Archive | April, 2012

Navajo Community Banks on Proposed Solar Array –

26 Apr

With tens of millions of acres held in trust for tribes, experts say Indian Country has the potential to supply more than four times the nation’s electricity needs with solar. Wind resources blowing across tribal lands could meet another 14 percent of the need.

“Just huge, absolutely huge” is how Michael Utter, chief executive of the nonprofit consulting corporation Rural Community Innovations, describes the potential.

via Navajo Community Banks on Proposed Solar Array –

Unions and Environmentalists: Get It Together! | The Nation

24 Apr

For over three decades Big Business has worked hard to keep environmentalists and unions at odds with one another and that have succeeded to an unsettling degree. This antagonism must stop. Unions and environmentalists must band together to create a sustainable world with jobs for all.

Fear at Work systematically debunks many of the myths still present in today’s debates. “The Reagan administration and its allies have been capitalizing on today’s economic crisis to widen the split between labor and environmentalists over ‘jobs,’ while cynically attacking rights and protections that have been won by both movements. The assault on labor and environmental protections will intensify. As in the past, ‘jobs’ will be the rationalization for new antiworker, anti-environmental policies.” Progressives in 2012 would do well to make Fear at Work a sort of reference guide for how we respond to these tactics. Some of today’s greens might be enlightened by its discussion of why job security is such a fundamental issue for unionists—especially construction unions. Unlike in other unions, construction union leaders represent their members whether or not they are employed. And unemployed members retain all the rights of membership, including voting in union elections for—or against—those leaders.

Kazis, reflecting recently on how the situation has evolved since the publication of Fear at Work, said, “It’s the same picture. The issues are the same, the use of job blackmail is the same, the way over-inflated arguments about job creation potential are the same, wild misestimates of the cost of clean-ups is the same, all the tried and true divide-and-conquer techniques are the same, but what has changed is the relative political power and salience of both movements we were talking about.” Unions and environmentalists, in other words, have lost ground, while industry has triumphed. Continue reading

Drones for “urban warfare”

24 Apr

Writing in Salon, Jefferson Morley reports that ” the business of marketing drones to law enforcement is booming. Now that Congress has ordered the Federal Aviation Administration to open up U.S. airspace to unmanned vehicles, the aerial surveillance technology first developed in the battle space of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan is fueling a burgeoning market in North America.” Some 50 companies are pushing 150 different systems at a law enforcement agency near you. And the drones won’t just be snooping. Some will be “weaponized” too.

Has anyone thought about how these drones might/will impinge on our liberties?

While industry spokesmen say existing laws will adequately protect civil liberties and privacy, Congress held no hearings on the implications of domestic drones, and a wide range of opponents insist the drones pose a threat to privacy.

In Washington, activist groups Code Pink, Reprieve and the Center for Constitutional Rights are holding a “drone summit” this week, declaring it is “time to organize to end current abuses and to prevent the potentially widespread misuse both overseas and here at home.”

The FAA “has the opportunity and the responsibility to ensure that the privacy of individuals is protected and that the public is fully informed about who is using drones in public airspace and why,” said U.S. Reps. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Joe Barton, R-Texas, in a letter to the FAA last week.

“How will the public be notified about when and where drones are used, who will operate the drones, what data will be collected, how the data will be used, how the data will be retained and who will have access to the date?” they asked.

The companies who sell this stuff say there’s no problem. Do you believe them?

Occupy Movement Prepares for Democratic Convention –

24 Apr

Occupy Charlotte is planning actions for the Bank of American shareholder’s meeting on May 9 and the Democratic Party convention in September:

Bill Dobbs, a member of Occupy Wall Street’s press team, said there is continuing communication with Occupy Charlotte members as they plan bank and convention protests. And as many as 60 groups have signed on to join the Coalition to Protest at the D.N.C. In Florida, Occupy Tampa is involved in planning similar efforts for the Republican National Convention, which will be held there in August, but the group has had smaller protests than those in Charlotte and the city has proposed a “clean zone” limiting where demonstrations can be held.

In planning protests this time around, for the conventions, social media is likely to play a bigger role.

“I think there’s been a lot more inter-occupation communication as people got away from the encampments and starting getting online and establishing lines of communication across the country,” said Domenic Battistella, 34, of nearby Mooresville, an original member of Occupy Charlotte. “We’re going to be much more coordinated on a regional basis.”

via Occupy Movement Prepares for Democratic Convention –

The Next Big Thing in Green Energy: Floating Wind Turbines – Technology – The Atlantic Wire

23 Apr

Wind power, you see, is one of the few natural resources the United Kingdom has a lot of. Smartplanet reports that “the UK has more offshore wind capacity than any other country,” but the problem is most of the steady, heavy winds blow over parts of the ocean that are too deep to build foundations to. So floating turbines, which stay in place via cables anchored to the seafloor, make sense. But they’re still very much experimental technology. The first-ever floating turbine went into operation off Norway in 2009, and today Norway’s still the most advanced in the field. The U.S. and U.K. want to catch up, and they’re willing to pay to do so. So if you’ve got some plans lying around for a design you think might work, now’s the time to pitch them.

via The Next Big Thing in Green Energy: Floating Wind Turbines – Technology – The Atlantic Wire.

Farmers Foil Utilities Using Cell Phones to Access Solar – Bloomberg

23 Apr

The rest of the world’s going solar, and local, why not the USofA?

From the poorest parts of Africa and Asia to the most- developed regions in the U.S. and Europe, solar units such as Anand’s and small-scale wind and biomass generators promise to extend access to power to more people than ever before. In the developing world, they’re slashing costs in the process.

Across India and Africa, startups and mobile phone companies are developing so-called microgrids, in which stand- alone generators power clusters of homes and businesses in places where electric utilities have never operated.

In Europe, cooperatives are building their own generators and selling power back to the national or regional grid while information technology developers and phone companies are helping consumers reduce their power consumption and pay less for the electricity they do use.

via Farmers Foil Utilities Using Cell Phones to Access Solar – Bloomberg.

Blamed for Bee Collapse, Monsanto Buys Bee Research Firm : Natural Society

23 Apr

Monsanto, the massive biotechnology company being blamed for contributing to the dwindling bee population, has bought up one of the leading bee collapse research organizations. Recently banned from Poland with one of the primary reasons being that the company’s genetically modified corn may be devastating the dying bee population, it is evident that Monsanto is under serious fire for their role in the downfall of the vital insects. It is therefore quite apparent why Monsanto bought one of the largest bee research firms on the planet.

It can be found in public company reports hosted on mainstream media that Monsanto scooped up the Beeologics firm back in September 2011. During this time the correlation between Monsanto’s GM crops and the bee decline was not explored in the mainstream, and in fact it was hardly touched upon until Polish officials addressed the serious concern amid the monumental ban. Owning a major organization that focuses heavily on the bee collapse and is recognized by the USDA for their mission statement of “restoring bee health and protecting the future of insect pollination” could be very advantageous for Monsanto.

via Blamed for Bee Collapse, Monsanto Buys Bee Research Firm : Natural Society.


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