Posts Tagged "nature"

FTC Won’t Investigate GMP

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In the past few years Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) have become a heated topic in Vermont. So much so, that it peaked the interest of Vermont Law School (VLS) and elicited a letter from the Vermont Attorney General. If you have been following the story about the sale of RECs within Green Mountain Power (GMP) territory, this update will be of interest to you. According to a February 10th article in Times Argus, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decided not to investigate GMPs marketing of RECs, but said that communication to the public should remain clear. [A GMP Press Release from September 19th 2014 is available here] Kevin Jones, a VLS professor was not happy with these results. Last year VLS challenged GMP handling of their RECs, and specifically aimed this criticism towards Vermont’s SPEED law saying that, “From an environmental and electric rate (perspective), the SPEED program has been a failure”. Kristen Carlson, a GMP representative, addressed this issue by bringing to light that the sale of RECs allows for clean energy to be bought at a lower price. Thus boosting the sale of clean energy and allowing Vermont to become a leader in clean energy production. Rates are in fact lowered through the out-of-state sale of RECs. In turn the environment has greater protection through financial support, not greater pollution. [More about GMP on RECs can be found here] As the issue became more public, it morphed into a criticism of the definition of “credit”. While companies that sell energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar, and hydro are creating renewable energy, they are selling the “credits”. Thus, selling the right to call them renewable. This is no way negates the fact that these energy sources are in fact creating energy from a source that has renewable attributes, only that the jargon used, must reflect the credit exchange. In essence, this is what the issue has boiled down to. Meanwhile, those of us installing solar and wind generators in Vermont are happy to sell RECs out of state, to insure that Vermont resident’s get lower clean energy rates and that our environment is protected for future generations. Maybe we use “clean energy” instead of “renewable energy”, but the effects are the same. On Thursday a letter was sent from the FTC to a GMP lawyer saying, “Although no findings have been made that these claims [made by VLS] violate the law, we urge GMP in the future to prevent any confusion by clearly communicating the implications of its REC sales for Vermont customers and REC purchasers.” To this end, we attempt to clarify the issues here and educate our Vermont Community Solar participants on the function of RECs. Read the entire article...

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Or, Soveren/VCS and The Discipline of Pleasure

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December 6, 2014 (Posted by Lisa via Anna) Deer tracks on the trail to the garden this morning, distinct prints of a relatively large animal in the wet, slushy snow. Following them, smiling, I found, as I’d expected, that the tracks continued into the garden. Where kale and Brussels sprouts protruded from the snow, they had received a dainty, exploratory pruning. The deer and I have a deal: they stay out of the garden, ignoring the vulnerabilities in its defense during the spring, summer, and early harvest season, when the living is easy for them. I open the gate in late October or November, depending on the weather, and invite them to feast on our leavings when their table is lean. After all, today, I have plenty of other food. They don’t. It might sound flaky, but this deal has held good for the past six years. Ask the Brussels sprouts! I’ve been gardening at Rainbow Serpent, the home of Soveren/VCS for nine seasons now. It took three years of trial and error, three years of learning the rhythms of this place and its other residents, for the deer and I to come to this relatively stable working arrangement. I’ve made similar deals with the foxes in regard to chickens. No luck with any of the mustelids, though! They’re tough customers! Or maybe I haven’t given it enough time. Some relationships change more slowly than others. Improving Earthy relationships always takes time. You may already know that the other resident business at Rainbow Serpent is my healing practice, The Discipline of Pleasure (www.disciplineofpleasure.com). Yeah, the official business name and the sign on the road still says, “Lisa G. Nash, D.C.” But what I do in my office these days bears little resemblance to what I was doing when I began practicing chiropractic in Vermont, twenty years ago next month. My work these days is the transformation of trauma: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. As trauma = disintegration, transformation of trauma = integration. So The Discipline of Pleasure incorporates practices from various disciplines in order to reveal a more integrated Self. From our habitual dis-integrated perspective, one might well ask, “What does a community solar development company have to do with a trauma healing practice?” From an integrated, or integral, perspective, the answer is obvious: these enterprises are different versions of the same song. The degradation of Nature epitomized by fossil fuel extraction and consumption arises from, and reinforces, the habits of trauma. Relating with Others as a collection of objects rather than a communion of subjects, to paraphrase Thomas Berry. The degradation of Nature epitomized by, say, child sexual abuse, also arises from, and reinforces, the habits of trauma. Relating with Others as a collection of objects rather than a communion of subjects. Such habits are extremely profound, rooted in the experience of human and older ancestors for countless generations. To change such habits takes discipline, desire. Perseverance, pleasure. And most of all, it takes time. “But wait!” you might say, “Time is exactly what we don’t have now. Time is what we would’ve/could’ve/should’ve had if we’d only changed our habits more twenty or thirty or fifty years ago…” From one perspective, that’s exactly right. From another, it’s partial. There are no shortcuts to changing these habits. Even when the need for change in deep habits is urgent, you can’t force the process without doing violence to some aspect of our ecology. And wishing you’d done it sooner is no help at all; it just ties up energy you could be using to change things now. This is true...

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Townshend Community Solar Project

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July 3, 2014: Townshend Community Solar Project, on the Townshend-Grafton Road, by Lisa Nash It’s 7:00 a.m. and Peter and I are standing on the land that will become the home of Vermont Community Solar’s first project in Townshend.  The air is humid, the pale sandy earth wet from yesterday’s violent thunderstorms, and the sky is low and gray with valley fog. Birds are singing all around us.  Soon the whine of chainsaws and the rumble of bulldozers will drown out their voices.  Soon, some of their nests and young may be destroyed as the skillful guys from TMG Enterprises begin clearing trees so that light can reach the solar panels, which, in turn, will bring electricity to local human residents. A fat toad hops into a dense thicket of Japanese Knotweed to the southwest as I circle the site.  Soon this toad may lose its life so that we can enjoy powering our homes with “renewable” energy. In addition to the Knotweed, whose rhizome is a powerful immune system educator, useful in Lyme Disease and in cancer, there are several other plant medicines growing here. The southwest edge of the circle I walk is dotted with silky-leaved mullein, some low first year rosettes, many second year plants whose tall spires are just about to open into bright yellow flowers.  Mullein leaves are helpful for strengthening the mucosa, especially in the respiratory system, but also in the digestive tract.  An extract of the flowers in olive oil is soothing for the pain of ear infections, and helps the body build immunity to the infection as well. Along the eastern margin, a few yarrow plants beckon, their umbrels dense with tiny white blossoms at the perfect stage for harvesting.  Yarrow grows on all continents, and everywhere it grows, humans use it for medicine, magic, or both.  Here yarrow is widely revered for its ability to heal wounds, gently detoxify and balance hormones, and regulate body temperature. Soon these yarrow plants will be scraped away as bulldozers flatten the mound on whose sides they grow to ease the installation and maximize the yield of the photovoltaic panels the Soveren crew will place here. Most people who know Soveren and Vermont Community Solar don’t know that I am Peter’s partner in these businesses.  We joke that my title is “Vice President in Charge of Relations.”  The job itself is not a joke, though: my primary responsibility is to mind the relationship between our businesses’ thought, speech and action and the well-being of all our relations for the next seven generations. This job requires the vision of the raptor, who simultaneously perceives both the vast sweep and the tiny detail.  It requires a mind clear and dedicated enough to move forward with love and courage in the face of immense uncertainty, and a heart big enough to weep for our losses and celebrate our victories at the same time. Happily, like all big jobs, this one breaks down into countless small steps.  This summer morning, my small steps lead me clockwise around this site, giving thanks for the gifts of the seven directions, and asking each of them for their blessings for this land and all its inhabitants. In the east, I give thanks for the air that allows us to breathe out our sorrow and fear as we take life to feed our own.  I give thanks for the opportunity to breathe in the promise of dawn after a long dark night, the hope of rebirth, and the wonder of new possibilities. As I finish my invocation to the east, an indigo...

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