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Short Takes Autumn '08 : River Valley edition : Tuesday, 25 June 2019 04:34 EDT : a service of The Public Press
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Short Takes Autumn '08

     by Stephen Morris

Letters to the Editor, Green Notes, Solar Pick-Ups, More on Cooperatives, Spamalot

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:

By chance I noticed your magazine at the Brattleboro Co-op during a recent visit. At first I ignored it as another cluttered promotional magazine. On closer inspection I was impressed by the bold, outspoken, meaningful articles and your sharp wit. This kind of honest expression is part of a tradition that transcends political lines.quiet zone
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Clemens Kalischer
Stockbridge, MA

To all our Friends at the Green Living Journal:
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We here at Intervale Compost really enjoy being a part of your publication as advertisers and eager readers! What a great magazine! And the cover of your Summer Champlain Edition (and perhaps other editions as well?) had an idea we can really get behind. In fact, we have been behind it for over twenty years with our well known slogan: Intervale Compost "Don't Treat Your Soil Like Dirt!". We think it's pretty catchy, and a great way to think about local, organic, sustainable agriculture (our mission) and now apparently so do the editors of your magazine. So how about a little shout out to the folks who have been not taking soil for granted since 1987?

Eric Van Vlandren
Intervale Compost

Thanks for the practical and feeling article on Kombucha. My only quibble is that she refers to an excellent commercial, GT Kombucha, when there is an even better choice for us here in New England. Katalyst Kombucha in Greenfield MA. It would be good to support less-traveled sources!

Susan Ginsburg
VitaSource, Keene, New Hampshire

Dear Editor:

I did not find green jobs on your web site.

I think there is a need for a web site that advertises LOCAL green jobs. VT-NH-MA-NY for example.

Heidi Henkel

Thanks, Heidi. They are now posted, but we'll repeat them here, too.

Pounding the Pavement?

Here are some websites to help you look for an environmental career. If you know of other useful sites, please report them to editor@greenlivingjournal.com.

http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/jobs/ Environmental Jobs & Careers

Environmental Career Opportunities (EcoJobs)



Orion Grassroots Network

http://www.orionsociety.org/pages/ogn/ics.cfm EnvironmentalCareer.com

Green Energy Jobs

Dear Editor:

The most recent issue of Green Living looks great.

Regarding your editorial on the "Double-edged Spoon," Richard Branson is an ass.

Kyle Scanlon, Colchester

Gee, Kyle, what do you really think of him? Any qualms we had about offending Green Living readers were dispelled by this letter.


Hi Folks,

Great first issue! Much information for those of us who care about the future. Your feature... Eye on Green Eye... maybe has experts who can answer a question for our family: We're ready to invest in converting a vehicle to electric. We'd ideally have a small pickup, maybe 10 to 20 years old, very light ... to use around town, and to haul supplies for our gardens in various community sites. Any specific suggestions about trucks that might be appropriate? We hope ultimately to fuel the truck via solar panels.


Kirk Nevin
Corvallis OR

(We deferred to an expert on the subject)

Light pickup trucks in this age range make great conversions. Chevy S10s and Ford Rangers are very popular, but the Japanese pickups - Nissan, Toyota, Mazda - are also very good, and tend to be a little lighter, which is good. Look for a base model four cylinder two wheel drive standard cab model with a manual transmission. Power brakes are good. Power steering can be accommodated. You can put batteries in the bed, or under the bed with access through hatches in the bed floor, or by installing a hydraulic tilt bed kit. Top speed will be 65 - 85 mph depending on your battery pack. A DC system with a 120V pack of 6V golf cart batteries will get you about 40 miles range and cost about $10,000. An AC system would offer regenerative braking, and would require a 312V battery pack, probably using 12V gel batteries. It would give you about 75 miles range, and cost about $15,000.

Shari Prange
Electro Automotive POB 1113 Felton CA 95018-1113 Telephone 831-429-1989

Adds Gary Munkhoff, publisher of our Columbia River edition of Green Living:

You might want to refer Kirk to the Oregon Electric Vehicle Association (OEVA). They are very active, have members who have done conversions and know the technical ins and outs of batteries, controllers, motors, etc. Check them out at http://www.oeva.org and have him sign up for the OEVA List where he can ask questions and read q&a's from others. Great resource and these folks have monthly meetings, are friendly, and know their stuff. There is a lot going on with EV's.


More on Co-operatives:

To Stephen Morris, Publisher/Editor of Green Living

Thank you for your article "The State of Co-ops" in the Spring issue of Green Living. Inspiration and creativity weave themselves through the stories of people working together to meet their needs, something becoming increasingly important in our lives.

Worker cooperatives which were not mentioned in your article. Worker co-ops are distinct from consumer and producer co-ops in that members (or members in training) are exclusively the workers. These workplaces function on worker empowerment and environmentally sound and long term business practices while providing a haven of democratic activity. Worker co-ops create a more democratic society by transforming the typical boss/worker dynamic into a center of shared control for economic well being. One person/one vote is a central characteristic of worker co-ops. Cooperative operation of all facets of life is a dream we share.

The more democratic your workplace, the better your workplace. Worker/owners are empowered to voice their opinions, apply their skills and learn about every step of the business. Historically this has created jobs with security, pay, benefits and access to knowledge often exceeding those of traditional jobs. Worker co-ops themselves typically have a longstanding commitment to their communities and environment. This commitment is strengthened when worker/owners live near their workplaces.

In our area these co-ops, ranging from three to over thirty years old add greatly to the community fabric. From auto repair and a spinnery to a bookstore and home repair, copy shops and skin care to alternative power installers and progressive-cause fundraisers, webhosting and programming to bicycle trash and recycling haulers ... each organization has an inspiring story to share.

Adam Trott
Collective Copies (worker owned and run since 1983)

For more information on worker co-ops call 1-888-682-4801 or visit the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives website: www.valleyworker.org.


Spamalot ... Hardly!

Some readers and Green Living advertisers report receiving massive amounts of unwanted email "Spam," some of it referencing Green Living in the subject line. We assure you that Green Living has nothing to do with unsolicited email, and there is nothing we can do to prevent the criminal misuse of your email address. We took the issue to Matt Lampiasi of Florence I.T., a Green Living advertiser and overall cyberspace expert. Here's his response:

Everybody gets spam, with some people get it worse than others. If you're buried in spam or otherwise don't know what to do about your problem, read on. Controlling spam needs to be addressed at a few levels, here's my short list:

  • First, remove email links off your webpage, or "cloak" them. One such way is with programmatic changes to your website. Some software programs will do this free. There are many approaches, contact your web developer. We use a CMS (Joomla) for our website with this support built in.
  • Never click any links in an email you are not 100% positive about. This can verify your address (that may have been guessed) with spammers, resulting in MORE spam. Sometimes just viewing a spam can validate your email address with spammers, resulting in MORE spam.
  • Use an ISP (Internet Service Provider) that has spam filtering. Almost all do, however some are better than others. Learn how to adjust the strength settings, and how to review what's being blocked just in case there are false positives. If results aren't what you want, consider augmenting this with an affordable, managed spam and anti-virus filtering service.
  • If your email domain (yourcompany.com) has a "catchall" account that receives all unknown emails you might consider turning that off. For example, someone sends an email to "a_guessed email@yourcompany.com" - if you have a catchall account it will forward even that junk to the catchall account.
  • Use an email client that supports spam filtering , I use Mozilla's Thunderbird (mozilla.com). It will import address books from Outlook. Also be sure to compliment your ISP's spam filtering with antispam software which tends to be more affordable the larger the company. If you start out with a fresh un-linkable and unpublished email address that is cloaked, you will be surprised how little spam you receive.
  • For those online purchases that require you to submit an email address: get yourself a free GMAIL or Yahoo mail account for just such purposes. If you keep your main email as protected as you can, your spam problems will stay very manageable.
  • Consider starting fresh with a new email address once you implement some of these changes.

For more details, Matt invites you to call him at 413-303-9167.


A Pause for Poetry

From Among the Slow Roots (Gap Mountain Press, Jaffrey, NH 03452) by Robin Boyd.



The season pushes against my ribs
like a shroud of old, wet snow.
The air is soaked with a gray so diffuse
nothing stands out.
It is a democracy of light
until a rare sun emerges.
Brash and adolescent, it crashes
across the landscape,
slicing the calm fields open
with color as alarming
as blood on a sheet.


Now is the time to think about
how the earth grows frosted
and solid under my feet,
veins of ice suffusing the earth,
growing downward
so that, until the thaw,
nothing enters, nothing leaves
and nothing returns.


I remember seeing pictures
of leather-skinned explorers,
dead 200 years in the Arctic ice,
brown as old potatoes.
They were Europeans,
arrogant and hard as the cold
that finally took them down,
and the air that embraced
them for centuries,
so dry, their bodies rejected
the kindness of decay.


Six weeks ago the Solstice came
and went so secretly
only the chickens knew
and begin to lay,
their genius bones and blood
molding the calcium domes
arching over and around
every new universe where
in the center of each,
one small sun burns.


Nathaniel Group, Inc. has received a $250,000 grant from the Clean Energy Development Fund through the Vermont Department of Public Service to build a working prototype of a Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) system for generating electricity from the sun. CPV technology represents a great leap forward in the efficiency of solar electricity generation. The demonstration project will be installed at Nathaniel's facility in Vergennes and should be producing power in the summer of 2009.

CPV technology uses lenses or reflectors to "concentrate" the sun's energy onto a photovoltaic solar cell. By concentrating the sun's energy to 500-suns, a one square centimeter solar cell will produce the same amount of electricity as 500 square centimeters without concentration. Generally, CPV requires about 1.5-2 times less module surface area relative to a traditional flat panel.

Nathaniel Group, Inc. is a design, engineering and manufacturing firm in Vergennes, Vermont with proven capabilities in high-end optics, medical equipment and electronics.


Want to Curb Global Warming? Start Recycling and Composting

Written by Shirley Siluk Gregory

Looking for ways beyond changing light bulbs and taking the train to help reduce your carbon footprint? Turns out we all could make a big difference in greenhouse gas emissions by not throwing out so much trash and composting our food waste.

That's the message from "Stop Trashing the Climate," a report prepared by The Institute for Local Self-Reliance, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and Eco-Cycle, a non-profit recycler. The study finds that waste prevention and increased recycling and composting could reduce as many greenhouse gas emissions as are produced by 21 percent of the U.S.'s 417 coal-fired power plants.

Why? There are two basic reasons. One, by trashing stuff instead of reusing or repairing it, we create the demand for new resources and extracting, manufacturing and transporting those resources generates carbon dioxide. And, two, by tossing biodegradable materials into landfills instead of composting them, we're creating emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas that is shorter-lived but 72 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

"Recycling is as important for climate stability as improving vehicle fuel efficiency, retrofitting lighting, planting trees and protecting forests," said Brenda Platt, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and lead author of the "Stop Trashing the Climate" report. "By avoiding landfill methane emissions, composting in particular is a vital tactic in the battle to stop Arctic ice melting. Biodegradable materials are a liability when buried and burned but an asset when composted."

The report asserts that "A zero waste approach based on preventing waste and expanding reuse, recycling and composting is one of the fastest, cheapest, and most effective strategies to protect the climate." It also notes that, per megawatt-hour, a trash incinerator produces more carbon dioxide emissions that a coal-fired power plant. Incinerators also waste three to five times as much energy as recycling helps to conserve.

"A zero waste approach is not only good news for climate stability, it's also good news for America's businesses and economy," said Eric Lombardi, a report co-author and director of the Boulder, Colorado-based Eco-Cycle.

"Stop Trashing the Climate" urges a local and national 20-year goal of zero waste. We can get there, the authors argue, by not subsidizing landfills and incinerators, putting an end to waste incineration, composting biodegradable materials and expanding the nationwide infrastructure for reuse, recycling and composting.


A Green Casino?

'Tis better to offset than not to offset, but we had to roll our eyes when we received word that Harrah's the world's" largest provider of branded casino entertainment" is now touting its commitment to environmental stewardship.

"We are continually looking for innovative environmentally sustainable practices to implement throughout our portfolio of 40 domestic properties," said Gary Loveman, chairman, CEO and president of Harrah's Entertainment. "Environmental stewardship is an important component of our Code of Commitment, the casino entertainment industry's preeminent declaration of corporate social responsibility."

Guests and employees will be able to purchase carbon offsets to support new renewable energy initiatives, such as farmer-owned wind turbines and family farm methane recovery projects. Harrah's plans to make carbon offsets available immediately for meetings, special events, and conventions. Ultimately, the program will be extended to its Total Rewards members and other segments of its customer base. Harrah carbon offsets are provided by NativeEnergy.

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