25 November 2012

DATE CHANGE: Solar-Powered Party Saturday, December 15, 2012

Posted by Admin under: Community Development; Emergency; Events; Fossil Fuels; Future; Inspiration; Sustainability .

Please forgive our mistake — the party is Saturday, December 15, 4-9 pm (not Sunday the 16th). The revised invitation is below. We hope we get your RSVP that you can attend — we don’t need to know what you will bring — the food always seems to be extraordinary, and balanced!
— Victoria Zelin (my mistake) and Jonathan Cloud (blameless in this regard!)

We’ll be hosting our holiday potluck —”Bringing Solar Power Home for the Holidays”— on Sunday, December 16 Saturday, December 15, from 4 p.m. on. RSVP to [email protected].

A year ago, in announcing our holiday event, we wrote: “Whether it’s speaking to skeptical relatives about global warming, or changing your own habits, practices, and beliefs about what’s sustainable and what’s not, the holidays bring out a lot of emotional reactions. These can be a source of frustration — or of wisdom if you accept that we’re all on the path, and have a lot of work to do to reverse-engineer the mistakes of the past.” What a difference a year makes.

To begin with, Hurricane Sandy has altered not only the NY-NJ-Connecticut shoreline, but also has shifted the conversation around climate change. New York’s Governor Cuomo said, “Anyone who says there is not a dramatic change in weather patterns is denying reality.”


Hurricane Sandy damage north of Seaside, N.J. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. © Governor’s Office / Tim Larsen

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on November 1 that he was supporting Obama for President because of his stance on climate change, stating

Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week’s devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.

Blogger Marc Gunther speculated that “This hurricane might even turn New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie into a climate hawk,” though this may be wishful thinking.

What’s relevant, however, is that “adaptation” to climate change is suddenly the watch-word of the day, and sea-level rise is now being taken very, very seriously. Whereas in past years global warming critics have repeatedly called for mitigation, i.e., reducing the harm that we may be doing to the climate by releasing massive amounts of greenhouse gases, the current discussion is squarely focused on being prepared for the consequences as well.

And there’s good reason for this. As Elizabeth Kolbert wrote in The New Yorker:

A couple of weeks ago, Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance firms, issued a study titled “Severe Weather in North America.” According to the press release that accompanied the report, “Nowhere in the world is the rising number of natural catastrophes more evident than in North America.” The number of what Munich Re refers to as “weather-related loss events,” and what the rest of us would probably call weather-related disasters, has quintupled over the last three decades. While many factors have contributed to this trend, including an increase in the number of people living in flood-prone areas, the report identified global warming as one of the major culprits: “Climate change particularly affects formation of heat-waves, droughts, intense precipitation events, and in the long run most probably also tropical cyclone intensity.”

And then there’s President Obama’s victory in the November 6 election — which should have made it clear that there’s a mandate for climate change legislation (amongst other things, such as immigration reform, which appears to be Obama’s first priority). It’s unclear whether the hurricane, and Bloomberg’s endorsement, actually influenced the outcome; but it’s certainly opened up a new space for the conversation — and particularly for the message Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, and others are putting forward so forcefully in the “Do the Math Tour,” which is that we cannot afford to allow the fossil fuel companies “to treat the atmosphere as an open sewer.”

For our part, in addition to our ongoing conversations about sustainable neighborhoods and communities, we’ve drafted a follow-up to our 2010 collaborative paper on a sustainable growth path for NJ, “Laying a Foundation for Sustainable Growth in New Jersey in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy,” which will be posted here in its final form; and we’ve started working on a new web site, www.ConservationTechnologies.net, which will aggregate practical approaches for communities, businesses, and individuals.


Installing solar panels on our roof in Basking Ridge

In our own neighborhood, Liberty Ridge, we’ve put solar panels on our house, and started to introduce the entire development to some of the affordable options that are increasingly available. And we’re also beginning to work with a group in the Lambertville/New Hope area on a new intentional community, tentatively named HeartStone Ecovillage. We can discuss these and other initiatives informally at the gathering.

And take a look at this amazing photo, from Pacific Standard:


Wonder if big storms like Superstorm Sandy might just pull solar panels right off the roof? There’s no absolute answers, but in this case the home’s PV panels were more resilient than the foundation.

Please note that this year the party is on Sunday — December 16, Saturday, December 15, 4 p.m. on, at our home in Basking Ridge. Bring something — preferably healthy, local, and organic — to share. Please RSVP to [email protected] for the address and directions.

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Past Events

Correction: We'll be hosting this year's holiday potluck — "Bringing Solar Power Home for the Holidays" — on Saturday, December 15, from 4 to 9 p.m. Click here for more details. RSVP to [email protected].
Saturday, November 17, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Sustainable Neighborhood & Community Conversations (III).
Saturday, October 13, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Transforming Neighborhoods and Communities II.
Saturday, September 8, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Transforming Neighborhoods & Communities.
Saturday, June 16, 2012: SLF Potluck June 16: Sustainable Living Communities.
The Sustainable Haiti Conference took place April 23-25, 2012 in Miami.
"Inside Job" Movie Party. Saturday, February 11th, 6:00 PM, Liberty Ridge, The Hills, Bernards Twp, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920.
2nd 'Buy Haitian, Restore Haiti Conference', January 26, 2012, Karibe Convention Center, Petion Ville, Haiti
Dec 11 SLF Potluck: "Bringing Sustainability Home for the Holidays" Basking Ridge, NJ. RSVP to [email protected].
Saturday, July 9, 2011, 4 p.m. Open House Party & Potluck, Saturday, July 9, 4 p.m., Basking Ridge, NJ.
RSVP to [email protected]
Saturday, May 21, 1-4 p.m. EcoCenter Update. At the Morristown EcoCenter, 55 Bank Street, Morristown, NJ 07960.
Saturday, April 16, 1-4 p.m. "Haiti & Us: The Leading Edge of Sustainable Development." At the Morristown EcoCenter, 55 Bank Street, Morristown, NJ 07960. A copy of the update presentation has been posted here.
Saturday, March 19, 1-4 p.m. "Creating the Morristown EcoCenter." Held at 55 Bank Street, Morristown, the site of the proposed EcoCenter.
Saturday, February 19, 1-4 p.m. Monthly meeting, ""A Profound Transformation in Consciousness," Morris County Library, Whippany, NJ. Click here for details.
Saturday, January 15, 1-4 p.m. Putting Idealism into Practice: Tour of Half Moon House. Click here for details.
Saturday, December 18, 1-4 p.m. Challenge & Strategy Session: "Reinventing Wealth," followed by our annual "Potluck for the Planet" from 4 to 8. Click here for details.
Saturday, November 20, 1-4 p.m. Challenge & Strategy Session: "How Do We Measure Sustainable Value?". Click here for details.
Saturday, October 16, 1-4 p.m. Challenge and Strategy Session: "Toward a Sustainable Growth Strategy for New Jersey".
Download the slide presentation here, and the discussion paper here.

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(Thomas A. Edison—thanks to Regan Caton)

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