Initiatives to reduce the use of fossil fuels and preserve the planet are plentiful and are being accomplished in homes, places of worship and through various community endeavors. Enjoy your conversations and ideas for individual and/or mutual actions over a meal that might include a solar cooked dish or dishes.


Let the $un Shine
What do a synagogue, a dance center, and 500 strangers in 13 countries have in common? The answer might surprise you.

An Amazing Detective Story with Pulitzer Prize Winner Dan Fagin
How a group of determined citizens and scientists found the truth and prevented more.

Power to the People
Member-owned Kodiak Electric provides more power from renewable resources for less

Hatching Solutions
Kodiak Fishery works with nature to increase the salmon population without chemicals.

United for Life
How the citizens of Charleston came together to protect their most precious resource: water


Family, Friends, Green Energy knowledgeable folks from the local utility or community


At-Home setting; Picnic in Backyard or the Park; Faith Community Dining Area


Arrange Toy pinwheels and scatter among a string Coleman Green Lantern LED Lights in center of table ($17 at



  • This menu was served by village women in Zambia Africa to members of the Earth Charter US Board of Directors who were visiting Project COPE funded by ECUS to improve health in the village through improved sanitation, water purification and solar cooking. (
  • Isabi Lya Mutununu) Roast Mutununu Fish
  • Sampu–Bean Leaves in Groundnut Sauce
  • Solar Cooked English Cabbage with Tomatoes and Onions
  • Umusweswe Wa Kanyense with Musunso (Onion Sauce and cowpeas)
  • Nshima ( a staple of Zambians Meals made from Maize)

Modified recipes of the above dishes for USA at end of page following “Toast”

Solar Cooker Info: A lightweight, panel style solar cooker made of cardboard and foil that folds to 13”x13”x2” for convenient storage. $25. OR make your own solar cooker—it’s easy:

OR try a dish found on each of the video pages: Black Beans & Brown Rice with Garlicky Kale- Let the Sun Shine; Chile with Stew Beef & Black Beans-Power to the PeopleScones-United For LifeGrouper with Black Bean Puree-An Amazing Detective Story; or Slow Cooked Red Wine Lacquered Wild Salmon-Hatching Solutions.

Conversation Opener

Have you thought about or used your bike or public transportation to go to work, doctor’s office, school or some other destination not recreation oriented? Please share with your dinner-mates your experiences or ingenious ways that might entice you to do so such as having Angelina Jolie or Johnny Depp riding with you; hot fudge sundae breaks; or having the music of Yo Yo Ma, Jay Z, or Neil Diamond piped into your ears. Or on another topic perhaps closer to home, have you ever used condoms for a cause? Designed to hold up under deep drilling, 20% of the condoms’ proceeds go to the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund. Why or why not?

Questions to be Asked after a Glass of Wine

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, as of 2010 fossil fuels accounted for approximately 85% of the energy consumed in the United States. A 2008 report by the Stanford Graduate School of Business noted that, barring the discovery of new oil reserves, the world will exhaust its current supply of oil within 40 years.

  • Share whatever measures you have taken in your home, workplace or school to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

Food for Thought for Let the $un Shine Video:

  • If we only focus on the negative aspects of climate change, we will not get going or take action in the way we need to in order to address the problem.”  Agree, disagree? Please elaborate.
  • RE-volv focuses on raising funds for community organizations to both assist them in reducing their costs of operation and to raise the visibility of solar energy.  If you were going to do the same in your community, which organizations would you choose and why?
  •  Utility companies vary in how they work with people in their city to incentivize or compensate for solar or alternative energy usage.  How does it work in your community?
    • Several states, mostly in the Southeast, have tons of sun but rules to keep people from harnessing its power. While the precise rules vary from state to state, one explanation is the same: opposition from utilities grown nervous by the rapid encroachment of solar firms on their business.For example, The business models that have made solar systems financially viable for millions of homeowners in California, New England and elsewhere around the country are largely illegal in Florida, Virginia, South Carolina and some other Southern states. Companies that pioneered the industry, such as SolarCity Corp. and Sunrun Inc., do not even attempt to do business there.No Solar Allowed 
  • What are the policies and experience in your state? If your state is limiting the use and spread of solar, what can you do to change that?
  • Average installed residential and commercial photovoltaic system prices in California have fallen by 10% in the last year. National prices have also dropped steadily — by 8% from last year and 39% from 2010. Share information about your solar experiences and what solar financing policies and/or companies that you are familiar with.
  • Investing in RE-volv’s  Seeds’ funding program will make RE-volv and its good work sustainable over time.  Would you be interested in doing that or starting something similar in your community?
  • REvolv just launched a new program to empower college students to take action on climate change. Find out more at

Food for Thought Related to Power to the People Video:

  • Please share what you learned and how you might increase the use of alternative energy in your hometown.
  • Share your thoughts about Kodiak Electric surpassing its goal of 95% renewable power by 2020 by reaching 99%in 2014.
  • Jim points out that Kodiak Electric’s Cooperative’s leadership takes risks and provides the alternative energy vision.  How does that compare to the leadership of the energy company in your town?

Additional Information:

Not all rural electric coops are as strong about alternative energy as Kodiak’s. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association campaigned against the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent limit on carbon emission from new coal power plants.  To learn more and share your thoughts about the EPA’s limit on carbon emissions from new coal power plants

  • There are several ways to reduce energy costs in a city or region including solar investing cooperatives.

(;  municipally owned utility companies (   and wind farm cooperatives ( P

Food for THought related to United for Life Video:

  • The Charleston, WV contaminated water story has a beginning similar to Dan Fagin’s story in his 2014 Non-Fiction Pulitzer Prize winning book, Toms River: A Story of Science & Salvation, which takes place in a town in New Jersey in the 1950’s where water was contaminated by a chemical plant. However, in Charleston, citizen engagement came much earlier to address the problem.  Several factors may have contributed to this earlier intervention, what do you think they might be?
  • Mel makes the statement “Water unites” as to why a diverse group of citizens organized and sustained the protest of the poisoning of their water.  Please share your thoughts about that rallying cry. 
  • Rose said that citizens were successful in getting a bill passed that requires storage tank owners and operators to develop spill prevention and response plans that would be subject for approval by the Department of Environmental Protection.  Those plans must disclose the activities of the storage facilities as an inventory of substances kept there.
  •  Do you know where your water comes from and what hazards it might be exposed to?
  • The corporation responsible for the toxic spill was Bankruptcy of Freedom Industries, which went bankrupt soon after the spill.  However, Mel stated that it formed another group in a couple of weeks and is back in business.  Please share your reaction and thoughts including any way that it might be possible to prevent that from occurring in the future.

Food for Thought related to Amazing Detective Story Video:

  • Dan believes that “The obligation of Democracy is to be fully engaged– to show up and to take time to educate oneself about the complexities of the issue and to speak out.” Please share any experiences you have had doing that.
  • Scientifically proving a link between the cause of cancer and environmental toxins is difficult due to the typically small number of cases involved in “cluster cancers”.  However, dedicated scientists with a strong moral sense stayed on the case working outside their job hours and ultimately proved some specific cancers were linked to the toxic water, i.e., leukemia in girls if their mothers drank the toxic water while pregnant. Please share your reaction. Do you know of any other scientific “heroes” like those in Toms River?
  • What is your opinion of the final outcome of the legal case against the corporation?
  • Dan points out in the interview that “capitalism’s short term gain decreases long term sustainability”. Please elaborate on your thoughts about that statement.

Food For Thought Related Hatching Solutions Video

  • Pillar Creek Hatchery appears to be filling a need in the Kodiak region by contributing to the provision of the 35% of hatchery wild salmon in the area.  Please discuss your thoughts about this.
  • Discuss the difference between Farm Raised and Hatchery Originated Salmon and what the pros and cons of both approaches might be.
  • Do you know of any animal-related food-producing farms in your area that might apply this model for more sustainable and humane methods?

More Actions

Personal Initiatives to Reduce Use of Fossil Fuels:

Have you cooked with a solar cooker or have an interest in doing so?

Local utility companies do free Energy Audits. Have you had one done or know someone who has?

Would you be interested in having a white roof on your home?

California, Florida and Georgia have adopted building codes that encourage whiteroof installations for commercial buildings. Folks are also doing this on their own homes. Permanently increasing the solar reflectance of urban roofs and pavements worldwide would offset 11 billion car-years of emission

Places of Worship Initiatives:

  • California Interfaith Power & Light, a faith based organization founded by Reverend Sally Bingham in San Francisco, minister of Grace Cathedral, concerned with places of worship being faithful stewards through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy. Their Regeneration Project includes educating congregations and helping them buy energy efficient lights and appliances, providing energy audits and implementing the recommendations, encouraging people to buy more fuel efficient vehicles and to drive less, supporting renewable energy development through “greentags,” working on large-scale renewable energy installation projects such as rooftop solar and advocating for sensible energy and global warming policies.
  • Share any green practices your place of worship may be doing.
  • Consider how your faith community might expand their practices in the areas described in the Regeneration Project.
  • Each year California Interfaith Power & Light awards Energy Oscars to congregations that are engaged in alternative energy. For 2011 winners and examples go to:

Big Energy Initiative Examples

This is a guide from the Unitarian Universalist Church of how it is greening its places of worship.

Community Endeavors To Spark Ideas for Action:

  • California, Florida and George have adopted building codes that encourage white-roof installations for commercial buildings. Folks are also doing this on their own homes. Permanently increasing the solar reflectance of urban roofs and pavements worldwide would offset 11 billion car-years of emission. This is equivalent to taking the world’s approximately 600 million cars off the road for 18 years. You might even consider having a block party in your neighborhood to help your neighbors paint one another’s roofs—a modern barn raising happening.
  • MinWind Turbine Farms’ Cooperative is composed of farmers and community members that own and manage rural wind generation facilities. Community members earned more from those wind resources than if they had rented the land to absentee-owned power generation companies.
  • Gainesville, Florida was successful in its efforts in 2009 to establish a Feed-in Tariff’s (FITs) policy that guarantee that producers of renewable energy, from a family home to a large business, can sell their power to a utility for an established price over a specific period of time. Presently, 65 countries promote renewable energy, with FITs established in 45 countries and regions. FITs bring financial security, remove price risk, and guarantee return on investment – exactly the support that investors and community power projects need.”;
  • A Step By Step Guide for Community Energy Initiatives for North America has been developed by Ontario Sustainable Association and covers Community Wind & Solar, and Residential Solar and provides a model business plan for obtaining funding.

Closing Toast

“We are smarter than a dinosaur, but we will end up in a museum if we don’t prove it.” -Madeline Albright Former Secretary of State & Ambassador to the UN



This recipe takes from the Zambian Cowpeas Sauce and the Onion Sauce dishes author had in Mansa village in Zambia. Black eye peas are same in appearance as cow peas.

Roast Mutununu Fish Serves 6


6 pieces of mutununu fish

50g grated onion and garlic

10g fish spice

20ml olive oil

10g parsley

10ml lemon juice


Solar Cooked English Cabbage is same as in Modified Recipes

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Operation Bon Appetit is an initiative of the Cultural Innovations Agency, Inc. (CIA), a 501c3 nonprofit corporation, with the mission to engage ordinary people in sustainability and social change that emphasizes conviviality, arts, conversations and actions. The ethical framework for the CIA recognizes the interconnection of economic justice, human rights, respect for nature and a culture of peace.

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