Yearly Archives: 2009


Emerging Green Builders – Los Angeles
EGB-LA Committee
Upcoming Opportunities for Member Participation

Saturday, September 26, 2009 | 9am
Lifeguard Tower 4 | In front of 415 Pacific Coast Hwy, Santa Monica, CA
Near Annenberg Community Beach House | Parking south of 415 PCH

Event Description | Designers and builders are encouraged to come out and enjoy the morning on the beach with fellow Emerging Green Builders (EGB). We will design and create large and small scale scrap castles comprised of sand and your scrap materials. This is a great time to meet the group, learn about upcoming events, and of how you can become involved. Please review the Beach Rules included below.

What You Bring | Used scrap materials such as: window frames (no glass), doors, small furniture, lumber, ply, (no nails) and any decorative item that you can haul out to the beach. Sand castle tools such as: buckets, shovels and maybe a ladder. Bring a friend, co-worker, or partner.

Beach Rules | Normal beach restrictions will apply: No smoking, no fires or fireworks, no tents or temporary enclosures, lifeguards’ directions must be obeyed, etc. For more on Beach Rules, see Be sensible when choosing scrap to bring to the beach. If you are unsure about what you may bring or are looking for more information about this event, you may contact Paul at

*Note | Tours of the Annenberg Community Beach House are at 11am, 1pm and 3pm for more information contact Paul at

About EGB-LA
EGB-LA, a committee of the USGBC-LA Chapter provides emerging green builders, primarily young professionals and students, a network from which to gain knowledge and become involved in the green building community, established by the USGBC-LA.


Monday: Global climate wake up call

The flash mob campaign mentioned below takes place on Monday between 12:15PM – 12:30PM. It’s not too late to add your own events to the list. Within two weeks since the idea first surfaced, there are now over 350 events taking place in 52 countries – though taking a look at the ones in London, some groups seem to have interpreted the brief pretty loosely. It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out. Can social media demonstrate their effectiveness with this issue? I’m going to try and make it along to the one at Westminster if I can escape the desk…

Take a look at the site and find an action near you.

Meanwhile, we’ve created a site called Arts for COP15 which will be going live in the next few days. This site is still being worked on, and please note, the url you’re redirected to isn’t the one the site will have when it officially goes live, but you can still join the site, log in and upload information about any COP15 arts related events.


Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Clare Patey | Feast on the bridge

The artist-inspired Feast has become a remarkable part of London’s calendar, bringing together Londoners to produce food for a giant community meal. For the last two years it’s culminated in a giant Feast on the bridge on Southwark Bridge. Created by artist Clare Patey and colleagues, Feast on the bridge took part last weekend – another extraordinary example of arts transformational involvement in horticulture and community that I’ve written about earlier herehere and here.




RSA Arts & Ecology is teaming up with the RSA’s Connected Communities project to create a new garden based scheme in New Cross. More of that soon.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

ECOVENUE: London’s Green Theatre Plan, One Year Later

Reprinted from PRNewswire: “Theatres Trust Announces ECOVENUE Green Theatre Project for London” September 9, 2009

On 14 September 2009 at Plasa 09 The Theatres Trust will announce a new three year programme to provide specialist theatre environmental advice and undertake free DEC assessments with 48 small scale theatres in London.

One year on from the launch of the Mayor of London’s ‘Green Theatre: Taking Action on Climate Change‘ initiative at Plasa 08, The Theatres Trust will announce it is to receive GBP450,000 over the next three years from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in London to deliver the ECOVENUE advisory programme.

Mhora Samuel, Director of The Theatres Trust said “When the Mayor of London’s Green Theatre Plan was launched last year to help theatres in London achieve reductions in carbon emissions by 60% by 2025, commercial and subsidised theatres in London were quick to sign up. We recognised that smaller theatres with less resources would find it harder to participate, and so made an application for funding to the LDA at the beginning of 2009 to help address the gap. I’m delighted that we can announce the ERDF award at Plasa 09 and help more London theatres to address environmental issues associated with climate change and reduce their energy use.”

The ECOVENUE project provides each participating theatre with a free theatre-specific Environmental Audit, and free Display Energy Certificates in 2010 and 2011. A DEC is a publicly displayed certificate that informs the public about the energy use of a building. This free environmental improvement advice will be delivered by a new Theatre Building Services Adviser to be employed by the Trust.

The Trust will be inviting 48 theatres to apply to participate in the project, which will run until spring 2012. Application details will be advertised over the following months.

Pictures accompanying this release are available through the PA Photowire. They can be downloaded from or viewed at or

Go to the Green Theater Initiative

APInews: Artist To Speak on Petaluma Wetlands Park

Patricia Johnson will discuss her collaborative Petaluma Wetlands Park project at the Nevada Museum of Art’s Center for Art + Environment LAB (Reno) in November. The talk, November 13, 2009, is part of “Art and Infrastructure,” an exhibition of her drawings and designs on display in the museum’s CA+E LAB, September 19, 2009 – January 10, 2010. Using constructed and natural wetlands Johanson created a multipurpose public landscape in Petaluma, Calif., providing three miles of recreational use, educational programs and nature study alongside a facility that simultaneously processes human sewage, while also generating crops and creating wildlife habitats. “One of my missions as a designer is to create inclusive, life-supporting landscapes that broaden human understanding,” says Johanson on her Web site “Artists have always changed the way we see. Now we need to change the way we act.”

via APInews: Artist To Speak on Petaluma Wetlands Park .

16 ways to make your voice heard at COP15

In advance of COP15, there is a growing mass of intiatives binding us together to scare the negotiators into action.

They are in no particular order. Look down the list and find the ones that suit your own approach the best. Take part in as many as you have time for. Share them around.

Which ones have I left out? Drop me a line.

best-of-1TckTckTck The Global Citizens for Climate Action Campaign launched in August, partnered with Greenpeace, Christian Aid and Oxfam, counting us down from 100 days to COP15.

best-of-210:10 The 10:10 campaign launched off the back of Franny Armstrong’s Age of Stupid, focussing minds on cutting our emissions by 10% next year, but big on pressurising Ed Miliband to bring the goods from Copenhagen. Bill McKibben’s campaign to get world leaders to agree to a workable target of 350ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere plans for an international day of action on Oct 24.

best-4Vote Earth Off the back of the WWF’s Earth Hour campaign run back in March, the climate change charity have issued this global petition to world leaders.the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

best-5Sandbag “Real action on climate change” exploit the arcanities of Europe’s carbon trading schemes by  “retiring” surplus credits.  They also have a COP15 “One giant leap” petition they want you to sign.

best-6Seal the deal 2009 The UN’s European Climate Campaign, aims to create a “mosaic” of faces and voices with an online petition calling for change at Copenhagen. This is sTTThehe quick brown fox jumps over the lazy ome more invisible writing this is some invisible writing.
best-7Mobilization for Climate Justice North American coalition of activists pressing for a deal are planning major actions throughout the US on November 30. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

best-8untitled7Never trust a COP … and for those who don’t have faith that the more conventional appeals above are going to work, here’s the radical leftists’ direct action network on COP15.

best-9Hopenhagen. A snappy web-based initiative that gives people the chance to come together over the question “What gives you hope?” Catch-all question that’s the start of a rolling social media campaign. Global Wake-Up Call Following a global poll, now plan a day of flash mob action in towns and cities everywhere on Sept 21. Other campaigns to follow.

best-11Be that change | Get the PM to the UN. Excellently targetted campaign to ensure that UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown will be at COP15. He currently has no plans to attend.

best-12Stop Climate Chaos | The Wave Huge London demo scheduled for December 5 2009 to coincide with the start of COP15. Let’s not forget the old fashioned technique of actually coming together and marching.

best-13New Earth Deal Campaign organised by the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe to create support for COP15. In an era in which politicians lack the will to lead, they now set up their own petitions. Such as…

best-14Act on Copenhagen | Back the bid The UK government’s campaign to corral support for action at COP15. A government attempt to demonstrate that it has support for radical action at COP15 – should it chose to pursue it.

best-15Friends of the Earth | Demand Climate Change Friends of the Earth’s e-petition campaign to ensure that governments sign up to a 40% cut in emissions by 2020. “We will not accept anything less.”

best-16Operation Noah | Ark petition Faith based campaign with an original scheme. Build an origami ark and send it to Downing Street to make your voice heard.

Thanks to Susan Poupard and others for filling the gaps.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

APInews: Mapping the Desert/Deserting the Map

“Mapping the Desert/Deserting the Map” is “an arts-centered investigation” of Californias deserts by UC Riversides Sweeney Art Gallery, October 22-25, 2009. The project also investigates “the new, not-so-new and downright ancient technologies that make such mapping possible.” The four-day gathering, along with a year-long series of events focused on California’s deserts, is partially funded by the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts in association with its new Social Ecologies: California-centric embedded arts research program. the “Dry-immersion Roving Symposium” exploring “widespread concern over environmental, economic and cultural sustainability is fast pushing the desert from the margins to the center of attention in debates on the future of our planet” includes tours of the 29 Palms Marine Base and the lower Colorado desert oasis/dune systems and lectures and discussion on desert issues.

via APInews: Mapping the Desert/Deserting the Map .

Environmentalism is the new religion? So what if it is?

Sceptics often say that environmentalism is a religion rather than a science. It was the late Michael Crichton who stirred this one up originally, writing: “environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.” Fair enough: just like Marxism, which predicted a paradise to come after the end-time collapse of captalism, much of environmentalism undeniably draws its inspiration from 19th century millenarian Christianity. There is a catastrophic reckoning coming; there are saints and sinners. We’re all going to BURN in the post-Six Degrees world. And so on.

And, in this increasingly secular slice of Northern Europe, in particular, to call anything a religion is to belittle it.

But what if it is a new religion? Environmentalism certainly acts in the same way as many of the great non-conformist religions did. Those religions were passionate. They were about leading a more moral life. They were about taking action collectively rather than individual action. They held meetings regularly, gathered on commons and played loud music together. They too were derided as a bunch of feckless, dangerous, sandal-wearing wastrels.

I should say at this stage that I don’t have a religious bone in my body – though I once wrote a book on new religious movements that came out in paperback with a nice quote from Matthew Taylor’s dad on the front cover. I wrote it following the Waco siege, and what I came to realise when writing it was that it wasn’t that cults had become madder in recent decades, rather that we had become increasingly intolerant – even scared – of religious behaviour. This trend of suspicion and fear manifests itself intellectually in the radical scientific positivism of Richard Dawkins, for whom all believers are both deranged, and reducible to fundamentalists and Creationists. It manifests itself in the way we have conflated Islam with terrorism. And so on and on.

Religion has been around as long as human society; ideas of the sacred have been a crucial way in which we understand the physical world around us. From a historical point of view, what’s really odd is the aggressive secularism that’s taken hold in this small piece of the world.

But anyway. It turns out that the legal system is one step ahead. In yesterday’s Guardian blog, Andrew Brown points out that environmentalism is on the verge of accidentally being accorded the status of religion:

Is committed greenery entitled to the same protections as a religion? The question has come up with the appeal against the judgment in the case of Tim Nicholson, the former head of sustainability at Grainger, a property investment company, who claims he was dismissed in part because he took his green convictions seriously and the company did not. After a 2007 change in the regulations, he may be protected under the anti-discrimination law in the same way that a religious believer would be, providing only that his philosophical beliefs are cogent, serious and “worthy of respect in a democratic society”.

So there you go.

But thinking about environmentalism as if it were a religion is an interesting way to go. So far, it has to be conceded, religion looks a lot more successful at achieving its aims worldwide than the environmental movement has. The Pope still draws a bigger crowd than any Franny Armstrong video. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so shy of those elements of quasi-religious conviction that float into environmentalism.

The big difference is that environmentalism is of course, based on modern science, rather than old books and prophets. This is a secular religion, above all. But if it’s going to succeed, there has to be an element of faith there too. That sort of all-in this together faith that there is a possible future that is the other side of the apocalyptic vision. As Mark Dowd, Campaign Director of the church-based environmental campaign Operation Noah comments in theGuardian online today:

I believe virtue and example are contagious. Look at what happened recently with the launch of the 10:10 campaign, which the Guardian is backing. No sooner had Ed Miliband signed up to cut his own carbon emissions by 10%, than we were being told the whole Tory front bench were getting ready to endorse the pledge. Within 24 hours, the entire cabinet had also jumped on board and Liberal Democrats announced they were looking at moves to make this a resolution which would bind the whole party.


I see the aforementioned Matthew Taylor is also musing on the positives of religion in his most recent blog.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Planet Plus Funny: Auto Tune the News.

If you thought Melissa Etheridge was heart-wrenching in An Inconvenient Truth, wait until you hear Katie Couric sing.

Seriously: Auto-Tune the right clip of  Couric, and you’ve got a new song of earth-savery. Or so prove the antics of Auto Tune the News.

Auto-Tune is that glorious software that makes Britney spears sound like a robot Ella Fitzgerald. It uses a phase vocoder to make singers sound more on-key (and futuristic) than they actually are.

The brilliance of Auto Tune the News is applying the technology to news anchors and their stories. It could be a simple prank illustrating how easy it is to sound like a pop star, but the editing of the “songs” actually illustrates how intertwined and interdependent the issues are, from climate change to race to drug regulation. All of the issues blur together in a hilarious top-40 tune.

For a different kind of hilarious reality check,  watch the Keep it Green Girls ride the bus. They do tamer things on Planet Green, but if you ever hunger for some green-meets-concrete, here ya go.

Go to the Green Museum