Climate Change: Do Something Already!

What's to Fear?

I am writing this post in a somewhat balmy, 80-plus degrees in my house (at 10:30pm). In Seattle air conditioning in homes is nearly as unheard of as the robin is in the Inuit’s land. Of course, now that the robin is in the arctic the Inuit have to come up with a word for it. Why has the last ten days been the hottest streak of temperatures in Seattle history? Why is the robin suddenly so far north? Why was last night the first night in recorded history that it stayed above 70 degrees in Seattle?

Simply put the Earth is warming. Rather, the climate is changing. In some places it is cooling, but most of us are experiencing the beginnings of climate destabilization. Why? Because we have insisted on releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, altering the interaction of our planet and the sun’s energy.

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Adbusters #85: Thought Control in Economics

Buy This Magazine

85cover_tRead it – thoroughly – and then pass it on to another. Adbusters has endorsed the steady state economic before, quoting Herman Daly and citing the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy as well – but this is a full, cover-to-cover issue on the growing movement for a new, sustainable economy.

In this very well written, collaborative issue everything is tackled: from natural capital to your place in the revolution. Written in part as a guide to creating a movement, as well as a call to economic students everywhere, this is by far one of the best attention-getting new-economic publications I have seen so far. (Also, economic students can receive a free issue here)

Instead of drab, theoretical and college-level pamphlets or briefs this latest issue of Adbusters is that will smack you in the face. Hopefully we can use it to wake some of those neoclassical thinkers up. I particularly enjoy the simple, straight-forward means by which they show in the first section why growth is hurting us and our planet.

I urge you to buy this magazine, or borrow it, or get it from your library!

One Trillion Dollars: A Tenth of the Bailout

I wanted to pass this video along, to give us all a little perspective on the historical amount of money our government is pumping into a failed system. We keep propping up reckless banks and corporations too large to exist, but do we ever take a second to think about how much money that really amounts to? That’s not today’s taxpayer money, either – that’s debt for our great-grandchildren to pay off, which is morally repugnant to say the least.

My thanks to Jeremy for showing me this video, as well as Phil and the people at Mint.

Happy Planet Index 2.0

A Happy Planet Makes For Happy People
A Happy Planet Makes For Happy People

The Gross Domestic Product is a tally of all the goods and services made in the country. It does not take into account the well-being of citizens, the success or failure of our government, or the quality of anything really – it is purely a tally of numbers. Somehow this number has been accepted as measure of the quality of our society.

The economy is a tool which we use to facilitate our happiness, well being, and develop our society. However, our metric for determining our success in this arena takes none of these things into account. GDP is a poor measurement of our well-being, our happiness, or our development – it’s just a number.

That is why there are other scales in existence now. The New Economics Foundation puts together the Happy Planet Index and just recently they released a updated report: the Happy Planet Index 2.0. In this comprehensive report 143 countries (99% of the world’s population) were examined for three separate indicators: ecological footprint, life-satisfaction and life expectancy.

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Unite For Human Rights

Human Rights For All
Human Rights For All

Inalienable rights are written into our Declaration of Independence and are the foundation for our Constitution. The right to free speech, the right to practice a religion, the right to be a free, voting citizen – all pillars of our modern democratic society.

The truth of the matter is we might verbally support these rights, but we often overlook them in our actions. We support countries with unequal rights for men and women, laws against race and religion, and other policies that support inequality. When we purchase an item made in China we are by our actions supporting censorship and suppression of the press. When we pump gas into our car that was created with oil from theocracies we are supporting countries denying religious freedom.

If we wish to talk the talk of human rights and equality, we must also walk the walk. Today, bloggers around the world are uniting to bring focus to human rights. In the US we are a privileged few who have most (not all) rights granted to us. We are the largest, most powerful, privileged few and because of this we must provide the example for others in our actions – they do speak louder than our words.

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Your Water Footprint & The Coming Water Crisis

Water is Scarce
Water is Scarce

You leave them everywhere you walk, but recently the term “footprint” has being used to describe your impact upon the planet in broader terms than the impression of your feet. The most common one tossed around these days is our Carbon Footprint (see global climate change). A more recently developed spin on the footprint term is the Water Footprint: how much water you consume through your actions (directly and indirectly).

Of course you use water in your day-to-day life: you take a shower, drink water, water your lawn, et cetera. There is another way we use water: through the consumption of goods. The food we eat takes water to grow (a lot more than you might think). The clothes we wear come from crops that require water. Even the cars we drive require water-intensive processes to create them. Everything we do creates a ripple through the world and we can often take massive amounts of the most basic resource needed for survival on Earth: fresh water.

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Shrink to Survive, Return City to Nature

Return Sprawl To Nature
Return Sprawl To Nature

Perhaps all the hype about growth is finally being put into perspective. Economic decline has a way of making us reevaluate many things – most notably in this recent decline we are questioning the growth dogma, our banking system, media and government. Local communities have also begun to play a larger role, not only in our day-to-day lives but in our ways of thinking: local is better. Together we are working on building a sustainable economy from the ground up.

As the too-large-too-exist rule has pointed out, as car companies go belly-up they have brought many areas down with them. Flint, Michigan, once the poster city for the grand American automotive industry has seen its population cut in half. This decline may be the first serious wake-up call that we’ve gotten too big for our britches. More importantly, I hope that we realize that growth may not be the answer.

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