Category Archives: Advocacy

On the Level Blog on Temporary Hiatus to Fight ‘Smart’ Meters

Protest in Santa Cruz County in August that Shut Down PG&E's Smart Meter Program

As you may have noticed, I have had to take a break from regular posts on this blog, as we mobilize communities against our utility in California, PG&E, who are attempting  to force ‘smart’ gas and electric meters  on everyone’s home- with or without their permission.  Green on the surface, but rotten to the core, the more I’ve learned about this undemocratic program, and the dangers of wireless radiation, the more horrified I’ve become.  Now more than 25 local governments have formally objected to the program, yet the state allows PG&E to continue.  The worst part about it is that many of the approximately 3% of the population who are electro-hyper sensitive are being forced to leave their own homes, in some cases becoming refugees, living in their cars to avoid the emerging ubiquitous wireless radiation.

Climate change is an emergency.  But from where I’m sitting, the even greater emergency are some of the false solutions they are coming up with to ‘respond’ to the crisis.   Real solutions to climate change help re-localize, come from the grassroots, involve reduced consumption and foster stronger communities.   The ‘smart’ grid -as its being implemented- does none of these. There is more information and regular updates on the site I am running, http://stopsmartmeters.org.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to put a halt to the wireless smart meter assault and return to our regularly scheduled programming of anti-car righteousness.  I’m also pleased to announce that my Driven to Excess research is set to be published in the World Transport Policy and Practice Journal soon (social decay caused by motor traffic now in new improved statistically significant format!)

Thanks for bearing with me as we fight the machine.  Look out San Francisco, it’s on your doorstep!

Welcome to the machine

 

The Bike Song

Go Mark Ronson!  This is one cool video :)

PG&E Hiding From Smart Meter Protests

Fix Fell Demands Safe Streets as a Human Right

Stop PG&E’s Wireless Assault

I’ve settled down with my honey in the Santa Cruz Mountains now, and helped to start the Scotts Valley Neighbors Against Smart Meters (SVNASM).    We are a resident-led local organization fighting PG&E’s plans to force inaccurate, potentially health damaging meters onto the nice people of California. If you haven’t woken up to the health impacts of cell phones, wifi, and now smart meters, now is a good time to start asking questions.  I was truly appalled after reading the health studies over the past couple months.

On July 21st 2010, we successfully lobbied the Scotts Valley City Council to sign on to official petitions to the CPUC demanding a moratorium on the installation of smart meters.  Listening to reason and evidence, the City of Capitola joined us the following evening.

Around the state of CA, there is a growing rebellion against these plans that- for a $2.2 billion project- don’t seem to have been all that thought through.  We’ve been speaking out, highlighting the connection between SF’s recent cell phone radiation right to know law and the new wireless (not so) smart meters.  Some awkward truths coming out for sure.

Read about PG&E’s illegal activities in Scotts Valley and take action.   Come to the protest Aug. 12th 1pm at the CPUC in SF at Van Ness and McAllister.

Hollywood Exporting Car Dependence

The other day, my mom’s neighbor saw me arriving by bike from Marin County (about 60 miles away), and told me how impressed she was with the ‘sacrifice’ I was making by not driving.   I thanked her, and said that actually I quite enjoy riding my bike, as well as the relaxing time I spend on the ferry and the train, and that I was impressed with the sacrifice she was making by sitting in gridlock on the freeway every day on the way to work.  She laughed, and said, “I guess that’s another way of looking at it.”

The mainstream ‘way of looking at it’ did not come about by accident.  It is very much a manufactured perspective that dictates transportation social norms.  Where do these norms come from?   You might have guessed from the title of this post.

The details of this manipulation are described in the excellent article by Tom Vanderbilt that appeared on Slate.com last Friday about the way Hollywood depicts people who don’t drive.   It would be hard to overemphasize the power that films have over people’s style and behavior- not only in this country, but all over the world.  This fantasy image marketing has very real impacts in the real world as people choose to drive- not because it’s practical- but because they think it will get them laid.

Whether it’s a case of displaying what screenwriters and producers see around them every day in LA, or something more sinister (think about who profits if we drive more) there are layers of meaning behind the stereotypes of people who are car free.

Too bad for Hollywood- they will have to play catch up.   Cause this movement isn’t waiting for some navel gazing producer to catch on to the fact that bikes are hot shit these days…..

Brushfire Against Smart Meters Growing

Last week, we had a couple of victories as the cities of Scotts Valley and Capitola responded to growing public pressure, demanding that PG&E halt any further ‘smart’ meter installation until public hearings are held and investigations are completed.  This is a major setback for PG&E, who were hoping to roll out their ‘smart’ meter program as quickly as possible without the public realizing that they are putting our health and finances at risk by trying to save a few dollars using wifi instead of safer, more reliable fiber optic technology.

It is astounding how one of the largest rollouts of technology in history- a $2.2 billion dollar project- on our own homes no less- has been approved with virtually no public consultation- and barely any notification.  This is yet another example of the kind of false solution to climate change we’re seeing more of these days.  Some people are looking at climate change, and instead of seeing a watershed moment in human history where we need to re-assess our relationship with the natural world- moving beyond seeing it as an object to be exploited, and instead to a more reciprocal, respectful way of interaction, they are seeing an opportunity for profit.  I’m not against technology, but when governments and corporations offer up techno fixes for some of our most serious problems, we’ve got to be concerned.   Just look at MTBE, a poisonous chemical that was added to gasoline several years ago to prevent air pollution- well it seeped into the ground, poisoning our drinking water.   Catalytic converters have done a lot to reduce air pollution, but they have resulted in greater carbon emissions.

Many of these techno fixes are not solving problems– they’re just sweeping them under the rug.   The nice things about greenhouse gas emissions and EMF radiation- as far as the industry and the government is concerned- is that they are invisible.  People need to stand up and start resisting these attacks on our environment and health.   It’s the same thing that led to the BP spill.

It’s great to see growing resistance to the ‘smart’ meter installations, as shown in the video above.   People are beginning to realize the obvious truth- that the government is no longer looking out for our health and safety- they are only looking out to increase industry profits.

Caveat Emptor.