The light is returning

Happy Solstice and Happy Holidays, everyone! The light is returning now, and celebration of the changing seasons brings thoughts about transitions, and it also brings my friend Darcy’s Solstice 21 list.

cirquedupouletThe Solstice 21 List is kind of like New Year’s resolutions, but it has lower stakes and more options. Over the next two weeks when you have some reflection time, jot down a list of 21 wishes you have for the coming year.  These can be big wishes or small wishes (like learning 3 songs on the guitar) or abstract wishes (like being a better communicator) or very specific wishes that would relate only to you.  The spectrum can range from self-initiated things to “power of the universe” things that you hope will befall you in the next year.

gratitudeDon’t show your list to anyone.  Seal it up and put it in a special place that you won’t forget.  Then next year on solstice, open your list and see how you did.  It’s likely you forgot what some of them were, which can be both entertaining and a good reminder of what your hopes were a year ago and how they might have changed. It’s fun, and a unique way to celebrate the lovely glow of light returning to our lives, and a good way to think differently about our material culture. May your New Year be blessed with peace, gratitude and joy.

Header: Sheldon hut, Ruth Glacier, Denali

8th Biennial Emergy Research Conference


Prosperous Way Down Pre-conference

Wednesday January 15th, 2014, from 1 – 5 pm

Held at the H.T. Odum Center for Wetlands

University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

This pre-conference is loosely organized by Doctor Tom Abel and is free for 8th Biennial Emergy Research Conference attendees. Proposed topics below, other topics to be determined via self-organization of the discussion.

  • Presentation of systems diagrams to illustrate issues
  • Reports on descent-related conferences attended
  • Reports on ongoing initiatives on a prosperous way down (PWD)
  • Reports on strategies for teaching and communicating about PWD
  • Report community organization and action about PWD
  • Reporting research on PWD

Preliminary schedule for the 8th Biennial Emergy Conference is posted as a PDF here. It is not too late to escape the polar vortex and come to Florida to warm your toes and learn something new about environmental accounting and energy descent! Registration available here.


Emergy Accounting Summer School

International School on Emergy Accounting, Venice Italy, 17-21 June 2013

The International School on Emergy Accounting is organized by the Department of Molecular Sciences and Nanosystems together with the Department of Economics of Ca’ Foscari University, and in collaboration with Parthenope University of Naples. Aimed at building unifying perspectives for effective analysis of complex systems through the concept of Emergy, it is open to PhD and postdoctoral students. In particular, it will focus on the potential of emergy accounting in problems related to sustainability, offering a unique opportunity to merge scientific and economic aspects within research.


  • Francesco Gonella, Dept of Molecular Sciences and Nanosystems, Ca’ Foscari University, Italy
  • Sergio Ulgiati, Dept of Environmental Sciences, Parthenope University, Naples, Italy

Main lecturers:

  • Mark T. Brown, Dept of Environmental Engineering Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA
  • Sergio Ulgiati, Dept of Environmental Sciences, Parthenope University, Naples, Italy


Course Outline

Five day workshop stressing emergy concepts, theory, and principles. Each day is composed of 4 sessions, two in the morning and two in the afternoon. One or two sessions each day is devoted to a case study that includes “hands-on” computation of emergy or simulation of models to reinforce lecture material and extend understanding of systems concepts. Continue reading Emergy Accounting Summer School

Happy Holidays!

AlaskaNightNasaThe composite photos released by NASA of “earth at night” offer a portrait of how we have electrified much of the world when the sun goes down. Judging by the lights in Alaska, you might . . . .

Via a Fairbanks Daily News-Miner article, Dec 15, 2012. NASA photos show Alaska at night, highlighted by lights of Prudhoe Bay, demonstrating the big picture of man’s global energy use patterns. One can readily see that cities and other areas of dense urban occupation require intensive energy and materials use. Odum described the pattern of pulsing/resting pattern of land use over the aeons as a pattern similar to a Christmas tree, where cities appearing as tree lights wink on and off over time. As resources in one area are used up, the area is abandoned, and the land goes back to fallow rest. New areas of civilization spring up elsewhere, where resources are more readily available, as organisms seek better advantage in taking in more energy. Everything pulses, even the cosmos. Peak on earth, good will to men.  Continue reading Happy Holidays!

Science for peace

We all need breaks. I was short of sleep, exercise, and vitamin D. I’ll be back next week. In the meantime, in this season of peace and thanksgiving, here is a woman’s voice about the American military empire. War will be part of our future as we fight over resources, and the American military empire will fade. I hope that the wars will be of the sort that do not devastate the environment using our advanced technologies.  For example, the speaker omits the depleted uranium issues in Iraq and elsewhere. If we can delay these wars until we no longer have the power to splatter deadly toxins across the landscape or implode operational chemical and nuclear plants, then perhaps future generations will have a chance.

By way of XrayMike, this is the keynote speech from the June 2012 Science for Peace Annual Meeting, by H. Patricia Hynes titled Military Culture and Climate Change.

My Haiku

This week we give thanks for home and family. There is much to be thankful for. Instead of a serious post this week, let us entertain you with something lighter.

by Sesi

The author herself, Sesi.

Today I sniffed a
dog’s behind – I celebrate
By kissing your face.

I sound the alarm!
Paperboy – come to kill us!
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Mailman fiend – come to kill us!
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Garbage man – come to kill us!
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Neighbor’s cat – come to kill us!
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

How do I love thee?
The ways are numberless as
My hairs on the rug.

My human is home!
I am so ecstatic I
have made a puddle.

I hate my choke chain –
Look, world, how they strangle me!
Ack Ack Ack Ack Ack!