Some interesting reads…

…on relocalization, sustainability, peak fossil fuels, climate change, financial collapse etc.

Universities co-creating urban sustainability, by Gregory Trencher and Masaru Yarime:

“…Another collaboration worth watching is the Oberlin Project, unfolding in the tiny ‘rust town’ of Oberlin, Ohio. Scattered across the northwestern states of the US, many towns such as Oberlin have lost their former economic glory and are struggling for survival with the decline of localised, heavy industries…The project aims to make the City of Oberlin and its college carbon positive (i.e., not only carbon neutral, but actually absorb more carbon than it emits) and a self-generator of resources by 2050. Conceived as a “full-spectrum sustainability”response to the looming dual crises of climate change and peak oil, the project is cutting emissions through radical improvements in energy efficiency, converting the city’s entire energy supply to renewables (bio-gas and solar), transforming run-down city blocks to green building zones for the arts and sustainable business, and creating a 20,000 acre forestry and agriculture belt for food, timber and carbon-sequestration…”

The little grocery that could, by Michael Shuman

“…Your Local Market [in Bellevue WA] combines the best features of Whole Foods, like high-quality local and organic products, with down-to-earth prices and familiar brands of low cost cleaning products.

Today, [founder Jason Brown] is all about “local.” He and his team have scoured the Pacific Northwest for great suppliers of local fruits, meats, and wines, and now has more than 3,000 regional products.   He has turned his store into a community center, with a full calendar of speakers and special events like singles nights. He holds monthly fundraiser in the store that has generated more than $36,000 in new donations for children’s organizations. He has recruited local angel investors to become owners, and is committed to keeping the store into the hands of the community…”

Night Thoughts in Hagsgate, by John Michael Greer

“…To say that there’s a curse on industrial society is simply to use an archaic metaphor for a point I’ve been discussing in these essays since The Archdruid Report began six years ago, which is that the consequences of industrial society’s mismanagement of its relations with the planet will not go away just because we don’t want to deal with them…

any effective response to the curse…has to begin by taking stock of the ways that each of us, as individuals, contributes by our own attitudes and actions to the mess we’re in, and then making appropriate changes…

daydreaming about running off to some conveniently unaffordable eco-homestead in the country doesn’t count…What’s required instead is the less romantic but far more productive task of adapting in place: figuring out how, living where you live now, you can place much less of a burden on the biosphere, and help other people do the same thing…

perfection isn’t a reasonable expectation here—there’s a long learning curve, and our culture and built environment place significant obstacles in the way—but a great deal can be done nonetheless…

The natural gas massacre gets bloodier, by Wolf Richter

…natural gas for June delivery settled on Wednesday at $2.73 per million Btu on the New York Mercantile Exchange. A 44% jump from its April 19 low of $1.90 per million Btu, but still only half the five year average…

In fracking, during the initial phase of production, high pressure blows a huge quantity of gas out the well—and the quantity of the first 24 hours, the “initial production,” is bandied about to investors and lenders, who are so impressed.  Alas, it’s the most the well will ever produce in a 24-hour period. As pressure drops, gas production drops precipitously…

An excellent pricing model for the Barnett Shale field determined that a well might become profitable over its life if gas is at $8 per million Btu. Even if the model is off a bit, it shows that the industry has been fracking at a steep loss for years…

[So] Drillers have shifted whenever possible from drilling for natural gas to drilling for oil, which is still highly profitable. And so, the rig count for gas wells has been heading south, from over 900 last fall to 600 last week…

Meanwhile, the low price of gas has bent the demand curve: utilities are shifting massively from coal to gas for power generation. Their demand is eating through the record amount in storage and will clash later this year with diminishing production…

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Quiet Drama in Philadelphia, by Ellen Brown:

“…cities and states don’t need to wait for a deadlocked federal Congress to act. As Wong-Tam has proposed for Toronto, they can divest their public revenues from the too-big-to-fail banks and put them in their own publicly-owned banks. These banks could then do what all banks do: leverage capital, backed by deposits, into money in the form of bank credit…”

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