Monday, December 1, 2008

In Defense of Food

I just watched Bill Moyers interview with Michael Pollan, author of Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food. It was excellent, full of, not just insightful ideas, but what we can do, now, to reform our food system. You can watch (and read) the whole interview here:

Cheers and blessings, Marion


BILL MOYERS: What else? Give me a list, quickly, of what we can do to make a difference in this reforming the food system.

MICHAEL POLLAN: Well, plant a garden. If you've got space, and if you don't, look into a community garden where you might rent a little bit of space, like we saw in East New York.

Cook. Simply by starting to cook again, you declare your independence from the culture of fast food. As soon as you cook, you start thinking about ingredients. You start thinking about plants and animals, and not the microwave. And you will find that your diet, just by that one simple act, that is greatly improved. You will find that you are supporting local agriculture, because you'll care about the quality of ingredients. And you know, whether you're cooking or not is one of the best predictors for a healthy diet. It's more important than the class predictor. People with more money generally have healthier diets, but affluent people who don't cook are not as healthy in their eating as poor people who still cook. So, very, very important. If you don't have pots and pans, get them.

Now people say they don't have time, and that's an issue. And I am saying that we do need to invest more time in food. Food is just too important to relegate to these 10-minute corners of our lives. And you know, even if you would just take, you know, we watch cooking shows like crazy on television. We've turned cooking into a spectator sport. If you would merely invest the time you spend watching cooking shows in actually cooking, you would find you've got plenty of time to put a meal on the table.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fall, 2008

Schedule for Sustainable Kodiak, Fall 2008

Monday, Oct. 13: 7-9pm Sustainable Kodiak general meeting at Refuge Center meeting room

Monday, Nov. 10: 7-9pm Sustainable Kodiak general meeting at Refuge Center meeting room

Lisa Hupp will present a report on the ICLEI community-wide carbon emissions survey. Not to be missed!

Monday, Dec 8: 7-9pm Sustainable Kodiak general meeting at Refuge Center meeting room

Sustainable Kodiak special guest lecturer Rich Siefert , in partnership with Kodiak College Community Engagement committee: Scheduling still in progress. We hope to have programs including a public awareness evening lecture, focusing on how to take advantage of the energy conservation funding and why it is so important to do so, and a retrofit workshop another day. (It is three hours long and updated since the one last fall.) Another topic which will likely be timely is "Burning wood for heat safely".


Meetings of interest

October 11 to November 8

Organic Gardening class. Instructor: Marion Owen. Learn how to reduce your food bills by growing your own vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruiting shrubs. Fall is an important time for every garden and this dynamic class introduces organic methods and materials for ecological gardening practices: soil management and improvement, composting, harvesting, storage, mulching and more. To sign up, call Kodiak College, 486-1235

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bioneers in Alaska- Sustainable Communities and Kodiak workshop

5th Annual Bioneers in Alaska Conference

"Creating Sustainable Communities"

October 17-19, 2008, University of Alaska, Anchorage

The annual Bioneers in Alaska conference brings together Alaskans to explore practical and innovative ways to live more sustainably and strengthen our communities. Highlights of the 2008 conference include: keynote speakers David C. Korten and Lisa Dolchok, workshops on renewable energy for Alaska, growing community through local food, protecting the health of present and future generations and other vital issues of our times, presentations via satellite from the 19th Annual Bioneers Conference in California and abundant networking opportunities. Bioneers in Alaska is for everybody! Early registration through September 21. Scholarships and Work Exchange opportunities available. For more information or to register, visit , or email . Phone: (907) 677-9087. Bioneers in Alaska is a project of the Alaska Center for Appropriate Technology.

Community Sustainability Initiatives: Highlights from Anchorage, Homer and Kodiak (day and time to be announced, Theresa Peterson will speak for 10 minutes on Kodiak during this workshop)

Spurred by concerns over the impacts of climate change, Alaskan communities large and small are taking tangible steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In the process, communities are engaging in broader discussions of sustainability. In this workshop we will highlight new steps the Municipality of Anchorage is taking to promote a sustainable city and how citizen-led efforts in Homer and Kodiak are helping to shape public policy, fuel local foods movements and stimulate green business development. From expansion of curbside recycling in Anchorage to Homer’s ambitious Climate Action Plan, communities are leading the way to a more sustainable future. This workshop is for anyone wishing to learn more about positive change taking place in Alaskan communities right now and specific ways you can ignite and/or support such efforts in your community.

Kudos to Theresa Peterson for presenting on our own community at this event!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Island Harvester Labor Day Picnic

A summary and catch-up of the Labor Day Picnic

By Switgard Duesterloh

Despite the bad weather during the days before the picnic, it actually did not rain during the picnic and we had a fire and BBQ going (thanks to Hans-Ullrich Tsersich). There were a total of 19 people (incl. 3 children), though some left early and others came late.

We had some great foods, many of which contained locally harvested components. There was a great chunk of white king salmon on the bbq that was donated (ask Hans-Ullrich for the donor's name) and 3 packs of locally made salmon hot dogs who were taken home and enjoyed by several of the attendees. These were donated as samples by the Kodiak Solstix company.

In addition, there was smoked silver salmon, a salmon dip, a potato-salmon-bean salad, a great blueberry pie and locally harvested lettuce. Mary brought some oven-fresh bread with locally harvested poppy-seeds and calendula flower petals, and I had made blueberry juice.

Besides the food sampling there was a great opportunity to sit around a fire and exchange recipes, ideas, and information. Some went to pick salmonberries around the picnic site.

I had organized a plastic/aluminum recycling container from threshold (they have some "event containers" available for loan) but we didn't need it because NO plastic or paper cups, nor throw-away silverware were used at this event!

Overall we would have hoped for more attendance but owing to the rainy and stormy day were pleased about the number of people that did show up. A good time was had by all and when all was over, the rain began to fall again and put out the smoldering remains of our camp fire.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Wow! New AK Home Energy Efficiency Rebates

Thanks to Jerrol Friend

Home Energy Rebate Grant Program Guidelines

The Home Energy Rebate Grant Program will rebate up to $10,000 to a homeowner who improves the energy efficiency of their home. A qualified homeowner must improve the efficiency of the home at least 1 step using the energy rating system. (See additional requirements and the chart below.)

A final rating of at least a 1 Star plus (1«+), or greater must be achieved to qualify for a rebate. This is a one time rebate for any one family or home.

To participate in the program:

  • Find an AKWarm energy rater and get an As-Is AKWarm energy rating. AKWarm energy raters can be found on the AHFC web site by going to:
  • Use the Improvement Options Report from the As-Is energy rating as a guide to make energy efficient improvements. The report serves as a guideline for AHFC and the homeowner as to the energy savings, cost of the improvement & return on the energy improvement investment.
  • Make the improvements you have selected from the Improvement Options Report within one year. You may do the work yourself or hire a contractor. Only those items relating to energy efficiency and recommended in the improvement options report are eligible for a rebate.
  • Get a Post Improvement AKWarm energy rating by calling your rater and scheduling the follow up visit. The rater will verify the work completed and provide you with a new energy rating certificate. The rebate amount is determined by the increase in the rating from the As-Is rating. (EG: As-Is 3 Star+ vs. 4 Star Post Improvement rating = 1 steps = $4,000.00).

Maximum Rebate Amounts:

One step - up to $4,000

Two steps - up to $5,500

Three Steps up to $7,000

Four steps up to $8,500

Five or more up to $10,000

  • A homeowner is only eligible to receive a rebate of actual expenses, no matter how many points or steps have occurred. For example, if a homeowner spends $3,500 on energy efficient improvements, and moves two steps, they will only receive a rebate of $3,500, not $5,500.
  • You have one year from the date of the As-is energy rating to complete the energy efficiency work, the Post Improvement energy rating, and turn the completed application into Alaska Housing Finance Corporation.

You are not eligible for the Home Energy Rebate if:

  • You have participated in the Weatherization Assistance Program after May 1, 2008.
  • You have received a Home Energy Rebate after May 1, 2008.
  • If your AS-IS RATING was done before April 5, 2008* or is more than one year old.
  • You fail to provide any of the requested information.

*A rating done between April 5,2008 and May 15, 2008 will be eligible for rebate purposes. These ratings are paid at the homeowner expense, and will not be reimbursed by AHFC. The cost of ratings done after May 15, 2008 will be reimbursed directly to the rater, up to $500 for the As-Is and post improvement ratings.

The energy rater will be paid 65% of the reimbursable cost of the rating ($325) for the pre-, or As-Is rating, and 35% ($175) for the post rating. The rater must have the homeowner sign the rater application form for rater reimbursement.

Energy Ratings and rating points

The amount of the rebate is determined by the number of steps increased between the As-is and the Post Improvement energy ratings.

This chart can help you understand the correlation between your energy rating points and the energy rating stars for your home’s energy rating: (sorry the chart won't post)

A rating of 2 Stars plus (60-67 points), to 3 Stars (68-72 points), would be one step. A rating of 2 Star (2«), to 3 Stars (3«), would be two steps.

Additional Requirements:

To be eligible for a rebate, the final energy rating must be at least one star plus (1«+), and have increased one step and at least five points. This is applicable to all homes with a final rating of three stars (<3«) or less. For homes with a final rating of 3 Star plus (>3«+) or more, at least one step and three points increase is required.

Submit your home energy rebate application with copies of the As-Is and Post Improvement energy rating, receipts, and a property tax assessment or other proof of ownership to the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. At:

Alaska Housing Finance Corporation

Energy Efficiency Rebate

PO Box 101020

Anchorage, AK 99510-1020

The application must be received within one year of the date of the As-Is rating.

To be eligible for a rebate, the homeowner must be the year round occupant of the upgraded home and apply for the rebate within one year of the date on the As-Is rating. Each family and property is eligible for one rebate only. The person to whom the rebate is paid will be required to submit a Social Security number, and the amount of the rebate will be reported to the United States Internal Revenue Service. An IRS form 1099 will be mailed to you at the end of the year in which the homeowner received the rebate.

Rebate funds are subject to appropriation by the Alaska Legislature, and are subject to funding availability. If or when funding becomes limited, the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation may terminate the program. Public notice shall be provided on the AHFC website .

For more information contact:

Alaska Housing Finance Corporation

PO Box 101020

Anchorage, AK 99510-1020

907-338-6100 (Anchorage)

1-800-478-2432 (toll free statewide)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Energy Legislation Success Story

Greetings! Here’s a success story.

Brigid Dodge, Donna Jones, and Theresa Peterson wrote a letter on Energy Legislation that was sent to Gabrielle LeDoux and other state legislators, and was also published in the Kodiak Daily Mirror, thanks to editor Betsy Lund.

Jerrold Friend had a quarter-hour private meeting with Gov. Palin at which he stressed the same points: put surplus oil money into a conservation and weatherization program, using state agencies and info already in place, and make a permanent contribution to Alaska’s energy savings and independence.

Thanks also to all who may be unknown to us and worked to make these programs come about. There are surely others on the Sustainable Kodiak listserve who contributed to the passing of these bills.

Donna Elizabeth

From: LIO Kodiak

Addressing High Energy Costs

Expanding Home Energy Conservation and Weatherization Programs

Senate Bill 289 expands two home energy and weatherization programs operated by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation to help Alaskan families cope with record high home heating costs.

Renewable Energy Fund

House Bill 152 creates a renewable energy fund and deposits $50 million per year over the next five years into the Renewable Energy Fund. The Alaska Energy Authority would administer the fund through grants for renewable energy projects. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009. AEA would then submit the grants to the Legislature for funding as part of the capital budget process.

Once signed by the Governor this act would take effect immediately, according to the bill.

Lorna & Heather

Kodiak Legislative Information Office

office (907)486-8116

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sustainability Letters- A Must Read

A Powerful Reply, and the Letter which inspired it

Hi K.,

Good to hear from you, and please do not apologize.

The key to all this, and every other overwhelming, big issue, is that most people feel powerless to do anything about their situation. Most people wring their hands and say, "Oh, food is so expensive, but there's nothing I do about it?" Or, "I know I'm overweight, but that's just the way I am," or "Everything will be alright; we'll never run of food; 'they' won't let it happen."

In Gandhi's autobiography, he talks at length about how the common person in India, during the time of Britain's rule, felt powerless against laws requiring citizens to buy cotton from Britain, salt and many other commodities. Gandhi, in his now famous salt march, brought the people together around a simple idea, that they could do something about their situation. And independence from Britain was started.

Food--its availability, how it gets from the farm to the table, how its grown and magically shows up in the store shelves, is beyond most people's radar or caring.

People need to start by understanding the power gained by growing their own food -- even a part of it. So much understanding springs from that--an appreciation for the farmer, personal health issues, the weather, a simple seed, lessons for kids and so on.

Unfortunately, most people are so busy, and on auto-pilot just trying to survive (and chase after things that don't bring happiness) that they won't do anything until a crisis befalls them or prices get so high they'll have to stop, look and listen.

So, to summarize, it must start with the individual, from within. We need to put our heads (of lettuce!) to work!

Here in Kodiak, we have a very active, Sustainable Kodiak group and Local Food Group. We see the issue more profoundly perhaps because we live on an island. Please visit our blog at http://

I'm happy to engage in this more. I write about this, both in my columns and in my [free, 3-minute, weekly] radio show, the UpBeet Gardener (

Cheers, Marion

On Apr 7, 2008, KC wrote:


For a totally unrelated reason, I ran across your blog entry from October 5, 2005 "Proposing a Sustainable Food Policy for Alaska." Holy smokes, I've been concerned with this ever since January 2007 when I moved back to Alaska after a five year hiatus to Wisconsin. I live in Anchorage and had the opportunity to attend the Bioneers conference last October and talk about food security with other folks from around the state.

As I see it, it's going to get worse before it gets better and we're a long way from being able to feed ourselves with our own food up here. I'm taking a wonderful organic gardening class out at Matsu College (plus I did a little gardening in Wisconsin as well as do some minor work on a couple of CSA farms) so I'm doing what I can to help myself and my immediate something-like-an-extended- family. But that's not necessarily helping the rest of us.

I'm hoping the raw milk bill gets passed because that will at least allow the few dairy farms in the state to sell their product directly. I've been urging my elected officials to approve it and encouraging everyone I know to do the same. But more is needed. We simply need more agricultural entities and less restrictions on the agriculture we already have. Local farmers are restricted to CSAs, on-farm markets and farmer's markets to sell their products. They don't have the time to form cooperatives that could help market and distribute their products either. Certainly state and federal government restrictions on selling to schools, hospitals, prisons and other governmental agencies has kept agriculture from growing beyond the family farm. Everyone who lives up here knows how expensive it is to get things; why aren't we directing our energies to doing it locally?

Kim Sollinen has been agitating and facilitating a lot in the Matsu Valley but not much seems to be happening out there yet. What are you seeing? Are there any other grassroots initiatives taking place that I'm just not aware of? I think what Finland has been doing is excellent; have you had contact with anyone involved in their agricultural activities? I'd like to learn more about their efforts particularly since the price of fuel has skyrocketed.

I apologize for the rant but food security is a huge issue for me. Anything you can suggest or let me know about I'd greatly appreciate.


K. in Anchorage

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Local Food Presents: Pressure Canner Gauge Testing, and more...

Greetings! The Local Food group would like to invite you to some events with Alaska Coop Extension agents Kristy and Linda, visiting here from the mainland. Local Food has been talking with them about getting Coop Extension speakers, classes, and printed materials for Kodiak residents here in Kodiak.

Monday evening the 31st at 7:30,  Kodiak College BB RM 106
attending to see what we are doing.
Tuesday, April 1st,noon - 2:00 pm, BB RM 110
Training for pressure cooker gauge testers.
Learn how to do it yourself!
Tuesday, April 1st 7:00 - 9PM, BB RM 111  
Training for pressure cooker gauge testers.
The public can bring gauges or canner lids
with gauges to Kodiak College
during workshops for calibration.

Wednesday, April 2nd 7:00 - 9PM, BB RM 112
Next Local Food meeting, and testing for those who bring
gauges and tops with them.

See you there!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Got Wood?


Sustainable Kodiak’s Local Food Group is developing new community garden space at the Kodiak Baptist Mission. The Mission has generously offered to mill logs in their sawmill and construct raised beds for a community garden on their property--for free!

But we need wood! Please help us find some logs that can be transported to the Mission for this purpose. The finished lumber size is 8 x 12 inches. (The raised beds measure 10' 8" long by 5' wide.)

If you have access to any free logs, please contact Marion Owen at or call her at 486-5079.

Thank you for helping us get this project off--and in--the ground!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Stop Pebble Mine - at Comfish

The Renewable Resources Coalition, the Stop Pebble Mine organization, will have a booth at ComFish. We are hoping that some Kodiak folks will help with manning the display.

The booth will be open :

Thursday, (March 20) from 10 am – 6 pm

Friday from 10 – 6,

Saturday from 10 – 4.

If you have any questions or would like to help out in the booth for an hour or two, please give Claudia Anderson a call at 486-3673. Thanks!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Invitation to an Urban Trails meeting

Dear Sustainable Kodiak

We’d like to invite you to provide your input on urban trails inside Kodiak city limits. Island Trails Network will hold a meeting solely for this purpose this Thursday, March 13th at the Chamber of Commerce conference room from 12:00-1:30. Stop by before or after lunch (or bring a lunch) to discuss proposals and improvements for trails in the Kodiak urban area. If you are unable to make it, we will accept comments via phone and email through Friday, March 14th.

We will use your comments to help create a prioritized list of trail improvements to propose to the city council at the end of March. Along with this proposal ITN may offer assistance with trail designation, planning, and construction.

Some trails and proposed trails subject to discussion are:

  • A proposed trail linking Rezanof to Mission near the Zharoff memorial bridge.
  • Designation and improvements of the trail linking East Elementary to Chichenof St.
  • A continuation of the Chichenof trail to Baranof Park.
  • A proposed trail linking Rezanof to Mission near Potatopatch Lake.
  • A proposed trail along the channel linking North End park to proposed developments on Near Island.
  • Designation and improvement of Russian Ridge trails (city-owned portions).
  • A proposed trail along the St. Paul harbor breakwater. Along with these, we welcome other ideas for trails resources in the Kodiak urban area.

As part of our five-year strategic plan, Island Trails Network hopes to incorporate trails as transportation infrastructure into city and borough community planning, and this is a first step in that direction. We also understand that the need for pedestrian infrastructure must be balanced with the need for wildlife habitat, green space, the protection of property rights. We welcome all comments in support or opposition of these and other urban trails. Email or call 539-1979 with comments.

We hope to see you at the meeting.

Andy Schroeder

Executive Director, ITN

Monday, February 18, 2008

Meetings and Presentations

Friday, February 29
Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival

7-9:30 pm Kodiak College, room 130, BBB (Free)
Children's film festival and activities, room 106, BBB (Free)

Sponsored by Alaska Marine Conservation Council and Kodiak College Community Engagement Committee.

Saturday, March 1st A Garden Party with Jeff Lowenfels,
Anchorage Daily News garden writer and co-author of Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web. Jeff will be at the Kodiak Wildlife Refuge Visitors’ Center from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and will discuss lawn care, perennials, vegetables, trees, flowers, composting and more.

There is no better or funnier garden speaker!

Sponsored by Kodiak Garden Club and Sustainable Kodiak


Next Sustainable Kodiak Meeting: Monday, March 3, 7:30 pm at Kodiak College, BBB, room 106. See you there!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ocean Acidification: The other CO2 Problem

with Dr. Richard Feely

Thursday, February 14, 5:30 - 7:00 pm

Kodiak Refuge Visitor Center (402 Center Street)

Not only is carbon dioxide (CO2) a major contributor to global climate change, but increased concentrations of CO2 in the oceans is causing significant changes in marine ecosystems. Dr. Feely will discuss the implications of increased CO2 levels on the health of our ocean ecosystems and ocean-based economies.

Dr. Richard A. Feely is an Oceanographer at the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle. His major research areas are carbon cycling in the oceans and ocean acidification. He was awarded the Department of Commerce Gold Award in 2006 for his pioneering research on ocean acidification. Dr. Feely is a science advisor for the Alaska Marine Conservation Council.

Sponsored by the Alaska Marine Conservation Council with funding from National

Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs and ARCUS.

For more information:

Please contact Theresa Peterson


Friday, February 8, 2008

Municipal Composting: Public Meeting

Important Public SWAB meeting

Tuesday, February 19 at 5:15 pm.

Downtown-new Bear Refuge Museum

Municipal Composting, with Fred Warren, Environmental Specialist with RCAC in Tucson, Arizona, and Roland Shanks, Environmental Specialist with RCAC in Anchorage.

This note from Rick Pillans of Threshold Recycling, and a SWAB member:

“We are facing some very serious problems with the way we handle municipal solid waste here in Kodiak. The Borough has hired a consulting firm to study OUR problem, and give us some solutions as to ways of dealing with it. My thoughts are that if we don’t consider long term solutions along with making them environmentally sound we are just being naive. If we combine a major recycling/reducing program with a co-composting program we could realistically reduce our solid waste going into the landfill up to 80%. Expanding the landfill is a very expensive project, and not one that is really addressing the source of the problem, but only the issue, and only short term. What I am trying to do is look at what Kodiak needs for up to 40 or 50 years down the road. These are real issues that the public needs to be involved with because it does affect them directly.

Fred Warren an Environmental Specialist with RCAC in Tucson Arizona, and Roland Shanks also an Environmental Specialist with RCAC in Anchorage are doing a workshop on Friday the 15th at the 10th Annual Alaska Forum on the Environment in Anchorage. I am taking advantage of their services to bring them to Kodiak and do their presentation as part of our Solid Waste Advisory Board Work session. They will be presenting on Tuesday February 19th, in the new wildlife building downtown where we hold our Sustainable Kodiak meetings. All are welcome, and encouraged to attend. It is a SWAB work session, and is open to the public.”

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Updated Action Item: HB 288 ("Net Metering")

Allright folks, this is coming right up:
the public hearing for House Bill 288 on Net Metering is on
Full information on the bill was recently posted below, although there is a correction:
instead of the statement that consumers who own small renewable energy systems would get paid by their local utility for the excess energy they produce, the bill calls for consumers to get credit for the excess energy they produce from their utility.

Here is a list of emails of representatives who will be voting on the bill:,,,,,,

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Next Sustainable Kodiak Meeting / Energy Events

The next Sustainable Kodiak meeting will be
Monday, February 4th, 2008
from 7:15 pm to 9:15pm
in room 106 of the Benny Benson Building, Kodiak College

Guest speaker Professor Richard Siefert from the UAF Cooperative Extension Service will be presenting on Peak Oil in Alaska.

Siefert will also present two short courses on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, on the use of Solar power in Alaska, and on Home Energy Efficiency (these require registration).

More information about these presentations and about Siefert's expertise are posted in a previous blog below.

Action Item: House Bill 288 ("Net Metering")

Help promote renewable energy in Alaska – Support HB 288, a bill to support “Net Metering”

Public Hearing on Friday, February 1, 2008 at 3:00 pm


What is “Net Metering?”

Net metering allows consumers who own small, renewable energy systems, such as wind or solar power, to sell the excess energy they produce back to their local utility.

What Would HB 288 Do?

House Bill (HB) 288, introduced by Representative Paul Seaton (R – District 35) is a bill that would put net metering in place in Alaska, one of the few states left in the nation without such a policy. Net metering is current policy in 42 states and Washington D.C.

Why Does AMCC Support HB 288?

Encouraging the use of clean energies in Alaska will help reduce the harmful greenhouse gas emissions which are the leading cause of climate change. AMCC supports initiatives at all levels of government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as we work to advance solutions that will protect the long-term health of marine ecosystems and sustain our coastal communities.

What You Can Do

  1. Please testify in support of HB 288. The State House of Representatives Labor & Commerce Committee will hold a Public Hearing on Friday, February 1st at 3:00 pm. You can testify at your local Legislative Information Office (LIO). (See Talking Points below.) For a directory of Legislative Information Offices in Alaska, go to:

  1. Please forward this action alert on to other Alaskan residents – Thank you!

How Can I Learn More About HB 288?

Please contact Alan Parks in AMCC’s Homer office at (907) 235-3826 or email:

Talking Points in Support of Net Metering Bill (HB 288)

Net metering is good for Alaska’s economy --

- It provides Alaskans, who want to lower their electric bills and conserve energy, incentive to install photovoltaic panels and small wind and water turbines.

- HB 288 will help produce jobs on the local level by creating a market for the manufacturing and servicing of these small-scale renewable energy systems.

- A household’s excess electricity will be bought by the local utility, so families will not have to install expensive battery storage systems, which will lower the pay-back time for their investment in renewable energy equipment.

Net metering is good for conservation --

- Renewable energy generation systems will help break Alaskans’ dependence on fossil fuels, add to the diversification of Alaska’s current energy portfolio, and help lessen the environmental footprint associated with electricity generation and consumption.

- By connecting small-scale renewable energy generation systems to the electricity grid, it will ensure that all of the energy produced by these systems will be used. Without net metering some of the excess energy would be wasted.

Net metering is also good for our public utilities --

- Net metering increases the energy in the power grid to keep up with demand during peak power-use times. For instance --Wind generators will provide power during the windy winter months, when the wind causes heat loss from buildings; however, that is the time when more power can be produced from wind generation.

- Although net metering may slightly reduce utility revenues, within HB 288 is a cap on the amount of renewable energy that can be generate by the consumer. This cap will minimize the financial loss to the utility while stimulating substantial growth in renewable energy use.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Letter to Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux from Sustainable Kodiak

January 21, 2008

Representative Gabrielle LeDoux

State Capitol, Room 412
Juneau, AK 99801-1182

Dear Representative LeDoux:

Thank you for your recent Letter to the Editor (January 18, 2008, Kodiak Daily Mirror.)

At a meeting held tonight, Sustainable Kodiak discussed your ideas pertaining to the State of Alaska budget surplus and your proposal to distribute this surplus to Alaskans in the form of a household heating expense (or similar) reimbursement program. Sustainable Kodiak is a local citizen’s group promoting energy efficiency and environmentally-sound practices for our island community. Our meetings are informal, public, and have been well-attended.

Your idea motivated us to engage in a group discussion about how this budget surplus could be distributed in a way that might bring about a change in the mindset of Alaskan consumers (and legislators), and a more long-term solution to rising energy costs.

In the interest of sustainability and respect to the environment, we recommend the use of this fund surplus to create an incentive program to encourage Alaskans to purchase energy efficient devices, install energy-saving home features, or buy an energy-efficient vehicle. Not only families and individuals but also landlords, businesses, schools and government agencies could be included in such a program.

The State of Alaska already has an insulation and energy-saving program for low-income households that has proved to be extremely cost effective for the state and for the consumer. Wider dissemination of already developed information and ‘how-to’ directions could be accomplished at very low cost using agencies already set up to do this. Rebates or vouchers for materials and/or installation could put surplus fund money to work at the root of the energy problem.

As you mentioned in your letter, the details of such a program would need to be worked out, but this idea could bring us one step closer to reducing our problematic dependence on expensive and depleting petroleum resources. At a time when the world is learning about the urgency for change in human consumption of oil, we feel the program outlined above would offer a long-term and healthy mitigation for the present oil dilemma. In addition to saving money and petroleum, this program would also help alleviate climate change/global warming which is and will affect Alaskans severely. It is a win-win solution, and an excellent example for other states who might be considering similar rebates!

We thank you for your representation in Juneau, your dedication to Kodiak, and for your thoughtful consideration of our proposal. Please let us know if you and/or your staff would like to be added to our e-mail list to be informed of upcoming Sustainable Kodiak meetings. We would look forward to your participation.

With warm regards from your constituents and neighbors,

For Sustainable Kodiak,

Bridget Dodge

Donna Elizabeth Jones

Theresa Peterson

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Next Sustainable Kodiak Meeting

Sustainable Kodiak will be meeting on Monday evening,

January 21st, from 7:00 to 9:00,
at our NEW meeting location,
the Kodiak Refuge Visitor Center located downtown.

The meeting will focus on local recycling efforts and Rick Pillans with Threshhold Recycling will be joining us.

Please come and share idea's and learn how we all may facilitate recycling opportunity in our island home and work as a community to promote sustainable practices. If your interest group has a meeting, report or announcement, please send it to Theresa this weekend. Thanks!

For further information contact Theresa Peterson - 486-2991

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sustainable Kodiak on KMXT

Sustainable Kodiak has been on the local KMXT airwaves quite a bit recently: Theresa Peterson and Donna Jones spoke about the group with Lisa Polito on last Friday's Talk of the Rock, and a brief news item titled "Grass Roots Group Works for Sustainable Change" aired during the Morning Edition on Monday, January 14th. You can check out the interview by Casey Kelly here.

Monday, January 14, 2008

House Bills 288 and 308

From Hunter Berns:
Two bills have been introduced by Rep. Paul Seaton of Homer of which we should be aware and contact our venerable legislators in support. HB 288 is a net metering bill. It contains a buy-back and a credit provision for excess energy production. HB 308 is a "mixing zone" law (According to the DEC, a mixing zone is "The area where treated wastewater is authorized by DEC to mix with a water body") which requires the DEC to make available information on pollutants discharged into our waters, salty or fresh. Look below for full text, amendments, and to which committee it is assigned.

HB 288:
HB 302:

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sustainable Kodiak hosts UAF Energy Specialist Rich Seifert

Sustainable Kodiak will be partnering with Kodiak Community College for a series of presentations and workshops by UAF Cooperative Extension Service Professor Rich Seifert on a variety of energy topics.

Monday, February 4th
Peak Oil and Alaska
Guest speaker at Sustainable Kodiak meeting
Where: Rm. 106 Benny Benson Building, Kodiak College
When: 7:15-9 PM

Richard Seifert, UAF Professor and Energy specialist, will be the guest speaker for the Sustainable Kodiak meeting,talking about Peak Oil and how it effects Alaska. Discussion of coming changes, and how Alaskan communities might use their local resources to become more secure and sustainable, through knowledge, experience, and UAF Cooperative Extension information. Come on over and fasten your seat belts. The future is going to be an interesting ride.
Free and open to the public

Tuesday, February 5th
An Alaskan Specific Course on
"Integrating Solar Energy into your Alaskan Home"

Where: Rm. 129 Campus Center, Kodiak Community College
When: 6 PM to 10 PM
Course is taught by Professor Seifert and will cover solar photovoltaic (electric), solar hot water, and passive solar home design. Text is "A Solar Design Manual For Alaska" written by Seifert.

Space limited to first 25 attendees.
Fee: $10 (payable at the door).

Call 1 800 478-8324 to pre-register.

Wednesday, February 6th
Energy Saving and Home Retrofit

Where: Benny Benson Bldg., Room 106
When: 7:15 to 10:15 PM
Course will cover example home insulation upgrade projects and experience from weatherization on how to achieve a more affordable, comfortable home in the marine climate of Kodiak. Free manual included, but please pre-register in order to get a manual.
Call 1 800 478-8324 to reserve a place and manual.


Rich Seifert Professor, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Energy
and Housing has been the Cooperative Extension Service "Energy guy" at UAF
in Fairbanks for 26 years. He has a Bachelor's degree in Physics from
West Chester State University in Pennsylvania, and a Master's Degree
in Engineering Physics from the University of Alaska. He has lived in
Fairbanks 37 years, save for one year (1985-86) when he was a
Fulbright Scholar at the Technical University of Norway, in Trondheim
Norway. Seifert is the author of "A Solar Design Manual for Alaska"
which he uses as a text for an Introductory course to integrate solar
design into homes for Alaskans. He has authored numerous articles and
two books on cold climate homebuilding. He teaches public seminars for
adults, mainly on the topic of Cold and Marine Climate Homebuilding
techniques and renewable energy use for prospective homeowners. He has
authored numerous technical and public information papers and
pamphlets on housing issues, indoor air quality, radon, renewable
energy and sustainable building design. He recently has become very
interested in building a " Sustainable Alaska" and that drives much of
his educational outreach.

North Star Safe Access Meetings

Two more meetings for the North Star Safe Access Project:
January 24th, 2008

Safety Access Meeting
10:00 AM-Noon
North Star Elementary Library

Purpose: To outline and prioritize goals and objectives for North Star Safe Access; create timeline for implementation; define role of organizations, agencies and programs; identify Monies and its uses; and identify other grant opportunities, if needed.

  • Opening Remarks: by Lisa Holzapfel, NPS-Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, Alaska Region by conference callTime: 15 mins max.
  • Safe Routes to Schools: by Steven Soenksen, DOT Safe Routes to Schools Coordinator. Time: 15 mins max.
  • Work Session: See purpose above.
Evening community presentation: Safe Routes to Schools.
Steven Soenksen, AK State DOT Safe Routes to Schools Coordinator.
7:00 PM
North Star Elementary School Library

Agenda: What is the Safe Routes to School Program? How does this program affect Kodiak?
Available grants, purpose, and application process.

What is eaten in one week...

This is an interesting photo comparison of what different families eat around the world in one week. (forwarded email from Theresa) There are two photo essay books available in the college library that follow a similar theme, one about food, the other about material possessions (Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, and Material World: A Global Family Portrait).

Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna
Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27

Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo
Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53

Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55

Bhutan : The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village
Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03

Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11

United States: The Revis family of North Carolina
Food expenditure for one week $341.98

Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07

Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

First Sustainable Kodiak Meeting 2008

Happy New Year!
There will be a Sustainable Kodiak meeting
Thursday, January 10, 2008
7 pm
Fisherman's Hall
Main guest speaker of the evening is Linda Freed, City Manager of Kodiak
Linda would like to discuss plans for the ferry dock and will be available for questions.
Hope to see you there!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Impressive Fairbanks Energy Plan

The Interior Issues Council has been working on a sustainable
and transitional energy plan for Fairbanks and the railbelt for a while
now. This is their quite worthy product.

The Cost of Energy Taskforce is happy to announce that the Fairbanks Energy
Plan is complete and has been placed on the FEDCO website at Please forward
this notice to others who may have an interest in the cost of energy or more
importantly those who would like to help improve the cost of energy

If you only have fifteen seconds, look at the first two pages. The first
page, listed below for convenience, shows the objectives that can be
achieved through implementation of the Fairbanks Energy Plan as shown in
pictorial summary on the second page.
Page 1: Achievable Objectives of the Fairbanks Energy Plan

Fairbanks Energy Vision Statement:
Be the World Leader in Responsible Energy Use and Supply.

Achievable Objectives under the Fairbanks Energy Strategic Business Plan:
1. Be energy self-sufficient.
2. Reduce Interior Alaska yearly energy costs by $100,000,000.
3. Reduce carbon dioxide emissions to zero.
4. Reduce sulfur emissions to near zero.
5. Reduce heavy metal emissions to near zero.
6. Reduce airborne Particulate Matter (PM2.5) to near zero.
7. Utilize tainted water from TAPS and municipal wastewater.
8. Replace base load aging electric generation for 100 years plus.
9. Diversify the Alaskan economic base.
10. Create economic en ergy, but use it wisely.
11. Grow a culture of energy use awareness and responsibility.
12. Create local jobs in both the supply and responsible use of energy.
13. Grow the local economy through construction and beyond.
14. Enhance partnership with UAF research to resolve local energy issues.
15. Build opportunities for the education and wise use of energy.
16. Invest in long term Alaskan infrastructure.
17. Ensure local control of Alaskan energy businesses.
18. Supply energy products for existing homes and vehicles.
19. Retain wealth in Interior Alaska.
20. Increase disposable income.
21. Shift from non-renewable fuels to sustainable local fuels.
22. Use carbon-neutral fuels rather than using sequestration.
23. Provide a robust vision for all plausible futures.
24. Provide a future for our children, grandchildren and great
25. Brand Fairbanks as: "The place to be, for energy".
The final narrative has been updated to include the final wording from the
Hydroelectric, Conservation/Efficiency Increases and Distributed Generation

Thank you to the entire taskforce for your persistence, sharing, wisdom,
respect, knowledge, open discussions, challenging of assumptions and working
together to resolve issues. This repor t is a tribute to your ability,
individually and as a group, to collectively capture the essence of creative
problem solving with a very diverse group. It has been my pleasure to work
with each and every one of you.

Happy New Year
Steven Haagenson, Chair
(907) 456-1178 home
(907) 460-7184 cell

Thanks to Susan Payne for sharing this!