Here's a place to share what you're reading - whether online or from a book or magazine. Let's try to keep this related in some way to the general issues we're facing in Transition work.
I'll start. These are items I'm putting into the 'Recommended Reading' section of the next "Sustainable Bellingham Community Newsletter" (if you want to subscribe, ask me). You get to read it here first!
City of Seattle Halts Biodiesel Purchases, Looks for Greener Fuel
, by Chris Grygiel, Seattle P.I.
The city of Seattle has temporarily stopped buying biodiesel fuel for its fleet of vehicles because of concerns that the soy-based mix it was using was more harmful to the environment than regular diesel. But Brenda Bauer, director of Seattle's Fleets and Facilities Department, said the city could start using a different type of biodiesel made from waste grease -- byproducts of food production. "Not all biodiesels are the same," Bauer said.
'Humanure' Victory: Green Toilet Wins Austin City Approval
, by Asher Price, The Austin-American Statesman
Composting commode is first to gain official stamp.
It took more than four years of negotiations and construction, but this month an Austin Water Utility inspector gave final clearance to a glorified outhouse that is on the vanguard of down-and-dirty environmentalism. Known as a composting toilet, the East Austin commode relies on the alchemy wrought by bacteria to transform human waste into a rich trove of soil. Specialists in so-called humanure have hailed the approval of the toilet as a watershed moment for common-sense environmentalism.
Phosphorous Famine: The Threat to Our Food Supply
, by David A. Vaccari, Scientific American
As complex as the chemistry of life may be, the conditions for the vigorous growth of plants often boil down to three numbers, say, 19-12-5. Those are the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, prominently displayed on every package of fertilizer. In the 20th century the three nutrients enabled agriculture to increase its productivity and the world’s population to grow more than sixfold. But what is their source? We obtain nitrogen from the air, but we must mine phosphorus and potassium. The world has enough potassium to last several centuries. But phosphorus is a different story. Readily available global supplies may start running out by the end of this century. By then our population may have reached a peak that some say is beyond what the planet can sustainably feed.
Moreover, trouble may surface much sooner. As last year’s oil price swings have shown, markets can tighten long before a given resource is anywhere near its end. And reserves of phosphorus are even less evenly distributed than oil’s, raising additional supply concerns.
Q&A: The Global Crisis Is Really About $140 Oil
, Chris Arsenault interviews economist Jeff Rubin, IPS News
Sitting in the restaurant of Vancouver’s posh Fairmount Waterfront Hotel, the former chief economist for one of Canada’s largest banks doesn’t seem like the typical apocalyptic peak oil theorist.
But in his new book, "Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization", Jeff Rubin argues that globalisation, fuelled by cheap oil, is finished. In the book, Rubin contends the current global recession is a result of expensive oil, rather than subprime mortgages in the U.S.
Frequently ranked as Canada’s top economist, Rubin predicts that one barrel of oil will cost 225 dollars by 2012. Other analysts consider that number outlandish; the conservative National Post newspaper, where he was frequently quoted as an economic expert before leaving his job at CIBC World Markets, accuses him of "anti-materialism" and "Big oil paranoia." But in 2000, Rubin correctly predicted that oil would top 50 dollars per barrel by 2005. And, in 2005 he got it right again, forecasting prices would top 100 dollars per barrel in 2007.Rubin sat down with IPS at his hotel after giving a lunch address to the Vancouver Board of Trade.
Stand Up for Rural America While You Still Can by Dave Murphy, Grist
The assault on rural America continues unabated. For the past six months dairy farmers across the country have suffered a historic drop in milk prices while operating costs remain high. Since December 2008, the price that farmers are paid for the milk they produce has plunged over 50 percent, the largest single drop since the Great Depression.