Sunday, December 20, 2009

CCTF meeting at 1 p.m. December 20, 2009

CCTF Meeting from 1-3pm Today.‏
From: joanna pollock (
Sent: Sun 12/20/09 9:43 AM

Good Morning! Join us at the OMNI house at 3274 Lee Street in Fayetteville from 1-3pm (we will adjourn earlier if possible). Robert McAfee will briefly share the importance of climate change preparedness. Ryan Denham will share the main talking points and action items from 1sky. Jacob Holloway will address agriculture and the importance of organic farming for sustainable living. Nick Brown will share outcomes from the 25x25 meeting in Little Rock and news from the CEW campaign. Please join us if you can and carpool as much as possible. We need your help to make this movement strong so organizers are not just talking to each other.

See below the 1sky press release from founder Gillian Caldwell.

Joanna Pollock
Climate Change Task Force, OMNI
Climate Precinct Captain, 1sky

World Leaders Fail to Deliver a Critically Needed Deal to Tackle Global Warming
1Sky Campaign Calls for Climate Leadership from Obama and the U.S. Senate
December 19, 2009
Contact: Liz Butler; (202) 487-4908,
Gillian Caldwell; (202) 446-8811,
As the United Nations climate change talks in Copenhagen staggered on, it became clear that they will conclude without reaching the bold and binding global agreement needed to stave off climate catastrophe. In response, 1Sky Campaign Director Gillian Caldwell called upon President Obama and the U.S. Senate to lead by ensuring the passage of bold and comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation as soon as possible.
“Events continue to unfold as we speak, but it is clear that the Copenhagen talks will not result in the fair, ambitious, and binding global treaty that the world desperately needs,” said Caldwell. “The 1Sky campaign pushed hard for President Obama to join the Copenhagen negotiations and we were pleased that he did, but unfortunately the proposals offered by the Obama Administration fell short of what was needed. The hopes of grassroots advocates and civil society leaders for a successful outcome have been dashed largely because the U.S. has yet to take bold action to tackle the climate challenge.”
“Our work is clearly not done yet -- the science calls for much more urgent action than what we’ve seen to date, and President Obama has acknowledged that,” Caldwell continued. “Delay only benefits the fossil fuel industries that are reaping record profits while destroying our future. We call upon President Obama and the Senate to take bold action as soon as possible in 2010 to secure our future.”
1Sky and its many partners in the growing movement for real climate solutions had flagged three key points to determine whether the Obama Administration’s efforts in Copenhagen could be deemed a success:
Acknowledging U.S. responsibility for climate change by making substantial financial investments in the transition;
Setting goals for short term emission reductions that are consistent with science;
Using the prominence of the Copenhagen conference to push the U.S. Senate for real action in the coming months.
Caldwell noted that the U.S. Senate’s failure to pass a strong climate bill in 2009 presented a significant roadblock to progress in Copenhagen. “Every day the U.S. Senate delays undermines the U.S.’s negotiating position and diminishes our potential to lead the way in the clean energy economy of the future,” Caldwell said. “President Obama must step up to the challenge and rally the American public behind bold climate legislation and secure a strong bill from the U.S. Senate. The longer we wait, the worse it gets: the International Energy Agency tells us that every year of delay costs $500 billion.”
Caldwell called for the U.S. to significantly increase its weak proposed emissions reduction of 4% below 1990 levels by 2020, which falls far short of scientific recommendations of 40% reductions. She also called upon the U.S. to ensure significant investments in international climate finance. “The most vulnerable communities need clean pathways out of poverty and humanitarian assistance for climate disruption that they did little to cause,” said Caldwell. “Financial commitments from developed nations are essential to ensure our national and global security, to boost our economy by opening up new clean energy markets and partnerships, and to ensure that poor nations can adapt to climate change while developing sustainably.”
“The Copenhagen talks failed to produce the substantive outcomes the world desperately needs. We are more determined than ever to secure strong U.S. climate legislation and a fair, ambitious and binding global treaty,” Caldwell concluded. “More than 12 million people across the world, including 600,000 in the U.S., raised their voices for strong action before and during the conference. This rapidly growing global grassroots movement will not be denied. We won’t stop short of the real solutions that science and justice demand.”
1Sky is a collaborative national campaign for strong federal action to tackle global climate change and invest in building the clean energy economy of the future. As one of the largest national campaigns in the country, 1Sky combines the force of 540 allied organizations, 184,000 committed climate advocates, 3,300 volunteer Climate Precinct Captains covering more than 394 congressional districts in 50 states, and a team of 43 including 33 organizers in 23 states working to mobilize constituent support.
For more information on 1Sky contact Alex Posorske at (301) 270-4550 x230 or

Build the Network
Grow the movement and let's build a grassroots network for a clean energy future
184,976 supporters and growing

Email the President
Call the White House
Letter to the Editor
1Sky Solutions
5 Million Green Jobs
Freeze and Cut Climate Pollution
Get Off Coal

Here are just some of the 502 allies working to ensure 1Sky Solutions

World on Fire Media Channel

Follow 1Sky Ally CCAN's World on Fire media channel for video, audio, & photos on the climate movement
Media Hits
1Sky Calls for a Redirecting of Fossil Fuel Subsidies Towards Developing Nations
1Sky Supporters and Wisconsin Organizer Attend Climate Rally in Madison
1Sky and Other Groups Organize Vigil Outside of Senator McCaskill's Office
1Sky Campaign Director Gillian Caldwell on Copenhagen

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Joe Neal suggests less shopping, more protecting

less shopping, more protecting‏
Joe Neal (

Back in 2000 I saw a Red-tailed Hawk nest in the stout fork of a big old prairie-era post oak. The oak was part of a small forest developed on former Tallgrass Prairie habitat well marked by impressive prairie mounds. There were Northern Bobwhites in the surrounding fields and Painted Buntings in the shrublands. Visitors to northwest Arkansas and us locals are invariably drawn to this area now because it is Steel Creek Crossing in the burgeoning retail-entertainment district in the vicinity of NW Arkansas Mall.

There was a big battle over these old prairie oaks in 2000, begun when Mary Lightheart climbed what she called the “mother tree” and vowed to stay until development plans were dropped. She kept her vow to stay, but eventually law enforcement brought her down and arrested others who tried to take her place.

I was out Christmas shopping in that area yesterday. What remains of that old oak barren is a handful of fantastic mature native trees and prairie mounds between two popular retailers, Kohl’s and Target . Kohl’s refused to make any compromise with their store building plans at the time. Folks who supported Lightheart handed out bumper stickers after the fracas that read, “I will never shop at Kohl’s.” Trash from the parking lots collects there, mute witness to what happens when a worthwhile fight is lost.

I haven’t seen one of those “I’ll never shop…” adorning a bumper in a few years, so I guess this too has now largely faded. Just from an ecological viewpoint, the little remnant is worth a visit because it is a perfect example of a unique Ozark habitat once much more widespread in northwestern Arkansas. There’s plenty of parking nearby, too.

But I am a historian and a birder, and when I’m out that way, I always stop and look at the oaks and the mounds, remembering that big hawk nest, the bobwhites, and buntings. Bobwhites and Painted Buntings are two of our native birds whose declines are thought by some to be a mystery. Stop by the little woodlot. The reason for decline, at least in our western Arkansas neck-of-the-woods, is palpable.

I also notice that while I did, and do, support the notion of boycotting environmental travesty, like others here, I move on. It’s like being push out to sea by the rip tide. The people who work in Kohl’s and Target look and likely feel just like you & I.

The trash out there in the pitiful prairie remnant got me to thinking yesterday about whether or not any of it was worthwhile, even from the get go. I think Lightheart and the others were right to protest , even if against overwhelming odds. I don’t mean to celebrate “tilting at windmills.” But how else will native birds and their habitats receive protection when they are jeopardized? How else will politicians and developers be put on notice that their decisions have real consequences, and not just the positives that get headlines.

I agree with the reputed views of a Populist agitator from the 19th century, who supposedly told a bunch of angry Kansans, "What you farmers need to do is raise less corn and more Hell." I suppose that’s what Lightheart had in mind when she climbed her mother tree – less shopping, more protecting.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fasting activists inspiring others in Copenhagen to hang tough and demand Climate Justice NOW!

"I support Climate Justice Fast!" sent you a message on Facebook...‏
From: Facebook (
Sent: Sun 12/13/09 4:23 PM
To: Aubrey James Shepherd (
Anna C Keenan sent a message to the members of I support Climate Justice Fast!

Subject: Hunger for Survival - Thursday 17 December 2009

Hello, Climate Justice Fast supporters,

During the COP15 conference, the Climate Justice Fast here in Copenhagen has inspired people around the world to higher levels of activism, and has generated a huge number of media hits from Turkey to Japan to Greece to Korea and all around the world!

Due to the inspiration that the fasters have provided to - in particular - the 1000-strong youth activist contingent at the conference, the youth groups and a number of large environmental organisations have decided that they would like to invite their members to fast for one day - THIS THURSDAY 17 DECEMBER - in support of the CJF, and solidarity with the millions who have and will lose their lives due to the preventable and involuntary hunger, disease and conflict resulting from climate change.

We have created a facebook event here - sign up if you are willing to join the day of fasting and reflection:

Many notable climate and sustainability leaders, including Vandana Shiva, will also be joining in this fast and moral call.

“If not us then who, and if not now then when?”

One day before the Heads of State arrive to finalise the deal in Copenhagen, we are calling for all people, everywhere across the world, to join a single global day of fasting – voluntarily going without food – and personal reflection on the climate crisis, and what we as humanity need to do to solve it.

Commit to join the day of fasting by joining this facebook event - and inviting all of your friends!

Now, we must be done with trying to persuade politicians with debates and intellectual argument. They have heard it all already. Now they face a decision about what is simply morally right.

On Thursday 17th December, we will therefore not yell, but instead quiet our voices and raise up our hearts in silence, not telling our leaders what they should do, but instead use the historically symbolic and powerful act of the fast to ask our leaders to reflect on the gravity of the choices they are about to make.

*** UPDATE on the fasters ***

Sara Svensson, Anna Keenan and Paul Connor are all now on the 39th day of their fast, having started on the 6th of November. Matthieu Balle, a solar panel installer from Paris who joined us immediately after hearing about us on French radio, is now reaching his 22nd day. Daniel Lau and Michael Morphett have both bravely decided to end their fasts, following medical advice, after both passing 30 days without food - a heroic feat.

The fasters are all in high spirits and good health, and are under appropriate medical supervision.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Audubon Arkansas open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today; Environmental Action Committee at 5:30 p.m. in Room 326 of city hall

Audubon Arkansas open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today; Environmental Action Committee at 5:30 p.m. in Room 326 of city hall
The Holiday Season is a busy time so here's a little reminder about our Holiday Open House! If you have not yet RSVP'd don't forget to drop us a line and let us know your are coming! We are looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Please Join Us

Thursday, December 10, 2009
From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at
34 East Center Street
Fayetteville, Arkansas

For the
Audubon Arkansas
Holiday Open House

The staff and board of Audubon Arkansas invite you to join us for food, refreshments, conversation and conservation. Spouses, children, and friends welcome.
Please RSVP to
Wishing You Happy Holidays!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Theo Witsell of the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission to speak on rare habitat and newly found wildflower species

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of invitation to FGNS meeting on November 21, 2009.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ducks Unlimited Banquet October 29, 2009, in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Please click on images to move to Flickr site and use magnifying tool above photo to ENLARGE for easy reading.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Runners and Sponsors sought for Nov. 7, 2009, 5K veterans' memorial race to benefit Fayetteville National Cemetery

Please click on image to move to Flickr site and ENLARGE for easy reading. The Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation meets at 10:30 a.m. Saturday October 10 and needs to add sponsor names to the file for the race T shirts and the brochures so that printing can begin. Already, Tyson Foods has donated at the Medal of Honor level and has challenged others to join them at the top of the list, thanks to the effort of RNCIC Secretary Peggy McClain.
RNCIC 5K sponsorship levels 09R

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Leased riparian areas to be restored to protect Illinois watershed

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

State, Federal Government To Lease Land To Protect River

By Doug Thompson
ROGERS — More than 20 square miles of land along the Illinois River and its tributaries will be planted with trees, native grasses and other plants under a project launched Tuesday.

The program's goal is to stop 10,000 tons a year of pollutants and sediment from getting into the river, state and federal organizers said. The 15,000-acre, $30 million program will be the largest of its type in Arkansas, by far, said Randy Young, director of the state Natural Resources Commission.
"Northwest Arkansas, growing economic gem that it is, is also cognizant of the need to protect our natural resources," said Gov. Mike Beebe. The governor publicly thanked the Walton Family Foundation for a $1 million contribution to the project.

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program is voluntary, organizers said. Landowners can apply to sign 15-year contracts with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their plots of land along the river and streams.

Cropland and poor quality pastures are sought under the $30 million project. Those lands will be planted with native plants to stem erosion and provide food and shelter to wildlife, organizers said. The contracts will pay an estimated average of $85 per acre annually with a starting bonus amounting to as much as $350 an acre.

"I'm very interested. I'd sign up today if the forms were here," said dairy farmer Bill Haak of Gentry. "This is very farmer friendly and, if you look at the details, you can see that the people who wrote this up have the insight into what will make it work."

"I have grandkids," Haak said when asked why he was interested. "You need another reason than that? Well, this is a chance for farmers to step up to the plate and help preserve water quality."

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson is suing Arkansas poultry companies in federal court over pollution in the Illinois River. The case is scheduled for trial Sept. 21.

"We hope this project will help prevent pollution from reaching the waters of the Illinois and its tributaries and support these types of efforts in both states," Edmondson said in a prepared statement about Tuesday's announcement.

The conservation program in Arkansas will match up with a similar one in Oklahoma. The two programs will cover the entire Illinois River watershed, Young said.

Of the $30 million, $24 million will come from a federal appropriation sought and obtained largely through the efforts of 3rd District Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, organizers said. Most of the rest will come from a $1.5 million appropriation from the state and in-kind services provided by the state, such as planning for each plot's project by the state Game and Fish Department and other agencies and water quality monitoring by the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Contact Information
Watershed Leases

Those interested in the project can call the Washington County office of the federal Farm Service Agency, 479-521-4520, or the Benton County office, 479-273-2622. Information is also available at

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Carbon Caps Task Force meeting at 1:30 p.m. today at the OMNI Center office downstairs at 902 W. Maple

Sunday August 2
1:30 pm
Carbon Caps Task Force
Re-Organizing Meeting
OMNI office
United Campus Ministries 902 W. Maple (Maple Street & Storer Avenue)
Several interesting options for action are emerging. Come find out how you can plug in, because you are needed. And meet OMNI's new environmental organizer, Ryan Bancroft. And Robert McAfee will bring lemon cake. You don't want to miss this meeting.
Gladys Tiffany
Omni Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology
Fayetteville, Arkansas USA
479-973-9049 --

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Butterfly gardens easy to grow in the black, rich soil of the Illinois River valley and the Town Branch vallley of Fayetteville, Arkansas

Please click on image to ENlarge view of obedient plant on Pinnacle Foods Inc. Prairie west of World Peace Wetland Prairie on June 19, 2009, a big non-native pink flower whose name I can't remember at the moment at the entry to the trail through Pinnacle Prairie and a butterfly milkweed near WPWP.

Butterfly gardens can be grown throughout the
United States. There is a wide variety of both butterfly
attracting (nectar) plants and host (food) plants cover-
ing climates zones throughout the country.
Creating a Garden
Gardens can range in size from containers to sever-
al acres. Butterflies like sunny sites and areas sheltered
from high winds and predators. Warm, sheltered sites
are most needed in the spring and fall. Butterflies are
cold-blooded insects that can only fly well when their
body temperatures are above 70oF. They are often seen
resting on rocks, which reflect the heat of the sun help-
ing to raise their body temperatures, so be sure to
include some rocks in your garden. It’s also beneficial
to have partly shady areas, like trees or shrubs, so they
can hide when it’s cloudy or cool off if it’s very hot.
Plants that attract butterflies are usually classified
as those that areafood source,anectar source or both.
Butterflies require food plants for their larval stages and
nectar plants for the adult stage. Some larvae feed on
specifichost plants, while others will feed on a variety
of plants. If possible, include both larval host plants
and adult nectar plants in your butterfly garden.
Butterflies also like puddles. Males of several
species congregate at small rain pools, forming “puddle
clubs”. Permanent puddles are very easy to make by
buryingabucket to therim, filling it with gravel or
sand, and then pouring in liquids such as stale beer,
sweet drinks or water. Overripe fruit, allowed to sit for
afew days is a very attractive substance to butterflies
as well!
Life Cycle of A Butterfly
Butterflies go through a four-stage developmental
process known as metamorphosis (egg, larva or caterpil-
lar, pupa or chrysalis and adult). Understanding a but-
terfly’s life cycle can make butterfly watching more
enjoyable, andthis knowledge is an important asset to
those who want to understand the principles of attract-
ingbutterflies to their gardens.
Butterflies begin their life as an egg, laid either
singly or in clusters depending on the species. A very
tiny caterpillar emerges and, after consuming its egg
shell, begins feeding on its host plant. Caterpillars must
crawl out of their skin or molt, usually around five times,
before changing into a pupa. Finally, an adult butterfly
emerges, spreads its wings and flies away.
Butterflies typically lay their eggs in late spring and
hatch 3 to 6 days after they are laid. It takes 3 to 4
weeks for a caterpillar to pupate and 9 to 14 days to
emerge as an adult.
Host Plants
Adult female butterflies spend time searching for
food plants required by the immature caterpillar stage.
Most butterflies have specific host plants on which they
develop. For example, caterpillars of the monarch but-
terfly develop only on milkweed, while the black swal-
lowtail feeds only on parsley, dill and closely related
plants. Planting an adequate supply of the proper host
plants gives butterflies a place to lay their eggs, which
will successfully hatch and result in butterflies that will
continue to visit thegarden. Providing the necessary
food plants for the developing caterpillars also allows
production of a “native” population that can be
observed in all stages ofdevelopment.
To enjoy adult butterflies, you have to be willing to
allow their caterpillars to feed on foliage in your garden.
Food source plants that support caterpillars include the
annual marigold, snapdragon and violet; the perennial
butterfly milkweed, daisy and various herbs; the ash,
birch, cherry, dogwood, poplar and willow trees; lilac
shrubs; juniper evergreens and more.
The weediness of some host plants makes them less
than desirable for a space within your more attractive
garden beds, but they serve the same function if you
place them away in a corner of the yard. To keep them
from becoming invasive, remember to remove their
spentblooms before they go to seed.
Plants to Attract Butterflies
To attract the most butterflies, design a garden
that provides a long season of flowers (nectar plants).
The time of flowering, duration of bloom, flower color
and plant size are all important considerations when
selecting plants to attract butterflies. A wide variety of
food plants will give the greatest diversity of visitors.
Choose a mixture of annuals and perennials.
Annuals bloom all summer but must be replanted every
spring (after the last frost). Perennials bloom year after
year from the same roots but their blooming periods are
typically limited to a few weeks or months. To ensure
the availability of nectar sources throughout the sum-
mer, long-blooming annuals should be planted between
the perennials.
Try staggering wild and cultivated plants, as well as
blooming times of the day and year. Planting in mass
(several plants of the same kind) will usually attract
more butterflies, as there is more nectar available to
them at a single stop. Plants with clusters of flowers
are often better than plants with small, single flowers
because it is easier for butterflies to landon clustered
and/or larger flowers.
Many plants which attract butterflies, especially
trees and shrubs, may already be present in a specific
area. Shrubs include azalea, spirea, butterfly bush and
lilacs. Although weeds andsomenative plants are gen-
erally not welcomein a garden, allowingthem to grow
under supervision may be an option, as these plants
help attract butterflies. Try to avoid plants that readily
reseed and may take over and dominate garden sites.
Perennials, such as chives, dianthus, beebalm, but-
terfly weed, mints, black-eyed susan and purple cone-
flower offer a succession of blooms, other perennials
include coreopsis, lavender, phlox, sedum and yarrow.
Add annuals that flower all season, such as cosmos, lan-
tana, pentas,petunias, phlox, salvia and zinnias. Select
flowers with manysmall tubular flowers or florets like
liatris, goldenrod and verbena. Or chose those with sin-
gle flowers, such as marigold, daisy and sunflower.
Butterflies are attracted to flowers with strong
scents and bright colors, where they drink sweet energy-
rich nectar. Planting a variety of nectar sources will
encourage more butterflies to visit the garden.
For better butterfly viewing, plant the tallest
plants in the rear of the garden and work smaller or
shorter towardthefront.
Creating, Growing and Enjoying
Butterfly Host Plants(continued)
Trees Herbs
Ash Dill
Birch Parsley
Cherry Sweet Fennel
Butterfly Attracting Plants
Annuals Perennials
Ageratum Aster
Cosmos Beebalm
Gomphrena Blanket Flower
Heliotrope Butterfly Milkweed
Lantana Coreopsis
Marigold Daisy
Nasturtium Dame’s Rocket
Nicotiana Daylily
Pentas Dianthus
Petunia Liatris
Phlox Phlox
Salvia Purple Coneflower
Snapdragon Rudbeckia
Statice Russian Sage
Sunflower Salvia
Sweet Alyssum Scabiosa
Verbena Sedum
Zinnia Veronica
Shrubs Herbs
Azalea Catnip
Butterfly Bush Chives
Lilacs Lavender
Mock Orange Mint
Cut Back on Insecticides
It’s difficult to have a successful butterfly garden
inalocation where insecticides are used. Pesticides,
specifically insecticides, kill not only the insects you
want to get rid of – they also kill the insects you want
tokeep, such as monarch caterpillars. Even biological
controls such as Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) will kill but-
terfly larvae. When treating for insect pests, always
consider non-chemical methods of pest control before
turning to pesticides.
Let Your Garden Grow
Most butterfly species over-winter nearby. This
means that their eggs, chrysalises, or larvae are likely to
be in or near your yard during the non-gardening
months. Some will even hibernate as adults. Do not
mow weed sites, cut down dead plants or dismantle
woodpiles which provide them safe shelter in the off-
season until the weather warms up.
Enjoying Your Butterfly Garden
Butterfly gardens are a great source of enjoyment
for everyone. Visiting butterflies include a variety of
different species and names, depending upon the region
of the country in which you live. To learn more about
which plants help in attracting butterflies get your copy
of National Wildlife Federation Attracting Birds,
Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife by David
Mizejewski or the Earl May Perennial Guideavailable at
your local Earl May Nursery & Garden Center.
Butterfly Host Plants
Annuals Perennials
Marigold Butterfly Milkweed
Snapdragon Daisy
Shrubs Evergreens
Lilacs Juniper
IBM# 912600 750 4/08
Copyright Earl May Seed & Nursery L.C. ©

Saturday, May 2, 2009

FarmToTable theme of today's program in the Rose Garden of the Walton Art Center with renewable-energy lecture at Night Bird bookstore at 2 p.m.

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of OMNI Springfest poster.

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of poster.

Solar Power Struggle
Professor Richard Hutchinson of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston will speak on "The Struggle for the Solar Future" at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
An inquiry into environmental change and the obstacles and opportunities in the path of the renewable energy transition.
Sponsored by OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Louisiana Tech professor to discuss the struggle for the solar future Saturday afternoon at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of poster.

Solar Power Struggle
Professor Richard Hutchinson of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston will speak on "The Struggle for the Solar Future" at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
An inquiry into environmental change and the obstacles and opportunities in the path of the renewable energy transition.
Sponsored by OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Brown thrashers among the many species to be seen on World Peace Wetland Prairie during Sunday's Earth Day celebration

Please click on image to Enlarge view of one of the many species of birds feeding and picking nesting sites on World Peace Wetland Prairie on April 17, 2009. The elusive brown thrasher is often able to slip into the thickets before a camera can capture its image. But the attraction of scattered brush piles and the excitement of mating season can make them a bit careless.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Turn off your lights at 8:30 tonight and save energy for an EARTH HOUR

Event aiming to turn spotlight on climate by turning off lights
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009
Organizations and residents across the state are flipping the switch tonight, turning their lights and other electrical gadgets off for an hour to raise awareness about climate change as part of the 2009 global Earth Hour effort.

Nearly 200 U.S. cities are expected to participate, with the lights going out at hundreds of McDonald's restaurants across the Midwest and at popular tourist attractions, such as Broadway marquees in New York and the spotlights that shine on Chicago's Sears Tower's twin spires. Cities in 84 countries are expected to participate at 8:30 p.m., their local times, The Associated Press reported.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Don't let the contractors take all your brushpiles; the birds won't forgive you

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of mockingbird on brushpile at World Peace Wetland Prairie on February 25, 2009,

The more buds you spot on the ends of small limbs the more likely these limbs are the ones to keep on your property if you want plenty of song birds to be in your neighborhood when spring comes. You might also try to convince your neighbors to preserve some similar brushpiles on their property. And urging neighbors to preserve ice-damaged trees on their property also will help.
Many won't understand. But every property owner who keeps a brush pile or resists pressure to cut down a damaged tree can make a difference in the reproductive success of song birds in the coming spring.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Operating cost of coal-fired power plants just took a jump!

Study: New Regulations Could Cost Turk Coal Plant $2.8 Billion 
By The Associated Press - 2/19/2009 5:08:01 PM
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A proposed coal-fired power plant being built in southwestern Arkansas could end up paying $2.8 billion over 40 years because of new federal carbon penalties, a study by opponents released Thursday claims.
New figures from the Southwestern Electric Power Co. put the cost of building the plant at about $2 billion, counting the costs of upgrading power lines and substations and obtaining an air permit. But opponents say a tougher stance by the Environmental Protection Agency on greenhouse gases will drive costs even higher for the project - which will be funded by ratepayers.
"The main thing that the utility was not willing to admit ... was that the future costs of containing or controlling the (carbon dioxide) from this plant will be vastly greater than they ever anticipated or were willing to admit at the time," said Jim Metzger, the study's author, told reporters Thursday.Metzger estimated the John W. Turk Jr. plant being built in Hempstead County would likely have to spend more than $163 million annually - or $2.8 billion over 40 years - just to contain or abate carbon dioxide emissions.The 60-page study, done on behalf of the Sierra Club and Audubon Arkansas, comes after the EPA announced it was reviewing a Bush policy on new coal-fired power plants. The old policy prohibits using the federal permit process to require new coal-fired power plants to install equipment to reduce carbon dioxide.Because of moves like that, at least 59 proposed coal-fired projects nationwide have been canceled or delayed, according to anti-coal groups.SWEPCO officials dismissed the study as speculative."It's another delay tactic," SWEPCO spokesman Scott McCloud said. "All their purpose is, is to derail the Turk project."Opponents are challenging an air permit for the plant granted by the state environmental regulators. Meanwhile, the utility asked the state for a $53.9 million rate increase Thursday, in part to cover financing costs for the power plant.\SWEPCO, based in Shreveport, La., is a subsidiary of Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power, among the largest electric utilities in the country.(Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Associated Press reports that motives of state commissioner questioned by opponents of coal-fired power plant

Coal & Global Warming in ARKANSAS‏

Critics Question Vote on Arkansas Coal-fired Plant 
By The Associated Press - 1/16/2009 11:40:01 AM

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Opponents of a $1.5 billion project to build a coal-fired power plant in southwest Arkansas say a state commissioner who pushed a vote for construction to resume last month heads a company that is doing business with the plant's contractors.

In filings with the state Pollution Control and Ecology Commission, opponents say Lexicon Inc. or one of its arms has at least six projects with Shaw Group LLC and at least two with ABB Alstom Power. Shaw Group is the main contractor for Southwestern Electric Power Co.'s plant project near Fulton. Alstom is producing and installing the plant's generator turbines.

The filings Monday noted that Lexicon chairman Thomas Schueck is also a PC&E commissioner. Lexicon has several steel construction and fabrication subsidiaries.

Last month, Schueck proposed - and the commission approved - allowing plant construction to resume after an appeal by environmental opponents of the plant's air permit halted the work. Hundreds were put back to work while the appeal is pending before an administrative judge with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.

"Schueck's participation and vote at the Dec. 5 hearing may not have been totally motivated by current and potential business opportunities available to the Lexicon family of companies," said Rick Addison, a Dallas lawyer for the opponents. "The fact remains, however, that (the decision) was exceedingly favorable to, and financially lucrative for, Shaw Group and Alstom. That Commissioner Schueck could in turn benefit (even if only indirectly) from Shaw's and Alstom's prosperity also cannot be doubted."

Opponents asked that the financial ties of each commissioner be reviewed.

Administrative judge Michael O'Malley said he would treat the filings as he would any others in the appeal.

"And at some point I'll issue some type of order," he said.

Schueck did not immediately return a call for comment Friday.

(Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Copyright © 2009, Arkansas Business Limited Partnership. All Rights Reserved.

UPDATED: Arkansas House Members Delay Global Warming Hearing 
By The Associated Press - 1/13/2009 2:17:01 PM

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Leaders of a joint energy panel agreed to delay until next week a hearing featuring critics of the governor's Commission on Global Warming after House members initially planned on skipping the Wednesday meeting.

The Joint Energy Committee rescheduled a hearing for next week featuring a member of the Governor's Commission on Global Warming along with other critics of the commission's recommendations. Richard Ford, an economics professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, said Tuesday that he doesn't believe the group properly studied whether global warming is a threat.

Ford and other critics of the commission had planned on presenting a "minority report" challenging the group's recommendations on ways to reduce global warming in the state.

Rep. Lance Reynolds and Sen. Kim Hendren told reporters Tuesday they agreed to hold the hearing next week, hours after Reynolds announced that House members wouldn't attend the meeting originally scheduled for Wednesday. Reynolds, who said he consulted with House Speaker Robbie Wills, said he didn't see the point of the hearing since no legislation has been filed on the global warming panel.

Hendren backtracked from comments he made earlier Tuesday accusing Wills of abusing his authority and said the spat over whether to hold the hearing was a miscommunication between both chambers.

"We should have communicated before we canceled meetings like that," said Hendren, R-Gravette.

The commission released a set of 54 recommendations last year, and Commission Co-chair Kathy Webb said she plans on introducing several bills based on the commission's report.

Ford said he doesn't believe the panel properly studied whether global warming is a threat.

"I do not believe the commission followed the law and reviewed the scientific literature as the law told us we had to to do our job," Ford said.

The decision means the energy panel will hear from the commission's critics before hearing from the commission itself. Reynolds, D-Quitman, said he would welcome a meeting with the commission.

Webb, D-Little Rock, said she disagreed with Ford's argument that the commission didn't follow the law.

"I think there are some folks who don't want to see us accomplish anything, but I think those folks are in the minority," Webb said.

Webb has said the legislation will include "lead by example" measures that will promote energy-efficient state government buildings and more hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles in the state fleet.

(Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Copyright © 2009, Arkansas Business Limited Partnership. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Skeptical member of commission attacks global-warming commission's report in meeting with legislators

The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas
Member Criticizes Global Warming Commission
By John Lyon
LITTLE ROCK -- A member of the state Governor's Commission on Global Warming told lawmakers Wednesday they should be skeptical of the panel's recommendations for combating climate change.
Richard Ford, a professor of economics at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, spoke at an informal meeting requested by Sen. Percy Malone, D-Arkadelphia, former Senate chairman of the Joint Committee on Energy.
"I don't think we followed the law as given," Ford said.
Ford said the 2007 law that created the commission directed the body to "study the scientific data, literature and research on global warming to determine whether global warming is an immediate threat to the citizens in the state of Arkansas." He said that never happened.
"It was implicitly assumed that global warming is a pending catastrophe, that it had to be addressed, basically by limiting (carbon) emissions," he said.
The commission presented to the governor late last year a report containing 54 recommendations for reducing the state's contributions to climate change, including a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants until pollution-control technology improves.
"I would ask you to be skeptical of many of the recommendations -- most of them," Ford said. "Be skeptical of the cost numbers. I several times pointed out that they were estimates on the low side because they just flat did not include everything."
The commission's report includes analysis of the costs to implement 29 of its recommendations. It estimates the net cost at $3.7 billion between 2009 and 2025.
Lawmakers also heard presentations by others with skeptical views of global warming.
Art Hobson, professor emeritus of physics at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and also a commission member, said in an interview Wednesday he believed the commission did follow the law.
Hobson noted the title of the legislation creating the commission states in part that its purpose is "to establish a global warming pollution reduction goal and comprehensive strategic plan."
"It didn't seem to me that we were really directed to study the underlying science," Hobson said, though he said as a scientist he would have been happy to discuss the scientific evidence of global warming.
Hobson also said he disagreed with Ford's assertion that the commission's cost estimates were inadequate.
"A lot of these policy options that we recommended would save money for Arkansas, and some would cost money. Those were very carefully worked out by CCS (the Center for Climate Strategies)," he said.
CCS, a nonprofit group based in Harrisburg, Pa., provided consulting services to the commission while it was preparing its report. Hobson said he has heard complaints that the group "roped Arkansas into doing this and into hiring CCS," but he said in fact it was the other way around.
"The commission was appointed, and then we looked around at each other and said, 'Well, what do we do now? How are we going to develop these ideas?' Then some of the people who were supporting the idea of the commission looked around and found CCS," he said.
Malone said he had hoped Ford and the other speakers could address an official meeting of the Joint Committee on Energy, but the scheduling of Wednesday's meeting conflicted with committee rules, so an informal meeting was held instead.
Malone encouraged people with other points of view to contact the committee's new Senate chairman, Sen. Kim Hendren, R-Gravette, and ask to make a presentation.

Naysayers get a say on global warming

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Critics To Give Minority Report On Climate Change

By John Lyon
LITTLE ROCK -- The House and Senate chairmen of the Joint Committee on Energy clashed Tuesday over a proposed meeting to hear an alternative view on global warming.

In a compromise, the chairmen decided not to hold an official meeting today but to allow the scheduled speakers to talk at an unofficial meeting at the Capitol, according to the panel's outgoing Senate chairman, who requested the meeting.

The committee had been scheduled to meet today to hear presentations from critics of the Governor's Commission on Global Warming, including a commission member.

The commission last year presented to the governor a report containing 54 recommendations for reducing the state's contributions to climate change, including a moratorium on new coal plants until pollution-control technology improves.

Commission member Richard Ford, an economics professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, planned to present a "minority report" at the energy committee's meeting. Ford said Tuesday the commission was charged by law with considering whether global warming is real.

"I don't think we did that," he said.

An announcement in the House chamber Tuesday declared the meeting canceled, but the committee's Senate chairman, Kim Hendren, R-Gravette, said Tuesday afternoon he was not consulted beforehand and he wondered aloud whether the House leadership was attempting to stifle debate on the issue.

"I'm having (the meeting) if I'm the only one there," Hendren told the Arkansas News Bureau.

Sen. Percy Malone, D-Arkadelphia, the committee's outgoing Senate chairman, said late Tuesday it turned out the meeting had been set before the new chairmen were appointed, in violation of committee rules.

Malone said a group that included him, the chairmen and House Speaker Robbie Wills, D-Conway, met and discussed scheduling a meeting for next week, but because some of the speakers were already in town a decision was made to let them speak today in Room 171, upon adjournment of both chambers. The event will not be an official meeting and will be for information purposes only, Malone said.

Malone and Hendren both said they were interested in hearing multiple points of view on the subject.

"I always said, we'll let anybody who has relevant information about a subject matter tell it," Malone said.

Naysayers get a say on global warming

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Why is muddy water flowing in a normally clear Ozark Mountain stream on a sunny New Year's Day?

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of muddy water flowing on New Year's Day into the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River.

For more images and a bit of explanation of this situation, please click the following link Silt-laden water pumped to the Town Branch by contractors flows to Beaver Lake
For a closer view of the pipe spewing water from Hill Place work site, please click on image to ENLARGE. Use cursor to move about and see the contrast between the flow from the pipe and the stream's normal clear water at right.

For more images and a bit of explanation of this situation, please click the following link Silt-laden water pumped to the Town Branch by contractors flows to Beaver Lake