Ken Ward

Ken Ward is a climate campaigner and carpenter whose work can be see here.

Wrecking Thanksgiving: Survey of 18 major environmental organizations finds total ignorance of climate science

Who wants to talk about climate on a holiday, especially Thanksgiving, when the spirit is generous and food inviting? Not me, I don’t generally volunteer to discuss the matter outside of activist circles; who wants to be a wet blanket, especially on a holiday? It is noteworthy, then, that climate was a topic of conversation this year among friends and family, for reasons I think appropriate to the occasion. The political reverberations of Hurricane Sandy, a new spate of media attention to climate, Bill McKibben’s galvanizing “Do The Math”/ 350.org tour and the promise of quick Congressional action are hopeful …

On neighbors & the speed of plasterers

On the wall of many offices of the Fund for Public Interest Research, a spinoff outfit of the state PIRGs which dominates the market for progressive door-to-door and telephone canvasses, there is a framed piece of paper in which I take inordinate pride. It is a blurry copy of a thirty year old mimeographed crew sheet; results of the first day of MASSPIRG’s 1980 summer canvass, the small seed from which the now giant beanstalk–sized Fund has grown. I field managed the crew that day, my first day canvassing. We were in Newton, Massachusetts talking about the Bottle Bill, unknowingly …

The Trouble with Tribbles

Grist columns have recently seen a new spate of climate obstructionism. Here’s DaveWR responding to a recent post … “I am old enough to firmly believe in climate change. I was born when the planet was just ending several warming decades which had followed several cooling decades, which were imbedded in the general warming which followed the Little Ice Age.”That comment managed to hijack an interesting back & forth commentary on the merits of comparing Abolition and climate action, leaving one regular Grist poster, “…puzzled by the tolerance shown towards trolls at Grist.” The old, foaming-at-the-mouth diatribes of climate denialists …

7 Steps + 3 to achieving a real climate deal

Geoffrey Lean is dead wrong, and here’s why

“So where do we go from here?” asks Geoffrey Lean. “How do we get from the … debacle of Copenhagen to a new and worthwhile climate treaty?” The question reminds me of the old Bert & I tale about the Maine farmer who, when asked by a motorist for directions to Millinocket, answers, “You cahn’t get theyah from heea.” Lean observes that “Rarely have such high hopes [for Copenhagen] been dashed so swiftly,” and says “the summit was only saved from total disaster by unprecedented negotiations between the leaders themselves.” I’m more inclined to see the unprecedented, last-minute, let’s-save-ourselves-from-complete-embarrassment negotiations …

2nd Annual JP Green House List

Top 10 worst Christmas gifts

The Jamaica Plain Green House today released its second annual list of “Top 10 Worst Christmas Gifts.” The list ranges from $2 stocking stuffers to baubles of the super-rich. JP Green House co-founder Ken Ward said, “These ten items achieved high scores on each of three criteria — profligate, unnecessary, and tasteless energy use — in our rigorous testing protocol.” Ward described the gift ranking methodology as “half an hour of random Googling around.” 1. Greenland Glacier Cruise, $5,247 for ocean view cabin“Greenland’s west coast has dozens of long, deep fjords, many with glaciers fed by the ice cap that …

Copenhagen changes the ground on which we stand

The moral equivalent of slavery

Abolitionists were considered outrageous in their day … and yet.Library of CongressThe problem with relying on World War II as the historical parallel for an energetic, last-minute drive by the U.S. to save the world from climate cataclysm, is that it depends on domestic climate impacts equivalent to Pearl Harbor to kick the whole thing off. I have argued that only such conditions–say, two Category 5 hurricanes passing over Florida in a single season–will be powerful enough to knock business-as-usual-thinking off kilter, and that U.S. environmentalists ought to prepare for rapid, non-linear action within chaotic social circumstances. The problem with …

Silver Lining Dept.

Three good things that might come from Copenhagen

Copenhagen was a disaster for anyone who anticipated actual progress toward a functional global solution. What was true on Thursday (‘Empty’ climate deal worse then no deal, says White House) went out the window Friday, and an event that was to crown ten years of international effort produced utterly useless language, unenthusiastically scrabbled together in hours by 5 out of 192 nations, and this coda to a pathetic half-effort got exactly one day of our President’s time. That’s worse than I expected, and I expected nothing (though I did hope that 350 ppm would be recognized as the benchmark for …

Forward Progress

Take a walk through the JP Green House [video]

JP Green House walk-through from Ken Ward on Vimeo. Walk through of JP Green House, by Ken Ward, co-founder, and Simon Hare & Declan Keefe of Placetailor, showing materials, design and construction techiques being used, aiming to meet passivhaus standards and meet negative, net carbon impact objective.

How a simple renovation turned into the "Big Dig" of rehabs

Home Economics of the JP Green House, Part 1

More work than anyone imagined — watch a slideshow of the project unfolding.Leise JonesIt is worth noting that the original JP Green House budget for the first year of the project was $25k. In retrospect, this was woefully inadequate, but by no means out of line with the four previous rehabs I had completed. We now project that total expenses for the first phase of the rehab, from purchase (July 2009) through occupancy (January 2010), will come in over $200k, a cost overrun of Big Dig proportions. Like the largest public works boondoggle in U.S. history, we seriously underestimated the …