Nebraskans Install First Solar Panels Inside the Keystone XL Pipeline Route

‘Solar XL’ project breaks ground along Keystone XL pipeline in Nebraska, highlighting clean energy solutions over the fossil fuel industry
 
Silver Creek, NE — On Saturday, July 29th, the “Solar XL” project placed its first solar panels along the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, on the farm of Nebraska landowners Jim and Chris Carlson near Silver Creek. The Carlsons, who rejected a $307,000 offer from the pipeline company TransCanada to build Keystone XL through their backyard, partnered with Bold Nebraska, 350.org, Indigenous Environmental Network, CREDO, and Oil Change International to put renewable energy directly in the pipeline’s path. Solar XL underscores the need to center solutions to climate change while rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline and resisting the expansion of the fossil fuel industry. 

“Build Our Energy Barn” built in 2013 on the Hammond family’s land inside KXL route near York, Nebraska — one of the many signs of resistance to Keystone XL. Photo Credit: Mary Anne Andrei / Bold Nebraska

Source:https://www.flickr.com/photos/boldnebraska/albums/72157686827119456

“While we are dedicated to Keep It In The Ground efforts to stop new fossil fuel development, we are also deeply committed to the Just Transition. Solar and renewable energy can provide a sustainable transition away from fossil fuels and provide job growth in areas traditionally left behind, like rural America and our Indigenous communities. By placing solar projects in the route of Keystone XL, we are demonstrating how vital it is to not just stop dangerous and unnecessary projects like KXL but to also show that there are alternatives to the fossil fuel industry that do not put communities at risk and sacrifice Indigenous Peoples and land. We are excited to be a part of this resistance that also highlights the solutions that are needed,” commented Joye Braun, organizer from the Indigenous Environmental Network.

The Solar XL project is being supported through an ongoing crowdfunding campaign launched earlier this month. The solar panels, which will be installed in at least two other locations along the pipeline route, will serve not only as a form of clean energy, but as a symbol of the urgent need for a just transition away from fossil fuels toward a 100% renewable energy economy. The panels will help power the homes of Nebraskans resisting Keystone XL, and are being installed by the family-owned rural solar business, North Star Solar Bears, run by Jim Knopik.

Jim Knopik (left) and North Star Solar Bears solar installers with farmer Rick Hammond (right) and his 25 kW solar array near Benedict, NE. (Photo: Mary Anne Andrei)
Jim Knopik (left) and North Star Solar Bears solar installers with farmer Rick Hammond (right) and his 25 kW solar array near Benedict, NE. (Photo: Mary Anne Andrei)
‘Solar XL’ project breaks ground along Keystone XL pipeline in Nebraska, highlighting clean energy solutions over the fossil fuel industryThe Keystone XL pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of dirty tar sands oil a day from Canada through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska, and then on to the export market. The pipeline would pass through farms, ranches, and Indigenous land, posing a threat to the Ogallala Aquifer and other water sources that would be contaminated by spills and leaks. Landowners continue to fight eminent domain for private gain knowing this would be the first time the Public Service Commission (PSC) grants those powers to a foreign corporation. Lastly, all along the route, local economies are connected to agriculture, and climate change is a serious issue. Keystone XL would significantly add to climate risks for farmers, ranchers and Tribal Nations.

The first installation took place just over a week before the Nebraska Public Service Commission holds hearings in Lincoln on whether to grant a construction permit for Keystone XL through the state. One day before the hearings on August 6th, people from around Nebraska and surrounding states will converge for a march through the streets of Lincoln urging the Commissioners to reject the permit. If permits are granted for Keystone XL construction in Nebraska, TransCanada will have to tear down homegrown clean energy in order to build, galvanizing people across the country to fight back.
  

Jim Carlson, Nebraska landowner who placed solar in path of Keystone XL on his family’s farm: 

“I am vehemently opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline mainly because of the properties of the contents of the tar sands oil it will carry — this is not your Mother’s crude oil, it is the Devil’s, and it can kill. We must be focused on clean, renewable energy and America can get along just fine without this foul concoction they call bitumen that TransCanada wants to pipe across our precious soil and water.”
Jim Knopik, North Star Solar Bears. LLC:

“Our family-run company is based in Nebraska — and by installing solar projects, like the ones to stop the Keystone XL pipeline — my kids are able to stay on the farm. It’s time for our country to start the transition to clean energy now.”

More information on the “Solar XL” project:

http://boldnebraska.org/solarxl

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4 Ways to Prepare Your Family for a Natural Disaster

Disaster can strike anywhere — and it doesn’t care who you are or where you live. That’s why you need to be prepared, because you never know when the force of a natural disaster will impact your life. Today, while the natural disasters we experience may not be a direct result of climate change, it's very likely global warming will be the culprit of future weather-related events, according to NASA.

Global warming can strengthen hurricanes, as warmer sea temperatures and more heat in the atmosphere only increases the wind speeds of these sometimes catastrophic weather phenomenons. Increased risks of global warming can also usher in the risk of drought, intense storms and flooding as sea levels rise.

While you can’t prevent these catastrophes on your own, you can work to better prepare yourself against the inevitable. Here are four ways you can better prepare yourself if a natural disaster strikes near your home or community.

1. Identify Your Risks

Take the first step to prepare for a natural disaster by identifying your risks. Where should you start? Truthfully, you should know the most common hazards in your community, as understanding these potential risks can help you glean greater focus on your disaster plan. Then, ask yourself the following:

  • Do you live in a flood zone?
  • Do tornadoes frequent the region?
  • What will you do in the case of a severe earthquake?

You need to have answers to these questions to formulate your disaster plans. Get started with a helpful online resource like the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes’ natural disaster risk map to determine which disasters pose the greatest threat to your state.

2. Create an Emergency Kit

When disaster strikes, you need to move — and be super quick about it. Indeed, there won't be time to grab much of — or any — belongings or family keepsakes. But that doesn't mean you should leave your home empty handed. Instead, according to information provided on Ready.gov, every home should have a basic emergency kit that includes:

  • Water and food
  • Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • First-aid kits
  • Whistles to signal distress
  • Cellphones with an accompanying charger
  • Cash

3. Be Mindful of Your Inventory

A natural disaster can destroy entire homes and communities. And while documenting everything of value in your home may seem tedious and monotonous, it can pay off and help you get back to your everyday routine after a disaster strikes, as proper documentation will ensure fair insurance reimbursement. Additionally, your inventory documentation will make the recovery process more simple and be a big help when you need to apply for federal disaster aid. It's also wise to check your home and car insurance policies to confirm your coverage before any major catastrophe strikes.

4. Practice Your Plan

There’s more to emergency preparedness than checking over your home. You’ll need to think about your car, too. How will you escape disaster? Is your vehicle suited for disaster conditions? Can you car’s tires stand up to difficult terrain?

Routine maintenance can keep your car or SUV operating efficiently so that changing a flat tire when disaster strikes will be the least of your worries. For example, TireBuyer.com offers a number of tire options, including the Falken Wildpeak H/T, from reputable retailers across the country. This way, you don’t have to lift a finger if your sedan or SUV needs a new set.

After ensuring your vehicle is in optimal condition, run through your emergency plan with your entire family. Focus on communication, speed and checking off each item on your checklist, which should include everything from switching off the utilities to grabbing your emergency kit before leaving your home.

Edina Tokodi five-part eco-art installation open to public at Rutherford Park’s ephemeral library on July 29

MONTREAL, July 28, 2017 /CNW/ – World Wildlife Fund Canada is celebrating the richness of Montréal’s biodiversity with a five-part eco-art installation by Edina Tokodi, one of the originators of the “green guerilla” art movement and founder of the Mosstika creative studio.

As of July 29, the installation was open to visitors of the “ephemeral library” in Rutherford Park (part of the Promenade Fleuve-Montagne at the entrance to Mount Royal), which runs until Oct. 31. 
The installation is made of engraved plywood panels and vegetable mosses, and showcases native species such as the red fox, map turtle, common milkweed and wild strawberry.

Edina Tokodi five-part eco-art installation open to public at Rutherford Park's ephemeral library on July 29
Edina Tokodi five-part eco-art installation open to public at Rutherford Park’s ephemeral library on July 29

Sophie Paradis, director of Quebec region for WWF-Canada, says: 
“Here in Montreal, our organization works on projects to promote urban biodiversity both on land and in the water, including Biopolis and Blue Montreal. We’re participating in the Promenade Fleuve-Montage to encourage communities to connect with nature in the urban environment. Combining art and ecology is a creative and positive way to educate people about the importance of biodiversity and mobilize them to ‘green’ and ‘blue’ their neighbourhoods.”

Planting biodiversity in five workshops

WWF-Canada will also offer five free public workshops in the ephemeral library in August and September. The workshops are designed to support Montreal’s urban biodiversity by encouraging participants to contribute to the flowering of native species in their communities.

Aug. 11 and 18: The Seed Explosion: Learn to create seed bombs.

Sept. 9, 16 and 23: Wildflower Workshop: Learn how to harvest, sort and bag local wildflower seeds.

For additional details and times of the workshops, stay tuned and follow WWF-Canada en français on Facebook : facebook.com/WWFCanadafrancais

Montreal’s biodiversity by the numbers

1,060 species of vascular plants

359 species of birds

180 species of bees

88 species of fish

13 species of amphibians

Eight species of reptiles

10 wildlife species of special status

The ephemeral library is located on the Promenade Fleuve-Montagne in Rutherford Park on the McTavish Reservoir. It runs from Thursday to Sunday, between July 29 and October 31, 2017.

Source: World Wildlife Fund Canada 

What Green Technologies Are Farmers Using?

Like many eco-minded people, you might use several high-tech and planet-friendly products in your everyday life. Possibilities range from biodegradable trash bags to energy-saving light bulbs. Below, let’s take a look at something else you’re probably exposed to every day in some form: fresh produce farmed on properties of all sizes.

A nonprofit solar co-op says solar power is now inexpensive enough to make economic sense for West Virginia farmers. (WV SUN)
A nonprofit solar co-op says solar power is now inexpensive enough to make economic sense for West Virginia farmers. (WV SUN)

Solar-Powered Farms Are Becoming More Feasible

Not surprisingly, farms tend to use a lot of power, and many farmers pay much more than they’d like in monthly utility bills. However, a West Virginia co-op initiated by West Virginia SUN is making it easier for people in the farming industry to take advantage of tax breaks and other incentives that reportedly reduce the cost of installing solar equipment as much as 50 percent.

Like many eco-minded people, you might use several high-tech and planet-friendly products in your everyday life. Possibilities range from biodegradable trash bags to energy-saving light bulbs. Below, let’s take a look at something else you’re probably exposed to every day in some form: fresh produce farmed on properties of all sizes.
So far, only a small number of farms have become solar equipped with help from West Virginia SUN, but now that the resource exists, more farmers might decide to make investments. Solar arrays can last for decades and significantly cut power bills. Many Amish communities are even beginning to us solar power to make an independent, sustainable lifestyle possible. The cost efficiency and sustainability might prove especially attractive once farmers hear about people in their communities who have tapped into solar power’s promise.

Monitoring Water Usage With a Cloud-Based Mobile App

All living things need water to survive.

It’s especially important on a farm, where improper use of water could adversely affect crop yields and, subsequently, farmers’ profits.

SCADAfarm represents technology powered by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) that lets farmers watch and manipulate irrigation pumps spread over substantial geographic areas that include multiple farms. By using a complementing app that works on computers or portable devices, farmers can do essential, water-related tasks from afar, such as check soil moisture level s, turn water supplies on and off and alter watering depths.

Information is also provided via GPS mapping and meteorological data. This insight could help farmers plan whether they might need to make changes to water distribution specifics through the SCADAfarm system. Since the system captures data across certain time periods, farmers can also review performance-related statistics.

Growing Organic Veggies at Home Is Much Easier

Although the first two technologies you learned about were focused on large-scale farms, don’t forget that some farmers merely enter the industry to provide their families, friends and neighbors with fresh produce, not necessarily to support entire careers. That’s where a streamlined, ultra-efficient growing system called the OGarden comes into play.

Using the OGarden, it’s possible to grow fresh, organic vegetables at home in a compact setup after about a 30- to 40-day harvest period. When the OGarden is full, it holds about 80 plants at a time. According to the manufacturer, this means a person could have a continuous supply of two to four vegetables a day and only have to do five minutes of daily maintenance — while using a method that’s 98 percent less polluting than conventional agriculture.


With their roots inside an organic mixture that gives nourishment, the plants grow within a lighted wheel. The manufacturer also claims this method of growing vegetables is 10 times cheaper than buying them in grocery stores.

It’s definitely a nearly hassle-free way of farming since taking care of the plants only requires watering them periodically. If you’re looking for a way to adopt a healthy diet that’s more sustainable because you don’t have to drive to get your veggies, this gadget might be a smart investment.

This brief overview of emerging, fascinating farming technologies should make you feel excited about the time we’re living in and anticipating what’s to come. Farming as we know it could become uprooted, thanks to the things mentioned here and others.

Bio:

Emily Folk is a freelance writer and blogger from Lancaster, PA. She covers topics in conservation, sustainability and renewable energy. To see her latest posts, check out her blog Conservation Folks, or follow her on Twitter!

Experts Share their Secrets to an Eco Friendly Lifestyle

Whether it’s protesting the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement or vowing to transition to electric-only vehicles within the next decade, many businesses have been focusing on how they can do their part in saving our planet.

Although many Americans want to make the personal transition towards green living themselves, most don’t even know where to begin! That’s why the team at EmPower Solar decided to speak with a panel of eco-friendly experts on their personal practices. You can see their best advice here.

Whether it’s protesting the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement or vowing to transition to electric-only vehicles within the next decade, many businesses have been focusing on how they can do their part in saving our planet.  Although many Americans want to make the personal transition towards green living themselves, most don’t even know where to begin!