Local Solutions to the Energy Dilemma:
A Peak Oil Conference for New York City
April 27-29, 2006

The Conference has two goals:
  • To inform the public that energy prices are rising because of "Peak Oil", the point at which production stops increasing and goes into permanent decline.
  • To discuss realistic, sustainable local responses to the situation.
    1. Speakers & Panelists:
      Over 30 authors, energy experts, ecologists and sustainability specialists.

      Conference Location:
      Day 1 - Community Church of NYC
      Day 2 & 3 - Manhattan Center's Grand Ballroom

      For more information and to register, click here.


      Political Humour



      Amazing Possibilities:
      Leading Practices in City Building for Future

      Rozanski Hall, University of Guelph
      Guelph, Ontario, Canada
      May 5, 2006

      The Guelph Civic League is proud to announce "Amazing Possibilities: Leading ractices in City Building for Future," a blockbuster half-day conference for anyone interested in why our cities aren't working and how they can be fixed. Don't miss this rare opportunity to hear from two world-renowned experts on better ways for the future, then engage in a lively question-and-answer session.

      We are fortunate to have Mr. Kunstler as our keynote speaker. Perhaps the single most articulate and provocative critic of suburban sprawl, he is the author of best-selling The Long Emergency, The Geography of Nowhere, Home From Nowhere(Simon & Schuster), and The City in Mind (Free Press). A thinker and writer of great passion, his highly entertaining and challenging presentation is not to be missed.

      Mr. Condon is Director of Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia and the UBC James Taylor Chair in Landscape and Livable Environments. He is also the driving force behind the Headwaters Sustainable Development Demonstration Project, a sustainable community for 15,000 residents slated for construction on a 500-acre site in Surrey, BC. Hear how cities of the future must be built, starting now.

      Spend a single afternoon. Understand so much more.

      Location: Rozanski Hall, University of Guelph

      Professionals - Until April 15: $50. After April 15: $60.
      Non-profit staff /individuals - Until April 15: $25. After April 15: $30.
      High school students/seniors (65+) - free

      For more information and to REGISTER: Guelph Civic League
      OR email: conference@guelphcivicleague.ca

      "Amazing Possibilities" is hosted by the Guelph Civic League in partnership with Alternatives Journal and the University of Guelph's School of Environmental Design and Rural Development.


      Heritage Seeds

      1. Plants for a Future: Plants For A Future is a resource centre for rare and unusual plants, particularly those which have edible, medicinal or other uses. We practise vegan-organic permaculture with emphasis on creating an ecologically sustainable environment based largely on perennial plants. (International)
      2. Seeds of Diversity: Seeds of Diversity is a Canadian charitable organization dedicated to the conservation, documentation and use of public-domain non-hybrid plants of Canadian significance. Our 1700 members from coast to coast are gardeners, farmers, teachers, scientists, agricultural historians, researchers and seed vendors. Together we grow, propagate and distribute over 1500 varieties of vegetables, fruit, grains, flowers and herbs. We are a living gene bank. (Canada)
      3. Garden Organic - Heritage Seed Library: The Heritage Seed Library (HSL) aims to conserve and make available vegetable varieties that are not widely available. The HSL Department maintains a collection, mainly of European varieties. Over the decades many varieties have been dropped from popular seed catalogues. Our collection contains many of these but also some landraces and a large number of family heirloom varieties that have never been in a catalogue. We are not a gene bank and all our collection, once we have enough seed will become available to our members. (EU)
      4. Open Directory Project - Seed Savers: A comprehensive directory of heritage seed websites worldwide. (Global)


      LETS - New Money

      1. LETSystems - New Money: An overview of LETSystems, local currencies and the future of money by Michael Linton, designer of the LETSystem. (Article)
      2. LETSystems - the Homepage: Includes the LETSystem Design Manual by Michael Linton and Angus Soutar. (Global)
      3. Short Circuit: This website includes the entire original text of the book, 'Short Circuit' [written by Richard Douthwaite], together with updates on individual sections. (E-Book)
      4. LETS in Australia: Local Energy Trading Systems - People trading goods and services using alternative currency. Non profit, community focussed. (Australia)
      5. LETS Link UK: LETS are revitalising communities throughout Britain. As grassroots initiatives they are open to everyone - people of all ages, skills and abilities; local clubs and associations; voluntary groups, charities, community initiatives; housing co-operatives, small businesses and local services - helping everyone to give and take, connect to new resources, and find a genuine community identity. (UK)
      6. LETS-linkup: International LETS Group Directory. (Global)

      Social Ventures

      1. Renewal Partners: Renewal Partners is building a portfolio of businesses for which the natural world and societal well-being are of equal importance to financial return. We believe that profitable enterprises with maximized social good are a necessary formula for a viable economic future. We focus on supporting ventures based in British Columbia. In an increasingly globalized world, we believe the creation of a more robust and restorative local economy will become the province's greatest long-term competitive advantage. (Canada)
      2. Social Venture Network: Founded in 1987 by some of the nation's most visionary leaders in socially responsible entrepreneurship and investment, Social Venture Network (SVN) is a nonprofit network committed to building a just and sustainable world through business. SVN's mission is to inspire a community of business and social leaders to build a just economy and sustainable planet. SVN promotes new models and leadership for socially and environmentally sustainable business in the 21st century. We champion this effort through initiatives, information services and forums that strengthen our community and empower our members to work together on behalf of their shared vision. (USA)


      Community Building and Food

      1. The Edible Schoolyard: The Edible Schoolyard, in collaboration with Martin Luther King Junior Middle School, provides urban public school students with a one-acre organic garden and a kitchen classroom. Using food systems as a unifying concept, students learn how to grow, harvest, and prepare nutritious seasonal produce. Experiences in the kitchen and garden foster a better understanding of how the natural world sustains us, and promote the environmental and social well being of our school community.
      2. Vancouver Community Kitchen: The Vancouver Community Kitchen Project is an educational resource centre that has been focusing on community kitchens for the past seven years. The mission of the project is to build community around food and create opportunities for people to cook together. The project creates educational and fund raising tools, training programs and cooking resources that empower and support individuals and community agencies in their efforts to start and maintain community kitchens. We recognize and nurture the power of people developing their own capacities to work together to find solutions. (Canada)
      3. Slow Food: Through its understanding of gastronomy with relation to politics, agriculture and the environment Slow Food has become an active player in agriculture and ecology. Slow Food links pleasure and food with awareness and responsibility. The association’s activities seek to defend biodiversity in our food supply, spread the education of taste, and link producers of excellent foods to consumers through events and initiatives. (International)
      4. FoodShare - Community Kitchens: When people get together regularly in a public space to cook, that’s a community kitchen. Community kitchens offer the opportunity to share skills, socialize and reduce costs by purchasing collectively. Kitchens are as diverse in their purpose and organization as the people who participate in them –– some groups only prepare enough food to sit down and eat one meal together. Others prepare several meals in large portions to take home to their families. One group of immigrants may want to get together to cook "foods from home", another may prefer to practice their English or learn how to make new foods. (Canada)
      5. Feed Me Better Campaign: Jamie's School Dinners is all about making radical changes to the school meals system and challenging the junk food culture by showing schools can serve fresh nutritious meals that kids enjoy eating. (UK)


      Upcoming Event: COHOUSING 2006

      The Cohousing Association of the United States
      2006 National Conference

      University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
      July 21-23, 2006

      Sponsored by the Cohousing Association of the United States, the 2006 national conference promises to be an enjoyable, educational and inspiring experience, whether you’re new to cohousing, a long-time resident or professional. Come for networking, learning and inspiration. Celebrate community and a better way of life. Connect with new and old friends, and gain insights from experienced cohousers and top cohousing professionals. Find your future neighbors, share your wisdom or solve a persistent issue in your group or community.

      Follow this link for more information.


      1. Springhill Cohousing: Springhill Cohousing is near the centre of Stroud in Gloucestershire. It is the first new-build cohousing scheme to be completed in the UK. There are 34 units, ranging from one bedroomed flats to five bedrooomed houses. There is a three-storey common house with a kitchen where meals are cooked and served three times a week - other shared meals and community-based social activities happen there too. Springhill Cohousing has been recognised by The Deputy Prime Minister's Award for making an "outstanding contribution" to Sustainable Communities. "The pedestrianised 'main street' meanders around the site parallel with the contours, creating a characterful village feel". (UK)
      2. UK Cohousing Network: Co-housing balances the traditional advantages of home ownership with the benefits of shared common facilities and connections with your neighbors. These co-operative neighborhoods are among the most promising solutions to many of today's most challenging social and environmental concerns. Most households today are atomised units, where there is little if any sense of community. But done well, housing can stop older people becoming cut off, help deal with crime, poverty, joblessness and lack of educational opportunity in a holistic way, as well as being a perfect environment for kids to play and learn. That is the promise of co-housing. (UK)
      3. The Cohousing Association of the United States: Cohousing communities combine the advantages of private homes with the benefits of more sustainable living, including shared common facilities and ongoing connections with neighbors. These intentional neighborhoods, created and managed by residents, offer an innovative solution to today's environmental and social challenges. (USA)
      4. Canadian Cohousing Network: The Canadian Cohousing Network (CCN) was formed in 1992 in British Columbia, Canada. It is a registered non-profit organization that promotes the creation of cohousing communities as a model for sustainable development by raising public awareness about cohousing and by bringing people together to form communities. The most valuable function of the CCN is making connections with people who are interested in living in a cohousing community. CCN links individuals and cohousing groups together to share resources and make the process of creating a community easier and more economical. (Canada)



      Sustainable Communities - Vision into Reality
      One Day National Conference

      QE II Conference Centre, Westminster (London, UK)
      Friday 31st March 2006

      If you are involved in sustainable communities, in a professional or voluntary capacity, this conference will be invaluable to you.

      The creation of sustainable communities is high on the [British] Government’s agenda. The ‘Delivering Sustainable Communities Summit’ in February 2005 included the presentation of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Award for Sustainable Communities 2004. This conference uniquely offers a chance to share best practice with last year’s finalists and the winner from 2003 at one event.

      This conference will share the experience of those involved with the creation and maintenance of sustainable communities. It uniquely offers a chance to learn from the experiences and lessons learnt by the winner, Grange Park Community Project, Blackpool, and finalists of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Awards for Sustainable Communities 2004 together with the winner of the 2003 Award.

      One of the judges from the Award Panel will share his insight into the creation of sustainable communities. Jess Steele, Deputy Chief Executive and Operations Director of the British Urban Regeneration Association, will be looking at all of last year’s finalists to examine common themes and key innovations. The opening address will be made by a senior Cabinet minister.

      All the speakers are passionate about making a real difference to people’s lives across a wide range of services.

      Click here for more information.

      Green Issues

      1. The Gloucestershire Green Party: The Green Party aims to create a just, equitable and sustainable society. We focus our efforts primarily, though not exclusively, through the electoral system. The Green Party here in Gloucestershire is working hard with local people to provide a better quality of life for all. [This site includes a page of worthwhile links, both of local and international interest.] (UK)


      Community Gardening Projects

      1. Plant a Row Grow a Row: Plant a Row·Grow a Row has number of objectives: To encourage our communities to plant, grow and harvest an extra row of specific vegetables for local food banks and soup kitchens; to support the continued development of a positive relationship between the community and its food banks and soup kitchens; and, very importantly, to have fun! (Canada)
      2. The Composting Council of Canada: The CCC is a national non-profit, member-driven organization with a charter to advocate and advance composting and compost usage. It serves as the central resource and network for the composting industry in Canada and, through its members, contributes to the environmental sustainability of the communities in which they operate. (Canada)
      3. FoodShare: At FoodShare we work on food issues "from field to table" - meaning that we focus on the entire system that puts food on our tables: from the growing, processing and distribution of food to its purchasing, cooking and consumption. We operate several innovative grassroots projects that promote healthy eating, teach food preparation and cultivation, develop community capacity and create non-market-based forms of food distribution.Public education on food security issues is a big part of our mandate: we create and distribute resources, organize training workshops and facilitate of networks and coalitions. We believe that food is vital to the health of individuals and communities, and that access to good, healthy food is a basic human right. FoodShare promotes policies - such as adequate social assistance rates, sustainable agriculture, universal funding of community-based programs and nutrition education - that will make food a priority at all levels of society. (Canada)


      Upcoming Event: THE WORLD URBAN FORUM

      The World Urban Forum - 3rd Session
      Our Future: Sustainable Cities - Turning Ideas into Action
      Vancouver, Canada, June 19-23, 2006

      Canada will host the next UN-HABITAT World Urban Forum in 2006 — a key international event that will bring the global community together to find real solutions to the challenges facing cities and communities across the world. (Note: There is no fee to register for the Forum but participants must pay for their own travel and accommodation. It's FREE!)

      For a wealth of background information, go to Habitat JAM. People from all walks of life and 194 countries participated in the Habitat JAM from December 1 – 4, 2005, a unique 72-hour Internet event focused on solving some of the world’s most critical urbanization issues. Over 39,000 people participated as equals and expressed their views, shared ideas and learned from one another, including the elites of government, business and academia, alongside youth, women’s groups and citizens of impoverished communities around the world.


      Upcoming Media Event: CODE GREEN CANADA

      Code Green Canada is a unique and entertaining 6-part television series, to be broadcast by CBC TV in the spring of 2006, which will offer homeowners across Canada invaluable information on how to reduce energy consumption in their home.

      In the series, 12 sets of homeowners will each be given the same, limited budget ($15,000), and each will then be asked to employ those funds in a 6-week challenge to gain the greatest reduction in energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. All homeowners will benefit from the renovations they'll complete and the winner of the challenge will further receive the grand prize of a 2006 Toyota Prius, Toyota's highly successful gas/electric 'hybrid' car.

      (Click here for more information.)

      Green Economics

      1. BALLE - Business Alliance for Local Living Economies: BALLE is a growing alliance of independently operated local business networks dedicated to building Local Living Economies. It is our mission to catalyze, strengthen and connect these local business networks. (International)
      2. Green Economics: Green economics is the economics of the real world—the world of work, human needs, the Earth’s materials, and how they mesh together most harmoniously. It is primarily about “use-value”, not “exchange-value” or money. It is about quality, not quantity for the sake of it. It is about regeneration---of individuals, communities and ecosystems---not about accumulation, of either money or material. (Canada)
      3. Renewal Partners: Renewal Partners is building a portfolio of businesses for which the natural world and societal well-being are of equal importance to financial return. We believe that profitable enterprises with maximized social good are a necessary formula for a viable economic future. (Canada)
      4. Renewal Partners - Seeding a Conservation Economy in British Columbia: 50 Year Planning, 500 Year Thinking: A Seed Capital Model (Article)

      The Ecovillage

      1. The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN): The Global Ecovillage Network is a global confederation of people and communities that meet and share their ideas, exchange technologies, develop cultural and educational exchanges, directories and newsletters, and are dedicated to restoring the land and living "sustainable plus" lives by putting more back into the environment than we take out. (Global)
      2. Ecovillage at Ithaca: EcoVillage at Ithaca, a member of the Ecovillage Network of the Americas, is comprised of an intentional community and a non-profit organization. Our goal is to explore and model innovative approaches to ecological and social sustainability. (USA)


      Food and Localization

      1. Foodlink: Foodlink Waterloo Region is a non-profit organization (incorporated 2002) seeking to create partnerships with food producers, processors, retailers and consumers to promote the sale and consumption of locally grown and produced food. In building a “food localism” movement, Foodlink intends to identify, expand and create new markets for local farms and farm-based businesses while also building a demand for local food products. Foodlink is emerging as both a marketing tool for regional farmers and an information source for regional consumers. We are helping producers increase and diversify farm-gate sales—especially those directly to the consumer. We are also helping consumers identify with their food—what is available, how it’s produced and how buying locally benefits our local economy, environment and community. (Canada)

      Urban Agriculture

      1. Growing Power: A nationally recognized leader in urban agriculture, which provides hands-on training and technical support for community projects. (USA)
      2. Foodshare: Growing food in our cities, right where we live, is something that we need to do. Not sometime in the future but right now, before we forget how or the land is put to "better" use by being paved over or built upon. Community gardening and urban agriculture are two ways in which FoodShare is attempting to re-establish this essential and intimate connection with the food we eat. (Canada)
      3. City Farmer: Urban Agricultural Notes. (Canada)
      4. Toronto Food Policy Council: Over the past ten years, the TFPC has produced a ground-breaking series of 15 discussion papers on various elements of a food systems approach to public health policy. (Canada)

      Local Groups: Canada - Southern Ontario

      1. Halton Environmental Network: The HEN will achieve a positive and lasting impact for Halton Region's natural environment by building relationships and providing networking opportunities. The idea is that many people and organizations working together towards common goals will bring much needed strength and focus to environmental efforts in Halton Region. It is hoped that this network will gain momentum over the years and be the hub of a selfsustaining process for community capacity-building, education and action.(Canada)
      2. The Urban League of London: a non-profit umbrella association of community groups in London, Ontario. (Canada)


      Green Transportation

      1. Surviving Peak Oil - A 12-Step Journey to Oil-Free Travel: An article by Guy Dauncey first published in Yes Magazine September 2004, special issue on "Living Without Oil". (Canada)
      2. Car Sharing: Car sharing is a revolution in personal transportation - mobility for the 21st century. Car Sharing provides flexible wheels for an urban lifestyle. It's instant-access to a network of cars throughout the city, 24 hours-a-day, paying-per-trip, without commitment or inconvenience. (North America)
      3. CAMWEST - Street Reclaiming: Camwest is an advocacy group of dedicated cyclists who work with local Councils, the RTA and other bodies that provide for cyclists in Western Sydney. (Australia)
      4. GreenTrans: GreenTrans looks for long term solutions to environmental, social and economic problems generated by current modes of transportation. GreenTrans is a non-profit organization which advocates environmentally, socially and economically sustainable transportation policies and programs. (Canada)
      5. BEST (Better Environmentally Sound Transportation): BEST’s mission is to make our communities healthier places to live by promoting sustainable transportation and land-use planning, and pedestrian, cycling and transit oriented neighbourhoods. Our mission statement has a broad vision, not only to address environmental, health, and safety concerns relating to transportation issues, but also to increase empowerment and solidarity in the community with respect to these issues. BEST is a membership-based, non-profit charity that works with individual citizens, governments, educators, youth, volunteers and special interest and community groups to create healthy and sustainable communities for everyone. Since its origin as a bicycle group in 1991, BEST has evolved into an integrated voice for all aspects of sustainable transportation, and has become the largest community-based, non-governmental organization devoted to sustainable transportation and land-use issues in western Canada. (Canada)
      6. Transportation Alternatives: Encourage bicycling, walking and public transit as alternatives to automobile use, and reduce automobile use and its attendant environmental and social harms. (USA)
      7. Victoria Transport Policy Institute - Lessons From Katrina and Rita: An article by Todd Litman discusses what major disasters can teach transportation planners. (Canada)
      8. Moving the Economy: We work to develop sustainable transportation/New Mobility by: Connecting and promoting transportation choices for moving people, moving goods and moving less; Catalysing innovation in sustainable transportation/New Mobility; and, Spurring the growth of the New Mobility industry. (Canada)
      9. UCUE - 2002 Assembly Report: The public transport and priority to pedestrians and bicycles as a basis for the quality of life in capital cities. (Europe)


      1. Rain Magazine: Rain for the 21st century will be something a little different yet again. Its primary goal will be: to get closer to reality; the texture of life in specific places where good is happening. In this way, through observation and hard work, by building upon what already has life in it, by building what is yet needed, and by fixing what doesn't work, wonderful things will emerge. (USA)
      2. Sweden Plans to be World's First Oil-free Economy: An article by John Vidal, Environment Editor, The Guardian (UK)
      3. Japanese Putting All Their Energy into Saving Fuel: An article by Anthony Faiola, Washington Post, republished in the Energy Bulletin.

      Urban Design

      1. Town Planning Services: The purpose of the discussions available on these pages is to help people in the movement to create an entirely different and more profound process by which we make our homes, our cities, and our lives. (USA)
      2. Intersection Repair: What defines your neighborhood? Do you know the people who live in it with you? Intersection Repair helps neighbors convert street intersections into public gathering places -- the most essential part of your neighborhood for community building. (USA)
      3. The City Repair Project: The City Repair Project is group of citizen activists creating public gathering places and helping others to creatively transform the places where they live. (USA)
      4. Project for Public Spaces: Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating and sustaining public places that build communities. (USA)
      5. EcoSchool Design (TM): Ecological schoolyards are outdoor learning environments that teach ecological principles through the design of the schoolyard landscape. They can substantially improve the appearance of schoolgrounds while creating hands-on resources that allow teachers to lead exciting "fieldtrips" without ever leaving school property. (USA)
      6. EcoCity Builders: We are a non-profit organization dedicated to reshaping cities, towns and villages for long term health of human and natural systems. Our goals include returning healthy biodiversity to the heart of our cities, agriculture to gardens and the streets, and convenience and pleasure to walking, bicycling and transit. We visualize a future in which waterways in neighborhood environments and prosperous downtown centers are opened for curious children, fish, frogs and dragonflies. We work to build thriving neighborhood centers while reversing sprawl development, to build whole cities based on human needs and “access by proximity” rather than cities built in the current pattern of automobile driven excess, wasteful consumption and the destruction of the biosphere. (USA)
      7. Urban Ecology Australia: Urban Ecology Australia is a non-profit organisation promoting people and nature friendly urban settlements. (Australia)


      Green Technology: Water

      1. Ocean Arks International: Ocean Arks International and its licensees have completed over 80 ecological waste treatment projects worldwide. We are experienced in treating diverse waste streams from municipalities, community developments, agricultural industries, food processors, breweries and cosmetic manufacturers. For over a decade, we have worked to develop an array of innovative natural treatment strategies, cumulating in the highly economical Restorer technology. (USA)
      2. Demonstrating Ecological Design: Imagine a waste-water treatment plant in a greenhouse filled with plants and fish. Imagine a lake being cleaned of pollutants by a windmill-driven, floating island of plants. Imagine a cathedral celebrating the diversity of nature. John Todd has imagined all those things, and more. He's also designed and built them. (Article published in Natural Life Magazine.) (Canada)


      1. The Permaculture Activist: In 2006, we celebrate our 21st year promoting the design of sustainable human communities. In North America's leading (and the world's oldest) permaculture periodical we offer information on permaculture design, edible landscaping, bioregionalism, cooperative action, aquaculture, natural building, earthworks, renewable energy, practical solutions to the challenges of Real Life, and much more. We provide a current listing of upcoming permaculture design courses and a valuable global networking directory linking students to teachers and information, homeowners to designers and consultants, homeseekers to community, and hope and help for all who desire a healthy happy planet that cares for it's peoples.