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Archive for April, 2010

Hawaii Advances Clean Energy Funding – $1 barrel tax on imported oil will support clean energy and agricultural development. Hooray! http://ping.fm/Y6Rfs

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Are Global Warming, Volcanoes and Earthquakes Linked? http://ping.fm/Mklj9

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On Earth Day, a senator’s demand for public policy based on real science | Amen! http://ping.fm/84bwd

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Cap and Dividend: Climate Pricing and Fairness — Why cap and dividend is better than cap and trade. http://ping.fm/GX6h5

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Great synopsis of carbon tax shifting policies in British Columbia in Canada. Relevant information for any city, state, or country considering implementing these very effective tools. http://ping.fm/HQETQ

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Winning with Sustainability Tomorrow http://ping.fm/qqypS

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Paul Hawken argues yes in his newest book, Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming

“No country advocates trade liberalization more ardently than the USA as a means to improve any country’s social welfare, a policy known as the Washington Consensus. The irony of America’s overheated emphasis on free-market ideology is how miserably it has failed its most ardent proponent. The United States has the worst social record of any developed country in the world, and it is the worse than that of many developing countries. By almost any measure of well-being, the US brings up the rear: It is number one in prison population (726 per 100,000 people vs. 91 in France and 58 in Japan); first in teen pregnancies, drug use, child hunger, poverty, illiteracy, obesity, diabetes, use of antidepressants, income disparity, violence, firearms death, military spending, hazardous waste producation, recorded rapes, and the poor quality of its schools. (The US is the only country in the the world besides Iraq where schools need metal detectors.) It has the highest trade budget deficit as a proportion of national income and has seen more than 30 million workers laid off by corporations since 1984, most of whom were permanently consigned to lower-wage jobs. As a uniform trade system sweeps over the world, the monetary gain are called GDP, but the losses that suffered, even in the industrialized West, much less in the Third World, are not tallied, as if one were recording sales at the cash register but ignoring thefts at the back of the warehouse.

The theory behind market liberalization is beguiling and, on the face of it, inarguable: If poor countries had more money and freedom, everyone would be better off; the great flow of material goods would eventually improve everyone’s life. To those who carp about low wages and poor working conditions in developing countries free-market advocates argue that freedom and prosperity require time and sacrifice. But whose time and whose sacrifice? Critics see the further concentration of wealth and power, not the spread of freedom. The world’s top two hundred companies have twice the assets of 80 percent of the world’s people, and that asset base is growing fifty times faster than the income of the world’s majority. Wealth flow uphill from the poor to the rich.”

I don’t usually like to quote so extensively, but I don’t believe I could have said it better. The message is clear – we (Americans) are not the example for the world. If anything, we’re the example of what not to do. We need to get our collective head out of the sand. The question is, are we willing to take the hard look at ourselves that it is going to require for us to make the improvements to the world we need to survive and thrive? I would guess not. As long as corporate interests are overrepresented in our capitol we can be assured of more of the same.

The problem is huge and this blog entry doesn’t have the room to explore the question let along the answer in detail. Start by reading this book and all his others. Get involved. Stand up and demand change. Find an issue you care about and work towards a solution. I promise it won’t take up too much of your time and you’ll feel great doing it.

We’re at a turning point in our history and have the technological tools available to collaborate in ways never before seen. Now our previously faint voices can have a parallel effect to become a vociferous demand for change. Let’s start now!

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