In 1980, when Hurricane Bob ripped through Martha’s Vineyard, it tore down a big hickory tree alongside Humphrey’s Bakery in West Tisbury. We took the butt log, hauled it to our yard, and milled it into planks. Until a few months ago they sat on stickers somewhere deep in our wood storage building waiting for my son Pinto to make a rocking chair for me and my wife Chris.
I was meeting with some clients with whom we’ve had a long, ongoing relationship (designed and built their house, then an addition and a barn/garage, maintained both through the years) to review a just-completed inspection report. The house is 20 years old so we had produced a document outlining the major maintenance to come and predicting when various measures might make sense to do.
The house needs a new boiler, so it’s a good time to think hard about the best approach to heating and cooling for the next 20. It needs a new roof so it’s the one chance they’ll get (for decades) to add insulation under the roofing. Is it worth it? Is now the time to add a solar electric system to stabilize long-term energy costs? A detailed energy evaluation will determine the answers to these and other questions.
I love to buy books and read books. I don’t often use the library. I don’t own a Kindle. I buy books. But I’ve noticed that I end up reading only about two thirds of the books I buy. Not a good percentage. Each of those I don’t read wastes stuff: paper, ink, money, time, and space. I’d like to raise the percentage.
While the eyes of the world focus on Copenhagen, here at home on Martha’s Vineyard wind energy has been receiving a mighty dose of attention – more than ever before. Are we making progress? Maybe some. You be the judge.
Wind has been in the local news in four distinctly different regards at once: the release and reaction to the draft Massachusetts Oceans Management Plan, the public coming-out of a new organization called Vineyard Power, the continuing saga of Cape Wind, and the adoption of a new wind by-law in Aquinnah.
Before diving in, some context might be useful.
I’m still excited about the budding alliance between the United Steelworkers (USW) and the Mondragon Cooperatives – and the general awakening consciousness about worker co-operatives and co-operative business in general that I wrote about last month.
And there’s more.
My friend David Smathers of the TeamWorks Cooperative Network in California writes:
“The Mondragon cooperatives and the United Steelworkers have announced an historic partnership through which they will buy or start manufacturing businesses in the U.S. and Canada that will combine Mondragon’s democratic structure of ownership and governance with collective bargaining.
It will take many years to implement. But particularly in the face of the economic crisis that has exposed Wall Street’s failure to provide responsible stewardship of the economy, this is a very heartening development. Together, these two institutions have the resources, technical expertise, and vision to demonstrate to the public that it is possible to structure and run large corporations in entirely different ways than what we have become accustomed to.”