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Monday, September 15, 2014

Florida Makes Off-Grid Living Illegal – Mandates All Homes Must Be Connected To An Electricity Grid

Thanks to Barbara Seely for sending this story which we find very disconcerting.  Why would a state mandate a grid connection?  Whose interest (not the consumer, obviously) are they protecting?  Is the grid buying security through campaign contributions? 

We will do a radio show on this, but look forward to your comments and any insight you may offer us.

"It’s no secret that an opposition to sustainable living exists. Earlier this year, Texas state brought several SWAT teams to a sustainable community and threatened to shut it down. Each one of the community members were initially handcuffed at gunpoint. It was called “The Garden of Eden Community,” and was totally self sustainable. You can read more about that here.
This time, it’s Robin Speronis that’s come under fire. She lives off the grid in Florida, completely independent of the city’s water and electric system. A few weeks ago, officials ruled her off-grid home illegal. Officials cited the International Property Maintenance Code, which mandates that homes be connected to an electricity grid and a running water source. That’s just like saying our dependency on corporations isn’t even a choice. The battle to live without most utilities has been ongoing for Robin, the self-sufficient woman has lived for more than a year and a half using solar energy, a propane camping stove and rain water.
In the end, she was found not guilty of not having a proper sewer or electrical system; but was guilty of not being hooked up to an approved water supply.
So what exactly is off grid living?
“It means living independently, mainly living independently of the utility companies. Providing your own power. It does not mean living in the stone age, it’s not about bush craft. It’s about generating your own power, your own water, dealing with your own waste. Probably as part of a community, not living on your own like a hermit. It’s also about being more self-reliant and being less dependent on the system. Perhaps realizing that the system isn’t really protecting us anymore and we have to look after ourselves.” - George Noory
Our potential as a human race is quite extraordinary, we just don’t realize it. Sustainable living is not about giving up a certain lifestyle, can still have all the modern amenities, design and beyond. Living off the grid wouldn’t be a problem, we have technologies that can generate over-unity power, we have technologies that can provide unlimited amounts of clean energy. I’m talking about free energy, which goes far beyond solar energy. We can have neighborhoods exactly like we do today, even better. They would be totally green, off the grid and self-sufficient.
The only problem with off the grid living is that corporations lose their ability to control others. With a completely self-sustaining life style, no body would ever have to work. What would happen then? Think about that for a moment. We would be free to expand and create, to discover our full potential as a race and move forward into the world of exploration and discovery, all the while living in harmony with nature, not against it.
We’ve accepted the monetary system, and deem it necessary for the proper function of society. Money doesn’t ever have to come in the way of necessity, we’ve just been made to believe that it does. It’s time for the human race to move past the concepts of competition and greed into one that benefits the whole.
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozled has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” - Carl Sagan
 The human race does not need to be dependent on these corporations. While we continue to feed this dependency, the planet continues to suffer. In order to move forward, we must start cooperating with each other, and realize just how much potential we have to create something magical and amazing. Bottom line, anybody who has the desire to live off-grid should not be hassled for it, it should be a free choice."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

From our friends, Mrs. Green's World.

In addition to Renewable Now, of course, this is a very good show to listen to weekly.   Here's their latest update.

I've been interviewed there before and look forward to going back.   Let us know what you think:

Foodies for Thought
Would it immediately grab your interest if I started this newsletter with a fun YouTube video of me doing cartwheels and jumping up and down and clicking my heels together AND looking you straight in the eye to get your attention? And if I looked you straight in the eye and said, "You have got to listen to these super inspiring food shows. The guests and the content are that great. You will learn such amazing stuff and have fun learning. Pinky swear." Let me know your thoughts about a video like that, but in the meantime...
First case in point - Meet Paul Novak, General Manager, WholeVine. This cutting edge company is taking POMACE (skins and seeds remaining after grapes are pressed for wine production) and making an entire line of FINE culinary products from them. Such as? Delicious, kids-want-to-eat-them whole grain, gluten free cookies; cold-pressed culinary grape seed oils with names like Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc; and - drum roll please - SIXTEEN Chef-tested natural flours made from world class sustainably grown California fine wine grapes. The gluten-free flour is made from antioxidant-rich fine wine grape skins and seeds - both of which used to go to the compost pile. How did this all get started by one of the owners of Kendall-Jackson? To support a charity event maybe? This show will air this Saturday at noon and yes, I do believe you want to join us.
Second case in point - Can you imagine 81 fruit trees on a third of an acre of land in the middle of one of the largest cities in America? Do you know what a food mile is and how many miles your tomato probably traveled from farm to your plate? Do you want to know? Are you interested in a free webinar that will teach you how to grow your own food with limited time and space? Do you want to meet and learn about Greg Peterson - the Über Urban Gardener? Probably.
Trust me when I say you want to listen to our shows because of the great guests, the great things you will learn from them and the fun you will have learning!
Here are the links to our great past shows!

Laurie Davies Adams - 8/16
Time to Bee Smart
What are pollinators and why do they matter? 
What are the facts around the seriousness of the disappearing bees? What is colony collapse disorder and and why does it happen? 
Bee smart and click here to listen.
Frank Sesno - 8/23
Masterminding a Green Revolution
Want to engage young people to help move the planet forward? Did you know that 880 million people are already food insecure? Ever hear of mushroom packing instead of Styrofoam peanuts?
 Join the movement & join the show.
Alex Fried - 8/30
Trash Talk
What's the plan for college campus waste? What does a zero waste campus look like? What is planned obsolescence & why should we REALLY care? What is the fundamentally broken pattern of consumption? Listen & learn what you can do.

Greg Peterson - 9/6
Über Urban Gardener 
What does 81 fruit trees on a third of an acre look like? Do you know what a food mile is and how many miles your tomato probably traveled from farm to your plate? Do you want to know? If you've thought about gardening, click here. 

  You + Me = Power to the Planet
Are you ready to push the boundaries so more and more people will be engaged with our mission of moving our planet from grave danger to healthy and healing? It's time. Be a change agent. Become a member now.
Don't have time to listen now?
Get our amazing FREE App
Listening to our amazing shows is VERY EASY. Smart phone? Go to Play store, put Iglu Radio in the search bar and press install! iPhone or iPad? Go the APP Store, search for Iglu Radio and install. They are free of course! Five shows already up at press time and counting! I really hope you will download this app and let us know what you think. The Food Series shows are OUTSTANDING!

September 13
Ingenuity is Ripe in the Vineyards
Paul Novak, WholeVine General Manager
Cold-pressed oils, gluten-free cookies, 16 flours and whole grain cookies made from grapes "scraps" once tossed in the landfill?  Yes. WholeVine offers an entire line of culinary products produced solely from pomace (skins and seeds remaining after grapes are pressed for wine production), a delicious example of full cycle sustainability I discovered at the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Cooking for Solutions Institute this past spring.  I knew I had to share this incredible story with the Mrs. Green's World tribe and so I shall. Please join us.  This show sponsored by Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona
September 20
Taking Care of Business, People and the Planet
Yalmaz Siddiqui, Senior Director of Environmental Strategy, Office Depot
Office Depot's three environmental aspirations are to "Buy Green," "Be Green" and "Sell Green." How are they doing? They have achieved the widest green product assortment in the office products industry. They have reduced their electricity use by over 20% and have saved at least 21,000 tons of waste from landfills. And they have helped thousands of customers reduce the environmental impact of their businesses. After I heard Mr. Siddiqui present at a higher education sustainability conference, I concluded Office Depot is taking big steps and making a big impact. Join us to decide what you think.  This show sponsored by Chapman Tucson.
September 27
From Boat Deck to Dinner Table
Tj Tate, Director of Sustainability, Gulf Wild
Is that genuine American Red Snapper you just ordered? Do you know where your Grouper is from? Do you know who harvested your fish and from where in the Gulf of Mexico, and at what port your fish landed? Trust me when I say Tj Tate does. And she knows her fishermen - she believes Gulf Wild is making an impact in conservation efforts from the boat deck to the dinner table. Be prepared to be informed and entertained. This show is sponsored by The Fairfax Companies.
October 4
Paying it Forward
Olivia and Carter Ries, One More Generation
Kids do care about the future. Here's proof. One More Generation (OMG) was founded by two elementary students in Fayetteville, GA.  Carter (now 13) and his sister Olivia (now 11.5) are extremely passionate about animals and conservation and vowed to do something about it.  Their pet project?  They have been adopting Cheetahs in South Africa over the past few years - ever since they heard that Cheetahs, along with so many other species were close to extinction, they knew they had to act.  So, of course, they started a totally independent nonprofit, and started educating other kids in every way you can imagine. Carter and Olivia have received a prestigious award from Captain Planet. And yes, I repeat, neither is old enough to drive. Don't you want to join me? This show sponsored by Chapman Tucson.
October 11
Yum! Learning to Love Weeds
Jerome Fressinier
Jerome is an Executive Chef, a thought leader and a game changer when it comes to what we will be eating in the future. I am not sure if I even understand Jerome's vision and his passion but somehow it involves eating weeds - Eco-bioflora. Jerome will talk about getting beyond food security. He is full of hope about our food future and believes it will be satisfying and fulfilling. He will share with us about concepts like "Vertical Rural Urbanization", biodiversity abundance and social plant welfare. Jerome wants to inspire and educate us about our ever-changing food service DEEDS and about putting them ahead of our desperate needs. Yikes. This show sponsored by The Fairfax Companies.
October 18
Health is a Family Affair
Stacey Antine, the HealthBarn USA
HealthBarn's mission is to ensure that ALL family members eat and live healthier lives. They teach children (and the grown-ups who love them) about delicious, nutritious food and the healthy lifestyle that goes with it. Kids learn how to grow their own fruits and vegetables and how to make the best choices at the supermarket or in a restaurant and how to have fun doing just that.  They have reached over 40,000 children and their numbers are growing. Stacey is the force behind all of this and she will share with us her passion and her success in getting families to raise their nutrition literacy through hands-on learning.  Listen to hear why HealthBarn has emerged as a major force for positive change in the lives of children and their families. Given our national healthcare crises and its unquestionable relationship to our diets, I am ready to listen.  This show sponsored by Chapman Tucson.
October 25
Save them All
Gregory Castle, Best Friends Animal Society
Their mission is simple and incredibly powerful: "Together, we will end the killing in America's shelters. Save them all." Millions of pets end up in shelters each year for a myriad of reasons - divorce, foreclosure, death in the family, economic problems and sometimes even problems with the pets and their behavior. Tragically, over 4 million of these homeless pets are killed in shelters each year. The research done by the Best Friends Animal Society supports that 90% of the animals that enter shelters are adoptable, or could be, with care and treatment. Best Friends believe it's possible to make this senseless killing a thing of the past and they intend to do just that.  Join me to learn how. This show in memory of Pamela Hodges.   
Mrs. Green's World
Please remember to tune in to Mrs. Green's World every Saturday at 12:00 pm PST, streaming on the Internet.

What's your question?/Climate Reality Project

From our friends at Climate Reality Project.  We hope you can help.

It's not my job to change minds.
Growing up as a journalist and being in the news business for 31 years, it's my job to simply talk about the facts as they are presented. When scientists present facts, we report them. When disasters happen, we deal in stories about the people who are affected, and the statistics, and follow them all the way through recovery.
My goal is to help people understand their environment so they can stay safe no matter what happens. If you move to the tornado belt, you need to know the risks. If you live in California, you need to know about the drought and its potential dangers. I try to help people understand these things so they can take necessary steps to protect themselves from weather-related disasters.
The Climate Reality Project's work goes hand-in-hand with mine -- which is whyI'm so excited to be a part of 24 Hours of Reality again this year. And I'm hoping you'll join as part of this event too!
From now until the live broadcast begins on September 16, we're collecting questions from climate aware citizens like you -- and there's a chance your question will be discussed on air. Submit your question using this form, or by using #ClimateQuestion on Twitter.
Wondering which countries are the biggest polluters and what it's going to take for them to make a change? What types of renewable energy sources are most popular and why? What is the most important action you can take to make a difference? Ask away and you could have your question answered on September 16-17 on air.
In my time as a weather and environmental journalist, I've seen firsthand the changes that are taking place as our planet warms. But along with former Vice President Al Gore, The Climate Reality Project, and so many other leaders in the climate movement, I'm seeing real progress as the world comes together to solve this challenge and I'm looking forward to talking about why we're hopeful for the future of our planet.
Thanks for your commitment to climate action,

Friday, September 12, 2014


Lot to report on over the next few days.   We've been tracking and promoting the coming of the world-changing Formula E racing series, starting this month in Beijing, and we are so happy to report that we will have our own reporter there in Beijing (Mike Pereira).  We will be doing both live broadcast and update reports as we cover this historic event and historic moment in sustainability.

Keep an eye out for all of this and more on:

n less than two weeks, the world of auto racing is going to transform forever as Formula E debuts from Bejing, China. With that we see, things are gearing up with what will accompany a visiting Formula E Grand Prix in a host city.

The all-electric FIA Formula E Championship has today confirmed the launch of the Formula E Motor Shows.

Taking place within the Formula E city-centre race circuits, fans will get the  unique opportunity to see, and experience, first-hand how the advances in technology, safety, innovation and speed witnessed on the racetrack are driving forward everyday electric and hybrid car development.

Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E
, said: “We are excited to announce this new and important development for Formula E. The Formula E Motor Shows will play an important part in removing the barriers to the electric vehicle market and helping change perceptions to make people believe in electric car ownership. The future of modern, mass transport, particular in cities and urban areas, lies in electric vehicles. The Formula E Motor Shows will help to accelerate the interest and adoption of sustainable and clean air motoring solutions in line with our objectives for the championship.”

Justin Tadman, CEO of the Formula E Motor Shows, added: “I am delighted to be launching this series of exciting events. Consumers will be able to engage and interact with the manufacturers and their ranges of hybrid and electric vehicles at these city centre race tracks. Our first Formula E Motor Show will take place alongside the Miami race in March 2015, followed by Long Beach, Monaco, Berlin and London. This is a truly exciting time for the motoring industry and these events are perfectly timed and located to help drive the change towards an electric future.”

The Formula E Motor Shows will take place over four days – before, during and after the race.

Formula E is the FIA’s new fully-electric single-seater championship designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans, whilst accelerating the interest in electric vehicles and promoting sustainability. Racing entirely on temporary city-centre race tracks, it uses cars capable of speeds in excess of 150mph (225kph). The first of 10 races takes place in Beijing on September 13 2014 with the season finale taking place in Battersea Park London on June 27, 2015.

Formula E has completed two full event simulations as the world’s first all-electric single-seater championship gears up for its first race in Beijing on September 13.

Both events took place at Leicestershire’s Donington Park, where a temporary pitlane and pitboxes were assembled to mimic those that will be in place at the street circuits the series will visit. Accreditation procedures, operational and IT infrastructures and even television broadcasts were also meticulously tested.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

India's Roadmap To Solar Superpower

We have lots of great stories running this week on our main site.  Here's the first of a couple we will run today and tomorrow.

We love the global nature of sustainability.  Have you thought about what it might take for a country to become a super power in renewable energy?   Here's a story that might just get you thinking about that:


"A new roadmap from India’s largest provider of solar solutions shows how the nation could become a global solar superpower within ten years, adding 145 GW of solar capacity through a network of residential, commercial, utility and ultra-mega-scale solar power systems.
The joint report, “How should India drive its solar transformation? Beehives or Elephants,” released by Tata Power Solar and consulting firm Bridge to India, examines the pros and cons of rolling out four different types of solar power generation – residential rooftop, 1-5 KW (solar bees); commercial rooftop, 10-500KW (solar pigeons); utility-scale, 5-50MW (solar horses); and ultra-mega projects, 1-3GW (solar elephants).
Although solar now accounts for just one per cent of India’s installed capacity, Bridge to India Director, Dr Tobias Engelmeier, says falling PV prices have changed the fundamentals of domestic energy supply since 2010, when India’s National Solar Mission set a target of installing 20 GW of grid-connected solar power by 2022.

“The realisable potential for solar power generation in India is between 110 GW to 145GW across different types of systems. The four scenarios together could easily create over 675,000 solar jobs in India in the next 10 years. But, the real issue is to choose the best way for India to go solar which entails a fair choice between millions of small systems (“bees”) on one end of a spectrum and a few very large systems (“elephants”) on the other, the former creating a consumer market and the latter an infrastructure market."
Importantly, the report analyses each scenario not only in terms of the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) – the cost of building the systems - but also the landed cost of power (LCOP) which is the cost to the consumer at the point of consumption, rather than generation. The report argues that LCOP costs can be as much as 30 per cent higher than LCOE, and is therefore a more accurate way to measure the economic viability of energy systems.
The cheapest immediate option is the solar elephant, mega-scale plants of 1-3 GW capacity. Already on par with coal-fired power, they have a LCOE of INR 6.6/kWh (AUD 0.12/kWh) and a landed cost of INR 8.4/kWh (AUD 0.15/kWh). But with coal import costs expected to soar over the next three years, the report finds all other scenarios –the horses, pigeons and bees will soon also reach price parity with coal.
"In the long term, large rooftop systems will be the cheapest option for Indian with a levelised generation cost of INR 6.6/kWh (AUD 0.12/kWh and a landed cost of INR 6.7/kWh (AUD 0.12/kWh) by 2024," the report states.

"India has the potential to become one of the largest transformative solar markets in the world, free of subsidies and with a thriving solar value creation ecosystem. However, it must strike a balance among the various ramp-up opportunities it has – both via central and distributed generation. Thus, the report recommends specific actions in each of these areas."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tiffin nuns 'preserve God's creation'

Great show coming up on Weds as we profile yet another religious group, this time in Ohio, bringing the divine to people and our environment.  What a wonderful way of bringing the spirit of God to a universal cause.

Join us on Weds, live, 1-2p, on WRNP (The Renewable Now radio network) on line and over-the-air.

Energy-wise home makes use of nature

“Recognizing’ our oneness with all creation and grieving the desecration of the earth, we commit ourselves to challenge each other and society to reverence creation and to be in harmony with it. We commit ourselves to ongoing conversation in our use of natural resources.”
— From the Directional Statement of the Sisters of St. Francis, Tiffin, Ohio.
TIFFIN — The Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin are hoping that, like the tiny seedlings sprouting inside their Earth Literacy Center, ideas and inspiration will blossom once people visit their eco-friendly, energy-efficient straw-bale house.
Sister Jane Francis Omlor Mike Connor straw-bale house Sister Jane Frances Omlor and Mike Conner, director of the Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin’s Earth Literacy Center, pose in front of the eco-friendly, energy-efficient straw-bale house.
“You can talk about passive energy and insulation and how to use solar power, but people need to see it,” said Sister Jane Frances Omlor, the driving force behind the home named Little Portion Green. Ground was broken in May, 2010, and completion, often delayed while awaiting funding, could happen this fall, Sister Jane said.
The cozy 1,300-square-foot building is insulated with regular farm-field straw bales packed tightly between timber framing. Every component of the house is designed to save energy, make use of nature, and “preserve God’s creation,” the nuns said.
The interior doors and railings were salvaged from a demolished section of the Tiffin convent; hot and cold air is pumped from a miniductless split heater/cooler; the interior walls are made of an all-natural mix of clay and sand; the windows are triple-paned and placed for maximum efficiency; the floor sits on a bed of German-made millcell, or recycled glass, and recycled steel was used for the roof.
When Sister Jane and Sister Janet Hay move into the two-bedroom, 1.5-bath house, the home is expected to be a zero-net-energy building consuming no more energy than it produces through renewable energy sources. A small wind turbine rising above a clover field is now in operation, and a solar panel is planned for the roof.
Mike Conner, director of the nuns’ Earth Literacy Center, said the electric bill in April was a penny-pinching $2.37.
“I know there’s nobody living here yet, but obviously the air-conditioning and the heat have been on [during construction]. Plenty of things that have been running. And the two months before that, there was no electric bill at all,” he said.
Sister Jane Frances Omlor sands walls inside ‘Little Portion Green,’ the eco-friendly two-bedroom, 1½-bath home.Sister Jane Frances Omlor sands walls inside ‘Little Portion Green,’ the eco-friendly two-bedroom, 1½-bath home.
Once the solar panels are in place, he said he expects the utility meter to spin backward at times when the house is generating a surplus of electricity.
If more people catch the vision for conservation, it could have a significant impact on the nation’s energy use. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, today’s buildings consume 72 percent of electricity produced and 55 percent of the country’s natural gas, accounting for about 40 percent of total U.S. energy consumption.
The straw-bale house costs more to build than a standard home, but it brings long-term savings on utility expenses. The Franciscan sisters have spent about $100,000 on construction thus far, with “every last cent” donated, Mr. Conner said. If the value of the volunteer time and donated materials are added, it would double the cost of Little Portion Green to about $200,000, he estimated.
“That’s a lot of money, but anybody building a new house is probably going to spend between $100,000 and $200,000,” Mr. Conner said.
Sister Jane said there are spiritual and moral implications for living in harmony with nature and conserving energy, one of the sisters’ missions. Named for 13th-century St. Francis of Assisi, the Catholic religious order also promotes peace and justice, spirituality and contemplation, and care for the elderly and poor.
Sister Jane said she witnessed the devastation that humanity can wreak on the environment while living in West Virginia, where mining companies literally blew the top off of mountains to get to the coal.
“It pushes tons and tons and tons of debris literally down the side of the mountain, destroying whatever is in the path,” she said.
That kind of environmental damage, and the realization that coal supplies are finite, should motivate people to support renewable energy and conserve what we have, Sister Jane asserted.
“Fossil fuel from coal is not a sustainable resource. It’s going to be used up and it’s not going to come back,” she said.
The Tiffin Franciscan sisters, who have 99 nuns serving around the world, are working to preserve creation on many fronts. They have set aside 348 of the approximately 400 acres on their Tiffin campus as a conservation easement in perpetuity, barring the land from ever being used for anything other than farmland or forest.
Two years ago, they demolished 65 percent of their convent structures because they no longer needed the space and maintenance and energy costs were prohibitive, said Sister Jacqueline Doepker, community minister.
The straw-bale house will be a lived-in home but open for public tours, providing a visible example of alternative energy and conservation.
With its adobelike walls painted in muted greens and browns, large windows, a ceiling open to the second-floor balcony, Little Portion Green is far from the Spartan, impersonal box people may expect with an energy-efficient, eco-friendly, modestly sized home.
“If I can get people to come into this place and say, ‘Oh, this is nice. This is lovely,’ then they can see themselves here, they can see themselves living in a place like this, and, well, half my battle is won,” Mr. Conner said. “I’m trying to not only give you a product that uses next to nothing as far as electricity and energy, I’m also wanting to make it attractive to you. I want to not only appeal to your wallet but I want to appeal to your eyes also.”
Sister Jane, an artist and a potter, called the straw-bale house “a beautiful place” that has a “spiritual connection” to the nuns’ 143-year presence in Tiffin.
“This land is very sacred to us,” she said. “We’re going to be doing rituals and prayers and a lot of sharing as well as education. It’s going to bring out a lot of eco-spirituality.”
Contact David Yonke at: or 419-724-6154.