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Grow OrganicsThe House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a $76 billion Farm Bill at the end of July. In the bill’s current form less than 1% of the $76 billion in farm subsidies would go to organic farmers.

(To see the previous post on this bill visit this permalink. – Interested in who is getting all that money? We recommend you visit the Farm Subsidy Database.)

The Environmental Working Group’s Action Fund has created a petition asking Congress to include fair funding for organics in the Farm Bill. They aim to “level the playing field for organic farmers and expand access to safe, healthy organic food”. They’re seeking 30,000 signatures by July 15th, and, on July 17th, will deliver the petition to Congress to let them know that we want them to vote for organics.

This is important legislation and will have a large impact on organic farming. (Farm bills generally last 5 years.) It is especially significant to those farmers who are currently in the process of or considering transitioning to organic methods.

Please sign the petition! You can also help by spreading the word and inviting friends and family to sign as well. If so inclined, writing, e-mailing, or otherwise contacting your Congressman couldn’t hurt either!

buzz about the Farm Bill
Environmental Defense’s blog updates on the Farm Bill debates

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This Tuesday (June 19, 2007) Google announced that it awarded $1 million in grants and will be inviting applicants to apply for $10 million in funds to help develop plug-in type hybrid vehicles that get at least 70-100mpg. The grants are part of the RechargeIT Initiative being run by Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org.

The project aims to impact climate change (one of Google.org’s three primary goals) by aiding the development of hybrid vehicles which would reduce our dependency on oil, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and probably ultimately reduce consumers’ costs.

Google is seeking to accelerate not only the adoption of hybrid cars, but also the development and deployment of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies, which would help to stabilize the power grid. Basically, as such cars begin to use renewable sources of energy for power generation (such as solar energy), they will be able to sell back to power companies any excess electricity they produce, thus making the grid cleaner. Google is already implementing a solar program for its fleet of hybrids and planning to use it as a demonstration of the efficiency of such technology. Read more…

Two-thirds of global emissions come from energy consumption, therefore addressing the climate crisis requires radical changes in energy production. In the future, through V2G technology, fossil fuel consumption by vehicles and power plants may be significantly reduced or eliminated altogether. Such technology may solve the “problem” of, or significantly reduce the costs involved in, converting power plants to greener technologies. Read more…

Google will make a formal request for proposals (RFP) on their website later this summer for the $10 million worth of awards “for investment opportunities in companies and projects accelerating the commercialization of alternative transportation that reduces vehicle fossil fuel use and climate emissions”.

To see a list of recipients of the $1 million dollars in grants, go to http://www.google.org/recharge/partners.html.