Friday, September 26, 2008

Best of Times, Worst of Times

Google made a stunning announcement yesterday. They are sponsoring a contest called 10 to the 100th power. They are asking for ideas on how to make the world a better place -- and they have committed $10 million to implement the top five ideas. Incredible!!

On the other hand, Joe Romm posted an article on the latest CO2 figures. We are now emitting at a record rate in spite of the economic turn-down, thanks primarily to increased activity in India and China. Our carbon sinks are becoming ever more saturated and absorbing less. We have accelerated to adding 2.2 parts per million per year to the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 -- we have gone from 380 to 383 just in the past year or two. We are far exceeding the IPCC's worst case scenarios for emissions.

On the political/economic scene, the U. S. government is about to institute the biggest bail-out ever to keep our financial systems from going under, Obama has regained the lead in the Presidential race, and McCain has side-stepped the first debate because he is 'needed in Washington' to deal with the economic crisis facing America.

I'm beginning to think that extraterrestrial intervention may be the only thing that can save us at this point. The next couple of months may well determine our future one way or the other.

These are indeed the best of times and the worst of times.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I am a Gaiaist!

When did capitalism become our God? When did the free market become sacrosanct? When did we sell our souls for an energy fix? And when did capitalism become the end all and be all? Are we still fighting the Cold War? Don't people realize that communism has morphed into capitalism? Everything in Wal-Mart is made in China. Are there any people on the earth more capitalistic than the Chinese, for god's sake?

I grew up with 'better dead than red.' I never quite understood that. If one were alive, one could work for change. If one were dead, it was all over. But better dead than red it was. Had to be. Communists were the worst evil the world had ever seen and if one became Communist, one would be Communist for eternity. Or until The Wall came down. But that was in the future and totally unforeseen.

I am not a capitalist. I have seen what unrestrained capitalism can do and it is as ugly as it gets. Capitalism rapes the earth. Capitalism enslaves the poor. Capitalism is sending us into purgatory. Strong words -- words I would not have written two days ago. It is a conclusion that was slow in coming.

This is not a black and white world. Just because I am not a capitalist, it does not mean I am a communist. I am a gaiaist. New word. New concept. New paradigm.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bumper Cars

My brain, of late, must resemble the bumper cars at the amusement park -- all these thoughts race around and around, crashing into one another. They wake me up at night and have me writing letters to the Obama campaign at 4:30 in the morning. I keep trying to distill a bit of wisdom from all the chaos, and once in a while, I think I succeed. But more often than not, the chaos reigns.

"Chaos is good," I tell myself. "It is a first step." I'm ready for step two. I could use a good night's sleep!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Speaking Out

During the 2000 Presidential campaign, Al Gore made the dubious statement, "I invented the internet." If you remember nothing else said during that campaign, you probably remember that. One could only conclude that Al Gore was either delusional or a liar. I was a staunch supporter at the time, but even I was left speechless. Why would he say such an obviously untrue thing? I couldn't defend him to all the naysayers who mocked my choice for President. Even today, when I mention global climate change, people say to me, "Oh yeah, well after Al Gore invented the internet, he invented global warming. It's just a ploy to get in the White House."

But what if that's not exactly what he did say. And what if what he did say was absolutely true? Recently, I discovered the whole story and the whole story makes me sick. The media knew the truth and yet chose to ignore it. Instead, they kept repeating biased distortions, otherwise known as lies. If there had not been such a campaign of lies against Gore, the last eight years might have been quite different.

But this is not about Democrats vs Republicans. This has to do with lies and inuendo corrupting the foundations of democracy. In a democracy, the public deserves to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and it is the sacred duty of the media to be as impartial as humanly possible in delivering that truth. But that's not what we got then and not what we're getting now.

Maybe I am being naive, as some suggest, to think that 'the truth' is out there and can be reported without bias. Granted, each of us has our own perspective and each of us sees 'the truth' differently. But to publish lies when you know they are lies is to break the public trust. Others have said that I am mistaken to believe there is a mandate for such a trust and that to maintain a free press, we must let them be free to report as they wish. Government regulation would be the death of the free press. True. But who is advocating government regulation?

If we are to have a media that is dedicated to reporting the real news (as opposed to Hollywood gossip) as completely and truthfully as possible, then we need to hold the media to that standard. If we excuse their lies and biases as business-as-usual or as an exercise in freedom, then we will never get anything better. It isn't this way everywhere, it hasn't always been this way here and it doesn't have to be this way forevermore. In the end, the public gets what it is willing to settle for.

I can't speak for America. I can only speak for myself. But the voice of America is the chorus that emerges from the cacaphony of individual voices. And that doesn't happen when we just shrug and walk away.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rewriting the Dictionary

I've recently come across an intriguing concept -- that of zero waste. In a zero waste society, everything is made to be reused, repaired or recycled. Nothing is thrown away. Sounds fantastic in theory, but what effect would that have on business? If we reuse, repair and recycle items, then who is going to buy all the new goods being produced? Most businesses are based on the idea of continuing consumption. If we don't continue to consume at current, if not higher, levels, won't businesses go under?


The bottom line of business is currently "maximize profit." No matter the cost to the environment. No matter the depletion of resources. No matter the waste. No matter job loss. Profit -- first, last, and always. And as long as we define business as a means to maximize profit, businesses would, in a zero waste economy, go under. But who determined that profit would be the bottom line? Who is defining us and the institutions of our lives? Why do we let them do it? Why can't we redefine business, not as profit machines, but as the means to produce quality goods or provide needed service? Isn't it time to rewrite the dictionary?

The truth of the matter is that we cannot continue to consume at current levels, much less higher. We are going to have to change our ways sooner or later. Why not now?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Doom and Gloom. Can't help it.

If you really want the bejeebers scared out of you, take a look at the video:

and then look at the poll stats:

Wow! And here all I've been worrying about is that McCain would lead us into a climate catastrophe. I don't get it. Democrats have allowed the Republicans to define them for years and years. Democrats are for tax and spend. Soft on defense. Soft on terrorism. Soft on family values. Republicans tell us so over and over. Elect a Democrat and you will have empty pockets; Iraqi terrorists will be abducting your children on their way to soccer practice. Any idiot can compare the Clinton years to those of Bush. During which administration did the American people enjoy the higher degree of peace and prosperity? If the Democratic party does not dispel the myths, we are all doomed. Literally.