LAV in America's blog
Jay Shafer has been living in houses smaller than some people’s closets since 1997. "My decision to inhabit just 89 square feet arose from some concerns I had about the impact a larger house would have on the environment, and because I do not want to maintain a lot of unused or unusable space.
Rail car upon rail car travel on the track through town carrying coal for the coal-fired generating plant in Sheboygan. In town upon town similar trains are making the trip as coal supplies 50 per cent of electricity in the United States. (According to Environment Canada, 17 per cent of Canada's electricity comes from coal.)
While coal is the largest single source of fuel for the generation of electricity worldwide, it is also the largest worldwide source of carbon dioxide emissions. Coal fuels a great deal of electricity here in the midwest, yet its removal impacts workers and residents in places like West Virginia.
Robert F. Kennedy Jnr.Skyrocketing gas prices, mountaintop coal removal, global warming, it can all be a bit overwhelming. If you are a glass half empty kind of person, the future can seem a bit daunting. Fortunately, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is a glass half full kind of guy.
A senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, founder of Riverkeeper, an organization to clean up the Huson River, and president of Waterkeeper Alliance, Kennedy believes with a little ingenuity things can turn around. “We have some of the best energy resources in the world,” Kennedy told a late night talk show recently. “The midwest is the Saudi Arabia of wind. We have enough harvestable wind energy in North Dakota to power all of the electricity needs for the United States of America, even if everybody owns an electric car.”
He says there is enough solar power in 19 per cent of Arizona to power the energy needs of the whole country.
[img_assist|nid=656|title=Winona LaDuke, Founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project (WELRP)|desc=Winona LaDuke, Founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project (WELRP), is working for food and energy security in her Northern Minnesota community.|link=popup|align=left|width=168|height=239] Adopting the tenets of sustainability, WELRP is creating and implementing a local food and energy plan. The respected Native American activist and author encourages others to establish locally-centered economies to weather the storm of peak oil and foster a community they can be proud of.
"We want more choice than what kind of breakfast cereal to use and what kind of shampoo to buy," she says. "Making the future requires us to engage. It is the only way to having something sustainable."
Embracing the traditions of ricing, growing corn, and making maple syrup is key to food security for this Ojibwe community. The project brings generations together in the spirit that healthy foods support a healthy people.
LaDuke's community faces challenges—currently one-third have diabetes, there is high unemployment, it is the poorest region in their county, and there is a high youth arrest rate.
But the project is working to change those statistics while acknowledging: "Wealth is not just about money. Wealth is about quality of life."
Driving into the church parking lot for the Moms' group meeting, I was overcome by the site of all the mini-vans and big-assed SUVs. The vehicles had that Road Warrior sort of vibe, all menacing and devil may care. You'd think we were at a building site or an off-road rally with all of the horsepower parked in that lot. What exactly are these people lugging around the country anyway?