Categories
Economics Education Environment Future Politics

A Manifesto of Peopolism

A Manifesto of Peopolism
[pronounced {pee-ah-pol-ism}]

For too long, humanity has boxed themselves into outdated and antiquated -isms that were created to describe different times, different strategies, and different human conditions than those which exist today. The -isms of yesterday are no longer useful – and in some cases have been proven to be deadly but still they are used today despite no longer being accurate containers for the wants, needs, or actual conditions of humanity.

The major -isms used today for the description of socioeconomic conditions are the following: capitalism, communism, socialism, consumerism, despotism, humanism, individualism, isolationism, liberalism, neo-liberalism, nationalism, totalitarianism, anarchism, conservatism, environmentalism, feminism, feudalism, fascism, libertarianism, populism, progressivism, trans-humanism, and finally one that should be an -ism but is not, democracy. All of these -isms are poison because they put you in a box and force you to exist within a framework that in some cases is centuries old. We categorically reject these and all other -isms.

Today is a time like no other. The condition and needs of humanity cannot be described, enhanced, or confined within the definitions of previous centuries. We refuse to be confined by borders, ideologies, religions, or cultural heritage. We are human beings. We are one species, one world, and one people.

Therefore, be it known, that we the people will neither be governed, imposed upon, encumbered, enslaved, nor bound by the faulty understandings and misguided definitions of our ancestors. No person alive today was involved in creating the foundational structures which dictate our very existence. We function as slaves to ideologies and misguided cultural architecture that has proven to be an existential threat to our entire species.The old -isms have forced us to kill one another, to spend our limited time on earth creating profits for greedy monsters, and to have actively taken part in destroying our planet when we should have been reaping the benefits of being alive. The old -isms have made us choose between starving our children or starving other children, between killing or being killed, and between working or dying. Life does not need to be so complex. If you doubt this, simply look at the other living populations we share this world with. They live without ‘jobs’, ‘governments’, or ‘religions’.

We acknowledge that human beings are complex and that in order to maximize all of our individual happiness we need to have a collective set of rules to which we can all agree. For human ‘civilization’ and its many benefits to exist, human needs must be agreed upon and mutually understood and respected. Therefore, and with the understanding of all stated above – we propose a new -ism for our modern age. Change is happening at an ever faster pace and we recognize that it will not be long before these beliefs and ideas sound equally antiquated and perhaps become obsolete.

Yet, we must try to create an -ism for our age, a system that recognizes that we live in a world where automation, artificial intelligence, instantaneous communication from the furthest reaches of the planet, and relationships that transcend the concepts of borders, language, and  culture have created new ways to understand our planet and our respective place on it.

And so – we present this first version of the Manifesto of Peopolism. It is our hope that the greatest minds of this and every generation to follow will embrace and contribute to this new way of existing. It is also our hope that the people of the world will leave the -isms of the past behind and embrace a fluid meaning to existence which respects the rights of all people, all creatures, and all forms of miraculous life to co-exist.

We borrow from the great minds of the past without apology, for this intellectual and philosophical heritage is our true gift from our progenitors – the world that we shape will be the gift we leave to our descendants. It is our hope that it is a welcome gift and not a burden such as that we have inherited. We, the living, have inherited wars, inequality, disease, greed, genocide and more. To some extent, much to our disgust and dismay, we have perpetuated the same. No more. We wash our hands of the horrors of the past and move forward starting with this universal bill of rights.

We, the living, hold these truths to be self evident.

All living things have an inherent right to exist. It is our hope to someday create a living bill of rights, but to start we must focus on our human brothers and sisters. These rights apply from birth until death

All human beings have the right to live without fear.

All human beings have the right to live without hunger.

All human beings have the right to travel freely from place to place so long as they do not infringe upon the rights of others.

All human beings have the right to shelter from the elements.

All human beings have the right to medical, dental, and psychological assistance if it can be provided.

All human beings have the right to self improvement through education and training.

All human beings have the right to improve their (and their family or clan’s) living situation through hard work, ingenuity, and  innovation.

All human beings have the right to love and live with the person of their choice, to build a family, and to freely associate with whomever they may choose.

All human beings have the right to live in self-governing communities or groups so long as all members are allowed the freedom to come and go as they choose.

All human beings are allowed the freedom to interact or not interact with others be they individuals, communities, groups, clans, clubs, or municipalities.

All human beings have the right to live on an environmentally safe and stable planet. No human being, group, or municipality has the right to endanger all life on the planet. Protecting our environment needs to be one of the cornerstones of Peopolism.

We recognize and honor the validity of the United Nations Universal Bill of Human Rights so long as the rights above are not infringed.

We recognize that the right to build wealth and legacy is a human desire but history and experience have shown that there need to be limits to wealth.

We do not believe any human being needs to have more than the equivalent of a half billion U.S. dollars. There is nothing that anyone can buy that will cost more and if there is – it should not be available for individuals.

We do not believe in the concept of ‘corporate personhood’ and believe that the super-human lifespans and abilities of globe spanning corporations need to be severely limited. It is our belief that actual stakeholders should be the only shareholders – that is – the communities affected by companies, the users of company products or resources, the workers of companies, and the people whose lives are connected with the business that a company conducts in any way.

We do not believe in rule of nation states, counties, countries, states, or provinces. We believe in the rule of municipalities, neighborhoods, towns, and cities. We believe that it is possible for such ruling bodies to represent the will of the people but that anything larger skews the representation in favor of a few and helps to create elite classes who inevitably use their power to benefit themselves and give themselves more power.

We do not believe in rule by religious authorities though we respect the rights of all people to worship and believe as they choose. Religion and government are terrible bedfellows and inevitably lead to abuse of power.

We believe that people have the ability to rule themselves better in small groups than in large and we recognize that small groups may want to confederate for mutual benefit in trade, jurisprudence, defense, and other human needs. We will rigorously defend the right of individual confederated groups to peaceably withdraw when the decision suits their citizens.

This document is a living document. Today it is written and signed by one. In the future, it is our hope that it is written and signed by all.

 

By my hand on 02/20/2020

Christopher D. Damitio / Honolulu

 

 

Categories
America Economics Environment Future Politics

An Open Letter to America’s Billionaires – Change Humanity’s Future

Dear Billionaires,

I’ve done my best to join you, but so far – I haven’t even gotten close. The reason I’ve tried wasn’t because I want to be a rich guy with a big swimming pool and a fancy car collection. Nor is it that I want any of the other trappings of wealth and power that I’ve seen you exercise. I’m not interested in buying the presidency or colonizing other planets. I’m not interested in eating exotic lizards or putting my name on hotels. No, the reason I’ve been playing and failing at your capitalist game is because I can see how glorious our species and our world could be – I can see how desperately we are failing at creating a utopia and frankly, I’m surprised you don’t see it. If you do see it, I’m surprised you haven’t done anything about it. The attempts that I see you guys engaging in – largely seem focused on just creating your own personal gilded utopias – and frankly, I just don’t get it. Don’t you guys see that if you improved the condition of everyone – it would improve your own condition that much more? Hey, let go of your wallet’s money bags, you don’t need to worry, I’m not talking about redistributing wealth. You know and I know that a wealth redistribution scheme wouldn’t work out that well for most people – it would just be a refiltering of wealth to the top again.

No, I’m talking about actually building fucking utopias. You are the first humans in history to have the resources, the power, the technology, and the opportunity to actually build utopian civilizations. Why are you fucking around with politics at all? You have the ability to go around all of that. You have the ability to hire the best talent, the greatest minds, the most visionary thinkers. You can take the best ideas the world has ever known and build upon them, expand them, and implement them.

The utopian communities and communes of the 19th century, the cooperatives and communes of the 1960s, even the Raj Neeshi city in the 1980s in Oregon – all of these were built with less than any of you earn in a month. There are people willing to volunteer, there are people willing to work, there are people willing and desirous of living in a different type of society.

You have the power to create the way human civilization will function for the next ten thousand years. You have the ability to buy towns, cities, states, islands, countries and to create new forms of human civilization. Forms that actually work – or forms that fail and pave the way for the forms that will eventually work.

Why have none of you bought a town and found the people who are willing to live in it and build the future? I can’t understand why you focus on golf courses and eating steaks and just building your bank accounts bigger when you could be creating ten thousand years of the future? Nobody will remember most of what you are doing in two hundred years, if anything at all.

I appreciate some of what Elon Musk and Bill Gates and some others are doing – but by working within the framework of governments they can only fail. Why not start at the smallest level and build the next level of governments? Why not start with the municipality, build the coalitions of them, and then move forward?

Why not create ‘Dream Spaces’ where visionaries and artists can expend their energy doing what they do best instead of finding the time to follow their purpose between 50 hour weeks of drudgery? Why not use your wealth, your power, your achievements – to truly change the future. Build a town, select the residents, establish a new system – not capitalism, democracy, communism, or dictatorship – something new, something truly revolutionary. Why not create a viral form of human existence that defeats all the known -isms? Why not build a garden of eden and fill it with people who share your values?

Maybe you guys are doing this and keeping it all secret – seems like that would be a hard secret to keep. Maybe you just don’t care and want to fill your time living with more steaks, more rounds of golf, more pussy or dick, more yachts and jets – but you have the opportunity right now to do so much more. I think you should take it.

Also, I think you know this, but, you should probably not waste any time. It sure feels like your time is running out quickly. You may have 99.9% of the wealth, but there are still nearly 8 billion of us and life isn’t getting any easier for most of us – in fact – most are steps away from desperation. Everything has failed the rest of us – and unless you can find a way to appease us, win us to your side, or kill us all – we are probably going to be coming for you very soon.

I hope you decide to change the world and the future.

I’m going to keep trying to make my way to where you are – because in our system – I can’t see any other way of doing what I’ve mentioned above. If I get there, I’m going to show you what I mean – if not, I hope you show me.

Categories
America Environment Machinations of Power Politics Technology

A Few Questions to Ask Yourself – but you probably won’t bother

Question 1: Why are there five times as many empty(unoccupied) houses/apartments in as there are homeless people in San Francisco?
(Source: https://sf.curbed.com/2019/12/3/20993251/san-francisco-bay-area-vacant-homes-per-homeless-count)

 

Question 2: How does the US Presidential Democratic Primary system work? Why does it matter?

(Source: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-fivethirtyeight-2020-primary-model-works/)

 

Question 3: Why have we ignored that our relationship with technology is destroying the planet, when we’ve known since shortly after World War II?

(Source: https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/environment/2019/09/why-our-relationship-technology-destroying-planet )

 

 

 

Categories
Economics Education Environment Family money Politics Work

The Problem with Everything

The problem with everything is that human beings have a tendency to take the short term self-interest choice over the long terms self interest choice. We are, for some reason, wired for it. I understand this, but I’m having a hard time explaining it in words.

Let’s say there is an apple tree next to a town. The tree provides enough apples for everyone. Perfect, right? Wrong. Every person in the town will feel a little bit of an urge to hoard or to take more than their fair share. Will they all do it? Probably not. I believe there is an intrinsic altruism built into some people – maybe altruism is the wrong word – maybe golden rule practicality is the phrase I need to use here. So, the golden rule crowd will realize that they don’t want anyone to take their allocated share, so they won’t take more than their share – it’s a sort of long term self-interest but it comes out as looking like altruism in the short term. If there are people who are genuinely altruistic – they are exceedingly rare – I would suggest that there are only long term self interested and short term self interested people. There are also those who are playing a different game – they give up their share for some percieved benefit. There are many such – pity, honor, respect, or something else. The bottom line is that everyone looks at the apple tree and sees a benefit for themselves – and if the consequences outweigh the rewards for keeping everything even – everyone will have their share of apples.

But we all know that the world does not work like that. Those who seize the advantage early, generally have less consequences than those who do not. Some people realize that and are watching for that opportunity. In any event – the apples become a problem because some people are taking more than their fair share so others are getting less than their fair share. Cause and effect.

The headman of the town – whether appointed by strength, ability, or election – it doesn’t matter. A person steps to the fore and says the apples are a problem now – so we need to make some rules about them…and not everyone agrees. The person taking too many says something like “I work harder to take the apples so I deserve more” and the person getting too little says “Just because I am shorter, doesn’t mean I don’t deserve the apples growing higher” and the person who is canning the apples say “I am taking apples that would otherwise rot and making them into something that will keep” and everyone has a reason why their self-interest is more important than the other people’s self interest.

So, assuming a Kansas cattle grazing war doesn’t break out over the apples, rules are made and people are given the job of making everyone keep to the rules – which of course fails because the people keeping the rules suddenly have an advantage that will be expolited by themselves or by those smart enough to seek to exploit the advantage. So, ultimately, some people are left hungry, some people get fat, some people get rich, and others become poverty stricken. The poverty stricken and the hungry say “Hey, what about our interest?” And the rich and fat say “Why should we have to take care of those who don’t or can’t work as hard as we do?” And everyone is ultimately fucked because eventually, a cold, poor, hungry person cuts the apple tree down to use as firewoodpor simply to even the playing field so that no one has any apples.

The End.

What if, however, there was a way to change the way people think? What if, instead of focusing on the short term self interest, there was a way to get them to focus on the long term self interest? In that case, the apples would be harvested by all, the excess would be canned, and the needs of all would be met by the work of all. Wouldn’t that be awesome if something like that could happen?

The problem is that it can’t. Humans are short sighted, selfish, and ultimately unable to work together for a long term collective good.

And that’s the problem with everything.

Categories
America Crime and Punishment Education Environment

Schools are not safe in the USA – Nowhere in the USA is, actually

Another child murdered in a school today in the USA. 8 years old – doing nothing but going to school. I keep thinking of someone telling me it is irresponsible to travel overseas with my child – too dangerous – yes, but not as dangerous as staying home and sending my child to school. I blame this on capitalism – pure and simple. Guns are a business, government is a business, education is a business, crime is a business – people are the raw materials. Capitalism has turned us into resources- anyone ever asked you what you are worth? How do you answer? In cash. We sell our time, we sell our energy, we sell our health, we sell our safety – and the buyers are the masters of capital. We could have a society where people are safe, taken care of, fulfilled – but instead we have a society where some people own other people and we are measured (like it or not) by how much credit we have. Shylock’s Good Man wasn’t good in deed, but good for a debt – and that is how we are judged. It’s no wonder that people lose track of their intrinsic self worth and the intrinsic self worth of others. It’s no wonder that madmen are stealing guns from stores called Armageddon and sending manifestos of revolution to billionaire presidents. How long before someone lights themselves on fire in a way that starts the fire that burns this society down? Not sustainable. Capitalism is not sustainable.

Categories
America Education Environment Family

2017 World Happiness Survey – Thoughts on Happiness

There are a lot of very short news stories about the Global Happiness Survey – most of them read something like “Norway is the happiest country in the world” – and then they talk about the top ten countries and the places and the place of the USA and the bottom two or three countries and maybe how countries shifted from the last survey. When you read the actual report, there is a lot more to it. Here is the link to the full report: https://s3.amazonaws.com/sdsn-whr2017/HR17_3-20-17.pdf

On page 122 of the report (yes, it is nearly 200 hundred pages long) what I consider to be the most revealing chapter begins – it is titled “The Key Determinants of Happiness and Misery” – it begins with this:

This chapter is directed at policy-makers of all kinds—both in government and in NGOs. We assume, like Thomas Jefferson, that “the care of human life and happiness … is the only legitimate object of good government.”1 And we assume that NGOs would have similar objectives. In other words, all policy-makers want to create the conditions for the greatest possible happiness in the population and, especially, the least possible misery.

Which sounds great but which is obviously not true. Policy makers in 2017 want money and power for their financial backers. The problems with the world are well known and easily solved – if that were what those in control wanted to do. They do not. And to prove that point the last paragraph of the chapter:

To conclude, within any country, mental health explains more of the variance of happiness in Western countries than income does. In Indonesia mental illness also matters, but less than income. Nowhere is physical illness a bigger source of misery than mental illness. Equally, if we go back to childhood, the key factors for the future adult are the mental health of the mother and the social ambiance of primary and secondary school. The implications for policy are momentous.

If we wanted to have a better world filled with happier people, we would be focused on taking care of mental health, ensuring that mothers (and fathers) had the support they need to be good parents, and that schools were creating the type of atmosphere which brings about psychologically healthy and confident individuals – instead of factories that create workers filled with fear, anxiety, and depression. Simple. Business does not create happiness, nor does war/defense, nor do jobs, nor do any of the other things we spend trillions of dollars on. Security in childhood, healthcare, and education. That’s it.

This report is a treasure trove of information about creating a happier planet like this:

The effect from the increase in the numbers of people having someone to count on in times of trouble is by itself equal to the happiness effects from the 16-fold increase in average per capita annual incomes required to shift the three poorest countries up to the world average (from about $600 to about $10,000).

From my point of view – this fact alone shows why the two working parents, dog-eat-dog, get out when you are 18, take care of yourself, ‘sorry, I can’t help you’ society of capitalism in the USA is leading to unhappiness, stress, anxiety, overeating, alcoholism, and drug abuse/overdose. We can’t count on each other here. People give lip service to being there for their families, but in my experience (in my awful family) when it comes time to put their actions where their mouth is, Americans turn selfish. My wife’s family in Morocco mean it when they say you can stay as long as you want or need to, they mean it when they tell you that their home is your home, they are there for you in whatever capacity they can be – without excuses. They are not rich – they work hard to survive – but I know for certain that they would never turn away a dear friend or family member even if it meant they had to work harder. When I think of them in comparison with myself or my family, I feel ashamed – and I should. They are poor and they suffer in their poverty, but they are happier than most Americans I’ve met.

And…one last quote just to drive home a point

Overall, the chapter concludes that falling American happiness is due primarily to social rather than to economic causes.

Categories
Environment

Trash is cash and other stories of not wasting.

Think space exploration isn’t worthwhile? Wondering what we will use for energy when the oil is all gone? Are you disgusted by all the garbage our society produces? Check out this juxtaposition of the three seemingly unrelated ideas…

Calgary-based AlterNRG’s plasma gasification technology uses a process developed for NASA to superheat landfill garbage and convert it into a highly energized gas, which can then be used to produce electricity.
Plasma gasification can be applied to almost any waste now put in landfills, and it produces fewer carbon emissions than standard power plants that burn coal or natural gas.
The process involves plasma torches capable of producing temperatures of 5,400 degrees.
It was initially developed by Westinghouse to help NASA test spacecraft at the intense heat of atmosphere re-entry, said Alex Damnjanovic, an AlterNRG vice president.
Two commercial plants using the process are operational in Japan.

Ask yourself why this isn’t something that the presidential candidates in the U.S. are talking about? Or consider U.S. energy use:
*5 percent of the world’s population, consumes 25 percent of the world’s energy.
*Transportation sector uses 70 percent of petroleum used for fuel and emits 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases.
*Buildings account for 36 percent of emissions.

“The bottom line is that the quickest way to do something about America’s use of energy is through energy efficiency,” said Burton Richter, the chairman of the study panel and a 1976 Nobel Prize winner in physics. “Energy that you don’t use is free. It’s not imported and it doesn’t emit any greenhouse gases. Most of the things we recommend don’t cost anything to the economy. The economy will save money.”
The projected growth of energy use in buildings — 30 percent by 2030 — could be cut to zero using existing technology and what’s likely to become available in the next decade at the current level of research and development.
On transportation, the key is in more federal government investment in developing cheaper and more reliable batteries for electric cars.
“If you look at magically converting the whole fleet to plug-in hybrids” that get 40 miles per charge, greenhouse gases would be reduced by 33 percent and gasoline use by 60 percent, Richter said.
That would be the equivalent of cutting oil imports by 6 million barrels a day, Richter said. That’s the amount the U.S. imports from OPEC (largely from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Nigeria), out of a total of about 13.5 million barrels imported a day from all countries.
“So if you’re looking at energy security issues, which is government’s business, if you’re looking at the overall economy, which also ought to be government’s business, to spend a bit more on research and development to hasten the day when you’re going to get all these benefits is a good thing to do,” Richter said.

Very interesting, right? As oppossed to ‘lets ease environmental standards’ or ‘lets get more oil from Iraq’, etc. What about global population?

Some 6.7 billion people live on planet Earth today and close to 3 billion more may be in the mix by 2050. Given those staggering numbers, it’s easy to assume surging human population is the real root of the world’s evils, from global warming to poverty, starvation to habitat loss. Not so fast. Three recent books by renowned experts on the subject paint a far more complex portrait of the world’s population and what it portends. It’s by turns dire and hopeful


Salon.com posted a very interesting discussion on this subject with three of the world’s foremost experts.

Of course there are other problems, but are they real? Daniel Tarker explores this phenomenon on his blog. Here is one excerpt of this excellent post:

Today we have one of the most robust ideological state apparatuses in the world with our vast web of media outlets. Turn on your television and you’ll find several hundred cable channels eager to shape how you think about the world. (I’m using the word “think” loosely here since an active brain seems to be the antithesis of what television producers want to inspire.) Yet, I won’t just pick on TV here…that would be too easy, too overdone, too, well, TV…newspapers, magazines, radio, and even the Internet are all part of this ideological apparatus.

There is certainly no denying that the rise in food prices worldwide is creating problems though.

Rising food prices are partly to blame for adding 75 million more people to the ranks of the world’s hungry in 2007 and lifting the global figure to roughly 925 million, the U.N.’s food agency said on Wednesday.

Water is also an issue in many places, but perhaps it doesn’t have to be.

Brad Lancaster is the author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond.

As Lancaster explains, harvesting rainwater means to “capture the rain as close as possible to where it falls, and then to use it as close as possible to where it falls.”

The easiest method is to use the soil to capture the rainwater. “You create these bowl-like shapes in the landscape that collect water. You mulch the surface and plant them so the water quickly infiltrates, and then the plants become your living pumps.”

“So you then utilize that water in the form of a peach, a pomegranate, an apple, wildlife habitat and beauty,” Lancaster tells Renee Montagne.

A second, better-known version of rainwater harvesting is collecting rainwater from a roof in a tank, or a cistern.

The third example is harvesting wastewater, also known as graywater, from household drains, including showers, bathtubs, bathroom sinks and washing machines. (Other drains — such as the toilet, kitchen sink and dishwasher — are high in organic mater, such as food or bacteria, and are not suitable for reuse.)

Household wastewater is “an excellent source of rainwater that we can reuse to passively irrigate our landscapes in times of no rain,” Lancaster says.

Lancaster says that 30 percent to 50 percent of potable water consumed by the average single-family home is used for landscaping. But nearly all of the irrigation water needs can be met just with rainwater and graywater, he says.

Rainwater harvesting can be useful even in areas that are not affected by drought, helping reduce flooding downstream, for example, Lancaster says.

Perhaps though, you are wondering where the pictures in this posting came from, here is the story from the Daily Mail:

For five happy years they enjoyed simple lives in their straw and mud huts.
Generating their own power and growing their own food, they strived for self-sufficiency and thrived in homes that looked more suited to the hobbits from The Lord of the Rings.
Then a survey plane chanced upon the ‘lost tribe’… and they were plunged into a decade-long battle with officialdom.
Yesterday that fight, backed by more modern support for green issues, ended in victory.
The eco-community in the Preseli mountains of west Wales was set up in 1993 and lived contentedly away from the rat race round a 180-acre farm bought by Julian and Emma Orbach.
In 1998, it was spotted when sunlight was seen glinting off a solar panel on the main building, which was built from straw bales, timber and recycled glass.
When the pilot reported back, officials were unable to find any records, let alone planning permission, for the mystery hillside village surrounded by trees and bushes.
They insisted the grass-covered buildings should be demolished.
The eco-community endured a decade of inquiries, court cases and planning hearings.
The 22 villagers fought planners even when they were within hours of the bulldozers moving in to demolish their eight homes.
Now, however, they can celebrate, thanks to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s ‘sustainability’ policy.
With green issues now getting a more sympathetic hearing, the commune has been given planning approval for its roundhouses along with lavatories, agricultural buildings and workshops.
Community founder Emma Orbach, a 52-year-old mother of three, said yesterday: ‘We are really excited and happy as it has been a very long battle.
‘Even when planning inquiries and court hearings went against us we were determined to fight on.
‘The villagers are pioneering a new lifestyle and are determined to prove it’s possible for people to live more simply.’
Tony Wrench, 62, who lives in the original roundhouse with his partner Jane, said: ‘We are very relieved and delighted.
‘We have been able to prove to the planners that it is possible to have a sustainable and low-impact community in the countryside.
The original 180-acre farm was divided up into the area around the farm, a section around the original roundhouse known as Tir Ysbrydol (Spirit Land) where Mrs Orbach lives, and 80 acres of pasture and woodland run by a community known as Brithdir Mawr.
Each community is independent and they co-exist as neighbours in a more traditional style.
Brithdir Mawr continues to support sustainable living based around the original farmhouse, with eight adults and four children sharing communal meals, looking after goats, horses and chickens – and also holding down part-time jobs to raise the £200 per month rent they each pay Mr Orbach, who lives in a house in nearby Newport.
The current residents now run businesses such as courses in furniture making and sustainable living for around £95 a head.


Maybe you didn’t expect this post to end on a hopeful note, but there it is. We can change our reality and it is changing all around us all the time.

Categories
Environment Rambling Man Archives

Ramblin’ Man: Friends of the Trees

Michael Pilarski and Friends of the Trees
by 

rambling man columnMichael Pilarski is taking action to save the worlds forests.Inspired by Richard St. Brubaker, who promoted tree planting internationally; Pilarski helped found Friends of the Trees Society (FOTS) in 1978.

FOTS mission is to double the worlds forests, inspire, enable, educate, and assist people to live in harmony with forests and trees, and publish positive visions of a sustainable world with strategies to get there.

Rather than just sound the alarm about threats to the environment, FOTS emphasizes immediate action..

“We are a part of the pro-active wing, we have solutions,” Pilarski said.

FOTS operates at local, regional, national, and international levels. They have distributed over 170,000 seedlings, thousands of seed packets, and sponsored events which have brought information to thousands of people. Currently they have over 10,000 people on their mailing list. FOTS and Pilarski have played a huge part in forming the Bellingham Permaculture Club which combines practices of urban and rural sustainability and meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.

The overall system of agriculture and living which has a minimum negative effect on the planet. FOTS has also created The Travelers Repair Network (TERN) which links travelers with individuals and organizations in other countries around the world who are involved in sustainability.

Is Pilarski satisfied with FOTS progress so far?

“Heavens no, the world is heading hell bent for disaster, but the good news is – more people are aware we’re heading there.”
Pilarski offers some everyday steps people can follow to help save the planet: plant trees , look for ways to reduce consumption of the earth’s resources, and support the restoration of nature.

” At Friends of the Trees, we believe in multiple functions for single elements, in other words, one person can do more than one thing at a time.”

“Friends of the Trees is not a radical group,” Pilarski said , “We’re not into extreme action, we’re into promoting non-violence and less consumption.”

In addition to founding FOTS , Pilarski has edited Restoration Forestry: an International Guide to Sustainable Forestry Practices and compiled The Third World Resource Guide with Michael G. Smith. Currently FOTS is sponsoring workshops on gathering local herbs and edible wild plants without damaging the environment on the eastern and western slopes of the North Cascades as well as the Puget Sound lowlands.

On August 16 and 17, FOTS, The Herbalist (Seattle) and Wonderland Tea and Spices (Bellingham) sponsored The Northwest Herbal Fair at the River Farm near Bellingham. This event’s focus was showing people how to use local herbs in their lives. For more information on Friends of the Trees, Permaculture, or current events in sustainability contact Friends of the Trees Society at (360)738-4972.

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Anthropology Environment Existensis

Is Religion the Answer to the Environment


While it would be nice to say that religion is the answer to the ecocrisis (and all the rest of our problems), the truth is not so simple. While there are many passages in holy books of the world that instruct believers to preserve, protect, and value nature (class discussion 12/04) ; the problem is that through interpretation and distortion, the same books and faiths can encourage humankind to continue dominating, exploiting, and attempting to control or destroy nature. For example, fundamentalist Christians interpret the story of Adam and Eve as God telling Adam that he should dominate the earth, animals, and Eve (women). This sort of religion is certainly not the answer to the ecocrisis that we face.
The solution is probably similar to a religion but with a less hierarchical organization, less dogma, and more emphasis on personal responsibility. Spiritual practices such as Taoism, Buddhism, and other philosophies that encourage mindfulness and positive personal responsibility. Events such as Earth Day founded in 1970 (lecture notes 11/25) create more of an awareness of the environment without putting the dominating power of religion at the top of a power dynamic but some claim that this secular approach hasn’t done enough to solve our problems (lecture notes 11/25) but certainly the first step to stopping a trip to hell in a hand basket is to recognize that you are on such a journey in the first place. This identifying stage is, perhaps, the role of the intellectual approach. The next approach is to apply solutions (lecture notes 12/02). The final approach is to adopt those solutions into a standardized ethic or philosophy. Such a philosophical approach could be termed spirituality, but without the centralized power that would make it a religion.
In the video Radical Simplicity (12/09), activists seem to be implementing the second stage in which they adopt solutions to identified problems and they seem to be in the process of turning these solutions into an ethic that borders on the spiritual. By only buying the things they need, using less resources, and shifting culture via conscious choices towards sustainability; activists are acting on an ethic that if it is not already, will certainly be considered spiritual in the future. While this sort of Gaia worship is not likely to develop a powered clergy and become religion, certainly it is already a spiritual practice. Living in a small house is as much an act of sacrifice as carrying a cross in an Easter parade.
It is easy to confuse the spirituality that leads Buddhist Monks to frequent caves in Southeast Asia with the religion they practice, but in actuality, it is the ethics of Buddhism and not the hierarchy that protects and preserves sacred caves. (lecture notes 12/02) The same can be said for the caves that are sacred and protected around the world in all religions. Caves act as comforting wombs to the human spirit. The human spirit goes beyond the religions that attempt to bind it and embraces the spiritual energy of nature as a more worthy object. The powerful religions of the world recognize this and have either attempted to ban nature or to incorporate it’s power into their mechanics.
Sacred places are sacred, not because of religion, but because of the spirit of the places. While Townsend seeks a separation from the word spiritual (ch. 9. 2009. PT), sprit is actually just another word for energy. Energy is something that exists in all things and if we take the time to acknowledge the energy that is around us, we might notice that the entire universe and everything in it are actually sacred and imbued with spiritual significance. Can religion solve our eco-crisis? No, but perhaps acknowledging the sacred that exists within everything can bring us to a more spiritual way of life that will work towards solving not only the eco-crisis, but all of our other problems too.

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Anthropology assignments Environment Existensis

True Social Justice as Societal Healer


True justice involves ‘removing social domination’ as well as removing the domination of nature. It is this ethic of domination which has led to the ills of our society and the degradation of our environment. By creating true justice, it is likely that we would also restore the imbalanced natural state of our world to eco-sanity.
Justice is possible but it requires giving equal weight to humans, animals, plants, and entire ecosystems when considering whether something is good or not. The Ok Tedi mine in PNG affected the environment directly but the environment was also damaged through altering the lives of those who were the traditional land-owners and those who came to live on the land in order to construct and work in the mine. These changes even took place outside of the immediate area of the mine when toxic substances flowed downstream in the Fly River. If justice had been considered from the beginning for those on the land, those downstream, environments in all affected areas, and wildlife, significantly different actions would have been taken and as a result, the damage would not have been as intense as it was. As Barbara Rose Johnston points out human rights violations often follow environmental degradation. By utilizing resources sustainably we can raise the quality of all life and fulfill the basic needs of those reliant upon a particular locale instead of destroying life-sustaining resources.
Our current system of valuing nature is unsustainable and thus eco-insane. ‘Industrial development has brought neither social justice nor a healthy environment to all people. By changing the way that we think and act towards non-human nature we can move from eco-insanity of control and domination to the ecosanity of cooperation and sustainability. “Under capitalism the earth is bought and sold as private property” and yet does the earth belong to these ‘owners’ more than to the plants that grow upon it or the creatures that rely upon it for life. Certainly not. The work of Murray Bookchin leads one to believe that these ecological issues will ultimately cause the current capitalist system to self-destroy.
Human populations are just as reliant upon environment as they are upon positive social interaction with one another. In order to have world peace, we must ensure that all human populations have fresh water, enough food, shelter from the elements, and clean air. These necessities are reliant upon having a healthy ecosystem, in the past, wars may have been fought over power, but in the future, power will certainly be reliant upon the availability of these resources. By ensuring that there is an abundant ‘common’ we are taking positive steps towards peaceful social relationships between all people . Privatization of these necessities is not only unjust, it is unhealthy for the entire planet. One example of this is seen in the destruction of Thailand and exploitation of the people there happening concurrently .
By embracing true justice the entire world will benefit. A great example of this is in regards to global warming. The fact that Tuvalu might be completely destroyed by the rising oceans as a result of global warming is not the fault of the Tuvaluans, if anything it is the fault of the entire human population and thus the Tuvaluans should not be forced to endure the consequences while the rest of the world does not shoulder the burden of providing relief, assistance, and justice to them. Certainly it is not justice that the impoverished people of the world suffer the worst consequences of climate change. By embracing an ethic of justice, we increase the ability of all people to weather future hazards whether they are drought, flood, natural or manmade disasters.
Eco-sanity involves not only respecting and protecting the environment, but also respecting and protecting one another and valuing all human beings as much as we value ourselves. An example is when farmers are obligated to work for wealthy land owners because they don’t have the justice which would allow them to own and work their own land. This lack of justice leads to relationships of inequality, exploitation of people, and ultimately of the land. As Townsend states, “It is rarely possible to understand fully the relationship between humans and some other species without getting into questions of power and inequality” Merchant offers a means of escaping from this by positing a science of interrelated organisms and environment within an ‘ecological socialist society’
One part of ecosanity is respecting all human beings regardless of class, religion, sex, or ethnicity. Can true justice can restore eco-sanity? The answer is simple. Yes. However, it is more complex, for the eco-insanity of the present will inevitably lead to the destruction of an unjust system, even if it takes all of humanity out to the garbage with the system that has led to so much injustice and enviro-devastation.