You call that democracy? How Virginia’s electric co-ops fail their member-owners


What does “cooperative” mean when you think of your rural electric provider? It’s probably not what you think. I’ve known through direct participation, observation, reading, and following the stories elsewhere, that rural EMC’s (electric co-ops) are, at best, nominally democratic despite perceptions or assumptions to the contrary.[1] One of the people I’ve followed is Seth


On Earth Day 2021, Do Good to Feel Good: Mental Health Amid the ‘State of the World’ Crises


AIRE’s mentor was among the founders of the first Earth Day in Berkeley [1]. He argued that doing good work that benefits people and communities everyday would be more authentic and beneficial than a mere one day celebration. With his axiom in mind, let’s not be nihilistic about mental health in the title because, on


AIRE and Co-operate WNC: Making the (co-operative solar) road by walking


AIRE and Co-operate WNC have been in dialogue for several months around the questions of how do we cooperate to incubate a solar cooperative practice that harnesses the power of aggregated purchasing to reduce the cost of solar and how do we nurture a cooperative enterprise that sustains solar adoption and creates livelihoods for underserved


Democracy Crisis: The Court, Renewable Energy and Well-Being


Note: I heard Dahr Jamail on a podcast back in the summer saying he– a brilliant, award-winning journalist and author– can’t even write in the present moment. This is a guy who went independently to Iraq to cover war up close and in the streets. Now, instead of writing, he’s immersed in grassroots mutual support


North Carolina Outdoor Enthusiasts Come Together On Climate: Alpinist Kitty Calhoun to Host Dialogue


Kitty Calhoun will be giving a Zoom presentation for POW (the advocacy organization “Protect our Winters“), and focusing on the state of North Carolina’s abundant and varied outdoor adventure settings, on Oct 29 at 5pm Eastern. This virtual meet-up on Zoom will last 15 minutes and then get to sharing stories, Q&A, and discussion about


Cutting Edge Energy Demonstration: The Center at Donaldson Does It Again


I’ve posted many times on the effort of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ at the Center at Donaldson to live their beliefs in integral ecology. Their renewable energy development agenda the past couple years is an institutional model that demonstrates how significant progress can be made with committed leadership (and here) all coordinated by


Burton Street Community Peace Gardens Solar Phase 1 Has Been Installed


The solar installation was completed on Monday, August 10th. Now we await only Duke Energy to connect the system to the grid. The advocacy community uses the term “slow walking” to describe how long that may take. Only Duke knows, but hopefully soon. The garden is producing healthy food, ideas, healing vibes, and is ready


What is solar for? AIRE’s new plan for cooperative, sustainable communities solar


This guiding question borrows from the title of a collection of essays, “WHAT ARE people FOR” by agrarian writer, Wendell Berry. It is provocative because it calls our values into question and challenges assumptions. Our conversations and activities at AIRE have recently asked a similar question out of the same vein– What is solar for?


The Bankruptcy of Fracked Gas: The Chickens Coming Home to Roost


Just a quick little rant here, but it’s worth filing a mention of the goliath of fracked natural gas, Chesapeake Energy bankruptcy. I’m not going to get into the details since the story is everywhere in the financial news. To see how big a deal this is, just search “Chesapeake Energy bankruptcy” and you’ll get


Solar Panels Tilting Toward the Sun: Summer Arrives Today


One of our most inspiring solar projects just happens to have a great teaching component. It’s especially relevant today, the SUMMER SOLSTICE, as a way to remind us all that we’re all part of a dynamic constant– our relationship to the sun. That’s FREE FUEL that doesn’t have to be mined, transported, fought over, used