Monday, September 25, 2006

West Michigan Renewable Energy Conference

Meeting MI’s Energy Challenges With RENEWABLE Resources – from Earth, Air and Sun

A one-day, three-part, fast-paced workshop on renewable energy For policy makers and citizen constituents.

Saturday, September 30, 2006
Registration and Continental Breakfast at 8:00 a.m.
Conservation Center
Dwight Lydell Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, Host
5641 Myers Lake Road, Cannon Township

Part I: The State of Our Energy Supply: providing the context – global, state, local
Aaron Wissner, Educator and Activist, Local leader in the international grassroots Peak Oil awareness campaign, Founder of Local Future Network.

Part II: Options and opportunities: the promise of renewables
Tom Cary: Building & Sustaining Local Economies, Coordinator of Sustainable Agriculture and Local Food Systems, WMEAC

Steven B. Smiley: Community Power – A Renewable Energy Policy for Michigan
Co-Founder of the Great Lakes Renewable Resource Institute, Owner/President of Bay Energy Services, Consultant, Educator, Systems Designer

Mark Bauer: Solar & Wind Energy – Michigan’s Alternative Future,
Entrepreneur, Wind and Solar Systems Installations

Sarah Lineberry: Biomass to Methane to Electricity
Biomass Project Manager for GVSU
At the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center (MAREC)

Gary Willey: Switchgrass - a Cellulosic Alternative Biofuel
Switchgrass Advocate

Part III: Public policy implications: paving the way for change
A Panel Discussion moderated by Aaron Wissner, with panelists Steven B. Smiley and Jennifer Alvarado of Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association

Presentations begin promptly at 8:30 and the panel discussion is scheduled to terminate at 4:00.

There is a one and one-half hour lunch component that includes mini, conversational-style presentations out-of-doors, weather-permitting, in covered pavilions. The fee schedule below includes a box lunch, the continental breakfast and beverages and light snacks at mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks.

The fee per person is $20.00; $30.00 per couple. Students $10.00. Pre-paid registrations received by September 25 may be discounted 10%, should be made payable to Izaak Walton League and mailed to:

Bob Stegmier,IWLA
5285 Windmill Dr.
Rockford, MI 49341

Roadless areas protected! In your face Bush, you warmongering fascist!

A federal district court ordered reinstatement of the Clinton Roadless Rule to protect almost 50 million acres of wild national forests and grasslands from road building, logging, and development. This is a triumph for everyone who values America's great natural areas, and a moment every one of you activists should savor with pride.

The 2001 Roadless Rule is one of the greatest forest conservation measures in U.S. history. But the Bush administration repealed the Roadless Rule with no environmental analysis and limited public input, and replaced it with a weak petitioning process. The repeal put all of our roadless national forests at risk from logging and energy exploration -- some of which has already begun.

The Court agreed that in repealing the rule, the Bush administration failed to comply with basic legal requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Of course there will be additional legal challenges to the Roadless Rule, but this ruling is a significant victory.

An Earthjustice petition, signed by 276,000 people, asked the Bush administration to reinstate the protections of the Roadless Rule. It was ignored.

The myths behind environmentally responsible coffee

The trend toward making coffee seen as socially or environmentally responsible was boosted in the early part of this decade when world coffee prices collapsed, pushing many farmers into bankruptcy or deep debt. Many of those left saw specialist labels as a way to boost income. Now, a slew of organizations offer an array of labels, all with differing requirements, paperwork, and fees. Many farmers find it hard to know which to chose, and whether their investment will be rewarded with better coffee prices.
Your choices at the grocery store affect far more than you imagine.
Read More on the Reuters website.

Get that dirty thing off of your lap!

Some of the best-known laptops are contaminated with some of the worst toxic chemicals. Of the five top brands, Hewlett-Packard and Apple laptops showed the worst contamination levels.

Don't believe me? Click here.

I'd like to thank the folks who have recently provided me with free Apple products. You have ruined me. Ruiners!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Great Lakes, Great Bear, Great Times

The Bear is back. After several dozen emails inquiring into the welfare of Black Bear Speaks - the curious seeking answers to the Bear's whereabouts - the bear has decided to make a public appearance and return to the blogging world. You can find the Bear this weekend at the Wheatland Music Festival in Remus, MI where he will be sporting his new haircut. Happy Wheatland! Look for the Black Bear Speaks t-shirts.

Here it comes boys and girls, a redesigned site and a professionally designed logo will be up and running by next week. The Black Bear gotz Dreamweaver. The address will remain the same, don't worry about updating anything.

So there is much to do and much to write about. This summer was amazing, undoubtedly the best summer of my life. So Here it comes: a wave of angst released, a torent of rage against this dirty war and its instigators, and - best of all - new connections to the environmental community in the Great Lakes bioregion, providing up to date information, relevant political discourse, new books, new environmental programs, new ideas and fresh insight.

What more do you want kids? Let me know. The Black Bear exists for your edification. We aim to please. Send your press releases, comments, emails, tidbits of heresy and photos of you laying on the beach to

Link to the Bear! The move to sustainablility in the midwest is easy. Create a hyperlink on your site to this one and we will reciprocate. We can push change the future of the Great Lakes through connections. Conduits of information are critical to sustainability. If you're one of the folks who can make a hyperlink, then by means, get started.


The Bear