Thursday, December 27, 2012

Occupy! Connect! Create!- Ethan Miller / Eurosolar +

Today I went on a trip to the local big city here in semi-arid Brazil and at one point met an enthusiastic Christian who had stopped to talk with my wife.  As I understood him, he mentioned that Jesus died for us, and that he is the true way to Heaven.  
       My wife is from this area, and has not shown the necessary signs for me to believe that she understands my Christian interfaith activist humanist orientation.  C'est la vie.  So, I told this guy that I like the CPT, the Comissao Pastoral da Terra (the Rural Land Commission) which is a post-Catholic liberation theology organization here that I understand works closely with the MST.
        This part of the whole interaction occurs to me as I want to introduce my return to Ethan Miller's fantastic piece published at the GEO site.  Certainly I have come across a lot of great thinkers in all of this: e.g. Herman Daly, David Ellerman, William Greider, Johnston Birchall, Margaret Kelly, and Jessica G. Nembhard to name a few.  Ethan Miller, perhaps more in long-time writers William Greider and Margaret Kellys' veins, has written a thoughtful manifesto for restoring people to their senses by demystifying the corporate-capitalist-consumer myths and discussing the basic, practical issues at stake.  Welcome to his piece, Occupy! Connect! Create!.....

        In reading Miller's piece, I researched the links to The Commoner, a UK journal.  I had the pleasure of finding a piece by the Dane Jane Kruse and a colleague.  I was reminded then of the Eurosolar Awards for renewable energy.  A look at the 2011 recipients brought the Danish Small Turbine Association to light, promoters of residential power and decentralized generation.  Well, coming from Denmark, at least, this is a revival more than anything.  See the second piece below.
        I then searched for the UK's Ashden Awards, and after having trouble navigating their site, I followed up with a search and found two interesting projects: Always on Solar- a Rotary Club project, and Power to the People- a California PV association doing good.  I wish I had known about them earlier!  I've included some posts and links about them below.....   Also, there's an item about Larry Hagman, who I remember best from I Dream of Jeannie with Barbara Eden from the 1960s, I guess.  He's one of at least several celebs who support RE, Leo DiCaprio, Jay Leno, no less, and years ago John Denver.

OCCUPY! CONNECT! CREATE! - Imagining Life Beyond "The Economy" (part one)

by Ethan Miller

"Fall in love with hard and patient work-we are the beginning, not the end."

-Zizek, at #OccupyWallStreet

"Lost my job, found an occupation!"

- sign at #OccupyWallStreet

An Introduction

#OccupyWallStreet has cracked open a little hole in history, creating a moment where some of the very core institutions of our economy are called into question. Along with indignation and outrage, there is a certain excitement in the air. Things that have been terrifyingly stuck seem to be moving. Something seems possible today that wasn't just a month ago. In this space, our conversations and our imaginations are buzzing. What are we doing? What should we do? What's coming next? In particular: as we condemn this economy built for the benefit of the 1%, what do we want in its place, and how will we build it?

This text, grounded in several years of collective thinking and writing, is meant to be a contribution to this vibrant conversation. My basic premise is this: if we want to effectively envision and create alternatives to the economy of Wall Street, we need to re-think the very concept of "the economy" itself. We have inherited an economics that stifles our imaginations and dampens our collective sense of power and possibility. Only by telling new stories about what economies are (and might yet be) can we most effectively kindle the fires of our creative, transformative work to build new forms of livelihood. I propose here a set of five core economic principles for "rethinking the economy" that might be helpful steps in this process, and may also usefully inform the direction of our concrete strategies. Our work can be strengthened by:

(1) shifting from a mind-numbing concept of "the economy" to more enabling concepts of diverse forms of livelihood;

(2) moving beyond the destructive tension between "economy" and "ecology" in conventional economics to an acknowledgement of our participation in a community of life;

(3) challenging our either/or thinking about "the market" and "the state" and opening up creative political space within and beyond these institutions;

(4) escaping the limiting logics of "economic laws" that tell us what we can and cannot do, and embracing the work of creating new possibilities through collective imagination and action; and, finally,

(5) reclaiming economics from the "experts" to become a practice of solidarity-building and democratic organizing in which it is "we the people" who can and must make our own economies.

These are not proposals for an alternative economic "system" to replace the current one. They are, rather, a set of tools to support our diverse, collective work of imagining new livelihoods together. This text is part theory, part strategy and part call-to-action for the immediate and long-term work of identifying and seizing spaces of democratic practice (occupy!), linking them together in networks of mutual support and recognition (connect!), and drawing on our collective strength to actively create new ways of meeting our needs and making our livings (create!).

The #Occupy Movement is a vital spark, already creating and demonstrating-in public experiments with democracy and solidarity across the U.S. and around the world-elements of the new economies we are working to build. This movement calls us toward long-term commitments, generations of work that we have only just begun. Everything is at stake.

I refer quite often, in these pages, to a "we." Who is this "we"? It is everyone who reads these words and finds some resonance with them; it is everyone who participates in the larger conversation (of which this text is one tiny part) about what it means to be alive at this moment in history, and about what it means to respond to the urgent call for occupation, connection and creation. The "we" is you, and you, and you, and I, who are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work on building a different way of living together on this earth....

Local or regional associations/organisations
(c) KfW
Danish Small Wind Turbine Association / Denmark
ProjectPromoting small wind turbines for the decentralised energy turnaround

Danish Small Wind Turbine AssociationThe sector of small size wind turbines has attracted ever more public interest in recent years. That is why the Small Wind Turbine Association was set up in Denmark in 2009 - to promote small wind turbines with a capacity of up to 25 kW in order to supply energy to private homes, SMEs as well as farms.
The Small Wind Turbine Association played a leading role in the market launch of small wind turbines at a political and public level. More than 300 small windmills have been erected in Denmark since then. About 20 manufacturers and suppliers work in this sector. The tasks of this association include public awareness, the introduction of technical standards and the formation of networks with public amenities as well as planning and approval authorities. In addition, the association supported the establishment of a test wind station.
Small wind turbines enable citizens to generate their own power and also increase regional net value added. They are an important factor in the conversion of the energy system from centralised and fossil resources to decentralised and renewable sources of energy.
Small wind turbines are a sensible supplement to photovoltaic systems and other renewable energy technologies. The Danish Small Wind Turbine Association lobbies on behalf of manufacturers and suppliers and demands policies that create reliable incentives to promote small wind turbines in order to encourage the many private investors.


Access to clean water and electrical lighting has proved to greatly increase social, economic and health conditions in developing communities. This project provided a PV (Solar) powered electric system to six rural health clinics in Nicaragua. The solar electric system provides lighting for the clinic, AC power for charging communication devices, and a solar powered chlorine generating unit to disinfect contaminated drinking water for the community. The project also provided a solar powered, mobile, water quality testing laboratory.
This project was implemented in 6 communities with a total of 2,790 beneficiaries. Project partners also include the Nicaraguan based NGO AMOS, AlwaysOn Solar and the Rotary.
In July 2013, Power to the People volunteers will install solar panels on an elementary school and cafeteria in the town of Santa Ana, Nicaragua. Santa Ana is a small community with has approximately 50 families, located about five kilometers from the Panamerican Highway. The community is located inside a private, protected reserve called “Reserva Silvestre Privada Domitila” – the first private protected area in Nicaragua established in 2001 and comprises 300 hectares on land owned by Don Roberto Mejia. Santa Ana does not have access to conventional grid electricity because its remote location.

The Solar Industry Waves Goodbye To One of Its Biggest Advocates

By Jennifer Runyon
November 27, 2012 | 4 Comments

I was saddened to hear the news that Larry Hagman, the former star of the hit TV show “Dallas” had died over the weekend. Hagman, whom I interviewed in 2010 at Intersolar North America, was a great solar advocate. He told me that his decision to install solar on his ranch in California came shortly after the great blackout of 2003. Originating in Ohio, the outage caused half of the eastern seaboard to lose power for as many as 3 days. Hagman went solar after that event, reducing his utility bill from more than $37,000 a year to $13, he told me.
SolarWorld, the company for whom he made ten television commercials released a statement paying tribute to him for his work as an American solar energy advocate. "I have nothing more to do with oil. I am producing my own energy...Solar energy," Hagman proclaimed in one of the television spots he made for SolarWorld. With the slogan "Shine, Baby, Shine!" Hagman played off the oil industry’s rally call, “Drill, baby, drill,” to promote solar technology....

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