Monthly Archives: January 2008

Post Carbon Institute


Post Carbon Institute was established in 2003 as an initiative of MetaFoundation, an organization created in the year 2000 by Julian Darley and Celine Rich. The purpose of MetaFoundation was to serve as an umbrella or parent organization, to help develop and support new organizations focused on innovative and unique methods of providing environmental solutions. The creation of MetaFoundation stemmed from an interest in- and concern for how difficult it is to cover complex environmental issues in current affairs. It was decided that new methods of discussing and addressing the complexity of environmental issues needed to be developed, and MetaFoundation was born.

The first initiative of Meta-Foundation was GlobalPublicMedia, an internet broadcasting station streaming long format audio and video interviews. This media service was established in 2001 in response to the tendency of mainstream news media to primarily focus on making a profit, increasing ratings and developing news as entertainment. Alternatively, the goal of Global Public Media is to offers news and analysis on complex environmental issues provided by world experts from a wide variety of different fields.

During the time GlobalPublicMedia was being developed, Julian was advised by a local bookseller to read Jeremy Rifkin’s book entitled ‘The Hydrogen Economy’. The last chapter of this book introduced the concept of ‘Peak Oil’ to Julian, leading to a profound shift in the focus and work of MetaFoundation.


After visiting Colin Campbell, a prominent petroleum geologist and founder of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas (ASPO) in Cork County Ireland, Julian and Celine embarked on a process of information gathering about Peak Oil. The expertise and comprehensive knowledge they attained during this time led them to establish the Post Carbon Institute, an environmental organization focusing on Peak Oil related issues.

With a keen interest base and their base of support coming out of the United States, it was decided that Meta-Foundation would be established as a nonprofit entity operating out of Eugene, Oregon. MetaFoundation was incorporated in 2003 with GlobalPubicMedia and Post Carbon Institute operating as affiliated initiatives, under the umbrella organizational format of MetaFoundation.

Over the next few years, with a growing public interest in the initiatives of Meta-Foundation, Post Carbon Institute was successful in establishing a reputable board of directors, featuring the most prominent experts working in the field of Peak Oil. With this new board with an increase in public interest, it was decided that Post Carbon Institute would replace MetaFoundation as the main umbrella organization. Today, Post Carbon Institute serves as the parent organization to many other initiatives and ideas, while MetaFoundation now operates as a legal entity only.

The blurb above is from their history page. We heard about them through Erin who heard about them on Public Radio in New Mexico. They also run a program called Post Carbon Cities. Visit the Post Carbon Institute and Post Carbon Cities by clickin’ them lanks.

Green Heroes: Van Jones & the Ella Baker Center


Van Jones is a ‘human rights champion’ and co-founder of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, CA. Since 1996 the EBC has been working to promote alternatives to violence and incarceration for the youth of Oakland, with campaigns like Books Not Bars, which has helped to block the construction of a youth prison in Oakland and shut down two existing youth prisons in greater Cali, Silence the Violence, and the Bay Area PoliceWatch, which offers legal support and referrals for survivors of police abuse.

In recent years, Jones’ attention has been drawn to the environmental movement and he has become a major player in getting the needs of the environment in tune with the needs of the working masses.

You can already see the Green Wave lifting some communities, where hybrid and bio-diesel cars, stores with organic produce, homes with solar panels on the roofs, and green, vibrant parks are increasingly common. But go just a few miles away to urban centers, and the Green Wave often feels like a distant and irrelevant concept. Many people are just trying to survive, and the concern is not eating organic, but eating. Period. So who is participating in the new green economy? And who will reap the benefits?

In 2007 Jones officially expanded the focus of the EBC to include a green initiative, with the slogan ‘green jobs, not jails.’ In June 2007 Jones, with the EBC and the Oakland Apollo Alliance, convinced the City of Oakland to instate a ‘Green Jobs Corp’ that will train youth for green-collar jobs. They took the iniative all the way to the U.S. House of Representatives and worked with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), U.S. Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA), U.S. Rep. John Tierney (D-MASS) to bring this initiative to the national level and pass the Green Jobs Act of 2007. The act will provide $125 million in funding to train 35,000 people a year in “green-collar jobs.”


Born from all this green momentum was the Green for All campaign:

The Green For All campaign is a bold effort to harness the growing power of the green economic revolution to fight the war on poverty. By securing job training for 250,000 workers from urban communities for the emerging green job market, the program will provide new avenues of opportunity for those who have traditionally been left behind by the nation’s economic growth. It will also give the crusade against global warming a broader social base, extending the green revolution to the neglected streets of cities like Oakland, Detroit, Baltimore and New Orleans.

Jones is also a founding board member of the 1Sky coalition (dude does lots of things!!). Here he is speaking right here in the Dot:


And here he is on LinkTV:


And here is a Grist interview with him: A Van With a Plan: An interview with Van Jones, advocate for social justice and shared green prosperity

Incidentally, the ‘green-collar jobs’ catch phrase has been a pretty popular topic of conversation lately. Check out these stories on Grist. The first one is just generally pointing out the newfound popularity of the term, but what I found most interesting about it was the debate it sparked in the comments (and the general foolishness of the commenters). The second one is Van Jones seemingly responding to the debate sparked by the first one.
‘Green-collar’ jobs: The latest eco-buzzword
Memo to Candidates: Green-collar jobs mean standing up for people and the planet

Last thing: I was late on the tip, but Green for All put together a petition calling on congress to incorporate green and sustainable job economies into the soon-to-come economic stimulus package that they’re trying to get out before it’s too late… Unfortunately (for me), GFA handed in the petition yesterday. I signed it today, before I realized it was already in the hands of the man…but I bet they still keep up with new signatures and would love continued support, so sign the petition!

Video Sundays: Building Green


Watch JD and her husband Steve turn a house from the 1920′s into a ‘green’ home – and learn how you could do the same! The material that most grabbed my attention – the roof shingles made from recycled rubber tires, that are made to look just like slate. Crazy. Not sure that ‘fake’ slate shingles are all that cool, but shingles from recycled tires [which, are gross], is pretty awesome.


::Video Sundays is a weekly feature here on Green.MNP. For more ‘green’ videos, click on any Sunday in the sidebar calendar – or on the ‘YouTube’ category in the ‘save the planet’ section. Additional videos that have been featured on any of the MNP sites can be found here on our YouTube page::

Jacques Ferrier : Hypergreen


The Hypergreen tower, designed by Jacques Ferrier for a competition in Paris, is a 250 meter / 60 storey tall mixed-use ‘green’ building [hence 'hypergreen']. The building’s structure emerges as an intricate concrete lattice system, wrapping the facade in the woven pattern and allowing for the floorplates to be nearly column free. This structural system also creates an interesting intermediate space between the building’s glazing, where Ferrier has apparently planned for some exterior gardens / greenery.


What makes the Hypergreen tower green, you ask [other than the name]? How about its:

  • geothermal heat pumps
  • photovoltaic panels
  • integrated wind turbines [seen at the top of the building]
  • earth cooling tubes
  • vegetated sky lobbies
  • a roof garden
  • rainwater recovery system

…and the aforementioned flexible / adaptable column-free floor plates.



::images from Jacques Ferrier Architecte, project via Jetson Green::

::listen to the podcast::

Autodesk: Take 2 Minutes, Plant A Tree


The other night at work I got an email from the folks at Autodesk (who help bring you fun things like animated movies and video games, and who bring me fun things like…AutoCAD) asking me to update my customer profile info so that they can send me “only news of offers, services and products that are relevant to your areas of interest.” In exchange, they claim they will plant a tree electronically. My first inclination was to delete the email. There is nothing worse than getting loads of junk mail from pesky solicitors. And who knows what planting a tree electronically means. However, I am a sucker and the tiny little tree in the picture convinced me to at least look up the tree-planting organization Trees for the Future that Autodesk is partnered with, to see if it is legit.

Turns out, Trees for the Future looks like a pretty decent organization. Also turns out, Autodesk has a pretty legit Sustainability Center which claims to ‘provide technology, education, and support for programs that inform and promote innovations addressing current and future sustainable design challenges.’

We are committed to partnering with the private and public sector, industry leaders, educators, and environmentally focused organizations to create a forum to initiate sustainable design dialogue and increase awareness among the global community. It is our hope that through these collective efforts and Autodesk’s technology, we will help architects, engineers, and designers create a more sustainable world.

More on Trees for the Future: The founders Dave and Grace Deppner started out in the 1970′s working with communities to plant trees in areas affected by illegal logging. Since then, the organization has grown and helped to repopulate ~25,000 acres of barren land with not only trees but also animal species. Check the video:


Trees for the Future and Dave Deppner get a rave review from Rick Anderson over at Whispering Crane Institute, a pretty dope Landscape Design organization, blog and ‘green industry think tank.’ Anderson says:

If you have any interest working/supporting an organization the does reforestation work let me suggest Trees for the Future. I met Dave Deppner several years ago and immediately liked the man. he is honest, sincere, and dedicated, very dedicated. Dave is a strong believer in sustainable agroforestry, [...]

What’s unique about Dave and Trees for the Future is how they spend the money. Dave goes right to the villages and the local leaders. His is truly work at the grass roots level. To educate, train, motivate the locals to become stewards of their land to begin the recovery in the area surrounding their local villages.

Image: WCI Logo

So yeah, I gave Autodesk my info. It has been 2 days and I have received zero solicitations. We’ll see. I am sure Autodesk sent this email out to all their customers. Anyone else know the deal on this?

Breathing Earth


Created by David Bleja [AKA Stillwater], Breathing Earth shows the impact that countries all over the world have on climate change – in particular their CO2 emissions. Check it out to get a better idea who’s emitting what – and head on over to the Earth Day Network to measure you ‘eco footprint’ [this ninja scored a '10', which means we'd need 2.2 earths to sustain life if everyone lived like me - and I don't even have a car].

Hybrid Solar Lighting


Lighting is a HUGE drain on power all over the world – with people leaving their home lights on at all times, retail spots actually needing lighting for such large portions of the day, and many buildings just never having their lights turned out [because of how long it takes them to heat up or something? seems like a stupid reason to me...].

So what’s the solution? Turn off the lights when you leave a room, set timers, use energy efficient lamps, etc etc etc…all great suggestions. A better solution tho, for those buildings that need lighting during the daylight hours, is to actually harness the light of the sun – and redirect it into your interiors.

We bring you “Hybrid Solar Lighting‘, from Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s ‘Solar Technologies Program’ – fiber optics that are connected to a ‘solar collector’ [which tracks the sun's position throughout the day], which filters the visible light into a fiber optic receiver. These fiber optics are then fed throughout the building, and the natural sunlight is blended with the standard florescent interior lighting – creating a more natural lighting condition within the building. This is not only saving some users up to 60% on their electrical bills, but is also increasing sales in some retail spaces [40% more?], and helping to address issues such as S.A.D. [seasonal effective disorder].