Posts tagged Frank Cicela

Rescuing a planet under stress

 

(Left to right) Erin Ely, Nancy Geiger, Bob Loyd and Frank Cicela. Photo from Clipper Windpower

(Left to right) Erin Ely, Nancy Geiger, Bob Loyd and Frank Cicela. Photo from Clipper Windpower

   Through a flood relief effort,  employees of Clipper Windpower have donated more than 750 “green” books to the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City public libraries.

   Clipper employees worldwide, including Clipper Turbine Works in Cedar Rapids, purchased T-shirts with taglines such as “Think Outside The Barrel” and “The Power Of Now” which contributed to the $8,000 in books donated.

    This is from Mary Gates, director of Global Communications at Clipper Windpower, Inc.:

     The book donation, which will jumpstart the library’s recovery, is a ‘green’ collection focused on various aspects of sustainable living. It replaces the collection lost during the disaster. Topics include gardening, permaculture, renewable energy, green building, ecology, culture, politics, community building, conservation, simple living, sustainable business, and a host of other subjects. The collection will include DVDs and audio CDs, as well as titles for young adults and children. 

    In making this donation possible, Clipper partnered with the Sustainable Living Coalition, a Iowa based non-profit organization dedicated to implementing innovative solutions for sustainable initiatives. In turn, the Sustainable Living Coalition secured discounted pricing from two book publishers – Chelsea Green and New Society Publishers – on more than 450 titles for the collection. 

    Among the more well-known titles is a book by Lester R. Brown called Plan B: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress & a Civilization in Trouble.  In his book, Brown outlines a stabilization plan for the climate without hampering economic progress. A few of the others are the Chelsea Green Guide to Composting, Going Solar, Forest Drinking Water and Lost Language of Plants

    The donation is among Clipper’s continuing Cedar Rapids flood relief efforts.  Just last year, Clipper matched funds raised by employees, and received donations from friends and suppliers totaling $175,000 in support of the company’s impacted employees and their families.

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Earth Day Every Day

 

Frank Cicela of Cedar Rapids gives daughter Mariana, 8, a lift, with daughter Elea, 13, by his side Saturday, April 11, 2009, during an Earth Month Wildflower Walk at Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center near Toddville.

Frank Cicela of Cedar Rapids gives daughter Mariana, 8, a lift, with daughter Elea, 13, by his side Saturday, April 11, 2009, during an Earth Month Wildflower Walk at Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center near Toddville.

Earth Day will be celebrated on Wednesday, April 22, but in Eastern Iowa, it’s more than just one day. Corridor Earth Project, a collaboration of about 20 organizations between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, has events scheduled throughout the month. The University of Iowa also has activities slated for the coming week.

 I already attended one Earth Day walk at Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center near Toddville. Despite finding just one flower in bloom — a dainty white bloodroot — it was a gorgeous day to be outdoors.  Conservation education specialist Gail Barels noted that two years ago “everything was up” and plants were blooming before mid-April. That was an early spring, she said, while this year appears to be a normal spring, if Iowa has such a thing.

   The Corridor Earth Project events can be found on its Web site at: www.corridorearthproject.com

 Following are the University of Iowa events:

 

Saturday, April 18

–The UI Green Summit will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Room W401 of the Pappajohn Business Building. The Green Summit is an academic conference created to empower student environmental leaders and equip them with practical social, scientific, political and business skills to put their passion into practice.

   The keynote address will be given by Iowa State Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, followed by forums featuring the following speakers: environmental planner Mike Berkshire; Alec B. Scranton, UI professor of chemical and biochemical engineering; Mark Kresowik of the Sierra Club; and Craig Just, coordinator of sustainability programs in the UI College of Engineering.

The day will continue with an interactive Expo of community organizations and progressive local projects. The Expo begins at 1 p.m. on the Pentacrest.

The Green Summit and Expo are free and open to the public, but registration for the summit is recommended at http://www.thegreensummit2009.com. For more information contact Abbie Gruwell at agruwell@gmail.com.

Sunday, April 19

–“Take Me to the River” Iowa Riverbank Cleanup, 1 to 4 p.m. Volunteers will clean up flood debris and develop the Iowa River portage trail. Participants should wear old clothes and sturdy shoes (no flip-flops) as work will be dirty and strenuous. Volunteers can park and meet at the Iowa City Peninsula Thornberry Off-Leash Dog Park lot, 1790 Canton St. off Foster Road, or on the Coralville side of the Iowa River near the pedestrian walkway adjacent the Iowa River Power Restaurant, 501 1st Ave.

The City of Iowa City, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Johnson County Conservation Board, and UI Civic Engagement Program are sponsoring this event.
For more information call 319-335-7589 or email
civic-engagement@uiowa.edu.

Monday, April 20

–The film “The 11th Hour,” narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, will be shown at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of Biology Building East.

Tuesday, April 21

–Pappajohn Business Building waste characterization audit, 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. at the Kautz Plaza, between Trowbridge and Calvin Halls. The Tippie College of Business has been a campus leader in sustainable practices. The waste audit will help identify areas for further improvements in recycling and reducing the environmental footprint of the Tippie College of Business.

The audit will be held in cooperation with the UI Office of Sustainability, City of Iowa City, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, City Carton Recycling, East Central Iowa Council of Governments, UI Facilities Management and other public and private agencies. The teams will work together to examine the composition of the college waste stream and provide baseline data needed for planning future reduction efforts. By identifying the amounts of key waste components, the UI can target specific recyclable products and the processes to divert them from the landfill.

UI geography student Eric Holthaus, a member of UI Environmental Coalition, will coordinate the project. Among the student organizations pledging support for this project are UI Student Government, the UI Environmental Coalition, the UI Public Interest Research Group, Engineers for a Sustainable World, and Future Physicians for the Environment.

–“Careers for Change” lecture, 4 p.m., in 1124 University Capitol Center (UCC) and a public lecture on climate change at 7 p.m. in 1117 (UCC). Both lectures are sponsored by the UI Center for Human Rights and will be given by energy and environmental lawyer Carrie La Seur, founder and president of Plains Justice, a Cedar Rapids-based public interest environmental law center that works for environmental justice.

— The film “Who Killed the Electric Car?” will be shown at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of Biology Building East.

Wednesday, April 22

–Bike to School Day and ice cream social, 1 to 5 p.m. on the Pentacrest. The UI Environmental Coalition and Office of Sustainability are hosting this event. World of Bikes will offer a free bike tune-up clinic, and Heyn’s Ice Cream and New Pioneer Coop will provide scoops of ice cream to bikers. The UI Touch the Earth program and Bicyclists of Iowa City club will share information on biking and outdoor trips. For more information contact Eric Holthaus at eric-holthaus@uiowa.edu or Katie Fassbinder at katie-fassbinder@uiowa.edu.

–The film “An Inconvenient Truth” narrated by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, will be shown at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of Biology Building East.

Thursday, April 23

–At 1:30 p.m., an open house at the UI Environmental Coalition Student Garden will include a visit from President Sally Mason. Students and the Office of Sustainability will showcase the new student demonstration garden, located off of Hawkeye Park Road near the Hawkeye Recreation and Tennis Complex.

–The film “The Future of Food,” will be shown at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of Biology Building East.

Friday, April 24

–Arbor Day tree planting by UI Landscape Services, 9 a.m. on the Pentacrest.

The UI is also encouraging students, faculty and staff to take the “Power Down for the Planet” pledge at http://www.powerdownfortheplanet.org. By signing the pledges, computer users agree to use their computer power management tools whenever possible and to look for Energy Star-qualified equipment when making purchases. The deadline to pledge is Friday, April 17. The UI and college campuses across the nation are taking part in this effort. At the end of the campaign, the university with the highest percentage of pledges wins the challenge. At the UI, the results will be announced by President Mason on April 23 during the student garden dedication event.

For a complete calendar of events during Earth Month visit http://energy.uiowa.edu

 

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Big Green Summer

Permaculture students take notes during a workshop this weekend at the Cedar Rapids home of Frank Cicela (walking in foreground.)

Half a picture-perfect weekend is better than none at all. Many gardeners undoubtedly took advantage of this weekend’s better half to work in their yards and gardens.

About 15 hardy souls spent the whole weekend at an urban permaculture workshop hosted by Frank Cicela at his Cedar Rapids home. Instructors from Big Green Summer in Fairfield taught about composting and other aspects of the sustainable system. In light of record crude oil prices and global food shortages, the workshop is one way Cicela hoped to make a difference at the local level.

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Urban permaculture in Cedar Rapids

A job at Clipper Wind brought Frank Cicela and his family to Cedar Rapids recently from Indiana. Wanting to meet some “kindred spirits,” Cicela decided to bring in a few experts to conduct a permaculture workshop at his new home in Cedar Rapids.

The workshop will be Saturday, May 3, and Sunday, May 4, at 3409 Seminole Valley Rd. NE.

Permaculture is the design of human habitats that have the stability, diversity and resilience of natural ecosystems. The multi-disciplinary approach integrates renewable energy systems, energy efficiency, agriculture and food systems, natural building, rainwater harvesting and urban planning, along with the economic, political and social policies that make sustainable living possible and practical.

This sustainability  allows people to begin taking food security and energy security into their own hands and into the hands of their community.

The focus of next weekend’s permaculture workshop will be on gardening. Part of the discussion will be how to garden in a three-dimensional zone, that is, using the space above, as well as the traditional design of a garden.

Quite a bit of work goes into starting such a garden, but once established, Cicela likened it to a “food forest,” that maintains itself. “Once it’s created, you just walk through and eat,” he said.  

The course – an intensive classroom and hands-on event – will be taught by three staff members of “Big Green Summer” from Fairfield.

Cicela said the workshop normally costs almost $200, plus a drive to Fairfield. This two-day course is $55 per person.

To see the schedule and register, go to: http://www.myearthwatchexperience.com/pcw/ or call (319) 832-1025.

 

 Michael Richards of Cedar Rapids, founder of  SUSTAINABLE ECOLOGICAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (S.E.E.D.) noted the following to take into consideration on the importance of urban permaculture:

 

– 95 percent of  the food on the shelves of Iowa grocery stores travels an average of 1000 miles to get to your table.

 

– A few decades ago, Iowa was close to total self-sufficiency in food supply.  Over the years, local creameries, canneries and meat processors all over Iowa have gone out of business in the “bigger is better” world of cheap energy.   

 – The opposite economic structure is now our present reality;  Energy is no longer cheap.

 So now what?      

 It is time to re-build Iowa’s local food production and local food distribution infrastructure.

 It makes no sense for the state that has the most fertile soil on earth to lack the ability to feed ourselves with local sources.

 Start in your own backyard with urban permaculture.

 We can all plant “Iowa Victory Gardens” to supply 10 to 20 percent of our household food needs in our own backyard or in neighborhood community gardens.   We can then gradually build back up the local food production and infrastructure throughout the State of Iowa to reclaim the economic foundation of a safe, healthy and abundant local food system.

 

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