Archive for Monday, June 4, 2007

Wakarusa Festival going ‘green’

Concert adding symposium to discuss importance of sustainability

June 4, 2007


Pete Ferrell is a wind farmer, not a guitar god.

Sustain us

Schedule of speakers at this year's "Sustainability Symposium" at the Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival:¢ 7:30 p.m. to 7:50 p.m. Friday at the Revival Tent: journalist Jeff Goodell, author of "Big Coal."¢ 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Prairie Stage: wind farmer Pete Ferrell.¢ 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Prairie Stage: Wes Jackson, founder of the Land Institute.¢ 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Saturday at the Prairie Stage: panel discussion.¢ 7:45 p.m. to 8:05 p.m. Saturday at the Revival Tent: Nic Thiesen, "sustainability specialist" for New Belgium Brewing Co.

But he hopes to energize the crowd this weekend at the Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival when he takes the stage to talk about sustainable power.

"I guess what I'm going to question the crowd about is 'where's your sense of outrage?'" said Ferrell, 52, a rancher who has wind turbines on his land in Beaumont, about 45 miles east of Wichita.

"I'm going to hit them with the hellfire and brimstone. : Carbon is the issue of our time. My whole thing is that we have an elegant and viable alternative. It just takes political and financial will."

Ferrell is one of a group of people scheduled to speak to Wakarusa concertgoers throughout the weekend as part of the festival's first "Sustainability Symposium."

Festival promoter Brett Mosiman said that adding speakers to the lineup was a natural next step, given the efforts to minimize the festival's environmental footprint.

"We want to be a beacon for information and education and discussion of these kinds of topics," Mosiman said.

From its start in 2004, the festival has had a recycling program. Last year, organizers began buying "green tags" to offset the energy they use and support development of renewable energy. This year, the festival is using biodiesel for generators, requiring vendors to use biodegradable utensils and plates, and trying to limit the use of bottled water by streamlining the water distribution system.

Other people scheduled to speak at the festival include Wes Jackson, founder of the Salina-based Land Institute, and journalist Jeff Goodell, author of the book "Big Coal," which the New York Times called a "compelling indictment of one of the country's biggest, most powerful and most antiquated industries."

The program includes a mix of paid speakers and others, such as Ferrell, who are speaking for free.

"We think that we're giving them a big platform to raise these issues," Mosiman said. "It's an audience that gets it."

The symposium is also sponsored by Lawrence-based Zephyr Energy and by New Belgium Brewing Co.


topflight 10 years, 6 months ago

Oh Yeah, I am pretty sure the Dope-arusa will be full of green this weekend.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 6 months ago

Excellent thinking. Now it's time for Lawrence to get on the same page and make our town a "green collar job" example. Let's bring in jobs that cannot be exported.

Bubbles 10 years, 6 months ago

green collar job?

Please name one of these jobs. Let me guess. Making Widgets?

Richard Heckler 10 years, 6 months ago

Green-Collar Legislation Being Developed

The shift from dirty energy sources (like oil and coal) toward cleaner energy sources (like solar, wind and plant-based fuel) will produce hundreds of thousands of new jobs. The work of retrofitting millions of buildings (so that they conserve energy) will produce still more jobs. And all of these jobs will be, by definition, impossible to outsource to other countries.

Congresswoman Solis mentioned legislation she is drafting, along with several other Members. The legislation will invest in green jobs as means to help workers and low-income people get in on the ground floor of this booming sector of the U.S. economy.

Her exciting, new proposal would give federal support to "green collar job training" programs, which would help give U.S. workers (and would-be workers) access to the skills they will need to compete in the new, green job market.

Washington, D.C. -- Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (CA-32), a Member of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, delivered the following statement during a Select Committee hearing about the opportunities green jobs will provide underserved communities.

"Yet as Silicon Valley advances, so should East Los Angeles. We must ensure both that workers are skilled on this new technology AND that this technology presents a pathway out of poverty for our nation's unskilled work force and underserved communities.

"I am proud that several of our communities have begun to prepare for this shift. For example, Rio Hondo College, which services students in my district, has partnered with American Honda Motor Co., John Deere and the Robert Bosch Corporation to establish an alternative fuels vocational technology training program.

"The City of Los Angeles Workforce Investment Board, the Community Development Department, and the Department of Water and Power studied which areas of the economy could provide opportunities for high quality jobs. They found the solar, wind and biomass sectors are great opportunities for employment. I am pleased that our witnesses today can attest to the impacts these programs have on workers and the role of the federal government.

"More than 13 million workers this year (one in 10 workers nationally) will seek assistance from an employee training program. This training can lead to self-sufficiency and prosperity through higher wages, access to benefits and more career choices. Programs which link green job training to underserved communities in both rural and urban communities present a golden opportunity to advance not only the energy security of our nation, but also the economic security of our families.


Mkh 10 years, 6 months ago

This is huge...and is really a prime example for other big events to minimize their fossil fuel consumption.

I have been down to the wind farm that Perrell owns land on, it's a great site that powers over 44,000 homes annually. The project consists of 100 wind turbines that only take up 2% of the land, the rest has been turned back into natural prairie for cattle.

Merrill is absolutely correct that Lawrence needs to be leading the way in "green collar jobs". There is no reason why Lawrence should not have several wind power companies based out of here. This is an important emerging industry that will provide many jobs and help our energy consumption problems at the same time.

Mkh 10 years, 6 months ago

I fail to understand your reasoning Reality Check, seems like you are a defeatist, not a realist. Since Lawrence doesn't lead the way in any industry then we should just give up and sit on our hands? This a pathetic excuse.

I suppose we just resort to leading the way in Walmarts per square mile. Are those the kind of jobs that Kansas workers might be qualified for?

lounger 10 years, 6 months ago

Right on -- spread the word and get the cobwebs out. New direction - smart thinking - goodbye to old school energy!!!

Ceallach 10 years, 6 months ago

"where's your sense of outrage?"

Interesting. Never really thought of the Wauky music festival where, admittedly, most people are there to relax and/or drink, and/or dope and/or listen to music, as an ideal venue to interact with their "outrage." Question . . if they indeed learn how to actively deal with said outrage . . will they even remember it when the festival is over?

maxcrabb 10 years, 6 months ago

Why is everyone so fixated on weed and wakarusa?

If weed was the hardest drug at that festival, cops wouldn't even bother going out there.

Last year at wakarusa (the year of the crackdown) i remember being offered cocaine, meth, speed, lsd, and home-made moonshine but never any weed. Christmas in June, anyone?

saraheckman 10 years, 6 months ago

Historically Kansas has been in the lead for many political issues. At the turn of the last century Kansas was considered a very radical state. So I would have to disagree that Kansas is the least "think outside the box state". Whether radicalism falls into the category of rural populists or religious fundamentalists Kansas has maintained a position that is usually different from the mainstream.

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