Archive for October, 2011


Scared of slave-harvested candy? Try reverse trick-or-treating!

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Just a brief Halloween post for all you goblins and ghouls out there.

There’s a new trend hitting the streets, and its aim is to educate! No longer must your bedsheet-covered toddler stand idly by and accept the tasty but unethical sweets foisted upon him or her on Halloween night by well-meaning but ignorant adults. No, this year your little ghostlet can do something to show how much he cares about his fellow young ‘uns in the tropics. He can give those adults a piece of his mind by giving them a delectable piece of fair-trade candy in exchange for their cheap slave-labor Hershey bar…(and don’t worry, my etiquette rulebook clearly states that tact is essentially equal in value to delicious chocolate, thereby making this exchange neutral on the tact-o-meter).

Read this article from Grist to find out what it’s all about:

For most of us, Halloween has a strong association with candy. When you’re little, you get to dress up and run around your neighborhood collecting it for free. When you’re a bit older, you get to dress up, get drunk, and buy it steeply discounted on Nov. 1. And when you’re a parent, you get to supervise kids on their candy-collecting mission, and sneak some after bedtime. Along with all this candy is the sense that, however old you get, Halloween signals a brief return to innocence.

Well, here’s news that might clear the mist from your eyes and leave a bitter taste in your mouth (and not the good, super-dark-chocolate kind): Your Halloween candy is keeping the child slave trade in Africa alive.

About half of the chocolate eaten in the U.S. comes from the Ivory Coast, where documented instances of forced child labor on cocoa farms persist despite a decade of pressure on chocolate companies to implement better oversight. And because corporations like Hershey’s (which has recently been found to be exploiting workers here in the U.S., too) and Cadbury manufacture their products using beans from all over the world that get mixed together, it’s highly likely that any chocolate bar you unwrap is made with at least some cacao grown by underage workers with little in the way of rights or compensation.

The U.S. State Department estimated that over 100,000 children work on Ivory Coast cocoa farms, and 10,000 of those could be victims of trafficking or enslavement, said Kelsie Evans, chocolate products coordinator for Equal Exchange, a fair trade co-op. A Knight-Ridder investigation in 2001 first gave the issue wide exposure, portraying the lives of boys as young as nine, who perform the backbreaking work of harvesting cocoa beans, while receiving beatings, inadequate meals, and little or no pay in return. Public pressure after the revelation led to the creation of the Harkin-Engel Protocol [PDF], which major chocolate companies signed in a pledge to create, by 2005, some kind of certification system to avoid exploiting child labor. But the deadline’s been delayed again and again, as companies have pushed back to weaken the protocol and hold up what Evans calls “token efforts” to demonstrate progress.

“They’ve long claimed that certification transparency is not possible, or [they] can’t verify what’s happening on the ground,” says Evans. “But I think what Equal Exchange and other fair trade companies have shown is that you can [verify it].”

Kids from a Dominican Republic cocoa cooperativeAn elementary school in Yamasa, Dominican Republic, one of dozens serving the 10,000 families of the Fair Trade cocoa co-operative CONACADO.Equal Exchange sources organic cacao beans from small-scale family farming cooperatives in Latin America. And, while Evans acknowledged that it would require a transition period for a large chocolate company to change its practices, she pointed out that there’s currently an abundance of farmers with fair-trade ingredients to sell.

So what can you do to spread the word about Big Chocolate’s dirty secret? Boycotting Halloween would be a major buzzkill — and might actually hurt more than it would help. “It’s definitely a heavy, scary topic that is not as much fun to talk about for a product that’s seen as such a source of joy,” Evans said. That’s why Equal Exchange has teamed up with human rights organization Global Exchange to promote the fifth annual Reverse Trick-or-Treating campaign, which invites families to trick-or-treat as usual, but hand back small fair-trade chocolates in exchange for their loot — a simple public awareness campaign with added power because the message comes from children whose peers on the other side of the world are enduring a real-life hardship.

“It’s a creative way to approach a big, complex, and depressing problem,” adds Evans.

The article continues over at Grist.org

If candy’s not your thing, take this opportunity to learn about another essential nutrient: coffee!

“In each cup of coffee we drink the major issues of the twenty-first century—globalization, immigration, women’s rights, pollution, indigenous rights, and self-determination—are played out in villages and remote areas around the world. In Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee, a unique hybrid of Fair Trade business, adventure travel, and cultural anthropology, author Dean Cycon brings readers face-to-face with the real people who make our morning coffee ritual possible.”

Check out Javatrekker today.

VIDEO: How to Handle Broody Hens — from Harvey Ussery

Friday, October 28th, 2011

We’re busily promoting and selling our new book The Small-Scale Poultry Flock by Harvey Ussery, so I wanted to do a little research on the prevalence of the household flock. Imagine my surprise when I found this Slate article from two years ago, debunking the “bogus trend” of burgeoning backyard chicken ownership.

“In all of God’s sweet aviary there exists no bird more diabolical and ruthless than the egg-laying chicken. Despite the darkness of this clucking beast’s heart, our nation’s press has gone on a rampage insisting that more and more citizens everywhere in the United States are choosing to board and feed these creatures in their urban and suburban backyards so they can harvest the eggs. It’s a trend, the press claims. But we know better, don’t we? To begin with, keeping chickens is a filthy, time-consuming, and expensive way to keep the pantry filled with eggs.”

Say what?!

Apart from the fact that the writer clearly has a personal problem with our feathered friends, he was a bit premature in denouncing this so called bogus trend. If my own participation is any indication, two years ago I had owned zero chickens, but today I can proudly say I have raised (okay, and slaughtered) almost 200. That’s a huge percentage increase in my own completely unscientific opinion.

When my partner and I had to move across the country, we split our last flock into two groups, thereby starting two separate households off on their own hen-raising adventures. So if you count the first household I helped initiate into the poultry world (by bringing home a pair of wee chicks from a trip to the feed store…without asking permission first, teehee), and my own, that’s four households that started raising birds in the past two years. And although my own household is currently (sadly) hen-less, the folks we gave our birds to benefit daily from their clucky hijinks and fresh eggs each day.

On that note, I wanted to share with you the first in a series of videos from the incredibly wise and gentle Harvey Ussery. This one talks about broody hens — hens with a natural, strong mothering instinct — and some ideas of how to deal with them. Enjoy!

Also, check out Harvey’s own website here:  http://themodernhomestead.us/

Three Chelsea Green Kindle Edition Books on Sale This Week!

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

For Kindle users, here’s a great chance to read three recent Chelsea Green titles at a great price!

From now until December 3, three of our books are part of Amazon Kindle’s Big Deal sale.

 

Killing the Cranes: A Reporter’s Journey Through Three Decades of War in Afghanistan

Few reporters have covered Afghanistan as intrepidly and humanely as Edward Girardet. Now, in a gripping, personal account, Girardet delivers a story of that nation’s resistance fighters, foreign invaders, mercenaries, spies, aid workers, Islamic extremists, and others who have defined Afghanistan’s last thirty years of war, chaos, and strife.

Get the Kindle Edition for only $3.99!


Alone and Invisible No More: How Grassroots Community Action and 21st Century Technologies Can Empower Elders to Stay in Their Homes and Lead Healthier, Happier Lives
Physician Allan S. Teel, MD, describes how to overhaul our eldercare system. Based on his own efforts to create humane, affordable alternatives in Maine, Teel’s program harnesses both staff and volunteers to help people remain in their homes and communities. It offers assistance with everyday challenges, uses technology to keep older people connected to each other and their families, and stay safe. This approach works.

Get the Kindle Edition for only $0.99!

Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite Polls show that the majority of Americans oppose recent US wars and Wall Street bailouts, yet most remain passive and appear resigned to powerlessness. Bruce Levine offers an original and convincing explanation for this passivity. Many Americans are deeply demoralized by decades of oppressive elitism, and they have lost confidence that genuine democracy is possible. Drawing on phenomena such as learned helplessness, the abuse syndrome, and other psychological principles and techniques for pacifying a population, Levine explains how major US institutions have created fatalism.

Get the Kindle Edition for only $1.99!

A Grass-Roots Newscast Gives a Voice to Struggles

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

 This article was shared by The Media Consortium, about fellow member organization, Democracy Now!. It was first published by the New York Times, where you can read the original.

Hours after Amy Goodman, the host of the grass-roots newscast “Democracy Now!,” was arrested in Minnesota in 2008 while trying to cover protesters at the Republican National Convention, she was sitting in a network news studio above the convention floor, when a producer said: “I don’t get it. Why wasn’t I arrested?”

Ms. Goodman asked him, “Were you out on the streets?” No, he said, he had been in the studio the whole time. “I’m not being arrested here either,” she said she told him. “You’ve got to get out there.”

For Ms. Goodman, that exchange expresses both a shortcoming of the network newscasts that many Americans consume and a strength of “Democracy Now!,” the 15-year-old public radio and television program. The newscast distinguishes itself by documenting social movements, struggles for justice and the effects of American foreign policy, along with the rest of the day’s developments.

Operated as a nonprofit organization and distributed on a patchwork of stations, channels and Web sites, “Democracy Now!” is proudly independent, in that way appealing to hundreds of thousands of people who are skeptical of the news organizations that are owned by major media companies. The program “escapes the suffocating sameness that pervades broadcast news,” said John Knefel, a comedian and freelance writer who started listening about four years ago and now tries never to miss an episode.

Though it has long had a loyal audience, “Democracy Now!” has gained more attention recently for methodical coverage of two news events — the execution of the Georgia inmate Troy Davis and the occupation of Wall Street and other symbolic sites across the country. Ms. Goodman broadcast live from Georgia for six hours on Sept. 21, the evening of the execution, and “Democracy Now!” reporters were fanned out in Manhattan from the first day of the protests against corporate greed.

“At the time, we had no idea if the protest would even last the night, but we recognized it as potentially an important story,” said Mike Burke, a senior news producer for the program. He noted that “it took NPR more than a week to air its first story on the movement.”

Distribution for “Democracy Now!” — which is live each weekday at 8 a.m. Eastern — comes from public, community and college radio stations; public access television stations and some PBS affiliates; the noncommercial satellite networks Free Speech TV and Link TV; and from the program’s Web site, DemocracyNow.org, which streams each hourlong newscast in full.

The producers say the program is broadcast on more than 950 stations. But because the distribution is cobbled together and because the program has no commercials, no Nielsen ratings are available.

The media, Ms. Goodman said in an interview last week, can be “the greatest force for peace on earth” for “it is how we come to understand each other.” But she asserted that the views of a majority of Americans had been “silenced by the corporate media.”

“Which is why we have to take it back,” she said, echoing the sentiments of many of her fans.

Friends and former colleagues describe Ms. Goodman as ferocious and persistent, traits that have not changed since the program’s inception in 1996 on five Pacifica Radio stations.

“On the radio, she sounded at times like a giant, at others a giant slayer,” said Jeremy Scahill, now an investigative reporter for The Nation magazine, who practically begged Ms. Goodman to let him volunteer for the program in 1997. She agreed and initially paid him $40 a day from her own pocket. On Facebook he lists the program as his college education.

“What drove us was telling stories we felt were being ignored, misreported or underreported by corporate media outlets,” Mr. Scahill said.

The program slowly gained more stations and, amid a dispute with Pacifica, which was later resolved, it established itself as a nonprofit news organization in 2001. The week of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the program began to be simulcast on television. Since then, Ms. Goodman said, “the growth has just been phenomenal.”

While many media outlets were faulted for playing down antiwar protests after the attacks, “Democracy Now!” covered such events extensively.

Some fans as well as critics describe “Democracy Now!” as progressive, but Ms. Goodman rejects that label and prefers to call it a global newscast that has “people speaking for themselves.” She criticized networks in the United States that have brought on professional pundits, rather than actual protesters, to discuss the Occupy protests.

Last week, no United States television network covered the filing of a lawsuit in Canada by four men who said they had been tortured during the Bush administration and who are seeking Mr. Bush’s arrest and prosecution. But one of the men, Murat Kurnaz, a former prisoner at Guantánamo Bay, was interviewed at length by Ms. Goodman and her co-host, Juan Gonzalez.

The nonprofit nature of the program means that the producers “never have to worry about how an advertiser might feel,” avoiding potential self-censorship, Mr. Burke said. But it also sharply limits the size of the staff. The program relies on volunteers to transcribe segments and, occasionally, to translate foreign-language interviews.

Ms. Goodman regularly helps raise money for stations that broadcast the program. The Internet has given the program a global audience and the ability to reach that audience for more than an hour a day. On the evening of Sept. 21, the live stream about the execution of Mr. Davis was viewed more than 800,000 times.

The live stream attested to “the hunger for this kind of information,” Ms. Goodman said. “Yet there was no network that was there to cover this moment throughout the night.”

Except, in a sense, “Democracy Now!” was able to be that network, at least for a night.

Now Available: The Transition Companion!

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

In 2008, the best-selling Transition Handbook suggested a model for a community-led response to peak oil and climate change. Since then, the Transition idea has gone viral across the globe, from Italian villages and Brazilian favelas to universities and London neighborhoods. In contrast to the ever-worsening stream of information about climate change, the economy, and resource depletion, Transition focuses on solutions, on community-scale responses, on meeting new people, and on having fun.

The Transition Companion picks up the story today, drawing on the experience of one of the most fascinating experiments under way in the world. It tells inspiring tales of communities working for a future where local economies are valued and nurtured; where lower energy use is seen as a benefit; and where enterprise, creativity, and the building of resilience have become cornerstones of a new economy.

The book is now available here in the United States from our bookstore, and we’d like to share the foreword, written by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, to whet your appetite!

- – - -

“Observing the growth of the Transition movement over the past five years has been inspiring in so many ways. While governments and big business struggle (to put it politely) to tackle the enormous environmental issues that face us, this movement has forged ahead with its collective bid to find a creative, passionate response to the question ‘where do we go from here?’

Spreading outwards from its inception in the towns of Kinsale and Totnes, Transition has become a remarkable network with global reach. There are now practical projects under way on the ground all over the UK, and beyond. They demonstrate beyond doubt that the strengthening and diversification of local economies, underpinned by a commitment not to squander the Earth’s finite resources, is a highly effective strategy for the uncertain times we live in. They help take the fear out of the future, while offering people a renewed sense of belonging; of shared experience and goals; of a life that makes sense again.

Four years after the publication of The Transition Handbook, Rob Hopkins has now completed this second volume. The former explored the theory of Transition, and asked what an international movement based on it might look like. This new book draws on five years of practical experience that go a long way towards answering that question. Here, Rob sets out an exciting, much-expanded idea of what Transition is and could become; one that is rich with hard-won insights and practical advice. It’s a work full of bold answers, inspirational ideas and daring solutions. Although profoundly serious at heart, it’s never sombre. In fact, it’s a great deal of fun, frequently demonstrating how Transition is a highly creative, stimulating and even playful process.

I am struck by the way Rob describes each Transition undertaking as unique – like the community in which it thrives. While always rooted in a set of crucial principles, every example will reflect the specific needs and qualities of an individual place. It’s rather like giving a great cake recipe to a dozen different cooks and watching how their particular ingredients, techniques and creative ideas produce subtly different results. Rob argues that a Transition community never will, or should, look quite the same twice – and in that flexibility lies the strength of this movement. He makes the wholly convincing point that community strategies to tackle peak oil, climate change and all the other pressing environmental issues that face us should emerge organically from the community itself, rather than being imposed from the top down. It’s a vital insight of the movement that this kind of bottom-up process is far more likely to result in real change that is rooted in local knowledge, creativity and passion. It’s what gives Transition its enduring resonance and relevance.

My first experience of Transition came in 2008, when I travelled to Totnes to film a sequence about Garden Share, a project that matched people who wanted to grow food but had nowhere to do it with people who had unused or under-used gardens around the town. It was a brilliantly simple initiative, and above all a practical one that was getting a great response. It inspired me, and colleagues from the production company, to set up our online Landshare scheme, which aims to match would-be growers with land and garden ‘donors’ all over the country. There’s no question that we owe the success of Landshare to that inspiring day I spent in Totnes, among Transition pioneers.

Pretty much everything I do, as a writer and broadcaster, is predicated on the idea that families and communities can gain huge pleasure and satisfaction from taking more responsibility for the food they eat, and sourcing it closer to home. Rob holds to the same faith, expanding this nourishing self- and community-reliance to all aspects of our lives. His view is that an extraordinary and historic shift in how this country feeds, powers and houses itself is on the horizon, and we can all play a part in it. It will be a shift, or transition, that future generations will remember and celebrate.

The practical aspects of this – the solar panels, the vegetable beds, the low-carbon buildings – are the easy bit. As Rob says, “If we wait for the governments, it’ll be too little, too late; if we act as individuals, it’ll be too little; but if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time.”  It is the working together, rediscovering how to build community and to support each other, that is the harder thing to get right. That is where The Transition Companion comes in. It offers an extraordinarily rich yet highly accessible model for drawing together the people around you, and describes the tools needed to start an economic and social renaissance in the place you live. It’s a book that is unashamedly ambitious and far-reaching in its scope and vision. But, if we are to successfully navigate what’s coming towards us, and hold on to our identity, our community and our shared optimism for the future, that is exactly what we need.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, River Cottage, May 2011
To find out more about Hugh’s latest project, energyshare, click here.

Slow Money, an Antidote to Wall Street?

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

This article by Beth Buczynski, about two topics near and dear to our hearts, was reposted from Insteading, where you can read the original.

The Occupy Wall Street movement turned one month old yesterday. Despite the exponential growth of this international protest, there are some who still say that the action is doomed because it doesn’t have a leader or a succinct list of demands.

Personally, I love the fact that #OWS has resisted pressure from the media and political critics, and allowed the movement to remain as inclusive as possible. What’s most important right now is that Occupy Wall Street participants continue spreading the word and the message of the 99% in all its forms. Over the weekend there were 1,500 protests in 82 countries, but the numbers need to be bigger–especially in the United States–if the Government and the 1% are going to start taking the movement seriously.

Assuming that protests continue growing both in size and number, there will come a time when they will take the movement seriously. And in that moment, Occupy Wall Street better be ready to clearly articulate what it wants–from the Man and from itself.

I don’t presume to know what’s best for the thousands of disenfranchised people now sleeping in parks and plazas all around the country (or the millions that wish they could join them), but in researching principles of the Slow Money Movement, I found ideas that definitely overlap.

Basically, the Slow Money Alliance is an organization for those who are tired of watching banks invest millions of tax-payer dollars into companies and politicians that work for profit rather than “We the People.” Sounds familiar, right?

Slow Money focuses a lot on investing money into sustainable food systems and communities, which has become a common rallying cry in the Occupy Wall Street rhetoric lately.

Here are some more Slow Money principles that I think might serve well as a framework for creating a workable, practical list of goals for Occupy Wall Street:

I. We must bring money back down to earth. 

II. There is such a thing as money that is too fast, companies that are too big, finance that is too complex. Therefore, we must slow our money down — not all of it, of course, but enough to matter. 

III. The 20th Century was the era of Buy Low/Sell High and Wealth Now/Philanthropy Later—what one venture capitalist called “the largest legal accumulation of wealth in history.” The 21st Century will be the era of nurture capital, built around principles of carrying capacity, care of the commons, sense of place and non-violence. 

V. Let us celebrate the new generation of entrepreneurs, consumers and investors who are showing the way from Making A Killing to Making a Living. 

The best thing about incorporating Slow Money principles into the Occupy Wall Street list of demands is that it provides a way for those with disposable income to get involved and catalyze change. Occupy Wall Street is more inclusive than you might think, but other than carrying a sign that says “Tax Me” and donating to progressive causes, it can be hard for the upper classes to see how they can get involved.

One of the main missions of Slow Money is connecting  slow food entrepreneurs and investors from across the country, as well as incubating intermediaries and investment products offer ways for investors to begin slowing their money down.

The Occupy Wall Street movement turned one month old yesterday. Despite the exponential growth of this international protest, there are some who still say that the action is doomed because it doesn’t have a leader or a succinct list of demands.

Earlier this month Slow Money fans from around the country met in San Francisco for the third annual National Gathering. Lindsey Block has compiled a great set of photos from the event over at Elephant Journal. Check them out!

Folks, This Ain’t Normal

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Joel Salatin, author, advocate, proprietor of Polyface Farm, and sometimes dubbed “the high priest of the pasture,” has just come out with a new book, Folks, This Ain’t Normal, published by the Hachette Group.

Dan Barber, the chef at Blue Hill has praised the book, saying:

“Joel Salatin might seem like a vision of our agrarian past, but in fact, he’s distinctly modern, looking beyond the conventional toward a new ‘normal’ based on community, ecology, and flavor, too. Salatin’s book is as practical as it is reflective; as necessary as it is radical.”

As Salatin continues his eloquent and rousing crusade on behalf of ecological farming and consumer rights, we’d like to take a moment to remind you of his best-selling barn-full of guides for farmers, which we have been happy to distribute all these years. These books still represent some of the finest information available for food-producers who want to steward a grass-based system of diverse livestock, store carbon in the soil, and sell customers delicious, healthy food.

Pastured Poultry Profits:

A couple working six months per year for 50 hours per week on 20 acres can net $25,000-$30,000 per year with an investment equivalent to the price of one new medium-sized tractor. Seldom has agriculture held out such a plum. In a day when main-line farm experts predict the continued demise of the family farm, the pastured poultry opportunity shines like a beacon in the night, guiding the way to a brighter future.

Everything I Want to do is Illegal:

War Stories from the Local Food Front

Salatin’s expert insight explains why local food is expensive and difficult to find and will illuminate for the reader a deeper understanding of the industrial food complex.

You Can Farm:

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start and Succeed in a Farming Enterprise

Starting and succeeding in a farming enterprise.

Family Friendly Farming:

A Multi-Generational Home-Based Business Testament

A well-written, easily read book on raising a family, children, and running a farm for a profitable business.

Holy Cows and Hog Heaven:

The Food Buyer’s Guide to Farm Friendly Food

Holy Cows and Hog Heaven encourages every food buyer to embrace the notion that menus are a conscious decision, creating the next generation’s world one bite at a time.

Salad Bar Beef:

Beef can be lean and good for you when it is not a product of the industrial agriculture machine–Salatin brings us back to small scale family farming and teaches us how to make “salad bar beef.”

The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer:

Foodies and environmentally-minded folks often struggle to understand and articulate the fundamental differences between the farming and food systems they endorse and those promoted by Monsanto and friends. With visceral stories and humor from his own half-century as a lunatic farmer, Salatin contrasts the differences on many levels: practical, spiritual, social, economic, ecological, political, and nutritional.

And finally, here’s a video introducing the new book:

Six Critical Levers to Transform our Energy Future

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Kelly Vaughn

October 18, 2011

To reinvent fire, we need to master six critical challenges.

1. Build efficient buildings and retrofit existing ones on a tremendous scale

Just one energy efficient building makes a difference. Multiply that by 120 million buildings, and, there will be a revolution. Ultimately, there’s a $1.4 trillion opportunity on the table for smart building owners and entrepreneurs to aggressively adopt straightforward efficiency techniques.

“There are several emerging trends that point to ‘cracking the code,’” said Mathias Bell, RMI consultant. “The challenge is to dramatically accelerate these nascent trends—like straightforward efficiency techniques and technologies—and leverage integrative design to achieve greater energy savings and financial returns.”

To jumpstart widespread investments in building efficiency, building owners, energy service firms and utilities need to spearhead change. The good news is that the time is ripe: the technologies are available, smart regional policies are proliferating, and the opportunity to deliver innovative hassle-free energy products at scale is increasing.

2. Transform the auto industry

A cleaner, safer oil free world—and the health of this vital sector—depends on the auto industry’s ability to produce much fitter vehicles at roughly the same cost before their competitors—both old and new.

A key enabler of the transition is to apply integrative design, vehicle fitness and new manufacturing methods, which can save far more fuel at a similar sticker price by simplifying automaking and shrinking powertrains.

“We are currently on the tail end of a 100-year learning curve, where we see design improvements flattening out,” said Greg Rucks, RMI transportation consultant. “Instead of wringing the last bit of innovation left in current designs, the same amount of innovation and design effort could be more productively applied toward revolutionary autos that exceed 100 mpg with better safety and performance. Automakers who recognize this early will be in the best position to capture market share.”

3. Dramatically reduce the distances traveled by autos and the haul length, weight and volume of cargo carried by heavy-duty trucks

Complimentary to transforming vehicle design is changing how vehicle are used—and it is important that both happen simultaneously.

Paying infrastructure costs by the mile not the gallon, smart IT traffic and transport systems, and other strategies can slash more than half the 13,000 miles a typical American drives each year and cut just under a third or more freight-hauling miles while enhancing personal mobility and freight logistics.

“Nobody wants to sit in traffic for hours, but that is today’s reality. We could provide the same or better transportation services with more options and only half as much drive time,” said Jesse Morris, RMI transportation analyst. “IT developments and smarter use of infrastructure could expand user choice and access.”

4. Sustain and accelerate energy savings and cogeneration in industry

As ubiquitous as “made in China” sounds, industry is still a huge piece of the U.S. economy, generating more than 40 percent of the country’s GDP and employing almost 20 million people. America’s strongest economic engine can become more competitive by accelerating adoption of energy efficiency, boosting cogeneration, and increasing on-site renewable supplies of heat and electricity.

“Industrial energy efficiency is profitable, but it requires courage to look beyond short term investments,” said Albert Chan, RMI consultant. But, gaining insight into energy use across the company delivers many more benefits other than cutting energy costs, including streamlined processes, improved product quality and increased performance. It’s no coincidence that firms that are good at energy management are also the most competitive.”

5. Keep driving down the cost of renewable energy

Today, the costs of some renewable and distributed technologies are still higher than the alternatives.

But, global growth in investment and production of renewable technologies—like wind and solar—is driving rapid cost reductions and improving performance. Using these commercially available technologies, there is more than enough renewable resource available to meet current and future U.S. electricity demand.

“Wind, solar, and other renewables are traveling down a steep learning curve,” said RMI Principal Lena Hansen. “With expected cost reduction trends for today’s technologies, the path to an electric system that is powered largely by renewables could be only modestly more expensive that business-as-usual.”

But, even with dramatic cost reductions, current regulatory structures and conventional utility business models hamper the industry’s ability to transform efficiently and profitably. That’s where #6 comes in.

6. Change the rules of electricity production

There will never be a future free of fossil fuels if utilities’ profits depend on how much electricity they sell, or if distributed renewable sources can’t feed electricity onto the grid.

While we cannot anticipate game changing events or the speed of transformation that can be enabled by technology, the electric system can be ready to respond quickly to threats and take advantage of opportunities.

“The key is to level the playing field for actors to make intelligent and economically optimal decisions,” said James Newcomb, RMI Program Director. “By revamping utilities’ rules and operating models to align with the opportunities presented by efficiency and renewables, we can build a more customer-centric and less risky electric system.”

Harnessing Powerful Interconnections

While pulling each of these levers is critical, it can’t be done in isolation. Reinventing Fire depends on the interdependencies of an entire system to uncover solutions that yield exponential economic benefits and find bigger savings cheaper.

By increasing our productivity with every unit of energy we use across all sectors of our economy—transportation, buildings and industry—we can simultaneously power our increasingly efficient demand with a portfolio of renewable energy sources.

Watch RMI’s new video to learn how we can change energy use forever. And, don’t miss the national launch of Reinventing Fire on October 27!

Nature does the heavy lifting – All Permaculture books on Sale

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Nature doesn’t till. Nature doesn’t need chemical pesticides. And monoculture? Nature ain’t even trying to hear that noise. So why do we break our backs fighting uphill battles when we can just look at the way natural systems work and, basically, rip them off?  Take a look at the selection of books below that will tell you  about a little something called permaculture: it’ll save you money, time, and wear and tear on your precious back

 Save 25% on all our permaculture books!

 Think that gardening and planting is only for the spring time? Well, autumn is great time for those perennials and planning your sustainable garden. The concept is simple – everything should serve multiple functions and let nature do the heavy lifting. 

 

We’d also like to give a shout out to Permaculture Magazine Permaculture Institute. They’re great resources on learning more about creating permaculture ecosystems and gardens. 

 

Check out the titles below of our permaculture books on SALE for 25% off.

 

Happy reading from the folks at Chelsea Green Publishing.

 

(Image credit Paul Kearsley)

 

Gaia’s Garden, Second Edition A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

The first edition of Gaia’s Garden sparked the imagination of America’s home gardeners, introducing permaculture’s central message: Working with Nature, not against her, results in more beautiful, abundant, and forgiving gardens. This extensively revised and expanded second edition broadens the reach and depth of the permaculture approach for urban and suburban growers.

“The world didn’t come with an operating manual, so it’s a good thing that some wise people have from time to time written them. Gaia’s Garden is one of the more important, a book that will be absolutely necessary in the world ahead.” - Bill McKibben

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/gaias_garden_second_edition:paperback


Creating a Forest Garden
Working with Nature to Grow Edible Crops
Creating a Forest Garden
 tells you everything you need to know – whether you want to plant a small area in your back garden or develop a larger plot. It includes advice on planning, design (using permaculture principles), planting and maintenance, and a comprehensive directory of over 450 trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, herbs, annuals, root crops and climbers – almost all of them edible and many very unusual.
http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/creating_a_forest_garden:hardcover

Permaculture Pioneers Stories from the New Frontier Permaculture is much more than organic gardening. Arguably it is one of Australia’s greatest intellectual exports, having helped people worldwide to design ecologically sustainable strategies for their homes, gardens, farms and communities. This book charts a history of the first three decades of permaculture, through the personal stories of Australian permaculturists. From permaculture co-originator David Holmgren, to ABC TV’s Gardening Australia presenter Josh Byrne, the authors span the generations and the continent.For those whose lives have been changed by permaculture, this book provides a context for articulating and celebrating their own stories and experiences. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/permaculture_pioneers:paperback

Meat: A Benign ExtravaganceMeat is a groundbreaking exploration of the difficult environmental, ethical, and social issues surrounding the human consumption of animals, and the future of livestock in sustainable agriculture. It answers the question: should we be farming animals, or not? The answer is not simple; indeed, we must decrease the amount of meat we eat (both for the planet and for ourselves), and the industrial meat system is hugely problematic, but Simon Fairlie presents in-depth research in favor of small-scale, holistic, and integrated farming systems that include pastured, free-range livestock as the answer to the pro-meat or no-meat debate. This is a life-changing book. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/meat:paperback

Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture “After reading this book, all I can say is Sepp Holzer is a Superstar Farmer. Holzer turns out an absolutely remarkable volume and variety of food products, all without one smidgen of chemical fertilizer, and on land in Austria that an Illinois corn farmer would pronounce too marginal for agriculture. American farmers and gardeners will be particularly interested in Holzer’s raised beds-which are quite different in construction from ours in the U.S.-as well as his inventive water well irrigation systems, unique methods for integrating livestock into his fruit and vegetable gardens, and practical, low-labor way to grow mushrooms. A fascinating book for anyone who aspires to become the ultimate, champion professional of sustainable farming.” - Gene Logsdon, author of Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind, and The Contrary Farmerhttp://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/sepp_holzers_permaculture:paperback

 Perennial Vegetables

There is a fantastic array of vegetables you can grow in your garden, and not all of them are annuals. InPerennial Vegetables the adventurous gardener will find information, tips, and sound advice on less common edibles that will make any garden a perpetual, low-maintenance source of food.

Perennial vegetables are perfect as part of an edible landscape plan or permaculture garden. Profiling more than a hundred species, with dozens of color photographs and illustrations, and filled with valuable growing tips, recipes, and resources, Perennial Vegetables is a groundbreaking and ground-healing book that will open the eyes of gardeners everywhere to the exciting world of edible perennials.

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/perennial_vegetables:paperback

 Edible Forest Gardens: 2 Volume Set

Edible Forest Gardens is a groundbreaking two-volume work that spells out and explores the key concepts of forest ecology and applies them to the needs of natural gardeners in temperate climates. Volume I lays out the vision of the forest garden and explains the basic ecological principles that make it work. In Volume II, Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier move on to practical considerations:concrete ways to design, establish, and maintain your own forest garden. Along the way they present case studies and examples, as well as tables, illustrations, and a uniquely valuable “plant matrix” that lists hundreds of the best edible and useful species.

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/edible_forest_gardens_2_volume_set:hardcover

 Food Not Lawns

Gardening can be a political act. Creativity, fulfillment, connection, revolution-it all begins when we get our hands in the dirt.

Food Not Lawns combines practical wisdom on ecological design and community-building with a fresh, green perspective on an age-old subject. Activist and urban gardener Heather Flores shares her nine-step permaculture design to help farmsteaders and city dwellers alike build fertile soil, promote biodiversity, and increase natural habitat in their own “paradise gardens.”

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/food_not_lawns:paperback

The Small-Scale Poultry FlockThe most comprehensive and definitive guide to date on raising all-natural poultry, for homesteaders or farmers seeking to close their loop, The Small-Scale Poultry Flock offers a practical and integrative model for working with chickens and other domestic fowl, based entirely on natural systems.No other book on raising poultry takes an entirely whole-systems approach, nor discusses producing homegrown feed and breeding in such detail. This is a truly invaluable and groundbreaking guide that will lead farmers and homesteaders into a new world of self-reliance and enjoyment. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_smallscale_poultry_flock:paperback

Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond SustainabilityDavid Holmgren draws a correlation between every aspect of how we organize our lives, communities and landscapes and our ability to creatively adapt to the ecological realities that shape human destiny. For students and teachers of Permaculture this book provides something more fundamental and distilled than Mollison’s encyclopedic Designers Manual. For the general reader it provides refreshing perspectives on a range of environmental issues and shows how permaculture is much more than just a system of gardening. For anyone seriously interested in understanding the foundations of sustainable design and culture, this book is essential reading. Although a book of ideas, the big picture is repeatedly grounded by reference to Holmgren’s own place, Melliodora, and other practical examples.http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/permaculture:paperback

The Basics of Permaculture DesignThe Basics of Permaculture Design, first published in Australia in 1996, is an excellent introduction to the principles of permaculture, design processes, and the tools needed for designing sustainable gardens, farms, and larger communities.Packed with useful tips, clear illustrations, and a wealth of experience, it guides you through designs for gardens, urban and rural properties, water harvesting systems, animal systems, permaculture in small spaces like balconies and patios, farms, schools, and ecovillages. This is both a do-ityourself guide for the enthusiast and a useful reference for permaculture designers. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_basics_of_permaculture_design:paperback

Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture, Second EditionThe principle for permaculture is simple: provide back to the earth what we take from it to create a sustainable environment. The three principle aims are: Care for people; Care for the earth; and Redistributing everything surplus to one’s needs. Included in this new edition are chapters on seed-saving, permaculture at work, integrated pest management, information about domestic as well as rural water usage, a non-destructive approach towards dealing with weeks and wildlife, and designing to withstand a disaster. Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture is suitable for beginners as well as experienced permaculture practitioners looking for new ideas in moving towards greater self-reliance and sustainable living. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/earth_users_guide_to_permaculture_second_edition:paperback
Getting Started in Permaculture Permaculture experts Ross and Jenny Mars outline the steps to transform your garden into a productive living system. Modeled upon the development of Candlelight Farm, and illustrated with photographs, this guide encourages the reader to make positive steps towards reconciling human impact with nature – following the permaculture ideal. Permaculture is based on the ethics of caring for people and our planet. It is about growing your own healthy food, being resourceful and environmentally responsible. Permaculture concepts and ideas can be applied successfully from small suburban units to large farming properties. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/getting_started_in_permaculture:paperback

The Permaculture Garden Working entirely in harmony with nature, The Permaculture Garden shows you how to turn a bare plot into a beautiful and productive garden. Learn how to plan your garden for easy access and minimum labor; save time and effort digging and weeding; recycle materials to save money; plan crop successions for year-round harvests; save energy and harvest water; and garden without chemicals by building up your soil and planting in beneficial communities. Full of practical ideas, this perennial classic, first published in 1995, is guaranteed to inspire, inform, and entertain.http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_permaculture_garden:paperback

 

Permaculture in a Nutshell This inspiring book is a concise and accessible introduction to the principles and practice of permaculture in temperate climates. It explains how permaculture works in the city and the countryside, including on farms, and also explores ways people can work in cooperation to recreate real communities. Permaculture in a Nutshell is the ideal introduction to this complex subject—essential reading for those wishing to understand how a new way of perceiving horticulture can transform our relations other humans and with the Earth.http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/permaculture_in_a_nutshell:paperback
Permaculture in Practice This DVD, whose aim is to inspire people to start their own permaculture projects, shows how permaculture is practiced in four very different settings: a Hampshire back garden belonging to the editors of Permaculture Magazine, including fruit trees, vegetables, bees, chickens, and ducks; a City Challenge project in Bradford close to a housing estate with 10,000 residents, tackling the problems of unemployment, environmental awareness, and backyard food growing; a community co-op in Devon, which involves a café, allotments, and local composting scheme; and a small farm in the Forest of Dean where innovative marketing schemes ensure a close link between producer and consumer, including meat production, a vegetable box scheme, and locally produced charcoal.http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/permaculture_in_practice:dvd

Permaculture PlantsThis is an easy-to-use guide to selecting hundreds of perennial species. It is indispensable for growers and designers working in subtropical and warm temperate/arid climates, and also includes some cool-climate tolerant species. Permaculture Plants: A Selection details hundreds of common and unusual edible, medicinal, and useful plants. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/permaculture_plants:paperback

 

The Permaculture Way The Permaculture Way shows us how to consciously design a lifestyle which is low in environmental impact and highly productive. It demonstrates how to meet our needs, make the most of resources by minimizing waste and maximizing potential, and still leave the Earth richer than we found it. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_permaculture_way:paperback

 

The Earth Care Manual The long-awaited exploration of permaculture specifically for cooler Northern Hemisphere climates is finally here! Already regarded as the definitive book on the subject, The Earth Care Manual is accessible to the curious novice as much as it is essential for the knowledgeable practitioner.Permaculture started out in the 1970s as a sustainable alternative to modern agriculture, taking its inspiration from natural ecosystems. It has always placed an emphasis on gardening, but since then it has expanded to include many other aspects, from community design to energy use. It can be seen as an overall framework that puts a diversity of green ideas into perspective. Its aims are low work, high output, and genuine sustainability. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_earth_care_manual:hardcover

The Woodland Way Ben Law is an experienced and innovative woodsman with a deep commitment to practical sustainability. Here he presents a radical alternative to conventional woodland management that creates biodiverse, healthy environments, yields a great variety of value-added products, provides a secure livelihood for woodland workers and farmers, and benefits the local community.This brilliant book covers every aspect of woodland stewardship from both a practical and philosophical standpoint. Ben Law writes from the heart after long years of struggle with a whole host of naysayers who tried to convince him by fair means and foul to give up his vision for a renaissance in the countryside. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_woodland_way:paperback
A Forest Garden Year A Forest Garden Year offers tips on how to graft an apple tree from which you can crop a variety of apples over several months; how to grow shiitake mushrooms and perennial leeks; how to pollard and prune; protect crops from wind; attract beneficial insects; and increase beneficial minerals in the soil—all while creating a haven for yourself and for wildlife. This 49-minute DVD shows how you can apply the principles of forest gardening to spaces big and small. Martin takes viewers through the seasons in his Devon, England, forest garden and shows them how to plan their planting to mimic the layering, density, and diversity of a forest. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/a_forest_garden_year:dvd
Creating a Forest Garden and A Forest Garden Year: Book & DVD SetCreating a Forest Garden tells you everything you need to know – whether you want to plant a small area in your back garden or develop a larger plot. It includes advice on planning, design (using permaculture principles), planting and maintenance, and a comprehensive directory of over 450 trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, herbs, annuals, root crops and climbers – almost all of them edible and many very unusual. The accompanying 49-minute DVD, A Forest Garden Year, shows how you can apply the principles of forest gardening to spaces big and small. Martin takes viewers through the seasons in his Devon, England, forest garden and shows them how to plan your planting to mimic the layering, density, and diversity of a forest.http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/creating_a_forest_garden_and_a_forest_garden_year_book_dvd_set:book%20&%20dvd%20set

Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally First published in 1986, this classic is back in print by popular demand. It is the authoritative text on edible landscaping, featuring a step-by-step guide to designing a productive environment using vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs for a combination of ornamental and culinary purposes.It includes descriptions of plants for all temperate habitats, methods for improving soil, tree pruning styles, and gourmet recipes using low-maintenance plants. There are sections on attracting beneficial insects with companion plants and using planting to shelter your home from erosion, heat, wind, and cold.http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/designing_and_maintaining_your_edible_landscape_naturally:paperback

Forest Gardening Forest Gardening is a way of working alongside nature–an approach that results in great productivity with minimal maintenance, and a method for transforming even a small cottage garden into a diverse and inviting habitat for songbirds, butterflies, and other wildlife. Based on the model of a natural woodland, a forest garden incorporates a wide variety of useful plants, including fruit and nut trees, perennial herbs, and vegetables.Hart’s book beautifully describes his decades of experience gardening in the Shropshire countryside, yet the principles of “backyard permaculture” he explores can be applied equally well in other locales across the planet, from tropical to temperate zones. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/forest_gardening:paperback

Future Scenarios In Future Scenarios, permaculture co-originator and leading sustainability innovator David Holmgren outlines four scenarios that bring to life the likely cultural, political, agricultural, and economic implications of peak oil and climate change, and the generations-long era of “energy descent” that faces us.Future Scenarios depicts four very different futures. Each is a permutation of mild or destructive climate change, combined with either slow or severe energy declines. Probable futures, explains Holmgren, range from the relatively benign Green Tech scenario to the near catastrophic Lifeboats scenario.Future Scenarios provides brilliant and balanced consideration of the world’s options and will prove to be one of the most important books of the year.http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/future_scenarios:paperback

Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World Los Llanos—the rain-leached, eastern savannas of war-ravaged Colombia—are among the most brutal environments on Earth and an unlikely setting for one of the most hopeful environmental stories ever told. Here, in the late 1960s, a young Colombian development worker named Paolo Lugari wondered if the nearly uninhabited, infertile llanos could be made livable for his country’s growing population. He had no idea that nearly four decades later, his experiment would be one of the world’s most celebrated examples of sustainable living: a permanent village called Gaviotas. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/gaviotas:paperback%20-%20revised%20edition

How to Make A Forest Garden A forest garden is a food-producing garden, based on the model of a natural woodland or forest. It is made up of fruit and nut trees, fruit bushes, perennial vegetables and herbs. It can be tailored to fit any space, from a tiny urban back yard to a large rural garden.It is also a low-maintenance way of gardening. Once established there is none of the digging, sowing, planting out and hoeing of the conventional kitchen garden. The main task is picking up the produce!This highly practical, yet inspiring book gives you everything you need to know in order to create a beautiful and productive forest garden.http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/how_to_make_a_forest_garden:paperback
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands & Beyond: Volume 1 The first volume of three-volume guide on how to conceptualize, design, and implement sustainable water-harvesting systems for your home, landscape, and community. This book enables you to assess your on-site resources, gives you a diverse array of strategies to maximize their potential, and empowers you with guiding principles to create an integrated, multi-functional water-harvesting plan specific to your site and needs.Volume 1 helps bring your site to life, reduce your cost of living, endow you with skills of self-reliance, and create living air conditioners of vegetation growing beauty, food, and wildlife habitat. Stories of people who are successfully welcoming rain into their life and landscape will invite you to do the same!http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/rainwater_harvesting_for_drylands_and_beyond_vol_1:paperback
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands & Beyond: Volume 2 Earthworks are one of the easiest, least expensive, and most effective ways of passively harvesting and conserving multiple sources of water in the soil. Associated vegetation then pumps the harvested water back out in the form of beauty, food, shelter, wildlife habitat, and passive heating and cooling strategies, while controlling erosion, increasing soil fertility, reducing downstream flooding, and improving water and air quality.Building on the information presented in Volume 1, this book shows you how to select, place, size, construct, and plant your chosen water-harvesting earthworks. It presents detailed how-to information and variations of a diverse array of earthworks, including chapters on mulch, vegetation, and greywater recycling so you can customize the techniques to the unique requirements of your site. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/rainwater_harvesting_for_drylands_and_beyond_vol_2/
The Uses of Wild Plants A must-have for foragers, botanists, herbalists, gardeners, permaculturists, and anyone who wants to learn more about wild plants, this insightful guide provides interesting and valuable uses for more than 1200 species in 500 genera of wild plants found throughout North America and beyond.The Uses of Wild Plants provides a survey of how plants have been used for food, drink, medicine, fuel, clothing, intoxicants, and more throughout history. Each listing includes a detailed description and drawing to aid in identifying these valuable plants in your garden and in the wild. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_uses_of_wild_plants:paperback

Now Available: Wild Flavors!

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of our newest cookbook, Wild Flavors: One Chef’s Transformative Year Cooking from Eva’s Farm, by Didi Emmons!

One of our first reviews just came in, from the New York Journal of Books, and the author is as excited as we are. Here’s an excerpt from that review, by Sharon Hunt:

The recipes—written in a clear and easy to follow manner—are varied and interesting. Some I have made—“Mo’s Jeweled Rutabaga-Beet Soup” and “Gingered Tofu in Beet Broth”—both of which were delicious and satisfying, especially on rainy days. Other recipes are on the to-do-ASAP list, such as “Sage-Mint Pesto,” and “Local Seafood Throwdown Bouillabaisse.”There is an enthusiasm in the writing and in the telling of stories, even in the short piece on building community using an old-fashioned Rolodex. Those who refuse to give up this ancient precursor to handheld high-tech address storage devices will find this a particular delight to read….

Food brings people together, as Wild Flavors demonstrates. It is a lesson I learned early, watching my dad plant and tend his large backyard garden—with over-the-fence contributions of neighbors and friends—and seeing his pleasure in bringing his food to other tables, not just his own.

My copy of Wild Flavors is already so dog-eared that the book looks like I’ve owned and used it for years. I haven’t—but I intend to.

Thank you Sharon, and thank you Didi for such a colorful, delicious, and wholesome addition to our shelves!

Get yours today: Wild Flavors book page.


Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com