Weekend Water Wheel ceremonies

On Friday June 21st :
Solstice Water Wheel Ceremony and Global meditation at the Water Wheel in Frenchy’s Park at 9:30 AM. Please join us to bless the Waters and pray for rain. The gathering celebrates the burying of the last Earth Treasure Vase in Australia and the Solstice and Full Moon. This last vase activates the global grid of Vases that have been buried around the world over the past 23 years. Bring a gallon of water for the trees and your special crystal, water or offering. To read more about the Earth Treasure Vase Project click here.

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Sunday 23rd June
Water Wheel Ceremony at 1 PM
at the Santa Fe Waldorf School, 26 Puesta del Sol
Santa Fe, NM 87508-5944

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Germany’s success story

A Secret Success Story

Germany’s energy transition is already a success story. If only the rest of the world paid attention.

© Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Germany has become the world leader in solar power generation in just 12 years, while phasing out its nuclear power, yet few people in the United States seem to be aware of its success.

Nuclear power fell from 31 percent of Germany’s electricity consumption in 2000 to under 23 percent in 2011 as its renewable power capacity grew. Not only did the feared blackouts that opponents of renewable energy had trumpeted fail to materialize, but the grid actually became more stable as the transition proceeded. Instead of power disruptions, Germany’s grid became the most reliable of the EU member states, with just 15 minutes of unplanned interruptions in 2011. In 2007, Germany had 19 minutes of downtime, while nuclear-heavy France had 62 minutes and the US had 240 — more than 12 times as much as Germany.

Germany intends to complete its phase-out of nuclear power by 2022. Under its “Energiewende” (energy transition) program, it could achieve far more than that, and obtain 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

The growth of Germany’s solar capacity has been nothing short of astonishing, adding as much PV in the first half of 2012 as the US has in total cumulative installed capacity. Two key drivers have been responsible for this rapid growth. The first is its use of feed-in tariffs (FiTs), which pay renewable energy generators an above-market rate for power put onto the grid under contracts with a 15 to 25 year duration. FiTs have been responsible for a rapid deployment of wind and solar in over 40 countries, including most of Europe, and accounted for nearly all new solar PV systems there since 1997.

The second is good grid planning. Germany has carefully planned for accommodating intermittent power onto its grid, and installed advanced monitoring and forecasting technology to manage that power effectively. If proponents of always-on “baseload” power like coal and nuclear plants were correct, then we might expect countries with the highest levels of renewable penetration to have the most trouble managing their grids. In reality, a survey of EU countries by the consultancy “eclareon GmbH” found that the countries which planned for adequate grid capacity generally didn’t have a problem accommodating renewables.

The benefits of Germany’s energy transition strategy are manifest and manifold. Their FiTs have driven solar adoption at a far faster rate than any other policy. The maturation of their market has driven the installed cost of solar down to half that of the US. Because the FiTs have encouraged distributed generation, more than half of Germany’s renewable generation capacity is owned by everyday citizens, which has increased its popularity. The sun is shining at its brightest precisely when demand is highest, at noon. Solar power now meets one-third of midday demand, shaving off the peaks in grid power prices and driving down the price of grid power overall. And because it’s clean power, it displaces fossil fuels and reduces carbon emissions.

Incorporating more renewable power into its grid has contributed partially to higher electricity costs for Germany in the short term, but studies indicate that in 2030, a 100% renewable mix will likely deliver electricity at a lower cost than a fossil-nuclear mix. The cost of renewable generation has been falling rapidly and is set to continue falling, while the cost of coal and nuclear power continues to rise worldwide. In Europe, natural gas is already too expensive to compete with renewables.

The installed price of rooftop solar in Germany has fallen by 66% since 2006, and by 2018, solar power is expected to be the absolute cheapest way to generate power in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, India, and much of Asia. On current trends, the price of unsubsidized solar in the US will hit grid parity by 2020.

Propaganda and energy illiteracy

With such stunning success — driving nuclear power out of their grid while reducing long-term and peak power costs, slashing carbon emissions, and doing so in a democratic and popular way — it’s a wonder that most Americans don’t know anything about Germany’s energy transition. That is, until you look at what American media have been telling them.

More wind generation capacity was installed in the US than any other power source in 2012. Solar installations have been booming, with solar capacity nearly doubling in 2011 and growing by another 40% in 2012. And yet on February 7, News Corp.‘s television show Fox & Friends said that the future of solar energy “looks dim as investments into green energy are beginning now to dry up.” They went on to promote domestic natural gas, and assert that Germany’s solar generation has surpassed that of the US because they’ve got a lot more sun than we do.” In fact, the entire continental US (with the exception of Seattle, Washington) gets far more sun than Germany.

Or consider how Business Insider interpreted Germany’s lower solar installations in December 2012 compared to the previous year: “It Looks Like Europe Is Going Off The Solar Energy Demand Cliff,” read the headline. In fact, 2012 was the third record year in a row for PV installations in Germany, and the decline in December was mainly due to scheduled reductions in the FiT, the high penetration of PV that Germany has achieved, and other factors.

Then there was the August 31 editorial in Forbes entitled “Germany — Insane or Just Plain Stupid?” As Craig Morris wrote in Renewables International, the “Forbes” author mistakenly believed that Germany is switching to coal, did not understand the details of Germany’s Renewable Energy Act, misunderstood the role of nuclear power on the German grid, asserted that “Germany’s poor and unemployed are on fixed energy credits” (they are not), and said that “the grid can’t handle it, the transmission system is not there, and the power disruptions and brownouts are wreaking havoc on the country’s energy reliability.”

“The fact is that none of what is happening in Germany fits what Americans think,” Morris muses. “Germany is switching to renewables quickly, without raising its carbon emissions, with probably the most reliable grid in the world, on a market with freedoms Americans don’t even know they lack, with a job market that continues to strengthen (even during the ongoing economic crisis), and in combination with a nuclear phaseout. None of this makes sense to Americans, who respond not by accepting the facts and changing their minds but by getting the picture wrong.”

From the perspective of this American energy journalist, I believe Morris is correct. Much of the energy journalism in American media is unfiltered propaganda perpetrated by the fossil fuel industry. One need look no further than the recent rash of stories about incipient US “energy independence” to see that. Yes, the US is enjoying a boom in shale gas production, but it also remains a net importer of gas — a fact that no one ever mentions in the press. And yes, the US is now producing around one million barrels a day of new oil from hydrofracked shales, but that new production hasn’t even been able to stem the decline of non-OPEC oil output, and the US is still the world’s largest oil importer.

Apart from industry propaganda, many of the other mistaken notions about Germany’s energy transition, and where the US stands in its own energy situation, are simply the result of energy illiteracy within the ranks of writers and editors.

So carry on, Germany. You’re on the right course with your energy transition, and offering the rest of the world an immensely valuable model. We will thank you later.

Call for an End to Fluoridation

600 Physicians, Dentists, Scientists and Environmentalists Call for an End to Fluoridation

A statement asking Congress to end water fluoridation in the United States has been released by the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). Over 600 professionals, including a Nobel Prize winner, officers in the Union that represents Environmental Protection Agency professionals, and members of the National Research Council panel on fluoride’s toxicology, have signed the statement.

The report urges Congressional members to “recognize that fluoridation is outdated, has serious risks that far outweigh any minor benefits, violates sound medical ethics, and denies freedom of choice.”

It cites eight recent events that call for an urgent end to water fluoridation. Among them:

  • A 500-page review of fluoride’s toxicology by the National Research Council of the National Academies, published in 2006.
  • Evidence from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that found 32 percent of U.S. children have dental fluorosis, which is caused by fluoride.
  • The American Dental Association’s 2006 policy change, which recommends not giving fluoridated water to infants for the first 12 months of life.
  • A Harvard University study that found a five- to seven-fold increased risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer) among young men who were exposed to fluoride between the ages of 6 and 8.
  • The CDC’s recognition that fluoride is beneficial in reducing tooth decay when it’s applied topically, not taken systemically.

The statement calls for members of Congress to sponsor a new Congressional Hearing on Fluoridation that requires those who continue to support water fluoridation to provide scientific basis, under oath, for their continued recommendations.

According to one of the statement’s signers, Dr. Arvid Carlsson, winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize for Medicine, “Fluoridation is against all principles of modern pharmacology. It’s really obsolete.”

Sources:
Fluoride Action Network August 9, 2007
Medical News Today August 10, 2007

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

This is truly excellent news! Slowly but surely, the truth about fluoride has been leaking out, and now it may finally have the chance to sink in and really prompt some major changes.

If you are new to the site, you’re probably still under the impression that fluoridated water is a good thing, so this news may come as a surprise. In reality, fluoride is a dangerous poison that does not help to protect your teeth when you ingest it via your drinking water. As even the CDC has admitted, fluoride may help your teeth if it’s applied topically, but taking it in systemically does not.

What it DOES do, as this much-needed statement points out, is:

On top of that, the statement reveals that federal agencies have admitted that “the industrial grade waste products used to fluoridate over 90 percent of America’s drinking water supplies (fluorosilicate compounds) have never been subjected to toxicological testing or FDA safety-tested approval for human ingestion.”

The fact that Americans have been drinking fluoridated water for more than 50 years has really been a giant experiment, at the expense of your health.

You can learn the underlying corruption and abuses of power that have allowed fluoride to be shamelessly promoted in the United States in Christopher Bryon’s The Fluoride Deception. The publication of this book is one of the eight recent events that’s referenced in the statement, simply because it reveals so clearly that industrial interests were behind the early promotion of fluoride.

How You Can Avoid Fluoride, and Help to Ban it in Your Water

If all goes well, this statement should make members of Congress take notice, and may prompt new regulations about fluoridated water.

Until then, you can protect yourself from fluoride by using only non-fluoride toothpaste and not receiving fluoride treatments from your dentist. To remove fluoride from your drinking water, you must use a reverse osmosis filter. Be sure that you’re filtering not only the water that you drink, but also the water you use to wash vegetables, make ice cubes, and cook with.

If you’re wondering how to keep your teeth healthy, remember that fluoride was never the answer in the first place. Eating right and avoiding processed foods (along with regular cleanings with your natural dentist) will ensure that your teeth stay healthy naturally.

Finally, if you’d like to voice your opinion about ending water fluoridation, the Fluoride Action Network has an online petition that you can sign to call for a Congressional Hearing.

Remember, every voice makes a difference, so please feel free to forward this message to all of your interested friends and family members.

Together, we have the power to prompt some real changes for the good of your health, and the health of future generations!

Related Links:
What You Don’t Know About Fluoridation Could Hurt You
The Absurdities of Water Fluoridation
Media Reports on Dangers of Fluoride in Your Water

Upcoming events

RainCatcher Signature
The June meeting will be on Wednesday 19th June at Natural Grocers , 3328 Cerrillos Road at 5:30 PM 

Reese Baker will share about Rainwater Catchment and Storm runoff

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          *On Friday June 21st, the SFe Water Awareness Group is planning a Solstice Water Wheel ceremony and Global meditation at the Water Wheel in Frenchy’s Park at 9:30 AM. The gathering will coincide with a global meditation for Peace in preparation for the burying of the last Earth Treasure Vase in Australia and to bless the Waters at 10 AM our time. This last vase activates the global grid of Vases that have been buried around the world over the past 23 years. Bring a gallon of water for the trees and your special crystal, water or offering. To read more about the Earth Treasure Vase Project click here.
        
            This event, organized in partnership with the Gaiafield Project and the Shift Network’s Summer of Peace program, will occur via a teleconference/webcast link with the pilgrimage group live from Darwin, Australia. I will tell the story of the Earth Treasure Vase project and guide a meditation intended to link and activate the global Earth Treasure Vase grid, just days before the burial of the final vase”. Cynthia Jurs, director of the Earth Treasure Vase project.

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              *This Sunday’s Journey Santa Fe conversation at Collected Works Bookshop features

Foraging Right Outside Your Door, with Ellen Zachos and Backyard Foraging
     June 9, 11 am

                                               www.journeySantaFe.com

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There will be a Summer Solstice Ceremony at New Buffalo on Friday,  June 21st at 5:30PM to celebrate this Summer Solstice.

New Buffalo is North of Taos in Arroyo Hondo.
For more information contact Cliff Bain at
Clifton Bain <taos2012ceremony@gmail.com>
Please bring flowers to decorate the altar as an expression of  our love and gratitude to the Sun.

There will be a potluck meal following the ceremony so please bring your goodies to the kitchen first.

We would like to invite you to make a $10 donation toward New Buffalo in gratitude for their loving welcome to us.” Cliff Bain

FRACKING BAN

From Santa Fe New Mexican

FRACKING BAN A New Mexico county’s fracking ban is all about the water

A New Mexico county’s fracking ban is all about the water  Roger Alcon tends cattle on his family’s ranch in Mora County on May 16. Alcon’s family has run cattle in the area for five generations, and he supports the county’s ban on drilling for natural gas by using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, even though it would mean money for allowing drilling on his land. Julie Cart/Los Angeles Times

Posted: Sunday, June 2, 2013 10:00 pm | Updated: 11:24 pm, Sun Jun 2, 2013.

By Julie Cart
Los Angeles Times | 5 comments

OCATE — Sitting in the tidy living room of the home they built themselves, Sandra and Roger Alcon inventory what they see as the bounty of their lives: freedom, family, community, land, animals … and water.

“We’ve lived off the land for five generations,” said Roger Alcon, 63, looking out on a Northern New Mexico landscape of high mesas, ponderosa pines and black Angus cattle. “We have what we need. We’ve been very happy, living in peace.”

Wells are the Alcons’ only source of water. The same is true for everyone else in Mora County, which is why last month this poor, conservative ranching region of energy-rich New Mexico became the first county in the nation to pass an ordinance banning hydraulic fracturing, the controversial oil and gas extraction technique known as “fracking” that has compromised water quantity and quality in communities around the country.

“I don’t want to destroy our water,” Alcon said. “You can’t drink oil.”

In embracing the ban, landowners turned their back on potentially lucrative royalty payments from drilling on their property and joined in a groundswell of civic opposition to fracking that is rolling west from Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania in the gas-rich Marcellus shale formation.

Pittsburgh became the first U.S. city to outlaw fracking in November 2010 after it came to light that an energy company held a lease to drill under a beloved city cemetery.

Since then, more than a dozen cities in the East have passed similar ordinances.

The movement leapfrogged west last summer when the town of Las Vegas, N.M., took up the cause, calling for a halt to fracking until adequate regulations protecting public health are adopted.

It has now reached California, where communities are considering similar bans.

Culver City — home to the nation’s largest urban oil field — is drafting oil and gas regulations that call for a moratorium on fracking. Citizen groups in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara are preparing their own community rights ballot measures aimed at outlawing the procedure.

Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals deep underground to fracture rock formations, releasing oil and gas that is hard to reach with conventional drilling methods. A blizzard of applications to sink wells using fracking is spurring a nationwide energy rush sometimes called the “shale gale.”

Among the leading concerns of opponents is the absence of any federal law requiring companies to fully identify the chemicals in their fracking fluids. Such formulas are considered by the industry to be a trade secret. Community-based anti-fracking campaigns — citing public health issues — call for complete disclosure of injection fluids.

Many New Mexico counties welcome oil and gas production, an industry that adds to the tax base and employment rolls. But in sparsely populated Mora County, where 67 percent of the 5,000 residents are Spanish-speaking, people cherish their culture and way of life.

Sandra Alcon said her neighbors don’t care about mineral rights or oil money. They are angry about the way energy companies’ “land men” treated them. Residents here are seen as easy marks for hustlers offering little compensation for oil and water rights, she said.

“They know we have a lot of elderly and rural people; some don’t speak English,” she said. “They don’t know that some of us went to college and some of us have the Internet.

“I may look stupid, but I’m not. I know what they are doing.”

Mora County, using its authority to regulate commercial activity, specifically barred corporations from fracking. The ordinance also established that citizens have a right to a safe and clean environment.

County Commission Chairman John Olivas said the ordinance is not a referendum on oil and gas. Rather, he said, it “is all about water,” estimating that 95 percent of the county’s residents support the ban, although some argue that the jobs and income that accompany drilling would help the depressed area.

Olivas, a hunting and fishing guide, said he grew up watching his parents work in the uranium mines of Eastern New Mexico. When the mines played out, towns shriveled up.

Chasing that boom-and-bust economy is not worth despoiling an environment that remains remarkably untouched and provides a sustainable living for most people here, he said.

“We are one of the poorest counties in the nation, yes, but we are money-poor, we are not asset-poor,” Olivas said. “We’ve got land, we’ve got agriculture, we’ve got our heritage and we’ve got our culture.”

The California community closest to adopting an anti-fracking ordinance is Culver City, which includes a portion of the 1,000-acre Inglewood Oil Field. More than 1 million people live within five miles of the field, where some 1,600 wells have been drilled since 1925.

The City Council is considering a fracking moratorium, even though only 10 percent of the field is within the city limits. The bulk of the wells are in unincorporated Los Angeles County.

City officials and residents say they are concerned about air and water quality, as well as about earthquakes being triggered by drilling at 8,000 to 10,000 feet — the depths where the untapped oil is found.

Low-magnitude earthquakes have been associated with fracking, but Ed Memi, a spokesman for PXP, which operates in the Inglewood Field, called suggestions that high-pressure drilling causes earthquakes “hysterical accusations.”

“There is no evidence that hydraulic fracturing has caused felt seismic activity anywhere in California,” Memi said. “The practice of hydraulic fracturing has been subjected to dozens of studies in recent years, and the fundamental safety of the technology is well understood by scientists, engineers, regulators and other technical experts.”

But Meghan Sahli-Wells, Culver City’s vice mayor, said the city needs to see more study of fracking’s impact before it could be allowed.

“I grew up in L.A. All my life I’ve heard about air-quality problems, earthquakes and water issues,” Sahli-Wells said. “It just so happens that fracking really hits on the three major challenges of this area. Frankly, I’ve been waiting for people to wake up and say, ‘We are fracking on a fault line? Is this really in our interests?’ “

If Culver City moves forward with a moratorium, it could take months to complete, she said.

Fracking is unregulated in California, and no accurate figures exist detailing how many of the state’s wells are completed using the technique.

A number of anti-fracking bills are pending before the state Assembly, and statewide regulations are being finalized by the state Department of Conservation.

Sahli-Wells endorses legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, D-Culver City, that calls for a moratorium on fracking in California until a comprehensive six-year study can be undertaken.

“Look before you leap” legislation is pending in other states.

On a recent day back in Mora County, Roger Alcon drove his ranch with his herding dog, Pepper, at his side. He said the region’s aquifer has been depleted by oil and gas operations in the region. He sees no reason to hasten the water decline.

Alcon pointed out the truck window toward the snowcapped Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

“We have what we need,” he said. “To me, the fresh air and the land, and water. It’s better than money.”