inflicted wound

Sid Friedman of 1000 Friends writes:
Physicians for Social Responsibility sent along this information about a planning meeting they're having on Thursday about the Brooks incinerator. I'm sending it along in case you're interested in attending or know anyone who might be interested in attending. If so, please pass it along:

Planning meeting- November 20th, 6:30-8:30 at Willamette University, Olin Science Center 214

The League of Women Voters of Marion/Polk Counties, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), Waste-CAN supporters and possibly other interested parties in Salem plan to sponsor three community forums in the Winter of 2009 on Marion County's Solid Waste Management Plan with particular attention to the waste incinerator in Brooks, Oregon.

Our goal is to share tangible information on the current waste management plans in Marion County, alternatives to burning of municipal waste, the continuation of the waste incinerator, the promotion of waste prevention, and several vital issues related to the incinerator's environmental and financial sustainability.

We must have considerable help to carry out the large-scale public awareness and community empowerment project. We collectively need to learn and apply tools for making positive impacts on the County's waste management decisions, including the ability to focus attention on public health outcomes of waste management policies.

Another goal is to invite Professor Paul Connett, an international expert on "zero waste" and the toxic effects of waste incinerators to be a keynote speaker and educator for our community.

Join us in this adventure to protect each other and our State.

Please respond with your availability and interest in joining this valuable cause to info@oregonpsr.org. Thank you for your time!

Sid Friedman - Willamette Valley Advocate.
1000 Friends of Oregon - 189 Liberty St NE, #307A - Salem OR 97301
(503) 371-7261 phone - (503) 371-7596 fax - www.friends.org
If you aren't aware of why waste incineration is such a bad idea, here's a short video to help you get the idea.

The MUST_READ essay on our energy future


Monday, November 17, 2008

Good Idea: Sufficient Bike Parking

Tree Hugger - New York City, which has been working hard to promote cycling of late, has now proposed "bicycle parking rules that could be among the toughest in the nation, requiring one secure bike parking space for every two units in new apartment buildings and one space for every 7,500 square feet in new office buildings."   This comes on the heels of city-sponsored bike rack design competition, the unveiling of a new cycling master plan and several initiatives which have resulted in a rise in bicycle commuting in the Big Apple. The new proposal, if approved, would help ease one of a significant "stumbling block preventing New Yorkers from cycling to work or to perform errands:" a lack of secure parking for bicycles.   Both the League of American Bicyclists and Transportation Alternatives support the initiative, which would "require weather-protected, lockable bike parking spaces at apartment buildings with at least 10 units, at commercial office buildings and at stores, hospitals, universities and automobile parking garages."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A seasonal reminder

Though I don't presume that everyone celebrates Christmas, I know of few in Salem (or anywhere else in America for that matter) who are entirely unaffected by the madness of the Christmas machine; even total abstainers from religion suffer from living in an economy that is so desperately focused on encouraging --- nay, demanding --- overconsumption from a huge portion of the populace, an unbalanced economy that wastes both capital and energy and produces mountains of useless, unwanted, unneeded stuff.

There's a great book on the subject: Unplug the Christmas Machine.

Worth a look now, before another round through the mill.

Meanwhile, onto the best holiday of the year, the one that adamantly resists capture by Madison Ave. and Sprawl-Mart --- after all, it's just about impossible to turn a holiday about gratitude for all that we have into a mandatory spending spree.

Outstanding news! Year-round Styrofoam (R) recycling in Salem!

Yay! Someone's figured out a way to make use of trucks deadheading (running empty) between Salem and Portland to make year-round Styrofoam(R) recycling possible here in Salem.

Good job!

Just take your foam to Fresh Start Market on Center St. (past Park St. out towards Hawthorne, on the South side of the street). And if you don't have a covered compost bin for your fruit and vegetable scraps (and coffee grounds, and peelings, and molded bread, and . . . ), you can pick up a good one there as well, for a good price.

UPDATE: Here's a note from Carol Ault of Marion County explaining the program:
Hi all,

At long last we have finally been able to establish an ongoing collection program for Styrofoam! See below for details. Thank you for making the effort to recycle Styrofoam!

Styrofoam Recycling

When: Mondays - Fridays from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Where: Fresh Start Market, 3020 Center St. NE, Salem

Accepted: Only clean, dry block packaging foam, meat trays or egg

NOT Accepted:
  • Packing peanuts (Call 503-588-5169 for reuse options. Most shipping stores will accept them for free if clean.)
  • Packing foam with tape on it
  • Construction foam
  • Foam that bends in half without snapping
Details: This is a free program for residents thanks to PLC Recycling, the Fresh Start Market, and Marion County Public Works - Environmental Services. Businesses will be charged a nominal fee and must pre-register by calling (503) 588-5324.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A great loss noted

Though his inspiration can live on in us today, if we are wise enough to heed his counsel.

Manton A. Carl

April 19, 1917 - November 8, 2008

Arthur Carl was born on April 19, 1917, in a tent on his parents'

property in Hubbard, Oregon, as they were clearing land for their farm. He died 100 feet away in the house they had built.

Throughout his life, Manton worked to preserve agricultural lands and natural resources. In 1939, Manton graduated from Oregon State in Agriculture. He returned to the family farm, where he and his mother had an innovative raw milk dairy, which peddled milk door to door, even into Portland.

Because he was in ROTC at Oregon State, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant when World War II began, and trained as a paratrooper. He married Irene Green on June 14, 1942, when he was stationed in Tacoma, Washington; at his 50th college reunion, he said marriage continued to be "the most interesting event" of his life.

When he was about to be shipped out to the Pacific, his mother died; he went home to keep the farm going. In 1945 he purchased the farm. Throughout the years, Manton worked politically and personally as a steward of the land. He worked with other farmers to support McCall's Senate Bill 100, Oregon's landmark land use bill. He believed that only by protecting farmland would younger generations be able to farm in the Willamette Valley.

Manton always believed that Oregonians needed to look 100 years into the future and strive to preserve resources. Manton served on the Marion County Planning Commission twice, from 1976 until 1984 and from 2000 until 2003. He served two separate times as president of Marion County Farm Bureau. Manton was a member of 1000 Friends of Oregon and in 2004, at the age of 87, he was nominated for a Citizen Activist Award for that organization.

The other great love of his life was his wife, Irene. Both worked incredibly hard on the farm, but loved taking time to swim in the river, seek out hot springs, or attend dances in Mulino. Manton built two ponds on the farm, provided nesting places for wild birds, and with Irene, added over 12,000 evergreen trees to the farm. Manton's dedication to the land and to his wife inspired not only his children but many people, both young and old, who came to visit the farm or lived near the farm. Manton and Irene raised five children, and are survived by all of them . . . .

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, November 22 at the Hubbard United Church of Christ, 2934 H Street, Hubbard. All are welcome. Memorial donations may be made to 1000 Friends of Oregon, 534 SW 3rd Ave., Suite 300, Portland, OR 97204.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Free hi-wattage holiday lights into LED holiday lights recycling program

Guess what?! You can recycle your old "standard" (incandescent) holiday lights for a coupon to get safer, and much more energy-efficient LEDs!!

From here: http://www.holidayleds.com/holidayledscom_christmas_light_recycling_program

Monday, November 10, 2008

If you're looking for a way to celebrate (or mourn) the election

Whether you want to celebrate or mourn the recent election, now is a time to consider supporting those local organizations who have been starving while national and statewide campaigns vacuum up all the money. We very much need groups like Friends of Marion County, Radio Free Salem, the Salem Progressive Film Series, and others to watch over and work on things at the county and local level, so consider sending them something this way:

It is now possible to contribute to Friends of Marion County through the link to Salem Monthly's Holiday Give Guide. The transactions are processed through Selco Credit Union's Secure Website. Just click on the DONATE ONLINE link. Thanks for your support.

Roger Kaye

Friends of Marion County

P.O. Box 3274

Salem, OR 97302


Sunday, November 9, 2008

On the level? Great news, if it is!

Does anyone know if UPS really intends to use bicycle-based deliveries for five different Salem-area zip-codes?  Or is this just someone spoofing the President of the Salem Bicycle Club?  Wonderful if it's not a spoof!

To: president@salembicycleclub.org

The following message was sent from the www.salembicycleclub.org web site on Wednesday November 05, 2008 at 04:36 PM:

Dear Mr. Maurice,
 I am contacting you in regards to a UPS Job Posting. We are going to be hiring seasonal driver helpers, who will ride a bike to deliver packages to help cut done on emissions. If you are able to get this information to your members I will happily mail or email you a flyer. We will be looking for employees in Salem zip codes 97301, 97317, 97309, 97303,& 97385.
Thank you,
Maria Mason
UPS HR Recruiter

Friday, November 7, 2008

He's right, actually


More like this, please! Great idea for Salem

Cargo trikes for local deliveries:

Important film: Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood

The great folks running the Salem Progressive Film Series have landed another important film:

To: "Salem Progressive Film Series" <salemprogressivefilmseries@gmail.com>
Subject: November Film: Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood

Please join us Thursday, November 13, 2008 at The Grand Theater in downtown Salem for The Salem Progressive Film Series' November film, Consuming Kids: The Commericalization of Childhood (For more information please view the attached press release).
Drawing on the insights of health care professionals, children's advocates, and industry insiders, the film focuses on the explosive growth of child marketing in the wake of deregulation, showing how youth marketers have used the latest advances in psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience to transform American children into one of the most powerful and profitable consumer demographics in the world.
Consuming Kids pushes back against the wholesale commercialization of childhood, raising urgent questions about the ethics of children's marketing and its impact on the health and well-being of kids.
Consuming Kids
Please pass the word. Thank you!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Petition for President-Elect Obama

Here's a promo for a petition from "Transportation for America" that's probably worth signing just so they can build their list of transportation activists:

I bet you're like me: struggling with our aging transportation system—crumbling bridges, over-crowded subways, infrequent trains, streets that are inadequate and unsafe for walking and biking, and more.

Well, on Election Day America voted for a new direction in Washington, and Barack Obama made a lot of campaign promises about doing something to fix our crumbling infrastructure. But promises are never enough, so I just signed a petition asking him to prioritize investment in a 21st Century transportation system in his first 100 days. If we invest wisely, building clean, green infrastructure will put millions to work and lead us on a pat toward energy independence.

Will you sign the petition too?

We need to make sure that Barack Obama fixes what's broken, preserves existing transit jobs and service, and promotes a clean, sustainable, green infrastructure. If we make it a priority, and invest in good projects, we'll save money in the long run, and help build a future that's free of foreign oil and catches us up with our economic competitors.

So please, sign the petition today. All you have to do is visit http://action.smartgrowthamerica.org/t/3224/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=161

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Good Job, Statesman-Journal

The only consolation to this, which stems from THIS:
24-247:SALEM AREA MASS TRANS DIST L.O.T.$0.49 PER $1,000
YES . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15,639 47.42
NO . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17,338 52.58

YES . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11,342 54.83
NO . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9,343 45.17

is knowing that the Statesman-Journal's attitude in opposing the transit levy (24-247) --- the belief that you can have something for nothing --- is the same attitude that will doom the Statesman-Journal in the end, as Craigslist devours its classifieds revenue and readers find an ever-thinner paper with ever-less content increasingly optional.

When people stop caring enough about their community to allow a vital service to be gradually destroyed, they certainly see no need to support institutions like newspapers, the benefits of which are much more subtle and difficult to appreciate.

And (unlike with transit) there's a host of great alternatives to the Statesman-Journal, many of which are free, fast, and full of fantastically diverse perspectives and insights (unlike the Statesman-Journal).

So, Statesman-Journal, Pyrrhic victory is yours. You win this round, but have only hastened your own demise.

Pools, libraries on the chopping block, and a sword hangs over Cherriots

Another story about the city campaign to defund the local public pools, which follows the recent round of budget cuts at the library, which killed the Bookmobile and slashed computer lab hours.

Meanwhile, we will learn tonight whether Salem's bus system, Cherriots, will be able to continue offering Saturday service and continue all its current routes. If the Cherriots operating levy fails, we will lose all Saturday service (just as Sunday service was lost a few years ago) and some routes will be discontinued, and the headway on most runs (the time between buses) will increase. Losing scheduled service means an end to the handicapped service at those times as well.

In other words, we'll see Salem continue to decline in basic services and amenities that serve everyone, including those without a lot of money.

Meanwhile, Salem continues to lavish money on the richest demographic group of all, seniors, replacing a perfectly serviceable Senior Center in NE Salem with a palatial new "50+ Center" located further out in autosprawl hell.

It's probably fitting that the 50+ website says that the center is "located about half of a mile northeast of Salem's city center" and offers no information about how to use Cherriots to get to the center (#3, Capitola) --- the city government mindset in Salem being "of the automobile, by the automobile, and for the automobile." Indeed, any senior who wants to take in an evening program at the 50+ Center had better be prepared to be stuck downtown, because if you take the last bus from the 50+ Center after 9:00 when it closes, you likely won't be able to find a bus to take you home from the Transit Center. And good luck getting to the 50+ Center on Saturday with no Cherriots.

(By the way, Mapquest.com gives the distance to 50+ from Church and Marion -- the place where the center of the city is marked -- as 1.99 miles. Even as the crow flies, it's clearly a mile and a half or more to 50+ from downtown -- too far to walk for most seniors, in other words.)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Chapel Hill, NC addresses peak oil

OK, for all its self-congratulating, Oregon is falling seriously behind when cities in the Confederate States are ahead of Oregon's capital in terms of giving official recognition to the new reality of a converging crises (peak oil and climate chaos).

In Oregon, supposedly one of the best states for energy efficiency and climate awareness, we're now at the point where the absolute most aggressive actions being proposed by the elected and appointeds, the best that is being discussed at the state level -- the "pie in the sky" deepest-green responses to our climate predicament -- all fall abysmally short of what is needed to even have a chance at avoiding the worst consequences.

In other words, we are continuing to dance after hearing the big "thump" and we're telling ourselves that the slight list we're feeling is just our imagination, and besides, this ship is unsinkable, and we can't be expected to leave such a magnificent ship for those tiny little lifeboats, it's just unthikable . . . .