Monthly Archives: August 2016

Intentional Cooperative Agriculture

Dan Barber, a famous chef from New York City, talks about his profound experience of seeing the best foie gras in the world being cultivated by a rancher in Spain. This talk highlights the missing link between our food and our lives. Many people think that food comes from the store and heat comes from the furnace. As a former chef, I can attest that most do not know and do not want to know where the they eat comes from… especially fine dining. A process like gavage is a prime example of humans manipulating nature to attain a product that is made naturally if one has the patience.



Portland School Passes Climate Justice Curriculum

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.43.30 PM Earlier this summer, the National Education Association joined the Portland School Board in passing a resolution for a climate justice curriculum in schools. Here’s a clip:

“In addressing the convention, Jeskey paraphrased the Portland climate justice resolution: “We must commit ourselves to providing teachers, administrators, and other school personnel with professional development, curricular materials, and outdoor and field studies that explore the breadth of causes and consequences of the climate crisis as well as potential solutions that address the root causes of the crisis, and do so in ways that are participatory, imaginative, and respectful of students’ and teachers’ creativity and eagerness to be part of addressing global problems and that build a sense of personal efficacy and empowerment. Our schools must play a leadership role in modeling for students climate and environmentally friendly practices.”

85% Wind Energy in Iowa?

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 12.18.12 PM A huge story last week on Iowa energy: “The Iowa Utilities Board has approved a wind turbine operation it says will be the nation’s largest wind energy project.” Projected to be completed by 2019, MidAmerican, which currently provides 31% of its electricity through wind, is aiming to produce a whopping 85% by wind.

Here’s a clip:

“Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy is behind the planned $3.6 billion wind turbine operation that will generate up to 2,000 megawatts of electricity. MidAmerican Energy said that is enough 800,000 homes and the project will see 85 percent of the company’s Iowa customer needs met through wind energy by 2020.”

Wage War on Climate, or Wage Peace for Regenerating Ecosystems?

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.14.44 AM Two interesting essays over the past week raise questions on how we frame climate action. Should we declare a “war on climate change,” as founder and author Bill McKibben proposes, or “wage peace for regenerating ecosystems,” as author Judith Schwartz writes?

Here’s a clip from McKibben:

“We’re used to war as metaphor: the war on poverty, the war on drugs, the war on cancer. Usually this is just a rhetorical device, a way of saying, “We need to focus our attention and marshal our forces to fix something we don’t like.” But this is no metaphor. By most of the ways we measure wars, climate change is the real deal: Carbon and methane are seizing physical territory, sowing havoc and panic, racking up casualties, and even destabilizing governments. (Over the past few years, record-setting droughts have helped undermine the brutal strongman of Syria and fuel the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria.) It’s not that global warming is like a world war. It is a world war. Its first victims, ironically, are those who have done the least to cause the crisis. But it’s a world war aimed at us all. And if we lose, we will be as decimated and helpless as the losers in every conflict–except that this time, there will be no winners, and no end to the planetwide occupation that follows.

The question is not, are we in a world war? The question is, will we fight back? And if we do, can we actually defeat an enemy as powerful and inexorable as the laws of physics?”

Here’s a clip from Schwartz:

“Shifting to renewable energy—the core of McKibben’s mobilization—is essential. But this alone won’t avert climate disaster. Even if we stopped fossil fuel emissions this minute, it would take centuries to bring CO2 down to appropriate levels. Plus, what remains unspoken: We could suck all the CO2 we want out of the atmosphere and still suffer the droughts, floods, heat waves and wildfires we now associate with climate change. We’re blind-sided by carbon, as if breaking our fossil fuel addiction were all that’s needed to restore climate dynamics. Climate is too complex to be reduced to a single variable.”

California Climate Action Plan and Enviro Justice

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 9.57.41 AM California passed a “landmark” climate action bill this week, calling for a 40% reduction of 1990 CO2 emissions levels.

Beyond the implications for green jobs and emissions reductions, Grist magazine noted the role of the climate plan in addressing pollution in overlooked areas, such as Coachella — “a working class Latino community where one in three residents survives below the poverty line — is stuck with a disproportionate pollution burden, even while California gets all the credit for cutting overall greenhouse gasses.”

Here’s a clip:

“Eduardo Garcia, an assembly member from Coachella, authored AB197. The bill assures permanent legislative oversight of the Air Resources Board, an agency that environmental justice activists say doesn’t focus enough on reducing the harmful effect of local polluting refineries and factories. Together, the two bills finally begin to bridge the gap between big climate solutions and local air problems, helping underserved communities breathe a little easier.”