Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dardesheim, Tiny German Village Leads the World

Nearly 20 years ago visionary civic leaders of Dardesheim, a tiny German village located north of Switzerland, made a courageous decision. They decided to devote their community and personal resources in an all out effort to become, “Germany’s renewable energy city” and become 100% energy independent.

Back then, these civic leaders decided that their concentrated community effort would pay off not only in cheap electricity to power their homes and businesses and new jobs for their people, but also, possibly, in a monetary return to be realized by selling excess energy to other communities.

They were right.

Today, through a combination of wind, solar and biomass energy alternatives, Dardesheim is energy independent and produces enough power from wind turbines alone to “meet the needs of nearly all 80,000 resident of the surrounding county.”

“Proponents intend that the projects spread their economic benefits throughout the community. According to Heinrich Bartelt (one of the leaders behind the Dardesheim 100% renewable energy village concept) the community's investment in the project has become a development engine for the entire region. All the investment from the project stayed in the region, becoming the raw material for new local job creation. (Enercon a wind turbine manufacturer, in nearby Madgeburg, employs 3,000 and has become the largest industrial employer in the state of Sachsen-Anhalt.)"

Go here for more>>>

Elsewhere, the World Future Council and HafenCity University have established an International Commission on Cities and Climate change. The twenty members strive to identify best policies for sustainable urban development. Additionally, Munich, Boulder, Wildpoldsried, San Francisco, Barcelona, Woking, Sydney, and Copenhagen are engaged in becoming less dependent on fossil fuel.
Go here for more>>>

Finally, the European Union has about four years on the USA when comes to renewable energy. The Germans are leading their charge, too. They’ve transformed about 20% of their energy use into renewable energy, away from carbon-based fuels. The other European nations are expecting to reach the 20% renewable energy goal by 2020.

Jeremy Rifkin, principle architect of the European Union's Third Industrial Revolution long-term economic sustainability plan, and others, are working with cities, regions, and national governments to develop master plans to transition their economies into “post-carbon Third Industrial Revolution infrastructures”. In 2009, Rifkin and his team developed Third Industrial Revolution master plans for the cities of San Antonio, Texas and Rome, Italy, to transition their economies into the first post carbon urban areas in the world.

See my previous post. Go here>>>
Listen to Rifkin’s description of the “Third Industrial Revolution.” Go here>>

So, what are we waiting for? It’s time we put that often self-proclaimed American Ingenuity to work and establish our own centers of excellence at our universities and seriously encourage collaborative community-based renewable energy programs like the Germans have done!

It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

During President Teddy Roosevelt’s term, 1901-1909, Mark Twain wrote about the U.S. Army torturing Filipino insurgents and slaughtering civilians during the Philippine-American War. One torture the Army used was called the “water cure.” Our CIA used the same technique in Iraq and Afghanistan, But, it's now named “water boarding.”

“There have been lies, yes, but they were told in a good cause,” Twain wrote, ridiculing the government with his acidic satire. “We have been treacherous, but that was only in order that real good might come out of apparent evil.”

Not much has changed over the past 100 years. We are still telling lies, torturing people and denying it all. Oh, and we are still accusing people of betraying the USA, just as Twain was accused, because they are outing these repugnant offenses to humanity.

Candice Millard, "Looking for a Fight", review of Honor in the Dust, Theodore Roosevelt, War in the Philippines and the Rise and Fall of America’s Imperial Dream, by Gregg Jones, New York Times Book Review, pg 13, 19 Feb 2012. (“Déjà vu…” quote offered with apologizes to Yogi Berra.)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Please Lord, Open our Eyes to See; Our Ears to Hear; Our Hearts to Feeland Our Hands to Do

Springsteen has once again caught my fears and hopes... " been knocking on the door to the throne... good hearts turned to stone.... the road of good intentions has gone dry as a bone... ain't no help the calvary stayed home... no one's hearing the bugle blown... where are the hearts that run over with mercy... where's the promise from sea to sea to shining sea... we take care of our own... Why have we forgotten to help each other?

This nation that has it all.  But some where along the path we've forgotten there's much, much more to life than a pile of gold in the basement. Have we lost our soul? Did we really ever have one?