Recovery and the Green Economy

Here’s a blue-collar view of work and the green economy, an economy that is geared to sustainability and stability. This kind of green capitalism could mean long term jobs for lots of folks, but a sustainable, green economy will not be able to support CEO compensation at the levels of the Reagan-Bush era.

I can live with that.

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Experts to Biden: Going green will help economy

Green jobs can improve the environment and jump-start the economy with the creation of well-paid positions, many of them union, experts told Vice President Joe Biden, Congressman Patrick Murphy and others on Friday during the first meeting of the White House’s Middle Class Task Force.
“Mr. Vice President, I was shocked to hear people refer to the green part of the recovery plan as pork,” he told Biden. Instead, Jones said, the Obama Administration’s jobs plan can be “a green wave that lifts all boats.”
Biden was joined by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Labor Secretery-designate Hilda Solis and others. The task force is expected to meet monthly over the next year to explore topics such as retirement, college costs and elderly and child care.
Jenna Portnoy can be reached at 215-345-3060 or
February 28, 2009 12:00 AM

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The Depression is a Perfect Time to Retool the Economy

The predictable results of tax cuts and deregulation are upon us.  I think anyone who looks back at the previous two recessions will note that we hit the bottom for employment about 12-14 months into the economic contraction.  The current recession started in November or December 2007, yet in January and February 2009 the job loss rate has taken a big jump.  We did not hit the bottom of this economic contraction in the 12-14 months, instead it appears that the economic contraction picked up steam at that point.  Folks, I don’t want to just discourage everyone, but this is an economic crisis that is significantly different from what we have faced in the Post WWII era.

Here is a graph courtesy of The Daily Loaf:


So,  bad as this looks, and it does look remarkably bad, this is really good new because that crashing green employment line is a very large number of people who are willing to take a chance on dramatic change.  Getting the opportunity to go back to work in a public works type job that is dedicated to the creation of a sustainable economy is not a hard sell today. As it happens, creation of sustainable economies is an absolute necessity in the face of the diminishing resources and existential crisis that has been produces by capitalist economies that are focused on profit and growth and seldom, if ever, have a thought about questions of sustainability.

Time to Stop Logging the Old Growth Forests

I suppose it may come as a surprise to someone, somewhere that undisturbed, unmanaged, wild forests are an important element for the small blue planet. The rest of us just need to keep working for sensible public policy that acknowledges what almost all of us already know.
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Tropical rainforests store and continue to remove massive amounts of carbon(Seattle, WA) — Ecological Internet welcomes the emerging science published today in “Nature” indicating tropical trees in undisturbed forest are absorbing [ark] nearly a fifth of the CO2 released by burning fossil fuels[1]. This is in addition to the long-term carbon sequestered within old trees’ wood and soils. This is the most recent of several major scientific studies indicating the need to fully protect all remaining primary and old growth forests as a keystone response to global climate, biodiversity and water crises.

By Earth’s Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet
CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry,

RELEASE: Ancient Forests Absorb 20% of Human’s Carbon, Logging and Other Industrial Destruction of Old Forests Must Stop Now

The myth that primary and old growth forests should be “sustainably” managed is dealt a mortal deathblow. Members and funders of RAN, FSC and others greenwashing ancient forest logging called upon to withdraw support in protest
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Monoculture Agriculture Creates Risks

Human beings on this planet may not have a choice about the dominant form of agriculture that feeds us. 6 billion people are difficult to feed with anything other than industrial style, monoculture agricultural processes.

But one of the weaknesses of planting acres of the same plant is that a single pathogen can wipe out large fields of crops in a very short time. The weakness of spraying with chemicals to suppress pathogens is too obvious to discuss. The natural and low cost solution is multiple crop plantings, but you don’t see much of that from industrial agriculture.

We face several threats to the world’s food supply. One is a push to turn a food supply into a fuel supply in the form of biofuels, another is the possibility of monoculture crop failure from new resistant forms of crop pathogens. This report from Kenya covers a resurgence of an old threat to wheat crops: stem rust.  For more information on stem rust, try this site.

There is strength in diversity. This is a biological truth.

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In the Wheat Fields of Kenya, a Budding Epidemic

Stem Rust, Vanquished by Science Five Decades Ago, Has Returned in a Destructive New Form

By Sharon Schmickle

Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, February 18, 2009;
Page A08

GREAT RIFT VALLEY, Kenya — A virulent new version of a deadly fungus is ravaging wheat in Kenya’s most fertile fields and spreading beyond Africa to threaten one of the world’s principal food crops, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.

Geoff Nightingale, who farms 1,350 acres with his son in Kenya's Great Rift Valley, was able to afford fungicides to spray on his crops. Still, he said, the yields were

“This is a dangerous problem because a good share of the world’s area sown to wheat is susceptible to it,” Borlaug said. “It has immense destructive potential.”

Coming on the heels of grain scarcity and food riots last year, the budding epidemic exposes the fragility of the food supply in poor countries. It is also a reminder of how vulnerable the ever-growing global population is to the pathogens that inevitably surface somewhere on the planet.

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This is a Long Term Issue for Civic Planners

I guess there is some justice or karma at work with the conclusions of a recent study that indicates the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet will have unexpected impact on North America.

The solution to global warming is global. The solution is to stop thinking about growth and start thinking about sustainability.

There is an amazing opportunity right now with the collapse of unsustainable economies to promote a global recovery based on sustainable economies.

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Los Angeles Times

Greenspace: Environmental news from California and beyond

Los Angeles Times

Greenspace: Environmental news from California and beyond


It was bad enough when the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)–the agglomeration of the world’s top climate scientists–predicted in 2007 that the globe’s oceans would rise by 16.5 feet if the West Antarctic ice sheet were to melt. But now comes a new study projecting that, in California and along the West Coast, the rise would be as much as 30% higher–21.5 feet.
The National Science Foundation, which partly financed the research, posted a video of the researchers discussing their findings.
“There is widespread concern that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet…may be prone to collapse in a warming world,” the researchers wrote. But author Peter U. Clark, a geosciences professor at Oregon State, cautioned, “It may not happen for hundreds of years, and even then it may not melt in its entirety.”
Nonetheless he suggested, “If you are planning for sea level rise, you had better plan a little higher.”

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Back to the Old Look

I tried a Word Press theme that enabled widgets, but frankly widgets didn’t seem that impressive to me, so I am back to the original format with a few changes.  Need to keep moving things around and continue to learn more about what I can do with this software.  Minor changes – did a little updating and organizing on the blogroll.   I think I like the categories for links.

Thanks for stopping by.

Our Wonks in Washington Are Working on a Plan!

With a tip of the hat to Climate Progress:

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Sen. Barbara Boxer, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, announced earlier this month that she hopes to have a cap-and-trade bill blessed by her committee by the end of the year. Her announcement left room for criticism.
These will be a hard sell. A climate bill truly guided by science, for example, would cause U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to peack and begin a rapid decline by 2015. That would require a radical turnaround by our economy.

All the vested interests that will be affected by carbon pricing, including big emitters and fossil energy producers, will define a “transparent and accountable” trading system as one that includes more protections for them than for the atmosphere. The tendency will be to fill the bill with off-ramps, price caps and giveaways that make the trading system neither transparent nor accountable.

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