The Foundation for the Research & Utilization of
Emerging Technologies for Energy Independence & Sustainable Living
Who We Are:
The GreenTransitions Foundation is dedicated to the study of emerging technologies that can help us tread more lightly on this planet,
and the way political policies impact our ability to do so, in essence, a sustainability think tank.
From these studies we will be implementing designs as small experimental homesites that will be lived in and evaluated
for their role as part of a sustainable living philosophy. In addition, work within the larger (local) community will be undertaken to evaluate how such
findings can be applied to the larger world. The results will be reported here regularly and over the years in hopes that
what we learn may help others.
We have two primary goals:
- The study and report on technologies & policies that impact sustainable design and living.
- The integration of appropriate technologies & practices into projects involving businesses and experimental homesites and reporting on the results.
is located in Mendocino County, Northern California. Brian Corzilius
(electrical, software and chemical background)
and Candice Clayton
(botany and accounting background) head the group. We offer consulting services for corporations as well as smaller businesses and homesteads.
Drop us a line if you'd like to discuss how we can help you or to submit products for evaluation.
"The scarcest resource is not oil, metals, clean air, capital, labor, or technology.
It is our willingness to listen to each other and learn from each other
and to seek the truth rather than to seek to be right."
- Dr. Donella Meadows (1941-2001), founder of the
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability is the use of resources in a manner in which they can be replenished -- either naturally or by human intervention and management.
Put in another way, sustainability can be defined as being able to pass onto future generations the equivalent resources available to the present generation.
In our current view of the world, many of the resources we take for granted just aren't being used in a sustainable manner.
If we don't start becoming aware of this (depletion), humans as a species are in for dire changes in how we live and survive.
Some of the resources we are not managing well include:
- Water: Ever since the Romans invented sewers, we have used water as our waste carrier. Going further, bodies of water have been the
great dumping grounds for our garbage. With less than 1% of the planet's water potable (without special treatment), a crisis is brewing in who
will be able to afford access to clean water for survival. Interested in more? Look at the incidence of antidepressants, hormones and other
household chemicals in our water stores, alternative methods of sewage treatment and desalination plants (for converting salt water to potable water).
- Oil & Natural Gas: Ever since oil wells have been drilled, we have burned off natural gas as a waste product. Did you know this
country doesn't even have port facilities for the import of natural gas (pumping and compression, shipping, etc.)? And oil, well that is another story
-- we have a relatively small percentage of the world's population yet we consume over 25% of the world's supply; and it is known that our world's oil
supplies will be depleted within the next decade. More importantly, most people do not realize how important oil is as a basic material for the
creation of fertilizers, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, plastics, etc. -- fueling our individual vehicles is most people's first concern. Are products like biodiesel and ethanol a solution?
Read the alert regarding soil below, not to mention that sustaining our current fuel consumption / driving practices could take critical food producing lands out
of production. And then there is hydrogen, which is promising but carries its own problems (costs, etc., see commentaries section) when viewed with our current level of energy consumption...
- Soil: Soil erosion, through factory farming practices, is leaving large plots of land vulnerable to wind erosion. Recent studies have shown
that soil is picked up by the wind and moved around the globe, often carrying harmful chemicals and organisms. Worse, these same farming practices are sterilizing
the soil and depleting the organic matter that is so important to plants and their associated living communities of beneficial organisms.
- Fisheries: Our fisheries are being depleted by the same syndrome that contributes so much to our willingness to pollute water -- we can't see what's in it or at the bottom.
We employ factory-like large scale fishing boats, in fleets, to strip fish faster than they can be replenished (and because we can't study them easily, we
don't even know they have been depleted until it is too late. We are fishing down the food web, removing the higher-order predatory fish and changing the whole food chain and
the dynamics of their environment. And fish farms are part of the problem. For every pound of salmon raised, 3lbs of fish (in the form of fish meal) are required!
[more? See July 2003 Scientific American, "Counting the Last Fish"]
- Genetic Diversity: How can we allow corporations to patent genetic modifications that include pesticide-like products and the blocking of reproduction (or the licensing of
seeds resulting), and then to force these not only on our own farmers but on third world countries that can barely afford to feed themselves? This is a crime potentially on
par with genocide! We need to celebrate the diversity of the plant species around us. For example the 400+ different kinds of potatoes
provide protection from potentially devastating blights such as that which caused the infamous Irish Famine. And that diversity needs to be maintained in seed stores
that are accessible to all who need them. Stop the corporate giants from forcing licensing of their patented, monoculture seeds to third world or small (non-factory) farmers!
- Deforestation: Deforestation represents a loss of species and species diversification, the loss of CO2 storehouses and the associated air purification, as well
as a changing of our climate overall due to the additional re-radiation of solar energy into the atmosphere. And all of this for short-term gain such as increased cattle grazing,
and occasionally, increased farmland. Brazil, for example, is currently challenging the US position as the number 1 soybean producer by destroying millions of hectares of Amazon forest.
The result will be a short-term gain as such forests, once removed, quickly lose their soil fertility; and they cannot be restored in our lifetime.
- Intelligence & Compassion: Just look at the political and corporate going ons about us! Policy needs to be crafted responsibly and not just for short-term benefit. And people need to
remember the founding principles of not only our constitution, but also Common Law and of most religious doctrines -- that of 'treating others as you would
wish them to treat you'.
Sustainability doesn't mean moving to the country and getting back to the land. Rather it is in the cities not the suburbs that we must look for solutions as our world population (and its appetite)
grows. This includes solutions for mass transit, resource-integrated and in-filled communities and the like. The country land must be preserved for farming and for the wildlife (corridors) and species diversity so critical
to our own survival. It is absurd that airable land is considered prime suburban building space (shouldn't zoning or building ordinances prevent this?) -- what will we do to feed ourselves in the future?
Sure, for many of us, buying property and building a homestead in the country is part of the dream we share to prove such can be done sustainably; but we need to share what we
learn in a meaningful way such that building codes (and people's thinking) change, that conventional practices are improved and that the world in general moves towards sustainable actions.
In short, economic localization.
Capitalism is the biggest threat to democracy AND to sustainable practices. We are increasingly run by special interest groups paid for by big business and the populace's concern go unheard.
It is important that we know the truth about the world around us -- politically, socially and economically -- so that each of us can balance the powers that shape our destiny and that of our planet's.
All too often topics such as the depletion of resources or the global climate changes are masked (or outright hidden), making consensual and sustainable changes difficult at best.
Read and understand what is happening in the world around you. Look beyond the conventional press. Speak out and let your opinion be heard. The practices of our Government and Corporate America today are the result of
too few people voicing their concerns (or voicing concerns simply for their own gain).
You can't disperse millions of years of solar energy, which have been saved in the earth
in the form of fossil fuels, back into the atmosphere in a short 150 year period and expect this would not have consequences.
James Kunstler, The Long Emergency
"Critical thought & radical dissent against the Authority created this nation.
Conformity did not."
"We must become the change we seek"
Resources to Start With:
Policy Issues, Resources & Sustainability Commentaries -- Environmental and Political Concerns, Commentaries on the Sustainability of this Planet with Respect to Human Actions.
(Energy) Technology Resources -- Organizations, Associations & Cooperatives; Commercial Companies; Reports, Papers & Do-it-Yourself.
Building & Homesite Resources -- Building Technologies, Land Care and Homesite Resources.
Plant, Herbal & Health Resources -- Health, Herbal, Gardening & Farming and Pest Management.
Misc. Papers -- Misc. papers, including community Energy & Economic Localization work.
A Plan for Sustainability:
Retired engineer John Howe has published the book The End of Fossil Energy and A Plan for Sustainability.
It is an inexpensive and re-distributable booklet that nicely summarizes the predicament we are in and gives a rationale plan for the future. Specifically a 5% energy reduction annually
over the next decade and a half. If we don't, oil will be completely depleted by 2025-2030 and we will have nothing on which to invent and produce post-petroleum energy, let alone to sustain
the world. I would highly recommend everyone getting a copy and sharing it with their friends and family. Remember, each of us has a role in shaping the future and the changes need to begin now...
McIntire Publishing/Energy - order here or write to Howe Engineering Company, PO Box 2038 Norway, ME 04268..
Hacienda del Sol Costa Rica EcoResort and research facility. Advising and design of alternative energy systems as well as sustainable building, waste and water systems. Project is in initial funding stages.
Skyview Research Facility Development of unimproved land for our research facility and a small homesite. Water and road system,
gray and black water handling, off-grid electrical and storage, ferrocement structures. Work initiated in November 2004, completion slated for 2008/9.
Photos provided here are to help illustrate processes involved.
Willits Economic LocaLization (WELL) Involvement in community inventory and post-petroleum planning. The primary goal is to determine current resource use
in a small community (energy, transportation, food, housing, etc.) and to then determine how that community can reduce its consumption and employ predominately
local resources. [Fall 2004 - 2006]
Mendocino County Energy Working Group (EWG). Energy task force for developing policy changes for the county's General Plan. The EWG is comprised
of energy-professionals from throughout the county representing different regions. A county-wide energy inventory was prepared,
including greenhouse gas emissions. Policy suggestions were formulated, including a policy on Intentional Farming Communities (clustered housing, multiple owners, etc.).
A final report was prepared containing the above as well as specific (by section) General Plan recommendations. (See Papers) [Fall 2006 - Summer 2007]
How You Can Help Us:
Let us know about technologies or policies that you feel impact sustainable living by emailing us at:
If you, or someone you know, needs custom electronics or software designed, relating to alternative/renewable energy,
think about contracting us through our sister site SIE Solutions.
Sponsors are needed! Alternative energy / sustainable product manufacturers and providers who need a test site
with constructive and extensive technical evaluation, please consider us. We are interested in evaluating fuel cells, flywheel storage systems, advanced PVs,
controllers and inverters, heat pumps, innovative building materials / techniques and the like. We would also like to evaluate remote internet access and
distribution services. Let us know what your needs are and let's come to a mutually-beneficial arrangement!
This website was created to share information I thought relevant to others interested in living more lightly,
and the philosophies and technologies that might help us get there. It is not meant to
be a comprehensive view of what is happening (or available) in this world, nor a doomsayer's prophecy;
but merely a starting place for ideas. In effect, it is my own 'idea folder',
and I hope others find information here that helps them in their own search for answers...
Some links & documents may be in PDF format which require Adobe's Acrobat Reader.
It may be downloaded by clicking below if you do not have it.
For questions or comments about this web site, send email to:
Copyright © 2003-2010 GreenTransitions. All rights reserved.
Information in this document is subject to change without
Last modified: February 21, 2010
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