hear that fiddling? sounds of anti-leadership in government

lead follow duck mobius

Yesterday, whether you were at the Tokyo G8 meeting or the Kauai County Council meeting , you'd have seen otherwise well-meaning governments pulling that Nero thang.

Never mind the amazing shifts in corporate and community leadership toward urgent sustainability initiatives, our governments can't seem to figure out where it stuck its head.

The planet is burning and they're still fiddling. I saw that movie, and it ended badly. So, you'll understand my smouldering unrest with the state of governance.

Still wonder why many thoughtful folks have given up on government? Consider these two cases where we really needed government to step forward.

Published by Ken on July 10th, 2008 tagged Community Initiatives, Island Vulnerabilities | Comments Off

renewable energy for Kauai: SusHI posts in review

renewable energy for Hawaii

As you know from tracking my sustainability stuff, I'm persuaded that nothing is more important than than switching away from fossil fuels, and KIUC is a crucial lever in this transformation.

Yet, neither Kauai nor the other Hawaiian islands is gonna get’r done without a much broader awareness of energy issues and a deeper sense of responsibility for our personal part in the global warming challenge.

We need to know about the tough choices facing our electricity coop, about alternative fuels for producing and using energy in the islands, and about the new insights regarding our energy choices that come from systems thinking.

Published by Ken on February 18th, 2008 tagged Energy, HI-specific, Systems Thinking | Comments Off

inside the gates of paradise: on a Kauaian paradigm

rebecca solnit

Since it's a theme wot's been on my mind for a while, let me riff off Rebecca Solnot's marvelous essay  and delightful new book, "Storming the Gates of Paradise", by updating my own sense of where we are inside the gates of our Kauaian paradise.

...and by recapitulating my deepening sense of disaffection for politics, per se.

Solnit is, first of all, writing from a place of personal integration. She's not just of the world, she's in it.

Her impulse to immerse in nature, not as an escape from society, but as a completion of it, parallels my own lifelong wanderings.

Published by Ken on December 29th, 2007 tagged Community Initiatives, Systems Thinking | Comments Off

Hawaii-Specific Posts (recent first, by category)

CATEGORIES: Systems Thinking | Climate Change | Community Initiatives | Island Ecosystems | Island Vulnerabilities

Systems Thinking

Published by Ken on November 23rd, 2007 tagged | Comments Off

enforce or induce: think of a (governance) elephant

governance elephant in the room

Whether 'tis nobler to beseech our governments to pass and enforce new regulations for 'green' behavior, or to change our governance process to frame and induce the adoption of a 'green' ethic...that is the question for today.

Say wot? Let's stipulate that any new 'green' regulations with a shot at passage will be wimpy at best. (Take 'green' building codes for example, which are more about what's illegal than what's desirable.)

...Whereas any governance worthy of 21C will be collaborative at base. See the difference?

Published by Ken on November 6th, 2007 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives | 1 Comment »

making a market for albizia: new lessons from a taroist

albizia tree, invasive or valuable biomass?

Bill Cowern was recently on KKCR's talk show describing his company's plans to supply 10% of Kauai's future energy from the biomass of chipped trees.

Cowern's favorite tree? Albizia. You know, that runaway 'invasive' now found all over the islands.

Why Albizia? It grows fast and, when intermixed with other trees Cowern is growing, it provides enough nitrogen and other nutrients that has dramatically cut the need for commercial fertilizers by 95 percent.

Still, Albizia has achieved a kind of notoriety, exemplifying good intentions run amok, and complicating Cowern's plans for expanded tree plantings.

Published by Ken on September 30th, 2007 tagged Community Initiatives, Island Vulnerabilities | 2 Comments »

special topics


Adaptation | Best Practices | CO2 Emissions | Ecological Footprints | Ecosystems Research | Energy | Food | Green Building | Sustainability Science | Transport | Tropics

Best Practices

Published by Ken on August 20th, 2007 tagged | Comments Off

on the trail of blessed unrest: UK coalition burgeons

stop climate chaos logo

Calvin Jones at Climate Change Action alerts us to the "now far broader" coalition emerging at Stop Climate Chaos.

Mahalo (thanks), Calvin! We see how we're gonna get'r done (via civil society initiatives, like in Paul Hawken's new book, or mine), and it's gratifying to see the signs of convergence.

The Chaos crew knows a thang or 2 about coalition-building. Check out this list that includes, as Calvin points out, "Green/Religious/Development/Transport and Health groups amongst others."

Launched on 1 September 2005 Stop Climate Chaos (a registered charity) aims to be the broadest and most diverse coalition yet established within the UK to campaign for changes to government policy on climate change.

Published by Ken on August 7th, 2007 tagged Community Initiatives | Comments Off

got community? a focus for adaptation strategies

tending to community building

Part of any self-respecting GW 'adaptation' strategy involves re-examining your 'choice' of community.

That's right, adaptation's not just about relocating shore-front facilities, but also about relocating yourself...and not just to 'higher' ground, but also to places with more resources, stronger community networks, and smarter strategies.

Why? Not just because sea levels are rising, but also because nation-states are (or will be) collapsing (via how to save the world).

And, if self-managed communities are emerging in the vacuum that this collapse produces, you're gonna wanna choose your community well.

Published by Ken on July 22nd, 2007 tagged Community Initiatives, HI-specific | Comments Off

taroists do sustainability despite government

globalization from below

Here’s my thought on how Americans can loosen our fixation with government intransigence and move forward in our own communities toward sustainability. And why this is not only possible, but promising.

Fair warning: There’s some “systems thinking” and shedding of precious thought forms in what follows.

I'm a 'globalization-from-below' guy, yet I see an opportunity now for a community-corporate alliance to tackle our island sustainability challenges.

True, I'm a former local elected official with deep-seated cynicism toward 'representative' government and die-hard enthusiasm for community-based governance.

Published by Ken on November 26th, 2006 tagged HI-specific, Systems Thinking | Comments Off

trees are worth more alive

tropical forest worth more alive

Sure we're psyched about Bill Cowern's far-sighted plan to chip trees for Kaua`i power, and we still see global destruction of forests for fuel as terribly short-sighted.

Now (via triple pundit) we notice that the World Business Council for Sustainable Development has acknowledged there's good and bad in carbon trading solutions to deforestation, yet trees are much more valuable as carbon sinks than as fuel.

Here's a few factoids:

Published by Ken on October 26th, 2006 tagged Climate Change | Comments Off

the taroist imperative


Following the theme of my book, this blog will track (among other issues) the 'just do it' initiatives of community-based organizations throughout the islands.

In this usage, a 'taroist' (evoking the metaphor of the taro patch. where community work gets done) is anyone who contributes to community work because it needs to be done.

For example, Bill Cowern (one of my favorite Kauaian taroists) has been planting trees on 4,000 acres (near Kauai's "tree tunnel") that can be chipped and gasified to provide 10% of our island's energy. Cowern decided to "just do it" 10 years ago because he saw our looming vulnerability to non-renewable energy sources.

Published by Ken on September 23rd, 2006 tagged Community Initiatives, HI-specific | Comments Off