Notes from the Desk of a Radical Environmentalist Knitter

Have been researching all day, and need a break from it. A brief break, but a break nonetheless.

So what do I do when I need a break? I listen to Led Zeppelin. “Black Mountain Side,” baby!

You know what else I do? Knit and blog! I’m working on what I’ve called the “Cream Tangerine Bolero” on Ravelry. It’s this really cute, easy lace bolero. The edging is going to be in the orange I bought much excess of for a friend’s cowl, and most of the bolero will be in this cream color I found at a garage sale. They just happen to be of the same weights, so I’ll put the two together to create something awesome.

SoS continues to be awesome, though I have been less involved this week, as I’ve settled into my full-time research schedule. I’ve got involved with two of the action groups we’ve got going here in the Twin Cities – the Green Jobs group, and the Wind Energy group. Yesterday was the first meeting for the Wind Energy group, and it looks like we’ll have a really unique, interesting opportunity to work on a zoning proposal with ARISE.

Here’s a good quote from some ARISE literature that explains what they’re all about:

Together we can:

Re-tool industries to produce the products needed to stimulate and build a clean energy economy.

Re-connect our nation’s transit system by utilizing the freight rail for industrial transit and investing in inter-state commuter lines.

Re-wire our energy-sources so industries, homes, and everything in between are powered by carbon free energy.

Re-secure family sustaining manufacturing jobs while creating thousands more.

Re-localize our markets so communities profit from the work of their residents.

Re-unite our communities by advancing environmental justice and broad socio-economic and racial equity.

Re-Industrialize for a sustainable economy!

You can read the rest of the document here.

I’m a little frightened by all the zoning jargon, but there is a team of us that will be working through it together. Also, so much work has been done so far that right now it is plugging our vision into a model. I think that, working together, we’ll be able to do so much, and I really want this vision for the Ford plant to become a reality. It’s super cool – combining sustainable houses with new manufacturing jobs producing green products, in a plant that’s powered by renewable energy. And much, much more.

It’s about putting the rhetoric of green jobs into practice.

And the wind energy meeting is tomorrow. This group is in the very, very beginning stages. Hopefully we can work toward a vision for the future around wind energy by the end of the summer, and then continue to work together through the school year.

And now, I should really get going to the SoS potluck tonight. Good food, and some storytelling time tonight. My favorite!

Another post comin’ at cha tomorrow. Keep your eyelids peeled.


3 thoughts on “Notes from the Desk of a Radical Environmentalist Knitter

  1. Hey, can you fill me in on what you students are doing on wind energy stuff this summer? After coming back from Power Shift, I discussed some of the ideas I heard flying around with my boss, the CEO of National Wind; he seemed interested in getting our company involved (e.g. by facilitating your research), depending on what kinds of topics you’re addressing.

    • Woah – that’s fantastic! Yeah, of course I’ll keep you posted about what we’re up to. We’re still in the baby stages of maybe forming an organization/action around wind energy, but it would be really cool to sit down and talk with your boss about what still needs to be done (perhaps from a non-distributor end). Cool – thanks for commenting!

  2. Cool. Sorry for just getting back to you; I was expecting an email notification of a comment, but didn’t get one. Generally, we’re really looking to spread the good word of the wind energy. The macro-level economic and environmental benefits of wind energy development are well-documented by the private wind industry, the US government, and independent researchers. Many rural landowners, however, are experiencing growing anxiety about wind development, instigated and supported in part by testimonials from a small number of unhappy wind farmers widely available on the internet. The root of much of this anxiety is a fear of the unknown; with much uncertainty surrounding the facets of wind development, it is easy to be swayed by passionate video testimonial or a strongly worded letter to the editor.

    In that sense, I think PR might be a critical area of focus for SoS. Next Thursday (July 9) there is a meeting presented by the Southwest MN Initiative Foundation (SWIF) in Wanamingo (about an hour south of St Paul). Leading experts from wind development companies, the MN DNR, MN DoH, utilities, and landowners will deliver facts about wind development to rural landowners in SE MN. It might be interesting for the SoS wind energy team to attend. Email me for more details. National Wind is also working on a short video, hopefully with SWIF, in order to disseminate much of the same information presented at the July 9 meeting to landowners in a condensed form.

    Another area you might want to look into is community wind. Community wind economics will be discussed at the July 9 meeting, but generally the added benefits of community wind are not often discussed. If the SoS team wanted to compile all existing research on community wind economics and produce a comprehensive report, that would be very useful in promoting not just wind energy but wind energy that delivers the most economic benefits to rural communities. Again, National Wind would be happy to assist by providing examples of the compared economics of our large-scale community projects vs traditional large-scale wind developments. I could arrange for some student researchers to talk to our CEO, our VP of Project Finance, or one of our founders.

    We’re happy to support your research because the more information that’s out there on (community) wind, the better. If there’s someone better to talk to you specifically about the wind energy group within SoS please let me know. Shoot me an email at

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