Thursday, October 22, 2009

Interesting: Pretty mainstream guy warns that industrial society cannot survive

A community of interest gathers at Stonehenge,...Image via Wikipedia

Update: Think it can't happen? Did you ever think US bonds might not be rated AAA?

Good blog too.

In his new book Brace for Impact: Surviving the Crash of the Industrial Age by Sustainable Living, Thomas A. Lewis analyzes the gathering threats to our society's life-support systems, and the inability of our political and economic institutions to save us. With chapters on food, water, oil, electricity, politics and finance, he makes a convincing case that we can't win the race against catastrophe. What sets Brace for Impact apart is that after it faces the conclusion from which others shrink -- that industrial society cannot survive -- it then shows how easily individual families and communities can weather the coming collapse through sustainable living. . . .

Brace for Impact begins with chapters on the mounting failures of industrial agriculture. "Losing Ground" chronicles the destruction wrought by the way agribusiness grows crops, and "Fat of the Land" the horrors -- and dangers -- of the way it raises animals. With subsequent chapters on water (dwindling supplies and worsening pollution), imminent oil shortages (peak oil, in fact, may already have arrived) and rampant problems in the electrical grid (for which the solution is not a "smart" grid, but no grid at all), the book offers an exhaustive catalog of the rising threats to our supplies of food, water and energy. Then, after examining the political and financial institutions that refuse to recognize the dangers, let alone move to counter them, Brace for Impact faces the inevitable conclusion: industrial society is about to crash, and cannot be saved.

But Lewis argues that while it is not possible to save everyone from the crash, it is entirely possible, indeed relatively simple, for any individual, family or community that embraces sustainable living to avoid the worst consequences. In a final chapter, "Sanctuary," Lewis points the way toward security and prosperity in the ruins of an age destroyed by greed. . . .

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Paging Dr. Pelton -- call your lawyers

Graphic displaying carbon dioxyd concentration...The thing about crimes against humanity is that there are a LOT of potential plaintiffs out there. Image via Wikipedia

In what will be just the first of many suits, Katrina victims have received the go-ahead to file suit against the companies most responsible for disrupting climate stability . . . companies like PGE, Oregon's foulest polluter, which merrily pumps millions of TONS of CO2 into the atmosphere every year, where it will stay for thousands of years.

Dr. Pelton, head of Willamette University and a well-paid board member for PGE, might want to ask his attorneys whether aiding and abetting the destruction of Earth's livability comes under the "sound business judgment" rule in corporate law.
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Gigantic brass ones award for Salem

Yes, as a matter of fact, I DO have brass balls.Image by Jim Frazier via Flickr

After trying (and very nearly succeeding) to sneak through the sale of easements that will permanently bar agriculture from 200 acres of rich farmland in Minto-Brown Island Park and then ramming it through at the last minute over the objections of a diverse group of citizens and the city's own parks and recreation advisory board, NOW the city is all about public outreach.

In other words, it's like telling a homeowner "We really want your input, would you prefer that we bulldoze your house or use it as a fire department training site?"

Truly shameful. With the price of brass so high, you'd think Salem wouldn't have such a money problem.

The status of the Minto Brown Park Restoration Project as of October 22, 2009 is as follows:
• On August 24, 2009, the Mayor and City Council agreed to enter into the easement agreement.
• A survey of the property to define boundaries and setbacks is underway and should be completed soon.
• The current pumpkin crop is scheduled to be harvested during the last week of October.
• Once the harvest is complete, the area will be planted with a cover crop of barley. This will prevent erosion during the winter and provide food for the annual geese population.
• The consultant will begin planting plan soon. We are seeking input from Salem residents.

Reminder that the public involvement meetings to participate in helping develop the planting plan for the Minto Brown Park Restoration Project begin next week. An invitation is attached to this email.

The meetings will take place in three phases as described below. Child-friendly activities will be available at all meetings.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Leslie Middle School, 3850 Pringle Road SE or
Saturday, October 31, 2009, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pringle Hall, 606 Church Street SE.

These initial meetings are to introduce Vigil-Agrimis, a local design firm that specializes in planning, analysis, and design of water and natural resources projects. Vigil-Agrimis will be working with Natural Resources Conservation Service, the City of Salem and the community to develop the restoration plan for this project. We would also like to take this opportunity to solicit your input regarding some overall planting concepts. Our goal is to work toward restoring the floodplain to a more natural condition and your feedback regarding the level of open space and types of natural habitat is an important part of the development process.

The second set of meetings scheduled on:
Thursday, November 12, 2009, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Leslie Middle School, 3850 Pringle Road SE or
Saturday, November 14, 2009, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pringle Hall, 606 Church Street SE.

At these meetings, two or three alternatives based on the input received at the first meetings will be presented. Attendees will have the opportunity to provide input on these alternatives.

A final meeting is scheduled on November 24, 2009, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Salem Conference Center, 200 Commercial Street SE. It is anticipated that the consultant will present a first draft of the design (50 percent completed) to the public and solicit feedback.

We look forward to seeing you at the public meetings.

For more information go to or contact Mike Gotterba or Nitin Joshi at 503-588-6211.
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Salem university, headed by board member of states worst polluter, wins Nation Wildlife Federation sustainability award

Interesting. Willamette University -- headed by Dr. M. Lee Pelton, who sits on the board of PGE, Oregon's worst polluter and the operator of Oregon's worst greenhouse gas source, the Boardman Coal Plant --
PGE's coal-fired power plant in Boardman, Oregon is the dirtiest power plant in the Northwest. Studies have shown that up to 50% of the haze on smoggiest days in the Columbia Gorge comes from Boardman. Air pollution can ruin stunning views (see photo below) in the Gorge and affect the health of residents and habitats alike.

But in addition to air quality problems, Boardman emits five million tons of carbon dioxide a year, making it Oregon's #1 source of the climate-changing pollutants.

We need your help to convince PGE to join the rest of the region in preparing for a clean energy future, a future that protects the Columbia Gorge.

-- has won an award from the National Wildlife Federation for campus sustainability work.
In announcing the award, Willamette says:
All of these activities are designed to enhance Willamette University’s central mission of research and teaching, advance the critical understanding and adoption of sustainability, and demonstrate the fundamental role higher education must play in resolving the fundamental issues of the 21st Century.
You can read Dr. Pelton's thoughts on sustainability here. And you can write to him here in case you want to ask how him how he manages to square any of that with his work for Oregon's worst polluter, a company that is fighting tooth and nail to keep on destroying climate stability by burning coal.

For International Climate Action Day, think globally and act locally: Ask Dr. Pelton why he backs coal, the meth of the energy world.