Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Oct o7 test

this is a test to see if the blog allows back-dated entries. Click Here to Read More..

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Kind Communications Class, starting TU 3/13

I got the following note from my friend Cathy Holt. She'll be teaching a class at the Smith Mill Creek Permaculture School on water once I get around to scheduling it.
Dear Friends,
My next Kind Communication class will be starting on Tuesday, March 13, 7-9 pm, and running for 5 consecutive Tuesdays. Please let your friends know!
Here is a brief description:
Kind Communication skills can benefit all relationships.
  • Learn to express feelings and needs without blame and judgment.
  • Respond with empathy to others (and yourself!)
  • Upgrade complaints to requests.
  • Transform potential conflicts into peaceful, productive dialogues.

Role-playing and fun exercises help you to integrate the powerful skills of Non-Violent Communication. Taught by Cathy Holt. Holy Ground is located off Merrimon at 18 Orange Street (across from Staples).

Cost: $100, includes 5 classes, Practice Booklet and 30-minute individual coaching session

To register, please call: 236-0222

Click Here to Read More..

Annie for City Council

Over on Brainshrub's blog at
I learned that a white woman-- a former chair of her local NAACP-- is running for city council in Covington, Louisiana, which is north of New Orleans.

Here's what he says about her:

"Annie is renowned within the activist community for her tireless efforts on behalf of progressive values. Here is a small sample of the many projects she's been involved in:

  • She successfully defeated State attempts to secure death penalty sentences in every capital case her law firm has ever handled.
  • She was a president of the Greater Covington NAACP, only the second white female to hold such a post in NAACP history.
  • She was instrumental in the formation of both the Louisiana Activist Network and the Covington Peace Project where she continues to advocate for sane and thoughtful approaches to issues of war and terrorism.
  • She was a house lawyer for Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas during the summer of 2005."
You can donate to her campaign at
and read more about her at
http://www.progressiveannie.com Click Here to Read More..

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Evening's Doings

Went to an Energy in a Box training tonight, sponsored by the Clean Air Community Trust. The idea came out of the Design Science Lab last summer at UNCA, but tonight's program was actually done by Progress Energy, by the guy who staffed the conservation table at Jan. 9th Woodfin Elementary School Progress Energy dog and pony show.

The training was an abridged version of the Energy Doctor program I went through in August 1987 in Santa Cruz, CA (compact flourescent light bulbs, insulation tape for windows, light and outlet covers, distribution of lowflow faucets and showerheads, minus wrapping water heaters). I'm sorry to say that, after thousands (tens of thousands?) of households in the community got these things for free; I don't know what the effect of it was.

But I'll write to some city councillors right now and ask them.

Also, nudged by Nicholas Stern's endorsement of it in his talk at the London School of Economics, I googled "Contraction and Convergence". The originator's website for it sucks, and has truly horrid blinking headlines.

The Oxford student site at http://www.climatejustice.org.uk
on the other hand is spare, beautiful and well-done. Click Here to Read More..

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Invisible Utilities Become Visible

In my volunteer life, I set up talk by Michael Shore of Environmental Defense on Utilities and Utility Reform. It'll take place Thursday, 7 PM at the West Asheville Library.

Then today, I saw this article in the New York Times. Looks like the issue
is getting more relevant every day:

Rising Price of Electricity Sets Off New Debate on Regulation

Utility rates had been capped in Illinois for 10 years, but the state agreed last year to raise them as part of an effort to open up its electricity markets to competition. Maryland, New Jersey and a half dozen other states are also removing caps. But residents in this part of Illinois are seeing some of the biggest rate spikes in the country — in some cases, increases of 100 percent to 200 percent.

The higher rates are touching off a fresh round of national debate over unleashing competitive forces on traditionally regulated electricity markets. Opening up the markets was supposed to lead to savings for consumers. But that did not turn out as regulators predicted. The anticipated competition among energy suppliers never fully emerged as natural gas prices more than doubled in the last decade.

Yet even as the pain of higher utility bills is setting in, the electric power industry is warning of an energy crisis that could rival California’s if higher fuel and plant construction costs cannot be passed onto consumers.

Keep Reading This Article

Click Here to Read More..

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Burning Man Credit Union

The folks who attend Burning Man in Black Rock, Nevada are forming a credit union. Click Here to Read More..

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Wexelblat Effect

The spectrum of Wexelblat Disasters is as varied as industrialization itself. It's not the lightning that electrocutes you, it's the wires it knocks down. It's not the heavy soggy topsoil that gets you, it's the fireball from the ruptured underground gasoline tank. It's not the floods that get you, or even the floods levitating the house off its foundation, it's the natural gas leak when the pipes break.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A24688-2001Aug31 Click Here to Read More..

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Housing Crisis or Sharing Crisis?

"Reading news coverage after Hurricane Katrina,
Salomon learned that in Houston, where many of
the refugees were headed, 14% of all housing
units (homes, apartments, duplexes, etc) were
vacant. Salomon did some research on how this
compares to the rest of the country. She found
that in the year 2000 there were 10.4 million
vacant units and 250,000 people sleeping in
homeless shelters. This meant there were nearly
45 homes that were completely empty per person
sleeping in shelters. Salomon asks, "How is it
that we have a housing crisis? Maybe a homing
crisis, or a sharing crisis, but this isn't a housing crisis. "

Click Here to Read More..