Getting Involved

SUNroundMany of us have been observing the progressive deterioration of the Economic system and our Environment for quite some time here on SUN.  My own history on this goes back around 5 years to the collapse of the Investment Bank Bear Stearns, but others like Ugo Bardi have been looking at the problems a good deal longer than that.  The original model describing Limits to Growth was published 40 years ago in the 1970s.

Even aware of the problems though, through this time period many people have written on the subjects from varying points of view, with many calls to STOP and get off the merry go round along the way, but most people also keep on keeping on.  Even the people who are most convinced that Climate Change is anthropogenic in nature still fly around on airplanes to lecture about this of course.

Actually trying to DO something about it all, become INVOLVED in some way often seems fraught with hypocrisy.  An example would be the SUN Website itself.  To operate, it depends on everyone having computers which are manufactured from semiconductors which themselves depend on rare earth minerals that are mined up in an unsustainable manner.  How is that “Sustaining Universal Needs”? It is certainly doing no good for the air quality around Beijing, that is for sure.

The reality is that in order to make the changes necessary we have to communicate, and to do that we have to use the systems in existence now to do that.  These systems won’t last forever, so before they are GONE the best use is in not just telling people what is happening, but in developing systems and structures to replace it when it does go down.  Those Systems & Structures will of necessity be smaller and more local, so INVOLVEMENT is necessary in creating them.

Thus I personally morphed from a Blogger on Collapse on the Doomstead Diner to an Organizer of the Project for Sustainability we call SUN.  We are not the first to do this, there are others out there in the Permaculture & Transition Towns movements doing this also in their own way, with their own concepts on what will work and what will not.  Kudos to all who are making the effort these days to make changes in their respective communities and lives.

The big problem for many if not most people is that they cannot disengage from the “Matrix” as we often refer to it, which is the currently still marginally operational but obviously failing system of Industrialized living.  It is OUT OF REACH for most people financially to “get off the grid”, buy their own subsistence farm, grow all their own food and disengage from the Industrialized economy this way.  Even if you KNOW what is going on, this leads to a feeling of HELPLESSNESS.

Helping to create the SUN Project is my way to stop feeling Helpless myself.  It is a mechanism people of even limited means (you do need at least a Laptop and Internet connection, so it would be difficult to impossible for a Homeless person or beggar in India to participate) can use to learn about what is going on if they do not already know; learn means and methods already discussed and implemented in some places, and finally and most importantly ORGANIZE up to become part of such communities themselves, whether they currently have large financial means or not.

We DO encourage people of means who participate in SUN to contribute on the financial level.  Just as currently we cannot communicate with each other without computers and the internet, neither can we create a new structure in the absence of MONEYSOMEBODIES gotta Pony Up here! LOL.  So, I Pony Up as I need to to get this sucker off the ground, but everyone who has some means has to do that.  If you have no means on the financial level, then you gotta Pony Up in terms of work, in some fashion.  Lots of ways to do that to, not all back breaking labor either.  Writers, Artists, Organizers, Speakers etc all can provide valuable contributions to such a project.  Of course, Hole Diggers also needed.

No matter who you are, what your personal means are, if you have a connection to the Internet still you can become a partner in the SUN Project.  There are no Leaders here, not me for sure.  I am just the organizer, the catalyst.  It takes all of us to change here.  If you want it, work for it.  GET INVOLVED!


There are 10 comments left Go To Comment

  1. Agelbert /

    RE, Here’s another article for the Vermont section:

    A Vermonter that is pessimistic about the speed Vermont can transition to Renewable Energy.

    The Quest for 90 Percent Renewable Energy Is Like a Three-legged Race

    Posted by the bridge on August 24, 2013 in 2013 Issues, August 22, 2013, Op-ed, Opinions
    by Guy Page

    In December 2011, the Vermont Department of Public Service adopted an ambitious Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP): by 2050, 90 percent of all energy used in-state would be derived from renewable power.

    Vermont is in a three-legged race toward a distant finish line. Success would require change in all three legs of energy use: home heating/weatherization, transportation and electric generation. So, where is Vermont today?

    Leg 1: Home Heating/Weatherization. Under the CEP, buildings will be more energy-efficient and heated renewably, mostly by geothermal wells and biomass furnaces and boilers. At present, heating accounts for 30 percent of Vermont’s total energy consumption and produces 22 percent of its carbon emissions. The CEP calls for weatherizing 80,000 homes by 2020. Yet, because of insufficient funding, only half of that figure is projected to occur.

    The 2013 legislature rejected thermal efficiency infrastructure, climate school curriculum and new stringent construction standards but created a renewables’ loan fund and requires state of Vermont building projects to use renewables, if feasible.

    Leg 2: Transportation. The CEP goal would replace gasoline and diesel-powered cars with plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) and public transportation. Transportation accounts for 36 percent of total state energy consumed and 59 percent of carbon emissions. In 2010, 77 EVs were registered in Vermont; by April 2013, 238. One in 1,756 Vermont-registered cars are EVs.

    Some models retail for about $40,000 at local dealerships. Vermont will need more public charger stations. As of May 1, Vermont had 20 public EV chargers, mostly in the Champlain Valley and Washington County. On June 17, Vermont and Québec announced plans for 20 more. To promote mass transit, the state is expanding park and ride facilities and giving state employees bus discounts.

    Leg 3: Electric Generation. Today, about 50 percent of electricity consumed in Vermont is renewable, mostly hydro. Electricity accounts for 35 percent of state energy use and about 8 percent of carbon emissions. However, if oil furnaces and gasoline-powered cars are replaced by geothermal pumps and EVs and other new technologies, electricity demand will triple.

    The CEP proposes more wind, biomass, solar, hydro and methane power—but how? Opposition to essential new transmission corridors in New Hampshire and Maine hinders new imports of Canadian hydro power.

    Adding 300 smaller, instate hydropower dams would move Vermont 5 percent closer to 90 percent, but new projects are few due to high cost and lengthy permitting. No new biomass-powered projects have been built. Citizens’ groups oppose them, and the state is lukewarm. And the finite supply of trash and cow manure limits substantial growth of landfill and “cowpower.”

    Wind power, though popular statewide, faces stiffening local opposition around health, aesthetics and the environment. Getting just 5 percent closer to 90 percent would require five new projects the size of Lowell’s Kingdom Community Wind. No new developments are under construction.

    Much (about 27 megawatts) of Vermont’s solar power is net metered: typically, homeowners sell it to utilities to reduce the monthly power bill. Therefore it “counts” as conservation, not generation. Solar generation under the ratepayer-subsidized SPEED program totals 19,000 megawatt-hours, or about one-millionth of the projected total electricity demand of 2050.

    Most of Vermont’s power production (smallest in New England) is at Vermont Yankee—which Vermont wants to close. Without Vermont Yankee, and with slow development of renewable generation, it is unclear where Vermont would find enough low-carbon and/or renewable power to meet demand.

    Will Vermont complete the three-legged race by 2050? This much is sure: energy planning is no game, and getting to 90 percent is no picnic.

    Guy Page is the communications director for the Vermont Energy Partnership. For details and sources on the topic above, see Page’s issue brief at

    VTEP Surveys Vermont’s Progress Toward 90 Percent Renewables


    ermont Energy Partnership (VTEP) is committed to finding clean, affordable, reliable electricity solutions. Its mission is to educate policy makers, media, businesses and public about why electricity is imperative for prosperity and about optimal solutions to preserve and expand the electricity network. Entergy, owner of Vermont Yankee, is a member of VTEP. VTEP recently published “The Three-Legged Race: Vermont’s Pursuit of 90% Renewables by 2050,” an overview of progress toward reaching the Public Service Department’s goal of 90 percent renewable energy by 2050. The findings were as follows:

    • To reach its interim home energy efficiency goal for 2020, the state must weatherize 80,000 homes over the next seven years. At its current pace, Vermont will likely only meet half that goal.

    • Transportation accounts for 36 percent of Vermont’s total energy consumption and 59 percent of carbon emissions. Today, one in 1,756 of Vermont registered cars are electric plug-ins.

    • Reaching 90 percent renewable energy by 2050 will require tripling electricity consumption, yet Vermont now makes less electricity than any other New England state, half of it produced by Vermont Yankee.

    • To move Vermont 5 percent closer to 90 percent, Vermont would need either 262 new 2.2 megawatt solar plants, five new Lowell wind projects or 300 small existing hydro dams.

    • The chasm between Vermont’s renewables present and renewables future—about 3 million renewable megawatt-hours on this side of the 37-year span, 18 million on the other—may be a bridge too far, barring unexpected changes.

    For more information: Guy Page, communications director, Vermont Energy Partnership, 505-0448, or

  2. renysol /

    Are there any members in Germany? Let’s get in contact.

  3. Ralph Emerson / Post Author

    So far no affiliate in Germany, but some of the new folks registering might be from around there.


  4. Ralph Emerson / Post Author

    AB, you should submit that comment as a Blog Post. I made you a contributor so you can add blog posts on WP.


  5. renysol /

    Yes, I am from Germany. Gotta check what affiliate means …

  6. Ralph Emerson / Post Author

    In the context of SUN, Affiliates are the people who are currently involved in helping get SUN off the ground. Look under the Affiliates button on the top menu bar for the current list.


  7. renysol /

    I see. I had similar ideas, especially lo-tech solutions. I’d be interested to get involved somehow, but I don’t have the money to be an affiliate.

  8. Ralph Emerson / Post Author

    It doesn’t take any money to become an affiliate. Just contribution of effort to making the project a success. We have lots of BROKE affiliates! 🙂


  9. renysol /

    Hi RE,

    Here I am, regd getting people in contact in Germany. Though I prefer email communication or skype. I live in a rural area as well, right in the center of Germany.

  10. Ralph Emerson / Post Author

    Hey RS!

    For personal communications, email is cool. However, in trying to network and bring people together, you want to make some communication public.

    In this case, we are discussing something of general interest, how to get a new Chapter of SUN going in Germany.

    Drop a Blog on focusing on Germany. We can pursue public discussion there, and private discussions in email.


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