Archive for May, 2006

Now I Got Worry!

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

No, I’m not talking about the great punk album by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, I’m talking about global warming getting up close and personal.

FINDINGS: Poison Ivy Thrives as Planet Warms

Tuesday, May 30, 2006; Page A05; Washington Post

Another reason to worry about global warming: more and itchier poison ivy.

The noxious vine grows faster and bigger as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise, researchers reported yesterday.

And a CO2-driven vine also produces more of its rash-causing chemical, urushiol, conclude experiments conducted in a forest at Duke University where scientists increased carbon-dioxide levels to those expected in 2050.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas — a chemical that traps heat similar to the way a greenhouse does — that is considered a major contributor to global warming. Poison ivy’s itchy, sometimes blistering rash is one of the most widely reported ailments, with more than 350,000 reported cases a year.

Compared with poison ivy grown in usual atmospheric conditions, those exposed to the extra-high carbon dioxide grew about three times larger — and produced more allergenic form of urushiol, scientists from Duke and Harvard University reported. Their study appears in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Report from Pakistan

Friday, May 26th, 2006

We were very please to receive a note from Arshad Abbasi saying that he had learned of Chelsea Green’s publishing efforts and, in keeping with our shared vision of a sustainable world, sent a link to his recent article on water issues in Pakistan.

Deforestation and drought

Arshad H Abbasi

Water reservoirs in Pakistan are drying up, the weather is hotting up and there is little chance of significant rain for the next few months at least. The metrological department has already predicted a water shortage. Pakistan has already experienced a severe drought which affected its economy between 1999 and 2002. That time, the cause was said to be related to global warming and climate change. While we still continue to talk of these factors, there is no mention of the massive deforestation that has denuded vast mountainous terrains and which has a big role to play in climate change.

It is a painful truth that Pakistan stands ravaged by unchecked deforestation. The moist temperate forests of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Murree, the Galiyat region and Hazara, so essential to ensure sustainable flow in the Indus and Jhelum rivers, should have been protected as natural watersheds. Due to thick forests of deodar, pine, fir and oak trees, the area usually received maximum rainfall which filled the two major reservoirs of the country and recharged various local streams and aquifers of the arid regions downstream. Healthy, mature trees and humus soil of forests act as a sponge soaking up rainfall carried by tropical storms, while anchoring soils and releasing water through springs. Forests add to local humidity through transpiration (the process by which plants release water through their leaves) and thus ensure local rainfall. In the water cycle, moisture evaporates into the atmosphere forming rain clouds before being precipitated as rain back onto the forest. These forests, therefore, play a vital role in regulating regional climate by providing the base for continuity of water cycles. These conifer forests also play a critical role in climate regulation by absorbing carbon dioxide, a gas believed to be partially responsible for global warming.

What’s up at Slow Food

Friday, May 26th, 2006

A life that’s good, clean, and just… with slow food as the start. Sounds good. Here’s what they’re up to these days.

1. UNISG: The Next Stages

Dear Friend,

The University of Gastronomic Sciences began as a dream which we can now declare a reality: there are 126 students from all over the world enrolled in the undergraduate degree course at the Pollenzo campus and 45 enrolled in the Masters programs at Colorno.
These young people have brought myriad perspectives and many changes to Italy, and with these, they have also brought interesting problems. These have involved Slow Food both directly and indirectly, as well as its international administrators and the regions and countries that, little by little, are becoming the backdrops for the university’s teaching activities.
To begin with, the stages, particularly the regional ones, offer the students invaluable learning experiences and present Slow Food with a unique promotional opportunity in the relevant areas.
After focusing on regions throughout Italy and Europe, upcoming stages will take place all over the world, including Japan, Australia, the US and India. As a university, we will be in great need of collaboration from our international representatives. We would like this collaboration to be practical, but also, importantly, human and farsighted, founded on exchanges, new friendships, imagination and a new and inventive vision for Slow Food. Through its university and students, Slow Food will plant the seeds of a new international gastronomic culture.

Slowest Regards,

Giacomo Mojoli
External Relations and Stage Coordinator
University of Gastronomic Sciences

2. Terra Madre Update

Volunteering is for church ladies

Friday, May 26th, 2006

GAO Report Faults Voluntary Programs To Cut Air Pollution:
Study Says Administration Has Not Ensured That Firms Set, Meet Goals

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 26, 2006; Page A03

The Bush administration’s voluntary programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by industry have yet to deliver promised results, according to a report issued yesterday by the Government Accountability Office.

The 51-page report, which was requested by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), highlights shortcomings in two projects aimed at encouraging the private sector to cut emissions linked to global warming. The Environmental Protection Agency sponsors “Climate Leaders,” while the Energy Department oversees “Climate VISION.”

Both encourage polluters to cut their greenhouse-gas releases, but in each case, according to the study, the administration has failed to ensure that participating firms set firm reduction targets or meet their stated goals.

“EPA and DOE each expect participants in their voluntary emissions reduction programs to complete a number of actions; however, participants’ progress toward completing those actions, as well as the agencies’ efforts to track accomplishments, has varied,” the report said.


Calling all couch potatoes

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

If you plan to be plunked down in front of the TV this Memorial Day, make sure to rot your brain with the good stuff: Book TV will be running its episode profiling Unembedded at 1:30pm.

Otherwise, may I suggest some outdoor activity?

Dumb, Bad, and Wrong

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Bush Calls For New Nuclear Plants:
President Talks Of Environmental Benefits, Safety

By Peter Baker and Steven Mufson
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, May 25, 2006; Page A04

LIMERICK, Pa., May 24 — President Bush promoted nuclear power Wednesday as part of his answer to energy and environmental problems as more companies consider taking advantage of government incentives to build the nation’s first new nuclear plant in decades.

In the shadow of twin giant cooling towers, Bush said that his plan to expand nuclear power would curb emissions contributing to global warming and would provide an “abundant and plentiful”

That wacky Bush! Doesn’t he know that the proper phrasing is, “too cheap to meter!”?

alternative to limited energy sources. Bush called the nuclear sector an “overregulated industry”

Hey kids, can you say “Enron”? Can you say “California’s rolling blackouts”?

and pledged to work to make it more feasible to build reactors.


Energy Futures

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

K.C. Golden writes on optimism and pessimism over at

The signs of a new, brighter energy future are everywhere.

Wind and solar power are the fastest growing electricity sources. NASDAQ just launched a clean energy index. Leading venture capitalists are making big bets on low-carbon energy sources. Auto dealers are carrying more hybrid and flex-fuel vehicles. Forward-looking communities are planning a future around people instead of cars. Farmers, entrepreneurs, investors—they’re all planting seeds for a cleaner, more secure energy future.

But they’re going too slow. Promising solutions are emerging, but our addiction to fossil fuels is getting worse and it’s killing us. War, climate disruption and economic insecurity are among its symptoms.

Now that we can see real pictures of the post-fossil fuel future—since it seems so tantalizingly possible—what can we do to accelerate it?

We can start by squaring up to a simple truth, fossil fuels are very costly. We pay some of the tab at the pump and in our utility bills. But we pay much more in the form of chronic national insecurity due to dependence on oil. We pay in the form of climate disruption—more intense storms, water shortages, ocean sterilization. We pay through the nose, through our lungs and through our declining standing in the world.

Won’t the truth of high fossil fuel prices fall hardest on those who can least afford it? Yes. That’s why we should invest in alternatives that are practical and affordable for everyone. The people who can’t afford $3 gas are the same people who pay in blood to defend our access to the next fix. They’re the ones who can’t move to higher ground when the water rises. If there’s one thing they can’t afford more than the truth, it’s our failure to confront the lie of “cheap” fossil fuels.

Sandy Katz reports:

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

Hello friends,

I hope this has been a good spring for you! It’s been a busy and productive time for me, finishing my new book The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America’s Underground Food Movements (due out in October from Chelsea Green), setting up a biodiesel processing operation to make fuel from used fry oil, planting a garden, and arranging for a full summer of fermentation workshops.

Here is my summer schedule of workshops, continuing my mission of spreading fermentation fervor. Please feel free to pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested, or to post on relevant events listings or listservs. Thanks!

[email protected]

July 1-2 (Saturday-Sunday): Eugene and Cottage Grove, OR, “Wild Fermentation and Wood-Oven Bread-Baking,” sliding scale $65-120 for two days with meals; work exchange available. Contact Brian Thomas, telephone (541) 767-2573 or email [email protected]

July 7-9 (Friday-Sunday): Eugene, OR, Oregon Country Fair, Community Village Green, Fermentation Demos Friday 7/7 3:00-4:00 PM, Saturday 7/8 5:00-6:00 PM, and Sunday 7/9 11:00 AM -12:00 Noon.

July 12-13 (Wednesday-Thursday): Oakville, WA (near Olympia), Wild Thyme Farm, contact Morgan at (360) 292-0416 or Shari at (360) 273-7117 or email [email protected]

July 15-16 (Saturday-Sunday): Portland, OR, contact [email protected]

July 18 (Tuesday): Possible Ashland, OR event; check or email [email protected] for details.

July 19 (Wednesday): Williams, OR, White Oak Farm, contact Liz Tree at (541) 846-0602 or email [email protected]

July 20 (Thursday): Possible Corvallis, OR event; check or email [email protected] for details.

July 22-23 (Saturday-Sunday): Seattle, WA, University District, contact [email protected]

August 11-13 (Friday-Sunday): Hot Springs, NC, Sunnybank Inn, Wild Foods & Fermentation Workshop, Team-teaching with Frank Cook, for info contact Elmer at 828-622-7206.

August 26 (Saturday): Montgomery Village, VT, Covered Bridges Garden Club 5th Annual Harvest Day, for info email [email protected]

August 27 (Sunday): Flack Family Farm, Enosburg Falls, VT, or phone 802-933-7752.

August 28-30: More Vermont events; check or email [email protected] for details.

September 5 (Tuesday): New Paltz, NY, Benedictine Hospital Oncology Support Group, 1:00-3:30, for info contact Kathy Sheldon, telephone (845) 256-9300 or email [email protected]

September 6-10 (Wednesday eve and all day Friday-Sunday): New York City, Natural Gourmet Institute, Fermentation Intensive. For more information or registration call 212-645-5170 or visit

September 16-17 (Saturday-Sunday): Rio Saliceto, Reggio Emilia, Italy, Festival della Natura,

Foundation for Fermentation Fervor · 247 Sanctuary Lane · Liberty · TN · 37095


Upcoming events in Great Barrington, MA

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

“A Water Ethic: Cure for the Coming Crisis” is the title of author
Kirpatrick Sale’s June 2nd lecture for the Great Barrington Land
Conservancy. Mr. Sale will speak about how for centuries humans have
attempted to have control and dominance over the forces of nature, most
especially of water, but in the 21st century we have come to the point where
our control and use of water has reached a crisis. We depend upon water even
more than we do oil, but what isn’t being polluted and defiled is being used
up, in this country and around the world, at a disastrous rate. It is no
exaggeration to say that the wars of the coming century will most likely
about water, and when they are over there still won’t be enough to go

“The only way we can escape from the coming crisis is by developing a ‘water
ethic,’ similar to Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, but about this precious and
vital resource.”

Mr. Sale’s talk is part of a weekend of festivities dedicating the William
Stanley Overlook on the Great Barrington River Walk (
The Observation Platform for the Overlook is directly across the Housatonic
River from the site of the historic Horace Day rubberwear factory. It was
here in 1886 that Stanley successfully transmitted high voltage alternating
current electricity. Interpretative signage tells the story of Stanley’s
experiments and his role in Great Barrington’s industrial history.

Great Barrington is proud of its River Walk, which also features the W. E.
B. Du Bois River Garden, honoring Great Barrington’s native son. The River
Walk is demonstrating the potential for developing riverfront access along
trashed and abused areas, so that more pristine riparian areas may remain
forever wild. River Walk has shown how public access need not compromise
river ecology and water quality, by creating vegetative buffers of native
species, mitigating non-point source pollution with drop inlets, installing
a rain garden and permeable trail surfaces, and addressing degraded soils
with “compost tea”. Most important, the process of building the River Walk
trail (now counting over two thousand volunteers) continues to strengthen
Great Barrington’s own “river ethic”. It is appropriate that Mr. Sale’s
Water Ethic address will be made in our town!

Kirkpatrick Sale is a contributing editor for the “Nation” and the author of
nine previous books, including “Human Scale,” “Dwellers in the Land: The
Bioregional Vision,” “Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and
Columbian Conquest,” “Rebels against the Future: The Luddites and Their War
on the Industrial Revolution,” and “The Fire of His Genius: Robert Fulton
and American Dream.” He was named by “Utne Reader” as one of the 100 Living
Visionaries. He makes his home in Cold Spring, New York.

In 1980 Mr. Sale was appointed a founding board member of the E. F.
Schumacher Society. He was responsible for suggesting the creation of the
Schumacher Library with its stellar collection of books on local economics.
Mr. Sale’s essay “Economics of Scale vs. the Scale of Economics” is printed
below for your information. It was first published in the February 2006
“Re-inventing Economics” issue of “Vermont Commons,” guest edited by Susan
Witt. Additional essays by Mr. Sale may be read online at the publications
section of the E. F. Schumacher Society’s web site

Best wishes,

Staff of the E. F. Schumacher Society
140 Jug End Road
Great Barrington, MA 01230

We aim to please

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

At Chelsea Green, the customers are always right — especially when they love our books!

Is CTG Avail on Tape?

Is Crashing the Gate available on tape? If not, does someone want to put it on tape and start getting that out there too?

I happened to think of this since my mother uses books an tape but I think it would be good to have it available for everyone. It would certainly encourage more busy people (i.e., busy representatives and senators) to read it – say on a plane or while being driven somewhere or (gasp!) while driving themselves around!

Just a thought!

Ciao and kudos for this magnificent book action!


by Molly McLard on Wed May 24, 2006 at 05:56:08 AM PDT

In the works

I sent your comment on to the publisher, and she wrote back saying that they are looking at an audio edition.

by JayAckroyd on Wed May 24, 2006 at 06:22:46 AM PDT

Love it!

Thanks Jay!


by Molly McLard on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:09:47 AM PDT

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