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Facing a New Reality

> new reality initiative

“Facing the New Reality: Preparing Poor America for Harder Times Ahead”

A Special Report from the Community Action Partnership

Click here to read online.

Click here to download a printable version.

Read their article in Energy Bulletin here.

As we all know, what happens in America comes to Norway ten years after. So let's prepare for a new reality as well! This report is a good start.

Democratizing the Electricity System - A Vision for the 21st Century Grid

New Report: Democratizing the Electricity System

ILSR has released a vision for a 21st century electricity system as a network of independently-owned and widely dispersed renewable energy producers.

"Thirty years ago renewable energy was a novelty," says John Farrell, author of the new report. "Twenty years ago it was little more than a cottage industry. Today the $100 billion renewable energy industry threatens to overturn the bigger-is-better foundation of the existing, 20th century electricity system."

Download the report as an e-book here.

Related reading:
Equal energy for all: Can we democratize the grid?

"Share or Die" (Downloadable for Free!)

Now you can go ahead and read the full book by yourself, it’s under an open license. Of course, I recommend you buy the PDF version, as a way to support the effort made by Shareable.Net.


Additional reading:
Book of the Week: Share or Die (3)

300 Years of FOSSIL FUELS in 300 Seconds

Plantebasert luftfilter & topp-ti luftrensende potteplanter




Men hvilke planter fungerer best som luftrensere? Her har NASA laget en studie som kartlegger de ti beste plantene for å fjerne giftstoffer i lufta for bruk på romstasjoner. Men vil tro de er minst like effektive i stua! Les artikkelen: The Top 10 Plants for Removing Indoor Toxins.

Ingen tvil om at giftrensende planter bør være en selvfølge i alle hjem, med eller uten luftfilter. Nye forskningsresultater bekrefter en forbindelse mellom formaldehyd og leukemi. Formaldehydbasert lim nyttes i sponplater, panelplater, parkett, etc. Den boligen "Norges ledende boligleverandør" leverte meg bestod nær 100 prosent av formaldehydbaserte produkter. Les dokumentet "Plater, Papp & Folier" for et sunnere boligkjøp.

Narrow Roads often Work Better than Wide Ones

Read the article from New Urban Network: Narrow roads often work better than wide ones.
Related reading: Book review: Unplanning – Livable Cities and Political Choices (by Charles Siegel)

Six Framework Conditions for Global Systemic Change

A Few Scenarios on Our Energy Future

Excerpted from Barath Raghavan:

Doing the analysis above reminded me that a wholesale transition to alternatives seems unlikely to deliver energy at current levels of consumption/production. I'd like to briefly consider a few possible trajectories / scenarios here, which I'll explore in more depth another time.
Business-as-usual: we'll just keep on going with fossil fuels until we can no longer do so; that is we'll follow the oil depletion curve down and try to substitute with coal, tar sands, and other dirty fuels. We may not build new coal plants in the United States, but we probably won't decommission them as fast as we should to deal with climate issues, and China, India, and other countries will continue using coal at breakneck rates. This scenario might, in the short term, maximize global economic output (though it will likely still be decreasing on a long-term basis given the economic impact of oil depletion). It will however cause us to overshoot 450 ppm of…

Agrarrebellen Sepp Holzer

View this movie at cultureunplugged.com
Les mer om  Sepp Holzer hos kulturverk.com her, og hos PRI-Australia her.

Growing Cities Movie & Radical Gardening (book)

Growing Cities is a feature-length documentary film about urban farming across America. It follows two friends in their road trip across country as they meet with leaders in the urban farming movement and learn how cities are being revitalized one vegetable, bee, and chicken at a time.
Learn more here.

* Book: Radical Gardening. George McKay. France Lincoln, 2010

Excerpted from the introduction by George McKay in Stir magazine:

“Radical Gardening is about the idea of the ‘plot’, and its alternate but interwoven meanings in the garden. There are three. First there is the plot of the land, the garden space itself, how it is claimed, shaped, planted, and how we might understand some of the politics of flowers. Then there is the plot as narrative or story, whether historical or contemporary. The book draws on a small but persistent tradition of writing which sets itself against the dominant narratives of gardening. I trawled through many old and new anarchist and socialist magazines and lea…

Korianderolje for helsefremmende mat og medisin

Coriander oil has been shown to be toxic to a broad range of harmful bacteria. Its use in foods and in clinical agents could prevent food-borne illnesses and even treat antibiotic-resistant infections, according to the authors of a study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology.Coriander is an aromatic plant widely used in Mediterranean cuisine. Coriander oil is one of the 20 most-used essential oils in the world and is already used as a food additive. Coriander oil is produced from the seeds of the coriander plant and numerous health benefits have been associated with using this herb over the centuries. These include pain relief, ease of cramps and convulsions, cure of nausea, aid of digestion and treatment of fungal infections. - Eurek AlertWow! Les hele artikkelen her, og les mer om koriander på rolv.no her.
Advarsler, bivirkninger og kontraindikasjoner
Det finnes ingen rapporter om bivirkninger ved normal bruk av koriander som krydder. Inntak av store doser av frøene, eller …

Agroecology - the Foundation for a New Green Revolution

In Brief

The combined effects of climate change, energy scarcity, and water paucity require that we radically rethink our agricultural systems. Countries can and must reorient their agricultural systems toward modes of production that are not only highly productive, but also highly sustainable. Following the 2008 global food price crisis, many developing countries have adopted new food security policies and have made significant investments in their agricultural systems. Global hunger is also back on top of the international agenda. However, the question is not only how much is done, but also how it is done—and what kinds of food systems are now being rebuilt.

Agroecology, the application of ecological science to the study, design, and management of sustainable agriculture, offers a model of agricultural development to meet this challenge. Recent research demonstrates that it holds great promise for the roughly 500 million food-insecure households around the world. By scaling up its pr…

The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race

Sustainable: A society that balances the environment, other life forms, and human interactions over an indefinite time period.
To science we owe dramatic changes in our smug self-image. Astronomy taught us that our earth isn’t the center of the universe but merely one of billions of heavenly bodies. From biology we learned that we weren’t specially created by God but evolved along with millions of other species. Now archaeology is demolishing another sacred belief: that human history over the past million years has been a long tale of progress. In particular, recent discoveries suggest that the adoption of agriculture, supposedly our most decisive step toward a better life, was in many ways a catastrophe from which we have never recovered. With agriculture came the gross social and sexual inequality, the disease and despotism, that curse our existence. - Jared DiamondRead Jared Diamond's classical article from 1987: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race.

Related rea…

The World According to Monsanto - FULL LENGTH

I’ve been travelling around the world for over 20 years, and I hear things all the time about this American multinational — mostly bad things, to tell the truth. I wanted to find out for myself, and spent months surfing the Net. I learned that Monsanto is one of the most controversial corporations of modern times, because it has systematically hidden the extreme toxicity of its products. What about today? Is it telling us the truth about its GMOs? Can we believe it when it says that biotechnology is the solution to hunger and environmental contamination? To answer these questions, which concern us all, I set out on a mission across three continents, comparing what Monsanto says with the real world. I met dozens of eyewitnesses I hadn’t identified in advance on the Web. And I’m convinced this is no time to let Monsanto take possession of crop seeds and, by extension, the the world’s food supply. - Marie-Monique Robin
Dr. Huber Explains Science Behind New Organism and Threat from Monsan…

The Riots of England – the Very Earmarks of Modern Urbanism

This is, of course, a rampant nod to commercialism, which, if we did not live in such a commercial era, would be seen for what it is. The life of a community cannot be held hostage, by a person or corporation who seeks to make money and profit from the construction of its streets and buildings. The streets and buildings are part of the neighborhood’s life blood, the city’s life blood, and they must be interwoven with the activities and life of the people themselves. Anything less leads inevitably to drug abuse, crime, teenage violence, anomie, and despair – the very earmarks of modern urbanism. Christopher Alexander The high rate of crime among teenagers is not because they are worse people than previous generations. The reason is that we have given them a worse environment! You just can’t change the kids; you have to change the context these kids are a part of.Laurence Steinberg
Additional reading:
Modernism & Disconnection from LifeA time of riot: England and the world

Arcade Fire


Read more here
Personally I've just moved into the suburbs of Gjøvik. I had no choice! What a miserable life!!!

The Importance of On-Street Parking

Splendid analysis on parking problematics from one of my favorite blogs, New Urban Network, by Steve Mouzon. Read it here.

NINE PER CENT PARKING **

Problem
Very simply - when the area devoted to parking is too great, it destroys the land.

Solution
Do not allow more than 9 per cent of the land in any given area to be used for parking. In order to prevent the "bunching" of parking in huge neglected areas, it is necessary for a town or a community to subdivide its land into "parking zones" no larger than 10 acres each and to apply the same rule in each zone. - Pattern 22

Hybrid Solar System Makes Rooftop Hydrogen

Instead of systems based on standard solar panels, Duke engineer Nico Hotz proposes a hybrid option in which sunlight heats a combination of water and methanol in a maze of glass tubes on a rooftop. After two catalytic reactions, the system produces hydrogen much more efficiently than current technology without significant impurities. The resulting hydrogen can be stored and used on demand in fuel cells. - ScienceDaily
Read the whole article here.

Related reading:
Hydrogen-Powered Symbiotic Bacteria Found in Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vent Mussels

After GDP—Happiness?

 Proposals for a broader-based economic metric date back at least to 1972, when economists William Nordhaus and James Tobin suggested the Measure of Economic Welfare (MEW)—which Herman Daly, John Cobb, and Clifford Cobb refined in 1989 as the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW). The aim of these early alternative indicators was to deduct defense spending and the costs of environmental degradation from GDP, and add the unpaid services of domestic labor.

In 1995 the think tank Redefining Progress took MEW and ISEW a step further with its Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), which adjusts not only for environmental damage and resource depletion, but also for income distribution, volunteering, crime, changes in leisure time, and the lifespan of consumer durables and public infrastructures. GPI gained more traction than either MEW or ISEW, and is now used by the scientific community and many governmental organizations globally (for example, the state of Maryland is now using GPI for…

Three Important Articles on Salingaros' Work

Design for Social Innovation: An Interview With Ezio Manzini (Part 1 & 2)

Wow! Much good stuff is comming from Italy these days! Like the Slow Food Movement, ISB, Gruppo Salingaros, and just now I became aware of DESIS Network, founded by Ezio Manzini.
Ezio Manzini is an Italian design strategist, one of the world’s leading experts on sustainable design, author of numerous design books, professor of Industrial Design at Milan Polytechnic, and founder of the DESIS (Design for Social Innovation towards Sustainability) network of university-based design labs. His work over the past 30 years in sustainability and social innovation has coalesced around four watchwords: small, local, open and connected. On a recent Friday morning we spoke via skype and I was immediately impressed with his easy manner, warmth and balanced optimism. -ShareableRead the interview: Part I (Design for Social Innovation: An Interview With Ezio Manzini) &Part II (Ezio Manzini on the Economics of Design for Social Innovation).
Beyond that, of course there are also some thinkers who hav…

Taken for a Ride – How General Motors Swindled a Nation

This 1-hour documentary shares the history of how General Motors deliberately swindled the U.S. public out of a superior, healthier public transport system — so as to replace the then-popular electric street cars with their own products: cars, buses and trucks. This deceit and selfishness has landed the American public in its current ultra-vulnerable position, where they: despite having only 4% of the world’s population are consuming 25% of the world’s oil; must endure hours of each day in oft-gridlocked traffic; and must even see their sons shot to pieces fighting far-flung wars over resources. Thanks GM. - Craig Mackintosh
Related reading:
The most dangerous machine ever built

Addicted to Growth

Vi er alle avhengige av økonomisk vekst, det er vårt narkosium, og verden er høy på en virkelighetsfjern rus. Hva skjer den dagen realitetene treffer oss som en knyttneve?
In this year, 2011, we are enjoying a lifestyle beyond the most optimistic dreams of past generations. We are benefitting from the whirlwind of achievements in science and technology during the last hundred years. There has never been a century like the one just passed, and there will never be another like it. Lifestyles will be very different when oil and gas are depleted. - Roy Anderson We’re not really facing a shortage of energy; we’re facing a longage of expectations. And the sooner that we as individuals or a nation recognize that the future is going to see much lower consumption than today and prepare for that, psychological resilience is going to be really important, because if no one is psychologically prepared, people are going to freak out when some of these freedoms start to go away. - Nate Hagens

A Timeless Character

The timeless character of buildings is as much a part of nature as the character of rivers, trees, hills, flames, and stars. - Christopher Alexander

A House Like This

A must read from the permaculture fairy, Cecilia Macaulay! Making a house like this is about the only thing I really want to do with my life. And a family to bring it to life. - Cecilia Macaulay Read her article: I want to live at Valcluse House - Low-tech Home, grand mansion, and useful kitchen Gardens.

A Tower of Deceit and Western Fundamentalism

The situation with the new Asian states awakening from their competitive slumber is absolutely tragic. They are swallowing all the deceptions that originally sold city-destroying, soul-destroying, and culture-destroying architectural and urban typologies to the West. If this were the 1950s, then OK, we might excuse this error as a lack of experience. But we have several decades of mistakes, endlessly documented, endlessly discussed and debated. Why are the new Asian states copying the worst that the West did to their own people and to their own cities? Probably, the reason is that the West itself is still promoting the same destructive typologies -- only a minority of us are condemning them, whereas the system is still stuck in a heroic city-destroying mode. We have a bunch of western "experts" that have advised the new Asian states to do precisely what they are doing now. And those experts are making huge fortunes from the ensuing devastation... many people are profiting f…

In a Healthy Town Every Family Can Grow Vegetables for Itself!

Problem
In a healthy town every family can grow vegetables for itself. The time is past to think of this as a hobby for enthusiasts; it is a fundamental part of human life.

Solution
Set aside one piece of land either in the private garden or on common land as a vegetable garden. About one-tenth of an acre is needed for each family of four. Make sure the vegetable garden is in a sunny place and central to all the households it serves. Fence it in and build a small storage shed for gardening tools beside it. - Pattern 177



A Sea of Flowers

My wife and daughter were just around the corner of the cathedral, on Oslo's parade street Karl Johan, when the bomb blasted only 200 meters away. Luckily they were quite protected inside a shop, although the windows were shattered and gravels started falling down from the ceiling. It was hard to be away on my permaculture course in Sweden that time, wanting to comfort them from the great chock they had just passed trough.
What can we do to give the children of Norway a future as nice as the sea of flowers seen in these pictures? I think such a future is in the palms of permaculture and biourbanism, creating a paradigm shift away from the failed ideologies of the 20th century, among which modernism is of the worst ones.

Money as Debt

Their website is to be found here.