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Native Energy and the Buffalo Commons
Alex Steffen, 5 Dec 03

Native Energy is working to build 150 megawatts of new wind farms on Native American reservations over the next five years. In the process they hope to create good jobs in some of the poorest places in North America while helping to birth a more sustainable energy base. Their first turbine has just gone up on the Rosebud Sioux rez. It's good work, about which you can hear more here and here.

The Great Plains' days as the breadbasket of America are drawing to a close. Climate change, soil erosion and depleted aquifers are combining with job loss and a steady out-migration (it is in some places possible to purchase entire empty small towns) to spell out a pretty ruined future for America's "great empty."

Or not. There is another possibility, the Buffalo Commons: bringing the buffalo herds and native grasslands back to the Great Plains, and managing them as a sustainable resource.

"The Buffalo Commons means the day when the fences come down. The buffalo will migrate freely across a restored sea of grass, like wild salmon flow from the rivers to the oceans and back. Settled areas can --like they do in Kenya-- fence the animals out, not fence them in."

Native Energy and the Buffalo Commons seem extremely compatible models. Imagine vast herds of buffalo once again roaming that sea of grass, under the slow-moving rotors of huge, silent windmills. It could happen.

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Comments

Ted Wolf sends this response about the Klamath Tribes' efforts to establish a sustainable forestry industry. Good article, worth a read:

http://www.tidepool.org/original_content.cfm?articleid=98011


Posted by: Alex Steffen on 5 Dec 03

Wonderful..Blue Wonderpebble at peace at last.
Pray for the day, dream into your life..
Pax Gaia


Posted by: jack bradin on 6 Dec 03



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