A List of Environmental and Telecommunications Events and Issues

May 9 to May 16, 1997

Published, Edited and Written by George Mokray for
Information Ecologies
218 Franklin St #3
Cambridge, MA 02139

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Saturday, May 10

10 am - 5 pm
Wake the Earth Festival
contact Gina 522-2068
parade from South and Centre Streets to festival site at Southwest Corridor Park opposite Stony Brook T Station, Jamaica Plain

10 am-12 pm and 1:30 pm - 6 pm
Technologies of Freedom? - Emerging Media in Modern Culture
contact 253-0008 or http://web.mit.edu/comm-forum/www/
MIT Building E15, Room 070 (Bartos Theater)

Sunday, May 11

11 am
Individuality in Dolly's World: a sheep's-eye view of cloning
Stephen Jay Gould, Harvard
contact commchurch@igc.apc.org
Community Church of Boston, 565 Boylston St, Copley Sq, Boston

7:30 pm
Bitter Paradise - a documentary on East Timor with the director, Elaine Briere
contact 495-3251 or East Timor Action Network at 648-0548 and etanbost@Lbbs.org
Harvard Film Archives, 24 Quincy St

Monday, May 12

12:30 pm - 2 pm
Energy Recovery Ventilation in Humid Climates
Larry Hoagland
contact 253-7714 or qchen@mit.edu
MIT Building 26, Room 110

3:30 pm
Fuel Cycle or Waste Management Issues
Rolland A. Langley, BNFL, Inc., Fairfax, VA
MIT Building NW12, Room 222

4 pm
Social Science and Salvation: Risk Society as Mythical Discourse
Jeffrey Alexander, UCLA
contact 253-4062
MIT Building E51, Room 095

4:05 pm
Modeling Circulation and Sediment Transport in the Hudson River Estuary
Rocky Geyer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
contact 258-5554 or janiscka@mit.edu
MIT Building 48, Room 316

4:15 pm
Towards High-speed, High-performance Data Switches
Balaji Prabhakar, Hewlett-Packard Laboratories
MIT Building 34, Room 401A (Grier Room)

7 pm
Four Scenarios for the Future of Media Infrastructure
Art Kleiner and his students
contact art@well.com, http//www.well.com/user/art
NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program, Tisch School of the Arts, 725 Broadway (corner of Waverly Place), NYC, 4th floor (use left-hand elevators), "Japanese Room" (head all the way back towards the left, once you exit the elevator.)
Editorial Comment: I know that this is a long commute from Boston but if any "A List..." reader happens to be in New York that day, I'd like to learn more about what these future scenaria might be.

8:30 pm
"Ewe"-genics: Dolly and the Cloning of Mammals
Rudolf Jaenisch, MIT
MIT Building 9, Room 150

Tuesday, May 13

Harvard University Earth and Planetary Sciences Senior Honors Thesis Presentations
1:30 pm
Recent Trends in Ozone Smog: Are Conditions Over the Continental United States Improving?
Arlene Fiore
2 pm
Spatial Variation in Mechanisms for Sapropel Formation in the Pleistocene Mediterranean Sea
Jeffrey Milder
2:30 pm
A 3-D Seismic Model of the Boston Basin
Eva Vanzerkia
3 pm
Aluminum Toxicity on a Coffee Farm in the Central Highlands of Costa Rica
Christopher Carman
Geological Museum 102 - 24 Oxford Street - Haller Hall

4 pm
Feminist Economics 202: Disturbances in the Field
Randy Albeida, UMass Boston
Harvard, 69 Brattle St

4:15 pm
Why the soviet Union Came Apart
Harvard, Coolidge Hall, 1737 Cambridge St, Room 3

6 pm
We Are All Multiculturalists Now
Nathan Glazer, author
Harvard, Longfellow, Appian Way, Askwith Lecture Hall

7:30 pm
Cambridge Residents for Growth Management and Ward Five Democratic Committee
contact Laurie Taymor-Berry at 491-1318
150 Erie St (between Pearl and Brookline), LBJ Community Room

7:30 pm - 9 pm
Don' Spray 'Em! Outsmart 'Em! - Integrated Pest Management for home, school, businesses, and everybody else
Don Rivard, IPM practitioner and "A List..." reader
contact Green Decade Coalition/Newton 965-1995 or (DRIVARD522@aol.com)
Parish of St. Paul, 1135 Walnut Street, Newton Highlands

Wednesday, May 14

12 pm
The Evidence of Things Not Said: Race Consciousness and Political Theory
Laurie Balfour, Princeton
Harvard, Dept of Afro-American Studies, 1430 Mass Ave, 4th floor

12:10 pm
Low- to Mid-latitude Interactions and the Generation of Mediterranean Climates: Lessons from Red Sea Coral
Gidon Eshel, Harvard/MIT
MIT Building 54, Room 915

3:30 pm
Combining Molecular Recognition and Conducting Polymers: Supramolecular Assemblies and Sensory Materials
Tim Swager, MIT
contact rutledge@mit.edu
MIT Building 37, Room 252

4 pm
Geologic Remote Sensing with Radar
Tom Farr, JPL, Caltech
MIT Building 54, Room 915

4:05 pm
Natural Abundance of 15N in Forest Soils
Linda Pardo
MIT Building 48, Room 316

5 pm - 7 pm
Women as Transformational Leaders Support Group
facilitated by Virginia Mary Swain
contact 225-0403 or imagine@world.std.com
The Center for Strategic Change, at 49 Hancock St
$25, participation must be confirmed in advance

7:30 pm
The Future of Capitalism
Lester Thurow, MIT
contact 495-2727
3 Church St, Harvard Sq

7:30 pm - 9 pm
Life Effectiveness and Personal Renewal - Living Our Spiritual Values in the Workplace & Daily Life SupportGroup
facilitated by Virginia Mary Swain
contact 225-0403 or imagine@world.std.com
The Center for Strategic Change, at 49 Hancock St
$25, participation must be confirmed in advance

Thursday, May 15

9 am - 5 pm
Living Machines in Eudcational Tools: Designing and Building Recirculating Mesocosms for the Classroom or the Field
John Todd, Ocean Arks International
contact (508)563-2792 or http://www.cape.com/~bjosephs
Ocean Arks Int, 233 Hatchville Road, E. Falmouth MA 02536
members: $175, non-members: $195
Editorial Comment: Ocean Arks has recently moved back to the site of the New Alchemy Institute, now the home of a Cape Cod cohousing project and a small farm. The latest issue of _Annals of the Earth_ included articles on the Dudley Street Initiative, a river restoration project consisting of a barge with domed over living machines that purify water, and "An American Slave's Tap-Dance Ditty" -
The rain falls on the just
and the unjust fella;
But mainly on the just
Because the unjust has the just's umbrella.

12 pm -1:30 pm
Life Effectiveness and Personal Renewal - Living Our Spiritual Values in the Workplace & Daily Life Support Group
facilitated by Virginia Mary Swain
contact 225-0403 or imagine@world.std.com
10 Milk Street, Boston
$25, participation must be confirmed in advance

12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Economic Impacts of CO2 Abatement: A Meta Analysis of Modeling Studies
Robert Repetto, World Resources Institute
contact nancy_dickson@harvard.edu
Harvard , Kennedy School, CSIA Library

3:30 pm
Control of DNA Structure and Topology
Nadrian Seman, NYU
Harvard, Institutes of Medicine, Room 109, Boston

4 pm
Recent Scientific Results from the Hubble Space Telescope
Robert Williams, Space Telescope Science Institute
Harvard, 60 Garden St, Phillips Auditorium

Friday, May 16

9 am - 5 pm
Living Machines in Eudcational Tools: Designing and Building Recirculating Mesocosms for the Classroom or the Field
John Todd, Ocean Arks International
contact (508)563-2792 or http://www.cape.com/~bjosephs
Ocean Arks Int, 233 Hatchville Road, E. Falmouth MA 02536
members: $175, non-members: $195

9 am - 5 pm
The Natural Step Study Group
contact Westator@aol.com
Central Square Library, 45 Pearl St

12:15 pm
Energy Politics and the Future of Regional Integration in Central Asia
Pauline Jones Luong
Harvard, Coolidge Hall, 1737 Cambridge St, Room 4

4 pm
Biosphere Atmosphere Interactions
James Collatz, NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center
MIT Building 54, Room 915

5:30-7 pm
Women as Transformational Leaders Support Group
facilitated by Virginia Mary Swain
contact 225-0403 or imagine@world.std.com
The Center for Strategic Change, at 49 Hancock St
$25, participation must be confirmed in advance

Saturday, May 17

Mystic Herring Run
Alewife/Mystic River Advocates
call 776-4160 days

Volunteer work day at the Cambridge Sustainable House - as part of City Year's Servathon
contact 868-7788
136 Appleton St

9 am - 12 pm
Living Machines in Eudcational Tools: Designing and Building Recirculating Mesocosms for the Classroom or the Field
John Todd, Ocean Arks International
contact (508)563-2792 or http://www.cape.com/~bjosephs
Ocean Arks Int, 233 Hatchville Road, E. Falmouth MA 02536
members: $175, non-members: $195

9 am - 5 pm
Understanding and Applying the Natural Step
Contact: Donald Fried-Tanzer, 508-429-5004, donaldf@gis.net or: Paul Lipke, 413-367-2878, mplipke@library.umass.edu or: Alice Nichols, 617-527 2385, anichols@cs.tufts.edu
Wentworth Institute of Technology, 550 Huntington Avenue, Roxbury (2 blocks west of the Museum of Fine Arts)
$150 tuition
Sunday, May 18

7:30 pm
Your Health Care: Choice or Chance?
Jackie Jenkins Scott, Dimock Community Health Center; Mark Roberts, Harvard School of Public Health; John D. Stoeckle, Ma General Hospital; Rep Kay Kahn, Co-sponsor of Massachusetts Health Care Trust (S. 506/ H. 2673); Rep David Cohen, Moderator
contact 527-4136 or MASS-CARE (MA Campaign for Single Payer Health Care) at 357-7003
Mason-Rice School, 149 Pleasant Street, Newton Centre, MA 02159
Sources for Listings:
MIT _Tech Talk_ :
Harvard _Gazette_ :
Harvard Environmental Resources On-Line:
MA Executive Office of Environmental Affairs calendar:
Earth Day Network international/national listings:
Earth Day Greater Boston calendar:

act-ma the Massachusetts activists mailing list:
subscribe by emailing majordomo@igc.apc.org, leaving the subject line blank and typing "subscribe act-ma" as the message

Peace and Justice Events Hotline at (617)787-6809

Table of Contents

What Do You Eat - Organics Growing

Editorial Comment: The best meal I ever had was organically grown rice and vegetables at an aikido celebration in Iwama, Japan. The food was grown and prepared by our hosts, Saito Sensei, his family and students. I could taste the purity and vitality of the food in its overwhelming and subtle flavors. When I had a garden (idiot landlords), I grew everything organically. I try to eat that way as well, when I can afford it (see Begging Bowl).

We are what we eat and eating organically would require a bedrock change in the way this society does business. As Marco von Kessel, a German organic farmer, says in _The Economist_ of May 3, 1997 (http://www.economist.com): "You can't have mass production of organic food."

This first piece comes from EcoNews (http://www.islandnet.com/~gdauncey/econews/), Guy Dauncey's (gdauncey@islandnet.com) monthly publication from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

For millions of years, for as long as mammals and their predecessors have lived on Earth, humans and our ancestors have always eaten organic food. Our physical bodies evolved in the exact way that Earth's organic food encouraged us to : the match between the cellular needs of our bodies and the nutrients which organically grown plants and animals can provide is complete - 100%.

The movement away from organic food started in the 1860s, when a man called Justus Leibig applied his new-fangled modern, scientific mind to the question "I wonder what makes plants grow ?". To answer his question, he took some soil and burnt it. In the ashes, he found potassium, potash and nitrogen. "Miracles !" he thought. "I've found the secret to life !"

>From that moment on, modern farming started to add manufactured fertilizers to the soil to boost the productivity of plants. Today, the production of chemical fertilizers worldwide - and the parallel production of pesticides - is a huge, multi-billion dollar international business.

In the 1920s, however, a small group of people in England inspired by the leadership of Lady Eve Balfour formed the Soil Association, and started to spread the idea that food was better grown organically, without chemicals. Today, the organic revolution is beginning to catch on all over the world. Denmark has committed itself to 20% of its farming being organic by the year 2000, and the Gallo Wine company is the largest organic farm in California.

Throughout these years, however, there has never been any hard and fast proof that organic food is actually any better for you. Instinct might tell you that it is, and the knowledge that you're not eating all those chemicals sure feels good, but where was the proof?

Finally, the answers have arrived. In 1993, a trace minerals laboratory analyst in Chicago called Bob L. Smith started a small experiment. For two years, he went to stores in Chicago, and purchased between four to fifteen samples of both organic and non-organic produce. He would then take the foods back to his laboratory, and analyze the different foods for trace elements, to see what was there, and what was missing.

The results are stunning, and should be a wake-up call to the whole world. The organically grown wheat had twice the calcium, four times more magnesium, five times more manganese and thirteen times more selenium to the non-organic varieties.

The organically grown corn had twenty times more calcium and manganese, and two to five times more copper, magnesium, molybdenum, selenium and zinc. The organically grown potatoes had two or more times the boron, selenium, silicon, strontium and sulfur, and sixty percent more zinc.

The organically grown pears had two to nearly three times more chromium, iodine, manganese, molybdenum, silicon and zinc.

Overall, organically grown food exceeded conventionally grown crops significantly in twenty of the twenty two beneficial trace elements. They also had less amounts of toxic trace elements such as aluminum, lead and mercury.

Trace elements are critically important not just for our health, but also for the development of the brain. And in a recent paper in the British medical journal The Lancet, Danish researchers reported that organic farmers and men who regular consumed organic food had twice the sperm count of men who did not consume organic food. (Thanks to David Steinman's article in Common Ground for all this information).

The May/June issue or Organic Gardening also spells out why pests love non-organic food, but avoid crops raised organically on good compost. It describes two studies by Dr Larry Phelan which show that the European corn borer moths lay 18 times more eggs on sweet corn plants grown in chemically farmed soils than on organic soils. When he carefully monitored the variables, he found that again, it was the mineral ratios which were responsible. When the necessary minerals are available in the right balance, plant roots will absorb exactly what they need for photosynthesis. Plants grown in chemical soils often lack this mineral balance, and pests are not as attracted to the complex starches and proteins in plants with a good mineral balance - they're like junk food addicts, and prefer a diet rich in the simple sugars and amino acids that are present when the mineral supply is out of balance. Organic farmers have sensed this for years - but this is the first time there has been solid scientific evidence.
Guy Dauncey

Here in Victoria, you can buy organic food at many stores, at the Moss Street Market, through Susan Tychie's Share Organics (595-6742), Randy Hooper's Costerton Farm on Salt Spring, (250) 537-5420), and Brent's Fresh Picks Organics (383-7969). If someone is interested to help pull together an organic food supplement for the next issue of EcoNews, could you please call ? 592-4473.

Editorial Comment: This piece came from the Earth Day Network (http://www.sdearthtimes.com/edn and http://www.cfe.cornell.edu/EarthDay/ednethome.html). To receive moderated announcements on projects and websites for using Earth Day as a catalyst for positive change, send email to earthday@qualcomm.com If you wish to participate in an unmoderated Earth Day discussion listserv, you can subscribe to earthday-L (not case-specific) by sending an email message to listproc@cornell.edu with no subject line and this as the body of the message:
SUBSCRIBE earthday-L yourfirstname yourlastname

Report on Earth Day '97 Kalamazoo Nature Center, April 19, 1997

Earth Day In Kalamazoo Combines Soil Tests, Organic Growers' Recommendations, and Native American Gardening Lore

. . . "like having all your ducks in a row." So it seemed to three groups who shared adjacent booth spaces at the celebration of Earth Day at the Kalamazoo Nature Center on April 19. The organizations were Organic Growers of Michigan, Southwest Chapter; Two Worlds Intertribal Lodge; and Western Michigan University Environmental Studies department. Each booth had unique offerings, but dove-tailed in important ways.

Western Michigan University's Environmental Studies department, under the leadership of Molly Cole, provided soil analysis for individuals who brought soil from their home gardens. Previous to Earth Day, the availability of this service was publicized. About twenty people brought soil to be tested.

The Organic Growers of Michigan (OGM), with their table next to that of the fore-mentioned group, provided information to those poeple whose soil sample indicated deficiencies. Their expertise included how to use natural remedies such as compost, mulch, potting mix made of rock powders, blood meal, peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. These materials may be needed as additions to soil to give it the healthy balance of NPK plus the structure conducive to vigorous plant development. The individuals of this organization also provided literature on other organic groups, certification standards used by the OGM, plus membership information. Mary Frances Fenton, OGM member, commented that the group of people which attended this event seemed already informed about earth-friendly gardening. Many were interested in gaining more extensive information on organic gardening and asked if there was a bibliography available.

Two Worlds Intertribal Lodge, whose tables were next in the row, featured some of the organically grown seedlings from one of the women in OGM. It was good to have plants available which were grown in ways which honor Mother Earth, i.e. without use of toxic or synthetic materials. Another aspect of this booth emphasized traditional Native American gardening, particularly the "Three Sisters," corn, beans, and squash, plus sunflowers. Seed packets containing this combinationwere available. Information on how to plant them in the traditional way, plus harvest and use them in Native American recipes was also there.

It seems appropriate that local organic growers, the WMU Environmental Studes department and a Lodge which seeks to honor and respect the Earth and all life upon it, stood side-by-side at the celebration of Earth Day, "97. "Mitacuye oyasin" (we are all relatives).

Contributed by Carolyn Buskirk, member of Two Worlds Intertribal Lodge We're on the WEB! Visit me at: http://www.wormwoman.com

Editorial Comment: This came in awhile ago from Albert Krebs (avkrebs@earthlink.net) through the Alliance For Democracy (http://www.igc.apc.org/alliance/). He has a new edition of AGBIZ TILLER ONLINE up now as part of his Corporate Agribusiness Research Project.

Well, after a number of interminable delays, mainly due to its editor\publisher gallivanting all over the U.S. landscape and its production chief busily engaged in getting a master's degree in elementary education at the University of Washington, a new issue of THE AGBIZ TILLER ONLINE, a month in construction, is finally up and posted on the Internet.

If you are interested in what the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index has to do with corporate concentration, or how the United States and Bill Clinton weaseled out at the recent World Food Summit in Rome, or who are the top 25 private agribusiness corporations, the top twenty agribusiness corporations in terms of profitability, and the top 30 agribusiness land barons it is all in the March 1, 1997 issue of THE TILLER.

And all you have to do is just go to the address below. Don't you wish everything in life was that easy?


Editorial Comment: And here are some other organic agricultural Websites:

International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements
Organic Farmers Marketing Association
National Farmers Organization - Agricultural Links
U.S. Organic Certification Organizations & Local Chapters

Table of Contents

How Do You Travel?

The Ninth Annual Tour de Sol, the solar and electric car rally, will run from May 17-24 Tour de Sol starting in Waterbury, CT and traveling through Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire to finish in Portland, Maine five days later. Stops along the route will include: Northampton, MA,Greenfield, MA, Bellows Falls, VT, White River Junction, VT, Lincoln, NH, and North Conway, NH.

Further information is available at

Bike Week is Monday, May 19th thru Friday, May 23rd

Monday, May 19
5:30 pm: Copley Square, Charles Hansen will lead a "Mean Streets" ride thru Boston & Cambridge. Sturdy tires recommended.

Tuesday, May 20
5:30 pm: Gov't Center, Charles Hansen will lead a ride along the Emerald Necklace to the Arboretum (see Bonnie's trip below), with a possible extension to Forest Hills Cemetery and an optional return to Copley Square via SW corridor bike path.

Wednesday, May 21
7:30 am - 9:30 am: FREE breakfast at HI-AYH ENEC office, 1020 Commonwealth Ave. Volunteers needed.

Thursday, May 22
7:30 am - 9:30 am: large Bike Festival at City Hall Plaza, Government Center. Bike out and show your support. Free breakfast and other goodies. Volunteers needed.

Contact Bonnie Friedman <bonnie@math.mit.edu>, (617) 783-0358h or (617) 253-2685w if you can help. Check your local paper for events near you and our ENEC web site for updates; schedule of events not confirmed as of press time.

And for your information, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council's Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, adopted on February 28, 1997, is now publicly available. If you would like a copy please call Joan Blaustein at (617) 451-2770 or send an e-mail message to JBLAUSTEIN@MAPC.ORG with your name, address and phone number.

The Junior Solar Sprints are model solar car races for schoolkids. The students build their own racers and power them with a solar electric cell and small electric motors. This year's Sprints will be held at MIT on Saturday, May 17 and volunteers to help officiate are desperately needed. Call Boston Area Solar Energy Association at 49-SOLAR for further information.

Table of Contents

Where Does Your Water Come From - Report from the Wastewater Advisory Committee of May 2, 1997

Editorial Comment: Here is a report from our unknown correspondent. Back in 1989, I talked with John Todd of Ocean Arks International about using his solar aquatics system for both the "polishing" of our water supply and the treatment of our sewage. Sounded like a good idea then. In the latest issue of Ocean Arks' _Annals of Earth_, Jay Baldwin writes about the Schuylkill Maid, a river restoration project consisting of a barge with domed over living machines that purify water. You can also read about that project at http://www.libertytree.org/News/baldwin.html. Might be a good idea for the catastrophic thinkers to take a look.

Too bad i missed the first half hour of Doug (MWRA head) speaking on Friday.

The conversation was so heavy, insider, big-picture that it was a struggle to really understand.

He was telling us that the water-supply side will now need big $ investment. I'm inclined to agree/believe, even though it fits a pattern of organizations perpetuating themselves. His top priority was water transport reliability. I assume we are talking of the risk of catastrophic failure. I don't have a clear picture of the "worst case" scenario. If there were an aqueduct blow-out in Framingham, I could imagine it taking a week to patch up, system incoming supplies might be reduced by factor of ten?, emergency water rationing in Boston metro area? manufacturing shut downs? use of surface supplies, chlorination, boiling water for drinking? restaurants close? impacts of $10 million? $100 million? All in all, i imagine a bad mess, but not actually shutting down the City, nor hardly any injury /loss of life (hospitals?) -- leaving us with the difficult questions of How Likely, and how much is it worth spending to avoid, how soon.

The whole MWRA/WAC water/sewer policy thinking seems still too crisis-driven. I guess MDC was much worse, and now we are trying to think rationally, but still, events like the flood last fall dominate/force future planning. The real world always has important things to teach, but if last years floods had not happened, the chance of them happening this year or in future years would be the same as they are now. It seems to me we need an annual report on system vulnerabilities. Last year's floods should be important opportunities to tune models, and notice if adequate measurement systems are not in place.

Doug seemed to have a lot of concerns about drinking water quality, which maybe I missed the details of. Between the dangers of lead and the possible dangers of PVC, I am not clear what an ideal urban water supply system would be. (I assume he had rather diffferent concerns - dissolved metals, algae, chlorination byproducts - old pipes coated with growths and deposits, maybe deadend runs where loops are better?) I am still no fan of filtration plants etc. It seems to me every dollar spent (of the hundreds of millions) is a dollar that would be better spent protecting the supply watershed. But maybe it is just too late for that, practically/politically.

Although I have never thought splitting supply and sewer (WAC/WSCAC) made intrinsic sense (in fact, i found it bewildering), they each seem to do good (different) work that would be threatened by a merger. My impression is that WSCAC represents the concerns of Western Mass about Those People Taking Our Water, and WAC represents What Are We Going To Do About Our Sewage/Harbor. (Which scheme seems to leave out the Cape STOP types - What Are They Doing To Us With Their Sewage) It seems like we should retain the US/THEM perspectives, even if we somewhat merge water/sewer.

The talk of wanting to raise water supply conciousness on a larger, state-wide basis (rather than just MWRA region) is fine, I certainly believe we need good state-wide water supply policy and don't seem to have it -- but a truly thoughtful process would start with the Quabbin. It's just nuts that Boston/MWRA controls that resource forever, while the rest of the state struggles with water shortages. And i'm sure MWRA has no desire to open this can of worms...

It is not quite true that it is Cambridge's "fault" that Somerville is likely to get a slug of bad water (for a couple weeks) when Cambridge shuts down their system and relies on MWRA for a few years. Apparently Cambridge has a "right" to expect this service from MWRA, and presumably there are things MWRA could have done over the years to be able to fulfill this "obligation" in a smoother manner. So although this is actually the result of neglect/chance, you could say that implicitly MWRA chose not to invest resources to be more ready for this eventuality, decided to save the money and resources, that this was an acceptable risk. Which may well have been the best decision. But it is sort of another case of crisis-driven mgmt, that this sort of decision is made more implicitly than explicitly.

(Does Doug have email?)

Editorial Comment: There will be two water exhibits at the State House in Boston at Doric Hall "From Quabbin to Boston" through May 16 and "100 Years of Drinking Water History in Mass" also at Doric Hall through May 30.

Table of Contents

Where Do You Get Your Electricity - Working Assets and the Politics of Green Power

Editorial Comment: Jon Entine (runjonrun@earthlink.net), who describes himself as a "maverick journalist," has been digging into the promises of Working Assets, a "green business" that offers long distance telephone service and now electricity in our rapidly deregulating climate. He is asking some impolite questions not only about Working Assets but the whole system of existing "green businesses." It is making some people uncomfortable but that is no reason for us to ignore the issues that he raises and remembering that caveat emptor, buyer beware, is always a good policy.

An opportunity to nurture the development of more energy options, especially renewable energy, is falling victim to politics within the "green power" and environmental movements. This bungled moment comes just as a deregulation wave sweeps through the energy industry opening it to competition from alternative, green producers.

In a desire to promote lower costs and bring more competition to the energy industry, numerous states have embarked on pilot programs to deregulate the price of electricity. In the coming years, many states will introduce full-scale retail competition. Although there is at present considerable excess electric capacity, rates have long been kept artificially high (for many complicated reasons). According to energy experts, this excess capacity will persist well into the next century.

De-regulation brings supply and demand more in balance, in effect allowing prices to float downward to reflect the current situation of excess energy. It opens the door for registered third parties - in this case Working Assets - to contract with local suppliers for their unused capacity, mark it up according to their own marketing standards, and resell it to pilot customers.

In 1996, New Hampshire became one of the first states to open up a fraction of its market, 3%, to outside companies. These companies contracted with the ten major utility companies and numerous smaller ones that feed into the New England energy pool grid known as NEPOOL.

That's when the questionable green marketing story began.

One of the 30-odd companies that jumped into the pilot project to buy and resell electric capacity was Working Assets Green Power, a division of Working Assets Funding Service, which operates Working Assets Long Distance. It promises to bring "clean" renewable energy to customers...

This is what Working Assets claims in its marketing brochures and on its web page about its for-profit foray into offering "green" electricity in New Hampshire:

Working Assets offers New Hampshire consumers NUCLEAR FREE Electricity. No coal or Hydro-Quebec power either. "We believe there are thousands of New Hampshire residents who would appreciate a chance to support environmentally sustainable energy," says Laura Scher, Working Assets chief executive officer. "These consumers would prefer not to support the nuclear power industry." Under the company's new "Working Assets Green Power" program, consumers will be guaranteed a lower price than they currently pay for their electricity. "We are offering people an opportunity to save money and save the environment at the same time," says Scher.

Here's the not-very-green reality.

Today, the amount of clean renewable technology in New England is minimal. Throughout New England, approximately 5% of electricity is generated by non-hydro renewables, primarily landfill gases and trash burning incinerators. Nuclear energy accounts for from 26% to over 60% depending on outages. Coal and oil are the next largest sources of energy.

WA did not contract with the few smaller alternative energy producers in New England or propose a plan to nurture development of green energy. Instead, it contracted to buy all of its electricity for its New Hampshire customers from New England Power, a subsidiary of New England Energy.

Working Assets maintains that it is saving its customers money. It is in a position to save them money, for it buys energy from New England Power, which is the lowest cost producer of energy in the region. Yet, Working Assets charges the MOST of all the pilot project participants, as much as 53% MORE than competitors.

Based on marketing materials sent out by the companies, Working Assets charges 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour; its lowest cost competitor, Wheeled Electric Power, charges as little as 2.29 cents. Interestingly, another New England Energy subsidiary, Granite State Energy, is offering electricity for 2.5 cents, and provides energy sourced from the same company - New England Energy - as does WALD - plus, Granite State throws in a $39 birdfeeder!

Working Assets collects a huge "integrity tax" - as much as 53% - which its idealistic consumers willingly pay because they believe Working Assets collects and distributes energy differently than Northeast Utiltities or New England Power for that manner. Those green dollars go directly into WA's bulging pockets.

Here's what WA's idealistic customers actually get for paying as much as 53% more:

Working Assets does not tell its customers that all of the electricity in New England is fed off of the New England Pool (NEPOOL), which mixes energy from all suppliers, from where it is sent through the grid to homes. New England Power supplies into that grid and to all of WAs customers. As much as 60% or more of the electricity that actually goes into the homes of Working Assets customers is nuclear. Moreover, the electricity going into the homes of WA customers has a substantial amount of coal and electricity sourced from Hydro-Quebec in a firm energy contract.

Let's say, for arguments sake, that there was a large wind and solar energy company that sent its electrons into NEPOOL (according to the NH PUC, there is not one kilowatt of wind or solar power going into the grid despite claims by WA, reported in numerous press releases and stories pulled up on the web, that it supplies wind and solar power to its NH customers). But even if it did, that energy would get mixed with nuclear, coal, oil and water power electrons, so every customer would get the same energy. If a third party contracted with this wind-solar supplier, all they would get would be the right to offer this third party's capacity. The mix, including nuclear energy, would remain at the same percentage.

Working Assets, however, didn't contract with an alternative energy supplier. Instead, it struck a deal with NEW ENGLAND POWER. New England Power is a subsidiary of New England Electric System (NEES: NYSE: NES) which is a $2.3 billion holding company, whose subsidiaries comprise New England's second largest electric utility system. MASSPIRG calls NEES "the dirtiest utility in New England"...

How does the energy market in New Hampshire work, who benefits from the current deregulation plan, and why are alternative energy producers so critical of the plan while some large environmental groups support it and Working Assets?

Is Working Assets investing in new wind or solar plants to replace coal, oil or nuclear facilities? NO.

Would its current actions increase wind-solar development? NO.

Could its actions ever reduce reliance on coal or nuclear energy? Not for decades in the New England region, according to energy officials and activists, because of the excess capacity. The electricity mix for the buying consumer didn't change by ONE electron as a result of Working Assets contractual relationship. Its energy mix is only an accounting agreement and does NOT mean that more green energy and less "dirty" energy is being produced in New England.

Working Assets isn't proposing to build or even subsidize alternative energy plants. Just the opposite - none of the considerable fortune it is poised to reap is targeted to develop or even provide actual alternative energy. WA provides only a marketing fiction.

The sad reality is that Working Assets is doing nothing different than the most notorious of the region's electric giants, Northeast Utilities, primary owner of most of the nuclear capacity in the region. Like Working Assets, its electricity promise in Massachusetts -- 100% hydro -- is an accounting fiction. Like Working Assets, Northeast Utilities designed "unit sales contracts" which appear to state that this electricity compares only from certain so-called "green" sources. Yet, Northeast Utilities is derided for being deceptive while Working Assets is praised for creating demand for "green energy." Bizarre.

Editorial Comment: Mr Entine has a lot more to say about Working Assets and the marketing of the green. You can email him at runjonrun@earthlink.net for the full article.

Ann Stewart (Stewartship@compuserve.com) comments:
"I also have a copy now of the Renewable Energy Policy Project's Issue Brief No. 5, January 1997: Disclosure and Certification: Truth and Labeling for Electric Power by Edward Holt. Holt lives in Maine and can be contacted at edholt@igc.apc.org which I haven't done yet. His paper talks about HQ, etc., and recommends 'actions and principles for green power standards.' Entine should have not just targeted WA but also gone into the Green Mtn Energy Partners greenwashing scam, in my opinion."

Personally, I've been waiting for 40 years for the promise of solar electricity. I want to buy a couple of photovoltaic panels and hang them out of a south-facing window to generate all my power needs. That's what green power means to me.

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Online Forum on Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital

ANNOUNCEMENT: There will be an e-mail "Online Forum," hosted by the International Society for Ecological Economics and Communications for a Sustainable Future, to solicit commentaries to the Robert Costanza et. al. article,"The value of the World's ecosystem services and natural capital." The best commentaries may be published as a special edition in the journal "Ecological Economics" as a compiled "Forum." The Online Forum will commence May 19, 1997 and continue until June 30, 1997.

NATURE magazine is proud to announce the publication of the Robert Costanza et. al. article, "The value of the World's ecosystem services and natural capital." In this ground-breaking analysis, Costanza and colleagues estimate that the value of global ecosystems services to humanity is US$33 trillion/year. For comparison, the global GNP is around US$18 trillion/year.

The PURPOSE of this Online Forum is to solicit analytical, thoughtful commentaries on the important issue of ecosystem services value, as represented in specific recent publications. Participants are encouraged to compose 1500-word-or-less commentaries for posting to the Online Forum. A board of facilitators will screen these responses for quality and to make sure that the same ideas are not being posted redundantly. Dr. Costanza and the co-authors of the original publication will respond to the group of accepted commentaries, and a selection of the commentaries will be published in the journal Ecological Economics as a Forum (see for example: Forum: Economic growth, carrying capacity, and the environment. Ecological Economics 15:89-145). Participants are also encouraged to inform the Online Forum of any studies not included in the article which may help the authors reformulate their next synthesis.

To JOIN the Online Forum: Send an e-mail message of "sub ISEE-Forum firstname lastname" to listproc@csf.colorado.edu

To SUBMIT messages to the Online Forum: Send your e-mail commentary to ISEE-Forum@csf.colorado.edu with a descriptive heading in the subject line.

If you have QUESTIONS about the Online Forum, please e-mail Douglas Hinrichs at hinrichs@cbl.cees.edu. For more information, please see the ISEE Website at http://kabir.cbl.cees.edu/ISEE/ISEEhome.html

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The Begging Bowl

"A List..." is not alone in what it does and how it supports itself. Here's the financial information from Guy Dauncey's EcoNews:

EcoNews is published as a monthly service to Vancouver Island, funded by readers' donations, to nourish the vision of an Island blessed by a harmony of nature and human community.

                March   April    May
Circulation:    2000    2000    2000
Cost:           $729    $802    $750
Donations:      $251    $250    ? ? ? ?
Advertising     $55     $50
Balance:        $1243   $827  

Many thanks for your kind donations : Colleen O'Brien, Debra Barr, Rob & Lia Tocher, Marian Rowat, Jim Bohlen, Emile Lacroix, Peter Schofield, Ron Polden, Hermine Hicks, Susan Issac, Peter Dixon and Sally Ringdahl. Call 592-4473 to receive EcoNews by mail, gdauncey@islandnet.com by email. Donations can be made to EcoNews, 2069 Kings Rd, Victoria V8R 2P6. And if you have unusable envelopes with an old printed address, WE CAN USE THEM ! We get through 1,000 every month.

Guy Dauncey, 2069 Kings Rd, Victoria, B.C. V8R 2P6, Canada
Tel/Fax (250) 592-4473
Author of _After the Crash : The Emergence of the Rainbow Economy_
(Greenprint, UK, 3rd Updated Edition 1996)
Victoria Car Share Co-operative
Editor, EcoNews http://www.islandnet.com/~gdauncey/econews/

Another local environmental Web/Net publisher working on vision, contributions, and the gift economy is Dave Q (q@2cowherd.net) who operates the Solutions Web Pages (http://www.2cowherd.net/q/), the source of the Santa Monica Environmental Roundtable information I published last week. Here is an overview of his information:

Eliminating the need for government -- Principles of Cooperation
Multiple Sclerosis - Natural "Recovery"
"Recovery" email news, MS/Diet/Lifestyle, MS/Cause, Recovery stories.
Recent Positive, solution oriented Media Stories
Solution Stories by Subject
Defensiveness - the number one problem in the world today
UpBeat - Positive News
UpBeat is an Los Angeles based Positive News Cable access TV Show
Cooperation including Cohousing
Cooperation working to make the world a nicer place.
Voluntary Simplicity
A list of ways to simplify life.
My collection of good ideas we'll eventually see.
Feedback on Businesses
Great USA businesses, my database of excellent quality products and services.
Poor Quality USA Products and Services
Feedback on Los Angeles businesses.
HTTP Game - Http Game is a great way to teach internet for beginners. It's fun, interactive. It can stand alone as a game for success, network marketing, or other personal growth seminars.
The Magic of Amtrak - Newsletters from my trips aboard Amtrak. Other Amtrak info, including bike available trains Los Angeles to San Diego
Editorials by Dave Q including "Response to the Unabomber"

About This Site
"Solutions" is provided by Dave Q of Cooperational Software. Any file may be copied and distributed freely as long as their is no charge and appropriate credit given. Include current URL. Any one page can be copied at a time in books, etc, even if sold for money.

Contact Dave Q if you want to do a whole book using a portion of my files, or otherwise use large portions of this web site for profit.

If you use my health info to "Recover" from MS or other "incurable" diseases, or just appreciate and want to support my work, send a donation to Dave Q. Then I can continue helping others.

The alternative way to pass the favor along is to help others, in any way you can. Thanks + God Bless You.

Send Feedback, Solution + "Recovery" stories
"Solutions" or "Recovery" stories should be one or two succinct paragraphs. MS and other appropriate links and info considered.

Donations -- To support these pages, and the concept of cooperation, send donations to
Dave Q, Box 5291, Playa Del Rey, Ca, 90296-5291, USA

That makes at least three of us trying to make a living in the gift economy. Any donations to "A List..." will be gratefully appreciated.

How "A List..." works:
If you want to have a listing included in "A List..." please send it to me before noon on the Friday before the event and if said even is deemed suitable for coverage, it will be included in the appropriate edition of "A List..." Articles and reviews, ideas, rants and opinions are also solicited. Publication is up to the erratic discretion of the editor.

"A List..." is also a listserv. You can subscribe or unsubscribe to the listserv by emailing a-list-request@world.std.com, leaving the Subject line blank, and typing "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" as the message.

"A List..." is a freeware/shareware publication. If the information is of any value to you, please contribute - money, information, encouragement, prayers and good wishes are all valid currencies for feedback and will be gratefully appreciated by
George Mokray
Information Ecologies
218 Franklin St #3
Cambridge, MA 02139

This publication is copyrighted to George Mokray and the individual writers of the articles. Permission to reproduce is granted for non-profit purposes as long as the source is cited.