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.

1 comment:

  1. Finally, you have solution to at least one problem, that is not vague, and might actuall be implemented without changing an entire population economy, its lifestyle, or its basic thought process, which, takes decades to do btw.

    I like the idea of discounted tuition for ag work, in fact, I can even envision a way for it to be cost effective, and productive on so many levels.

    the good news, is other schools are seeing the value in this as well. a local high school here offers a agricultral study, where they have converted unused property of the schools in to farmland.

    they then take the produce to market and use the money to further the project.
    look at WSU and their cheese project.

    too much of our adolescent youth waste valuable learning time with useless things that promote being a consumer.