Archive for May, 2007
Uber-Marketer Seth Godin made a stab at thinking beyond profit on his blog, and wrote about humanity’s desire for more, more, more. He writes:
“More has been around for thousands of years. Kings ate more than peasants. Winning armies had more weapons than losing ones. Elizabeth Taylor had more husbands than you.
Car dealers are temples of more. The local Ford dealership lists four different models… by decreasing horsepower. Car magazines feature Bugattis, not Priuses on the cover. Restaurants usually serve more food (and more calories) than a normal person could and should eat.
Is this some sort of character flaw? A defective meme in the system of mankind? Or is it an evil plot dreamed up by marketers?
There’s no doubt that marketers amplify this desire, but I’m certain it’s been around a lot longer than Jell-O.”
He finishes with “As a marketer, my best advice is this: let’s figure out how to turn this into a battle to do more, not less. Example one: require all new cars to have, right next to the speedometer, a mileage meter. And put the same number on an LCD display on the rear bumper. Once there’s an arms race to see who can have the highest number, we’re on the right track.”
Seth Seth Seth. You gotta go a lot further than that, pal. Today for instance, I saw an article that tells us NASA knows we are on the brink of no-return from global warming’s destruction of life on the planet.
Located right next to the article is a smiling reporter chiming in on all the exciting racing action from the CO2 spewing Indie 500. So it’s not just about more, it’s about our narcissism in thinking we are above any other biological creature or process on earth.
It’s about knowing that when we toss Mother Nature out the window, she comes back in the door with a pitchfork.
Here they are folks, your top 25 Censored Stories of 2007 (so far!)
#1) Future of Internet Debate Ignored by Media
#2) Halliburton Charged with Selling Nuclear Technologies to Iran
#3) Oceans of the World in Extreme Danger
#4) Hunger and Homelessness Increasing in the US
#5) High-Tech Genocide in Congo
#6) Federal Whistleblower Protection in Jeopardy
#7) US Operatives Torture Detainees to Death in Afghanistan and Iraq
#8) Pentagon Exempt from Freedom of Information Act
#9) The World Bank Funds Israel-Palestine Wall
#10) Expanded Air War in Iraq Kills More Civilians
#11) Dangers of Genetically Modified Food Confirmed
#12) Pentagon Plans to Build New Landmines
#13) New Evidence Establishes Dangers of Roundup
#14) Homeland Security Contracts KBR to Build Detention Centers in the US
#15) Chemical Industry is EPA’s Primary Research Partner
#16) Ecuador and Mexico Defy US on International Criminal Court
#17) Iraq Invasion Promotes OPEC Agenda
#18) Physicist Challenges Official 9-11 Story
#19) Destruction of Rainforests Worst Ever
#20) Bottled Water: A Global Environmental Problem
#21) Gold Mining Threatens Ancient Andean Glaciers
#22) $Billions in Homeland Security Spending Undisclosed
#23) US Oil Targets Kyoto in Europe
#24) Cheney’s Halliburton Stock Rose Over 3000 Percent Last Year
#25) US Military in Paraguay Threatens Region
I just watched the most excellent TV series on the planet, which showcased wonderful film footage of the elusive dancing “Bird of Paradise”. The filmmaker had to wait over 5 weeks to get a single clip of the colorful, artistic males dancing to impress the picky females, who would deny the male sex or the opportunity to mate if her suitor didn’t please her enough.
Boy, that sounds like any local happy hour to me!
Basically, the female birds have made their men dance and do what it takes in order to get laid. Maybe the women of the world need to take a cue from nature and start denying sex to badly behaving men who trash the planet, wage war, or aren’t getting with the “save the planet” program.
Right now, we may be in a “look at me” culture of Girls Gone Wild, but that must soon change – as much as I like all the hotties. So here are the new rules, ladies!
Good boys reuse containers before they recycle. Good boys treat the earth and one another wisely. Only the good boys get the nookie.
Good boys learn to grow food at home. Good boys ride bikes instead of driving cars. Only the good boys get the nookie.
Good boys learn to live green, live local, and live light. Good boys have to earn the right. Only the good boys get the nookie.
“Did you hear? Paris Hilton is sooooo, like, wanting out of jail. Seriously. And that new cell phone you just got… wow. So cool. Really.
Hey, did you hear that thing on the news about the world crashing all around us? Yeah – I’m sooooooooo not interested in that stuff. Anyway, wow, this gas is so, like expensive! I guess I’ll have to just put it on the credit card again. Want to get a Latte?”
This could be a typical conversation with so many clueless Americans. A one-way spouting of their own illusion of a secure me-me-me world, chiseled and shaped by our age-of-convenience world which rewards materialism and narcissism with zero interest purchases on new televisions, automobiles, communications devices, guns, you name it. If we have to make it ourselves, wait for it, share it, or be inconvenienced by it in any way, boy do we get pissed off!
For instance, it’s easy to make crackers at home using soaked flax seeds, some flavoring like sun dried tomatoes or whatever, and a dehydrator. But noooooooooooooooo. We want it made for us, easy to go, in a box.
Take a gander at the scientific definition of this personality type:
Narcissistic Personality: People with a narcissistic personality have a sense of superiority, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. They have an exaggerated belief in their own value or importance, which is what therapists call grandiosity. They may be extremely sensitive to failure, defeat, or criticism. When confronted by a failure to fulfill their high opinion of themselves, they can easily become enraged or severely depressed. Because they believe themselves to be superior in their relationships with other people, they expect to be admired and often suspect that others envy them. They believe they are entitled to having their needs met without waiting, so they exploit others, whose needs or beliefs they deem to be less important. Their behavior is usually offensive to others, who view them as being self-centered, arrogant, or selfish. This personality disorder typically occurs in high achievers, although it may also occur in people with few achievements.
Hmmmmmmmmmmm. Sound like any country you know? For all intents and purposes, it could be many, many others outside of the USA. But for our purposes here, I am calling out Americans for how we are presently viewed as around the world.
The fact is, everyone is making their final grabs on energy, water, land, etc. before someone snaps and everyone goes apeshit with their militaries. Global death and destruction are an “externality” that corporations never seem to include in their annual reports.
So the big question is, how can enough of us hyper-evolve in time to work out our differences before the present system construct collapses? After all, “Going Green” won’t matter if the system crashes and people are left to their own devices. Without coordinated community planning ahead of time, chaos the likes of Katrina ensues. Doesn’t planning for that stuff mean more to people than Lindsey Lohan’s DUI?
Sure, corporations are finally coming around. There are cool advertisement campaigns crafted to help reprogram peope’s behavior to be ‘more green’, but I don’t see any corporate sponsored campaigns aiming to slow population growth or asking religious people of the world to quickly find common ground.
One can dream, eh?
But here we are. We know we have peaked, that economies are starting to crash as others overheat, and in the end, money doesn’t matter. What matters is reality, and that means if you have access to food, water, shelter and energy, you can live.
If someone fights you for that energy and you both die during the scuffle, no one wins, except a third person who may just be sitting by watching you waste your energy so they can come is afterwords and just take what you were fighting over.
See how it works? When lions make a kill, they all sit down and share it. Sure, some of them get to eat first, but they all get their share. It’s the way nature works, and the people of the world know it. After all, most people want peace, rather than the fights our governments are engaged in. Check out this video:
It’s only one communication but the message can be told a million different ways. We are overlapping as people, and our problems are multiplying as we do. Ignorance of this fact, as well as narcissism and a me-me-me worldview will ultimately lead to collapse of some sort, be it nuclear, ecological, economic, perhaps all of the above.
If your brain is mature, you can grip this notion, recognize it for the challenge it is, and help be part of the solution. That solution is to relocalize, and to rely on as much as you can create – from local power to growing food at home, It’s biking instead of driving. It’s inviting neighbors to participate in pot-lucks and block parties so you can get to know one another. It’s whatever you can do right now to understand how to live in a world where you will not have a choice.
My garden is going great. The tomatoes are popping up, carrots are making themselves known, onions are bursting out of the ground, and garlic is standing tall. I’m watching as plums, pears, strawberries and raspberries are starting to get their colors on the fruits.
We can do this folks. Just start preparing now, grow as much food as you can at home, and learn to carpool if you can’t commute by bike.
That’s enough finger wagging. I’m not trying to act righteous here… just trying to point out the obvious and spur people into making the changes needed to survive.
Here the rules Ben Franklin lived by.*
1. It is necessary for me to be extremely frugal for some time, until I have paid all my debts.
2. I’ll do my best to speak the truth in every situation. I’ll also seek to avoid giving people expectations that are unlikely to be met, aiming instead at complete sincerity in every word and action. Such is the most excellent pursuit for a rational being.
3. I plan to work very hard at whatever business I undertake in the future. I will not distract myself with my business by any foolish scheme for getting rich quickly. Hard word and patience are the most certain ways to wealth.
4. Finally, I resolve never to speak poorly of anyone, not even in a matter of the truth. Instead, I will choose by some means to excuse the faults I hear charged upon others, and whenever possible speak all the good I know of everybody.”
Boy do we need Benjamin Franklin back at the helm in America!
That’s how I feel after reading his story. Benjamin Franklin is the equivalent of today’s blockbuster movie hero. He has all the right moves to make the chicks cry, embolden the jocks, satisfy the sci-fi geeks, teach history and illuminate American sense of pride in seizing the challenging moments we have faced as a country.
Ben Franklin loved life. Born as the fifteenth child in a family, Ben wasn’t quite rollin’ in the Benjamins as a youth (wouldn’t that be him rolling around in himself?). He popped into the world before America was even born as a country, back when the British ruled our “Colonies” from England.
One of the few books his family owned was a book on how to live a happy life, which must have programmed him like Neo in the Matrix… he became a brainiac-badass at an early age. He tried to stay in school, but his pops ran out of money and yanked Benjamin from his books and tossed him into the family candle making shop. Ben thought making candles sucked, so he went to work helping at his brother’s printing shop.
Ben would often stay up all night reading books, setting aside half his lunch money to save up and buy even more books. He taught himself multiple languages, studied poetry, navigation, philosophy, and writing. One day, he anonymously dropped of an article he wrote at the “New England Courant” – and the editor published it. Ben was published thirteen more times before he admitted it was his handywork – and when his brother found out about it he proceeded to beat the living shit out of him.
So young Ben sopped up his tears and left Boston on a thirty hour storm-ridden journey by ship (where he dove in the water and saved a drunk guy from drowning). His writing improved and is witty sarcasm became a threat to the local Governor, who offered Ben a job in England. Once Ben was in England, the Governor abandoned him to rot with no support or funds. Ben was on his own, alone, in England – snubbed by a jealous, power hungry governor.
So what did Ben Franklin do? He stuck around England and learned everything he could, earning a reputation among the English as “The Water American”, because he chose to drink water rather than the six-pint a day habit his peers enjoyed. At this point, Ben resolved to live by principles he thought would most lead to the most fulfilling, happy life he could create for himself. He wrote a handbook for himself, and drew up 13 virtues to live by.
Ben worked hard to live by the virtues he set upon himself, such as doing good for the benefit of his fellow humankind, being sincere and truthful (even if the truth hurt), cutting off time wasting activities, and fighting for justice. He became a successful newspaper publisher, inventor, scientist, and statesman – and he never let challenges outside his control slow his own progress down.
When the English rulers imposed taxes on the colonies, taking their money to pay for wars the British were fighting, Ben had enough. He joined in the calls for “No Taxation Without Representation!”, and he helped craft the Declaration of Independence, which states:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Wow, how powerful is THAT? That is what our country is founded on man! That’s the document he signed, along with Thomas Jefferson and others. The coolest part is that by taking such actions against the king, he was stating that his nuts were the size of bowling balls. When he signed the Declaration, he looked around the room and said “And now we must all hang together, or we shall hang separately”.
THAT, my friends, is courage. And luckily, we still live in the country that guarantees freedom, so long as we keep it that way. And when our congress has been given a mandate by the people to end the war, and they choose to continue funding it, I believe that is taxation without representation.
I also believe that we have the technology to feed every person in America – and in fact, the world. Peak Oil is very real, as is global warming. They are daunting challenges, but if we can figure out a way to slow down population growth to sustainable levels, we don’t need to blow ourselves to kingdom come or fry to death.
There will be many challenges ahead of us. People will need to relocate. You won’t have access to all the choices you have had your whole life, such as strawberries in the winter, unlimited driving in your car, or zipping to Disneyworld on an airplane. But what we do have is our humanity, and the ability to grow enough food to make up for what we have been using oil to do.
Oil is becoming scarce, folks. It’s what we use to run our everyday lives, and we cannot continue living this way if we don’t expect warfare for the rest of our lives. The whole world is in a fight over the remaining oil, water, natural gas, coal, trees, and whatever else we devour like locusts.
I tell you what, my garden is BOOMING and I’m growing tons of food in my little yard. If everyone starts doing this right now, we can learn the skills necessary for self sufficiency and make the transition to commuting by bike, inventing all sorts of cool gadgets to help live in a low energy world, and relocalize our own currencies.
Americans are so in debt, if the money system breaks they won’t know what to do. Well, the bank may come for your house, who knows. But if everyone is in trouble at the same time, why freak out? Just go talk with your neighbors and everyone can start tribing up, sharing tools, food, transportation, lodging – whatever is needed.
And it will be needed, because running out of oil is like when that Governor tricked Ben Franklin into going to England – and dumped him there with nothing. This is our chance to realize we were duped, shake it off, and start fresh.
We need to upgrade to America 2.0. We have no other choice.
Last night I attended the Illahee presentation by world famous Thomas Homer-Dixon, author of “The Upside of Down”. He is Director of the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies and Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, and has written a new book called “The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization.”
Homer-Dixon contends that five “tectonic stresses” are accumulating deep underneath the surface of today’s global order:
* energy stress, especially from increasing scarcity of conventional oil;
* economic stress from greater global economic instability and widening income gaps between rich and poor;
* demographic stress from differentials in population growth rates between rich and poor societies and from expansion of megacities in poor societies;
* environmental stress from worsening damage to land, water forests, and fisheries; and,
* climate stress from changes in the composition of Earth’s atmosphere.
I felt he left out religion, but I’ll give him a pass for presenting our future in such straightforward, mature terms. The crowd seemed to be sobered by being told without immediate change, we’re toast (which surprised me). The questions at the microphone seemed to be a mix of wishful thinking solutions and hopeful optimism swallowed with a side dish of reality.
While his presentation offered a diagnosis of the variety of ways we are about to off ourselves from planet earth, Homer-Dixon did offer some prescriptions such as “Use the Internet to communicate and learn”, “Change our thinking from economic growth to livability”, etc.
Where he is way off the mark, however, is in his optimism about Peak Oil. He projected the comforting number of up to 20 years out, while mentioning there are those of us in the peak oil community that believe we may have already peaked. Hey Thomas… I have news for you… global expert analysis shows that Saudi Arabia has peaked, which means the world has already peaked.
That means game over. No more time to prepare… you go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish to have, right? That’s the reality given to us by our government, rather than the one we *should* have been preparing for when Jimmy Carter started his renewable energy program and big oil crushed it. Now, we don’t have the time needed to ween ourselves from oil and lots of people that wished and wished and wished upon a star that everything will be okay are going to be freaked the hell out soon. How do I know?
Because the wicked have been exposed, man.
Deep down, Americans understand their government has been completely overtaken by corporations and media manipulation. Democrats and Republicans alike are choosing to send Americans to fight over oil rather than tell our citizens the hard, critical truths they need to know about the end of modern living. It’s painfully obvious to everyone who chooses not to be an ignoramus that the Republican and Democrat “Good Cop / Bad Cop” routine in Washington is simply Bad Cop / Bad Cop.
September 11th was a trauma to American’s collective psyche, and citizens were brainwashed to follow marching orders to a war based on lies. “We must hit them back!”, rather than turning the other cheek and working to end poverty throughout the world while educating people about ecological balance and local systemic living. If you want to argue with me on this, don’t waste your breath, the lines have been drawn. We will never agree.
The truth is that we are at the breaking point, and Americans are not prepared for the hell about to be unleashed. Unless we have an alternative energy source to transport ourselves, grow and deliver food, provide electricity for our homes, and a plethora of other systemic life support systems for American living standards – we are toast. Our desire to cling to an ownership society has taken us to the brink of oblivion, we’re the monkeys that chose to get caught by trappers rather than let go of the salt lick.
So on and on the party goes. The devil and his cronies have actually entered the room everyone is partying in, announced his intensions, and everyone is still tuning in to see who won American Idol. I’ll tell you who won… evil. Evil has prevailed, because people are too selfish or ignorant to pay attention and comply with the rules of nature.
Now the question is how people will react when the first hellish outbreaks occur. Who knows how fast it will be. As always, I advise you to get to know your neighbors right now, and grow food at home.
Dear President Putin,
I assume you will never read this message, however someone will read this. While I am an American, I am writing as a concerned human being without preference for class status, nationality, race, color, or gender.
My concern is in regards to the dire energy situation we are in as a planet, and the conflict arising in the form of increased war as nations choose to do battle over energy rather than work together for the betterment of humanity.
The US government is not listening to the will of the people, and too many Americans are distracted with simplistic entertainment shows. Since you have headline making abilities, I am writing to ask you to speak to the American people and tell them the truth about energy since our government and media refuse to do it.
Humans are not immortal animals, sir. We are self-serving, and I feel right now that most International leaders are acting to serve their own interests rather than the people of the world, which means nationalism, racism, religious bias and greed are leading to our downfall. The governments of the entire world are all guilty of the seven deadly sins, including yours.
The present American government may not agree with my positions, sir, however I believe I have the right to voice human concerns without repercussion. I understand the complications of the political and monetary system, maintaining wealth for the upper classes, and the desire to maintain the luxuries oil has provided for our living standards.
Based on the fact that oil is rapidly depleting, I truly feel that our militarily matched countries are headed for potential conflict and we must immediately work to implement a “Power down” program to shift portions of money from weapons systems to building reliable alternative localized energy and food system infrastructures.
There is too much violence and it must end at some point, sir. One step towards sustaining life on earth means taking away the big, nuclear guns. We must put them down now or we’ll all be killed, and even religious leaders must understand this.
We need everyone from all countries to do this… as humans! Unless we can work out arrangements to equally share and create life sustaining energy, stabilize populations, grow food locally, and learn to live with less… I feel we are certain to experience a nuclear destiny.
Thank you for your attention and continued efforts to keep the peace. I believe it could start with you directly addressing the American people of the world that we must change our unsustainable consumption habits.