If you need some good news in the dreary world of energy utilities, this is the re-blog for you.
Every year (well, this is the second year), the trade website Utility Dive conducts a survey of about 400 electric utility execs across the country to find out what they think about the future of their business.
The good news about the survey this year is that many of them seem to get a very key point: distributed generation is the future. 31% of them, more than for any other category, see distributed generation as a real opportunity. The bad news, or a portion of the bad news anyway, is that 56% of the execs don’t have the slightest clue as to how to build their business around distributed generation.
Only 16% of the utility execs think nuclear power use will increase over the next 20 years; 35% think it will stay the same; and 21% think it will decrease
View original post 699 more words
My climate activist friends tell me to ditch the name “Climate Change” as the descriptor of that problem.
“That term sounds too benign to some, as if climate change could be portrayed as a beneficial thing with Eskimos able to sunbathe and so forth. But that’s not what’s really happening, so to make the true point I call it ‘climate kills.’ That’s what’s really happening. ” Vandana Shiva 2009
I’ve been calling it “climate disruption” recently, though this might also be too mild a term. Regardless, i am guessing that there is going to be a need for a related new name. A word which describes images like the one below which could be called “climate disaster pornography”.
Before you object to the use of “pornography” being used to describe this kind of image, let’s take a quick look at the OEDs origin of the term.
mid 19th century: from Greek pornographos ‘writing about prostitutes’, from pornē ‘prostitute’ +graphein ‘write’.
This seems strangely fitting to me. And while it is a little indirect, these images are really about people who are being paid to do illegal and immoral things. [For the record, i don’t think the labors of sex workers are immoral.] In this case bought off politicians, an intellectually lazy US electorate and a host of climate damaging industries are being compensated to commit illegal and immoral acts. There is a voyeurism and guilty pleasure i am looking for.
But “climate disaster pornography” does not have the catchy ring i am looking for. I am hoping we can coin a shorter descriptive term perhaps a portmanteau like emoticon, hacktivist, guestimate or staycation. Where the meaning of the word can be drawn from the words which have been combined to make it. Perhaps “atmosfear” from atmosphere and fear or “atmosfever”.
Normally, i am advocating for the creation of words which enable us to talk about positive phenomenon which are under reported. Terms pronoia and quink need to be added to balance their common negative counterparts of paranoia and trauma.
Don’t under estimate the political power of well chosen names.
Many things contributed to the demise of Ronald Reagan’s nightmarish space weapons program called the Strategic Defense Initiative. One critical coffin nail was Ted Kennedy putting the mocking name on it of “Star Wars”, likening it to the popular science fiction movie.
Former Defense Secretary Cap Weinberger concurs:
Their first move was to give SDI a new name: “Star Wars.” That was brilliant, of course, because it conveyed both fantasy, a lot of alien destruction stuff from the movie, and above all the idea that Reagan was taking our “war machine” up into space with a desire to destroy the other side-Russia– while protecting our own country.
Often peoples frustration with climate disruption is they can’t get a handle on what they personally can do about it. [Though there are lots of suggestions for both behavior changes and political action.] If you are a word smith i am encouraging you go get into the name coining game. It might just be the feather that tilts the balance.
If industrial capitalism and climate change do not destroy everything, it will be because people (especially people in rich countries) change their behaviors. I have long believed that part of the mission of the intentional communities movement is to communicate our experience and tools for resource sharing to a mainstream audience.
I have written about car sharing and the mainstream problem of failing to design good sharing practices because of the tendency to create brittle agreements. Today i will focus on the communication systems which make it work at Twin Oaks, unfortunately with slightly blurry pictures.
It starts here with the Vehicle Log.
If you want a car, you need to make a reservation. You make your request in the vehicle log, depicted above. You specify who you are, when you are going (what time of day, there is a unique sheet for every day), where you are going (LT is Louisa Town > 7 miles, LL is Louisa Local < 7 miles, C is Charlottesville, R is Richmond, A is Acorn, etc) and what type of vehicle you want (sedan, station wagon, mini-van, cargo van, pick up truck, 15 person passenger van) and what area is going to pay for the vehicle.
You sign up at least before 6 PM the night before you need the vehicle, then the vehicle assigner comes in and decodes this puzzle which has been created for them. When i have been well behaved and signed out a vehicle in advance, i have perhaps half a dozen times in the 15 years that i have been here not been able to get a vehicle. Typically, this is because i want a car for a personal trip and everything is signed out for commune business of some type.
Before you freak out about how it would be completely unacceptable for you to ever not have your car exactly when you wanted it on a moment’s notice, consider this: In the last 15 years have you ever tried to start your car and it did not go? This does not happen to me. The mechanics in the community keep the cars running nearly flawlessly. And while perhaps every other year i have to scramble around for a carpool or borrow someone’s car, i get at least half a day’s notice on this.
When the vehicle assigner gives you a car, they write what you have been assigned in the vehicle log and they place magnets on the above depicted board (which is usually more crowded than this picture). Part of the reason for this board is so that people who are not well behaved (as i often am not) can show up at the last minute and figure out easily which vehicles are available for last minute personal assigning. If there is a conflict between the vehicle log and the magnet board, the vehicle log supersedes.
The magnet board also helps by telling people about the vehicles which they have been assigned. There is a little picture of the profile of the vehicle (if you had 17 cars you might need to be reminded of which looked like what). The number of seats is indicated. Manual versus automatic transmission. The full name of the car and the letters which appear on the vanity license plates.
Our default in community is that we trust people. For 35 years we kept the keys in the cars (this is not that unusual; most of our neighbors here in rural Virginia do the same thing). Then someone stole one of our cars and we bumped up our security a notch. We took the keys out of the cars and put them in the lock box depicted above, which is open most of the time and combination locked when there is no one in the office.
So once you have figured out which car you have, you grab the keys and go.
[Edited by Judy Youngquest]
25 Arrested at Keystone XL Pipeline Protest in Massachusetts
In the latest protest against the Keystone XL oil pipeline, 25 people were arrested after handcuffing themselves together inside a TransCanada office in Westborough, Massachusetts. More than 100 students, mothers and clergy members staged a “funeral for our future,” saying TransCanada’s pipeline would spur devastating climate change, pollution and potential spills.
Protesters: [singing] “They are digging us a hole. They are digging us a hole, six feet underground, where the pipeline will go.”
The Keystone XL pipeline would carry tar sands crude from Canada to Texas. A decision from President Obama on the project is expected soon, after a State Department review found it does not pose a serious threat to the environment. (this is from democracy now)