A Twenty-First Century American Sacrifice Zone…


From TOMDISPATCH
Excerpt

[Available for rent at Mulligan Books… -DS]

The book itself is a unique all-American road trip, part riveting text by Hedges, part comics by Sacco.  It takes the reader through the most extreme “sacrifice zones” in a country that is slowly hollowing itself out.  In this excerpt, the two road warriors have made it to an area of West Virginia where coal mines, dangerous as they were, once supported town life, but more recently have either mechanized or closed down.  This particular community, Gary, West Virginia, writes Hedges, has “fallen into terminal decay.  There are today 861 people in Gary. There were 98,887 in McDowell County in 1950.  Today there are fewer than 23,000.  The countywide per capita average income is $12,585.  The median home value is $30,500.  Gary’s rutted streets are lined by empty clapboard houses with sagging roofs.”

Hedges himself has written a TomDispatch introduction to the excerpt, which follows…

A World of Hillbilly Heroin
The Hollowing Out of America, Up Close and Personal

During the two years Joe Sacco and I reported from the poorest pockets of the United States, areas that have been sacrificed before the altar of unfettered and unregulated capitalism, we found not only decayed and impoverished communities but shattered lives. There comes a moment when the pain and despair of constantly running into a huge wall, of realizing that there is no way out of poverty, crush human beings. Those who best managed to resist and bring some order to their lives almost always turned to religion and in that faith many found the power to resist and even rebel.

On the Pine Ridge Lakota reservation in South Dakota, where our book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt opens, and where the average male has a life expectancy of 48 years, the lowest in the western hemisphere outside of Haiti, those who endured the long night of oppression found solace in traditional sweat lodge rituals, the Lakota language and cosmology, and the powerful four-day Sun Dance which I attended, where dancers fast and make small flesh offerings.

In Camden, New Jersey, it was the power and cohesiveness of the African-American Church. 

Men Explain Things To Me…


From REBECCA SOLNIT
Best of Tom Dispatch

One evening over dinner, I began to joke, as I often had before, about writing an essay called “Men Explain Things to Me.” Every writer has a stable of ideas that never make it to the racetrack, and I’d been trotting this pony out recreationally every once in a while. My houseguest, the brilliant theorist and activist Marina Sitrin, insisted that I had to write it down because people like her younger sister Sam needed to read it. Young women needed to know that being belittled wasn’t the result of their own secret failings; it was the boring old gender wars. So lovely, immeasurably valuable Sam, this one always was for you in particular. It wanted to be written; it was restless for the racetrack; it galloped along once I sat down at the computer; and since Marina slept in later than me in those days, I served it for breakfast and sent it to Tom later that day.

That was April 2008 and it struck a chord.  It still seems to get reposted more than just about anything I’ve written at TomDispatch.com, and prompted some very funny letters to this site. None was more astonishing than the one from the Indianapolis man who wrote in to tell me that he had “never personally or professionally shortchanged a woman” and went on to berate me for not hanging out with “more regular guys or at least do a little homework first,” gave me some advice about how to run my life, and then commented on my “feelings of inferiority.” He thought that being patronized was an experience a woman chooses to, or could choose not to have — and so the fault was all mine. Life is short; I didn’t write back.

Young women subsequently added the word “mansplaining” to the lexicon. Though I hasten to add that the essay makes it clear mansplaining is not a universal flaw of the gender, just the intersection between overconfidence and cluelessness where some portion of that gender gets stuck.

The battle for women to be treated like human beings with rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of involvement in cultural and political arenas continues, and it is sometimes a pretty grim battle. When I wrote the essay below, I surprised myself in seeing that what starts out as minor social misery can expand into violent silencing and even violent death. Last year’s Nobel Peace Prize went to women, two Liberians and a Yemeni, “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” Which is to say, that safety and full participation is only a goal…

Complete article here
~~

GMO Labeling Prop 37 Solution to Walmart’s Untested, Unlabeled, Toxin Spliced Corn…


From ZACK KALDVEER
Yes on 37 Right to Know Campaign

[We need Ukiah volunteers for Proposition 37, the Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods campaign that is on the November ballot. Are you interested or do you know anyone who might be interested in tabling at the Farmers Market or other fun events in town? Call today to help in our efforts to pass Proposition 37. We have the right to know what’s in our food. Biotech/Agribusiness is pouring tens of millions of dollars into the campaign to defeat labeling and to confuse the issue. We need you to talk to people and clarify the Proposition.  We will support you so you can talk comfortably about the issue. Please call or email now to help.  Join other local volunteers who have the same concerns as you do.

Please call Eileen Mitro at 707 234 0380 or email emitro@pacific.net]

As the summer winds down, family barbeques are in full swing and supermarkets are filled with shoppers searching for the right foods to grill up with friends and neighbors.

But do they really know what they’re buying? What they may not know is that Walmart has admitted it will soon start selling agrichemical giant Monsanto’s sweet corn, which has been genetically engineered with an insecticide inside it — not on the corn, but IN it.

Bt toxin works as an insecticide by disintegrating the lining of insects’ stomachs when they chomp on the corn.  So what is this doing to the bodies of adults or children who eat the corn? We don’t know.

The genetically engineered sweet corn, which has also been manipulated at the DNA level to withstand pesticides that are sprayed on it, has never been proven safe. The US Food and Drug Administration require no safety testing of genetically engineered foods.  No long-term health studies have been conducted, and no labeling will be provided to alert unsuspecting consumers exactly what they are eating.

Yet there are studies showing there is reason for concern. For example, a 2009 study in the International Journal of Biological Sciences linked Monsanto’s genetically modified corn to kidney and liver damage in rats.

Heart Surgeon Speaks Out On What Really Causes Heart Disease…


From DR. DWIGHT LUNDELL
PreventDisease

We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong. So, here it is. I freely admit to being wrong. As a heart surgeon with 25 years experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries, today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact.

I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labelled “opinion makers.” Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol.

The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.

It Is Not Working!

These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated.

The long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences.

Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before.

Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. These disorders are affecting younger and younger people in greater numbers every year.

Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes.

William Edelen: Physics and Mystics…


From WILLIAM EDELEN
The Contrary Minister
Toward the Mystery

“I believe in mystery and that also we experience some of the most beautiful things in life in a very primitive form. In relation to these mysteries I consider myself to be a spiritual man. He who cannot stand in wonder and awe before the Mystery is as good as dead.” -Albert Einstein

What few realize is that the most brilliant of our Nobel Prize winning physicists were also mystics. Their writings on this subject are the most beautiful I have ever read. Mysticism and Physics are fraternal twins.

Students of both believe in a mystical world view that embodies the world as spiritual and material; classifications of organic and inorganic, animate and inanimate are archaic and invalid.

One of the most treasured books in my library is Quantum Questions edited by Ken Wilber, “the mystical writings of the worlds greatest physicists”.

In Sir Arthur Eddington’s Defense of Mysticism he writes: “A defense of the mystic would run something like this. We have acknowledged

Why In The World Are They Spraying?


Thanks to ROSALIND PETERSON
California Skywatch
Redwood Valley

People around the world are noticing that our planet’s weather is dramatically changing. They are also beginning to notice the long lingering trails left behind airplanes that have lead millions to accept the reality of chemtrail/geoengineering programs. Could there be a connection between the trails and our severe weather? While there are many agendas associated with these damaging programs, evidence is now abundant which proves that geoengineering can be used to control weather. In this documentary you will learn how the aerosols being sprayed into our sky are used in conjunction with other technologies to control our weather. While geoengineers maintain that their models are only for the mitigation of global warming, it is now clear that they can be used as a way to consolidate an enormous amount of both monetary and political power into the hands of a few by the leverage that weather control gives certain corporations over the Earth’s natural systems. This, of course, is being done at the expense of every living thing on the planet.
~~

5 Ways Privatization Is Ruining America…


From PAUL BUCHHEIT
AlterNet

We spend lifetimes developing community assets, then give them away to a corporation for lifetimes to come.

A grand delusion has been planted in the minds of Americans, that privately run systems are more efficient and less costly than those in the public sector. Most of the evidence points the other way. Private initiatives generally produce mediocre or substandard results while experiencing the usual travails of unregulated capitalism — higher prices, limited services, and lower wages for all but a few ‘entrepreneurs.’

With perverse irony, the corruption and incompetence of private industry has actually furthered the cause of privatization, as the collapse of the financial markets has deprived state and local governments of necessary public funding, leading to an even greater call for private development.

As aptly expressed by a finance company chairman in 2008

Todd Walton: Civil War


From TODD WALTON
Under The Table
Mendocino

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” Abraham Lincoln

I was on the phone with my old pal John Grimes, a cartoonist with funny and provocative insights about American society, and John said, “It’s 1850 all over again. The nation is as deeply divided as we were right before the Civil War.”

My initial reaction was to agree with John—visions of red states versus blue states dancing in my head—but the more I thought about his idea, the more I disagreed. I don’t think America is divided, except that six people with my last name (no relations) have more money than forty-two per cent of all the people in America.

Tom Morello: Paul Ryan Is the Embodiment of the Machine Our Music Rages Against…


From TOM MORELLO
Rolling Stone

Last week, Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan, the Republican architect of Congress’s radical right-wing budget plan, as his running mate. Ryan has previously cited Rage Against the Machine as one of his favorite bands. Rage guitarist Tom Morello responds in this exclusive op-ed.

Paul Ryan’s love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades. Charles Manson loved the Beatles but didn’t understand them. Governor Chris Christie loves Bruce Springsteen but doesn’t understand him. And Paul Ryan is clueless about his favorite band, Rage Against the Machine.

Ryan claims that he likes Rage’s sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don’t care for Paul Ryan’s sound or his lyrics. He can like whatever bands he wants, but

Paul Ryan Is Your Annoying Libertarian Ex-Boyfriend…


From ANN FRIEDMAN
NYMag

In the dating world, an infatuation with Ayn Rand is a red flag. You might not see it right away: Your date is probably conventionally attractive, decidedly wealthy, and doesn’t really talk politics. But then you get back to his apartment, set your bag down on his glass-topped coffee table, give his bookshelf the once-over — and find it lined with Ayn Rand.

You think back to your conversation at the bar: He treated flirtation like a conquest, a rationally self-interested sexual manifest destiny. He had some dumb pickup-artist questions and maybe a questionable accessory (a cravat? a fedora? a weird pinky ring?) but you overlooked these things, because he was quite charming.

But that dog-eared copy of Atlas Shrugged tells you everything you need to know. He sees himself as an objective iconoclast. He’s unapologetically selfish, because it’s only rational

On 77th Birthday, Social Security Under Attack…


From BERNIE SANDERS

We are now in the midst of the fiercest and best-financed attack against Social Security in our lifetimes.

Instead of getting a birthday celebration for its wild success, Social Security is under direct by the nation’s wealthiest individuals.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are now being spent to destroy Social Security and endanger the well-being of millions of Americans. We must not allow that effort to succeed.

In the years since President Franklin Roosevelt signed Social Security into law on August 14, 1935, the retirement program has been one of the nation’s most successful anti-poverty programs. Before Social Security existed, about half of America’s senior citizens lived in poverty. Today, less than 10 percent live in poverty. Since its inception some 77 years ago, through good economic times and bad, Social Security has paid out every penny owed

The Beat Generation in San Francisco…


From CITY LIGHTS BOOKS

The Beat Generation in San Francisco is a blow-by-blow unearthing of the places where the Beat writers first came to full bloom: the flat where Ginsberg wrote “Howl;” Gary Snyder’s zen cottage in Berkeley; the ghostly railroad yards where Kerouac and Cassady toiled; the pads where Jack & Neal & Carolyn lived; Ferlinghetti’s favorite haunts. This meticulous guide also brings to light never-before-heard stories about Corso, Bob Kaufman, DiPrima, Kyger, Lamantia and other West Coast Beats. A entertaining read as well as a practical walking (and driving) tour that covers the entire Bay Area. With an introduction by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

There’s no other spot in San Francisco that embodies the beatific fifty-year history of the Beat Generation better than City Lights Books, still at 261 Columbus Avenue, in the heart

Gene Logsdon: Feeding The Buzzards


From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer

Walking over the brow of a hill in my pasture, I came upon the most ghastly, heart-stopping sight I’ve ever seen on the farm, or anywhere else for that matter. Perched on six fence posts in a row were six turkey vultures, alias Cathartis aura, or what we call buzzards. What made the scene so awesome was that when the big birds saw me, they raised their wings above their heads, as if preparing to launch into the air, but then just remained motionless. Each set of those wings spans some six feet from tip to tip, making the birds look bigger than eagles, bigger than condors, bigger to my startled eyes than Boeing 707s. Think of the mythical Thunderbird of American Indian folklore. Now think of six of them in a row at eye level, transfixing you with beady stares from stony eyes set in flaming red heads, surrounded by black feathers of doom. Adding to the ghoulish scene were more buzzards on the ground

The Heretic…


From TIM DOODY
The Morning News

For decades, the U.S. government banned medical studies of the effects of LSD. But for one longtime, elite researcher, the promise of mind-blowing revelations was just too tempting.

At 9:30 in the morning, an architect and three senior scientists—two from Stanford, the other from Hewlett-Packard—donned eyeshades and earphones, sank into comfy couches, and waited for their government-approved dose of LSD to kick in. From across the suite and with no small amount of anticipation, Dr. James Fadiman spun the knobs of an impeccable sound system and unleashed Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68.” Then he stood by, ready to ease any concerns or discomfort.

For this particular experiment, the couched volunteers had each brought along three highly technical problems from their respective fields that they’d been unable to solve for at least several months. In approximately two hours

Ryan — Just another right-wing, granny-starving, phony-balony hypocrite…


From CHARLES P. PIERCE
Esquire

I was struck by the revelation in yesterday’s paean to zombie-eyed granny-starving in the Times, that young, up-from-the-muddy-bootstraps Paul Ryan, the plucky burger-flippin’ success story from darkest Janesville, Wisconsin, had amassed a fortune of “between three and $7.7 million” without having held a more lucrative job than “Congressman” at any point in his adult life. Then, I noticed another item. Namely, that:

Mr. Ryan reported two tax-deferred college savings plans, with a combined value of between $150,000 and $300,000. He also reported two investment partnerships worth, in total, between $350,000 and $750,000, mostly containing shares of stock in well-known companies

Money Down a Rathole: College, Healthcare, Housing…


From CHARLES HUGH SMITH
of two minds . com

Households are dumping trillions in hard-earned income down ratholes with marginal returns: costly higher education, healthcare and housing.

What happens when households dump huge percentages of their stagnant incomes down marginal-return ratholes? They get less wealthy, which is exactly what we’re seeing. The average American household has been persuaded that pouring money into costly higher education, healthcare and housing are all “investments” that offer high yields.

Sadly, the opposite is true: the returns on these stupendously costly investments is marginal or negative. Let’s start with higher education, a topic I have discussed at length numerous times.

Paul Ryan’s Slasher Novel…


From MICHAEL KINSLEY
Politico

The fiscal savior of this country will be the person who persuades us to bite the bullet: Accept some pain now to remain prosperous later. That person will not be Rep. Paul Ryan.

The reviewers agree: The Path to Prosperity, aka the Republican budget proposal for 2012… by the House Budget Committee — which Ryan chairs — is one helluva read. To liberals, it’s the nightmare of a madman with an ax chasing you down a long hallway. To conservatives, it’s a sweet dream of wonderland, where angels dine on Heritage Foundation press releases. Right or wrong, it is said, Ryan has at last set the stage for an honest debate about government spending and the federal deficit.

But he hasn’t. The Path to Prosperity purports to be something that’s been missing since Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address in 1981. For 30 years, Republicans have demanded a balanced budget without producing one, even on paper. What would it look like?

Don Sanderson: Wandering, Wondering…


From DON SANDERSON
Hopland

“By themselves they won’t bring about the penetrating changes in human culture that we need for people to live in true harmony and balance with one another and the earth. The next great opening of an ecological worldview will have to be an internal one.” – activist ecologist John Milton, when referring to the usual approaches to dealing with our increasingly appalling  predicament

A cardboard box, perhaps 12” by 15”, 3” deep, lay in my mailbox. I’d expected a couple of books, but this? When it was opened, I discovered a thick volume stretch-wrapped and padded with foam bubbles.

Gina Covina: Repurposed plastic cups provide predator protection for pears…


20120809-154339.jpg

From GINA COVINA
Laughing Frog Farm
Laytonville

Thanks to Viva for the idea and Pour Girls for the cups. They can be re-used as many years as the plastic lasts — we’ll see. I just covered the pears I could reach without a ladder, leaving the treetop fruit for the neighborhood rowdies — who came by last night for the first party of the season. Raccoons by the look of it — small branches snapped, two dozen pears on the ground, some whole and others partly eaten — “Eeww that’s not sweet yet, try another.” No damage to the fruit in pear protectors. The raccoons went after the Red Bartlett first of course — not only is the fruit red from the start, attracting attention, but it’s also the earliest to ripen (maybe three weeks off).

I was thinking more of thwarting the ravens, who last year pecked into

e-Patriarchy: Does the internet promote misogynistic behavior?


From ALJAZEERA
The Stream

The internet offers anonymity, but it may not be a safe haven for women. A University of Maryland study found that when the gender of an online username looks female, they are 25 times more likely to experience harassment. A few have even described it as a “gang-rape” like mentality when referring to the extreme levels of online misogyny.

Some women have responded by creating women-friendly online enclaves and encouraging others to write or video blog about online harassment. Is it simply the anonymity that allows men to take such liberties or is it an extension of offline sentiment?

In this episode of The Stream, we speak to Helen Lewis (@helenlewis), deputy editor of the New Statesman, and Alice Marwick (@alicetiara), Assistant Professor at Fordham University…
~~

William Edelen: The Cosmic Dance


From WILLIAM EDELEN
Toward the Mystery

People often ask me “what are you?… what do you believe? Buddhist, Taoist, Christian… what?” In a joking mood I may tell them that I am a Druid, Taoist, Agnostic, Shaman.

But, when serious, I tell them I live within the historical stream of mysticism… and that world view, cosmology, or philosophy of life, is the same whether one lives in a Taoist society, Buddhist, Christian, or secular. With this consciousness, the ultimate reality (or God) is apprehended directly without any mediation. Subject and object become One in a timeless, spaceless act that is ineffable and gloriously joyful. Beauty and light and love are seen pervading the entire universe, including the individual self, now merged in Oneness with all creation. It is a “cosmic dance”.

The experience transcends the reach of any language. The Mystery is within us and every leaf, every atom, every molecule… with all. The universe is a totality and an interrelatedness of all things. For the cohesive Mystery within that totality, we use the word symbol “God”. It is creative love in a “cosmic dance”.

Many still want to apply the word symbol “God” to something “out there”, separate and distinct from us “down here” on this planet earth.

Todd Walton: Goff & Krishnamurti


From TODD WALTON
Under The Table
Mendocino

“Conventional education makes independent thinking almost impossible. Conformity leads to mediocrity. Conventional education puts an end to spontaneity and breeds fear.” Krishnamurti

I spent my two of years in college at the University of California, Santa Cruz from 1967 to 1969 when the school was considered an experimental college because professors were supposed to write evaluations of students rather than give grades, and students were invited to invent their own programs of independent study.

One guy in my dorm did an independent study entitled Surfing Poems. He went surfing for ten weeks and wrote poems about his experience. Another fellow (he loved to play his guitar in our resonant dorm bathroom) did an independent study entitled Songs From My Life for which he wrote three songs melodically indistinguishable from Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.

Will Parrish: 21st Century Timber Wars…


From WILL PARRISH
Ukiah
TheAVA

At Sierra Pacific Industries’ sawmill on the Samoa Peninsula, where the Mad River Slough meets Humboldt Bay, eight miles southwest of Arcata, logging trucks carrying redwoods and Doug firs roll through the entrance several hundred times a day during the summer months. The trees are felled on the company’s mountainous tracts off of the Trinity Highway, high above Willow Creek, as well as in other areas of Humboldt County, then hauled to the coastal mill to be refined into lumber for both housing and commercial construction.

Given the favorable weather and road conditions, timber companies cut at a frenzied pace in the dry season. The amount of cutting is particularly extravagant in the case of Sierra Pacific Industries, Goliath among California’s industrial timber giants.

The more than-a-century-year-old firm, which was founded in Humboldt, controls over two million acres, or more than two percent of all private land in California. That translates to greater than half of the state’s industrial timberland. The company is best known in recent years for clearcutting in the Sierra Nevada

To Mendocino Redwood Company and the Fisher Family: Stop the Use of Deadly Herbicides…


From ELAINE KALANTARIAN
Navarro

[Please see Will Parrish article Hack & Squirt: Herbicide Poisoning in Mendo — Parts One & Two — then please sign the petition here… ~EK]

We all have a right to clean air, water and soil. The Mendocino Redwood Company, owned by the billionaire Fisher family — owners and founders of The Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime and Athleta — currently applies TWO TONS of the highly concentrated, broad-spectrum herbicide imazapyr EVERY YEAR here in Mendocino County to kill tanoak, madrone and other hardwood trees that are not as commercially valuable as redwood and Douglas fir.

Tanoak, and other less lucrative hardwoods, are extremely valuable food source trees for wildlife, important succession trees for forest recovery after logging, and a valuable source for carbon-neutral heating: firewood. MRC claims it is not “cost-effective” to manually remove these unwanted trees and must use herbicides. They have determined

Unequal Protection — Chapter Fifteen: Unequal Taxes


From THOM HARTMANN
AlterNet

You must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessings. —President Andrew Jackson

It costs money to run a government, and the more you want the government to do, the more it usually costs. One point to consider is how much do we want our government to do? Another is, who should pay for it?

Tax policy is how government funds its services and also one way it fulfills the will of the people who elect it by providing tax incentives or disincentives for particular types of behaviors. Consider how home mortgage interest deductibility has fueled home buying, for example.

As we have seen, starting well before Santa Clara, some companies have worked hard to get out of paying for anything, including taxes. Some even spent years resisting paying taxes on land the government had given them for free; they then worked the issue to a ludicrous extent. The Santa Clara case involved going to the Supreme Court to fight a tax of one-tenth of 1 percent.

You and I could never afford

The Role of Public vs. Private is the Central Issue of This Campaign… [Update]


From GEORGE LAKOFF
The Little Blue Blog

[Update: Tell the House Democrats in ultra-safe districts who have stockpiled more than $63 million to start sending some of that money to progressive Democrats. This is how we win the House. See petition below… -DS]

Obama’s and Romney’s Opposed Visions for a Free America

America is divided about its future. Should it keep and expand the system that brought past opportunity, prosperity and freedom? Or should it dismantle that system?

President Obama recently reminded us that private life, private enterprise, and personal freedom depend on what the public provides.

“The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. (…) when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

Transition: How Communities Can Invest in Solar Power…


From SARAH LASKOW
Good

For many years, solar customers paid for their panels in the same way they might pay for a TV: upfront or in installments. But as the solar industry has grown, new opportunities for financing solar projects have emerging. Some draw lessons and inspiration from microfinance and peer-to-peer lending, making small-scale solar available to families and community organizations, like schools and nonprofits, that could not afford the purchase on their own.

Years ago, Dan Rosen tried to get solar panels installed on his high school and couldn’t find the financing. Now, Solar Mosaic, the Oakland-based company he cofounded, allows individual investors to fund just that sort of solar project. Investors can bankroll solar systems in increments of $100, represented as “tiles.” One of the company’s first big projects will power the Asian Resource Center, an Oakland community group. The project has 982 tiles, all of them funded.

The opportunity, as Rosen puts it

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