Here we are in 2019: Quilts as a metaphor for small roles in system change

Because it’s cold outside, but mostly for other reasons, I’ve been thinking about quilts, so I wanted to write about them as a reflection on the past year and in contemplation of the new one upon us. My family made one of those “barn quilts” that we see so much of in rural country for

Seeing Systems: Loren Cole, Inquiring Systems, and Winter Solstice

Friday, December 21st, 2018 at 5:23 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. That’s the moment the sun stands still way down south at the Tropic of Capricorn, about 26 degrees south latitude. Our star gives its majority light to the southern hemisphere and us our darkness in which to rest and reflect. The solar system is big

Distributed Generation vs Monopoly Utilities: WFAE Charlotte Talks

Hat’s off to Mike Collins and WFAE/Charlotte Talks for the debate that aired on Thursday, November 30th. Old foes Jim Warren of NC WARN and Duke Energy PR man Randy Wheeless meet again. Listen or watch the debate here. Fracking, pipelines, hog waste, externalities, profits and “show me the money”…oh my. I will publish a

Poor Handmaids Solar Performance Update: Early Dividends

We’ve posted previously (here, here and here) on our admiration for the leadership of Poor Handmaid’s Center at Donaldson, up in Indiana as they took action to walk their talk on renewable energy and creation care. Adam Thada, the Director of Ecological Relations just issued the first Provincial report on the financial and ecological returns

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change circles the year 2030 on our calendar

With the wave of recent hurricanes, floods and wildfires as real reminders of what we value in the face of climate-related loss, yet another climate report was just released. This one, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) bears special mention because of the worldwide stature of the IPCC and it’s decades-long work on

Solar Power, the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics & What My Economics Degree Left Out

Two economists were just awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics. Of course that isn’t a newsflash, because it happens every year, but the work for which they were recognized is both newsworthy and urgent. The dwindling window of opportunity to decarbonize the global economy and literally save the biosphere, combined with the fact that

Making Community Energy Together in the Pluriverse: Thoughts on an important new book

AIRE has spent a solid decade now experimenting with ways to develop community-based renewable energy projects. We consider honesty to be a virtue and if we walk that talk we’d have to say that we haven’t made a much of a dent in the dominant, dirty, deadly energy system we set out to help change.

Are rural electric cooperatives cooperative and democratic?

In a sense, community-owned renewable energy and democracy are somewhat synonymous terms. Some may assume that electric “cooperatives” are democratic, but that would be an assumption worth testing once in awhile. A decade ago, two colleagues and I, attended a particularly interesting annual meeting of our electric utility, Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation, or BREMCO

Building a BIGGER Choir: Poor Handmaids Walk Their Talk

After several months of intensive planning, the Sisters and lay staff of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, walked their talk and made the first of several solar installments on the Center at Donaldson’s 150 acre campus near South Bend, Indiana. They dedicated the first phase of their solar initiative on the 1st day of