Year of the Horse, expanding the green energy economy

In 2014 begins the year of the horse, and in particular the wood horse, strong and stable, energetic, friendly and successful.


As we end the year of the snake, we can perceive ways to avoid failures.  Pollution wastes our efforts and our assets. With new technology we can count the drops of fresh water, inches of topsoil and chemical make-up of the air. We can measure how much we have polluted, and what is still available to support life. If we so choose, we can preserve the purity of water, the vitality of soils, and the cleanliness and health of our atmosphere. The carbon emissions from burning oil, coal, and natural gas are pollution that destabilize our climate and undermine our prospects for a strong economy. 

This is a time to end wasteful practices. We need to use energy more efficiently. We need to invest more in clean energy to reduce economic losses from carbon pollution, and reap greater profits. We need to use our resources thoughtfully, and plan for long lasting happiness.

In this year of the horse, we should celebrate our good fortune and turn it into long-term benefits for all. This is a time for people to celebrate their strength and stamina, their energy and vitality.  This is a year to be cheerful, friendly, and vocal, and to call on all people to work toward a vibrant, new green energy economy.


‘incompatible with organized global community’

“why inaction on climate change is “incompatible with organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’, is devastating to the majority of ecosystems & has a high probability of not being stable (i.e.  4°C [7F] would be an interim temperature on the way to a much higher equilibrium level),”  An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts: Why We know that Global Warming is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces


Green Building Slam

The Northwest EcoBuilding Guild invited builders, architects and contractors of ten outstanding green home building projects to showcase their achievements of impressive energy efficiency in new home construction and retrofits for a large and enthusiastic audience.  Presenters described the technology and systems they used,  such as super insulating building envelopes, triple-paned windows, heat exchange ventilation systems, passive solar design, LED lighting, efficient appliances, FSC wood, regional materials, bicycle storage, cisterns, rain gardens, green roofs, and solar PV installations.  

These are not millionaire luxury homes, but a wide variety of single and multi-family housing where residents will profit from creative targeting of investment for lasting savings in energy costs. One house is powering not only the residence, but also an electric car with solar rooftop panels. In Seattle.

Check it out at :

Climate 101

Ruling protects Clearwater River and Forest

Clearwater River near Greer

Clearwater National Forest  Highway 12

Over 100 miles of a 2-lane highway between the Clearwater and Lochsa Rivers, scenic and federally protected rivers, several companies want to try to drive a 322 ton evaporator.  In response to a lawsuit brought by the Nez Perce Tribe and Idaho Rivers United, a federal district court judge has ruled that there must first be a study of the environmental, economic and tribal impacts.

The companies want to take the evaporator from Lewiston, Idaho to the tar sands of Alberta, Canada. They had ignored objections from the Forest Service and started the transport without approval. In August over 150 people blocked the highway for three hours. The Nez Perce issued a statement opposing the shipment because of risks to treaty-preserved resources, tribal commerce, health and welfare.

In Alberta, the evaporator would be used to process oil.Over two billion barrels of water is pumped yearly from the Athabasca River, and superheated to wash oil out of the sands, and much of that dirty water ends up in tailings ponds that now cover 66 square miles of what was virgin boreal forest.  The process requires a great deal of energy, to scoop out the tar sands, heat, separate and transport them. If the value of damage to the forest and water resources were included in the price of oil, our transportation costs would be lower if we develop electric vehicles instead, and solar and wind energy to charge them.

Climate change increases drought and conflict in Syria

The military has been warning that climate change would be increase conflict around the world.

Syria appears to be a case in point. A prolonged drought has reduced rainfall over the past five years and caused massive crop failures. As farmers and herders have become unable to feed their families, millions have moved into urban areas.  Joining refugees from Palestine and Iraq, the displaced rural dwellers have created a situation that has not been reported until recently because the Assad regime kept journalists away.

Living building home

Check out this gorgeous Oregon ‘living building’ home. Huge windows look out on green meadows and forests, but its 3500 square feet of indoor space is expected to use only $50 a year in energy bills.  It uses solar panels, of course, but also has super insulation, heat-recovery ventilation, a roof overhang and window shades to control heating and cooling.  Eric Lemelson consulted with Green Hammer and worked with construction company, Hammer and Hand to create his home.



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