Lessons from an Energy Efficient Lifestyle

Thursday, 04 September 2008 06:31

By Steve Nicholson

 Scientists have confirmed that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the earth every 40 minutes to meet 100 percent of the entire world’s energy needs for a full year.

—Al Gore


We live off-the-grid, in the hills of Caroline, NY. We have a small, 820 watt photovoltaic array, and a tiny, 600 watt wind turbine. Our high performance windows, state-of-the-art insulation, and energy-efficient lights and appliances allow our family of four to lead a comfortable, yet extremely low-carbon, lifestyle. We gladly give solar home tours to demonstrate how it is possible to live with most modern conveniences using only renewable energy from the sun.

The United States uses 25 percent of the electricity produced on the planet and is responsible for 25 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas release, yet represents only five percent of the population. The average American uses 40 times as much energy as someone in a developing country. Sharing the planet with six billion inhabitants requires a different global sustainable energy strategy.

Read more: Lessons from an Energy Efficient Lifestyle

 

Real Food Real Values

Monday, 02 June 2008 08:55

By Joe Romano,
Marketing Manager

The future will be determined in part by happenings that it is impossible to foresee; it will also be influenced by trends that are now existent and observable … Those who are rooted in the depths that are eternal and unchangeable and who rely on unshakeable principles, face change full of courage, courage based on faith.

–Emily G. Balch (1867-1961) American economist and sociologist. 1946 winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, Genesis and the New Testament all represent change as a central life value.  Ancient Nordic myth, Japanese, African and Shamanic traditions and even cave paintings dating from as far back the Upper Paleolithic Era depict life as centering on change and transformation. Yet we struggle with it still.

This is natural. While we need to constantly transform, there are equal and counterbalancing forces that wish us to remain the same.  Think of an egg about to hatch.  There are forces in the egg that hold it together, that attempt to maintain its form and structure and identity as an egg.  At the same time powerful forces are at work to transform the egg into a chick. Depending on which forces win out, we are either left with an egg, or something that becomes not-an-egg and maybe even a chick, leading to both the chick’s next form and identity and a long cycle of transformations, death and even rebirth. 

Read more: Real Food Real Values

Patronage Refund: Another Way to Share

Thursday, 03 April 2008 16:04

By Art Godin, Councilmember and Treasurer

The creation of the cooperative as an economic model is generally attributed to a group of weavers in Rochdale, England who, in 1844, devised a set of cooperative business principles designed to raise them from their poverty. These principles, in slightly modified form, provide the underpinnings of cooperative organizations to this day. (They are printed on page 11 of each issue of GreenLeaf.)

Read more: Patronage Refund: Another Way to Share

 

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    co-op-bookWhat is a co-op? This seemingly straightforward question can elicit a wide range of responses, from visceral and intrinsic to completely organizational and economic. According to the International Cooperative Association, "A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons unite...

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