Category “Uncategorized”

ReweavingNC- Alternative Economies Conference (Sept 21, 2013)

Monday, 23 September, 2013


We  need a new Cosmology, fundamental change in the way we perceive and interact with the each other and the world, a proper ordering. (Thomas Berry)  We need to redefine the human at the species level.  If we can speak to our spiritual needs we can talk to anyone.

Natural Capital is the basis of all forms of capital (Lovins et al), We can achieve a factor 5 improvement in energy efficiency.

Follow the Energy(Money) Cycle, Ecological Flow

We lose Money out of our community through

1. Food

2. Energy

3. Capital(lending)

Community Supported Energy (CSE),

Our GOAL Campus uses a new Model for redevelopment, using Closed Loop Systems/Biomimicry and promoting Distributed Systems of energy production.  We value-add waste to fuel to transportation.

My Background

UNCW, Research on Industrial Chemistry and Natural Gas, interest in working for the petro-chemical industry, infiltrating and subverting the paradigm within.  Never got in.

Story of Carolina Biodiesel/Greenway Transit/GOAL model

Used slow money loans for cash, out of pocket, some bank credit

Tried to achieve a balanced approach to my life in activism and business

Promote our organizations and hybrid model as a stable base to engage and provide focus and continuity to University. University communities are centers for progressive, creative vision, youth activism and create a high demand for a green economy.  We need more tangible, local results to inspire, but also must plug into the need for activism and reforms locally and nationally.

Jacksons Solar Street Lights Project

I.                Participatory model

II.             Community Infrastructure model

III.          Can ride additional projects in on structure


Combining Social Justice with mission?

Often solutions that are inclusive of the broadest based needs tend to be most efficient and effective, Green Jobs training experience

Capital investment ideas for divestment?

Need to focus on self-sufficiency due to limited resources, capital can help achieve scale and replicate more rapidly.  Hybrid model strategy

Nicholas School open New Center for Sustainability and Commerce

Sunday, 14 October, 2012

Duke’s Nicholas School has added a long awaited and needed Center for Sustainability and Commerce (See, something to provide a balance to the less than stellar environmental achievements of the Fuqua School of Business.  Several Alumni, myself included, were privy to a hour plus long introduction by it’s new director Dr. Jay Golden, who has a joint position with the Pratt School of Engineering, taught at MIT in systems analysis and served as Walmart’s sustainability director for 3 years.  His lecture, Powerpoint driven, covered the trends in corporate sustainability, and was interesting.

The presentation’s scope was great, exhibiting the power of systems thinking and enlightening to the ground swell associated with certification systems.  But I felt it was missing some very key issues fundamental to research and an informed discussion on the role past, present and future of our economic system.  From our experience “working in the trenches” of fair trade for 20 years and 10 years in biofuels, these were my gripes:

1) Need for a Slide. There have been 4 great carbon epochs, and with each harnessing of carbon, population has grown exponentially, leveling off as those resources were depleted and substituted (Wes Jackson, the Land Institute);

2) Slide Missing. Population dynamics mimic a sine wave, and population has shot up dramatically in the last 200 years thanks to cheap energy, and the subsequent abundance in food. As any species population there are limits/constraints.  We are reaching many of those now as he showed, particularly in highly important rare Earth metals.  Peak cheap energy is here, and contraction and more likely a crash (maybe even a series of crashes) are inevitable;

3) Major Premise. Given the gigatons of carbon we are putting (and will likely continue to place) in the atmosphere, the geologic record shows that we are headed for chaotic and volatile climate disruption at best and extinction of half the planet’s species, including us;

4) Major Premise.  Very little about the future can be inferred from the past due to such dramatic changes that are occurring to our planet, the whole of our scientific knowledge has occurred during a short sub-period of climate stasis, the Holocene, we have little idea what is going to happen, but there is a high probability it won’t a be conducive to life as we know it;

5) Other Major Premise. Climate models used to project future conditions have been found to be highly conservative (e.g. evaporative rates, sea level rise and loss of arctic sea ice, to name few) and feedback loops (like methane) are just being discovered and modeled;

6) Premise. As history has shown, technology is duel-edged sword, salvation may not come in a phone app. or geo-engineering;

7) Major Externality. Because carbon and pollution are not priced, the price of everything is wrong, giving improper signals to the market, unless this is addressed immediately, all other efforts may have unintentional results or very little affect;

8) Fundamental Premise of “Free Markets” is the concept that we are “rational” players.  As Ariely’s work has shown, half our decision making may be irrational (Predictably Irrational) and we are perceptually challenged (particularly with regards to causality, the quantum mechanical world and systems integration), which begs the question that capitalism will properly allocate supply and demand of anything;

9) Major Premise. To use this Capitalist system, with it major market failures, and substitute a “sustainable” product for a non-sustainable product still does not solve the issue of through-put (See Herman Daly, Steady-State Economics), we can not consume at the rate we are going even if most our products become incrementally “more sustainable”;

9) Conclusion.  Thus, to think that a market-based system of sustainable certification is somehow going to “right the ship of capitalism” is a pipedream.

Realistically, most corporations in numerous ways have been undermining efforts to shift our economy away from fossil fuels, and regulate pollution and massive market failure. Many of those that have increased the sustainability component of their corporate structure have done so to “green wash,” provide only incremental change (not completely convinced of the problems we are facing, etc.) or have used the profits squeezed out of efficiencies to pad shareholder and executive pay.  Profits generated by energy efficiency, improved production efficiency, etc. are not being used to fix the damage that has already been done by this “free market” system, to rejuvenate degraded ecosystems or to lobby for changes that will level the playing field and improve the overall potential of the system, from which we have benefited.  Large structural problems are not being addressed and many of these efforts are primarily “lip-service,” or blatant hypocrisy.

I am fearful that The Center will simply be an apologist of a corporate capitalist system that is the engine  of our planet’s collapse,  and the source of much of the “dis-ease” that is rupturing forth.  Harboring and propagating these continued ideologies and views that have resulted in death and destruction on a massive order and are “crimes against humanity,” would not be a good strategy, at this time.  It would be better to promote at least on equal level an alternative economic worldview, a cosmology that reflects these historical and scientific truths; and provide an integral and moral keel, that redirects our business strategies from neo-liberal political economy and globalization, to one that emphasizes local, community based, resilient systems.  Desperately needed are the brightest minds and resources to design and shore up our local communities, so that we can reduce the impacts and the injustices of what are certainly headed our way.  With 600 ppm of carbon or 6 degrees of mean temperature increase, we will be suffering the repeated shocks perpetrated on us by a very small elite and a system that is completely broken.

It is high time for some moral leadership and vision.

Burying Nuke energy in the scrap heap of technology

Wednesday, 16 March, 2011

Hi Everyone,

I, as many of you probably have, am receiving lots of anti-nuclear emails.  And yes, this disaster warrants the opportunity to “pile on” while the opportunity exists.  The nuke industry and utilities have enormous power and even have convinced some environmental groups to promote nukes as an option to “reduce CO2″, as well as help developing and developed countries alike meet their growing energy needs and “lift folks out of poverty.”  Duke Energy was lying to the NC Utilities Commission just yesterday, begging for $287 million for pre-planning another nuke plant. The Obama Admin. has caved under pressure from this powerful lobby (as well as others).

There is no evidence that these nuke plants need to be built in this country any time soon, particularly with tax payer subsidy, when there are many alternative energy sources and “low hanging fruit” available.  Current nuke technology should never be used, as much as our bright engineers claim they have all the variables covered with redundancy and fail safe mechanisms. Those currently generating need to be decommissioned, as they end their useful life, or sooner, based on safety audits.  However, there are newer designs, generation IV reactors that hold some promise of being small, scalable, less dangerous and possibly useful for developing countries that have no alternative resources to meet their growing energy needs.  Research should continue on these systems.

Given dangerous climate disruption, it is likely that resulting severe economic disruption will drop demands for energy globally.  Equally, such dramatic shifts in weather may also cause horrendous storms, where winds and floods could impact reactor designs.  Importantly for us here in the southeast is the potential for severe drought, reducing water available for cooling of reactors.  This is what happened in Japan.  The combined earthquake and tsunami knocked their cooling system off line just long enough to allow overheating, explosions and subsequent meltdown.  This could happen with some systems here in the States, high impact, low probability risk.

The pile on to take nukes off the table is an opportunity, just as the BP oil spill was to reduce our fossil fuel dependence.  Sadly, nothing came of that horrendous event last summer.  Was this a failure of “we the addicted to oil” people, or the power of the fossil fuel industry over our leadership?  This event may be repeated.  Given the “out of sight, out of mind” insidious slow death by radiation exposure, the needed public reaction may be muted and fade easily, (like the interest in the march of liberty in the middle-east?).  Maybe we are over exposed to media hype and quickly tire of the sorrow and futility.

Burying nuclear power in the scrap heap of engineering technology may be a good idea, but it has to be placed in perspective of the hubris of humankind’s disconnection with our planet.  Sinking one more penny in outdated technology is one less penny that can be directed (of the limited pennies we have) in the alternative, green economy. We need to keep focus, which is getting money out of politics, getting a carbon tax, the ramp up of alternative energy and the stopping of one more ounce of burned fossil fuel.  Oh yeah, and getting our hearts right, critical…



Press Release: Department of Energy Awards The Forest Foundation and Triangle Clean Cities Coalition over $12 million in Green Jobs Funding

Friday, 30 July, 2010


1410 Cross St.

Durham, NC 27701

(919) 957-1500

FAX (919) 957-1502

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                               Contact: Marc Dreyfors

Department of Energy Awards The Forest Foundation and Triangle Clean Cities Coalition over $12 million in Green Jobs Funding

The Forest Foundation, Carolina Biofuels and Greenway Transit, in collaboration with Triangle J. Council of Governments, received close to $300,000 in funding for alternative fuel infrastructure, green transportation and green jobs initiatives here in the Triangle.

DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA (June 29, 2010)—The Forest Foundation (TFF), Inc. a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit based in east Durham has been awarded funding from the Department of Energy (See USDOE). as a part of the Carolinas Blue Skies and Green Jobs Initiative grant (See Triangle Council of Governments, TJCOG) Through it’s subcontractor, Carolina Biofuels and others, TFF will assist in improving the infrastructure for alternative fuel at seven sites within Triangle, four of which are retail pumps a part of the B100 Community Trail.

Read the rest of this entry »

Triangle Green Investment Circle

Thursday, 3 June, 2010

In an effort to promote greater investment and lending capital, The Forest Foundation and its Community Sustainable Energy project will be hosting monthly investment circle meetings, to pool ideas on how we as a community can do more to help jump start the local, green economy.

Focus will be on creating a pool of money that can be loaned or invested, with a certain rate of return, currently CDs are at 3%.  Matching that is feasible with relatively low risk.  an option should exist for folks to be able to pull out annually.  An investment or loan portfolio should be diverse and relatively risk free.  Simply investing in green energy index funds should yield 10% or better.  Goals would be to get a reasonable number of investors that would allow a consensus  system of governance.  Options could exist for active or passive investments.  Plenty of examples exist in other communities.

See Post:  “Triangle Green Fund:  A Sustainable Community Energy Project”

N’Orleans Risin’! Opportunity to help lift homes in flood devastated Lousiana

Monday, 25 January, 2010

Climate Change is certainly going to be a factor in the future of New Orleans, South Louisiana, the Gulf Coast and coastal communities around the world.  Increased water temperatures are already increasing storm intensity, the number of storms and the amount of water dropped per event.  Thermal expansion and sea level rise are already contributing to wetland and beach erosion, and the settling and loss of the wetlands has New Orleans already under sea level by 4-5ft in some areas.  Rates of wetland loss have been confirmed by aerial photographs reaching close to 10 miles per year in parts of the Delta. Read the rest of this entry »

The Post Copenhagen Apocalypse

Saturday, 19 December, 2009

Okay, it’s not that bad…well, yes it is. Read the rest of this entry »