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Old Solar: Equal Rights to the Sun

by gmoke Thu Dec 23rd, 2021 at 05:23:17 AM EST

"Produced by Bonnie Symansky, this video, Equal Rights to the Sun (1979) documents citizen [led] solar energy projects organized in the Boston area by the Urban Solar Energy Association (USEA - founded by Barbara Brandt [Susan Baldwin, George Mokray, and Ambrose Spencer]).

Cities in the northeast have the greatest energy needs yet resources are often scarce. Solar enthusiasts are working hard to solve energy problems through neighborhood cooperative efforts. Equal Rights to the Sun documents some of Boston's self-help urban solar projects, demonstrating that solar is working in cities and it need not be expensive. Includes examples of building a breadbox heater, converting an attic into a solar greenhouse, the addition of passive wall collectors, enclosure of a south-facing porch and construction of a solar skylight. Solar energy shines on every part of the city. Shows that all we need is a little ingenuity and cooperation to take advantage of it."


Many of the people in this 1979 video continued in the renewable energy field, even through the lean decades after 1979, when Reagan was elected and all movement stopped dead in its tracks.  It's one reason why I say Reagan killed us (although he's had a lot of help since then).

The Urban Solar Energy Association became the Boston Area Solar Energy Association (http://basea.org) which hosted school programs, a long-running lecture series, and other events.  They plan to resume activities soon.

Here's an upate on one of the USEA barnraised solar air heaters:
Old Solar: 1980 Barnraised Solar Air Heater

Some late 1970s context:
Old Solar:  JImmy Carter's Green Deal

Another example from those days was the New Alchemy Institute in Cape Cod and in 2019 the Guardian looked back at it after 40 years
www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/ng-interactive/2019/sep/29/the-new-alchemists-could-the-pas t-hold-the-key-to-sustainable-living

I believe we knew what we were doing then and practiced positive protest by constructing the alternatives we wanted to see.  There is a positive future but only if we start building it now and continue building it daily.  One group which is doing that today in the Boston area is the Home Energy Efficiency Team [HEET] (https:heet.org) which started by doing weatherization barnraisings,proceeded to local gas leak monitoring, and is now starting a pilot GeoMicroDistrict to prune back gas lines by replacing them with geothermal heat pumps with the local utility, Eversource

Read more... (492 words in story)

ANAI: 40 Years of Ecological Development in Costa Rica

by gmoke Thu Dec 2nd, 2021 at 06:25:23 PM EST

I wonder how many people remember the New Alchemy Institute which, from 1969 to 1991, experimented with wind power, solar power, intensive regenerative agriculture, aquaculture, and many other ideas now becoming big business and a way out of climate chaos.  I first visited with them around 1974, am still in contact with some of the old New Alchies today, and continue to believe their vision of the world is the way to an ecologically restorative future.

One of the founders is Bill McLarney who 40 years ago started a Costa Rican version of New Alchemy, ANAI (http://www.anaicostarica.org), to integrate nature conservation and sustainable development in the Talamanca region.  I've supported his work there with a small annual donation for most of that time and, in return, get a short annual report.  This year's brought more than a smile to my face and demands to be shared:

"With the indispensable assistance of Bioeducators, we have finally completed a long deferred project to produce laminated sheets with photos of almost all of the 50 species of freshwater fish we have identified from the La Amistad Caribe watersheds, with scientific names plus common names in Spanish, English, Bribri, Naso and Ngobe.  Getting the indigenous names right was a challenge which required sending our indigenous Bioeducators on errands to remote villages to visit 'old timers' who were thoroughly familiar with the names of the fish in their native languages, and putting them together with younger people fluent in the recently created written forms of the four languages.  Thus a byproduct of our biologically focused work was to fortify the indigenous cultures....

"For many years, ANAI's signature program was organic agroforestry.  Over the years, and in keeping with our philosophy of maximizing local responsibility and involvement, this responsibility has been passed to APPTA (Talamanca Small Producers' Association) (https:/www.appta.org/index.php/en) which has become the world's largest organic farmers' cooperative.  ANAI's most recent contribution to APPTA's success has been in securing funding to obtain and install three industrial driers, which tremendously increases their capacity to purchase, process and market local organic farm products....

"As what was once merely ANAI's vision of how things should be matures, we are ever more forcefully reminded of the links between terrestrial, aquatic and marine biodiversity, and the crucial role organic agroforestry plantations on small farms can play in reducing fragmentation and protecting landscape integrity.  Toward this end, we are planning to initiate a process of mapping all existing forested corridors, and gaps, in our service area extending from the Rio Estrella watershed in Costa Rica to Almirante Bay in Panama, and from the cost to the Continental Divide...

"All of the activities reported here - strengthening old and creating new organic agroforestry farms, fomenting the community Water Observatories movement, advocation for the needs of migratory fish - play into this vision."

ANAI can always use donations at https:/www.anaicostarica.org/donate.html
The New Alchemy land in Hatchville, MA on Cape Cod is still continuing the vision in different ways, with some of the original New Alchies, as you can see at https:
John Todd, another of the founders and a pioneering ecological designer, is still working (one of his latest projects is on greening the Sinai Peninsula) through https:

City Agriculture - November 14, 2021

by gmoke Sun Nov 14th, 2021 at 03:22:59 PM EST

Living the Noom - near net zero energy buildings with vertical forests
https:/www.yankodesign.com/2021/07/22/breathtaking-residential-building-in-mexico-comes-with-its-ow n-vertical-forest-and-solar-panels-on-its-terrace

El Terreno - a community garden that is more community than simply garden in Mexico City

Regenerative Farm Map from Regeneration Canada
Editorial Comment:  There are examples here that may apply to urban and "advanced" agriculture.

A garden in the shadow of 9/11
https:/www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/aug/28/a-garden-at-ground-zero-what-i-learned-growing- an-oasis-in-the-shadow-of-911

"The world's first farmscraper," to be built in Shenzhen, China
51-story Jian Mu Tower will contain a large-scale farm system producing crops to feed 40,000 people per year, as well as offices, a supermarket, and a food court
www.agritecture.com/blog/2021/9/10/worlds-first-farmscraper-unveiled-by-carlo-ratti-associat i-in-shenzhen

Milan will plant 3 million trees in the city, one for each resident

Deep Medicine Circle practices "Farming as Medicine" on a one acre rooftop farm in Oakland, CA

Santa Clara, CA Agrihood, a development with 361 housing units and its own farm

10 great city projects for Nature, from The Guardian
https:/www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/01/10-great-city-projects-for-nature-from-vertical- forests-to-pocket-farms-aoe

Vertical farms proposed as a replacement for Berlin autobahn

Baltimore's first "agrihood"
https:/www.baltimoresun.com/features/bs-fe-agrihood-urban-farm-park-heights-20210924-xnonds3wuzebld xrfyj6ooqxgy-story.html
hat tip Robin Bergman

Robin Wood - an urban block made of wood which will be net zero energy in construction and operation, including a micro-forest

PS:  On November 13, 2021, the city of Boston named a square in the South End neighborhood and a day in honor of Mel King, one of the main forces in the revival of local agriculture and the rebirth of urban agriculture in Boston, Massachusetts, USAmerica, and the world.  Congratulations to my mentor and friend, Mel King.

Comments >> (2 comments)

Energy Event:MIT Materials Day:Role of Materials in Addressing Climate Change & Sustainability

by gmoke Sat Oct 9th, 2021 at 03:14:22 AM EST

These kinds of events are happening all over the world every day and most of them, now, are webcast and archived, sometimes even with accurate transcripts.  Would be good to have a place that helped people access them.

The local listings I did for over a decade around Cambridge, MA (http://hubevents.blogspot.com) (what I did and why I did it at http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2013/11/what-i-do-and-why-i-do-it.html) could go global if somebody hasn't done it already, a global compendium of energy and climate events open to the public.  

Anybody know of something like that?

Begin forwarded message:

From: MIT Materials Research Laboratory <mit-mrl@mit.edu>
Subject: SYMPOSIUM - Role of Materials in Addressing Climate Change & Sustainability
Date: October 6, 2021 at 3:32:22 PM EDT
To: gmoke@world.std.com
Reply-To: mit-mrl@mit.edu

Materials Day Symposium
October 20, 2021
Kresge Auditorium, MIT, Cambridge, MA
Register at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/materials-day-2021-symposium-registration-176373456757

MIT Materials Research Laboratory would like to invite you to join us at the Materials Day 2021 Symposium. The speakers we've engaged are experts in their fields and are going to be talking about the Role of Materials in Addressing Climate Change and Sustainability.

We encourage you to share the invitation with your colleagues. There is no fee for admission, however registration is required.

The symposium will be held at MIT in the Kresge Auditorium. Check-in starts at 8:00AM and the symposium starts at 9:00AM. If you can't attend in person but would still like to participate, the symposium will be webcast.

The MRL symposium will be open to fully vaccinated individuals only, excepting those individuals who have a medical condition or religious exemption. We will follow mandatory masking and social distancing indoors, per MIT campus guidelines.

For more event information and to register, visit our website at http://mrl.mit.edu

Materials play a central role in all aspects of new technologies needed to achieve sustainability goals and address climate change. New materials are needed for exploitation of renewable carbon-free energy sources and for energy storage that supports efficient use of energy. Materials designed for efficient use through recycling and reuse, or designed to be biodegradable to minimize environmental impact are also needed. Development of new reduced-carbon processes for making materials, especially those made in large quantities, will also be critical in achieving climate goals. Examples of ongoing research on innovative approaches to these challenges will be highlighted in this year's Materials Day symposium.

Carl V. Thompson, Professor, Materials Science & Engineering, MIT
Elsa Olivetti, Associate Professor, Materials Science & Engineering, MIT

Invited speakers include:
Desiree Plata, Associate Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, MIT
Gergory Rutledge, Professor, Chemical Engineering, MIT
Antoine Allanore, Associate Professor, Materials Science & Engineering, MIT
Caitlin Mueller, Assistant Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, MIT
Bradley D. Olsen, Professor, Chemical Engineering, MIT
Yet-Ming Chiang, Professor, Materials Science & Engineering, MIT
Donald R. Sadoway, Professor, Materials Science & Engineering, MIT
Asegun Henry, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, MIT

We remain alert so as not to get run down, but it turns out you only have to hop a few feet to one side and the whole huge machinery rolls by, not seeing you at all.
Lew Welch

Quite clearly, our task is predominantly metaphysical, for it is how to get all of humanity to educate itself swiftly enough to generate spontaneous behaviors that will avoid extinction.  
R. Buckminster Fuller

the war that matters is the war against the imagination
all other wars are subsumed in it.
Diane Di Prima

Media Crime

by gmoke Thu Sep 23rd, 2021 at 06:37:49 PM EST

Each USAmerican TV network has 24 hours of prime time every week.

CBS has 16 hours of crime shows
Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are 3 hour blocks of crime.  Sunday maybe even more if you count the segments on 60 Minutes on crimes.

NBC has 7 hours and all of Thursday for crime.
ABC has only 3 hours for crime but 5 hours for game shows.

the war that matters is the war against the imagination
all other wars are subsumed in it.
Diane Di Prima

There seems to be a severe lack of imagination here but then, they wouldn't be doing this if it didn't make money.

2021 Fall Lineup & TV Schedule for CBS, NBC, ABC
Source:  https:/parade.com/1210669/paulettecohn/fall-tv-schedule-2021-premiere-dates-abc-fox-nbc-cw-cbs
CBS Fall Lineup & TV Schedule
8 p.m. The Neighborhood  (Sept. 20)
8:30 p.m. Bob Hearts Abishola (Sept. 20)
9 p.m. NCIS (Sept. 20) - crime
10 p.m. NCIS: HAWAI'I   (Sept. 20) - crime
8 p.m. FBI (Sept. 21) - crime
9 p.m. FBI: INTERNATIONAL (Sept. 21) - crime
10 p.m. FBI: Most Wanted (Sept. 21) - crime
8 p.m. Survivor  (Sept. 22)
9 p.m. Tough as Nails (Oct. 6)
10 p.m. CSI: VEGAS  (Oct. 6) - crime
8 p.m. Young Sheldon  (Oct. 7)
8:30 p.m. United States of Al  (Oct. 7)
9 p.m. GHOSTS  (Oct. 7)
9:30 p.m. B Positive  (Oct. 7)
10 p.m. Bull  (Oct. 7) - crime
8 p.m. S.W.A.T  (Oct. 1) - crime
9 p.m. Magnum P.I.  (Oct. 1) - crime
10 p.m. Blue Bloods (Oct. 1) - crime
8 p.m. Crimetime Saturday (drama series encores) - crime
9 p.m. Crimetime Saturday (drama series encores) - crime
10 p.m. 48 Hours  (Sept. 18) - crime
7 p.m. 60 Minutes (Sept. 12)
8 p.m. The Equalizer (Oct. 10) - crime
9 p.m. NCIS: Los Angeles (Oct. 10) - crime
10 p.m.: SEAL Team/S.W.A.T.  (Oct. 10) - crime
NBC Fall Lineup & TV Schedule for 2021
8 p.m. The Voice  (Sept. 20)
10 p.m. ORDINARY JOE (Sept. 20) - crime
8 p.m. The Voice
9 p.m. LA BREA (Sept. 28)
10 p.m. New Amsterdam  (Sept. 21)
8 p.m. Chicago Med (Sept. 22)
9 p.m. Chicago Fire (Sept. 22)
10 p.m. Chicago P.D. (Sept. 22) - crime
8 p.m. The Blacklist  (Oct.21) - crime
9 p.m. Law & Order: SVU (Sept. 23) - crime
10 p.m. Law & Order: Organized Crime (Sept. 23) - crime
8 p.m. TBA
9 p.m. Dateline NBC (Sept. 24) - crime
[As I recall, Dateline began, as did ABC's 20/20 before it as a clone of 60 Minutes and both would cover much more than true crime and celebrity interviews.]
8 p.m. Drama Encores
9 p.m. Dateline Saturday Night Mystery - crime
10 p.m. SNL Encores
7 p.m. Football Night in America
8 p.m. Sunday Night Football
ABC Fall Lineup & TV Schedule for 2021
8 p.m. Dancing With the Stars (Sept. 20)
10 p.m. The Good Doctor (Sept. 27)
8 p.m. The Bachelorette  (Oct. 19)
10 p.m. QUEENS  (Oct. 19)
8 p.m. The Goldbergs (Sept. 22)
8:30 p.m. THE WONDER YEARS (Sept. 22)
9 p.m. The Conners (Sept. 22)
9:30 p.m. Home Economics (new time slot) (Sept. 22)
10 p.m. A Million Little Things (Sept. 22)
8 p.m. Station 19 (Sept. 30)
9 p.m. Grey's Anatomy (Sept. 30)
10 p.m. Big Sky (new day) (Sept. 30) - crime
8 p.m. Shark Tank (Oct. 8)
9 p.m. 20/20 (Oct. 8) - crime/celebrity interviews
8 p.m. Saturday Night Football
7 p.m. America's Funniest Videos (Oct. 3)
8 p.m. Celebrity Wheel of Fortune (new time slot) (Sept. 26)
9 p.m. Supermarket Sweep (Sept. 26)
10 p.m. The Rookie (Sept. 26) - crime

Comments >> (5 comments)

"Rejected Energy" and Heat Mapping the EU

by gmoke Tue Sep 7th, 2021 at 02:58:50 AM EST

USAmerica generates around 100 quadrillion BTUs per year, more or less, and has plateaued at that level since 2000.  However, about 67% of the energy produced is characterized as "rejected energy," energy that does no useful work, according to the annual energy report of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (https:/flowcharts.llnl.gov).  

We waste about 2/3rds of the energy we produce, each and every year.

A lot of that is waste heat which could be used for heat in industrial processes and heating (and cooling) especially if we had district heating systems.  The EU does have district heating systems and is now beginning to maximize their use in order to reduce their own "rejected energy" and the climate effects it produces.  In fact, "This is how Copenhagen plans to go carbon-neutral by 2025" (https:www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/05/the-copenhagen-effect-how-europe-can-become-heat-efficient) starting with Nordhavn, a district "designed to be the world's foremost smart energy laboratory at full scale" demonstrating "how electricity and heating, energy-efficient buildings and electric transport can be integrated into an intelligent, flexible and optimized energy system."

They say, "We need to link district heating systems and expand thermal grids at scale. The next step in Europe is to make smart thermal grids that can harvest heat wasted from current and future sources such as power plants and data centres. Europe is wasting enough heat to almost cover the current heat demands in all its buildings. The Heat Roadmap Europe (HRE) project (https:/heatroadmap.eu) and World Economic Forum's Future of Europe, Energy initiative sparked the idea of creating a smart thermal grid in all EU countries. As a result, the Pan-European Thermal Atlas (Peta) (https:heatroadmap.eu/peta4) now pairs areas with heat demand and heat excess sources. In other words, it is preparing and planning the heat grid."

Let me make this clear, the EU is mapping waste heat sources throughout their participating nations and developing plans to transform that waste heat into useful work.  I doubt there's anyone in USAmerica who is even thinking along those lines at that scale.  Yet.

You can learn more about these ideas at the 7th International Conference on Smart Energy Systems (https:/smartenergysystems.eu) on 21-22 September 2021 at Aalborg University and Energy Cluster in Denmark.
"After being forced by circumstances into holding the conference strictly virtually in 2020, we look forward to yet again welcoming our conference participants in a hybrid setting with the possibility to attend either online or in person - this time in Copenhagen.

"The conference establishes a venue for presenting and discussing scientific findings and industrial experiences related to the subject of Smart Energy Systems based on renewable energy, 4th Generation District Heating Technologies and Systems (4GDH), electrification of heating and transport sectors, electrofuels and energy efficiency.

"This 7th conference in the series cements it as a main venue for presentations and fruitful debates on subjects that are pertinent to the development and implementation of smart energy systems to fulfil national and international objectives."

May there be USAmerican policymakers, scientists, and engineers in attendance at this conference who take good notes to bring back home.

PS:  "How much CO2 equivalent is offset if we whiten all eligible urban flat roofs world- wide?
Answer: 24 Gigatonnes (Gt) - 2/3 of a year's worldwide emission - Gigatonne = billion metric tons
If implemented over 20 years (the life of a roof or a program) this is ≈ 1.2 Gt/year."
Source:  https:

"We remain alert so as not to get run down, but it turns out you only have to hop a few feet to one side and the whole huge machinery rolls by, not seeing you at all."
Lew Welch

"the war that matters is the war against the imagination
all other wars are subsumed in it."
Diane Di Prima
"Quite clearly, our task is predominantly metaphysical, for it is how to get all of humanity to educate itself swiftly enough to generate spontaneous behaviors that will avoid extinction."

R. Buckminster Fuller

Although, given recent and current events, there seem to be a whole hell of a lot of people who seem to be in love with the death drive.

Comments >> (17 comments)

Zero Net Energy - August 27, 2021

by gmoke Fri Aug 27th, 2021 at 04:31:25 PM EST

Zero emissions drive would grow U.S. economy - Report shows meeting Paris climate goals would add trillions of dollars in economic growth

https:/energyinnovation.org/publication/a-1-5-celsius-pathway-to-climate-leadership-for-the-united- states

Zero net energy, waste, and water development in Albany, NY

NC net zero home

Carbon neutral, net energy positive ecodistrict for Lille, France

Toranomon-Azabudai Project - an urban village for Tokyo focusing on "green" and "wellness"

Positive net energy for Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

Tesla Energy, Brookfield, & Dacra Are Developing A Large-Scale Sustainable Neighborhood In Austin, Texas
https:/cleantechnica.com/2021/07/09/tesla-energy-brookfield-dacra-are-developing-a-large-scale-sust ainable-neighborhood-in-austin-texas
Editorial Comment:  Anybody remember the 1979 Solar Community in Davis, CA (http://schadavis.org)?

Cantilever House - zero net energy design for India
Editorial Comment:  Finally some work on zero net energy designs for cooling as well as heating.  ZED Lab looks interesting as well.  They've been working since 2009.

Hot Heart - artifical islands to supply heat to Helsinki and support a tropical forest

Greenhouses for extreme climates
https:/www.agritecture.com/blog/2021/7/19/this-company-builds-greenhouses-in-some-of-the-worlds-mos t-extreme-climates

Austin, TX's Whisper Valley "a net-zero capable community, and every home has a geothermal HVAC (it's a very unique* geothermal system - it's the first of its kind and the largest in the world)"
cleantechnica.com/2021/07/28/idea-for-tesla-energy-look-at-austins-whisper-valley-for-your-n ext-solar-neighborhood
Editorial Comment:  My old English teacher, Mr Neilsen, would want me to remind people that "unique" means "one of a kind" which is difficult to modify.  There's no such thing as "very one of a kind."

Toyota's Woven City - a programmable city and a test bed for a hydrogen energy system (?)

Carbon Coin

by gmoke Fri Aug 20th, 2021 at 04:16:28 AM EST

from Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson

Page 294: They [a consortium of all the big central banks, with open access for more central banks to join] would issue together a single new currency, coordinated through the BIS [Bank for International Settlements]: one coin per ton of carbon-dioxide-equivalent sequestered from the atmosphere, either by not burning what would have been burned in the ordinary course of things, or by pulling it back out of the air. They promised to establish a floor in the value of this carbon coin, which exposed them to great danger from speculators trying to scare money out of the plan; and they foretold a rise in the value of the currency over the coming decades. By doing these things they made this investment a sure thing, assuming civilization itself survived.

Page 295: In fact, at the end of the agreement they all lent some fiat money of the ordinary kind, pooled into a fund administered through the BIS, which would be enough to pay for this new bureaucracy of verification that would have to be created to certify that carbon was rally being sequestered. This was a bureaucracy so vast no single bank could afford it, nor of course the ministry, not even close. It was almost a full employment plan all by itself.

Here are some programs that exist now which point in that direction:
Global Carbon Reward (https:/globalcarbonreward.org) is looking for a central bank to trade and manage a "carbon currency," their "Global Carbon Rewards," for a demonstration project.  "The central bank will need permission from their regulators to establish a temporary swap line for buying the carbon currency during the demonstrations..."

Regrow (https:/www.regrow.ag/mrv) does "Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV)... to ensure data is transparent and reliable" in terms of carbon sequestration, among other things.

There are other models at other scales and I believe Ralph Borsodi's "Constant," an inflation proof local currency, could be adapted to carbon:

Many more alternative currencies, even carbon coin possibilities, in Barbara Brandt's Whole Life Economics (1996, New Society Publishers).

The Carbon Coin According to The Ministry for the Future (more quotes):

Previously:  How Do You Pay for the Green New Deal:  The Cost of Fuel

Comments >> (5 comments)

City Agriculture - August 10, 2021

by gmoke Tue Aug 10th, 2021 at 11:44:23 PM EST

Positive net energy campus for Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

Amsterdam and Paris exchange on urban agriculture
https:/www.agritecture.com/blog/2021/7/8/amsterdam-and-paris-exchange-on-urban-agriculture-practice s

Hot Heart - artifical islands to supply heat to Helsinki and support a tropical forest

Hong Kong rooftop gardens
https:/www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2021/jul/14/rooftop-crops-urban-farms-in-hong-kong-in-pict ures
Editorial Comment:  Hong Kong is the only other city I've visited that has as much energy as NYC.

Bricks designed as anchor points for plants growing vertically
www.core77.com/posts/109476/Binder-Klinkers-Unusual-Bricks-Serve-as-an-Attachment-Point-for- Plants-on-Building-Facades

Nanbo Bay Reception Center indoor rainforest
mp.weixin.qq.com/s/CqsAoZmLfrygPdTir7sDsQ? [in Chinese]

Underwater farming
Editorial Comment:  Seagrasses can sequester 15-35 times more carbon than terrestrial plants and eelgrass can produce a perennial grain.   We are surrounded by insurmountable opportunities, as Walt Kelly's Pogo reminded us.

Madrid plans to plant a forest all around the city to reduce heat and absorb CO2
www.goodnewsnetwork.org/madrid-to-create-perimeter-forest-around-the-city-to-absorb-heat-and -co2

Greenhouses for extreme climates
https:/www.agritecture.com/blog/2021/7/19/this-company-builds-greenhouses-in-some-of-the-worlds-mos t-extreme-climates

Why we should build for wildlife as well as people
www.bbc.com/future/article/20210727-how-to-boost-biodiversity-and-attract-wildlife-to-your-h ome

Proposal for a future garden city

Microbial farming for carbon capture and food production

To Catch the Sun: DIY Solar Handbook

by gmoke Tue Aug 3rd, 2021 at 02:20:53 AM EST

To Catch the Sun (https:/www.kickstarter.com/projects/lonnyg/to-catch-the-sun) is a book of inspiring stories of communities coming together to harness their own solar energy, with the nitty-gritty details so you can do it too!

Learn how to design and build a photovoltaic system for engagements like:
A small home in a financially rich country
A few homes in a financially poor country
School rooms and community spaces
Zombie-apocalypse equipment
Laptop and cellphone chargers
A tiny home or #vanlife
Glamping and backpacking equipment
Emergency supply, e.g., powering an oxygen machine during power outages
Isolated loads like electric gates, pumps, greenhouse fans, backup generators, and telecommunications equipment

You had me at "Zombie-apocalypse equipment" (and I wonder why none of the zombie shows I've seen take renewables seriously - it's all motor vehicles and dirty clothes).  

Then again, I believe that Solar IS Civil Defense (https:www.dailykos.com/stories/2007/3/30/317777-)

Comments >> (9 comments)

City Agriculture - July 8, 2021

by gmoke Fri Jul 9th, 2021 at 02:40:41 AM EST

Geotherapy Not Geoengineering, Please
NB:  Geotherapy can work from flower pot on a windowsill scale to thousands of hectares and should be part of the thinking about all agriculture, urban or not

Barnsdall Art Park, Los Angeles to revive its olive grove

10 urban food forests
www.agritecture.com/blog/2021/6/24/10-urban-food-forests-turning-cities-into-food-producing- oases

Architects employ agritecture
www.agritecture.com/blog/2021/6/23/can-agritecture-help-us-adapt-to-climate-change-these-arc hitects-think-so

Tiny forests in big cities
hat tip Howard Bernstein

Solar Trees Marketplace in China

Urban green spaces in Dhaka, Bangladesh harbor nearly half the country's butterfly diversity
hat tip John Thackara

Sustainable food production for a resilient Rosario, Argentina
cleantechnica.com/2021/06/30/sustainable-food-production-for-a-resilient-rosario-prize-for-c ities-2020-2021
Editorial Comment:  Rosario, Argentina is the birthplace of Che Guevara

Zero waste house that produces its own food

AI-Based Sustainable Farming Tech Startup ecoRobotix Raises $14.7 Million
cleantechnica.com/2021/06/30/ai-based-sustainable-farming-tech-startup-ecorobotix-raises-14- 7-million
Editorial Comment:  robots to apply herbicides

Rare orchid discovered on London rooftop garden

NYTimes on hydroponic farming

City Agriculture - June 24, 2021

by gmoke Fri Jun 25th, 2021 at 03:35:24 AM EST

Farming communities - a Dutch model for national agriculture

AlphaGarden - can a robot learn how to garden?

Pollinator Park is a 30-minute interactive virtual reality experience "that immerses you in a futuristic world where man and nature co-exist in harmony, hoping to change your perspective and help turn the tide"

Singapore plans a "forest town"

The AgStack Foundation seeks to improve global agriculture efficiency through the creation, maintenance and enhancement of free, re-usable, open and specialized digital infrastructure for data and applications.

www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/may/19/the-rise-of-cardening-why-people-are-growing-pl ants-in-cars-and-everywhere-else

Emerging food forest in Venice, CA

Abu Dhabi biodiversity park

"Urban Food Stories is a community storytelling project that highlights the unique and important food traditions of the individuals around us. Through interviews, photographs, and recipes, these stories intend to broaden the narratives of the 'Alternative Food Movement', to make it more inclusive."

"Living Energy Farm is an intentional community, education center, and farm that demonstrates that a fulfilling life is possible without the use of fossil fuel."
They've been using solar DC electric microgrids for over a decade in Virginia, a technology that can be adapted to urban use as well

Residential Greenhouse for Bremen, Germany

Bee-friendly urban wildflower meadows prove a hit with German city dwellers
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jun/20/bee-friendly-urban-wildflower-meadows-prove-a-hi t-with-german-city-dwellers
hat tip Taras Grescoe @grescoe

A Speech from Her Speeches Greta Thunberg Never Made

by gmoke Mon May 31st, 2021 at 05:15:27 PM EST

I recently read No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg (NY: Penguin Books, 2018, 2019  ISBN 9780143133568), a slim book of her speeches since she started her Friday School Strike, "that idea was inspired by the Parkland students, who had refused to go to school after the school shootings."  [More on Parkland at https:/www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/8/7/1877501-Parkland-When-the-Targets-Talk-Back]

"And sometimes NOT doing things - like just sitting down outside the parliament - speaks much louder than doing things.  Just like a whisper sometimes is louder than shouting."

As usual, I flagged passages as I read and then copied them over to my computer when I was finished.  Then I thought about how to share what I learned from this remarkable young woman, finally deciding that my collection of notes from her words could make one coherent speech.

What follows is my cut-up of her book to present what I believe are her core concepts.  All the words are hers joined together with ellipses (...) and my own commentary in brackets ([ ]).

We want you to follow the Paris Agreement and the IPCC reports. We don't have any other manifestos or demands - you unite behind the science, that is our demand...

Right there (page 108, chapter 2, in the latest [as of July 2019] SR15 IPCC report) it says that if we are to have a 67% chance of limiting the global temperature rise to below 1.5ºC, we had, on 1 January 2018, 420 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide left in our CO2 budget. And of course that number is much lower today. We emit about 42 gigatonnes of CO2 every year. At current emissions levels, that remaining budget is gone within roughly 8.5 years. [3.5 gigatonnes per month, 0.80769 gigatonnes per week, 0.115 gigatonnes per day] And now that figure is already down to less than 360 gigatonnes [in 2019, the May 2021 figure is 276 gigatonnes and falling according to https://www.mcc-berlin.net/fileadmin/data/clock/carbon_clock.htm]...

But perhaps the most dangerous misconception about the climate crisis is that we have to "lower" our emissions. Because that is far from enough. Our emissions have to stop if we are to stay below 1.5-2ºC of warming. The "lowering of emissions" is of course necessary, but it is only the beginning of a fast process that must lead to a stop within a couple of decades, or less. And by "stop" I mean net zero [Greta and others are strongly interrogating the idea of "net zero" as accounting tricks have been used in some current "net zero" claims] - and then quickly on to negative figures. That rules out most of today's politics...

And our main enemy right now is not our political opponents. Our main enemy now is physics. And we cannot make "deals" with physics...

The fact that we are speaking of "lowering" instead of "stopping" emissions is perhaps the greatest force behind the continuing business-as-usual...

If the EU is to make its fair contribution to staying within the carbon budget for the 2ºC limit, then it means a minimum of 80% reduction [in greenhouse gases] by 2030 and that includes aviation and shipping. So, it is around twice as ambitious as the current proposal...

If the emissions have to stop, then we must stop the emissions...

We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground and we need to focus on equity...

To do your best is no longer good enough. We must all do the seemingly impossible. [Be realistic, demand the impossible - a Che Guevara quote used as graffiti on the walls of Paris in 1968 and by Prof Donald Sadoway of MIT, the developer of the Ambri flow battery and a way to decarbonize steel production, to inspire his students]...

We should no longer measure our wealth and success in the graph that shows economic growth, but in the curve that shows the emissions of greenhouse gases. We should no longer only ask: "Have we got enough money to go through with this?" but also: "Have we got enough of the carbon budget to spare to go through with this?" That should and must become the centre of our new currency...

In Sweden, we live our lives as if we had the resources of 4.2 planets. Our individual carbon footprint is one of the worst in the world. This means that Sweden steals 3.2 years of natural resources from future generations every year: Those of us who are part of these future generations would like Sweden to stop doing that. Right now...

Now we probably don't even have a future any more. Because that future was sold so that a small number of people could make unimaginable amounts of money. It was stolen from us every time you said that the sky was the limit, and that you only live once. [The sky WAS the limit and now it's striking back.]...

Many people say that we don't have any solutions to the climate crisis. And they are right. Because how could we? How do you "solve" the greatest crisis that humanity has ever faced? How do you "solve" a war? How do you "solve" going to the moon for the first time? How do you "solve" inventing new inventions?...

"That's still not an answer," you say. Then we start talking about a circular economy and rewilding nature [or geotherapy, see http://solarray.blogspot.com/2021/04/geotherapy-not-geoengineering-please.html for more] and the need for a just transition. Then you don't understand what we are talking about...

Avoiding climate breakdown will require cathedral thinking. We must lay the foundation while we may not know exactly how to build the ceiling. [Sacred]...

And yes, a transformed world will include lots of benefits. But you have to understand. This is not primarily an opportunity to create new green jobs, new businesses or green economic growth. This is above all an emergency, and not just any emergency. This is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced. This is not something you can like on Facebook...

We already have all the facts and [some of the] solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change.

Online Ecovillage Talks

by gmoke Sat Apr 24th, 2021 at 02:30:06 AM EST

The Online Ecovillage Summit (https:/summit2021.ecovillage.org/schedule) will present talks
every Wednesday at 1pm,
April 28, 2021 to May 26, 2021,
from members of different ecovillages around the world.  It looks like quite a broad line-up.

April 28, 2021, 1:00 pm
La Cite Ecologique - Quebec-based ecovillage
La Comarca y La Tierrita - Uruguay-based sister ecovillages

May 5, 2021, 1:00 pm
Sunshine Ecovillage - Chinese organization promoting the ecovillage movement
Los Portales - Spanish intentional community

May 12, 2021, 1:00 pm
Comunidade Ceu do Mapia - Brazilian village in the Amazonian South Meso-region
Kibbutz Lotan - Israel-based Eco-Jewish intentional, collective community

May 19, 2021, 1:00 pm
Ecodorp Boekel - Dutch ecovillage
Ganas Community - American 20 year old NYC intentional community

May 26, 2021, 1:00 pm
Las Canadas Bosque de Niebla - Mexican centre for agro-ecology and permaculture
Maleny Co-housing - Small australian co-housing community on collectively owned land

Solar Public Service Announcements

by gmoke Fri Apr 23rd, 2021 at 12:03:03 AM EST

The first solar video I produced was for the Urban Solar Energy Association [USEA] back in the early 1980s. One of the 10 second public service announcements was "A south-facing window is already a solar collector. Learn how to use it." with the contact information for USEA. Another was "A south-facing porch can become a solar greenhouse. Learn how to build one." We got a few hundred dollars in a grant from a group that was refusing to pay war taxes to make 3 inch tape copies and I took them around to the TV stations. Even saw the spot, once, late at night, I think on Channel Five.

The next round of solar videos was a set of 30 second spots I did with a graphic designer, Ed Hill, for the successor organization, Boston Area Sustainable Energy Association in the 1990s when I was doing a lot of public access TV, including videotaping and cablecasting the monthly talks that BASEA hosted. There is still a lot of information to be mined from that archive but it is just gathering dust in a storage area in my house in the form of VHS and 3/4 inch tape.

My favorite of that second series was the one on solar history which showed photographs of local solar buildings since the 1940s and back a few thousand years to the solar techniques of Greek houses (https:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIGS5LSjlnk).

Unfortunately, when I took these solar PSAs to the local TV stations they had no time available. Only one local UHF station (remember UHF?), Channel 56, took a copy but I'm not sure that it ever made air.

Since then I've made some of my own short Youtube videos on simple solar principles as I have always believed that you can teach the basics of practical solar energy, at least for emergency/survival electricity and heat, in a half hour or less.

Recently, I compiled a playlist on Youtube of all my simple solar stuff at https:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_NN__fS5pM&list=PLkauPyDTdD2A9t4w-ZVMytJS8MpE2dB7N

Some of the products mentioned are no longer available but I believe the basic solar information is still good.

Building Soil for Earth Week

by gmoke Sun Apr 18th, 2021 at 05:53:44 PM EST

Pleistocene Park Discussion with Manager, Nikita Zimov
Sunday, April 18, 9 - 10:30 AM ET (GMT-4)
Zoom https:/soil4climate-org.zoom.us/j/83756644945?pwd=elVTLytWbU5YVExIZ3k0MU9TWFRtQT09

Kiss the Ground Movie Discussion with Producers and Writers, Josh & Rebecca Tickell
Tuesday, April 20, 2 PM ET (GMT-4)
Zoom https:/soil4climate-org.zoom.us/j/89664652320?pwd=bUozL0xpMnhkNWhjKzVHUkNDM2ZUUT09

Free viewing of Kiss the Ground until Tuesday, April 20, here
password: soil4

"Nature-Positive Food Production" with Dr. Martin Frick of the United Nations Food Systems Summit
Thursday (Earth Day), April 22, 7 AM ET (GMT-4)
Zoom https:
Soil4Climate Facebook group

I believe all of these discussions will be archived at the Soil4Climate Facebook group.

City Agriculture - April 9, 2021

by gmoke Sat Apr 10th, 2021 at 02:18:52 AM EST

BBC summary of the state of the art/business

BBC TV Series:   Follow the Food:  Urban Farming

"Carbon-absorbing" vertical forest skyscraper nears completion in Taipei

Carbon neutral ecodistrict for Lille, France - another Callebaut project

Plant Ag:  $9 billion startup with food traceability from field to plate
https:/www.fastcompany.com/90614017/plant-ag-9-billion-startup-food-traceability-field-to-plate-tra nsparency-karim-giscombe

Liuzhou Forest City - China is building a city where trees clean the air

Saltwater vertical farming
https:/www.agritecture.com/blog/2021/3/1/what-do-saltwater-vertical-farming-and-sustainable-coastli nes-have-in-common

Regeneration of Pirelli 39 - renovating and expanding an existing building to include a vertical forest for cleaning the air

Japanese competition for best garden in the back of a pick-up truck
Other mobile gardens in City Agriculture over the years include
Kim Holleman's mobile park in one trailer or as a trailer park, now in new smaller model with aquaponics
http://inhabitat.com/nyc/kim-holleman-debuts-new-version-of-famous-trailer-park-with-solar-powered-a quaponic-pond

Autonomous traveling garden:  Hortum machina B
Mobile green living room touring Europe
Mobile garden in MIlan

Rob Greenfield foraged all his own food for a year in Orlando, FL

Continuing Education: Urban Agriculture

Lichen and moss walls

Archive of City Agriculture available at http://cityag.blogspot.com

Geotherapy Not Geoengineering, Please

by gmoke Tue Mar 30th, 2021 at 06:31:07 PM EST

Geotherapy not geoengineering, please.

"Geotherapy refers to the process of restoring the earth's health by strengthening natural biogeochemical and physiological mechanisms that regulate the earth's planetary life support systems and control global temperature, sea level, atmospheric composition, soil fertility, food, and fresh water supplies."
Source:  Geotherapy:  Innovative Methods of Soil Fertility Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, and Reversing CO2 Increase
https:/www.taylorfrancis.com/books/geotherapy-thomas-goreau-ronal-larson-joanna-campe/e/10.1201/b13 788

Geoengineering "is the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth's climate system, in order to moderate global warming" and "the most prominent subcategories of climate engineering are solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal."
Source: https:

Geotherapy is based on working with existing natural systems and starts local, adapting to the different biomes in which a geotherapeutic technique works.  Geoengineering tends to be global from the get go and the "engineering" is emphasized much more than the "geo," at least so far.  Geotherapy is systems solutions, working within ecological boundaries.  Geoengineering is engineering, tools based, and usually mechanistic.

The resources I used to learn about geotherapy are
Geotherapy:  Innovative Methods of Soil Fertility Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, and Reversing CO2 Increase
www.taylorfrancis.com/books/geotherapy-thomas-goreau-ronal-larson-joanna-campe/e/10.1201/b13 788k

Proceedings of the recent conferences organized by Biodiversity for a Livable Climate on a wide variety of geotherapeutic solutions

John Todd's history of his lifetime building healthy and healing ecologies, Healing Earth:  An Ecologist's Journey of Innovation and Environmental Stewardship

According to the Guardian (https:/www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/20/our-biggest-challenge-lack-of-imagination-the-sc ientists-turning-the-desert-green), John Todd is working with a Dutch company, the Weathermakers (http://theweathermakers.nl), developing a plan to make the Sinai Desert green.  They are using John's "eco machines," greenhouses with an extremely biodiverse environment reflecting "the aggregate experience of life on Earth over the last 3.5bn years."  They will distill salt water while growing plants, fish, and animals, all powered by the sun.   "The idea is that you may have 100 of these structures," says John Todd. "And they're spending five years in one site and then they're moved, so these little ecologies are left behind."

One proof of such a regreening the desert concept is a permaculture experiment near the Dead Sea over a decade ago

Another is Wadi Attir (http://www.sustainabilitylabs.org/wadiattir/home/) in the Negev Desert, a Bedouin sustainable farm.

The Weathermakers are also following the successful methods Li Rui developed in regreening the loess plateau of northern China in the 1990s, collaboratoring with John D Liu who documented the process for TV and film and is now associated with the Ecosystem Restoration Camps (https:ecosystemrestorationcamps.org), part of a growing group of environmental restoration and regeneration projects now launched around the world.

Just as focusing on cities drove climate politics from Copenhagen to the Paris agreement, I believe ecovillage restoration will drive practical climate solutions using geotherapy, which works at every scale from a flower pot on a window sill to thousands of hectares of land, in the next few years.  

Here are some upcoming events which offer ways to participate in the action:
Smart Village Summit (https:
us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUrduGgpz8pG9WyihU6tdCcuuq1F20NY6hn),  powered by Future Thinkers and RegenVillages.
This monthly virtual summit is for people interested in the many aspects of Smart Villages and ProtoB communities. We'll be joined by experienced guests to discuss earth regeneration, permaculture, community building, governance, education, social dynamics, funding, economics, organization and leadership, affordable housing, natural building, information sharing, innovation, technology and other important subjects.
March 31, 2021 04:00 PM GMT (Vancouver)
April 28, 2021 04:00 PM GMT (Vancouver)
May 26, 2021 04:00 PM GMT (Vancouver)

Global Just Recovery Gathering (https:justrecoverygathering.org), April 9 to 11, is a three-day online event featuring interactive workshops, cultural sessions, and hands-on trainings. The events will include appearances by Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai, Naomi Klein, Brianna Fruean and  others.  Build your skills, strengthen relationships, and hear from a powerful line-up of climate leaders, artists, and musicians in every corner of the world.

The GEN Ecovillage Summit - Living Solutions for a Regenerative World (https:summit2021.ecovillage.org) will take place from April 9-15, 2021 and will showcase how ecovillages contribute to the mitigation of climate crisis and function as resilient communities of practise bringing concrete solutions and actions for earth restoration, economic revival, social regeneration and cultural celebration.

Recently, L Hunter Lovins said that reputable scientists believe we could return to 280 ppm CO2, pre-industrial levels, in 30-60 years IF we used holistic grazing practices on the existing grasslands of the world (https:www.cambridgeforum.org?p=7205).  Now, think about how quickly we could draw down atmospheric carbon IF we added marine ecosystems, which can sequester much more carbon (15 -20 times) more rapidly than terrestrial ecosystems, to the mix all while rapidly reducing our emissions to zero.

We are surrounded by insurmountable opportunities, when we think in terms of geotherapy, not geoengineering, please.

Comments >> (7 comments)

Zero Net Energy - March 24, 2021

by gmoke Thu Mar 25th, 2021 at 02:26:37 AM EST

Making a wooden solar insolation visualization
www.makingdatatangible.com/solar - program to help you make your own
https:/pysolar.readthedocs.io/en/latest - a collection of Python libraries for simulating the irradiation of any point on earth by the sun
Editorial Comment:  possibly a useful tool for those thinking about solar in relation to zero net energy

District heating in Sweden

World's largest PassivHaus-certified office building

Saudi Arabia to build a zero emissions city

Sustainable Housing Ownership Project, Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation

Gothenburg, Sweden is developing the world's first large-scale zero-emissions city zone
news.cision.com/business-region-goteborg/r/gothenburg-green-city-zone-leads-the-way-towards- zero-emissions-transportation-in-the-near-future,c3266333
https:/cleantechnica.com/2021/01/19/gothenburg-partners-with-volvo-to-create-a-climate-neutral-city /

Ohlone College - 185,000-square-foot net zero energy development
https:/www.cannondesign.com/our-work/work/ohlone-community-college-district-academic-core-buildings /

UK prefab low energy homes coming to scale?  An estimated 30,000 in the pipeline
www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2021/mar/06/eco-homes-become-hot-property-in-uks-zero-carbo n-paradigm-shift
Leeds Climate Innovation District

Deep Energy Retrofit for Triple Deckers

Oregon State University goes for net zero in new building

ML King Open/Cambridge Street Upper School in Cambridge, MA achieves net zero emissions

Net zero home development with 3D printed components

Years of Zero Net Energy links at http://solarray.blogspot.com

Comments >> (5 comments)

City Agriculture - March 7, 2021

by gmoke Sun Mar 7th, 2021 at 08:53:13 PM EST

Urban Agriculture Blog from Agritecture

The 20 best green alleys of Montreal (en française, in French)

Europe's largest vertical farm is under construction - 14 stories high in a 7,000-square-meter facility at Copenhagen Markets in Denmark

Respira - an air purifying garden that is self-sustaining
www.kickstarter.com/projects/respira/respira-the-air-purifying-garden-that-takes-care-of-its elf

Urban farm feeds the homeless in the city of Chiang Mai during COVID time

A Global Geospatial Ecosystem Services Estimate of Urban Agriculture - they estimate about 10% of food production can happen in cities

Rooftop nature conservancy in Hong Kong includes a biodiversity museum, an outdoor farm to provide farm-to-table dining, a butterfly garden and more

Staten Island apartment complex with 5000 square foot farm
hat tip Pasqualino Columbaro

Tiny forests for England based upon a Japanese technique
https:/www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/02/tennis-court-sized-scrap-of-bristol-to-become-ti ny-forest

The New Agrarian Economy:  The Past, Present, and Future of Urban Agriculture in New York City [pdf alert]

Thammasat University Rangsit Campus urban rooftop farm, the largest in Asia

Shenzhen skyscraper with aquaponics to purify the air

Years of City Agriculture links are available at http://cityag.blogspot.com

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