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I was cleaning out my storeroom the other day and came across another recycled solar device that I was fooling with a few years ago.  A one liter clear plastic bottle makes a good hot cap or cloche when you cut the bottom off it.  Plant a seedling, pop the bottomless clear cap over it, and you protect  the seedling from the cold.  It probably adds between 5 and 10 degrees F over the outside temperature by protecting the seedling from the wind and by capturing sunlight in a small, closed space.  My twist on this idea was to find different sizes of clear plastic bottles which could nest one inside the other making a double-glazed hot cap cloche.  A double-glazed hot cap cloche might be able to protect the seedlings even better, keeping that small, closed space even warmer than the outside air.

This afternoon, I planted two tomato seedlings in my garden using this device.  We'll see whether it works.

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More recycled solar?

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Mon Apr 13, 2015 at 07:13 PM PDT

Notes on Making Conflict Work

by gmoke

4/9/15
Harvard Law
Peter Coleman, Columbia

Making Conflict Work (http://www.makingconflictwork.com) book talk

Self assessment available at
http://www.makingconflictwork.com/...
30 minute set of questions

Not outcomes but patterns and relationships over time
Hierarchical power conflicts - over power differences
3 aspects of a situation in conflict: how important is this, are they with me or against me, are they more or less powerful than me (or equal)

these interact to create 7 situations - compassionate responsibility, partnership, cooperative dependence, command and control, enemy territory, unhappy tolerance, independence

basic mindsets:  benevolence, cooperation, support, dominance, competition, appeasement, autonomy
People tend to get stuck in the orientation which is most common in their experience

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More workable conflicts?

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Planted the first bed of peas in my garden today with some lettuce and spinach sharing the space and set up a solar coldframe in which I planted cucumber, kale and rocket salad seeds. A few more beet seeds are planted outside around the bottles which act as heat storage for the solar coldframe, green water filled plastic bottles to the North, clear water filled bottles to the South.  The water holds the solar heat into the night and modifies the temperature under the clear plastic bottle with its bottom cut off that sits in the center of the circle of recycled bottles.  

This little video on Recycled Solar explains how to make a three toned tuned solar cloche from recycled plastic bottles.  Been using the solar coldframe/cloche/hotcap for years.  Wish I could figure out how to embed the actual video in this dkos posting.

Poll

More solar gardening?

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Boston, MA, April 2, 2015--Helping to kick off Harvard’s first annual “Climate Week,” centenarian F. Gorham Brigham, Jr., and 97-year-old Del Markoff, Harvard Business School’s oldest living alumni, are calling on the school’s alumni, staff, faculty, and students to fulfill the HBS mission by being the leaders who will make a difference in the world—in this case, on the matter of climate change.  Brigham and Markoff are the last remaining members of HBS’s famed Class of 1939.

In recognition of their longevity and leadership on both business and social causes, Brigham and Markoff are being featured in an alumni-supported, full-page advertisement on the back of the April 6th edition of the student-run HBS campus newspaper, The Harbus.  The ad, in the form of a letter to the school (see below), suggests that HBS undertake a project to, among other objectives, “examine the true existence of global warming, if and how it creates weather change, and the associated impacts.”  The letter goes on to suggest five specific areas of research.

Not surprisingly, Brigham and Markoff are not the only HBS alumni, nor the only Harvard-affiliated dignitaries who are concerned about climate change.  Others include Harvard President Drew Faust, who has organized a Harvard Presidential Panel on Climate Change, to be held on April 13th.   Numerous other HBS alumni are also calling on the business school, led by Dean Nitin Nohria, to demonstrate more leadership on the issue by identifying and elucidating not only the notable risks, but also the great opportunities associated with climate change, and by applying HBS’ well-known case study methodology to climate change.  The many ongoing challenges and opportunities associated with climate change cut across all peoples, businesses, industries and countries.  

Poll

More consideration of climate change at business schools?

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Tuesday, March 31 I saw Andreas Kraemer, International Institute for Advanced Sustainability in Pottsdam, founder of the Ecological Institute of Berlin, and currently associated with Duke University, speak at both Harvard and MIT.  His subject was the German Energiewende, energy turnaround, energy tack (as in sailing), or energy transition, and also the title of a book published in 1980 (Energiewende by Von F. Krause, H. Bossel and K. F. Müller-Reissmann) 1980 which described how to power Germany without fossil fuels or nuclear, partially a response to the oil shocks of the 1970s, and probably the beginning of the nuclear phase-out.  Chernobyl in 1986 gave another shove in that direction and continues to do so as Chernobyl is still happening in Germany with radioactive contamination of soils, plants, animals, and Baltic Sea fish.

In 1990 the feedin tariff began but it was not started for solar.  It was originally intended to give displaced hydroelectric capacity in conservative Bavaria a market and a bill was passed in Parliament very quickly, supported by the Conservatives (Blacks) in consensus with the Greens and Reds as they all agreed on incentizing renewable, local energy production through a feedin tariff on utility bills.  Cross party consensus on this issue remains today.  This is not a subsidy but an incentive with the costs paid by the customers. The feedin tariff has a period of 20 years and some have been retired.

Solar began with the 1000 roofs project in 1991-1994.   There are 1.7 million solar roofs now although, currently, Spain and Portugal have faster solar growth rates than Germany. Renewables provide 27% of electricity, have created  80,000-100,000 new jobs directly in the industry, up to 300,000 if indirect jobs are added, and is contributing 40 billion euros per year to the German economy.  By producing energy domestically Germany has built a local industry, increased tax revenue and Social Security payments, and maintained a better balance of trade through import substitution.  During the recession that began in 2008, Germany had more economic stability and was even able to expand the renewable sector because steel for wind turbine towers was available at lower prices and financing was forthcoming.

Poll

More energy transitions like Germany's?

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Thu Mar 26, 2015 at 01:20 PM PDT

Getting to Net Zero: Cambridge, MA

by gmoke

For the past year, the Cambridge, MA city government has had a Getting to Net Zero Task Force studying the implications of a net zero energy building requirement.  They  finished the draft report on March 16, 2015 and will have an open forum to introduce the study to the public on Wednesday, April 8.

The Task Force defined net zero as "an annual balance of zero greenhouse gas emissions from building operations citywide, achieved through improved energy efficiency and carbon-free energy production," applying it to the net zero target at the community level (citywide).

Net zero new construction (at the building level as opposed to citywide) is defined as "developments that achieve net zero emissions from their operations, through energy efficient design, onsite renewable energy, renewable energy infrastructure such as district energy, and, if appropriate, the limited purchase of RECs [Renewable Energy Credits] and GHG [Greenhouse Gas] offsets."

The objectives for the proposed actions from 2015 to 2035 and beyond include

(a)  ...target of Net Zero Emissions for new construction: New buildings should achieve net zero beginning in 2020, starting with municipal buildings and phasing in the requirement for other building types between 2022-2030.
(b)  targeted improvements to existing buildings: The Building Energy Use and Disclosure Ordinance (BEUDO) will provide the information necessary to target energy retrofit activity, including, over the long term, the regulation of energy efficiency retrofits at time of renovation and/or sale of property.
(c)  proliferation of renewable energy: Increase renewable energy generation, beginning with requiring solar-ready new construction and support for community solar projects, evolving to a minimum requirement for onsite renewable energy generation.
(d)  coordinated communications and engagement: Support from residents and key stakeholders is imperative to the success of the initiative.
You can read the full report at http://www.cambridgema.gov/...
and access other information about the Task Force at http://www.cambridgema.gov/...
Poll

More net zero energy/net zero emissions standards?

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Wed Mar 04, 2015 at 04:52 PM PST

Urban Agriculture

by gmoke

Here's the text of a presentation I did today at Northeast Sustainable Energy Association's Building Energy conference.  This was the first time they addressed urban agriculture.

Everybody eats and it's primarily solar powered.  We are all solar powered through the food that we eat.  Officially, we produce between 95 and 100 quadrillion btu's of energy per year in the US, an amount that's remained steady for the last 15 years or so while the GDP has continued to increase.  However, we don't count any of the sunlight that powers photosynthesis on the crops we consume.  All that sunlight is "free" and not included.  A back of the envelope estimate is that there's at least 300 quadrillion btu's of sunlight required for the photosynthesis that grows our food.  Our world is solar powered, has always been solar powered, will always be solar powered until the sun dies out.  

Everybody eats and, by last count, 35% of all households in America, or 42 million households, are growing food at home or in a community garden, up 17% in the last five years.  Gardening for food tends to go up in times of economic distress.  Add those households which grow flowers or have a houseplant and I'd estimate about half of us garden.

Everybody eats, half of us garden, and everybody poops. In a fully functioning ecosystem "waste equals food."  Cities, neighborhoods, and buildings are all beginning to be seen and designed as metabolisms, taking in raw materials, processing them, and producing wastes which can then be used as a feedstock for other processes.  We are becoming biomimetic and learning from such fellow creatures as termites how to control heat and cold and humidity.  Termites also "garden" and keep livestock, one of the ways that the temperature and humidity remains constant within their mounds.  We are also learning how we can design ecological systems to process our own wastes safely into fertilizer and food.

Poll

More urban agriculture?

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Mon Feb 23, 2015 at 08:06 PM PST

Cities Scale: Boston Living with Water

by gmoke

Cities scale is where real climate change adaptation is taking place, now, whether or not we have national or international agreements on greenhouse gases.  Cities and regions have to deal with weather emergencies and, it turns out, preparing for weather emergencies and other natural disasters is very much like adapting to climate change.  The best of it can be climate mitigation, too.

One way cities are climbing the learning curve is by holding design competitions.  In Boston, the city, the Harbor Association, the Redevelopment Authority, and the Society of Architects are hosting the Boston Living with Water, an international call for design solutions that create a "more resilient, more sustainable, and more beautiful Boston adapted for end-of-the-century climate conditions and rising sea levels."  They will be announcing the finalist on Thursday, February 26 but you can vote on which of the 49 different plans you like until 12 pm (EST) on Wednesday, February 25 at http://www.bostonlivingwithwater.org/...

The contest is based upon the recent reports by the Harbor Association on sea level rise and the Building Resilience in Boston by the Green Ribbon Commission.  Supporting documentation also includes "Designing with Water: Creative Solutions from Around the Globe" which presents twelve case studies from around the world:
http://www.bostonlivingwithwater.org/...

World-wide networks and best practices case studies can be very helpful.

Poll

More cities scale design contests?

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Sun Feb 22, 2015 at 07:56 AM PST

Eradicating Child Homelessness in MA

by gmoke

Eradicating Child Homelessness in MA
http://www.eventbrite.com/...
Monday, March 2
9 – 5 PM
Lesley University, University Hall, 1815 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

Good on Lesley University, one of the other institutions of higher education in Cambridge, MA, for hosting this conference.

At the risk of being thought simplistic, I'd like to point out that Utah’s cut its homeless population considerably simply by giving people housing. LA and other cities are suing to use public health money to house the most at risk homeless on the basis that it reduces health care costs for the community.  MA should do the same.  How many empty buildings and how many unhoused people?

Eradicate child homelessness in Massachusetts?  Make damn sure everybody has access to a roof over their heads.  We know it can be done.

Poll

Eradicate homelessness in Massachusetts?

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Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 05:04 PM PST

Pollster Peter Hart at Harvard 2/3/15

by gmoke

Pollster Peter Hart spoke at Harvard's Shorenstein Center on February 3, 2015 to a small group of people in the regular Tuesday noon conversation.  He brought slides from the recent NBC/WallStreetJournal poll done just prior to state of the union

The major point was that the Michigan consumer index is well up over 85% and his own polling shows that people are more satisfied with the economy (45% to 55%) than they have been before.  The recovery is still not complete but people seem to be feeling better about their economic future.

Creating jobs, defeating ISIS, reducing the deficit are the top three issues, in different order, for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents but people, in general, hate the government and, in particular, loathe Congress.

Hart related how in one a focus group, a Republican woman, Jenny, said the politician she'd most like to spend an hour with is Elizabeth Warren.  She was mad at Boehner because he said everyone who needs a job has one.  As her husband has been out of work and looking for 18 months, she knows that's not true.  She also feels caught since she went back to school for more training and to advance in her job.  Now she has student loans that amount to about $1300 a month, nearly twice her monthly rent.

Poll

More reality polling?

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Fri Jan 09, 2015 at 08:26 PM PST

Intertribal Problems Stuck on Stupid

by gmoke

We are going into our fifth month of demonstrations and actions all over the USA about police violence and sanctioned summary judgment. Hearing, reading, seeing the news, it seems as if brutality, terror, and torture are breaking out worldwide, with beheadings and mass killings happening at, perhaps, a quickening rate. Violence meeting violence to make more violence, intertribal problems stuck on stupid, here and abroad.

Recently, I saw a DVD of “The Interrupters,” (http://interrupters.kartemquin.com) on an open cart in the library and I took it home. It’s a documentary about a group called Ceasefire which “interrupts” street violence between gangs and violent individuals in Chicago. CeaseFire’s founder, Gary Slutkin, is an epidemiologist who believes that violence spreads like an infectious disease and uses a “medical” treatment: “go after the most infected, and stop the infection at its source,” to stop it. One part of that treatment is the “Violence Interrupters” program, created by Tio Hardiman, a group of street-credible, mostly former offenders who defuse conflict before it becomes violence. They can speak from experience about consequences and how “no matter what the additional violence is not going to be helpful.”

About the same time, a friend wrote me about a radio interview (http://www.ttbook.org/...) with Constance Rice, a civil rights attorney and cousin to the former Secretary of State, who has trained 50 LA police officers over the last five years in “public trust policing” at Nickerson Gardens, an LA public housing project.

I picked up “The Interrupters” because I was wondering why we didn’t hear about this group in relation to what has been happening with the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamar Rice and others. I listened to the interview with Constance Rice for the same reason. Why haven’t I seen Ms Rice, Gary Slutkin, or Tio Hardiman on my TV screen and all over “social media”? They are doing some things which have proven to work in their own communities. How much of what they’ve done in Chicago and LA can apply to NYC and Boston and other places all around the world? Can they teach us all how to interrupt our own violence and to build a system of public trust policing? As Tio Hardiman says in the DVD: “We’ve been taught violence. Violence is learned behavior.” Can these people and the others like them teach us how to unlearn our violent behavior?

We’ll never know unless their voices are part of the conversation.

Poll

More people experienced in violence prevention on our screens?

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Mon Dec 22, 2014 at 12:40 PM PST

Generosity and Gratitude

by gmoke

I was watching the CBS Evening News on Friday, December 19, 2014 which finished with an "On the Road" segment, Steve Hartman continuing the beat that Charles Kuralt started.  This one was a follow-up to a story they did a week earlier about a secret Santa delegating policemen and women to help give away about a thousand hundred dollar bills, $100,000, to random strangers.

"'What do you want the officers to get out of this?' I [Hartman] asked him.
"Joy,' he answered. 'You know, as tough as they are they have hearts that are bigger than the world.'"

To the police "...secret Santa offered this gift:  the chance to be the bearer of good news for a change, a chance to really help the homeless, to thank the law abiders, to see hands up in celebration and then be assaulted in the best possible way.

"There were a lot of hugs. Our body cameras took a real beating, but it was worth it -- just to see people trust again and to see cops surrender."

The follow-up was that in the week since the story first aired, it had received 40 million views online around the world.
http://www.cbsnews.com/...

This story reminded me, again, of the power of giving and gratitude, gratitude and giving.

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More generosity and gratitude?

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