Best Cities To Live In When The Peak Oil Crisis Hits

“Common Current recently released a report ranking U.S. cities on their ability to deal with a peak oil crisis. San Francisco comes out on top, with Oklahoma City ranks last.” Read the rest of the article at Planetizen.

What I find intriguing is the location of the Top 10 and Bottom 10 cities. Look at the locations and think about the politics. Then think about who is currently and soon-to-be leading our country. I think this country is in a great position to begin to design and plan communities that are energy efficient and improve our quality of life, not degrade it. Continue reading “Best Cities To Live In When The Peak Oil Crisis Hits”

Need some night time reading?

I’ve had a few requests from friends to make my master’s terminal project available for download. While I’m very proud of the work I did, I’d say it definitely has a specific audience. If you feel the urge to want to read it, feel free to download it. If you use it for research, please provide the proper citations.

I’m also making a PowerPoint presentation available. The PowerPoint was presented for the Willamette Valley Biomass Working Group, the client for this project. You can read more about my defense and energy planning in previous posts.

Continue reading “Need some night time reading?”

Energy independence must start at the local level

In today’s Register-Guard Newspaper, a member of the Willamette Valley Biomass Study Group wrote an op-ed piece about the need to research renewable energy at the local level. This group has three studies on renewable energy potential in the Southern Willamette Valley. If you read the article, I am part of the study, awarded by the U.S. Forest Service, examining the potential of building a cellulosic ethanol facility utilizing woody biomass.

As I am writing this post, I am in the middle of writing my findings from my the interview process. I talked with 17 timber firms about the challenges and opportunities to developing the woody biomass industry. In conjunction with this study, I am using the data to contribute to my exit project for graduate school. I also submitted an abstract for this study to the Annual 14th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management. My abstract was accepted a month ago and I will have an opportunity to sit on a panel with three other professionals conducting research on the utilization of woody biomass. I applied for and received a student scholarship from the conference committee so that I don’t have to pay conference fees, but I am still waiting to secure travel funds. The event is June 10-14 in Burlington, Vermont.

pelletFor more information about what woody biomass is and how it is used for renewable energy, visit these links:

You may also contact me to learn more about woody biomass.



I received on a listserve I am part of at the university. There are great tips listed here that I am glad to see Laura and I have been practicing for years. Not only do you help contribute to reducing the effects of global warming, but you save money. Taking care of the environment makes economic sense.


Please unplug all plugs from outlets while you are gone for the holidays. Save energy while you’re gone!


Did you know that many appliances continue to draw a small amount of power when they are switched off. These “phantom” loads occur in most appliances that use electricity, such as VCRs, televisions, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances. In the average home (and office), 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. This can be avoided by unplugging the appliance or using a power strip and using the switch on the power strips.

Nationally Phantom loads make up about 6% of our entire residential electricity consumption! A decrease of 1% of industrial energy use would save the equivalent of about 5.5 million barrels of oil per year, worth about $1 billion. (UC Berkeley)

Unplugging your electronics when not in use, or using a power strip to shut them down, can eliminate as much as 500 pounds of greenhouse gases each year and trim your electric bill, and that’s just for one power strip! (Seattle Power and Light) =============================================================


  • Surge protectors
  • Printers and photocopies
  • Computers
  • Office Equipment
  • Stereos, lamps
  • Space Heaters
  • Micro-waves/coffee pots, rechargeable items unplugged
  • Thermostats set back to 55 degrees
  • Hallway lighting kept to minimum
  • Windows tightly closed and locked
  • Blinds drawn/closed
  • Lighting and computer monitors and cpu’s off when unoccupied
  • Personal refrigerators emptied, cleaned, shut off and left open

Have a safe and pleasant holiday!

Environmental Issues in Armenia

I found this series of articles that highlights current environmental problems in Armenia at “Armenia Now“. The website reports on the current events of Armenia and offers insight into the political process that is shaping Armenia.

The article in the top right on the Alaverdi Copper factory was especially intriguing to me because Laura and I lived in Alaverdi during our Peace Corps service. The fact that the hazards arising from the pollution are being exposed is a step in the right direction. Many of the local people felt that the factory is a problem but that it was important to the economy for it to stay open. I am not sure this true. The factory employees 400 employees in an area of 20,000 people. I think that by shutting it down, their will be health improvements, the local vegetation will improve, and more tourists will choose to visit and STAY in the area. Right now, tourists quickly shuffle in to see the churches and then leave, staying maybe an hour or so. Eco-tourism has huge potential in the area.  The site of the factory turns many people off to the idea of this venture. The economy can improve more if the factory was not in service.

The other articles are important in shedding some light on the environmental/human rights issues that plague Armenia. Restructering of the government needs to be done in order for any of these issues to be dealt with properly. If the people continue to unite, to speak up and to encourage the government to listen to their concerns, I think that there may be some hope. All the issues are difficult to work with because of the instability of the infrastructure and the weak economy, though it is improving.

To view the top two articles, “This Land is Our Land…” and “The Breath of Death…”, click the link next to the English link in the top right corner. This link says “Armenian” and is spelled in the Armenian language. Once it is in Armenian, click the article, you will view the article in Armenian, then click the English link in the top right corner again to view. For some reason these two articles are not linked properly, otherwise the others can viewed just fine.

The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy.
~Woodrow WilsonÂ