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Have you been thinking about putting solar panels on your home? Are you feeling the pressure to act soon, because the 30% federal tax credit is expiring at the end of 2016? Are you a little lost about where to start; how to get your home evaluated to see what will work in Michigan; wondering what suppliers and installers to trust? The Michigan Sierra Club has been woking on exactly these questions, and we’ve come up with some pretty good answers.

The Michigan Chapter is partnering with Michigan Solar Solutions, Solar Winds and McNaughton-McKay Electric Company to help Michigan Sierra Club members and supporters make their homes solar-powered!

The partnership means these carefully vetted, qualified, residential solar-power installers and providers of the highest quality solar products will help move you into the clean energy column. Sign up now to connect with Sierra Club’s partners who will evaluate your home’s solar power capabilities, help you identify financing, and install the solar power systems that work for your home.

In addition, the Michigan Chapter will receive a donation with each home installed, furthering our ability to protect our state’s environment. Michigan Sierra Club members and supporters who participate in the Sierra Club Solar Partnership will be able to work with our partners to choose from great packages or customized installations, including some discounted prices, for those who participate in the program.

“Sierra Club members have been among the most important advocates for clean energy in our state,” said Anne Woiwode, Michigan Chapter Conservation Director. “Now we are excited to offer our Sierra Club members and supporters a way to move their own homes towards that clean energy future as well!”

Fill out our Solar Partnership survey ( CLICK HERE FOR FORM ) to learn more about the Sierra Club Solar Partnership and whether your home is right for solar! Also look for announcements about upcoming Sierra Club meetings, webinars and additional information about the program.


Transition Ferndale regular meeting, 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 20, 2015, at the Ferndale Public Library, 222 E. 9 Mile, Ferndale, MI.

Ferndalian and new TimeBank member, Lucas Zdenek, a sawyer and certified permaculturist, will have 6 pickle barrels, fixtures and screening, to show us how he turns them into a rain barrels for only $40. He explains how they work, where to put them and how to maintain one. Each of the first 6 people who have the $40 to reimburse his costs can have one.

Open to the public, no admission charge. Light refreshments.

For more information, call Sherry A. Wells, 248-543-5297 day/eve/machine

Transition Ferndale regular meeting, 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 21, at the Ferndale Public Library, 222 E. 9 Mile, Ferndale, MI.

Ferndale Freecyclers and Ferndale Time Bank members will tell how you can benefit from and join the online Ferndale Freecycle, Ferndale TimeBank, and more. Ferndale Freecyclers will bring stuff or photos of stuff for you to reuse and keep from landfills. Ferndale TimeBankers will bring Offers and Requests to be exchanged. If this sounds at all interesting, please come to the event and find out more.

You may be able to get some stuff, get rid of some usable stuff, and find some help–all without money. We suspect a lot of what you need already exists in the local community. You might have some underused skills or just some free time, and simultaneously, could use some help around the house or garden, especially if the helpers have some skills that you need to learn. And of course, it’s not just stuff and help, but meeting people and finding out that you have the ability to contribute to building this community while you benefit from it.

Transition Ferndale is about building a sustainable local economy to replace the unreliable – some would say “failing” – money economy. Real wages have been stagnant for decades and have been declining at least since the financial crisis of 2008. That certainly makes the economy unreliable for the great majority who have experienced pay cuts, disappearing jobs, increasing burdens of debt, foreclosures and all the other disruptions of continuing hard times.

The event is free, open to the public. You need not be a member of Transition Ferndale, Ferndale Freecyclers, the Ferndale Time Bank or even a resident of Ferndale to attend. Some light refreshment will be available.

If you can’t attend but would like to know more, or simply have questions, reach Sherry A Wells at 248-543-5297 or

Today, I saw gasoline for sale in Royal Oak for just under $2 per gallon. The philosophically short-sighted (as opposed to physically near-sighted) see this price as completely discrediting the idea of peak oil.

Enjoy the low price while it lasts, because it won’t. As for discrediting peak oil, it does not. It’s exactly the sort of thing predicted by people who understand how peak oil works. That’s demonstrated by this cartoon, published in 2009 ( and worth repeating today:

slow crash 1

slow crash 2

Thanks to the Peak Oil group on Facebook for reminding me of this one.

Any comments?

It’s a longish video (1 hour, 41 minutes) available from Youtube:


Discussion following 4 short videos about Transition

7:00 pm Wednesday, November 19, 2014
at the Ferndale Public Library
222 East Nine Mile Road, Ferndale, MI

Free, open to the public
Light refreshments provided

Peak Oil, The Ultimate Challenge for Transition
Professor Susan Krumdieck, Oct, 2014 – 25 minutes

Post Carbon Society
Peak Oil interview with Richard Heinberg – 13 minutes

The Fracking Hoax
Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert – 13 minutes
(first half of the program)

Preparing for the Coming Economic Bust
Nicole Foss on Peak Moment TV – 26 minutes

77 minues of video total, plus a minute or two switching from one to the next. Academic ideas, finance and practical considerations for transition to a low-energy local economy. Watch one or all videos first at home if you want to prepare for discussion, or watch for the first time at the library.

This month’s Transition Ferndale meeting will be 7:00 pm Wednesday, October 15 at the Ferndale Library, 222 East Nine Mile Road, Ferndale, Michigan.

I’m sorry for the late announcement. It is certainly preferable to give people at least a week’s notice, and preferably two weeks’ notice. It’s been a busy month, and this meeting slipped up on me.

It will be less than three weeks to Election Day, so it would not be surprising if many people have some sort of political activity in mind. Transition Ferndale is not a political group. We won’t be pushing any candidates or ballot issues. As an organization we are more interested in changing the society locally and outside of the electoral process.

This month’s topic for consideration is “Deep Green Resistance” (DGR). It sounds powerful and dramatic and … deep. If you’re concerned about global warming and peak oil and a failing economy (and these three issues pretty well define the Transition movement), then the ieea of a deep green resistance sounds pretty appealling. Maybe we have some natural allies here.

Now, I personally do not think that’s the case. It’s not just that the Transition movement focuses on local actions, not national or international ones. It’s not just that that we try to include everyone in a non-political way, whereas DGR is more political and oppositional. It’s not even that we are basically non-violent whereas DGR is maybe not so much non-violent, depending on your definition of non-violence.

No, it’s mostly that the Transition movement focuses on how we can organize in a positive and adaptive fashion, with local resources, to create a resilient community. DGR, no matter how much it agrees with our starting premises, goes off in a different direction. We’ll see just how different.

We’ll be showing a video, a 2014 presentation from DGR, called “The False Solutions of Green Energy.”  It lasts just over an hour, which should leave us a fair amount of time to discuss their approach. It’s pretty clear, from what I’ve said above, that I do not agree with it, although I do agree with many of the criticisms they have of business as usual in our society.

As always, the meeting is free and open to the public. We’ll have some light refreshments available.

Art Myatt

For the Transition Ferndale meeting at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, September 17, 2014, we’re going to have Let’s Go Green, an environmental awareness presentation by Gerald Hasspacher,  sponsored by The Southeast Michigan Group of the Sierra Club. The meeting will be at the Ferndale Public Library, 222 East Nine Mile Road in Ferndale, MI.

The environment is the basis of the web of life. A healthy environment can only be assured through environmentally knowledgeable citizens acting responsibility.

The Sierra Club’s Let’s Go Green presentation defines current environmental issues and presents practical tips for individual action.

An alternative title for this presentation might be Climate Change and You, because climate change is the controversial, persistent and unavoidable environmental issue of our time. It includes acidification of the oceans, sea level rise flooding costal areas, uncontrolled feedback effects such as releases of methane making climate change faster and more extreme, droughts in regions we depend on for growing food, and more.

In part, the talk will cover a number of things we might do to lessen our personal contributions to climate change. Of course, if we could get everyone on earth to use energy more efficiently and generally to use less energy, then we could have the opposite feedback effect, making climate change slower and less extreme.

Topics in the presentation include:

  • The Sierra Club
  • Sustainability – reduce, reuse, recycle
  • Making energy – the old way and the new way
  • Greenhouse effect and climate change
  • Ocean water
  • Melting ice
  • Sea level rise
  • Transportation
  • Hybrids and real time traffic control
  • Bicycling
  • MI threatened and endangered species
  • MI native and invasive species
  • Bird-friendly glass
  • Trees
  • Earth Hour

Tips in the presentation include:

  • Water usage
  • Battery disposal
  • Paper usage
  • Cutting plastic bag usage
  • Choosing healthy foods

Gerald has given this presentation numerous times over the past couple of years, to a variety of schools and community groups. It covers a huge amount of ground in a short time, because the topic itself is huge. Even if you are already familiar with the subject, you can expect to learn something useful. And of course, there will be time for questions and discussion after the presentation.

The meeting is free and open to the public. You need not be a resident of Ferndale to attend. Some light refreshments will be provided. We’ll be using the projector and screen for the powerpoint part of the presentation.

Transition Voice (link on left) is having a contest in which it is possible to win a DVD of the new award-winning documentary Voices of Transition. The rules are simple: Answer, in 100 words or less, the question, “What does the transition to a fairer, post-oil economy look like for you?”

Well, I entered the following comment:

Transition happens when business as usual fails. There’s plenty of that already, with more to come. Even people who prefer lobster, asparagus, ice cream and macadamia nuts will barter for locally-grown potatoes when the gourmet grocer closes. Transitioning individuals and transition towns develop alternative sources of food, shelter and so on before they are forced, when necessary resources and skills are difficult to find. Transitioners focus on the peaceful and productive aspects of surviving collapse; survivalists on the less peaceful. Which will dominate depends on whether collapse is sudden and severe, or more gradual. Let’s hope for gradual.

[end contest entry]

If I happen to win, then we can see the video at an upcoming Transition Ferndale meeting. And of course, you can enter as well. Just go the the Transition Voice article ( and leave your own comment.

Art Myatt

For the regular August meeting of Transition Ferndale (7:00 pm on Wednesday, August 20 at the Ferndale Public Library, 222 E. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale, MI), we’ll be watching Chris Martenson’s “Accelerated Crash Course” video, and discussing it after the viewing. What’s it about? Well, it’s about the root causes of the prolonged economic crash we’ve been experiencing at least since the fall of 2008.

You can watch it at home before the meeting at, and decide if it’s something you would like to discuss, or of course, you can just come to the meeting and see it for the first time.

Sorry for the late announcement. I’ve been distracted. Like about half the people in this area, I’ve been dealing with a basement that contained close to a foot of backed-up sewage last Monday night. Now there are piles of carpeting, former furniture and bags of miscellaneous ruined stuff sitting at my curb, and a return to something like normal is at least a plausible future secnario.

Unfortunately for us all, the new normal includes more superstorms, more economic failure and generally more turmoil, as Chris’s video makes clear. To quote Mr. Martenson: “… the next twenty years are going to be completely unlike the past twenty years.”

The question for us is, “What should we be doing about it?” And that’s what we’ll be discussing.

Chris Martenson’s early career was that of a Wall Street whiz kid who made lots of money early in life. He learned, from this experience, that the ideas about economic growth he was expected to sell to his clients were deeply flawed; that there are physical and biological limits to growth on our finite planet, limits that must be ignored or denied in order to believe in continuing economic growth in the pattern of past economic growth.

It’s a different way of coming to pretty much the same conclusions as people who start out concerned about environmental degradation including climate change. It’s also very like conclusions reached by people who start out with concerns about the social and economic injustice of wars for oil. Because it is a different approach, those of us who start from a very different point of view than being a Wall Stree investor can learn from it.

It should be an interesting discussion. It’s free and open to the public. We’ll supply some light refreshments – not a good substitute for dinner, but enough to keep you going until you can get to a proper dinner.

Art Myatt