Shameless birthday fundraising plug

Transition Voice Publisher Erik Curren.

Today is Transition Voice publisher Erik Curren's birthday. I thought that was reason enough to make one of our occasional plugs for donations to help support the work at Transition Voice. Talk about one of the hardest working guys in the news business. In spite of the fact that Erik has already entered the new economy, holding down five different jobs simultaneously — he's a web designer, … [Read more...]

Snug and smug with solar power: keeping on the sunny side of the storms

Solar House

So hate me. All around me, millions of people are losing electric power as trees and other inappropriate objects crash down on powerlines. It doesn’t matter anymore what storm it is. At least three recent storms of apocalyptic dimensions have slammed into the east coast, and more record-breaking ferocity is being predicted. Traffic lights don’t work. Stores can’t process credit and debit … [Read more...]

Clean power for all (Offer not available in some areas)

electric storm

A year ago I would've loved the optimistic and can-do tone of Power from the People: How to Organize, Finance, and Launch Local Energy Projects. The book is not only inspiring. It's also realistic. While all too many solar panel and wind turbine buffs are Polyannas who promise that America can enjoy decades of economic growth in the future if only we'd dump dirty energy for solar and wind, … [Read more...]

A solar flair


Nietzsche said that we were all Hyperboreans. I’d say that if our culture were any more alienated from Nature, he’d have been better advised to call us all extraterrestrials. We are, frankly, so removed from Nature that it’s hard to take seriously our claim to be a vital part of the planet. More worrisome is the fact that most people don’t even recognize the alienation. If asked, they tell you … [Read more...]

Germany swaps nuclear for solar and wind power

anti nuke protest in Germany

In response to the Fukushima meltdown — which did $50 billion in damage to Japan’s economy — Germany aims to close all its reactors by 2022. Germany, the world’s most aggressive adopter of renewable energy, is taking a bold leap toward a future free from nuclear energy. In March, the German government announced a program to invest 200 billion euros, or approximately $270 billion, in renewables. … [Read more...]

Historic preservation vs. clean energy

historic facade in Louisville

After years of enduring energy-wasting apartments in various big cities -- Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, DC -- I feel blessed to be able to inhabit my own house in a very cute, well preserved small city in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Apartment living, with its drafty windows, walls and ceilings free of any shred of insulation, and shared utility bills split equally among tenants … [Read more...]

No more excuse to wait on going solar

solar panel on kitchen mitt

Even before I began working with a company that develops solar energy projects, I was fascinated by solar panels. Though I had lots of science toys as a kid, I always wanted a kit to build my own solar panel, but somehow I never got one. And as I got interested in the environment and energy in college and grad school, I vowed that someday I'd "go solar" myself. But getting my first job -- and … [Read more...]

Solar panels face cloudy views

Solar Installation

After months of wrestling with the local County Building Department about permits and codes, excruciating financial gymnastics and down and dirty back-breaking spadework, we finally got our solar installation up. It’s a massive 3 kw (stc) photovoltaic pole mount. We feel like we created the best of two worlds, too, since we live way back in the woods while, at the same time, we're generating a … [Read more...]

Occupying science: technology for the 99 percent


Even to save the planet from climate change or to save the economy from the end of cheap oil, you can't stop the march of technological progress, we're often told. Whether it's the personal car, industrial farming or nuclear power, once the genie's out of the bottle, you just can't squeeze him back in. And anyway, we're also told, even the most dangerous technologies are morally neutral. They … [Read more...]

#13: Putting technology in its place


Sure, we publish exclusively on the Inter-webs. We use Facebook and Twitter and we feel guilty for not doing more with Google+ yet. And we see that technology can be useful, within limits. But we also don't worship the golden calf of the techno-fix. This causes us no end of spats with our friends. For example, friends with mainstream environmental groups who promote the green economy. Sure, … [Read more...]