This is an issue that is near and dear to the hearts of many of us who have followed the events and on-going disasters at Fukushima.
Archive for the ‘energy’ Category
Nisha from Local to Global Life Works made this short interview with the folks from New Frontier Family Farm during a visit with the L.A food lobby people (a local food coop/food buyers club). It’s really cool to see and hear the people that raise the things you eat. Please visit Nisha’s original post to see more pictures and get the full scoop on the visit to the farm. Thank you Nisha!
L.A. Eco-Village is repairing its cob lizard bench on Sunday 8/21 from noon to 5. If you are interested in natural building, take this opportunity to observe and work with Ray Cirino, artist/inventor/ permaculturist, and mosaic artist, Lee Adams. Ray will be bringing his Sparky, the dragon pizza oven to the event http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPSq9_QA4m0 so bring a pizza or pizza toppings to enjoy from his very eco-friendly oven. AND, we'll also be doing a partial street closing with music and dancing in the street.
Come and have fun, even if you don’t have time to help.
But if you do, here’s the help needed:
- Schlepping tables, chairs to the street and/or
- Traffic control (we will be closing off half the street) and/or
- Take a turn as pizza chef (this is really simple and training provided) and/or
- Bring acoustic musical instruments to make music in the street and/or
- Setting up shade canopies if needed and/or
- Staffing a sign-in and info table for Echo Park Time Bank and L.A. Eco-Village
Come for an hour, a few hours or the whole event. Time Dollars paid for how many hours you spend helping (for Echo Park Time Bank members http://www.echoparktimebank.com)
Note that Ray’s Dragon Pizza Oven is also available for events and parties.
Contact: Lois Arkin, 213/738-1254, email@example.com
Location of event: 131 Bimini Place, LA 90004 (one block east of Vermont between First and Second Streets
Having a birthday lunch with my neighbor Dale today, he told me about this article that he caught in yesterday’s LA Times, and that he’d posted the hard copy on our bulletin board. Couldn’t wait to get home to read it, especially when Dale indicated that he really understood what Dave’s research was about from this article, something that’s always been a bit too fuzzy for me. But Lopez did clarify it for me. Nonetheless, the critical part is about the simpletons that think they belong to the same species as we do but don’t want a rapid bus lane in their neighborhood. Really strange, I agree. How about an 8 lane two direction critical mass bike ride three days a week through those hoods till they cry “Uncle!” Here’s the article (link to original):
Peering into a post-petroleum world
As protests in Egypt underscore the hazards of relying on imported oil, a bus and bike-riding scientist at UCLA is working on clean fusion energy that could wean us from foreign fuel.
By Steve Lopez
February 2, 2011
The story of how I ended up in the basement of a UCLA physics building, getting a tour of a plasma facility with a young scientist working on the development of clean fusion energy, begins with the uprisings in the Middle East.
On Monday morning, I headed west on Wilshire Boulevard with a couple of items on the agenda. First, I wanted to see if I could find any demonstrators left over from the weekend. People were still marching in the streets of Cairo, demanding the ouster of longtime U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak, so I thought there might still be a few protesters carrying signs in front of the West L.A. federal building.
I also wanted to meet with a UCLA student who had e-mailed me to say that he was ticked off about opposition to the proposed bus-only lane for Wilshire Boulevard. David Auerbach, a doctoral candidate who has no car and commutes by bicycle and bus, called the piecemeal scaling back of the bus plan “a great example of the typical L.A. governance.” He didn’t mean that as a compliment. (more…)
If you haven’t heard Diana’s talk before, don’t miss this one. OR if you have heard it, you won’t want to miss this one either, because it’s new and better than ever!
Ecovillages: Where They Are, What They’re Doing, Why They’re Important
Diana Leafe Christian (in person)
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm
at L.A. Eco-Village
117 Bimini Pl, LA 90004 directions
Fee: $10 to $5 (sliding scale)
Reservations required: firstname.lastname@example.org or 213/738-1254
With over 400 photos, this slide show demonstrates how ecovillages worldwide integrate ecological, economic, and social/cultural/spiritual sustainability, through:
• Permaculture design
• International peace activism
• Natural building
• Service to populations in need
• Renewable energy/off-grid power
• Local currencies
• Alternative technology
• On-site cottage industries
• Sustainable agriculture
• Participatory decision-making
• Earth-restoraton projects
• Conflict resolution & communication skills
WHY people are devoted to developing ecological settlements.
HOW ecovillages are beneficially influencing the wider culture.
HOW ecovillages will probably affect patterns of human settlement in the near future.
Here is a very interesting 3 minute clip talking about why global warming is challenging to motivate people to care about, and why the Prius succeeded:
Ok, it’s Bike to Work Week… the catastrophic Earth Day Oil spill continues unabated… the city of L.A. continues to be one of the most car-centric places on the planet… so below are a couple of fun bikey things to share… to help cheer us Velocipedists up! These are both stolen from Streetsblog – one of wonderfullest places on the web.
After 22 years and hundreds of tours and countless inspirations, our near-neighbor Eco-Home will be closing its doors at the end of June 2010. Eco-Home has been a labor of love for its founder Julia Russell. Located a couple miles north of L.A. Eco-Village, Eco-Home is a single-family that has been retrofitted to conserve energy and water, grow food locally, and much more. (See below for info on the final Eco-Home tours!)
This post was emailed to me by G.B. Chan, one of Los Angeles Eco-Village’s residents. I’ve fixed some grammatical errors, but other than that, all the words and links and photos came straight from GB. I haven’t verified the verisimilitude or veracity of all of GB’s claims, but I’d certainly never heard a lie uttered from GB’s lips… and it does seem like these new bike signs are all over!
Pedestrians and bicyclist will by now no doubt have noticed or are noticing new bicycle safety signs installed in the city of Los Angeles. According to the city of Los Angeles’ Green Transportation Commission vice-chair E. Henry Thripshaw, these signs may well be ”the city’s [attempt] to validate the importance and validity of bicyclists on the city streets and roads and such.”
Listening plays a key role in facilitating successful meetings, which is something residents do every week at our community meetings here at the L.A. Eco-Village. Here’s a quick summary of three ways to actively listen as a faciliator:
- Mirroring: When someone says something, you repeat the words back verbatim to the person who said it.
- Summarizing: When someone takes awhile to make their point, quickly summarize it before going to the next person.
- Clarifying: If someone says something that isn’t that clear, I’ll ask them to clarify what they are trying to say.
For more information on these and why listening is important in general to promote good meetings, check out the full blog post I wrote on my own webpage.
Posted in art, community, economics, energy, events, food, learning, livelihood, transportation, water, tagged Bioneers, conference, Jerome Ringo, Joanna Macy, Michael Pollan on October 13, 2009 | 2 Comments »
October 16 – 18, 2009 at The Downtown Independent Theater (251 S. Main St., LA 90012)
BIONEERS: REVOLUTION FROM THE HEART OF NATURE
Go here for details: http://labeaming.org/
Project Butterfly, Electric Lodge, Evolution Jewels and Downtown Independent bring you
the 1st Bioneers Conference Simulcast in LA!
Featuring: LIVE SIMULCAST FROM THE BIONEERS CONFERENCE OF 15 PLENARY PRESENTATIONS: HEADLINING THIS YEAR’S EVENT ARE NATIONALLY PROMINENT LUMINARIES, SOME OF WHOM INCLUDE:
Andrew Weil M.D.:
the nation’s foremost authority on holistic medicine, is author of numerous books including international bestsellers, Spontaneous Healing and Eight Weeks to Optimum Health. Michael Pollan:
one of the most influential thinkers on food and agriculture, award-winning author of bestsellers including The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, and most recently In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. Joanna Macy:
a celebrated Buddhist teacher, author, co-philosopher and activist in the peace, justice, and ecology movements. Jerome Ringo:
president of the Apollo Alliance, and the first African-American to head a major conservation organization, the National Wildlife Federation, Ringo will stress the imperative of creating fair jobs that are healthy for people and the planet.
+ Many Others L.A. Eco-Village is a co-sponsor of this event
About the parking lot / garden which was mentioned before, I am optomistic that LAUSD will adopt our version of the parking lot design. Many of the potential hurdles have been cleared. However, we still have not received an official confirmation. When we do we intend to negotiate a Joint Use agreement between LAUSD and the Beverly-Vermont Community Land Trust (founded by ecovillagers). Because the communication has been so positive about retaining the vacant lot for a horticultural project we are not alarmed by the preparations for converting the rest of the WHPPC site into a parking lot. And we are glad to see LAUSD reusing as many of the current structures as possible. Once the Joint Use Agreement is in place, we aspire to create something similar to the venice learning garden, which has operated for more than five years under such an agreement with LAUSD.
This week’s L.A. Weekly features eco-village’s own coffee roaster, the “thoughtful goateed 34-year old” Angel Orozco and his Cafecito Organico business. Try out his “stimulus package” at the Silver Lake Farmers Market, Saturdays 8am to 1pm at the triangle mini-park where Griffith Park Boulevard meets Sunset Boulevard.
A few weeks ago, the Greywater Guerillas visited the Los Angeles Eco-Village. They delivered a public talk, and held a workshop where we installed two basic greywater systems. Both systems pipe washing machine output water to water trees and plants.
What is greywater? It’s basically any waste water that we generate from our sinks, bathtubs or washing machines. (Blackwater is from the toilet – and that’s another story.) For most Angelenos, right now, all this water gets combined into our sewer which takes it to big energy-intensive “water reclamation” (aka: sewage treatment) “plants” (factories.) A few of these are along our local rivers: the Tillman Plant in the Sepulveda Basin, and the LA-Glendale Plant. The local plants discharge tertiary treated wastewater (nearly as clean as drinking water) into our rivers, creeks, and the Pacific Ocean. For the L.A. River it’s generally not such a bad thing – adding unpolluted water helps keep the river’s wetlands wetter. It makes up for missing natural flows that we’ve dammed and otherwise blocked.
Mostly we import this clean/fresh water from other regions at great costs (fiscal, environmental, energy), then we use it once and send it down the drain. One way to conserve water is to re-use greywater on-site. There are many ways to go with greywater… from simple to very complicated. For this blog entry, I’m going to tell one story: how my new system works. If you’re looking to do your own system, you might want to check out resources on the Greywater Guerillas website, or read Create an Oasis with Greywater: Chosing, Building, and Using Greywater Systems by Art Ludwig.
Here’s my washing machine today, sitting in the back room of my second story apartment at eco-village. It’s a front-loader, which is generally a bit more water and energy efficient than a top-loader. You can see the greywater piping at the top behind the machine – the end of the machine’s black flexible-pipe outlet has been hooked to a T-valve (see close-up and explanation below.)
Note also the piece of paper taped to the front. I had guests in town staying at my place last week, so I put up a small sign that reads: “GRAY WATER / Washwater drains to garden / No conventional soaps or toxins.” When you do a greywater system you can’t use regular detergent (not even your basic eco-detergent) because they can accumulate salts or other toxins in your soil. There are a few different biocompatible detergents available at local health food stores. I use Oasis laundry detergent which is specially formulated for greywaters systems.
One problem I’ve had is that the down-pipe (the connection to the sewer) doesn’t really work in my apartment. If we hook the washer up to the sewer, then it leaks into the apartment below me. What I did in the past to get around this was to set up a very rudimentary system – which is an example of how NOT to do greywater (and is not pictured here.) I set up the washer to drain into a 50-gallon plastic tub. From the tub, I used a hose with a quick-connect to siphon drain the water into the garden. The system basically worked, but has many drawbacks and hassles. Most notably that the water in the tub gets rather nasty and smelly after a while (needs to be washed out periodically, probably every month if you don’t want it to smell at all.) I lived with it for nearly 10 years. It was a bit more convenient and much more eco than toting my laundry to a laundromat, but right now, I am very happy to have a reliable eco-friendly system that I don’t have to actively siphon the last load’s water before starting the next load. I do suggest that “tankless” systems are the way to go… and never set up anything where you let greywater stand for any length of time.
Back to the new system. Here’s a close-up of the “T” that is right above the washing machine. The valve is called a 3-way diverter valve. Normally there would be one more pipe extending horizontally to the right in this image – which would allow me to send water to sewer when I wanted to (by just turning the red handle.) As I mentioned, the sewer connection leaks, so for now, we didn’t connect to it. We included the valve though, in case we ever repair the down-pipe. I used a black plastic-tie to wire the red handle into the only proper direction – sending the water that’s coming up the black pipe leftward into the white pipe. The water then leaves the building.
Outside, here’s what the pipe looks like. The washing machine is behind the window at the top left.
The pipe comes horizontally out through the wall, then makes a turn downward. There’s a little one-way air-vent device extending upward at that T (it’s white with a black top.) I have to confess that I don’t entirely understand what kind of vent it is, nor how and why it works, but it’s supposed to prevent an inadvertent siphoning that could suck water from the delivery pipe back into the washer.
There’s another T below that (it’s right below the wiring and above the door – with a red handle.) This valve is for a potential future container wetland that I fantasize about doing in this area someday.
The pipe continues between the back doors of my unit and my downstairs neighbor’s.
At that point we needed to get across a very tiny courtyard space. We sawed through the concrete to get below grade (so the pipe wouldn’t be trip hazard.) We ran the pipe across underground, then came back to the surface. This does create a small sump spot where some water collects and sits. The Greywater Guerillas suggest that this won’t be a problem because it’s a very small volume of water that won’t sit for too long before the next load of laundry completely flushes it. It might get somewhat gunky if I go on vacation and don’t do laundry for a few weeks.
Our excellent handyman, Dale Kreutzer mortared in over the pipe, adding a strip of tiles for decoration. I like that the tiles serve to draw attention to how the system works. One of my many missions in life is to reveal water processes that we generally tend to hide.
As the pipe resurfaces it makes a turn to run along the base of the wall of the building. (I’ve stepped across the small courtyard and am taking this photo from my back door – the tile over the underground pipe is visible in the bottom right corner of the picture.)
The pipe transitions from the rigid (and somewhat environmentally nasty) white pipe to the more flexible (and less environmentally nasty) back tubing. The real names for the materials are in the book and website referenced above.
The tube follows the base of the building, turning right at the opening of the courtard, continuing along the back of the building.
In the upper left corner of this photo, there’s another T-stub for a future project. We’re beginning to take up some of the concrete in this area, which was formerly dedicated to parking, but will soon be a garden.
The pipe then goes through a gate and below a sidewalk (not pictured, but imagine another tile strip, though we haven’t gotten to it, yet) to emerge into a garden space. The area watered is along a fence. We dug a very small trench there, filled that trench with mulch. We planted blackberries along it (they’ll grow up the fence.) There’s a also a pair of feijoa trees (sometimes called pineapple guava) there. The trees are actually pretty drought resistant and do fine with the rainwater available here, but they will be happier and will yield more with added water at their roots.
The “emitters” are small T-joints which you can see in this image (or in the close-up photo at the top of the blog entry.) There’s a fence to the left (where the blackberries are beginning to grow) and a path to the right. The mulch trench runs along the left half of the photo – between the fence and the mostly-exposed black pipe.
It’s most clear from the photo at the top of the entry, but the greywater is indeed discharged into the air, then immediately soaks into the mulch bed, so there’s no standing water. If the end of the pipe is underground, then you can have problems with roots growing into it. There are fancier ways to discharge below ground – again see the book and website listed above.
You don’t want to use greywater on things like potatoes (where you eat the roots) or lettuce (where you eat the leaves that grow very close to the soil surface.) It’s best for perennials like trees or vines or even tomatoes. There’s a small health risk which can result from eating something that’s been contaminated by directly exposure to greywater. If you set things up right and keep them maintained in working order the risks are negligible.
The system has been up and running for about a month now and is working great!
(In the spirit of those 3-way diverter valves, this entry has been triple-cross-posted at the L.A. Eco-Village Blog, the LAEV Garden Blog and L.A. Creek Freak. Apologies to folks like my mom, who I am sure reads all three.)
our friend Rachel just took these pictures last week near Oaxaca (Mexico), and she shared them with us while staying at the Eco Village on her way to Portland. this “bici-maquina” (bike-machine), as they are called in Mexico, is used to power a water pump. i love the technological contrast, claypunkish.