Thursday, November 29, 2007

Creating Green Jobs

I read an exciting article today in this week's Time Magazine about a man named Van Jones with Green Vision. You can read the article at Bring Eco-Power to the People. Mr. Jones has started the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, which includes the section that really excites me: an organization training people to do Green Collar jobs, which you can read about in Green For All: Ella Baker Center Launches a Bold National Initiative as well as on the Green for All website.

What excites me is that some of the Green Collar jobs he's training people for are in solar panel installation. I picture a fantastic cooperation between Green for All and Citizenre, which (as you know if you've been reading my blog) is planning to rent solar panels to residential customers, so that everyone will be able to afford them without taking out a loan. Since there are already more than 25,6000 people signed up for these rental panels, there is a huge need for installers. I hope that Citizenre and Van Jones will quickly be able to find each other and figure this out!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

John Muir's Sunrise

  Originally uploaded by j.burgen.
This grand show is eternal.
It is always sunrise somewhere;
the dew is never all dried at once;
a shower is forever falling;
vapor is ever rising.

Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset,
eternal dawn and gloaming,
on sea and continents and islands,
each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.

- My First Summer in the Sierra, John Muir

(This was today's Sierra Club Daily Ray of Hope, a daily picture and sentiment using pictures users send in to the Daily Ray of Hope Group on Flickr. You can subscribe to the daily messages here. )

Something I love about this blog is the visitors list. I get visitors from all over the world, who are seeing the sun at all different times, and seem to be attracted to reading about the sun! Welcome to all of you! I'd love it if you would write a comment once in a while, so we can get in a discussion about some of these things!

Here are some of the places you all come from:

Argentina: Buenas Aires & Entre Rios
Australia: Sydney, New South Wales, Perth, Western Australia Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Brisbane, Queensland
Belgium: Lint, Antwerpen
: Fortaleza, Mato Grosso do Sul
: Rockland, Brampton, Richmond Hill, Guelph, Orono, Mississauga, Toronto & Hamilton, Ottawa, Ontario, Saint John, New Brunswick, Annapolis, Nova Scotia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Calgary, Canmore, Alberta
Denmark: Holstebro, Ringkobing, Hurup, Aalestrup, Viborg , Farsø, Nordjylland , Copenhagen,
Dominican Republic: Santo Domingo,
Germany : Mainz, Rheinland-Pfalz
India: Calcutta, West Bengal
Israel Jerusalem, Yerushalayim
Italy: Milan, Lombardia, Arzano, Campania
Malaysia: Petaling Jaya, Wilayah Persekutuan
Netherlands: Enschede, Overijssel, Den Haag, Zuid-Holland
Nigeria: Lagos  
Portugal: Carnaxide & Carcavelos, Lisboa , Vila Real
Romania: Cluj-Napoca, Cluj
Spain: Barcelona, Cataluna
: Malmö, Skåne Län, Fengersfors, Västra Gotaland
Taiwan: Taipei, T'ai-pei
United Kingdom: Thatcham, Berkshire, Guildford, Surrey, Cheltenham & Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Reigate, Surrey, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Stockport, Congleton, Cheshire, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Scotland

United States:
Sierra Vista, Phoenix & Flagstaff, Arizona,
Little Rock, Rogers, Arkansas,
Fresno, San Jose, Hayward, Fullerton, San Bernardino, Upland, Ojai, Berkeley, Lake Elsinore, Morro Bay, Piercy, Ontario, Petaluma, Montclair, Lancaster, El Cajon, Aliso Viejo, San Francisco, Rowland Heights, Reseda, Glendale, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego Willits, Hume, Temecula, West Covina, Squaw Valley & Modesto, California,
Denver, Fort Collins & Boulder, Colorado,
Hamden, Connecticut,
Dover, Delaware,
Fernandina Beach, Lake Placid, Hudson, Land O Lakes, Clearwater, Tampa & Sarasota, Florida,
Atlanta & Jonesboro, Georgia
Honolulu, Mililani & Kahului, Hawaii,
Boise, Idaho,
Tuscola & Chicago, Illinois,
Madison, Indiana
Atkins, Iowa,
Lexington, Nicholasville, Kentucky
Lake Charles, Louisiana,
Cape Elizabeth, Orono, Topsham, Morrill, Kennebunk, & Cumberland Center, Maine,
Gaithersburg, Silver Spring, Ellicott City, Bethesda & Burtonsville, Maryland,
Avon, Boston, Cambridge, Acton, Rowley, Haverhill, Tewksbury, West Roxbury & Waltham, Massachusetts,
Mikado, Walled Lake, Flat Rock & Brighton, Michigan,
Chaska & Minneapolis, Minnesota,
Saint Louis &Cape Girardeau, Missouri,
Clinton, Montana,
Garfield, Westville, Annandale, North Bergen, East Brunswick & Cherry Hill, New Jersey,
Nashua, Manchester & Claremont, New Hampshire,
Hempstead, Orangeburg, Ithaca, Merrick, Buffalo & Brooklyn, New York,
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Wilmington, Concord, Ashville, Raleigh & Fuquay Varina, North Carolina,
Fargo, North Dakota,
Columbus, Cincinnati, Ohio,
Norman, Oklahoma,
Portland, Oregon ,
Pittsburgh, Bartonsville, West Chester, Mercer, Reading, Kennett Square & Altoona, Pennsylvania,
Aiken, South Carolina
Redig, South Dakota,
Memphis, Knoxville, Johnson City, Maryville & Franklin, Tennessee,
Bedford, Houston, Austin, El Paso, Plano & McKinney, Texas,
Ludlow, Richmond, Jericho & Waterbury, Vermont,
Keezletown, Alexandria, Merrifield, Norfolk, Leesburg, Sterling, Radford & Suffolk, Virginia,
Mount Vernon, Bothell, Spokane, Seattle, Richland & Redmond, Washington
Washington, District of Columbia
Weirton, West Virginia
Waukesha, Kenosha & Mukwonago, Wisconsin
(I keep adding to the list - I think this is fascinating!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thinking of Going Solar? Consider Renting

Here is a great new article about the most recent developments with Citizenre, including a new time frame. We still have to wait about a year, but it looks like financing is soon in place!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Buy Nothing Day

Today is Buy Nothing Day. This means no grocery shopping, no tempting online offers and certainly no visits to the mall. Luckily there is lots of food left from our Thanksgiving dinner to tide us over food-wise!

This was today's editorial cartoon in the LA Times, with this text:

Today, no purchase necessary

A graphic Op-Ed honoring the Black Friday informal protest, Buy Nothing Day.
November 23, 2007

The day after Thanksgiving traditionally is the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States, but British designer Jonathan Barnbrook believes we should think twice about all that conspicuous consumption. We asked him to create a graphic Op-Ed in support of the annual informal protest known as Buy Nothing Day.
Click the image to view Barnbrook's graphic Op-Ed in a full-sized, enlargeable PDF so you can see all the details!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Sun


Photo by Bonbayel taken on the coast of Maine.

A poem by Mary Oliver

Have you ever seen
in your life
more wonderful

than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon

and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone--

Photo by Tate Web taken in Ireland.

and how it slides again
out of the blackness,
every morning,
on the other side of the world,

like a red flower
streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance--

and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love--
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure

that fills you,
as the sun
reaches out,
as it warms you

as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world--

or have you too
gone crazy
for power,
for things?

About Mary Oliver
This poem has been sent out to the staff at Citizenre. I thought you'd enjoy it, too!
Happy Thanksgiving for the Americans reading this today!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Renting Solar Panels in Brazil

Our wonderful idea of renting solar panels at about the price of the energy they replace is already being done. A guy named Fabio Rosa is renting panels to people in Brazil, who otherwise wouldn't have had a chance to get electricity, because they live too far from the grid. In this story by David Bornstein from 2003 Fabio Rosa: Making the Sun Shine for All you can read his very inspirational story. I was humbled to read that people were delighted to get a single panel (for about $10/mo) while our customers will need a large array to cover their own lifestyle needs.

While certain politicians here are dismissing solar as "too expensive" and instead promoting the oxymoron "clean coal" or nuclear power, maybe they should be aware that solar is incredibly cheap, and very much in use.

I have asked a couple of people to investigate the continuing story of Rabio Rosa, which I will add here when I get more.
In fact I Googled Fabio Rosa myself and came up with a number of links about him:

Monday, November 19, 2007

Solar for everyone - who has an unshaded roof

There's been quite a surge of new customers (as you can see, we're close to 25,500!)for Citizenre solar panels recently after we appeared on Ed Begley’s Living with Ed show (if you want to sign up, please use the link here in my blog instead of his, which will assign you to a random person.)

I've found a lot more possitive blogs and articles like these recently as well:The last blogger in her research (just Google "Citizenre") found a lot of negative griping. You have to move down to page 3 or 4 to get to the positive articles. If you check the date on the negative articles, you will find that most of them were last spring.

I’ve been with the company since January. In February, a disgruntled (but valued) Ecopreneur named Richard George (whose name appears often in skeptical articles) quit, apparentely because he wasn’t asked to be on the management team, or his expertise wasn't being paid for at least. He spread around a lot of untruthful rumors at the time, which were picked up by members of the solar industry, particularly a Vermont installer named Jeffrey Wolfe, who apparently feared our competition.

As far as I know we have been able to make peace with most of them since then. After all, we all have the common goal to get solar panels on as many roofs as possible – and there are enough for everyone! I always encourage people who can afford that extra mortgage to get their panels now. That will help the people on the waiting list get there faster. I've read from trusted sources that Citizenre may actually start installing before our factory is completed, since the interest and need is so great. I'll keep you posted.

A week ago I was helping my sister Lu at a green fair in Maine. Everyone we talked with was delighted with the concept and many signed up. (We hadn't anticipated the great interest, so we didn't have enough sign-up sheets, or there would have been even more!)

Solar is the way, and more and more people (besides the politicians) know it!

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Originally uploaded by bonbayel.
I didn't think I'd get to go to the beach on this trip to Maine, where I've been helping my almost 93-year old parents with Dad's Parkinson's. But one day, I discovered that my ability to be a caregiver had hit bottom and I needed to refill my resources.

I went for a wonderful, albeit cold, walk on the beach at Popham Fort, near Bath, Maine. If you click the picture, you can see what else I saw there before the sun went down.

I found a sea gull, some interesting ducks, patterns the waves had made on the sand, a couple of islands with a light house and a cottage, some fishermen, who said the fishing is about half of what it used to be, but a little better now that it's being managed, and an amazing lot of flowers.

The temperature was about 40, and I had neither hat, gloves, or warm socks, but it was exhilarating any way. I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Maine Gold

Originally uploaded by bonbayel.
When I arrived here in Falmouth a couple of weeks ago, the foliage in the sunshine was glorious. At the front, there was a particularly beautiful stand of green, gold and red. The weather was just as glorious - in the 70's with blue skies. But I was too busy to pull out my camera.

When I finally did, the skies were gray with impending rain. Although I took a few pictures in the gloom, when I got back to my computer, the 7-year-old camera refused to behave. So I made a rash decision to buy the 7-year newer version of the same, which is of course wonderful. But in the meantime, the rains had come and took some of the leaves that had been so glorious 2 days earlier.

If "Nature's first leaf is gold" according to Robert Frost, it's last leaf is often gold as well, and just as ephemeral. Most of the leaves now a week or so later are getting brown. I think we may have had a first frost, which is very late this year. It is much chillier now than before.

When my daughter visited last week, we decided to avail ourselves of the new outdoor pool here - with indoor entry. So we went swimming in Maine on October 30!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Clif Bars

Clif Bars
Originally uploaded by bonbayel.
Clif Bars has sent me a gift of a couple of boxes of bars as thanks for sending my report on revising the bar design. They arrived just on time to be able to give some to the 2 trick-or-treaters who showed up!

But this leaves me with a problem. I'd decided not to eat any more of their bars because the wrappers on not biodegradable. I think I have the solution to the problem:

I'm going to save all the wrappers and when I've eaten them all, I'll send them back to the company with thanks, and suggest that they recycle them!