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Your Vocabulary Sends Rice


Conservation Insider Bulletin from Dan Besse, Dec. 28

Conservation Insider Bulletin
Published weekly for the Conservation Council of North Carolina
Conservation News to Peruse & Use
Editor: Dan Besse, earthvote@ccnccpac.org

December 28, 2007

It's actually raining this week around much of North Carolina. Hey, why not finish the year with some good news, in this week's CIB?:

--Washington Watch: Energy Bill Includes Block Grants; Budget Includes 'Road to Nowhere' Settlement Cash

--Campaign Watch: DCCC Targets NC8; 'Club for Growth' Targets Huckabee

--Judicial Watch: Groups May Sue Forest Service Over Timber Sales

--Around the Globe: European Forests Expanding

Washington Watch: Energy Bill Includes Block Grants; Budget Includes 'Road to Nowhere' Settlement Cash

Energy Bill Includes Block Grants: The Energy Independence and Security Act signed into law last week contains a number of positive provisions. One of those being publicized now is $10 billion in funding for block grants to local and state governments for energy efficiency and conservation initiatives. The money will be distributed in a competitive application process to initiatives such as building and home energy conservation programs, energy audits, fuel conservation programs, "smart growth" planning, and alternative energy programs. About two-thirds of the funding is reserved for local governments. Cities with populations of 35,000 or more can apply. (Nation's Cities Weekly, 12/24/07.)

Budget Includes 'Road to Nowhere' Settlement Cash: In the midst of a nasty partisan confrontation over budget issues, freshman Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC11) has managed to pull an environmental coup. The long-delayed omnibus budget bill includes a $6 million "down payment" on the pending $52 million settlement payment to permanently cancel construction of the notorious "Road to Nowhere" into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Other members of Congress in both North Carolina and Tennessee supported funding for the proposed settlement deal between the federal government and Swain County.

Campaign Watch: DCCC Targets NC8; 'Club for Growth' Targets Huckabee

DCCC Targets NC8: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), still chagrined about its narrowly missed opportunity in 2006, has designated N.C.'s Eighth Congressional District as a targeted race for 2008. Among the 40 seats targeted for DCCC funding in pickup efforts nationwide, NC8 is the only contest in the Southeast (outside of Florida) included on the list. The incumbent, Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC8) is a recurring figure on the national League of Conservation Voters' "Dirty Dozen" list.

'Club for Growth' Targets Huckabee: This is not precisely good news—but it is an interesting commentary on the state of the Republican presidential nomination fight. The "Club for Growth", an anti-tax, anti-regulatory advocacy group—almost never a friend of environmental protections—has launched an advertising attack campaign in Iowa against the surprising GOP poll leader there, Mike Huckabee. It seems that Huckabee, a darling of the Republican social right, is far too flexible on economic policies to suit the hard-core free marketeers. Of interest to environmental quality advocates, for example, Huckabee has actually had positive things to say about the importance of addressing global warming. (His position there, while not well-developed in its specifics, seems to grow out of that strain of evangelical Christianity which has begun preaching "creation care" as a part of its policy platform.) Combined with the resurgence of McCain (who does have a well-defined, and positive, position on global warming) in New Hampshire, this seems to indicate that at least moderately favorable environmental thinking is back in competitive play among the national Republican primary electorate. And that is good news.

Judicial Watch: Groups May Sue Forest Service Over Timber Sales

The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and Wild South (formerly named the Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project) are negotiating with the U.S. Forest Service over a timber sale in the Pisgah National Forest in western North Carolina. SELC and Wild South hope to persuade the Forest Service to exclude old growth forest areas from its sale of timber rights in the Globe area near Blowing Rock. If the negotiations are unsuccessful, the groups intend to take the sale to court. Other opposition to the sale has been generated by concern over the timbering impact on scenic views from near Blowing Rock. The Forest Service is expected to announce its final decision on the internal appeals and negotiations in January. The sale plan at issue was announced by the Forest Service in 2005, and cutting is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2009 unless blocked. (Winston-Salem Journal, 12/28/07.)

Around the Globe: European Forests Expanding

Among all the grim indicators regarding the accelerating pace of global climate change, let's take a moment to finish 2007 on a note of positive news in this arena: European forests. After shrinking over the centuries, the trend has notably reversed. With financial support from the European Union and member nation governments, "aforestation" programs have increased the extent of European forest cover by an estimated 10% since 1990. Ireland, for example, has approximately doubled its forest area since the 1980's, from five to ten percent of its land area. Spain has seen similar results. The increases have resulted in large part from shifting financial incentives, to turn marginally productive farmland into forest. Among other environmental benefits, increasing forests provides a sink for carbon emissions. The push for aforestation is expected to continue and intensify. (Globe and Mail, Toronto, Ontario, 12/20/07.)

Happy New Year to all! See you in 2008.


from Permaculture Listserve

When Martin Luther King, Jr. started channeling Jesus' egalitarian,pre-Christ manifestation, he was assassinated in Memphis, where he went to support striking garbage workers who wanted a fair slice of thesocioeconomic pie. Jesus said, "This I command you: Love one another." That's the only command he issued.

Paul of Tarsus, a Roman tax collector,co-opted the Jesus Movement with all his rules. Tarsus was a hotbed of the cult of Mithras, and Mithraism is the origin of the Christ, a King born to be sacrificed for the good of the people. The egalitarian, respectful part lives on in the Permaculture movement.

The Christ part does not, to me, fit into Permaculture. More than anything, the Nicene Creed gave the Roman Empire a domestic behavior police in the guise of the Roman Catholic Church so that Constantine could continue expanding the Empire. After eight centuries of the Inquisition, the people had had all they were going to take of the Roman Catholic Church and started fighting back. Protestantism resulted. The Pope has not apologized for the Inquisition.

Permaculture arises from what we know now of how the world works. Nature is the God science has discovered, a God that gives us life, our next breath, food and clothes and shelter and each other, a God that seems capricious and cruel when we don't understand it or see the larger reality in which our personal reality plays out in the world.

Jesus is as dangerous to American Empire as he was to Roman Empire. Egalitarianism and true democracy (as opposed to Dubya's neocon spin job democracy he endeavors to force upon Iraqis) threaten imperialism and oppression. Permaculture is egalitarian and democratic by nature. People must be free to respond appropriately to the environment in order to live in proper relations with nature so the future continues to occur. The social control inherent to consumerism does not allow this level of responsibility. The Republicans in the US advanced personal responsibility until they found out what it meant.

It is our responsibility to throw off the yokes of social control so we can respond to the call of our souls, the life energy in each of us. Permaculture, by teaching us to feed ourselves physically, emotionally, socially, mentally, spiritually, and volitionally, gives us a vehicle which enables us to live as Jesus commanded, loving each other. Permaculture teaches us to love the land rather than forcing a harvest from it, and it teaches us that "everything is everything."

We love one another by loving the land.

Tommy Tolson, Austin, TX


NC Zoo Practices Green


Recycling Conference, March '08, Raleigh


Falling Dollar



Conservation Insider Bulletin from Dan Besse, Dec. 21

Conservation Insider Bulletin
Published weekly for the Conservation Council of North Carolina
Conservation News to Peruse & Use
Editor: Dan Besse, earthvote@ccnccpac.org

December 21, 2007

--Around the Globe: Bali Agreement Sets Stage for Next President

--Washington Watch: Congress Passes a Positive Energy Bill; Bush EPA Tries to Block Stronger State Emission Standards; FWS Stops Short on Endangered Species

--Campaign Watch: LCV Presidential Candidates Evaluation; LCV Media Strategy; McCain Surge

--Administrative Watch: A Tale of Two Power Plants

Around the Globe: Bali Agreement Sets Stage for Next President

Overcoming the predictable anti-progress whining of the Bush (theoretically, the American) envoy, the United Nations conference on climate change wrapped up last Saturday with an agreement to step up the fight against global warming. Bush Administration foot-dragging (aided and abetted by China and India) managed to keep specific goal numbers out of the final document, but it was clear that most of the 190 nations participating in the conference view that obstructionism as a transitional problem. The timetable speaks volumes: Negotiators set an end-of-2009 deadline for work on the next step in the updated agreement. Key provisions of this new deal are to include binding emission reductions by industrialized nations, plans by developing nations to control their own growth in emissions, and "positive incentives" for reducing deforestation in developing nations.

If it appears that this sets up the 2008 U.S. elections as the world's foremost showdown on our planet's climate...well, appearances are not always deceiving. We can elect a president and Congress who understand the urgent necessity of reducing our contribution to global warming, or we can witness permanent worldwide climate catastrophe.

Hey, no pressure.

Washington Watch: Congress Passes a Positive Energy Bill; Bush EPA Tries to Block Stronger State Emission Standards; FWS Stops Short on Endangered Species

Congress Passes a Positive Energy Bill: It wasn't as much as it could have been without an opposition filibuster and a veto threat, but for once in a long while Congress actually gave final approval to a energy bill with positive actions of real significance. Most important among them was the first significant required improvement in auto efficiency standards in 32 years. Auto manufacturers will be required by 2020 to achieve an industry-wide average fuel efficiency of 35 miles per gallon (for cars, SUVs, and small trucks). That represents a 40 percent improvement over current requirements. Also included in the bill (which was signed by Bush on Wednesday) were requirements for more energy-efficient lighting, appliances (including refrigerators and dishwashers) and building construction. More controversial among environmental advocates is the bill's requirement for a six-fold increase in the use of methanol as a motor fuel by 2022. Major disappointments to the green side were the removal from the bill of "renewable portfolio standards" for electric utility power generation, and the bill's failure to repeal major tax breaks for oil companies (with much of that savings to have gone to renewable energy research and development).

Bush EPA Tries to Block Stronger State Emission Standards: Oh, no, here we go again. We're in for another round of delays by the outgoing Bush EPA of strong bipartisan efforts from the states to force faster action by auto manufacturers on greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA announced this week that it would deny California's request for a "waiver" to permit it to adopt controls on greenhouse gas emissions in vehicle exhausts. Sixteen other states had adopted California's standards, pending federal authorization. Under the Bush Administration, the EPA had long denied that carbon dioxide was a "pollutant" subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act. However, after recent federal court decisions declaring that it IS such a pollutant, that the EPA therefore has an obligation to address it, and that state standards limiting it are permissible, it seemed that the tide had turned. Many observers had expected EPA to check off on the California standards. (After all, the auto industry was likely to sue anyway.) But no—the Bush policy is clearly to fight progress on this front to the bitter end. The latest ironic twist: EPA's administrator used the just-passed energy bill's tightening of auto mileage efficiency standards (also fought by the Bush Administration) as a stated excuse for disapproving the California standards. The spurned states have announced their intent to sue the EPA. We wish them the best of luck, and fast.

FWS Stops Short on Endangered Species: It was just late November when the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service acknowledged that seven previous rulings denying higher protected status to threatened species had been "inappropriately influenced" by political pressure from a since-resigned official. This week, lawsuits were filed by conservation groups in federal court asserting that FWS stopped well short of the mark in correcting politically tainted decisions. The actions seek judicial mandates to the FWS to review decisions cutting or denying critical habitat for 13 other species (amphibians, invertebrates, and plants) found in four states (including North Carolina). It is reported that anticipated additional litigation will address another 55 species. (Associated Press, 12/21/07.)

Campaign Watch: LCV Presidential Candidates Evaluation; LCV Media Strategy; McCain Surge

LCV Presidential Candidates Evaluation: The national League of Conservation Voters (LCV) this week released its 2008 Presidential Primaries Voter Guide. The headline: All the Democratic candidates show strong commitment to acting on climate change, while on the Republican side Sen. John McCain stands out as "far and away the GOP candidate most committed to addressing global warming". The LCV Guide discusses the candidates' respective positions and records on climate change issues in more detail, and also "provides the candidates’ lifetime LCV scores, and their positions on key environmental issues such as clean water, roadless national forests, oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and support for Superfund cleanups and environmental enforcement."

LCV president Gene Karpinski said, “After nearly eight years of a presidential assault on environmental protection, the nation demands a new commitment to addressing the single greatest challenge of this generation: global warming. We hope this guide will arm the American people with the information they need to choose our next president – one committed to dramatically reducing global warming pollution, increasing mileage per gallon standards for U.S. cars and trucks, decreasing energy consumption and increasing utilities’ use of clean, renewable sources of energy." The Guide may be found online at http://lcv.org/voterguide/.

LCV Media Strategy: LCV this week also announced an interesting new strategy aimed at strengthening media attention to the issue of climate change. According to Nevin Nayak, director of LCV's Global Warming Project, the nation's most prominent television political reporters have been all but ignoring this critical issue in their questioning of the candidates. By LCV's count, the five most prominent broadcast reporters have during this year's Sunday talk shows and presidential debates interviewed the candidates 126 times and asked them 2,275 questions. Of these, the words "global warming" and "climate change" have appeared in just three questions of 2,275. Whoa. Check out the new LCV website on this topic: www.whataretheywaitingfor.com.

McCain Surge: The McCain candidacy, left for dead after a financial and internal staff meltdown earlier this year, may be on the rebound. His support nationally and in the first primary state, New Hampshire, is on the rise according to recent polls, and he is back in the mix as a leading candidate. Perhaps this will encourage favorable attention to action on climate change; we can certainly hope so.

Administrative Watch: A Tale of Two Power Plants

The proposed new coal-fired power plants in North Carolina (Duke Energy, Cliffside) and southwestern Virginia (Dominion Power) are coming under increasing fire over their potential impacts on national parks and wilderness areas. The Virginia plant could have an enormous impact on the Linville Gorge National Wilderness Area in northwestern North Carolina—not to mention the urban air quality in the Piedmont Triad and even the Research Triangle.

The Cliffside expansion is of concern in relation to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park—and the air quality-challenged Charlotte region as well. Duke argues that the Cliffside plant would actually cut nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and mercury—but conservationists point out that if the plant were being built there from scratch the controls would have to be even tougher. Duke is trying to slide by with weaker controls under a special dispensation from "new source review" that it rammed through the N.C. General Assembly. To Duke's chagrin, the National Park Service and the EPA are still calling foul. On the global warming front, even Duke admits that the proposed new construction would more than double the Cliffside contribution to carbon dioxide emissions. Eleven environmental groups this week wrote to the Duke CEO urging Duke to reconsider and pull the plug on the plant expansion.

Who'll Ask the Questions?


EPA Blocks States



Tasered in NOLA


Progressive Dems Endorse Besse


Besse Running On His Record


How to Conserve Water

Stretching Water
• To save both water and time, consider washing your face or brushing your teeth while in the shower.

• Instead of tossing dropped ice cubes, left over ice from takeout drinks and stale pet water, use it to water your plants.

• Likewise, when you clean your fish tank, use the nitrogen- and phosphorus-rich old water on your plants for a free and nutritional fertilizer.

• A bucket in the shower catches water you can use to flush toilets or water plants.

• Wash your produce in the sink or a pan that is partially filled with water instead of running water from the tap.

• Use the proper size cooking pots and pans. Cook food in as little water as possible to retain more nutrients. In both cases use the water again to water plants.

• Wash your car on the lawn.

Appliance Water
• Use water-efficient appliances, shower heads and toilets.

• Run your washing machine and dishwasher only when they are full or, if possible, adjust the water level to the size of the load.

• Cut back on using the rinse-only dishwasher cycle and buy an efficient model. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones and they use less energy, water and detergent.

• Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost instead.

• Don't use your toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. Reduce the number of flushes whenever possible.

• Make sure your toilet flapper doesn't stick open after flushing. Put aerators on all of your faucets.

Indoor Water Use
• Designate one glass for your drinking water each day to cut down on the number of times you need to run your dishwasher. Likewise, keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator to beat the habit of running tap water until it's cool for drinking.

• Don't defrost frozen foods with running water. Plan ahead by placing frozen items in the refrigerator overnight or longer or defrost them in the microwave.

• Wash dishes by hand by filling one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water instead of using running water to rinse. If you only have one sink, use a spray device or short blasts instead of letting the water run. In both cases, use less detergent to minimize the need for rinse water. Soak your dirty pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.

• Take shorter showers. Let young kids double up during baths. While you wait for hot water to come down the pipes, catch the flow in a watering can to later use on house plants or in your garden.

• Turn off the water while shaving, brushing your teeth or washing your face. Turn it on to clean your blades and rinse. Or rinse with water in the sink. Turn the sink water off while you shampoo and condition your hair.

Outdoor Water Use
• Consider a water-efficient drip irrigation system for trees, shrubs and flowers.

• Aerate your lawn to allow better water penetration and less runoff. Add a layer of mulch around trees and plants to slow evaporation. Weed often so grass has fewer competitors for water.

• Water your lawn in the mornings on still days, rather than windy days, to minimize evaporation.

• Don't water on cool, overcast or rainy days. Adjust or deactivate automatic sprinklers.

• Don't water the sidewalks, driveway or gutter. Adjust your sprinklers so that water lands only on your lawn or garden. Water smaller missed patches by hand.

• Set your lawn mower's blades a notch higher. Longer grass. Less evaporation.

• Allow your kids to play in the sprinklers' shower only when you are watering the yard, provided its not too cool. Avoid hose play. Don't buy recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.

• Don't run the hose while washing your car. Use a bucket of water and a quick hose rinse at the end.

• Sweep down the driveway to clean it instead of hosing it down.

• Use pool covers on pools to cut down on evaporation and energy spent cleaning it. Use a grease pencil to mark your pool's water level at the skimmer. Check the mark 24 hours later. Expect to lose no more than 1/4 inch a day.

Drive less. It takes 44 gallons of water to refine one gallon of crude oil!!!

We're in the Pine Barrens



We Are What We Eat

We are what we eat...

What's really in your food?

Food labels were designed to earn our trust. Since 1990, the Food and Drug Administration has required manufacturers to list the ingredients of their products, and more recently, "Nutrition Facts" boxes appear on everything from cereal to chewing gum.

But as more Americans attempt to make healthy choices about what they put in their bodies, it's becoming increasingly more difficult to discern how our food was grown, processed and treated—-thanks to our collective support of a food industry that wields its heft and political clout to create labeling laws that make a mockery of disclosure.

Lakota Sioux Declare Independence from U.S.


Urban Chickens

"Chapel Hill native Greg Bell began his foray into urban poultry as a peeved neighbor. In 1999, he was alarmed to see that the family behind him had adopted a flock of a dozen chickens. Although he had kept chickens as a kid and knew them to be both quiet and clean, the proximity to his house of the feathered additions concerned him.
In the ensuing years, he now says, he never had cause for complaint.

"We heard them rarely and smelled them never," he told the Chapel Hill Town Council last month. He and his family now raise a small flock for health, environmental, humane and educational reasons.




Stats on China


“Per-capita income in China is less than 1/10 of America’s and its per-capita greenhouse gas emission is less than 1/5 of ours. But if 1.3 billion Chinese were to consume at the level Americans do, we’d need several more Earths. China’s effect on world resources, quantified:

China is:

• The world’s largest consumer of coal, grain, fertilizer, cell phones, refrigerators, and televisions
• The leading importer of iron ore, steel, copper, tin, zinc, aluminum, and nickel
• The top producer of coal, steel, cement, and 10 kinds of metal
• The No. 1 importer of illegally logged wood
• The third-largest producer of cars after Japan and the United States; by 2015, it could be the world’s largest car producer. By 2020, there could be 130 million cars on its roads, compared to 33 million now.

More Facts:

• China produces half of the world’s cameras, 1/3 of its television sets, and 1/3 of all the planet’s garbage.
• There are towns in China that make 60% of the world’s button supply, 1/2 of all silk neckties, and 1/2 of all fireworks.
• China uses half of the world’s steel and concrete and will probably construct half of the world’s new buildings over the next decade.
• Some Chinese factories can fit as many as 200,000 workers.
• China used 2.5 billion tons of coal in 2006, more than the next three highest-consuming nations—Russia, India, and the United States—combined.
• It has more than 2,000 coal-fired power plants and puts a new one into operation every 4 to 7 days.
• Between 2003 and 2006, worldwide coal consumption increased as much as it did in the 23 years before that. China was responsible for 90% of the increase.
• China became the world’s top carbon dioxide emitter in 2006, overtaking the United States.
• Russia is China’s largest timber supplier; half of all logging there is illegal. In Indonesia, another timber supplier to China, up to 80% of all logging takes place illegally.
• 90% of all wood products made in China are consumed in the country, including 45 billion pairs of wooden chopsticks each year.
• The value of China’s timber-product exports exceeds $17 billion. About 40 percent go to the United States.
• More than 3/4 of China’s forests have disappeared; 1/4 of the country’s land mass is now desert.
• Until recently, China was losing a Rhode Island-sized parcel of land to desertification each year.
• 80% of the Himalayan glaciers that feed Chinese rivers could melt by 2035.
• In 2005, China’s sulfur-dioxide emissions were nearly twice those of the United States.
• Acid rain caused by air pollution now affects 1/3 of China’s land.
• Each year, at least 400,000 Chinese die prematurely of air-pollution-linked respiratory illnesses or diseases.
• A quarter of a million people die because of mo tor-vehicle traffic each year—6 times as many as in the United States, even though Americans have 18 times as many cars.
• Of the world’s 20 most polluted cities, 16 are in China.
• Half of China’s population—600 to 700 million people—drinks water contaminated with human and animal waste. A billion tons of untreated sewage is dumped into the Yangtze each year.
• 4/5 of China’s rivers are too polluted to support fish.
• The Mi Yun reservoir, Beijing’s last remaining reliable source of drinking water, has dropped more than 50 feet since 1993.
• Overuse of groundwater has caused land subsidence that cost Shanghai alone $12.9 billion in economic losses.
• Dust storms used to occur once a year. Now, they happen at least 20 times a year.
• Chinese dust storms can cause haziness and boost particulate matter in the United States, all the way over to Maine.
• In 2001, a huge Chinese storm dumped 50,000 metric tons of dust on the United States. That’s 2.5 times as much as what U.S. sources produce in a typical day.
• Currently, up to 36 percent of man-made mercury emissions settling on America originated in Asia.
• Particulate matter from Asia accounts for nearly half of California’s annual pollution limit.
• Environmental damage reportedly costs China 10 percent of its GDP. Pollution-related death and disability heath care costs alone are estimated at up to 4 percent of GDP.
• In 2005, there were 50,000 pollution-related disputes and protests in China.
• China’s middle class is expected to jump from 100 million people today to 700 million people by 2020.


$20 bn More from Fed

$20 bn from Fed to ease credit woe

The Fed makes billions of dollars available to banks in an auction hoping to ease credit-crunch concerns.

Full story:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/business/7148459.stm

Arrested for Gift-giving

Anti-war Vets Arrested for Gift-Giving on Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Tuesday December 18 2007

Jason Hurd and Steve Casey, President and Vice president of the North Carolina chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, were arrested on Ft. Bragg on Monday, after they began passing out holiday gift packages to soldiers and family members outside the post’s centrally-located MiniMart shopping center.

Hurd and Casey stacked the gift bags on a folding table, on which was taped two signs reading "We Love Our Servicewomen and men," and "Happy Holidays from Your Fellow Veterans."

After giving away more than a hundred gift packages, the pair were handcuffed by MPs and taken to the Provost Marshall’s office. There they were held and questioned for four hours before they were released and banned from the post. No charges were filed.

After their release, the two veterans returned to their car, where a cardboard box filled with the remaining gift parcels was left atop his trunk. They discovered that someone had written with a marker on the side of the box, praising their protest and condemning their arrest.

"Many friends in my platoon DIED brutally to protect the First Amendment," the unknown soldier wrote, in part. "We have the right to peaceful protest, damn you! Why did you arrest these guys?!?!"

Photos of Hurd and Casey at the MiniMall, and of the message on their cardboard box, are posted on the Quaker House website: www.quakerhouse.org

2007 Word of the Year

Locavore is 2007 word of the year

The New Oxford American Dictionary chose locavore, a person who seeks outlocally produced food, as its word of the year.

The local foods movement is gaining momentum as people discover that the best-tasting and most sustainable choices are foods that are fresh, seasonal, and grown close to home.

Some locavores draw inspiration from the 100-mile diet or from advocates of local eating like Barbara Kingsolver. Others just follow their taste buds to farmers' markets, community supported agriculture programs, and community gardens.

Check out Local Harvest to find sustainably grown food near you, and make a New Year's Resolution to be a locavore in 2008!

Source:Union of Concerned Scientists FEED – Food & Environment Electronic Digest- December 2007


Nominated for Grinch of the Year


Brownson Chapel in Danger

Prosperity Threatens Brownson Chapel, Sou. Pines


Master Gardeners' Plant Sale


Hopi Elder Speaks

A Hopi Elder Speaks

"You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.

And there are things to be considered ...
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?

Know your garden. It is time to speak your Truth. Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader."

Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, "This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above water."

And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate."

At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt. The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we've been waiting for."

Oraibi, ArizonaHopi Nation- October 2001Reference at indymedia website:

May Run as Independent

NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg on climate.
Bloomberg will make his decision to run for President as an Independent by April 21.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Addresses Delegates At United Nations Framework Convention For Climate Change Conference


Just In Time for Christmas


See, Hear Gore Speech

In case you prefer to see and hear this critically important speech, here are the links to part 1 and 2. Please take the time to hear this message.


Drought's End Unlikely, NC

Chances Of Drought Ending This Winter Less Than 4 Percent

From the climatologists at NC STATE UNIVERSITY


The predictions are made a few pages down...

In order to completely end the drought this winter, the state needs as much as 24 inches of rain over the next 3 months (35 inches over 6 months) and the chances of that occurring are less than 4 percent. The PDSI is a meteorological drought index which responds to abnormally dry or wet weather conditions and is calculated based on precipitation and temperature data, as well as the local available soil moisture. It is one of many indicators used to determine drought severity. To find out more about drought indices, access the Raleigh National Weather Service drought webpage


Money Talks, Energy Suffers

Industry Flexes Muscle, Weaker Energy Bill Passes


John M. Broder, reporting for The New York Times, writes, "Pared-down energy legislation cleared the Senate on Thursday by a wide margin after the oil industry and utilities succeeded in stripping out provisions that would have cost them billions of dollars."

Gore Acceptance Speech, Oslo

DECEMBER 10, 2007

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Honorable members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen.

I have a purpose here today. It is a purpose I have tried to serve for many years. I have prayed that God would show me a way to accomplish it.

Sometimes, without warning, the future knocks on our door with a precious and painful vision of what might be. One hundred and nineteen years ago, a wealthy inventor read his own obituary, mistakenly published years before his death. Wrongly believing the inventor had just died, a newspaper printed a harsh judgment of his life's work, unfairly labeling him "The Merchant of Death" because of his invention – dynamite. Shaken by this condemnation, the inventor made a fateful choice to serve the cause of peace.

Seven years later, Alfred Nobel created this prize and the others that bear his name.

Seven years ago tomorrow, I read my own political obituary in a judgment that seemed to me harsh and mistaken – if not premature. But that unwelcome verdict also brought a precious if painful gift: an opportunity to search for fresh new ways to serve my purpose.

Unexpectedly, that quest has brought me here. Even though I fear my words cannot match this moment, I pray what I am feeling in my heart will be communicated clearly enough that those who hear me will say, "We must act."

The distinguished scientists with whom it is the greatest honor of my life to share this award have laid before us a choice between two different futures – a choice that to my ears echoes the words of an ancient prophet: "Life or death, blessings or curses. Therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."

We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency – a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential even as we gather here. But there is hopeful news as well: we have the ability to solve this crisis and avoid the worst – though not all – of its consequences, if we act boldly, decisively and quickly.

However, despite a growing number of honorable exceptions, too many of the world's leaders are still best described in the words Winston Churchill applied to those who ignored Adolf Hitler's threat: "They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent."

So today, we dumped another 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. And tomorrow, we will dump a slightly larger amount, with the cumulative concentrations now trapping more and more heat from the sun.

As a result, the earth has a fever. And the fever is rising. The experts have told us it is not a passing affliction that will heal by itself. We asked for a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth. And the consistent conclusion, restated with increasing alarm, is that something basic is wrong.

We are what is wrong, and we must make it right.

Last September 21, as the Northern Hemisphere tilted away from the sun, scientists reported with unprecedented distress that the North Polar ice cap is "falling off a cliff." One study estimated that it could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Another new study, to be presented by U.S. Navy researchers later this week, warns it could happen in as little as 7 years.

Seven years from now.

In the last few months, it has been harder and harder to misinterpret the signs that our world is spinning out of kilter. Major cities in North and South America, Asia and Australia are nearly out of water due to massive droughts and melting glaciers. Desperate farmers are losing their livelihoods. Peoples in the frozen Arctic and on low-lying Pacific islands are planning evacuations of places they have long called home. Unprecedented wildfires have forced a half million people from their homes in one country and caused a national emergency that almost brought down the government in another. Climate refugees have migrated into areas already inhabited by people with different cultures, religions, and traditions, increasing the potential for conflict. Stronger storms in the Pacific and Atlantic have threatened whole cities. Millions have been displaced by massive flooding in South Asia, Mexico, and 18 countries in Africa. As temperature extremes have increased, tens of thousands have lost their lives. We are recklessly burning and clearing our forests and driving more and more species into extinction. The very web of life on which we depend is being ripped and frayed.

We never intended to cause all this destruction, just as Alfred Nobel never intended that dynamite be used for waging war. He had hoped his invention would promote human progress. We shared that same worthy goal when we began burning massive quantities of coal, then oil and methane.

Even in Nobel's time, there were a few warnings of the likely consequences. One of the very first winners of the Prize in chemistry worried that, "We are evaporating our coal mines into the air." After performing 10,000 equations by hand, Svante Arrhenius calculated that the earth's average temperature would increase by many degrees if we doubled the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Seventy years later, my teacher, Roger Revelle, and his colleague, Dave Keeling, began to precisely document the increasing CO2 levels day by day.

But unlike most other forms of pollution, CO2 is invisible, tasteless, and odorless -- which has helped keep the truth about what it is doing to our climate out of sight and out of mind. Moreover, the catastrophe now threatening us is unprecedented – and we often confuse the unprecedented with the improbable.

We also find it hard to imagine making the massive changes that are now necessary to solve the crisis. And when large truths are genuinely inconvenient, whole societies can, at least for a time, ignore them. Yet as George Orwell reminds us: "Sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield."

In the years since this prize was first awarded, the entire relationship between humankind and the earth has been radically transformed. And still, we have remained largely oblivious to the impact of our cumulative actions.

Indeed, without realizing it, we have begun to wage war on the earth itself. Now, we and the earth's climate are locked in a relationship familiar to war planners: "Mutually assured destruction."

More than two decades ago, scientists calculated that nuclear war could throw so much debris and smoke into the air that it would block life-giving sunlight from our atmosphere, causing a "nuclear winter." Their eloquent warnings here in Oslo helped galvanize the world's resolve to halt the nuclear arms race.

Now science is warning us that if we do not quickly reduce the global warming pollution that is trapping so much of the heat our planet normally radiates back out of the atmosphere, we are in danger of creating a permanent "carbon summer."

As the American poet Robert Frost wrote, "Some say the world will end in fire; some say in ice." Either, he notes, "would suffice."

But neither need be our fate. It is time to make peace with the planet.

We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war. These prior struggles for survival were won when leaders found words at the 11th hour that released a mighty surge of courage, hope and readiness to sacrifice for a protracted and mortal challenge.

These were not comforting and misleading assurances that the threat was not real or imminent; that it would affect others but not ourselves; that ordinary life might be lived even in the presence of extraordinary threat; that Providence could be trusted to do for us what we would not do for ourselves.

No, these were calls to come to the defense of the common future. They were calls upon the courage, generosity and strength of entire peoples, citizens of every class and condition who were ready to stand against the threat once asked to do so. Our enemies in those times calculated that free people would not rise to the challenge; they were, of course, catastrophically wrong.

Now comes the threat of climate crisis – a threat that is real, rising, imminent, and universal. Once again, it is the 11th hour. The penalties for ignoring this challenge are immense and growing, and at some near point would be unsustainable and unrecoverable. For now we still have the power to choose our fate, and the remaining question is only this: Have we the will to act vigorously and in time, or will we remain imprisoned by a dangerous illusion?

Mahatma Gandhi awakened the largest democracy on earth and forged a shared resolve with what he called "Satyagraha" – or "truth force."

In every land, the truth – once known – has the power to set us free.

Truth also has the power to unite us and bridge the distance between "me" and "we," creating the basis for common effort and shared responsibility.

There is an African proverb that says, "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." We need to go far, quickly.

We must abandon the conceit that individual, isolated, private actions are the answer. They can and do help. But they will not take us far enough without collective action. At the same time, we must ensure that in mobilizing globally, we do not invite the establishment of ideological conformity and a new lock-step "ism."

That means adopting principles, values, laws, and treaties that release creativity and initiative at every level of society in multifold responses originating concurrently and spontaneously.

This new consciousness requires expanding the possibilities inherent in all humanity. The innovators who will devise a new way to harness the sun's energy for pennies or invent an engine that's carbon negative may live in Lagos or Mumbai or Montevideo. We must ensure that entrepreneurs and inventors everywhere on the globe have the chance to change the world.

When we unite for a moral purpose that is manifestly good and true, the spiritual energy unleashed can transform us. The generation that defeated fascism throughout the world in the 1940s found, in rising to meet their awesome challenge, that they had gained the moral authority and long-term vision to launch the Marshall Plan, the United Nations, and a new level of global cooperation and foresight that unified Europe and facilitated the emergence of democracy and prosperity in Germany, Japan, Italy and much of the world. One of their visionary leaders said, "It is time we steered by the stars and not by the lights of every passing ship."

In the last year of that war, you gave the Peace Prize to a man from my hometown of 2000 people, Carthage, Tennessee. Cordell Hull was described by Franklin Roosevelt as the "Father of the United Nations." He was an inspiration and hero to my own father, who followed Hull in the Congress and the U.S. Senate and in his commitment to world peace and global cooperation.

My parents spoke often of Hull, always in tones of reverence and admiration. Eight weeks ago, when you announced this prize, the deepest emotion I felt was when I saw the headline in my hometown paper that simply noted I had won the same prize that Cordell Hull had won. In that moment, I knew what my father and mother would have felt were they alive.

Just as Hull's generation found moral authority in rising to solve the world crisis caused by fascism, so too can we find our greatest opportunity in rising to solve the climate crisis. In the Kanji characters used in both Chinese and Japanese, "crisis" is written with two symbols, the first meaning "danger," the second "opportunity." By facing and removing the danger of the climate crisis, we have the opportunity to gain the moral authority and vision to vastly increase our own capacity to solve other crises that have been too long ignored.

We must understand the connections between the climate crisis and the afflictions of poverty, hunger, HIV-Aids and other pandemics. As these problems are linked, so too must be their solutions. We must begin by making the common rescue of the global environment the central organizing principle of the world community.

Fifteen years ago, I made that case at the "Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro. Ten years ago, I presented it in Kyoto. This week, I will urge the delegates in Bali to adopt a bold mandate for a treaty that establishes a universal global cap on emissions and uses the market in emissions trading to efficiently allocate resources to the most effective opportunities for speedy reductions.

This treaty should be ratified and brought into effect everywhere in the world by the beginning of 2010 – two years sooner than presently contemplated. The pace of our response must be accelerated to match the accelerating pace of the crisis itself.

Heads of state should meet early next year to review what was accomplished in Bali and take personal responsibility for addressing this crisis. It is not unreasonable to ask, given the gravity of our circumstances, that these heads of state meet every three months until the treaty is completed.

We also need a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store carbon dioxide.

And most important of all, we need to put a price on carbon -- with a CO2 tax that is then rebated back to the people, progressively, according to the laws of each nation, in ways that shift the burden of taxation from employment to pollution. This is by far the most effective and simplest way to accelerate solutions to this crisis.

The world needs an alliance – especially of those nations that weigh heaviest in the scales where earth is in the balance. I salute Europe and Japan for the steps they've taken in recent years to meet the challenge, and the new government in Australia, which has made solving the climate crisis its first priority.

But the outcome will be decisively influenced by two nations that are now failing to do enough: the United States and China. While India is also growing fast in importance, it should be absolutely clear that it is the two largest CO2 emitters — most of all, my own country –– that will need to make the boldest moves, or stand accountable before history for their failure to act.

Both countries should stop using the other's behavior as an excuse for stalemate and instead develop an agenda for mutual survival in a shared global environment.

These are the last few years of decision, but they can be the first years of a bright and hopeful future if we do what we must. No one should believe a solution will be found without effort, without cost, without change. Let us acknowledge that if we wish to redeem squandered time and speak again with moral authority, then these are the hard truths:

The way ahead is difficult. The outer boundary of what we currently believe is feasible is still far short of what we actually must do. Moreover, between here and there, across the unknown, falls the shadow.

That is just another way of saying that we have to expand the boundaries of what is possible. In the words of the Spanish poet, Antonio Machado, "Pathwalker, there is no path. You must make the path as you walk."

We are standing at the most fateful fork in that path. So I want to end as I began, with a vision of two futures – each a palpable possibility – and with a prayer that we will see with vivid clarity the necessity of choosing between those two futures, and the urgency of making the right choice now.

The great Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen, wrote, "One of these days, the younger generation will come knocking at my door."

The future is knocking at our door right now. Make no mistake, the next generation will ask us one of two questions. Either they will ask: "What were you thinking; why didn't you act?"

Or they will ask instead: "How did you find the moral courage to rise and successfully resolve a crisis that so many said was impossible to solve?"

We have everything we need to get started, save perhaps political will, but political will is a renewable resource.

So let us renew it, and say together: "We have a purpose. We are many. For this purpose we will rise, and we will act."

Conservation Insider Bulletin from Dan Besse, Dec. 14

Conservation Insider Bulletin
Published weekly for the Conservation Council of North Carolina
Conservation News to Peruse & Use

Editor: Dan Besse, earthvote@ccnccpac.org

December 14, 2007

The CCNC community this week mourns the passing of two of its early champions. That and more news, in this week's CIB:

--Movement Leaders: Early Presidents Pass On

--Around the State: CCNC Draws Big "Town Hall" Turnout in Asheville

--Campaign Watch: No Taylor to Kick Around This Time; More Hats in the Kerr Ring

--South of the Border: Duke Wants Cash Now for Nuke Later, Somewhere, Maybe

Movement Leaders: Early Presidents Pass On

Like Adams and Jefferson, two of our first presidents passed on at virtually the same time over the past week. CCNC's first president, Bob Conner, and its late-'70's president Dave Martin, both passed on after long illnesses.

Conner was the first president of both CCNC and what has since become the CCNC Foundation. An architect by profession, he helped to found the Friends of State Parks and the Piedmont Environmental Center. He served as president of the Catesby Bird Club and the Piedmont Appalachian Trail Hikers, as well as a member of the Guilford County Advisory Board for Environmental Quality (for 15 years) and the North West Preservation Committee. Conner was a moving force within North Carolina's environmental movement for three decades of his 93 years.

Martin was both an artist and a physicist during his 85 years. As president of CCNC during the 1970's, he led the organization in its fight against the expansion of commercial nuclear power plants. Afterwards, he also served as a leader of the South River Association, and dedicated time and effort toward fighting against stream channelization and the destruction of wildlife habitat.

Both men were smiling, bearded, brilliant individuals with a strong sense of humor and a passionate dedication to protection of the earth. Either could well have served as an artist's archetype for "citizen conservationist".

Bob and Dave are survived by spouses Lib Conner and Betty Martin, both of whom have also served for decades as leaders within the North Carolina citizen environmental movement. The Conner and Martin families have suggested that memorial gifts may be made to groups supported by the two leaders, including the Conservation Council of North Carolina.

Around the State: CCNC Draws Big "Town Hall" Turnout in AshevilleCCNC Political Director Brownie Newman brings us this report on a successful forum held December 13 in Asheville:

"The Conservation Council hosted a town hall meeting on Creating a Clean Energy Future for North Carolina last night in Asheville. I expected to have about 25- 30 participants in the event. To my surprise, we had about 90 people show up and pack themselves into the community room at the Unitarian Church where we held the event!

I received very positive feedback from participants about the event and think it can be a good model for other such town hall forums we may want to hold in other communities around the state in the coming year. I want to express Big Thanks to Robin Smith and her husband Wayne for showing up early with me to help set up and for helping clean up afterwards.

The forum featured a panel that included environmentalists, citizen activists, elected officials from the local and state level and a representative from Congressman Shuler's office. The forum began with a presentation by John Wilson from the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, who previewed their upcoming proposal for a carbon reduction strategy for the state of North Carolina. Their report outlines a series of strategies that would allow North Carolina to reduce our carbon pollution by 40% by the year 2030. Their proposal is based on an aggressive use of existing technologies rather than presuming significant new technological breakthroughs to get there. It is visionary but also believable.

Following John, Robin Cape (a member of Asheville City Council) and Margie Meares (a member of the Sustainable Advisory Committee for Energy and the Environment) reflected on the clean energy policy initiatives that have been put in place in Asheville over the past two years. They also outlined their ideas for continuing these efforts in the coming year.

Next, Rep. Charles Thomas (R-Buncombe) and Rep. Susan Fisher (D-Buncombe) talked about the energy issues that have been addressed in the Legislature in the past session, primarily focusing on the pros and cons of Senate Bill 3. They also shared their ideas about how to move these issues forward in the coming year. Both legislators are on our side. Charles Thomas brings one of the most forward looking, policy-oriented perspectives about the energy issues of any member of the Legislature. These issues are a top priority for him and he understands that we need to be thinking about transforming our energy economy, not just tweaking our current approach.

Finally, Tom Jones, a representative for Congressman Heath Shuler, talked about the energy issues being debated and voted on in Congress. Shuler is doing a good job supporting the right energy/ CAFE standard bills in Congress.

Then we opened the forum up for an interactive dialogue with the citizens attending the forum. The forum lasted from 7- 9 PM. There was roughly equal time given to presentations and the Q&A section. All the presenters did a good job articulating the issues as well as how people could get involved in working on them.

The WNC Alliance, Wenoca Chapter of the Sierra Club and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy were co-sponsors of the forum. The event was videotaped and will be rebroadcast on the local public access television station here in Asheville, which has a fairly large audience. We will be sending out a letter to all the people who signed in to invite them to become members of the Conservation Council and we'll add them to our list to receive the Conservation Insider.

It's heartening to see the growing public interest in clean, renewable energy. I think this format could be a good model for holding additional town hall type meetings in other cities across the state in early 2008, in preparation for the Short Session of the Legislature and the 2008 elections."

Campaign Watch: No Taylor to Kick Around This Time; More Hats in the Kerr Ring

No Taylor to Kick Around This Time: After months of coy non-announcement, defeated former U.S. Representative Charles Taylor publicly announced this week that he would definitely not seek to re-acquire his old seat from its current holder, U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC11)—at least not next year.

More Hats in the Kerr Ring: The District 5 Senate seat held for the past 20 years by John Kerr (D-Wayne) continues to draw bids to a race looking to be crowded with contenders. In addition to the candidates already noted in last week's CIB (Don Davis, Kathy Taft, Marvin Blount, and possibly Don Parrott), two more noted their intentions this week: Edward H. Wilson, Jr., the retired president of Wayne Community College; and possibly former state senator Tony Moore, who switched from Democrat to Republican to run unsuccessfully against Kerr in a consolidated district in 2004, but switched back to a Democratic registration earlier this year.

South of the Border: Duke Wants Cash Now for Nuke Later, Somewhere, Maybe

The Greenville (SC) News reported this week that Duke Energy has asked the S.C. Public Service Commission to approve Duke's decision to spend as much as $230 million in development of its proposed new nuclear plant in that state—even though Duke declined to provide even an indication of when the final decision on whether to build the plant will be made. Oh, and Duke also says that it isn't ready to say where it will build the maybe-nuke, although it confides that it's leaning toward near Gaffney. Thanks for sharing that teaser, friends. Here, take our checkbook and do whatever you think is right.

That's our report for this week.


Wexler on Impeachments for Cheney


Regressive Antidote



Not Invited, Not Allowed

Indigenous Peoples Shut Out of Climate Talks, Plans



Food Charities


Good News in CA



Sou. Pines Town Council, 7:00, Dec. 11

Be there, very important!

Blessed Unrest


Bikes, Yes; Biofuels, No

* Low faith in biofuels for climate
Decision-makers in the climate change field have little faith in biofuels as a low-carbon solution, a study reveals.

Full story:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/science/nature/7136486.stm

Local Food Manifesto

We Are What We Eat
By Jamey Lionette
South End Press

Monday 10 December 2007

Mass production of food is ruining our health, environment, and taste buds. How did this happen?

The following is an excerpt from "Manifestos on the Future of Food and Seed" edited by Vandana Shiva (South End, 2007).

I am not a scientist, journalist, or other specialist. I sell food. I help run a family-owned and operated neighborhood market and café that buys and sells predominantly local, clean, and sustainable food. I cannot speak about the reality of our food supply around most of the world. I can only can speak of what is happening in the first world, where, unfortunately, only the privileged elite can choose to put real food on their dinner tables.

Lately it seems every mass media newspaper or magazine, from the New York Times to Rolling Stone, has an article digging into the true filth that most food in the U.S. really is. Some people are actually questioning mass produced and monoculture organic food. Even Time magazine proclaimed "Local Is the New Organic" on its cover. Everywhere I turn people tell me that there is a new wind in the U.S.; that people are now concerned about eating local, clean, and sustainable food. From my vantage point in the market, behind the counter, I just don't see it. Yes, in Massachusetts there are more farms today than in the last 20 or so years, but fewer total acres than ever recorded. Farmers markets are becoming popular or perhaps trendy. Chain supermarkets are "listening to their customers" and capitalizing on cheap "organic" food. But the chain-supermarket owners are some of the same people who screwed up our food supply in the first place. How can we trust them?

Outdoor food markets are a mainstay in most cultures in the world and were once a given in our culture. Now most people go there to shop for the luxury food treats (locally grown food) and get their staples at the supermarket. I think that because of the Depression (when there was no money to spend on food) and World War II (when there was rationing and everyone was focused on the war effort) Americans lost their taste-buds. Along came the mass-produced foods of the 1950s at cheap prices. Supermarkets were a "progressive" thing, as suburban living was progressive. Rural culture and production was frowned upon as old-fashioned and primitive. Food from all over the world suddenly became available and at prices lower than local food. Protecting America's foreign interest, the beginning of what we now call globalization, became a new form of colonialism. Foreign resources, raw materials as well as labor, were now easily exploitable by the nation's new superpower status. As the economy grew, money filtered down to the managerial and to some of the working class and was coupled with an influx of cheap products made cheaply and available to most classes of the U.S. Consumerism took off. Our food changed as well, especially with faster transport and technologies trickery to extend the shelf life of food. Seasonal produce became available year round; exotic food (such as bananas and oranges in Boston) became readily available and affordable. Everything was cheaper, the shopping was more convenient, and exotic foods became staples in our diet. Small and local farms shut down or were forced into monoculture farming. A disconnect sprouted between our diets and our food sources. An orange, once a special and rare treat, became an everyday commodity.

Supermarkets are part of mainstream America's identity. Working-class people have little choice but to shop at conventional supermarkets. Middle-class people can shop at places like Whole Foods and appease their consciences with the notion that that food is safer and tastier than conventional supermarket food. And those of the flat earth society - middle- and upper-class people who do not believe that their climate is changing, that a global market is a bad thing, or that our food systems are in trouble - favor the conventional supermarket. However, both conventional and progressive supermarkets operate on the same model: mass-produced foods, made cheaply, and sold at cheap prices.

Supermarkets sell commodities. They buy mass-produced food from big business. This model of efficiency, which mirrored the production of things like automobiles and VCRs, is what created the mess our food supply is in. Efficient ordering and deliveries, no seasonal variety of stock, little to no blemishes (whether natural or from human error), significant quantities - enough to keep all those shelves constantly filled with whatever the customer might want. I describe this model as "I want what I want when I want it," and it goes against everything about food that is local, clean, and sustainable. It cannot be done at a mass level. [...]


People first bought cheap food because they either did not have enough money or felt like they were beating the system by spending less than they budgeted for food that week. Over time our budgets became based on the price of cheap food, so that now, during the rare moment of seeing real food, the price tag appears exorbitant. Our wages and salaries, our rent and utilities, all are tied to our cheaply priced food.

Many people who can actually afford local, clean, sustainable food buy it only when it is trendy, sold at boutique shops, or for a special occasion. Those from the class which struggles to afford mass-produced food certainly cannot afford the real price of food in the U.S.. One often-overlooked agent of gentrification and, after rent increases, one of the best ways to ruin a neighborhood is by shopping at chain supermarkets. Local neighborhood markets close or survive by becoming convenience stores. Farmers' markets become a trendy place to buy a few novelty items: "Oooh look at this peach. I bought it from a farmer!" Once the small markets are gone, only supermarkets are left. We are so out of touch with the struggle to get food, because of how much cheap food is available in the country, that we do not see a pattern of destruction.

The more we buy mass-produced foods, the more it empowers agro-business and the fewer farms there will be. The more we shop at supermarkets, the fewer neighborhood markets there will be. Already we are almost trapped by agro-business and its sales outlets. Soon, there will be no escape. As it stands right now, only a privileged few can afford real, clean, and sustainable food; soon, even the privileged will have little access to such food. The fewer local farms we have, the more expensive their food becomes and the more difficult it is for local farms to feed the local population. Once the farms are gone, only mass-produced food is left.

Hadley, Massachusetts, is known as having the best asparagus in the world. Though just an hour or so outside of Boston, it is near impossible to find asparagus grown in Hadley in Boston. Futures of the asparagus are sold; mostly to France and Japan, I am told. Instead of a wonderful spring vegetable for a local dish, Hadley asparagus has become a boutique item for other parts of the world. Yet in spring, summer, winter, or fall, asparagus flown in from Peru is half the price of in-season asparagus grown on a family farm in New England. And I must admit it seems a bit shameful to complain about such a situation in the U.S., when so many peoples around the world local resources have been diverted to produce food for Americans.

The late summer is tomato season in New England. The glory of a local tomato salad on a warm summer night in Boston is something which we can only enjoy a couple of months a year. The flavor of our farmers' tomatoes are spectacular. Especially when bought at a local shop or farmers' market, where we actually speak with the people involved in harvesting and distributing our food, people who are part of our community. These tomatoes were not sprayed with anything; the soil was not ruined by chemicals or monoculture farming. These tomatoes traveled only a few dozen miles and were grown outside, thus using only a little energy and creating little pollution. The farmer, part of our community, was deservedly paid and did not exploit anyone or the land. No one was ripped off during the whole transaction, and the tomatoes were available to everyone in Boston during the late summer months.

Yet the rest of the year we still expect to have fresh tomatoes available, and they are called for in many dishes. Fresh tomatoes are considered year-round staples. There is never any questioning tomatoes in March, their integrity or their source. We have become used to hydroponic tomatoes flown in from Mexico or Holland. Instead of focusing our efforts on bringing in tomatoes year-round to Boston, we should focus making the Northeast corridor able to feed itself now and in the future. At the very least, these factory-grown tomatoes do make our local tomatoes taste even more wonderful. We are so used to the mealy, flavorless (or artificially flavored) hydro-tomato that when we taste a real one, it seems so special. This is one reason why local farmers are not perceived as the people who raise our food, but as the producers of specialty items.

Another reason farmers are considered purveyors of specialty foods is their prices. Let us end the idea right now that local, clean, and sustainable foods result in a high profit for the producer and the retailer - trust me, there is absolutely no money in sustainable food. When food is handled as sustenance - not as a commodity - there is little profit to be had. That is why real food is so rare and so hard to come by now. The perverted twist is that it would seem logical that food transported for days around the world would cost more than something fresh and local. But quite the opposite is true. Nobody considers what the true price of real food is. Nobody is outraged that what most working-class people can afford, and even the middle class can afford, is nothing more than mass-produced, cheapened food.

There are, of course, the Whole Foods, Wal-Marts, Trader Joes, and other chain supermarkets trying to sell organic foods. Everyone knows these places are cheaper than local markets and farmers' markets, but rarely do people think about how supermarkets work. People are generally aware of the smaller mark-up chain supermarkets can afford, as compared with an independent neighborhood market, as well as all the corporate capital and funding behind them. But few often think about what is involved in producing enough of a particular food for every shelf of their hundreds or thousands of outlets across the region or country. You can't see the devastating effects of monoculture farming in the sterile and lifeless supermarket. The food looks so perfect and seems so abundant. And with such cheap prices, why ask questions? Sustainable farming does not have the ability to be mass produced; it cannot be sold at the level of a chain supermarkets. Corners must be cut to keep costs low, production must increase to fill the shelves, the laws of nature must be beaten by science to allow for year round production, and if the weather cannot yet be defeated, then the product should be mass-produced and imported from another part of the world.


Listen, Thanksgiving 2006: Whole Foods Boston was selling a "fully pastured naturally raised" turkey for $1.99/lb. That is painfully cheap. Was it trying to compete with the half-dozen small town turkey farmers still left in Massachusetts or the handful of farmers selling turkeys to their regular customers at the farmers' markets or through community-supported agriculture (CSA)? Probably not. Such consumers of locally raised food still have an appreciation for the tradition of buying a turkey from the same place every year or still get pleasure from buying their turkeys directly from their friend, the farmer, or a neighborhood shop. Whole Foods was trying to compete with the other big supermarkets, who sell cheap food.

Whole Foods (and the supermarkets imitating it) will be the death of the movement for clean, local, and fair food for many reasons, but this is an important one. By dropping the price so low, and using claims and slogans designed not by farmers but by slick salespeople, it has set the expectation that clean food can be as cheap as, or just slightly more expensive than, filthy food. Many people could afford to make the jump from Butterball to a Whole Food bird and, with that jump, assume that the bird was safer, more sustainable, and cleaner. So now any farmer charging a real price is seen as greedy or overpriced. Like Wal-Mart's cheap organic, Whole Foods has cheapened (in integrity, as well as price) naturally raised meats and clean food. It lowers the bar by allowing cheap mass-production and corner-cutting, all to sell cheap food that you think is something it is not. There is tokenistic buying of local food and various labels to suggest a certain quality to the consumer. Because we have so few local farms left, it is easy for a chain supermarket to buy some local food and appear to be supportive of local farms. For most people, this is the easy and convenient way to feel as though they are doing the right thing. But it was the supermarket in the first place that helped reduce the number of farms and transformed our understanding of what local farms are.

Organic food is by no means synonymous with clean food. What should we expect, considering a food supply which is mass-produced will be shipped all over the world? And how did the E. coli get into the spinach? Nobody knows. The apparatus is too big. We are concerned, but we are overwhelmed and more importantly completely removed from our food; we have no idea how to eat locally. I am sure nearly half of Boston goes months without ever eating a single bite of local food.

Are people buying store-brand organics duped or misled? Not exactly. The argument for mass-produced organic food is that at least it is a lesser of two evils. I would agree that mass-produced organic or mass-produced naturally raised is not as bad as mass-produced conventional food, but it is still bad. Are we content with eating bad food? Where is the outrage at choosing between bad and worse? Within the first world, on a day-to-day basis, there is barely a struggle to obtain food. But obtaining clean food is a struggle. And to complicate matters are savvy marketing and confusing legal and nonlegal claims. Do the research on what the USDA allows for the claim "free-range" or "organic." They are by no means what you would expect. To be labeled free-range, the law states only that once a bird is old enough to safely venture outside (fair enough, small chicks are at risk outside to predators, weather, diseases, etc.) that they can be kept inside as long as they have access to the outdoors. Often this means a small hole in the wall leading to a small, lifeless patch of land, which the bird never bothers going out to. And for organic - just a few hours outdoors (not necessarily free of a cage) and nothing but USDA certified organic feed. Great, but that feed may not be what that animal wants to eat at all. Mass-produced food and monoculture farming does nothing good for the land. It burns it up. It is not sustainable. Organic or conventional - if it is produced in favor of profit over sustainability it cannot last forever. [...]


This is our society. A society that has no interest in banning feedlots or the excessive/exclusive feeding of grains, hormones, animal by-products, and antibiotics to cows and seemingly covers up any connection with these practices to E. coli. Worse, our health officials and beef industry leaders come up with a chemical injection to kill possible E. coli and dabble in using pro-biotic injections to make our food "safe." What did you expect? These are the same people who actually believed that forcing cows to be cannibals in confined quarters-which gave us mad-cow disease-for the sake of cheap beef and high profits was not a bad idea. If you could witness how most of our food is produced, you would not eat it; you would be outraged. We are so far removed from our food.

People think that by washing the vegetable with water that all the chemicals are washed off. Even more absurd, many of these same people will buy bottled water because they don't trust the tap water to drink (but they think it is clean enough to rinse their food with?). People don't worry about chemicals possibly absorbed into the food and seeping into the land. People choose shiny fruit covered in wax and pesticide over the uglier, misshapen, dull-colored clean fruit from a farm because they believe it will taste better or is safer. How ludicrous is it when mass-produced food is just called "tomato" or "beef," but real food must be called "NOFA Certified Organic-locally grown on a small, clean, sustainable farm, free of all pesticides heirloom tomato" or "100 percent grass-fed/grass finished, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, animal-by-product-free, fully pastured, naturally raised on a small, local, sustainable family-farm beef." This is a society that has organic corn syrup! There is fair reason to be disgusted and outraged at our current food supply and culture of convenience that has created and perpetuated this mess.

It is nice to believe that eating is a revolutionary act, but sooner or later someone is going to have to call this system out. When a few people start ruining our food, we must take action against those people. When a system has failed, we must change that system. When we are perpetuating that system because of our laziness and lust for convenience, then we must change, or else we will collapse. I cannot think of any point in history when a food supply has been so dangerous. Food's place in our culture and community has faded into cheap traditions. Our planet's fertile land has decayed, been poisoned, and been transformed into factories while we have been too busy and out of touch with our food to notice. The people who know how to use the land to produce food have lost their place on the land, and we did not notice because we no longer know who produces our food. Our food supply is being linked to long-term damage such as heart disease and cancer. And now our food is killing us instantly. Not a week passes it seems that there is not some kind of deadly outbreak. What are you doing about it? We can easily envision a society based on sustainable food; most cultures throughout history have had sustainable farming practices. Basically, Grandma had it right and the progressive supermarkets had it all wrong. We do not necessarily have to turn back the clock and return to an agrarian society, but let's understand what Grandma was doing and realize that she was a lot smarter than we are today. She may not understand the complexities of the internet, but we are the fools who cannot even preserve our summer vegetables so we don't starve in the winter.

We must address the classic American attitude of individuality. Our culture, probably more than any other culture in the world, is based on the individual. Our economic system fuels this individuality. Look at our eating habits. Rather than supporting our community, we buy cheap food from far-away places in chain supermarkets. We do not realize what we are doing to our own community, because we no longer think about our community - we think only of ourselves. Eating can no longer be an individual act. It is not about whether an individual wants to get fat or die from gluttony.

Antibiotics are becoming less and less efficient as pathogens and virus mutate. It seems clear that this is directly related to the excessive use of antibiotics in our food supply. Roughly 75 percent of all antibiotics in this country are given to our livestock. Again, I am not a scientist, but it seems quite clear that even people who only eat antibiotic-free meats will find their medicine useless, as a mutated virus will resist antibiotic treatment regardless of what kind of meat was eaten. The use of pesticides can be equally harmful to the strict organic eater, as a personal choice at the dinner table can do nothing to stop the chemicals of conventional farms from seeping into the rivers and soil. We should all have a right to eat clean, healthy, and sustainable food. It should be a privilege to eat exotic and out-of-season food. Right now, however, we have the right to eat exotic and out-of-season food, and the privileged few can eat clean, healthy, and sustainable food.

When we fully realize or finally admit the effects of climate change, peak oil, and globalized food as our primary source of food, food from international sources will be more expensive than local food. How do we get back to where local food is normal and affordable, and food from far away is exotic and truly expensive? We have successfully wiped out most of the farms and do not have many farmers left. I can only hope that we can start supporting our local farmers-real support, not the tokenistic once in a while local treat. We must face the reality that urban sprawl must give way to farmland. We must realize that we cannot eat beef every day, but, at least when we do it won't kill us. This will involve spending more of our money, but soon the amount we spend on food will feel normal and not expensive. Americans pay less per capita than anyone else in the world for food.

It should be really easy for privileged people to buy fewer luxury items and spend the same percentage of income as other people in the world do on food, but the same cannot be said for the majority of people in the U.S. Most people in this country are dependent on their weekly wages and live paycheck to paycheck. Wages are set to allow people to survive so they can show up to work. There is little extra money put into that equation for clean, sustainable food.

We could hope that more farms will appear and there will be more farmers to provide enough real food for everyone at an affordable price. We could hope that supermarkets and agro-business would just take care of the problem for us and magically make good, clean, fair, sustainable food cheap enough to fit into our current model. Or hope that these same businesspeople who have ruined our food supply and who are wrecking our land will take their millions of dollars of profit and happily give it back to the farmers and small producers-people who see food as sustenance, not commodity. But that just is not going to happen.

As our food entered our economic systems it was transformed from sustenance to commodity, and I do not see how we can take it back while maintaining this economic system. We have to ask ourselves what we want, food or our current economic system. We need to realize that our system itself is not sustainable and has failed.

Jamey Lionette, a contributor to "Manifestos on the Future of Food and Seed" (South End Press, 2007), with his family runs Lionette's Market and the Garden of Eden restaurant.





Sou. Pines Politics


Important Meeting, Sou. Pines, Dec. 11, 7 p.m.

Law interpretation affects vote

FayObserver.com - Fayetteville,NC,USA
... vote on a controversial PUD rezoning request that could allow for the construction of more than 800 homes in a development called Pine Needles Village. ...

To Friends of Southern Pines,

NC law says that newly elected officials must be sworn in "not later than the date and time of the first regular meeting of the council in December." The Town Council's first "regular meeting" in December was the Agenda Meeting, held last Wednesday, December 5, 2007.

The Agenda meeting is a regularly scheduled monthly meeting held the first Wednesday of every month and is always listed on the Town's website as part of the regularly scheduled public meeting calendar. (See public meeting calendar below.) Unlike "special meetings" it is not special set.

By the way, FYI -- Mike Brough, the attorney quoted in the article who advised the Town of Whispering Pines that it must swear in its newly elected officials at W.P.'s agenda meeting and NOT, as they have been accustomed to, at their monthly Council meeting, wrote the zoning ordinances (UDO) for the Town of Southern Pines.


TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2007 AT 7:00pm
Douglass Community Center

North Carolina General Assembly
§ 160A‑68. Organizational meeting of council.
(a) The council may fix the date and time of its organizational meeting. The organizational meeting may be held at any time after the results of the municipal election have been officially determined and published pursuant to Subchapter IX of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes but not later than the date and time of the first regular meeting of the council in December after the results of the municipal election have been certified pursuant to that Subchapter. If the council fails to fix the date and time of its organizational meeting, then the meeting shall be held on the date and at the time of the first regular meeting in December after the results of the municipal election have been certified pursuant to Subchapter IX of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes.

Calendar of Events:


Council Agenda Meeting and Public Hearing (COUNCIL REGULARL MEETING #1)
12/05/2007 at 6:00 PM
Van Dusen Hall, Sandhills Community College

Drought-Tolerant Plants, NC


Monitor Carbon by Zip Code


Global Rallies on Climate

Global rallies focus on climate

Mass demonstrations take place across the world as campaigners demand action at key UN climate change talks.

Full story:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/uk_news/7134060.stm

GMO Seeds


A Forest Garden





Besse Endorsed for Lt. Gov.

December 8, 2007


The Progressive Democrats of North Carolina (PDNC) voted today to endorse Dan Besse for Lieutenant Governor. Besse won the endorsement by vote of the PDNC membership at its annual meeting, with 72 per cent in favor of Besse and 28 per cent supporting other candidates.

"Democrats are looking for the candidate best prepared to speak for equal opportunity, environmental stewardship, and justice for all," said Besse. "I've been telling folks that I am the progressive Democrat with the record to prove it. I thank the Progressive Democrats for putting the exclamation point on that statement."

Besse is a two-term Winston-Salem City Council Member with more than 20 years of experience on state policy-making boards, especially in the areas of environment, health, and natural resources. He is an attorney with extensive service providing legal aid to the poor and to non-profit groups working for clean air and water, and health care.

Three of the four announced Democratic candidates for Lieutenant Governor responded to the PDNC issue questionnaire and participated in the forum. PDNC members voted to endorse Besse after hearing candidate presentations followed by a question and answer period.

PDNC was organized in 2004 to promote economic, social, and environmental justice in North Carolina through the democratic process. It has multiple county chapters and members across the state.

The PDNC endorsement process was open, detailed, and involved a painstaking examination of candidates' records, priorities, and positions. The process included

Hearing from the candidates at the previous PDNC annual meeting in Asheville in December 2006.
Hearing from candidates at PDNC chapter meetings.
Reviewing the candidates' responses to a 20-part questionnaire covering education, environment, energy, health care, criminal justice, economic opportunity, race relations, and other topics.
Hearing from and questioning candidates at a live forum today in Chapel Hill.
A vote by the PDNC membership following the forum.

The Story of Stuff


Local Food Pantry

Dear Friends,

Warm greeting this cold December day. Earlier today I was at the Southern Pines United Methodist Church where there is a Food Pantry location that serves the poor every Monday. The main coordinator is a wonderful man named Chuck Yolman who with about five other main volunteers and a few part-time helpers, passes out food to those who come by.

The way the Food Pantry works is anyone can come by once a month and receive a cardboard box of food. What's in that box varies depending on what the Food Bank can sell them, (they charge .18 a pound), and what day-old breads and produce they can gather from a couple of Food Lions on the weekends. Other essentials they can't get that week, like rice or cereal, (whatever the Food Pantry doesn't have), are bought at different stores that give discounts. (Meat comes largely from the Food Pantry at .18/#)

To receive food, people must give their name and address, this to insure that people are coming only once a month. Many of these people are elderly with health problems, or young families on low income jobs. The majority have been given the information about the pantry from the Coalition or from Social Services. Some folks come in wheelchairs, some on foot. For some it is a choice between medicine or food, for others it helps save a little more for gas money to get to work. About half of the people come only once or twice.

I asked Chuck if he felt that there were people taking advantage of the Food Pantry; he said that most of the people he has seen over the years are living pretty marginally and are very grateful for the help.

I imagine it is humbling to stand in a line for food. Chuck has been doing the pantry for about 8 years now and seems to me as committed as ever to help those less fortunate than are most of us.

I am writing this in case there are any friends out there who would like to help the SPUM Food Pantry, (Southern Pines main Food Bank distribution center). There has been a steady increase in demand such that SPUM no longer felt it could meet the demand and is considering not excepting new clients. Chuck said he didn't feel right about turning people away and that and he was hoping that funds could be raised to insure that would not happen.

If you would like to help with a donation, you can make that to SPUM-Food Pantry and mail it to the church at
175 Midland Rd.
Southern Pines, NC 28387

IF you go to the Awakened Heart Center, Tom and Bonnie Thompson are graciously accepting checks now for the Food Pantry.


Just think,
At .18 a pound, a small contribution can feed a lot of people and help Chuck make sure no one is turned away.

Thank you and Merry Christmas.
Gail Scott

PS- IF you would like to see the SPUM Food Pantry in action, you can come by any Monday (morning is when most people come). Or if you know of someone who could benefit from help from the Food Pantry, the Pantry is located off the lower parking lot of Midland Rd. heading away from town.


Greening Urban Gardens

Backyard gardens are best use of limited water supply.


Two Important Meetings, Sou. Pines

Reminder of important Southern Pines Town Council Hearing and Meeting

Wednesday, December 5, 2007
LOCATION: Sandhills Community College (map below)

Town Council Agenda Meeting and Public Hearings
December 5, 6:00 p.m.
Sandhills Community College
Van Dusen Hall
Room 103

Tuesday, December 11, 2007, 7:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Douglass Community Center
1185 W. Pennsylvania Ave.
Southern Pines, NC


Warning Against GE Crops

Abundant Evidence to Warn People Against GE Crops


Jeffrey M. Smith, Environmental News Network, writes, "Working with more than30 scientists worldwide, I documented 65 health risks of GE foods. There are thousandsof toxic or allergic-type reactions in humans, thousands of sick, sterile, and deadlivestock, and damage to virtually every organ and system studied in lab animals."

from Blog Reader on Kucinich

Saw your blog post on Kucinich. I've been thinking lately why in the hell should we vote for someone who might get elected when that someone isn't good enough and when the Repubs steal the elections they want anyway. Kucinich is the real deal. Was before. Is now.

Volcanic Power, Iceland


Concert, Aberdeen, Dec. 27

Hello music lovers,

Thanksgiving was a while ago, but thinking of the bounty of this country, individually and collectively requires that it become a state of mind every day. Jonathan Byrd www.jonathanbyrd.com says it well in his song, “The Ballad of Larry” when he asks, “think you’ve got nothing to give, look around how people live….Loneliness is poverty, say hey to me…” Harkin back to AT & T, reach out and touch someone, especially this time of year.

The Byrd man raced from his feast in Westchester Co., NY to be with us. Jonathan’s voice and his voice are important to me. His distinctive tone and range always impress me, but even more importantly his poetic voice brings important messages. He sang “Lakota Sioux” written by his friend Matt Fockler, which examines the government action against native Americans. Moving and direct, it’s one powerful song . It is a good example of how songs open conversations and demand that we engage. Song writers have the responsibility to pay attention and bring their perspective to issues we may have ignored. It is a big job and the best of them touch our hearts and move us to action. They amuse and delight us. They lift our spirits and evoke wonderful memories. The best way to support them is to get out and hear them, buy their recordings and when you get the chance, tell them how they have affected you.

The Rooster’s Wife is very pleased to bring the Parsons to the house , www.theparsons.info for the next concert, Dec. 27th, 8 p.m.You can make reservations on line or by phone. Tickets for future concerts make great gifts .(the original Red Clay Ramblers in January ! Piece Pettis in February! James Talley in March !) They can be gift wrapped and mailed or delivered locally. You can buy memberships with tickets, and support live local music as well as finding the perfect present for someone who does not need one more THING. Good company and great music are an excellent combination. There are long sleeved t shirts too, and cd’s available from all the artists who have performed in the house or on the porch. Find links at our web site to buy directly from these fine folks.

Reserve Feb. 2nd. for a special event hosted by the Rooster’s Wife, our First Possibly but Probably Not Annual Groundhog’s Day Celebration. Some our talented friends are passing through and prevailed upon us to be totally entertained that night. Details soon. You will want to save the date.

Sunday marked the first week of Advent, Chanukah begins tomorrow, and the Hajj follows later in the month. Is it a coincidence that all these faithful are together in prayer during this month ? My ongoing prayer is that regardless of our beliefs, we apply the universal truths of all religions and make the world, ours and the whole wide world, a better place. We are more alike than we are different.

Peace and love to you all,

Janet Kenworthy

Margaret Anderson said, "I believe in the unsubmissive, the unfaltering, the unassailable, the irresistible, the unbelievable — in other words, in an art of life."


City Chickens


To Vote Without Holding Our Noses