Kim McDodge (jonl) Sun 5 Sep 04 18:24
Email from Kim McDodge: I went snooping around here. I go from Drudge to WorldChanging to Fool daily, so I must sniff around more closely.... I find WC always interesting, if a bit too stewart branded. My tastes run toward WI Thompson, Hitchens and Paglia, and disease over your collected gurus, but this neo-european is true to herself, even in a collapsed position....rather than adopting a new set of asian religiosities.... I respond as such: 'The WorldChanging bloggers believe that the tools, models and ideas for building a better future lie all around us. They understand that plenty of people are working on tools for change, but the fields in which they work remain unconnected.' If you think we are unconnected then just ask the soil foodweb. The life that holds us onto this place is not too interested in the barbed and wired states we are in. The virtual fields of which you worry yourselves are neither as intesting nor arresting as the fungal nets that catch us all as we fall from the industrial, empir(e)ical models into the warm spimey wet of the biosphere which is always chewing and forever spewing. '....am hoping to get some perspectives on the fundamental limiting factors in the standard of living like food and water, especially given the implication that dwindling oil supplies will mean dwindling food supplies. Thanks, Paul Waggoner '...If we could produce bio-available nitrogen exactly where we needed it, and in the quantities required, seems like we could take most of the energy inputs out of the system. And, from what I know of the background science, that sounds like a job for genetic engineers. VG' 'We' do not need to produce nitrogen. WE need to know how the soil foodweb works and let IT show us how to encourage the conditions for it to be released by the little ones, the microbs. Dr Elaine Ingham's work (SoilFoodweb.com) is pointing this way. Allan Savory's work (holisticmanagement.org) is pointing this way. 'We' are are adding too much stuff and not enough LIFE. Get thee to the compost heap. Keep it turned and at no higher than 145F for 3 days, let it sit at 50% humidity for 3 months. Add tested aerated compost tea to it. Get good at this. Our form of life depends on this. We will have to meet the artistic challenge of going against nature to get trhu this. Technocracy aside, moves MUST be made Beautiful to get under the ideaologies raging around us, in fact thru us....ecostalinism included. 'because it was sheep that caused the Clearances in Scotland that depopulated the Highlands. Neither farming nor grazing are inherently good, but either one can be bad. Personally, I think more efficient and less harmful agricultultural and industrial solutions will become more widespread as corporations realize jsq' Sheep did not cause the overgrazing. Short term grazing patterns did killing the grasses. See Savory's HM for the deep understanding of nutrient cycling and keep in deserts at bay with grazing animals - now all we have is the cattle- around the edges of deserts, keeping the microbs alive so the grasses can hold. or the deepest understanding of herding being a metabolosm of the planet, churning, chewing. Follow Weston Price up thru Joel Salatin and Sally Fallon to use it all down to the bones....fat and all, real fat, not the industrial crap on the shelves. Feed that to the microbs. Do not feed it to the children. The microbs will change it. Keep the body ecology strong. That means eating unpasteurized sauerkraut and kefir from raw milk daily. This in itself will change alot of moves. Change the decision making frameworks around us. That is hard enough for one lifetime.... Kim McDodge Kim Mc & Terence Dodge Desperate Ag:reculture - Soil Foodweb Advising
William H. Dailey (whdailey) Mon 6 Sep 04 00:01
Free energy from the "Active Vacuum", "Zero Point", "The Aether", what ever you wish to call it, was suppressed in the US but some other countries pursued it, including the USSR. They, of course, have already developed WMD from that source. Fortunately, A couple of other countries are balancing them out. See: http://www.cheniere.org
William H. Dailey (whdailey) Mon 6 Sep 04 00:37
As to nutrition see: Dead Doctors don't Lie, Rare Earths - Forbidden Cures by Joel D. Wallach, Ma Lan Also: Water Cures:Drugs Kill by F. Batmanghelidj http://www.nafim.org search on free range beef.
John Quarterman (jonl) Mon 6 Sep 04 07:01
Email from John Quarterman: Kim McDodge, responding to my post, remarked that "sheep did not cause the overgrazing. Short term grazing patterns did killing the grasses." It is well documented that Scottish crofters were cleared from their homes by their landlords, who were often their relatives, because those landlords wanted the land to graze sheep, to produce income to support lifestyles often including homes in London. The crofters were in many cases forcibly removed, houses burned, etc. They were pushed to coastal towns to learn to live from the sea, with which they had no experience, or shipped overseas to the colonies. These grazing patterns were not short term: if you go to Scotland now, you'll see sheep still grazing in those same glens, in many cases hundreds of years later, while there are about five times as many people of Scottish descent outside Scotland as inside. Besides, I didn't say anything about overgrazing. I said sheep caused the clearances. The clearances weren't a result of overgrazing; they were a result of sheep. Unless you go back to the economic causes, which were sold then and now as agricultural improvements. It think there are several obvious points to be drawn from this: 1) You don't need modern petrochemicals to cause social damage via agriculture. (Goats at the edge of the Sahara would be another example.) 2) Such chemicals can have even worse effects, for sure. 3) The real problems are organizational; don't let the specific means distract you from the larger problem. Kim also remarks "If you think we are unconnected"... The point isn't whether the people who are collectively WorldChanging think we are unconnected; the point is that most other people don't see the connections; that they need to see the connections to understand the consequences of their own actions and those of corporations and governments; and that WorldChanging can help show them those connections. Meanwhile, jonl remarks that the present administration isn't likely to be favorable to measures such as carbon taxes. Maybe so, but if you want an administration that will be favorable, the time to start planning for it is now. The current conservative movement, the one that controls all three branches of the U.S. govt., started when Goldwater lost to LBJ. You're talking something at least as ambitious in its goals. You need to be at least as ambitious in means and persistent in time. That movement cultivated electable candidates, built up think tanks, organized a network of pundits, promoted evangelical churches that were of similar minds, developed means of focusing their message, produced messages that people would accept, developed their own media to distribute them, and kept at it over 40 years, educating generations of people to think their way, until what was far fringe became electable and then prevalent. They built up a worldview that looks coherent to the people they wanted to reach and proceeded to sell it to those people. If you want to achieve what you're trying to do, you're going to need to do things equivalent in scope in time and space to what the conservative movement did over the past 40 years. What can you do now that will have effects, regardless of who currently controls the U.S. [substitute your country here] government? What can you do that will cultivate generations of people who will increasingly not only support your views, but develop them farther than you did, until eventually they become accepted and implemented truth, and the majority works to maintain them?
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 6 Sep 04 07:21
Excellent point. The neoconservative movement has worked over the last 40 years to control the everyday-life narrative in the U.S. They've been disciplined about it and they've understood that it was a long term project. They've used think tanks to refine their thinking and their goals, and they've propagated their message through sustained media channels (talk radio, Fox News) and through a network of communities formed around churches (the religious right). The success of their strategies is clear today, and while they were doing their work, their potential opponents - political centrists and the left - were relatively undisciplined and fragmented. Worldchanging could be one of several groups to develop think tanks around sustainability and more democratic political approaches... several others are forming, as well. But we'll have no overnight successes. It's going to take years of *effective* work. (At this point, I don't see effective, disciplined work of this kind happening anywhere, but at least there's a dawning realization). Incidentally, we have an inkwell.vue discussion coming up with Glenn Smith of drivedemocracy.org, author of _Politics of Deceit_, which is about the neoconservative revolution. George Lakoff says of the book: "Glenn Smith has documented how a radical conservative minority has achieved political domination in America largely through deceitcarefully crafted, well-funded, systematic deceit. In doing so, they have fragmented Americans sense of unity, and weakened our position in the world, our military, our economy, our environment, our health, and our educational system. Worst of all, they threaten our very freedoms. The Politics of Deceit is a call to action, grass-roots political action. It is time to be citizens again." http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0471667633.html
Vinay Gupta (vinaygupta) Mon 6 Sep 04 09:41
As a scot (and an Indian, I know, all these ethnic identities get confusing) all I have to say is: Sheep don't evict people. Landlords evict people.
Vinay Gupta (vinaygupta) Mon 6 Sep 04 09:52
I really think that the neoCons (how well titled!) are really more of a result of the fall of Marxism than anything else. That's what's really given them speed: they're expanding into an ideological power vaccume, racing to the right to give us a left-right dialectic between Conservatism and Neo-Conservatism. Without Marxism to anchor the "left" end of that spectrum, philosophically, it's just a race to try and create new polarity on the far right. And the "Left" really doesn't have a plan any more. Political ideologies are, in essence, Plans. "If you put us in charge, we will make the world like this" is the essence of political parties. The Right has two or three coherent visions: Christian Conservative, Corporate Conservative, and just-perhaps Constitutional Conservative (that's pushing it a bit). The Left has... nothing except Liberal Social Democracy in the European model and that, although very workable, doesn't seem to speak to the American Soul particularly well, if at all. We're a nation of radicals and there's nothing there to sink your teeth into. There's function, but no grandeur. Until we have some vision of the future to sell people, it's going to be hard to convince them that "we" are For Something rather than simply Against Those Guys Over There. There's a gulf of vision and until the Left rebuilds it's ideological base and vision for the future it's going to be very, very hard to pitch The Culture on our values. I actually think that the Constitutional Conservative platform is absolutely overdue for a serious examination. A good deal of the Agenda Of The Left is, at this point, aligned with constitutional conservatism: increased civil liberties, increases state's rights (gay marriage, pot for California, sodomy laws for Alabama, fair trade right?) and a non-interventionist, non-beligerent US Foreign policy. It's not a perfect fit, but a serious political push in that direction could split the Republican Party like a log.
Alex Steffen (alexsteffen) Mon 6 Sep 04 13:05
"The point isn't whether the people who are collectively WorldChanging think we are unconnected; the point is that most other people don't see the connections" Exactly right. "The current conservative movement... built up a worldview that looks coherent to the people they wanted to reach and proceeded to sell it to those people." Again, exactly right. Folks interested in changing the world for the better (especially funders interested in doing so) could learn a lot by studying the methods the neoCons used. If we were half as strategic in our work, and added a healthy dose of innovation and new models, we could take this debate back with astonishing speed, I believe. But it'll take doing the deep work of supporting thinkers and institutions with long-range vision.
from KIM McDODGE (tnf) Mon 6 Sep 04 15:23
Kim McDodge writes: Email from John Quarterman: ...Besides, I didn't say anything about overgrazing. I said sheep caused the clearances. The clearances weren't a result of overgrazing; they were a result of sheep. Unless you go back to the economic causes, which were sold then and now as agricultural improvements. and VG: Sheep don't evict people. Landlords evict people. OK. But what if economics was in a phase at that time that had to go thru this terror to get to the distributive point? Managerial capitalism made great wealth on the bloodied bodies of all before us, or we would not have these moments of conversation in its collapse and emergence of the glimmer of the distrbutive. Zuboff articulates this ok in her Support Economy. Savory talks of the 18-20 civilizations that went before this one that boomed and busted, all on organic ag. I am presuming that we are articulating here a perennial polycultural world which has the power to regenerate itself with our activities. Another point would be, then, to make sure the sheep are herded intensely and carefully by predators (us) so the grasses are not cut to the bone and have time to recover, and that they piss, poop and hoove it so it gets better, thereby supporting the families and communities better than before so they would have the strength to resist the one sided horror of the centralized, bureaucratized constructs. It is time to drop the blame game and keep moving into something that is bigger than this anaerobic time, what WorldChanging does so well. Giving the beast its due and staying out of the ways of its death throes will take the nimble and the fleet. Rip it up, guys and gals.... An example within the recent posts is Vinay's image of formulating something and 'selling' it, 'pitching' it contrasted with Alex's move toward supporting institutions and people who have collaborating clues. We are so used to the former that it is hard to get to the later so we can use both, back and forth, forth and back until an emergence comes thru which pulls people of all ways and sides into it. It gets slippery on all the slime mud, lots of us will fall in. We sure need the humors to lift us and give us air of laughter and mirth in our bumblings thru a few hundred generations... Kim McDodge
Cliff Figallo (fig) Mon 6 Sep 04 19:56
To what extent can you inform and educate the public to get it to vote for sustainability RATHER THAN scare it into voting for sustainability. Much of what we call democracy has relied on motivating through fear - both fear of the real and fear of the imagined. There is always a boogie man outside the door, and that STICK is often more effective than any CARROTS of better living standards and a chicken in every pot. It will have to be proven to me that an electorate is really open to being informed. Not propogandized to, but informed of something a lot closer to the truth. I know you, Mr. and Mrs. Electorate...YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH! Mainly because you're lied to so consistently, that you can't hardly trust if when you hear it. But without the informed electorate, what is the underpinning of democracy? Blue sky scenarios like the carbon tax are shot down on the runway by parties who are funded to maintain the status quo. But what if a viable 3rd party were to arise? I watched Charlie Rose interview Joe Trippi this morning. Trippi (God, I love that name) predicted that in the 2008 presidential election, a third party candidate will run, funded and promoted primarily through the Internet. He ran some potential numbers: Three million people on the Net donate $100 each to this candidate's campaign. That's $300 million. The Repubs set an alltime record this year raising over $250 million. Kerry's at about $200 million. Trippi didn't believe that such a candidate could win in 2008, but it certainly would change the power game if something like this were to happen. And a large frustrated mass of voters is probable after the next 4 years. Trippy!
Vinay Gupta (vinaygupta) Mon 6 Sep 04 20:40
I think we'll see revolution in the streets or massive end-runs around conventional government structures (see: Argentina) before we see an internet-funded third party candidate. The rot is really deep. An Internet-based end-run around conventional governance, though, isn't hard to imagine. I think that mayoral-level direct democracy is fairly easy to imagine, and might even work. Rebuilding democracy by electing minor officials who swear that, when elected, they'll ask the public regularly for their wishes on significant issues of the day could actually revitalize civic life in a big way. I'm not sure that direct democracy scales past city hall, or that I would want it to be binding. I am sure that the *practice* of democracy has been so badly eroded that most people really don't understand what it would be like to make decisions collectively and feel like they actually took part in expressing their rights as citizens. When I came to America it took me about five years to figure out what was different, and then I got it one day. I'd been raised as a Subject of Her Majesty The Queen. Servility and a fixed social order were in my cultural DNA. Americans were Citizens. I was a Subject. They saw the world differently. Needless to say, I switched sides immediately. I think that many Americans are forgetting what Citizenship feels like because they've had so little cause to use it's privileges recently. I think that even a taste of being in control again, even at a town or county level, would reawaken the foundation of self-governmance which has been so eroded. Citizens, not Subjects.
Michael C. Berch (mcb) Mon 6 Sep 04 22:08
The Internet-funded/publicized third-party candidate that Joe Trippi posits running 2008 may well come to pass. But I consider it exceptionally unlikely that that candidate or party's campaign will be centered around environmental or sustainability issues.
Vinay Gupta (vinaygupta) Mon 6 Sep 04 23:07
I have the feeling that better government would result in those issues getting fair play for a change. A non-corporate-funded third party candidate would have the freedom to see sense, unlike the current batch. Florida, you know? That's a voter issue, right there. Looks like, as Sterling predicted, it's becoming uninsurable (and therefore unbuildable, and therefore unlivable) due to "weather violence."
Michael C. Berch (mcb) Mon 6 Sep 04 23:22
> Florida, you know? That's a voter issue, right there. For you and the other 83 people who know about that, I suppose. If you work in, or write about, the environmental/sustainability field, I don't think you understand the degree to which those issues are *profoundly* not on many peoples' radar.
Taran Rampersad (taranrampersad) Tue 7 Sep 04 10:18
>#163 of 164: Vinay Gupta (vinaygupta) Mon 06 Sep 2004 (11:07 PM) >... > >Florida, you know? That's a voter issue, right there. Looks like, as >Sterling predicted, it's becoming uninsurable (and therefore >unbuildable, and therefore unlivable) due to "weather violence." Let's put this in perspective. I'm in Trinidad and Tobago right now, with Ivan right off to the North East, and some people I met at CARDICIS in St. Lucia live in countries that will be affected greatly (understatement). Are these areas uninsurable, unbuildable and unlivable? (I dunno how long I'll have the connection. Tobago should get hit pretty hard, and all my 1s and 0s go through Tobago because of bandaid development and a government subsidized monopoly on telecomm)
Emily J. Gertz (emilyg) Tue 7 Sep 04 17:12
Good points, Taran. Be safe!
Taran Rampersad (taranrampersad) Tue 7 Sep 04 17:55
OK, Ivan passed Trinidad by. Did some damage to Tobago, and Trinidad will be sending assistance to Grenada in the morning (by boat?!). It was pretty interesting considering that up until the last hour, Ivan was heading for Trinidad. It swerved North just in time, and here's something to think about - had it gone on it's original course, through Barbados and all the Lesser Antilles, it could have been a lot worse. But this is the way it is. Mankind has been living within a weather system that is rather unfriendly since we first showed up. And when things get destroyed, we either move (nomad) or rebuild. In the last century, we've gotten pretty good at rebuilding. Of course, we reached quantum levels of destructive ability as well. Here's the problem I pose: Let's assume we can never beat Mother Nature - which is a safe assumption. Consider the Active Super Volcano that people camp in - Yellowstone National Park. If it decides to blow, it's safe to say that for 1,000 km diameter, life will change very quickly. I don't imagine that there is SuperVolcano insurance (yet, I may start something here). If it does blow, what will happen? If a hurricane clears all the islands in the Caribbean, what will happen? If a meteorite strikes China, what will happen? Simple. What will happen is that we will find a way to live. Insurance companies would like people to think that they are needed to live. But insurance companies also artificially inflate the price of just about everything. Insurance has yet to find a way to replace loved ones, instead offering cash in their stead - but what is money? The real answer, I think, is people helping other people.
Jamais Cascio, WorldChanger (cascio) Tue 7 Sep 04 18:26
By turning north, Ivan has a better chance of hitting Florida. Another big disaster in the making is La Palma, in the Canaries: http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/001043.html
Vinay Gupta (vinaygupta) Tue 7 Sep 04 19:05
Taran, I'm just suggesting that if Florida sees weather damage on this scale regularly for the next decades we'll see a very different Florida emerge. Less big buildings, lots of hunkered-down concrete. It'll be expensive to live there, expensive to do business. People will survive, but it'll be like living in Alaska or Southern New Mexico - a minority choice.
Taran Rampersad (taranrampersad) Tue 7 Sep 04 19:42
Well, Vinay, I'm asking you to think of the Caribbean the same way. Only less people per country, less of a GNP, etc. Trust me, there's almost too much concrete in the developing world. It's a matter of proper architecture, maybe.
Alex Steffen (alexsteffen) Tue 7 Sep 04 19:52
Well, and remember that we're still at the beginning of the climate-change-thing. Seattle residents like to say "If you don't like the weather, wait an hour." If you don't think the weather's weird enough or severe enough now, wait a decade. Whether any number of splatterings of Florida will make those with entrenched opinions and major investments at risk change their minds is an entirely different question. If the sea continues rising, you can bet that ocean-front homeowners will form a major lobbying group to get the guv-mint to build more seawalls.
Vinay Gupta (vinaygupta) Tue 7 Sep 04 20:15
Some of this touches on the notion of "capital preservation" as being the hard part of environmentalism. Physical plant is really vulnerable to climate shifts which result in flooding or other destructive natural phenomena. If Canaveral had been leveled, that would have been our space program gone, and I saw some articles speculating on that very possibility. Destruction of capital is bad. We all live off the accumulation of wealth made by previous generations, just as much as we live on goods pulled from the ground. We've got to try and focus on ways of converting capital from "black capital" (capital stored in forms which are ecologically or socially destructive) to "green capital." Green capital is capital which is sustainable in both human and ecological terms. Right now there are something like 30 quadrillion dollars worth of capital in the world, in the form of buildings and factories and universities and all manner of property, business processes, the whole works. Only a tiny fraction of it is Green Capital. There's almost no study I'm aware of which looks at our ecological problems from the perspective of preserving capital through the transition, but it's an important step in our transition to a sustainable world. If the process is only 25% efficient, we'll be green, but we'll be poor. Investment is really where the leverage in our society is, even more than politics in a lot of ways. If the money moves, the politicians will follow.
Taran Rampersad (taranrampersad) Tue 7 Sep 04 21:05
Well, you see... there's a few countries in between Ivan and Florida which deserve mention as well, since they too will feel it's wrath. But we jumped straight back to Florida, and that's what I was talking about the introspective culture much earlier in the discussion. Someone called it something else, and that's fine, but the concept is clear. So that's set out there in the open for discussion as well. To Vinay's Capital Preservation... There's a hidden assumption in there which is also the same as above. That there is capital inherited. In the 'developed world' - the minority - this is true. In the developing world - the majority - this is not as true. Or rather, if there is wealth inherited, the value of the item of the person may well outweigh the cost on the global market. Again, back to cost and value. To a person in Africa who hasn't eaten in a few days, the loss of the space program means nothing. To a person in the United States, a person who hasn't eaten in a few days, there is also no interest in the space program (except, perhaps, Tang). This might sound 'bleeding heart liberal' to some, but hey - think about it. Further, if we're talking about Capital Preservation, we need to talk about Capital Devaluation, and even Capital Obsolescence. Capital that just earns interest for us to live off of doesn't seem sensible, because that interest has to come from somewhere else. I don't know that money is the answer. I don't know that Politicians are the answer either... I think it has more to do with public opinion. I'm encountering this in some ICT discussions as well, and I'm noticing that nobody is looking for cost effective solutions, they are looking at getting lots of funding first and then looking for cost effective solutions afterward - maybe. I'm still trying to figure it out myself. Maybe it's our ability to rebuild after a disaster that is truly our capital; maybe we're looking at the wrong thing as capital. That's one thing all of our ancestors had in common - survival. And these days, it means rebuilding. In Florida, it might mean insurance. In the Caribbean, it might mean an agreement with neighbouring islands to aid each other in times of need. In Africa, it might mean using genetically engineered crops. That's the best I can come up with right now. The ability to maximize the use of available resources for survival. That's capital to me, and suddenly the whole Capital Preservation makes sense to me. In such a case, the capital is who or whatever we have relationships with - be it the other country, the insurance company, what have you. The relationship - not necessarily human - is itself the capital. And yes, it could be attributed to buildings. I fear I need more coffee :)
Emily J. Gertz (emilyg) Wed 8 Sep 04 04:55
Yes, it is interesting how on the one hand, the discussion can go on for quite a while about libertarian vs. centralized regulation models of government, and then fall back on very mainstream definitions of capital and value when trying to discuss an issue on the ground, or blowing across the ground as it were.
Michael C. Berch (mcb) Wed 8 Sep 04 12:47
The textbook case of government's blundering in this area is the National Flood Insurance Program, which had the noble goal of helping people rebuild after natural disasters by socializing the cost of rebuilding, but had the overall effect of incentivizing people to live in flood plains, and therefore socializing the costs of building/rebuilding in places that should simply not be built in. THere's been some reform of that in recent years, but not a whole lot, since people see flood insurance as an entitlement.
Members: Enter the conference to participate