Sustainability Announcements

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21 September 2010

Tuesday, 21 September 2010, 12:00noon-1:00pm ¤ on Kansas City Community Radio
Listen at KKFI-FM 90.1, or on web-streaming at

On Eco-Radio KC this week, host Reenie Carmack will interview Dr. Nancy Russell, MD on the topic of "Sick People Create a Sick Planet". Dr. Russell is a local wholistic internal medicine physician who treats the whole person by combining conventional and alternative modalities. They will be discussing her philosophy of health, and why "alternative medicine" is so vital in helping solve some of the current ecological and environmental problems facing our planet today. To learn more, read her article in this month's "EVOLVING" magazine - "Decrease Toxins to Improve Health", p. 7.

On Friday at 9:30am, listen as the Bioneers radio series presents "Don't Mourn, Organize: Power and Passion for Environmental Justice and Democracracy". Somewhere in a typical American city, a woman wakes up to the noxious odors of a nearby sewage treatment plant. Her daughter carries a rescue inhaler to school. Like hundreds of her neighbors, this woman is sick and tired of being sick and tired. Women and men from vulnerable communities everywhere are rising up to gain equal access to clean water and air, equal environmental enforcement and protection, and equitable land use and planning. Impassioned community organizers Mary Gonzales and Peggy Shepard show us all how successful environmental justice campaigns across the U.S. are raising the voices of people of color and low-income communities and creating a better world for everyone.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010, 6:00pm
Public Works Conference Rm., City Hall Ground Floor, 6th & Massachusetts St.

The agenda will include: the City ordinance against bicycles on sidewalks, bicycle parking downtown, a bicycle side-path on Iowa from 15th-to-Yale Streets, 7th Street bicycle bridge over Iowa St., and more. The Committee works to improve bicycle safety and awareness through education of motorists and non-motorists, develops bicycle plans and maps, and advises the City and County Commissions on bicycle priorities and needs. The agenda and information can be downloaded at Bicycle Advisory Comm | agendas & minutes.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010, 10:09 PM CDT

The Earth passes the point in our solar orbit where the northern hemisphere begins tilting away from the Sun, and Autumn begins. "The fool on the hill sees the Sun going down, but the eyes in his head sees the world spinning around". - John Lennon.


"The so-called French nuclear miracle embraced by some U.S. policymakers as a model for this nation is a misconception masking a pattern of fast-rising nuclear reactor construction costs and a crowding out of investments in renewable energy, such as wind, solar and hydro-electric power." This finding is from a new study by the Vermont Law School's Institute for Energy and the Environment - Policy Challenges of Nuclear Reactor Construction Crowding out Alternative Energy - pdf.

Study author Mark Cooper, the VLS Institute's senior research fellow for economic analysis, said: "The problems in the French nuclear industry are similar to the problems that have long afflicted the U.S. industry, so there it no reason to believe that things will change if the U.S. follows the French path. Nuclear power will remain a great burden on ratepayers, as has been the case throughout its history in both France and the U.S., and it will retard the development of lower-cost renewables alternatives, as it has done in France and portions of the U.S

Some of the report's key findings are:

  • The increasing complexity of nuclear reactors make standardization difficult, and the more recent, more complex technologies are more costly to construct.
  • Building larger reactors to achieve economies of scale causes construction times to increase,
    offsetting the cost savings of larger reactors.
  • The commitment to nuclear reactors in France and the U.S appears to have crowded out
    alternatives. The French track record on efficiency and renewables is extremely poor compared
    to similar European nations, as is that of the U.S.
  • In the U.S., state not interested in nuclear reactors have a better track record on efficiency and renewable and more aggressive plans for development of efficiency and renewables.
  • Such "no nuclear" states had ten times as much non-hydro renewable energy in their 1990 generation mix, set RPS goals for the next decade that are 50 percent higher, spent three times as much on efficiency in 2006, and saved over three times as much energy in the 1992-2006 period.
  • In both nations, nuclear reactors are substantially more costly than the alternatives.
More about the study can be read at Myth of Nuclear Miracle Crowds Out Renewables.

Weekly on Thursdays, 23 Sept. - 18 Nov. 2010, 6:00-9:00pm - $$$
Matt Ross Community Center, 8101 Marty St., Overland Park KS

This nine-session course is being offered by Steve Moring of the Kaw Permaculture Collaborative. If the registrant chooses, it can be combined with more extensive training leading to a Permaculture Design Certificate from the Kansas Permaculture Institute. The course consists of 48 hours of lecture, video and field work covering topics including food security, permaculture ethics, ecological principles, system design, sustainable soils, food production, earth works and construction of human habitats.

The first session is "Food Security and Energy Depletion" with a video "The Power of Community". The full course costs $240, or a $30.00 admission fee will be requested at the door. The fees will support both the K.P.C. and it's parent organization, Sustainability Action Network. For more information contact Steve Moring at 785-691-7305 or <>

Thursday, 23 September 2010, 7:00pm - FREE
Country Club Christian Church, 6101 Ward Parkway, Kansas City MO 64113

"To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival" - Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry is a longtime bioregionalist and wholistic thinker, whose life is fully consistent with his ethics. His poetry, fiction and essays embrace the earth with reverence, ponder the values of the good life, and celebrate the miracle of ordinary relationships. The author of more than 50 books, Berry taught at New York University and the University of Kentucky. He lives and farms in Kentucky. His honors and awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts.

The talk is co-sponsored by The Land Institute, a non-profit research, education, and policy organization dedicated to sustainable agriculture based on perennial grain crops. An exhibit entitled Art of the Prairie accompanies Berry’s appearance, featuring the works of regional artists Louis Copt, Dan Coburn, Phil Epp, Allan Chow, James Borger and Arlie Regier. The exhibit will be in the church’s first floor gallery beginning 9 September.


Over the past 150 years, atmospheric CO2 increase has been attributed to increased fossil fuel combustion, deforestation, and land use changes. To reduce atmospheric CO2 from its current level of 392 parts per million (ppm) down to a safe level of 350ppm, there are two main strategies: reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, and increase CO2 sequestration. But there has been a schizophrenic view of the role of biomass in finding solutions to climate change. Although it's true that biofuels offset fossil fuel CO2 emissions, biomass removed from the land releases sequestered CO2. It is becoming increasing clear that we can't have it both ways - Studies Deem Biofuels a Greenhouse Threat.

Because biofuels from crops like corn or soy have a minimal or negative energy return, attention has been directed toward biofuels from crop waste (stalks). But agronomists point out that global soils hold twice as much CO2 as does global vegetation - crops, grasslands, forests, etc. - Carbon Sequestration in Soils. So if crop waste is removed, it is not stored in the soil, plus soil fertility drops with the drop of soil organic matter.

Similarly, forest biomass is being promoted as a "renewable" energy source. On 23 August 2010, Sen. Bond hosted a discussion of biomass as a source of clean energy and a boost to the state economy. "Just like corn and soybeans, trees and grasses are a biofuel waiting to be developed in Missouri." Bond encouraged state and local elected leaders, and business owners to support tax incentives to encourage the use of wood waste and other biomass products - Sen. Bond touts forest biomass energy at MU roundtable. But when woody biomass is removed, the CO2 in the trees is released, and any biomass renewal will take decades to recapture that lost CO2.

There currently are as many as six large wood burning electric generating facilities being planned in Missouri, leading to an unprecedented new demand on forests - "Liberty Green Renewables" in Perryville (400,000 tons annual), "Viburnum Eco-Devo Corp." in Viburnum (325,000 ton annual), "ProEnergy" in Salem (325,000 ton annual), "University of Missouri" at Columbia (100,000 tons annual), "Springfield City Utilities" (100,000 tons annual), and "Fort Leonard Wood" in Rolla (tonnage being studied). Generating electricity by burning wood is the least efficient use, converting only 25% of caloric energy. The potential 1.5 million tons annual use would produce only 125MW. Compare this to the fourteen wind farms in Iowa that generate over 150MW each.

A far better use of forests is for agroforesty, for nut crops, riparian buffers, inter-planting with berry crops, and silvopasture (adding 25% tree coverage to pasture land). This can be very productive economic development sustained over time (rather than just burning up the resource). The Center for Agroforestry: University of Missouri promotes and funds a wide range of such programs through their Horticulture & Agroforestry Research Center. Unfortunately, because such institutions at the University of Missouri are largely funded by heavy hitters in St. Louis like Anheuser-Busch and Monsanto, the Center also promotes woody biomass for bioenergy. Their MU Agroforestry Center 2009 Annual Report has a "spotlight" article on page 18 titled "UMCA Looks to Future With Biofuels", in which they explore the "fuel chip" technology and distribution for the very type of woody biomass electric generation facilities mentioned above.

It appears that sustainable agriculturists and permaculturalists are in a struggle with the exploitative economic development folks over the fate of Missouri forests and Missouri energy policy. It seems it will replicate the struggle over wind energy vs. coal energy in Kansas.

Thursday-Saturday, 23-25 September 2010, 8:00am-3:00pm (til 4:00 on Sat.)
1420 E 11th Street, Lawrence KS (east of 11th and Haskell, over the tracks)

The material is composted from leaves, grass clippings, and prunings collected by the City. Quantities are restricted to pick-ups and small trailers for residential use, not commercial use. Cost is $10 per load if loaded by tractor, or free if self-loaded by hand. For more info, contact the Waste Reduction and Recycling Division at 832-3030 or visit The City certifies that the material has been tested for the herbicide, chlorpyralid, which has a potency measured in parts per billion. Nevertheless, because it is impossible to test every cubic food of the compost, it is advised to use it only on ornamental plants and NOT food plants.

Friday-Sunday, 24-26 September 2010 - $$
2440 East Waterwell Rd., Salina KS 67401

Wendell Berry will be the keynote speaker at this year's Prairie Festival, but there is a great lineup beyond him. Some other presenters will include: ecologist Sandra Steingraber, Seed Savers Exchange co-founder Kent Whealy, and economist Josh Farley. The festival is an annual mecca for some of the best thinkers and doers on sustainable agriculture, economics, and energy policy. For more info and registration go to The Land Institute - 2010 Prairie Festival.

Saturday-Saturday, 25 September-9 October 2010 - $$$$
Wildscape Acres, Bonham TX 75418, (828)669-7632

Patricia Allison is the lead instructor, along with Dylan Ryals-Hamilton and Mateo Ryall. Ms. Allison is a member of Earthhaven Ecovillage in North Carolina, and has taught permaculture design courses since 1994. Information on the Permaculture Design Course, including an extensive curriculum can be viewed at Permaculture Design Course - Allison. A Dallas-Fort Worth internet radio station, Enlumnia Radio, has an hour-long interview with Ms. Allison - Patricia Allison interview on Sustainable Planet. At about 14 minutes into it, she begins describing permaculture design.

The course will be held at Wildscape Acres which has it's own permaculture design in process. Completion of the course will result in a Permaculture Design Certificate. To register, call Melissa at (828)669-7632, or e-mail <>.

Friday, 1 October 2010, 6:00pm - $$
Liberty Hall, 642 Massachusetts St., Lawrence KS 66044

This is a fun and informative event sponsored by the farms that grow food within the North East Kansas region of twelve counties, and locally owned businesses that support them. There will be presentations about various local school gardens, and proceeds will go to support those programs. There also will be local food samplings, children's activities, and a screening of What's on Your Plate?. Watch the Whats On Your Plate? trailer here. For more info go to Our Local Food-Kaw River Valley.

Friday, 1 October 2010, 7:00pm
ECM Center, 1204 Oread Ave., Lawrence KS 66044 (one block from K.U.)

This forum is being sponsored by the Kansas Sierra Club, Wakarusa Chapter, and will highlight the political races, candidates, and noteworthy issues to be addressed by the Kansas Legislature in their upcoming session. The public is welcome.

Saturday-Sunday, 2-3 October 2010, 10:00am-6:00pm - $$
self-guided tour of 22 participating farms

This annual tour of sustainably run farms covers a broad range from a bee apiary to a bison ranch to school-based CSA/gardens to orchards to wineries to market farms and goat dairies. The common thread is that these operations all are local-regional food suppliers, are as ecologically sustainable as farms can get, and acre-for-acre their specialty crops contribute more significantly to the local economy than do commodity mono-culture crops. More info at Kaw Valley Farm Tour 2009

Sunday, 10 October 2010
your community, the inspiration of Bill McKibben, has launched 10/10/10, a major campaign of grassroots action on climate disruption. On 10 October 2010, they are asking communities world wide to plan some tangible and real action locally that will contribute to reversing CO2 emissions, global temperature rises, and the 480ppm atmospheric concentration of CO2. These solutions could be planting trees or community gardens, installing solar collectors or wind turbines, holding bicycle workshops, etc. They have some suggested Ideas For Your 10/10 Work Party. At present, some local actions range from building community gardens in Kansas City, to Lawrence events of a farm day at Mellowfields Urban Farm and a film screening at the ECM. We'll report more events as they are announced.

Tuesday-Wednesday, 12-13 October 2010 - $$$
Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center, Wichita KS

Even though the name change seems to imply the "all of the above" energy policy of BP (coal, nuclear, oil, wind, solar, natural gas), the program seems to focus on wind, solar and efficiency as in the past. But program details are scarce, and a list of speakers is not yet available. Will it be worth traveling to Whichita? Stay tuned - Kansas Energy Conference 2010

Friday-Sunday, 15-17 October 2010 - $$$
San Rafael CA

The Bioneers are social and scientific innovators who develop solutions that mimic nature's operating systems. They are visionaries who, in their own communities, are creating a healthy, diverse, equitable and beautiful world. With phenomenal effectiveness, the Bioneers reach tens-of-thousands of people at their conference and simultaneous satellite conferences, through their year-round radio show, by their professional intensive seminars, in their Eco Schools program, and by their Democracy School training. There are dozens of simultaneous regional conferences with speakers and workshops and major speakers beamed live from the San Rafael conference - Bioneers beaming to regional conferences.

The conference lineup matches prior years quality with presenters such as: Jane Goodall, Peter Warshall, Jessy Tolkan, James Hansen, Mallika Dutt, John A Powell, and more. A particularly notable session will be "The Buckminster Fuller Challenge: Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science". The Challenge awards a $10,000 prize for whole-systems solutions to global crises, and finalists will present their proposals. For conference info, schedule, and registration go to the 2010 Bioneers Conference.

Revolution From the Heart of Nature
It's all alive; it's all connected; it's all intelligent; it's all relatives

The SUSTAINABILITY ACTION NETWORK, Inc. is a Kansas not-for-profit organization. DONATIONS ARE APPRECIATED, and checks can be mailed to P.O.Box 1064, Lawrence KS 66044. Our mission is to advocate and organize societal scale action to address sustainability issues. The triple crises of Energy-Ecology-Economy are building so rapidly that large scale action is needed immediately and methodically to overcome institutional barriers and advance public policy that preserves ecological sustainability. Our focus is to build a relocalized economy-ecology in concert with the Transition Town movement occurring in many other communities. To join the Sustainability Action Network please contact us at <>

Our current projects include:
1) Transition Kaw Valley - initiating transition to a relocalized post-carbon economy, and municipal level Peak Oil response planning.
2) Kaw Permaculture Collaborative - developing skills and resources for poly-cropping sustainable food production.
3) Energy Conservation & Renewables - advancing a green economy through decentralized technologies and regulations, for conservation and renewable energy.
4) Land Consortium - organizing interested stakeholders to acquire prime farmland in the urban fringe for land-based economic development and regional food security.
5) Water Rights and Watersheds - protecting the water commons, the source of all life, from privatization and contamination, and restoring our watersheds.
6) Electric & Human Powered Vehicles - promoting neighborhood electric vehicles and utility tricycles, including infrastructure and pro-active regulations.
7) Weekly Sustainability Announcements - informing and encouraging others to become active in the Sustainability Action Network, or other action driven groups.
8) Collaboration with sister organizations - such as: The Light Center eco-village; Kaw Valley Food System farm-based economic development; Citizens for Responsible Planning; Films for Action; Kansas River Valley Growers fighting for local water rights; national efforts by the Sustainable Energy Network; KC Metro groups like the Kansas City Food Circle and the All Species Project, etc.

We welcome suggestions for items to be included. Please send items to <>

To subscribe to this list, please send an e-mail to <> with the subject line reading “subscribe to Sustainability Announcements”.

If you do not care to continue on this announcements list, please respond "unsubscribe to Sustainability Announcements" at <>

NILES GARDEN MARKET - Tuesday Evenings - 4-7pm - KCMO

ALERTS! 23rd is now back to being a two-way street.

I need help. I have been personally pressing too hard at Niles Garden with not enough help to keep it in the shape it needs to be for visitors. Seems like i'm only working on the vegetable beds. The paths, the nature areas, the fence line, the compost area, and planing have taken a back seat. Last year i had about five groups of volunteers. This year i have had one group. I have had some good individual help but not enough to make it the model for organic no till gardens that it could be.

If you can help please let me know and we'll schedule in some time.


Marty Kraft 816-333-5663

Know anyone who works near downtown? Please let them know.

Niles Garden Market
4pm To 7pm
(close to Garfield Ave)
Kansas City, Missouri

  • Niles Garden is an educational and peaceful garden next to Niles Home for Children. We use organic no-till practices on our beds but don't claim certification.

  • We hope to be a model for beginning gardeners to learn sustainable urban agricultural techniques. Our market benefits Niles and the kids who work the garden.

  • Some of our garden practices can be seen at
see also

~~ Friend us in FACEBOOK!

Come to our market Tuesday afternoons from 4 to 6:30 at Niles Home for Children, 1911 E 23rd Street.

We have okra, Anaheim and bell peppers, Chinese noodle beans, kale, Thai basil

Here is some information on our garden followed by some general information on
Niles Home for Children. We would love to have some volunteer help. In addition to our current garden we are also trying to restore an additional third acre plot that was a parking lot. I hope this information helps.


Marty Kraft 816-333-5663

Sustainability Aspects of Niles Garden

At Niles Home for Children

Organic Niles garden, while not certified organic we try to follow the requirements for an organic garden. Organic means that we use remedies for controlling pests that are much less harmful to the environment and less harmful to the people who eat our produce. We use substances like Bacillus thuragensis which is a bacteria that eats worms that eat plants or diatomatious earth, the silica shells of ancient diatoms whose razor sharp edges slice into the insects bodies and dry them out.

No-Till Beds It is said that a third of the world’s carbon could reside in the soil. The soil is a huge carbon sink that could hold the carbon from much of the carbon dioxide that is currently in the atmosphere causing global warming. Bynottilling we prevent the soil bacteria from eating carbon rich substances like glomalin and releasing CO2. We also add glomalin producing micorizzal fungi to the roots of plants that form associations with these fungi.

Honoring the Real Gardeners In a handful of soil there are more organisms that there are people on earth. Through the interaction of these billions of “workers” soil is created and made healthy for plants. We must study the ecology of the soil in order to maximize the efforts of these tiny helpers. It behooves us to understand soil ecology and build and maintain healthy soil.

Nature Areas We have a large understory area where native plants are being reintroduced so our residents, staff and visitors can see natural ecosystems in action. We also have a prairie plant area that attracts butterflies and beneficial insects including pollinators that help our garden plants reproduce.

Solar Waterfall Although our pond is not a natural feature the attractive waterfall is powered by a solar panel atop our outdoor classroom gazebo. The panel demonstrates that power can be generated from sunlight, avoiding the use of fossil fuels.

Watering system Our watering system minimizes the use of water for growing food. We use a thick straw mulch that holds the moisture in the soil while creating a rich environment for our soil organisms to operate. We also use drip tape that lets water seep out under the mulch where it won’t evaporate into the air.

Food in a Food Desert Niles Home for Children is located in what has been called a food desert. In order to find fresh and nutritious food on sale, nearby residents must travel at least two miles. You can get liquor five blocks away. A high percentage of our neighbors must rely on public transportation so it is just not practical to shop where good food is available. To that end we have been offering a Tuesday afternoon market from 4 to 7 PM on our lawn at 1911 E 23rd Street.

We Demonstrate and Teach Sustainable Skills and Values Our residents, staff, volunteers and visitors get to see a working garden that produces food for the community passing on skills and knowledge that makes us all more secure. Niles Home for Children, through our garden, offers volunteer opportunities, tours, workshops and internships to people in the larger community as well as to our youthful residents. See videos of our garden at Please let others know about us.

Marty Kraft 816-333-5663


Niles Home for Children is a licensed, accredited day and residential treatment facility located in the urban core of Kansas City, MO. Its 127-year history of caring for troubled and at-risk children began in 1833 when an African-American bricklayer named Samuel Eason opened his heart and his home to orphaned neighborhood children. Over the years, Niles has evolved from an informal orphanage to a formal treatment program for children and youth suffering from mental and emotional illness, but the concept of “Home” is still central to what we do. Today, Niles serves about 150 youth annually, in three programs:

· Safe, intensive Residential Treatment for children in severe crisis;

· Day Treatment/Alternative Education for children whose disruptive behavior keeps them from succeeding in conventional classrooms;

· Substance Abuse prevention or treatment, depending on previous use.

The children in Residential Treatment, ages 7-17, suffer from acute depression, bi-polar disorder, PTSD and other mental and emotional illnesses. Most often, they have been profoundly traumatized by abuse, neglect or abandonment, and many of them have been removed from their homes by the State for their own safety.WithNiles’ multi-layered therapy and low staff-to-resident ratio, they can usually be released to a less restrictive environment in 3-12 months.

The Day Treatment children attend Niles Prep Behavior Management School in grades K-12. Typically, these youth are referred to Niles by public and charter schools because of their very disruptive behavior. Upon arrival, they are typically performing 2+ years below grade level, so academic remediation and integrated therapy in a supportive environment are both essential to success.

All these high-risk children are tested for substance use when they arrive and are assigned to either the prevention or the treatment program. All of Niles’ skilled and caring professionals work together to achieve the agency’s mission “to meet the mental health and educational needs of high-risk children and their families, empowering them to become confident and contributing citizens.”


see also