Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Austerity For The Common Good.

Someone remarked to me recently that I rant a lot but do not offer any real solutions. In retrospect, I guess I am far too involved with finding blame and pointing fingers. It is hard not to fall into that trap. The environmental movement by necessity needs to be inclusive by nature, it is not healthy to draw lines in the sand because those that find them selves on the far side might not change at all for lack of impetus. So please forgive my rantings of late and consider them digression moving forward. (Feel free to point out my shortcomings either here or on other forums, I embrace constructive criticisms.)

The argument for drastic change in policy I'm about to make isn't based on some environmentalist ideal, like saving whales or spotted owls. It comes from an understanding that the world will continue to exist long into the future, but we are making it increasingly uninhabitable for humans. If we want the earth of the future to be populated solely by cockroaches and grass, than we can stay the course, but if we want an earth capable of supporting the kinds of complex organismal interactions that we depend on for our lives we need to change, and now.

What would I change tomorrow if I ran the world? First off, I would outlaw petroleum use for all non-agricultural or food distribution purposes. Humans are adaptive creatures. We will find ways to get back on our feet from a change like that. I give it a year before industry would move to electromotive power in order to reconstitute its self. People that are unable to adapt to a post carbon economy might just have to be sacrificed for the good of humanity in general. The good news is, that divide is not based on race or any genetic predispositions, but on the ability of an individual to accept change and flourish within a new set of circumstances.

Second, I would advocate a return to agrarian ethics. Ever wonder why schools have a summer break? It is not so students can party on the beach, but because several framers of the constitution were farmers. They knew that locking up a vital part of the workforce during the summer harvest was untenable. Why not solve several problems at once, by having discounted tuition for students that spend their summers doing agricultural work. Our society in general will benefit from having more citizens acutely aware of how our food distribution system is composed, and what factors effect it. Having people in a community who are capable of growing food will help entire communities survive the troubling times ahead. Leadership from the most vital members of our society, the farmers (I invite anyone to describe a vocation with more societal importance than a farmer) would be invaluable in political decision making alone.

Lastly, I would dismantle the political structure as it is today and replace it with a transparent lateral democracy. Technology has expanded to the point where relying on ambassadors to advocate for us in a single location is no longer necessary. (See "New Form of Democracy") While this change might lead to some unintended consequences at first, after people see directly what they have created and do not have a political actor to blame, in time growth in a positive direction will inevitably prevail. Let the merit of arguments stand on their own and not warped or spun to us via back room deals between people with hidden agendas.

As always I welcome comments or questions here or on twitter (even if it is just to call me crazy). I will not edit or omit any post.

The Predatory Nature of Capitalism

If you strip capitalism down to its bare concepts two things become obvious. One if everyone had equal amounts of resources (capital, money, fiat currency, what ever you want to call it), then the price of goods or services would be relative to the total volume of capital and based solely on value. Second, in the current model the rich really depend on the poor to be poor in order to keep the price of goods and services down. This sets up a model where the wider the gap between rich and poor, the more value the rich get for their capital. This leads to necessary condition of disenfranchisement of the working class or developing nations.

Another factor to consider is the often touted growth. Growth is really the only way to break through the wealth gap. If you are poor but figure out how to disenfranchise a segment of a population and harvest profit from them, you will become relatively rich compared to the segment you are now leveraging. This is exemplified by switching to importing goods from areas of cheep labor instead of manufacturing them in the market location.

Financiers have this honed to art form. They have leverage against the highest income brackets, giving them a wealth gap above a group supported by a wealth gap. The earth however is not infinite, so sooner or later growth into new markets (new populations to segment for marginalization) will end, and the top predators will start feeding on other predators lower on the food chain. Examples of this can be seen in modern banking systems in consolidation via leveraged buy outs.

This model works on all levels, the hot dog vendor sells dogs himself and makes a little profit, if he reinvests that into a second cart and can hire someone for a barely livable wage, he is creating a wealth gap between himself and the (very small) segment he has now disfranchised. The larger the population under his leverage (ie the more carts and minimum wage employees he has) the larger his wealth gap is likely to grow. A national big box retailer could have a population of tens of thousands leveraged; people in other countries providing cheep labor, and you can bet they are as stingy as possible with their own domestic labor force.

What can we do about it? Stop playing their game. It depends a lot on our complicity as consumers and aspiring leveragers. Stop purchasing anything new unless it is absolutely essential (like food). Expand your skills and join or form a secondary barter community. Often hand crafted goods from an artisan are going to be of much better quality than anything mass produced, thereby imparting more value to something to compensate for a higher price. Second hand goods are also a good strategy. If an item has already passed through the consumer market intact, it is likely going to be of better quality and most likely inexpensive in a second hand shop.

These are hard concepts for someone steeped in the social norms of america of today to embrace. Societal  pressures have been co-opted for the purposes of marketing so long now that even the most trivial of things seem like necessities. On a subconscious level we are compelled to have this seasons fashions or the newest gadget accessory in order to fit in with the world we see broadcast to us as "normal". I don't even have a phone, haven't for months, and I can assure you I am still alive and well. I haven't had a television for more than a decade, and I feel none the worse for wear for it. The last non-consumable item I purchased new was a book about six months ago. So it can be done.

Lets hit them where it really hurts, in the pocket book, the more people turn to a secondary economy, second had lifestyle and local first mindset, the less stable the platform of the wealthy will become. Make less and consume less, and we'll starve the bastards out.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The enemy within.

The case for global climate change is often fought against because of imprecise predictive models. When contemplating something like the entire earths climate, there are a great deal of factors to consider, and more are cropping up everyday. So the predictive power climate models is difficult to box neatly and distribute as a fact. But if a growing trend was for money to randomly disappear from your bank account, would you wait until you were broke to do something? Would you accept the banks answer that since you cannot predict when the next event would take place you shouldn't worry about it?

Global climate change is no longer a theory. We have actual documented extinctions directly the result of changing climate trends. The amplification of existing weather patterns, like longer hurricane seasons or the expansion of tornado risk areas can also be linked to changes in climate patterns. But even these can be difficult to stick to global climate change in the political spectrum. Where those who are literally killing us have the money to stay above threshold of power necessary to get away with it. If our political representatives actually had the national interests in mind things would be a lot different.

This issue is a stark reminder that our democracy has failed unequivocally. We are no longer represented by any party that currently has a stake in power. They pay us lip service and cajole us with wedge issues, but ultimately for anything to get done, it has to pass the litmus test of wall street, an amoral entity that is unabashedly self interested and appallingly short sighted. The founding fathers of our once proud nation would be heart sick to see their modern day counterparts so beholden to the wealthy minority. If they saw the wanton propaganda that passes for "news" from both sides of the fraudulent actors that pass for the necessary dialectic of a healthy system of checks and balances.

Wealth and GDP is not any kind of metric for success, sustainability is. Would you consider a project or life form successful if it did really well but for only one day? The success of our nation cannot be measured in a single lifetime, to do that is a grave affront to those who gave their lives for our country in the past in the interest of a better future. It is also unconscionable to forsake the lives of future generations for a profit today. Our system has been hijacked, in the most entrenched and insidious way, by manipulating our elected officials though campaign finance, the wealthy elite have found a way to play them off the voting public. Worse yet the nature of media consolidation works to actively propagandize our nation into buying into the fallacy of fair governance.

The fact that my voice as a citizen is considered less important than the influence of any corporate entity is all the proof I need that we no longer live in a democracy, but corporate dictatorship.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Role: Steward.

In 1961 John F. Kennedy's inaugural address included the phrase "Ask not what your country can do for you, Ask what you can do for your country." This was a call to arms for all Americans to face the challenges of the times. I would like to adapt that famous quote to something more like "Ask not what your earth can do for you, but what you can do for your earth. It is well established that if everyone on earth adopted the standard of living of most Americans, it would require the resources of multiple planets.

If we are truly one of the most advanced nations on the planet, it is time to lead by example once more and adopt the austerity measures that are vital to creating a sustainable future. It it time to cast aside the luxuries we selfishly cling to as they rapidly become a noose tightening around the collective neck of life on our planet. So far we have adopted two main responses, "If they are not going to do it, why should we?" and "When a better solution comes along, we will adopt it."

The first view is as backwards as it is selfish. American exceptionalism was one of the founding principals that lead us from a remote colony in a strange land, to the world super power we are today. It is one of the driving forces behind much of the progress our nation stands on. We adopted a role as one of the strongest influences world wide, it is time to grow up and take responsibility for all that we have insisted is apart of our purview. This means adopting genuine austerity now, not only for the sake of the environment but for our very nations security in the future.

The second view is no longer an option. We have run out of time. It is well documented that we are entering a global mass extinction event. Loss of bio-diversity is no longer just the problem of spotted owls in timber forests, but nearly every ecosystem on the planet. We as a nation have squabbled over implementation long enough that the window of opportunity has closed. It is no longer about how to maintain our economy and standard of living in a sustainable fashion, but about how can we scramble to maintain the ecosystems that we depend on for our very survival.

The biological sciences have unearthed a body of evidence that unambiguously proves the interconnected nature of all life on earth. Not a single scrap of food or breath of air comes to us with out the aid of multiple organisms acting together for our mutual benefit. We have taken for granted that these services are eternal and immutable, but as we accrue more and more debt to a system that is not rebounding rapidly enough to balance out our greed and avarice, it has become painfully obvious that this is simply not the case.

Extraordinary challenges require extraordinary measures.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fishing in the future.

Rising fuel costs and dependency on petroleum has an effect on many food distribution systems. One that I have heard nobody talk about is the worlds fishing fleets. Currently most US commercial fishing operations rely on diesel power, and while it can be argued that bio fuels could replace diesel, replacing the source of protein sea food represents in the world's diet is not an option.

Could a commercial scale fishing trawler be designed on a sailing platform? I feel optimistic. Ships of all sizes have been plying the worlds oceans under sail for a lot longer than internal combustion has been around. With modern materials technology and the countless advances accrued during racing/pleasure boat research and development, I can imagine a viable renascence for sail powered professional mariners.

I would be very interested in seeing a cost/benefit analysis of such an operation. Catch storage would have to be slightly more prolonged, but advances in refrigeration technology could make a larger sailing ship/processor work. Or decentralize and have smaller boats that deliver to a powered processor at sea, making use of existing infrastructure while limiting resource consumption. With the decentralized model, the smaller sail powered work boats could stay at sea for decades or more, by exchanging crews during processor visits.

The world has gotten in such a hurry that it has forgotten that some of the solutions are readily available, if only we can learn a little more patience. Cars exponentially gain inefficiency as horsepower and top speed is increased. Airline travel seems a necessity when traveling over seas, but it was not that long ago when a trip from England to New York in under 60 days was a miraculous leap in technological advancement. We have taken for granted so many luxuries brought about by over consumption of the earths limited resources, it might be time to start really weighing out the costs.

But that might be a topic for another day. For now, I will dream of one day sailing the open ocean while hauling in a long line. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Decisions of the future.

Today we are faced with a choice. It is one of the most difficult decisions humanity has ever faced. Do we continue on our current track fighting harder and harder to maintain our way of life and our standard of living? Or do we make the sacrifices necessary to ensure a future for our children? It seems we are choosing the selfish route, and endeavoring to cling to a fleeting hedonism of transportation and gluttonous food distribution.

One day though; directly because of the choices we are allowing our political leadership to make, generations of the future will be forced to make much harder decisions. If you really understand the science behind global climate change it is not hard to imagine a future where decision makers will be backed into the kind of corner where they have to decide who will live and who will die on a scale of millions of individuals. I do not envy the leaders of 2050 through 2075. They are the ones most likely to suffer the ravages of our greed and avarice.

We sit poised on the edge of precipice that represents the single greatest change environmentally in human history. It is impossible to argue that humans haven't significantly changed the surface of the earth. What was once naturally balanced ecosystems has been replaced; by farm land, cities, suburban sprawls of parking lots and freeways. What is rarely taken into account is how much we depend on these natural systems for basic survival.

The air we breath is not magically provided to us by miraculous intervention, but by the diligent intervention of millions of organisms. We would not exist if it were not for algae in the oceans and trees in the forest converting tons of carbon dioxide to oxygen everyday. There is a good chance that you might be breathing oxygen produced by a plant that grew in your garden while you are eating it. Even if you have no garden, you cannot escape this entanglement with the natural order in the sterile high rise of a city or the luxury of a climate controlled car.

The food we eat isn't spawned on the grocery shelves singularly, but comes to our tables through the complex interactions of multiple organisms; bacteria that fix nitrogen, fungi that form symbiotic relationships with the plants that make up our food crops, insects that spread pollen, worms that digest organic material to make it more suitable for the other organisms to use. Like it or not, you would not exist with these connections to beings from almost every part of the bio-sphere.

Yet we repay this altruism of natural resources by exploiting it in every way imaginable. Our humanity is truly lost in this world of cold, calculated decisions based on short term profit motivation. I don't see a washed and well maintained vehicle as a sign of affluence, but as a sign of a wanton glutton. It time for humanity as a whole to realize its true place as nothing more than a component of a much larger system. We understand that society has rules that must be adhered to in order for it to function. Why can't we, as an entire species accept that nature also has limits that we must respect in order for our survival to continue?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The real conspiracy.

I was astonished to be confronted the other day by a flyer advertising a lecture titled "Global Warming: the truth and the myth" stapled to a telephone pole. There was a website listed, I am not going to give it here, because there is nothing redeeming on it at all. I can easily sum up its content briefly though. 'Scientists think they are smart, they fool you by talking in big words, they make mistakes, here are some of them, so they must not know what they are really doing.'

It was enough for me to return to the location where the flyer was to rip it down before any unsuspecting citizens happen across it and are infected with such drivel. Though they do strike at the heart of the problem with global climate change policy, and implementing change domestically, namely science literacy. There is an active propaganda campaign out there, one that represents a handful over people who have gotten very rich through heavy polluting industries. Oil companies along with auto, chemical, and plastic manufacturers have an obvious vested interest in preventing the kind of changes that need to take place.

They prey on a public that has suffered through decades of declining educational opportunities, and capitalize on the growing divide between the general public and the scientific community. The real myth is "the conspiratorial scientists" that want to "further their agenda" by promoting environmental policy. They have convinced people that environmentalists want to take away their way of life for some kind of vindictive punishment. Really, like I want to give up the convenience of a car, the luxury of hour long hot showers or sumptuous foods from all over the world delivered to my door. Of course I don't want to, but if it means the next seven generations will be able to eat at all, I am willing to.

Short sighted corporate greed is influencing political systems to endanger the lives of future generations. This is nothing short of genocide. It might not be happening now, but the trend is clear, and the act of convincing millions of Americans it is not in order to continue a short term goal based on quarterly profits is criminal. I for one, hope there is enough of a society left as the changes become too obvious to ignore to send the real conspirators to the gallows. I hope I live to see; every politician that accepts bribe money in the form of campaign contributions, every corporate executive who funds disinformation distribution, every last media propagandist, that participates in this truly unpatriotic system hung for what they are doing to our future.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Climate change, the next step.

I have stated before that we were very lucky that a long time ago in earth's history a vast expanse of carbon fixing life forms worked diligently creating an atmosphere habitable for the proliferation of animal life. Now we are consuming them as a resource and converting the climate back to that early carbon dioxide rich model. With that comes a heavy price, drinking water will be scarcer as temperature increases, arable land will decrease dramatically as the zones they currently exist in get pushed away from the equator faster than the soil can be built up. We probably have about two decades to prepare our selves for a major collapse of society.

We have passed the point of no return. What is the next step? I say we shut up about it. There is very little probability that we will be able to support anywhere near earths current population in a sustainable fashion into the future. It is time we stopped looking to "save the world" and start thinking only of our selves. Let those obsessed with accumulation of capital have it. Fiat currency will be of little use in an agrarian society. Instead work on practical skill development. Understand principals like the maximum number of individuals that can be supported in a motile hunter gatherer community or a subsistance farming community.

Other important skills might include a deep understanding of biological principals. We are shifting the locations of the temperate zones where most of our food production takes place. Worse yet, this shift will take place faster than species can adapt to, or in the case of plants, migrate. Places that previously were nothing more than  tundra might one day become the next fertile bread basket if we are able to induce the conditions necessary for agricultural growth. This includes encouraging or even transplanting: bacteria for fixing nitrogen, annalids to till the newly formed soil, arthropods for pollination, mycorhizal fungi to improve growth and mitigate toxins, etc.

Skills like foraging and backpacking will help you get there, and skills like construction, wood working, metal and work will increase your chances of survival once you get there. If I had the money, property in remote areas of Russia or Canada south of the present day arctic circle would be where I'd place my bet. The farther you are from high population densities when desperation creeps in the better. Don't fall into the "survival equipment" craze though. Humans have been apart of hunter/gatherer groups far longer than we've been technologically dependent. I look towards nature to provide my solutions, I can't help but marvel at the way our ancestors fashioned tools out of raw natural elements.

Tools can be lost or stolen. But skills will be with you no matter what.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday Book Review

Have you ever heard a full grown adult express a take on a concept that you abandoned on the school yard as a small child? Something like "Oh yeah, your stomach will totally explode if you swallow pop rocks and mountain dew at the same time." Often in this situation you are far to taken aback by shear belief in such nonsense to explain that the trapped gas content of an entire bottle of soda and a package of candy isn't sufficient to cause any kind of harm. Or maybe it is politeness, that causes you to suddenly associate an irrevocable "unreliable source"  label in your mental file of this person, who might otherwise be perfectly reliable.

Thankfully, there is literature out there that is capable of explaining in exhaustive detail some of the most important topics of today's world. Richard Dawkins' "The Blind Watchmaker" is the kind of book you just want to carry around with you, so that you can provide a copy to anyone you encounter who might express a disbelief in evolution. Very much the Huxley of our time, he puts simple, yet exhaustive argumentation to such concepts as "Irreducible Complexity" and other old standby's of the misinformation propagandists. As an aside, anyone who tries the old "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?", well we now have archaeological evidence that the amniotic egg was developed during the late Paleozoic era, more than 300 million years before the first chicken like bird walked the earth.

If anyone has the global warming counterpart to this book, I would be very much interested in reading it. Also if there are any books you would like to see reviewed on Sunday Book Review, feel free to comment here, twitter, or google plus.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Theft of a Nation

This may sound a little like conspiracy theory, but I get the feeling education is being intentionally made increasingly inaccessible. Lets examine motive and opportunity. There are political entities that depend on a less educated populous. I will use the armed forces and consumer marketing as examples.

First off, motive of the armed forces. We do not have anything like the necessary standing volunteer force imagined by our forefathers. It has become a for profit machine that chews up the lives of many of the bravest and best american citizens and spits out cash for a hand full of corporate entities. In order to combat image issues of disabled veterans, it has become increasingly mechanized, but it still requires flesh and bone to operate. Where does this fodder come from? Mostly economically disadvantaged  households by dangling the carrot of the GI Bill off a stick. There are still many fighting men and women who would enlist without this, though I'd be willing to bet if tuition was one dollar for every state funded school nation wide, enlistment numbers would drop precipitously.

What about the motive of marketers? An educated consumer base is much harder to please. When people are aware of health trade offs or environmental concerns, they are much less likely to settle for a product produced through an entirely profit motivated entity. I haven't eaten fast food more than once or twice a year (and even then only under duress) for a decade. This is mostly because many of the processes that produce fast food rob it of the nutrients that impel a person to eat in the first place. It would be too expensive to produce good food on the scale most fast food chains operate on. They are counting on people who lack a fundamental understanding of biology or even basic nutrition for a consumer base. Often this leads them to target the economically disadvantaged again.

Opportunity for systemic disruption of access to education happens at a political level. In our capitalistic system of governance (yes, i am implying they are so intertwined that "democracy" has been replaced with "capital-ocracy") anyone with a steady source of income of sufficient magnitude can be politically powerful. The most predatory capitalistic models have gone as far as creating far reaching protections for them selves in our political system. Need proof? The political party that, after years of being a proponent of deeply flawed "free market" ideals took an action that exactly contradicts the very core concept, namely Bush's bank bailouts at the end of his second term.

One of the strongest political influences (and we were warned about this by Dwight D. Eisenhower) today is the corporate controlled military industrial complex. What does this party stand to gain from an under educated citizenry? Imagine if the citizens of the Roman empire had wanted to stand up to the Praetorian Guard, what would it take? First and foremost, education. Why? Because it leads to empowerment through cooperation. People who don't understand the scope of issues can be propagandized. I hear people espouse beliefs all the time that stem from a source with an blatant agenda.

The result is people questioning the things like global climate change because less than 1% of the data used to make the case is flawed, but those flaws are seized upon by entities with a vested interest in preventing change. Evolution is denied despite incontrovertible evidence because religious entities see it as an attack on their source of profit embodied by followers. Unnecessary war created by political leaders so the companies that profit from it will continue to fund political campaigns. (I mean really, if you want to hurt Afghanistan fund an educational out reach program globally aimed at stemming opiate drug use. Iraq would have been better punished by funding programs to globally transition off fossil fuels.)

We are being robbed of our future by short sighted profit motivated entities. Capitalism has become predatory and the fight for education is just as important now as it has ever been.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Scientific mechanics

This might come across as a bit whiny, but as a student of the sciences confronted with new and challenging material everyday, I feel I have a little perspective on this.

Science has come a long way in just the last 100 years. The course content of just a biology class today might be more than all the of philosophy of sciences pre-turn of the century combined. Furthermore as different focuses of science have become more advanced they have also become more intertwined. It is impossible to study either biology, geology or even astronomy with out a firm understanding of chemistry and physics. There is more cross over between biology and geology than a 100 level college course of either let in on. Tack on atmospheric sciences to most of these as well.

So whats my point? All of these different focuses are challenging in their own right. To obtain a level of proficiency takes lots of work and commitment, but in the end not all of it will be useful to someone who will eventually find them selves specializing in a field. While an argument can be made that the academic rigor is part of the point, training the future scientists of the world by necessity needs to be challenging. I counter that the level of inaccessibility is a significant factor in the decline of science literacy in the public sector.

What do I propose? Teaching methodical research and compiling techniques. Why remember the elements of chemistry that are insoluble in aqueous mediums, when a carefully organized note card system can contain much more information with less chance for errors to occur. If a student could prove that they can make timely use of every equation from basic algebra up through advanced calculus without having to memorize the endless lists of formulas, are they not just as effective?

No auto mechanic has to remember the torque specifications for every cylinder head of every car every made, yet with a modest library of reference books and a basic understanding of how the information is compiled they are prepared to make repairs on engines they are completely unfamiliar with. "But science is different!" I can hear the objections now. I contend that scientific principals are very much apart of a mechanics tool box. A diagnostic procedure is tantamount to observation where data is examined and decisions must be made as to causal relationships and pertinence, a repair is an experiment that must be repeatable to test a hypothesis.

Why are there more mechanics than scientists with out even a high school education? It isn't because one group is intrinsically more intelligent, just the subject matter is better understood and can be compiled more easily into accessible research tools. Why is it impossible to imagine a streamlining of scientific principals? Personally, I have synthesized my notes from geology classes into cards and they now sit right next to phylogenic cards in a single box. By the end of my college career, I will have undoubtedly added most of the principals of chemistry, physics and mathematics to it as well. Accessible to me at a moments notice right there on my desk as I write.

If at anytime new research comes out disproving one of the principals, I can simply replace the card or set of dependent cards and I can feel assure that any work I produce is current and accurate. Free from the uncertainty of failures of memory or over writing hard wired wrote memory, we shall see what I can accomplish from it. But let me stress, that what I am suggesting is not a replacement for education, just a different way to accomplish it. It is still necessary to spend the time in the class room gaining the understanding of the scope of the principals and applications. Just a change in the way a person stores the facts and figures.

My hope is that in time, having constant access to many of the principals of widely ranging sciences will help my understanding holistically of the particular focus I choose. Maybe even gain an advantage over those have long forgotten important facets of other disciplines that don't seem relevant to their focus. Keeping a map and picture of the forest to help me see past all of the trees.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Big questions

Big questions about big problems will likely require big answers. Often mankind has a tendency to shift the problem down the road, or shift the time frame a problem has to be dealt with by applying a "band-aid" type solution. As a consequence, a generation ends up dealing with the problems generated by the previous ones. Often issues are compounded by time, so the overall cost is much greater once the issue becomes so glaring it cannot be over looked any longer.

The big question today about global climate change in some circles is "Is it real". This is nothing more than an evasive maneuver by the generation in twilight to foist off their problems onto us. Furthermore, once my generation takes power, the consequences of this pathetic excuse to avoid responsibility will be compounded into ramifications involving our food supply, water supply and a host of economic and social hardships. Much of which could be lessened if dramatic changes could be made now.

I predict history will view the policy makers from 1970-today as two separate bodies. Those who fought for positive environmental change, and obstructionists selfishly clinging to antiquated ideals. We got lucky, really lucky to have advances in climate science and technology in order to see the problem when we did. But for reasons like greed and avarice the choice to implement the changes necessary systemically is not being made.

Now the problems I see in my future are much more dramatic than they would have been. Just as a sample, the majority of the worlds staple crops come from three regions: one in China, one in Russia and the central plains states of the USA. Two of these bread basket regions are already practicing non-renewable ground water mining to sustain agriculture. Further compound this with the petroleum dependably endemic in modern agricultural systems, and you have a recipe for war, possibly between nuclear super powers within my lifetime. Global climate change adds a further compounding factor by shifting the zones of arable land faster than mother nature can build the ecosystem that creates top soil allowing the bread basket to shift with it.

The problem of ground water mining could be acceptably dealt with by my generation, but the magnitude of the crisis compounded exponentially by adding global climate change makes it untenable to support the worlds population. So when my kids are asking why a loaf of bread costs $100 you can bet your ass my reply will be "Because your grandfather's generation and great-grandfather's generation were idiots" (no offense dad). I propose we rename the baby boomers "The selfish Generation".

I understand I face a future with out oil, personal transportation, international trade of consumer goods, war and famine. I get that we need to prepare for world war three. (The water war.) I just wish we didn't have to wait for all the old people to die before we enact all the austerity measures required to have any chance at success as a nation. Why should the selfish generation be so privileged to enjoy their twilight years in a lush standard of living while disregarding the very survival of future generations? The resources they are consuming as monstrous rates would go a long way toward sustainable developments in many of the problem areas.

Oil should be outlawed for personal use, economy be damned, we need to use every last drop we have currently to retrofit our cities to non-petroleum dependent models, and convert our fleet of agricultural equipment over to electrical. We need to invest exclusively in sustainable models now, before the cost outstrips our capacities. Either that, or the only survivors of the future will exist in pockets scattered in small self sustaining communities.

So selfish generation, how do you want america to look in the future, a hand full of scattered hippies hiding in remote communes in an otherwise desolate landscape of collapsed empire? Or so you want your grandchildren to have a fighting chance at reasonable existence? Since you have chosen to empower only the short sighted and profit motivated. I guess I had better start growing out my dreadlocks now.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday Book Review

I just stumbled across a book that has profoundly changed my life. It turns out many of the concepts I have been clinging to are truly flawed. Renowned author and conservative journalist Glen Beck's "Broke: The plan to restore truth, trust and treasure", is truly an awe inspiring piece of supremely crafted ideals. I had no idea how many of our societies most troubling issues could be solved simply by shrinking the unnecessary scope of governmental interference into the robust system of market controlled capitalism.

Why are we punishing job creators with a lop sided tax system that places such undue burdens on them? They don't use 150 million dollars more roads or bridges than a middle class tax payer, why on earth should they have to pay more? It seems ludicrous. Worse off why are we charging them to pay criminals and deviants billions in government hand outs every year? It is time we stood up and put a stop to it!

I invite all you to join me today, April 1st 2012, in recognizing it as Beck day! After all, nothing else is really being celebrated today anyway...