Archive for Environment
by John Weckerle
President Trump’s revival of the Keystone pipeline has been celebrated by a wide variety of people, largely on the bases of the supposed jobs that it would somehow magically create, and the benefits that it would somehow mystically bestow on – well, the good, hard-working people who get those jobs. The claims of job creation have been debated ad-infinitum and, for all intents and purposes, it’s fairly apparent that the jobs in question would be short-term construction jobs associated with installing the pipeline, and a small number of pipeline maintenance positions. Given that the oil transferred from Canada would be processed using existing refinery capacity in the southern U.S., job growth in the U.S. as a result of the pipeline would appear relatively small and relatively short-term. Of course, jobs associated with extraction would be located at the tar sands deposit that would feed the pipeline, and those tar sands are located in Alberta, Canada.
According to this MSN photojournalistic article (and we very strongly suggest that our readers read the article and go through all the stunning images), Canada’s little operation is likely to consume up to 54,000 square miles of pristine wilderness, and the photography in the article gives a very good depiction of what the area will be turned into. For perspective, 54,000 square miles equates roughly to the size of the States of New York and North Carolina. Not only would the scar left behind by this profit-inspired effort be visible from space, it would likely be visible from the moon, Mars, Krypton, and Vulcan.
We will leave our readers the space to consider their support (or the opposite) for this pipeline, but we will say this: the idea of leaving a large-state-sized hole in Nature for the purpose of lining a relatively small number of people’s pockets seems repugnant to us. Congratulations to all those who have supported the Keystone Pipeline – at least now you have had a good look at what you supported.
by John Weckerle
With the election safely over, we turned to some of our local favorites to see what sort of high-fiving might be going on – and surprisingly found essentially none among our normal haunts. After apparently selling its trademark to the fossil fuel industry (the site essentially became a re-posting venue for screeds by petroleum industry-funded fossil fuel advocate Marita Noon), the Sandia Tea Party site appears to have gone “dark” in October. As expected (and hoped), the East Mountain Tea Party remains silent, but a little searching revealed that its former denizens Therese Cooper and Char Tierney are alive and kicking on the internet, dispensing their version of reality via Facebook. We don’t want to be raising the relevance scores on their accounts, so we won’t link directly, but on Facebook they are therese.cooper.9 and char.tierney.9, respectively, the latter having recently changed her Facebook account from CharTierney. Both accounts are reminiscent of what we saw on the East Mountain Tea Party site and sites associated with the Table of the Remnant and Operation Jesus Pictures. Silvana Lupetti is also apparently on Facebook (SilvanaLupetti). Unfortunately, we didn’t find anything particularly worth commenting on, but we’ll keep an eye out just in case.
We do, however, occasionally receive e-mails from readers containing what might be described in the current vernacular as “fake news,” and we thought we’d share a little of that with you today. We recently received an e-mail containing the following:
by Christian Meuli
The sponge is a useful rainwater harvesting technique that needs little maintenance. A sponge is a hole dug into the ground and filled with moisture-holding household waste. I find sponges to be invaluable in establishing tree saplings on windy, dry sites with poor soil and in reinvigorating old trees.
Sponges made of carbon materials passively hold winter snows and summer rains for months afterward, storing moisture efficiently in the soil and recycling carbon back into our depleted desert soil. Sponges retain moisture safely out of the harsh sun and drying wind right next to growing roots. Sponges are a simple and convenient way to very-locally recycle newspapers, cardboard, magazines, phone books, junk mail, confidential papers, yard cuttings, clothes, etc.
First we will visit a variety of mature sponges and their effects on nearby plants. Next we will dig and install several sponges with the carbon material that each attendee will bring with them. We’ll use an A-frame to identify the contour and to design how to harvest the rainwater most efficiently, dig and fill the sponge, and mulch it to look as natural as possible.
Then we’ll form groups of three to make state of the art A-frames that are durable, light-weight and foldable. I aspire for these groups to share an A-frame together, using them in varied conditions over the seasons and sharing outcomes with each other. I’ll give everyone marking flags so you can immediately begin implementing sponges on your own site!
Saturday, March 22, 2014
9AM – 1PM at La Resolana, Edgewood
9 AM Site tour of successful sponges and a sponge ladder
10 AM Make several sponges: identify contour, dig hole and berm the
downhill side, fill with carbon waste, step down the materials,
mulch, armor the downhill berm, water(?), extend arms of berms,
and take pictures
11 AM- 1 PM Make A-frames (the rainbarn has a woodstove)(I have tools and materials
$25 with scholarships available. Limited to 18 people. Please e-mail me your contact information including a current e-mail and phone number. Participants will bring a large bag of sponge material, gloves, and a shovel.
I cancelled the sponge workshop last fall due to a 14” snow. I hope each of you that had signed up previously will be able to attend this next workshop. I plan on having a woodchip berm and A-frame workshop before the summer rains begin.
I look forward to sharing this simple rainwater harvesting technique that is extremely beneficial,
Editor’s Note: The Annual Permaculture Gathering is a personal favorite of ours, and we strongly recommend it. There will be plenty to learn, and the potluck always provides a delightful assortment of creative dishes.
by Christian Meuli
12:00 PM Site Tour
2:00 PM Potluck
3:00 PM “Trees are Killing our Forests” — George Duda
4:00 PM One Minute Announcements
4:05 PM “I Started with Nothing but a Dream” — Roger Alink
George retired from the New Mexico State Forestry where he served as our Urban Forester. He continues to actively volunteer throughout New Mexico and will join us on the site tour at noon to identify the differences between drought stress and disease in pinon and juniper trees. He will present his video “Trees Are Killing Our Forests!” before entertaining questions.
Roger is Founder and Director of Wildlife West Nature Park, an un-releasable native animal zoo in Edgewood. He taught for ten years at my alma mater, Valley HS, before beginning WLW in 1992 “because I didn’t know any better.” He is a passionate teacher of young adults and a long-practicing rainwater harvester. WLW also holds a number of musical and other community events.
This free permaculture gathering will include a site tour of evolving passive rainwater harvesting practices (including culverts) and George will show us how he reads the effects of drought on trees while identifying pests and diseases.
Please bring friends and children, your favorite dish to share and your finest sunhat. Please car pool and leave pets at home.
Take I-40 to Exit #187 (25 miles east of Albuquerque and 8 miles west of Moriarty). At the end of the off-ramp, go south two blocks to the stoplight at the intersection with H #333 (Smith’s Grocery will be on your left and Walgreens’s on your right). Go straight through the intersection, up the hill on Edgewood
H #7 and turn right in ½ mile onto Moriarty Road (now paved!). Go ¼ mile to #24 and turn right into my driveway or go straight ahead down the hill and park on your left.
I look forward to seeing everyone and meeting new people! If you need a map or a timely update, please call me at (505) 281-4871.
Provided by Christian Meuli
Event: Turning Water Scarcity Into Water Abundance
Date: Friday, June 7
Time: 6 – 8 pm
Place: George Pearl Hall, UNM School of Architecture and Planning, Central Ave. NE and UNM Cornell Mall, Albuquerque
Sponsors:ErdaGardens and LearningCenter, Kalyx Studio, Querencia Green, and UNM Sustainability Studies Program
Brad Lancaster will present his work on Rainwater Harvesting on Friday, June 7, in George Pearl Hall on the UNM campus at 6 pm, at no cost to the public. The presentation, Turning Water Scarcity Into Water Abundance, will be followed by a book-signing party for Lancaster’s “Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond.” Event sponsors include ErdaGardens and LearningCenter, Kalyx Studio, Querencia Green, and UNM Sustainability Studies Program. Refreshments will be provided by La Montanita Coop during the book-signing session.
Brad Lancaster is a permaculture teacher, designer, consultant, the author of the award-winning books “Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond,” Volumes 1 and 2, and co-founder of Desert Harvesters. Brad harvests an average of 100,000 gallons of rainwater a year from his property near downtown Tucson, Arizona, where rainfall is twelve inches on average annually. Brad and his brother Rodd have created an oasis in the desert by incorporating rainwater into living air conditioners of food-bearing shade trees, abundant gardens, and a thriving landscape that includes habitat for wildlife.
Brad has inspired thousands of citizens and numerous businesses in Tucson and across the nation to harvest water and sustainably grow local resources. Joanne McEntire of Querencia Green, a community organization, observes that “Rainwater harvesting from rooftops is encouraged in Tucson, along with stormwater capture from paved areas. In Albuquerque our annual average precipitation is less than ten inches. As we acknowledge long-term drought and fluctuating rainstorm patterns, we’ve begun to practice water harvesting. As more neighbors capture rainwater to support gardens, trees and wildlife, more benefits would result.”
On Sunday, June 9, Brad Lancaster will lead a hands-on workshop at KalyxStudioLearningCenter in BernalilloCounty’s SouthValley. Participants will learn and practice earthwork techniques used in water harvesting systems. The workshop will focus specifically on earthworks that can be implemented to improve the efficiency of acequia irrigation for the home garden. Workshop organizer Leslie Buerk comments: “Although we will be constructing a system that combines traditional desert gardening practices with water harvesting techniques as applied to acequia irrigation, all of the techniques relate directly to working with rainwater and greywater systems.” Additional information is available by e-mail directed to email@example.com.
by John Weckerle
Okay, maybe not. However, having seen just about enough of the associated silliness and paranoia on the Sandia Tea Party web site, and having had just about enough of special interests and political ideologues misrepresenting sustainability for their own ends, we decided to do a little looking around and gather some information that perhaps represents something just a little closer to reality than what has been presented there and in other far-right venues. We found a few FAQ sites and others associated with organizations officially associated with Agenda 21. Predictably, what we found was substantially different from the interpretations provided by the Sandia Tea Party, and we’ll get to that presently.
We also decided to see what the other local Tea Party chapter, the East Mountain Tea Party, had to say about the issue, and were surprised to find evidence that the organization may be defunct. The domain now resolves to the Albuquerque Tea Party site, and there have been no posts to the EMTP’s Facebook page since October. With no other explanation, we must assume that the proponents of Agenda 21 are responsible for the demise. Less clear is the reason that the Chavez County Tea Party Patriots web site, as linked from the Albuquerque Tea Party site, is now presented in either Chinese or Japanese (we’re not sure which); perhaps they’ve outsourced themselves to Asia.
Now, on to Agenda 21. We will not provide an exhaustive description here but will highlight a few points and provide links for the perusal of our readers, who we believe to be just a little more fact-conscious than some. We’ll begin by providing a link to the text of Agenda 21, provided by the Institute for Global Communications (alternatively, you can download it in PDF format from the UN website). It’s a big document – 351 pages – but what we’ve read of it does not seem to support an impression of a socialist/environmental extremist conspiracy. A bit of “myth debunking” can be found in the article “Agenda 21: Just the Facts” presented by the Better World Campaign. Of critical importance: Agenda 21 is not a treaty, is not binding in any way, and does not afford the United Nations any particular authority for implementation. The article “What Is Agenda 21?” by the UN Dispatch explores the “controversies” surrounding the initiative, including the conspiracy theories being presented by various special interest and political groups opposed to what they describe as “sustainability” – which is, of course, not sustainability at all. The Wikipedia article on Agenda 21 similarly points out the initiatives voluntary and non-binding status.
A non-UN organization composed of local governments – ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability (formerly the International Council for Local Initiatives) describes itself here, stating in part: ” ICLEI is a powerful movement of 12 mega-cities, 100 super-cities and urban regions, 450 large cities as well as 450 small and medium-sized cities and towns in 84 countries. ICLEI promotes local action for global sustainability and supports cities to become sustainable, resilient, resource-efficient, biodiverse, low-carbon; to build a smart infrastructure; and to develop an inclusive, green urban economy. The ultimate aim is to achieve healthy and happy communities. We have developed stable, long-term programs to support local-level sustainability and continue to develop innovative new programs to respond to issues of international concern.” In its article “FAQ: ICLEI, the United Nations, and Agenda 21: Setting the Record Straight About ICLEI,” ICLEI-Local Governments USA states (among other things): “ICLEI is a champion of local governments. Working with elected officials, ICLEI’s World Secretariat helps voice local government needs and priorities during international negotiations and agreements that will effect local governments, such as the U.N. climate negotiations and the upcoming Rio+20 summit.”
Sustainability is not an international socialist-environmental extremist conspiracy. It is not out to take anyone’s land away, prevent anyone from having children, or force anyone into indentured service as the only means to get drinking water. We encourage our readers to follow the links provided in this article and learn more about Agenda 21 and sustainability initiatives in general.