A List of Environmental and Telecommunications Events and Issues

November 14 to November 21, 1997









Published, Edited and Written by George Mokray for
Information Ecologies
218 Franklin St #3
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617)661-2676
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Listings

Saturday, November 15

Vacant Lots to Common Ground: Strategies for Community-based Brownfields Revitalization
contact 627-3162 or brownfields@tufts.edu
Tufts Univ, Medford
Cost: $20 (Sat. only)

First Annual Massachusetts Recycles Day
contact Craig Ruberti or Kathi Miria at MassRecycle 338-0244

9:30 am -2:30 pm
Reinventing the City on a Hill: Innovations in Urban America
Rudy Washington, Deputy Mayor of NYC; Fidel Vargas, youngest elected mayor in U.S. history; more
contact 495-1360 or hing@fas.harvard.edu
Harvard, Kennedy School, 79 JFK St
Register: email eyyang@fas.harvard.edu

10 am - 3 pm
Statewide Planning Meeting for Single Payer Activists
contact 357-7003
UMass Medical School Faculty Conference Room, Worcester

12 pm - 2 pm
Demonstration to Protest Douglas Landfill
contact (508)949-0711, cimoch@tiac.net or http://www.tiac.net/users/cimoch/dump/
State House steps, Boston
Editorial Comment: Joe Cimoch says, "There should be a front page article in this Sunday's Boston Globe, describing our 11 year effort to keep this landfill from being sited. AG Harshbarger is supposed to be there [on the State House steps]. We did get a break this week from Judge Botsford, because she ruled that the developer, Vincent Barletta, could not begin any work on the site until our appeal is heard. Thanks for your help."

1 pm - 6 pm
India 50 Years After : Which Way Forward
contact aashish@mit.edu, 547-6951 or ipsg@maestro.com, 864-0579
MIT

4 pm
A Symposium on Democracy, Human Rights, and Environmental Action in Nigeria
Maureen Idehen, Nigerian Advocacy Group for Democracy and Human Rights and several Ogoni leaders in exile
contact cnielsen@fas.harvard.edu or 864-5013
Harvard, Sever Hall, Room 113

7 pm
Radical Auction - Proceeds to benefit the National Lawyers Guild, Mass. Chapter & CISPES
contact 227-7335
45 Danforth St, Jamaica Plain

Sunday, November 16

5 pm - 11 pm
The Economic Inequality Comedy Cabaret
Join United for a Fair Economy and special guests Jimmy Tingle, Judith Sloan, and "Professor Louie" for an evening of dinner, dancing, justice and laughter
contact 423-2148
Dante Alighieri Center, 41 Hampshire St

7 pm
Greater Boston Greens Meeting
contact 787-9521 or oggc@fcl-us.net
Community Church, 565 Boylston St, Copley Sq, Boston

Monday, November 17

9:10 am
The Importance of Dynamic Physical Forces that Structure Coastal Zones
Orrin Pilkey, Duke Univ
Harvard, Graduate School of Design, Room 318
Editorial Comment: Good to see a talk on natural structure at a design school.

12 pm
The Fundamentalist Impulse and the Challenge to Modernity
Freidemann Buttner, Free Univ of Berlin
Harvard, Coolidge Hall, Room 4

3:30 pm
Plasma Arc Technology for Civil and Environmental Engineering
Lou Circeo, GA Institute of Technology
MIT Building NW12, Room 222

3:30 pm - 6 pm
Promoting Health at the Margins in Latin America
Speakers include Pablo J. Farias, MD and David Halperin, MD, MPH, from Ecosur in Chiapas, Mexico; Marilyn Nations, PhD, from Instituto Conceitos Culturais & Medicina Fortaleza, Brazil, and Roberto Lewis-Fernandez, MD from the Puerto Rican Mental Health Research Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico
contact 495-5428
Harvard, Rockefeller Center, 61 Kirkland St

4 pm

Electric Cars: Prospects and Problems
James Worden, Solectria
MIT Building 34, Room 101
Editorial Comment: Solectria is a local firm that has been building electric cars for many years, is a perennial winner of the Tour de Sol, and recently drove one of their vehicles from Boston to New York City on one charge, a practical demonstration of the feasibility of this technology that has yet to be equaled. If you are interested in electric cars, this is the lecture to attend.

True Polar Wander: A Supercontinental Legacy
David Evans, CA Institute of Technology
Harvard, Geological Museum, Haller Hall, Room 102

4:10 pm
Talking Politics on the Net
Sara Bentivegna, Univ of Rome
Harvard, Kennedy School, Taubman Building, Room 275

4:15 pm
Running on Water
Thomas McMahon, Harvard
contact http://www-math.mit.edu/amc/fall97
MIT Building 2, Room 349

On Not Being a Theme Park: Pearl Harbor and the Predicament of National Memory
Geoffrey White, Univ of Hawaii
Harvard, Peabody Museum, Bowditch Room

6 pm
Myths of Management
James March, Stanford
contact 258-7216
MIT Tang Center, Wong Auditorium

7 pm
Greater Boston ACM SIGCHI: The Office of the Future - an Interactive Design Session to Study Space, Technology and Organization
        Chuck Kukla, MIT 
contact 508-486-7425 (Security at Main Lobby) or http://www.xensei.com/gbsigchi/
Lotus, One Rogers St

7:30 pm (munchies provided)
Zero Population Growth of Greater Boston
contact 225-8905, breinan@ortho.bwh.harvard.edu, or hanauer@sybase.com and http://web.mit.edu/hbreinan/zpg-gb/
100 Lexington Street #B10, Belmont

Tuesday, November 18

Build Boston - convention and exhibition for design professionals
contact (800)544-1898
World Trade Center, Boston

9 am - 4 pm
Promoting Health at the Margins in Latin America: Reproductive Health (HIV/AIDS); Infectious Diseases, Culture and Poverty; Mental Health, Violence, and Identity
Speakers will include: Paul Farmer, Harvard Medical School; Kris Heggenhougen, Harvard Medical School; Jim Kim, Harvard Medical School and Arthur Kleinman, Harvard Medical School; as well as the field researchers
contact 495-5428
Harvard Faculty Club, 20 Quincy St

12 pm
Biological Foundations of Emotional and Cognitive Development
Kurt Fischer, Harvard
contact 495-8140 or boisnier@radcliffe.edu
Harvard, Radcliffe Yard, Murray Center
Covering the MIlitary in Peacetime
General Bernard Trainor, USMC, retired and NYT
Harvard, Kennedy School, Taubman Building, Room 275

Mediating the Global Change Negotiations: An Inside Report
Lawrence Susskind, MIT
MIT Building 6, Room 120

12:30 pm
Vaccine Production in Transgenic Plants
Liz Richter, Cornell
Harvard Medical School, Building D1, Amphitheater D, Boston

Media Globalization and the Decling of Japan's NHK
Gregory Noble, Australian National Univ
Harvard, Coolidge Hall, Room 3

3:30 pm
Estuary Habitat Restoration Partnership Act Meeting
Peter Shelley and national representatives from the effort to pass the bill
Please RSVP to Peter @ 207-594-8107 or email pshelley@clf.org
Conservation Law Foundation, 62 Summer St, Boston

4 pm
Invited Speaker: Carol Browner, EPA
contact 495-1360 (this is a discussion/study group so call ahead)
Harvard, Kennedy School, 79 JFK St

Building Structure One Molecular Layer at a Time
Michael Rubner, MIT
contact 253-2855 or glandahl@mit.edu
MIT Building 34, Room 101

4:15 pm
The Treaty of Amsterdam and the Future of the European Union
Andrew Moravcsik, Michel Petite, Joseph Weller
Harvard, Center for European Studies, Conference Room

5:45 pm
Save the Harbor/Save the Bay Annual Meeting and Fall Public Forum: From Cape Cod to the Bay of Fundy: Exploring the Gulf of Maine
Peter Shelley, CLF; Phil Conkling, The Island Institute; Mickael Kensler, Chesapeake Bay Foundation; and Beth Nicholson, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay
contact 451-2860
J. F. Kennedy Library, Columbia Point, Boston

7 pm
POWER: A Film About the James Bay Cree and Hydro-Quebec
Followed by a discussion with Matthew Mukash, a Cree chief
contact 628-5000 ext 2261 or jhanley@emerald.tufts.edu
Tufts, Fletcher School, Cabot Auditorium, Medford

7:30 pm
A Forum on Restorative Justice
John Gorczyk, VT Commissioner of Corrections; MA Superior Court Judge John Cratsley; Boston Municipal Court mediation services administrator Cynthia Brophy; moderated by Carolyn Boyes-Watson, Suffolk Univ
contact jvw@together.net
Alcott School auditorium, Concord

Boston Voice Users Meeting - Organizing meeting for those interested in voice recognition technology
contact 666-2517 or boston-voice-users@harvee.billerica.ma.us
MIT Building 5, Room 217

Wednesday, November 19

Build Boston - convention and exhibtion for design professionals
contact (800)544-1898
World Trade Center, Boston

11 am
Optical Networking: Status and Technology Inhibitors
Paul Green, Tellabs
contact 253-8504
MIT Building 34, Room 401B

12 pm
Unholy Alliances: Church/State Partnerships and the Privatization of Social Welfare
Wendy Kaminer, Harvard
contact 496-3478 to register
Harvard, 69 Brattle St

12:10 pm
The Cross Shelf Transport of Heat By Instabilities, and the Parameterization of Lateral Eddy Fluxes
Jamie Pringle, MIT/WHOI
MIT Building 54, Room 1411

4 pm
Economics and Environmental Quality: The View from the EPA Science Advisory Board
Paul Portney, Resources for the Future
contact 495-1820 or 495-8833
Harvard, Kennedy School, 79 JFK St, Room 332

Long-Term Climate Change and Short-Term Mitigation Strategies: the Dilemma of Optimizing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Klaus Hasselmann, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology
MIT Building E15, Room 070 (Bartos Theater, Media Lab)
Editorial Comment: The road to Kyoto is beginning to show traffic. This is the second event in two days at MIT on climate change.

4:15 pm
Freedom of Press in Israel: Censorship and Self-Censorship
Moshe Negbi, Israeli Public Television and Radio
Harvard Law School, Pound Hall, Room 401

4:30 pm
The US Perspective of Peacekeeping: An Insider's View
Sarah Sewell
Harvard, Coolidge Hall, Room 1

Intelligence and God: Shankara's View of the World and Its Implication for Cognitive Science
Bijoy Misra, Harvard Medical School
MIT Building 34, Room

Engaging the Past, Arguing for the Present: Writing as a Social Scientist
Theda Skocpol, Harvard
Harvard, Boylston Auditorium

6 pm
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design
contact 349-3236
Cambridge Senior Center, 806 Mass Ave
Editorial Comment: A street tree program reduced crime significantly in Homestead, FL after the recovery from a devastating hurricane.

6:30 pm
War Crimes in East Asia During WWII: A Legal, Social and Political Perspective
Eli Rosenbaum, US Dept of Justice; Karen Parker, armed conflict lawyer; Jeffry Laurenti, Un Assoc; Iris Shun-run Chang, author; and Mitsuo Okamoto, Hiroshima Shudo Univ
Harvard Law School, Pound Hall, Room 101

Mayors Institute on City Design: Housing and the City - Investing in Urban Design
Willie Brown, Mayor of SF and Andrew Cuomo, HUD
contact 495-9835
Harvard, Gund Hall, Piper Auditorium

Thursday, November 20

Third Annual Use Less Stuff Day
contact http://cygnus-group.com/ULS/ULSDAY/ULSDay.html

Mayors Institute on City Design: Housing and the City - Investing in Urban Design
contact 495-9835
Harvard

Build Boston - convention and exhibtion for design professionals
contact (800)544-1898
World Trade Center, Boston

8:30 am - 10:30 am
Benchmark Your Environmental, Health and Safety Practices Against Others
Barbara Bernstein, WasteCap of NH: Sheila Burke, Hampshire Chemical; Tad Lincoln, NBEN; Bill Lindsey, Veryfine Products/Balsam Spring Water
contact (978)557-5475, execdirector@nben.org, or http://www.nben.org
Hampshire Chemical Co, 2 East Spit Brook Road, Nashua, NH
"Seating is limited. Please respond by Nov. 17, 1997
NBEN Members & WasteCap Contributors: $20 Others: $40
Please bring check or cash to the event"

11 am
Divine Will and Human Needs: Islamists in Search of an Economic Alternative
Bjorn Olav Utvik, Univ of Oslo
Harvard, Coolidge Hall, Room 3

11:30 am
The Cross at Auschwitz: Catholics and Jews in Conflict
James Carroll
Harvard, Rockefeller II

2:15 pm
Employers Against Markets: A Comparative Perspcetive on Why Swedish Capital Supported the Social Democratic Welfare State
Peter Swenson, Northwestern Univ
Harvard, Center for European Studies, Cabot Room

3:15 pm
Journalism Reform: Democracy Depends on It
William Buzenberg, Institute of Politics
Harvard, 51 Brattle St, Grossman Common Room

3:30 pm
The Protection of Valuable Information
Robert Morris, National Security Agency
MIT Building 34, Room 101
Editorial Comment: Robert Morris' son unleashed the infamous Internet worm in the late 80s so he knows this subject from a variety of different angles.

4 pm
Carbon Copies: Legal, Ethical and Scientific Reflections on Human Cloning
Ruth Macklin, Albert Einstin College of Medicine; John Robertson, Univ of TX; Stuart Orkin, Children's Hospital; and Philip Leder, Harvard
contact 432-2570
Harvard Medical School, Medical Education Center, Walter Amphitheater, Boston

Some Recent Results in the Control and Design of Broadband/ATM Networks
Debasis Mitra, Bell Labs
contact 253-7412, jayc@mit.edu or http://web.mit.edu/orc/www
MIT Building E40, Room 106

Unveiling the Early Universe: Pop III Objects and Their Observable Effects
Andrea Ferrara, Osservatorio Astrofisico Arcetri, Florence
Harvard, Center for Astrophysics, Phillips Auditorium

Feet of Clay: Saints, Sinners and Madmen - A Study of Gurus
Anthony Storr, Oxford
Harvard, Longfellow Hall, Askwith Lecture Hall

The Inter-American Human Rights System: Achievements and Challenges
Cecilia Medina, Harvard
Harvard, 61 Kirkland St, Rockefeller Center

5 pm
Thomas Kuhn, Physics and Revolutions in the Social Sciences
Kenneth Wilson, Ohio State Univ
contact 253-6989 or dibner@mit.edu
MIT Building E56, Room 100
Editorial Comment: The beginning of a conference on the man who gave us the paradigm paradigm.

7 pm
ISIG: Search Engines: AltaVista and Northern Light
Richard Seltzer, Digital Equipment Corp
RSVP isig-yes@nethorizons.com, mcooley@nethorizons.com, 433-0825 or http://www.signet.org/isig/
MIT Building 6, Room 120

People's Hearing on Incineration in the Merrimack Valley
North Andover HS, North Andover

People's Hearing on Incinerators in the Merrimack Valley
Local residents and public health experts testify about the risks of dioxin contamination of food and high asthma rates in the valley
contact 292-4821 or (978)685-1012
North Andover High School, No Andover

Science Fiction Readings: Orson Scott Card and Allen Steele
contact http://media-in-transition.mit.edu
MIT Building 26, Room 100

8 pm
Sputnik to Space Age: 40 Years of the Space Age
Jonathan McDowell, Harvard
Harvard, 60 Garden St, Phillips Auditorium

Martin Peretz, "The New Republic"
Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel
Admission: $5

Friday, November 21

The Legacy of Thomas S. Kuhn
contact 253-6989 or dibner@mit.edu

12 pm
Global Expansion of Internetworking Services
Peter Thonis, GTE
Harvard, Coolidge Hall, Room 3

4 pm
The Relative Importance of Internal (molecular and developmental) and External (geological and ecological) Factors in Shaping the Course of Evolution
Charles Marshall, UCLA
MIT Building 54, Room 915

Dynamics in Single-Electron Circuits
Rob Schoelkopf, Yale
Harvard, Pierce Hall, Room 209
Editorial Comment: There is a lot of activity in nanostructure currently. I wish that there was somebody going to all the relevant lectures and reporting back.

Saturday, November 22

The Legacy of Thomas S. Kuhn
contact 253-6989 or dibner@mit.edu

9 am - 5 pm
Economic Security for 21st Century: Building a Campaign for United Action
Howard Zinn and Bernie Sanders, keynote speakers
contact 497-5273
Northeastern Univ School of Law, 400 Huntington Ave, Boston

Sunday, November 23

11 am
Economic Globalization and Its Implication to the "Third World"
Mannakkunnil P. Joseph, Andover Newton Theological School
contact 266-6710
Community Church of Boston, 565 Boylston St, Copley Sq, Boston

Friday, November 28

International Buy Nothing Day
contact http://www.adbusters.org/Pop/buy0dayposter.html

Sources for Listings:
MIT _Tech Talk_ :
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/www
Harvard _Gazette_ :
http://www.news.harvard.edu/hno.subpages/hno.calendar.full.html
Harvard Environmental Resources On-Line:
http://environment.harvard.edu
MA Executive Office of Environmental Affairs calendar:
http://www.magnet.state.ma.us/envir/earth.htm
Earth Day Network international/national listings:
http://www.cfe.cornell.edu/EarthDay/ednethome.html
Earth Day Greater Boston calendar:
http://www.earthdaygb.org

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

Computer Organizations of NE (CONE):
http://bcs1.ziplink.net/cone/sig - Special Interest Group list
http://bcs1.ziplink.net/cone/cal/index.html - calendar
Boston Webmasters Guild
http://boston.webmaster.org

Community Technology Center Network
http://www.ctcnet.org

Table of Contents




Car Sharing Webpage

Editorial Comment: Guy Dauncey (gdauncey@islandnet.com) wrote in with an update on last week's piece about car sharing.



Dear George,
The home page for the Victoria Car Share co-op is Car Share
http://vvv.com/~carshare/
which gives all the working details and hyperlinks to other carsharing resources. And yes, thoses are 'v's not 'w's ! We now have 37 members - the Vancouver co-op has 72.

Keep up the good work,
Guy
Author of forthcoming "The Millennium Chronicles : 2000 - 2015"
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/

Table of Contents




TecsChange Tutor Training

Editorial Comment: TecsChange keeps on repairing old computers and teaching people necessary skills. This is their latest project. And please remember that Virtually Wired has reopened at 19 Temple Place in Boston and is ready for your business.



Folks,
Now that our third group of students have graduated and the Pastors for Peace caravan has left town, we can start to focus on the next round of classes. The next round is scheduled to start on Monday January 12.

Over the next two months, we will hold three informal sessions where tutors and potential tutors can sharpen their skills (or just see what the program is about).

If you have been thinking about becoming a tutor, or if you have been a tutor but feel that you yourself need more training, these sessions may be for you. You can come on one or two nights, or come to all 3.

The goal is to cover the same material that the students will cover, only in a less formal setting (with a smaller number of participants). Each evening will be divided into two sections to accommodate people at different levels.

One section each night will include an overview of the material we present in the course. This is geared at new tutors and those that want a quick refresher.

We will assume a slightly higher level of knowledge about MS-DOS and about familiarity with a PC so that we won't need to cram the whole course into one evening.

The second level will be for more experienced tutors who what to improve their skills. This will function very similar to the classes where you can work on some computers and get a change delve into a wider variety of issues.

We have scheduled 3 Mondays:

November 17
December 1
December 15

These will start at 7 pm (instead of the usual 6:30) and go to about 9:00 pm. They will be held at the South End Technology Center where our classes have been held.

You will work on one or more computers, just like the students.

Please let us know if you are interested, and if you need directions.
Charlie Welch
for TecsChange (tecschange@tecschange.org)

Table of Contents




Rough Summary of Utility Restructuring

Editorial Comment: I called Union of Concerned Scientists (http://www.ucsusa.org) today to find out what's up with utility deregulation and restructuring. Seems like we consumers are going to pick up the full tab for all the utilities' stranded costs, paying for the outmoded coal plants and nukes the utility managers wanted to build. However, UCS and others seem to feel that the renewable provisions are actually about the best we can get these days. I'm not quite sure whether we can do better for "demand side management" or energy conservation and lifeline rates at this late date either. Utility dereg has passed the House and the Senate bill will be voted on within the next week. Conference committee is next. It never hurts to call your elected representatives and let them know what you think. I do wonder why I had to hunt for this information rather than have it come to me. Where's our organization?



Rough Summary of Renewable Energy and Other Provisions of MA House Restructuring Bill

Renewables Portfolio Standard: The Division of Energy Resources (DOER) is directed to set a standard for renewables, including existing, for retail supplier portfolios. NEW renewables (on-line or incremental capacity) after 1997 must equal at least 1% of sales by 2003, and grow by 1/2% per year through 2009, then 1% per year until a date determined by DOER. Hydro and waste-to-energy are included in the existing renewables standard, but not in new renewables standard. A cost cap was set at 1/2 mill per kWh in 2003, increasing to 2 mills in 2007. An amendment passed which would trigger the 1% standard 1 year after any renewable averages within 10% of spot market price, or 2003, whichever is sooner. DOER is directed to conduct a study of the tradable credits mechanism.

Note: In the Senate Ways and Means version, the cost cap has been dropped, and the date of Dec. 31, 1997 for defining new renewables has been struck.

Renewable Energy Trust Fund: Of the $200 million allocated, $50 million (0.25 mills/kWh) was reserved (in the Ways & Means bill) for pollution controls at existing waste-to-energy plants. Towns may use that money to shut incinerators as an option. The fund may be used to support existing renewables.

Emissions: A Generation Performance Standard (GPS) requiring Dept. of Enviro Prot. to set unspecified uniform standards for at least one emission by 2003.

DSM: Funding levels restored to at least 89% of utility settlement levels and specified funding in mills/kWh, as opposed to $/year in utility settlements (i.e., at 3% sales growth DSM funding would equal 94% of settlement levels). Minimum low-income funding equal to at least 20% of residential or 0.25 mills.

Disclosure: Fuel sources and emissions required to be included on mandatory label and supplier billing material.

Stranded costs: Tighter standards for reviewing prudence of power purchase contract decisions (failure to re-negotiate, buyout, etc.) were adopted.

Siting Amendment eliminating siting board ability to override local and state zoning and environmental permitting passed. Amendments also accepted require siting reviews to include mercury and toxic metal emissions and water consumption.

Low-income discounts: Amendment to eliminate Ways & Means sunset of low-income discount passed.

Service quality, reliability: Amendment to maintain current levels of service quality, reliability, etc. passed.

Table of Contents




Regional Metabolism Analysis

Editorial Comment: Gil Friend (gfriend@eco-ops.com) writes a weekly column on business and the environment, The New Bottom Line. He has been thinking about these issues for a longer time than he probably wants to remember. I first met him over 20 years ago when he was in Washington DC at the Institute for Local Self Reliance. He knew immediately what I was up to. Obviously a kindred spirit. He writes well too.



The New Bottom Line
Strategic perspectives on business and environment
v 6 n 19 September 9, 1997

Regional Metabolism Analysis: A Tool for "Reality-based" Economic Development

These columns have often looked at "industrial metabolism" at the enterprise level, examining the energy and resource flows through industrial systems--akin to the living metabolism on living organisms--to understand their dynamics, efficiencies, and opportunities. But the metaphor can be extended to consider the resource flows of any system, large or small, to the scale of a region or even a country.

"Any progress towards sustainable development," according to Germany's Wuppertal Institute, "strongly depends on the availability of methods to describe and analyze the 'metabolism' of the economy. Priorities for substitution and dematerialization measures can only be set efficiently, if the status quo and the current trend of material flows are known."

In fact an international Material Flow Accounting (MFA) conference is underway at Wuppertal as I write <http://www.leidenuniv.nl/interfac/cml/conaccou/>, under the auspices of the Environment and Climate Programme of the Commission of the European Union, to forward a common framework for MFA activities. MFA refers to "accounts in physical units (usually in terms of tonnes) comprising the extraction of, production, transformation, consumption, recycling and disposal of materials (e.g. substances, raw materials, base materials, products, manufactures, wastes, emissions to air, water or soil)."

This spring, GFA conducted a pilot "regional metabolism assessment" for a regional economic development agency in rural Virginia. "Virginia's River Country," as it calls itself, is a ten county region a few hours southeast of Washington DC; the region hosts substantial fishery, forestry and agricultural sectors, an increasingly diverse manufacturing sector, and growing tourism and retirement home sectors. Especially because of this last element, the agency is particularly concerned about "compatible economic development"--economic development that doesn't erode the quality of life that brings people to the region in the first place.

Compatible economic development also makes good economic sense, we found, since "environmental quality can actually be a limiting factor on economic growth; e.g., ground water or surface water contamination may reduce a region's ability to attract new manufacturing concerns that require water clean enough to meet industrial process standards. Conversely, environmentally sensitive business strategies create new economic opportunities; e.g., promoting regional water efficiency may, in effect, provide an economically advantageous "new" water source when new sources of supply are expensive or inconvenient."

The agency charged us to: identify potential business opportunities, replace resources that are being imported from outside the region with local resources, add value to products produced in the region prior to departure from the region, and utilize existing waste material in a productive manner. To do this, we modeled energy, materials, and water flows--the region's "metabolism"--by county and economic sector, and compared economic resource flows with the energy, materials, and water flows of the natural landscape--the fundamental resources that sustain economic life. We then created a simple visual atlas to identify economic sectors which are currently underexploited, those which need to be developed with particular environmental sensitivity, and those which may face resource challenges in order to not overwhelm existing natural flows.

Understanding the underlying metabolism--think of it as a reality check on economic abstraction--makes it possible for new and existing businesses to harvest new revenue streams by turning wastes into resources, improving resource efficiency, using local resources in place of imported ones, and adding value locally. And in fact many intriguing insights emerged, in two key dimensions:

*Throughput efficiency*
In traditional economic measures, the pulp and paper industry provides about half the region's manufacturing value added, and about one-third of manufacturing jobs. But looked at in relation to throughput efficiency--value added per kilowatt hour of energy, gallon of water, pound of emissions--pulp and paper was the least efficient sector. Moreover, the study found that timber harvest rates exceeded timber growth rates in at least three of the ten counties, and was more than 150% of growth rates in at least two counties--hardly a recipe for a sustainable economy, environmental impact aside. This suggests that future economic growth should emphasize other industries--and target efficiency improvements for pulp and paper.

*Resource clusters*
One key industrial ecology strategy is turning wastes into resources. By examining resource inputs and "non-product" outputs in each manufacturing sector we were able to identify a number of opportunities, including two possible "ecological industrial clusters" with rich resource flow interconnections--one based on agriculture/forestry/industrial and the other on food/textiles--that offer great potential for waste matching, import substitution, and local value-added production. These clusters, or ones like them, can provide a focal point for economic development efforts that improve environmental quality while creating jobs from optimal use of resources. Economic development staff can now focus on businesses which complement the clusters, and support enterprises which help make the clusters more effective.

Though regional metabolism analysis is still limited by data availability, this study yielded several key strategies to guide future economic development in the region:
* Eco-Efficiency--maximize the economic productivity of resource use, and leverage existing infrastructure to meet economic development needs (a significant economic opportunity, since the region's energy bill exceeds its manufacturing value added);
* Wastes into Resources--develop materials exchange networks and clusters for local industry and natural resources sectors that can provide economic development leverage;
* Agricultural and Forestry Diversification--target the growing markets for agricultural and forestry products as industrial feedstocks and pursue specialty product niche markets;
* Compatible Development and Recruitment--target companies and sectors based on their fit with existing businesses and environmental compatibility, in addition to traditional revenue, employment, and taxation considerations;
* Import Substitution and Value-Added Production--diversify the local economy and encourage additional value-added production steps

The Virginia report (written by Gil Friend and GFA Associate Stuart Cowan, with the assistance of intern Lloyd Connelley) is now being edited for general distribution, and the methodology is being offered to other jurisdictions; a summary, and ordering information, should be posted soon on our Web site.

1997 Gil Friend and Associates. All rights reserved.
Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate. [970909]

Archived on the World Wide Web at http://www.eco-ops.com/eco-ops For subscription information, send email to: nbl-info@eco-ops.com

May be cross-posted intact--including this notice--via email as long as no fees are charged. Publishing--whether on a Web site or in print--and commercial distribution in any form require our advance permission. Thank you.

Gil Friend, systems ecologist and business strategist, is president of Gil Friend and Associates. GFA helps companies and communities prosper by embedding the laws of nature at the heart of enterprise.

Gil Friend
Gil Friend & Associates
48 Shattuck Square #103
Berkeley CA 94704
Tel: 1-510-548-7904
Fax: 1-510-849-2341
Net: gfriend@eco-ops.com
http://www.eco-ops.com/eco-ops

"Nature's ecosystems have 3.5 billion years experience of in evolving efficient, complex, adaptive, resilient systems. Why should companies reinvent the wheel, when the R&D has already been done?"

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Drowning in Cambridge

At one of the early meetings on the $3.6 million Central Square redesign, I asked what use would it be to have new trees and benches and wider sidewalks if people waiting for the bus still had to smell sewer gas. I was told we couldn't consider that because "you know how fast $3 million will go if we start looking at the sewers."

Now we have new trees and plantings and benches and wider sidewalks (and a new grocery chain and the threatened demolition of a significant proportion of Central Square) and the people who wait for the bus still have to smell sewer gas. The only change is that it's moved from one side of the street to the other.

Over 15 years ago, the MBTA rebuilt the Central Square T station. Were the sewers any more of a priority for them then? More recently, in the early days of the Boston Harbor project, there were meetings about combined sewerage overflows, CSOs, when storm sewers and waste sewers intermingle and overflow into basements, streets, the river, and the ocean. Part of the MWRA project was supposed to take care of these CSOs for a total system cost of something like $1 billion or so. I went to one public meeting down at Fanueil Hall. Later the Federal funding fell through but we should know that sometime soon, probably in the next 10 to 15 years, we will have to do something about it. In fact, aren't there plans under discussion for Cottage Farm pumping station down by Magazine Beach, one of the primary points in the Cambridge system?

Watching a candidates' night in this year's "race" for Cambridge City Council, I saw Roger Frymire. He ran because he found too many previously unmapped sewer outlets into the lower Charles River as a volunteer river watcher. As I recall, he said he was given a map of something like 30 by the people in charge (MA DEP? Charles River Watershed Assoc? EPA?) and found over a hundred.

We're rebuilding the water treatment plant at Fresh Pond and arguing about a "public art" installation in the park there. With the rebuilding of the water treatment plant, Cambridge residents will be getting their water from the MWRA and Quabbin reservoir rather than our own system. The Cambridge water system is about a century old now, with two reservoirs, two holding facilities, Fresh Pond and Payson Park in Belmont, and the treatment plant. Are we thinking clearly about the next 100 years?

In North Cambridge, there are a lot of people with basements that flood when there's a hard storm. The marsh and ponds around Alewife are under increasing development pressure. What's the big dig going to do to East Cambridge and what's left of the riverfront there? Or the Polaroid development to Magazine Beach?

In the back of my mind, I also wonder about the rise of ocean levels due to global warming. The estimates I've heard run from inches to feet. I don't believe that anyone in a position of authority is asking what that may mean in this city built on swamps and marshes. In researching the history of Central Square, I came across a map of Cambridge from the mid-nineteenth century, before most of the landfill. I wonder if that map from the past is the best idea of the future I can find.

The more I look at Cambridge, the more I find that long-term planning and survival is impossible in this political community. The only people who think in at least 20 year increments are Harvard, MIT, and maybe Lesley College. The city and its citizens go from paycheck to paycheck, from crisis to crisis just like any other addict.

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Exemplars of Sustainability

I'm researching businesses and community organizations working towards environmental sustainability for a book by the same people who wrote _The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook_ (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0385472560/alistA/). We are looking for stories and examples of strategies and techniques that improved environmental performance as well as the business bottom line, that increased worker morale and community communication, and have been ongoing for at least three years. Most of all, we are looking for ideas that are replicable so that others can read about them and then go and do likewise.

The "fifth discipline" is an approach to transforming organizations into learning entities. The five disciplines are personal mastery, mental models, shared vision, team learning, and systems thinking. We are especially interested in stories that illustrate one or all of these concepts as well as environmental wisdom and business success.

This book will be addressed to a business audience and, judging from previous work, will be read by those in a position to make changes in how business gets done. I'd like to have a wealth of examples to choose from and appreciate any help I can get in tracking them down.

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The Begging Bowl

Please see "Exemplars of Sustainability" above.

I will be out of town with my family for the next two weeks. I don't know whether I'll publish "A List..." next week but am certain that you won't have me clogging up your mailbox on November 28. I hope you have much to give thanks for this year. Have a happy Thanksgiving.

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