Posts filed under ‘Happy News’

Why The Hell Are We Alive Anyway?

epic sunset

I can’t believe it’s been just over a year since posting. Sorry – been out trying to save the planet for future generations. It’s a hard job, you know. Especially when people have limited attention spans thanks to Facebook and Twitter. Unless your point fits in a paragraph – you are too much reading.

How ya doin? I’m hanging in there, amidst all the bullshit – we are all swimming in the toilet bowl now, eh?

Even the elites – the top of the top, the most nefarious motherfuckers on planet earth must be sitting back going “Whoa… look at our plans in action. We… we… we’re WINNING!”

Yeah, they have been winning since their grandparents were fucking goats in secret chambers of secret societies in secret locations, and since corporations were declared as people back in the 1800’s – the most recent decisions are mere reminders.

So, when money trumps survival, what else can you do but just try to make and store as much of the stuff as you can while actively working against the same system in your free hours? That’s what I do.

What have you been up to the past year? I have been working with farmers to help large, conventional farms switch to organic farming methods that use less water, fossil fuels, and actually rebuild soils and local food systems.

It’s hard work to shift business, culture, technology, and politics at the same time when you have no budget. Especially when there are so many channels on TV and unlimited Internet sites / Apps to use. So much content, so little time on planet earth!

So we must shake it off and realize that there is so much rough road ahead, unless we grow up as a global civilization and make mandatory farm work a part of every citizens’ life in some capacity, people will be lost wondering why the fuck so many riots are taking place all over the world.

Truly – I believe that amidst all the golfing that politicians take part in, they should be required to take a soil science course and have a test at the end, just like school students. Because everyone knows man… the fix is in. Your machine-based voting and money-based elections only empower those who seek more power – not the people.

And people are PISSED OFF.

The money system is fake and corrupt. Yet workers show up to earn enough credits to pay their bills, if they can even land a gig somewhere.

So, expect more of the same. I am enjoying biking around, working with farmers, and life in general, even though I want to smash my own TV screen when I see the likes of any candidates for President. I expect no leadership at the Federal level – only state levels from now on. Fuck the Fed. Fuck the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive branches of the corrupt United States Government. You are all scum, save a very, VERY few heroes that still believe in the merits of what democracy means. Especially you, Bernie Sanders. Love you man.

As for us, the working class folk – so long as we have money, we can buy whatever we want – but one day, we just may need to know someone close to us who can make or service what we need. So take your tablets, take your pills – whatever you need to cope. But realize we are all in this fight together – even you cops that smash the faces in of those who are just trying to better their lives in the face of religious crazies that welcome the nuclear destruction of planet earth to fulfill their death wishes so they can say “See! We told you so!” – that kind of politics is taking over, and needs to be stopped before we perish from their psychosis.

So, remember to go sailing, dancing, and make a meal from food you have grown your very self now and then – this fight is happening for the rest of your life!

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August 13, 2011 at 12:39 am 1 comment

A Reminder That People DID See The Crash Coming

I am reading stories about how not many economists saw “The Crash” coming. Are you saying that all the punks I know are smarter than Wall Street and Washington analysts?

Of course it’s bullshit. Any smart person saw it coming, and the military started their peak oil campaign back in 2001. Venezuela – your oil is in our scope sights now!

There are many Americans working for peace, however. Remember – they track you with your cell phone, and you can eat dandelions!

January 26, 2010 at 9:04 am 1 comment

An Update About Al Franken

Al Franken

Woo Hoo! I was right! Way to go Al!

July 6, 2009 at 9:59 pm Leave a comment

Railer – Live In Portland

We encourage ride-sharing, walking, bike-riding, or public transit to / from our shows! Join up with other Railer fans at http://www.portland.brightneighbor.com.

June 22, 2009 at 8:11 am Leave a comment

Ten Ways To Twitter Our Way To Hyper-Local Sustainability

Twitter bird

Recently, we have had amazing breakthroughs in human communications. We have broken the four-minute mile, and the real-time web of living in the moment has arrived. You can now be instantly witnessed around the world by anyone with a modern communications device. There are useful applications for this technology that can be immediately applied to community-building.

By Randy White
@randywhitepdx and @brightneighbor

The authors of a recent PEW Internet Project report write that
” …developments in social networking and internet applications have begun providing internet users with more opportunities for sharing short updates about themselves, their lives, and their whereabouts online. Users may post messages about their status, their moods, their location and other tidbits on social networks and blogging sites “

The rapid spread of Twitter and Facebook adoption these days is mind-blowing. Twenty percent of online adults 18-34 are on Twitter, and even grandmothers are getting onto Facebook. That is a hefty chunk of the population. While tech-savvy money sharks are figuring out how to carve up profits to be made from selling deep-search stats to Tostitos or whoever, I am thinking about how we can use technology at local levels to deal with economic and ecological collapse. The cool part is that we are starting to quickly track our progress and observe how one’s social influence in a community can help to shape other people’s sustainability actions. Imagine when we will track how neighborly people are:

Twitalyzer

As exciting as these new technology achievements are, we still have real problems to work out. Families are suffering as relationships are becoming more and more strained by financial pressures. Throughout government, business, and communities – our high standards of living have been supported by cheap, easily available energy. President Obama hasn’t told you the super-bad news about our immediate future. In materialistic terms, we have arrived in the gates of hell and now we get to Tweet each other about it. With a second energy shock and major spike in oil prices on the way, communities need to get prepared. Now.

The problem is that even though so many Americans have cell-phones and blinking blue Borg-like communication contraptions glued to their heads, there are still large swaths of communities across America not taking action to build resiliency at hyper-local levels. And if any new political group was able to actually overthrow the existing Democratic / Republican system – who would pave our roads? How does a society run without money? What is money, really?

It seems we are still in shock and awe that things are so messed up, yet so cool at the same time.

As Americans, we subscribe to a social contract that states to be ‘normal’ we must spend time trying to earn this stuff called money. Since we have to constantly chase the stuff to live comfortable lives, it is literally impossible to get to deeply-know all of our neighbors because there is not enough time or desire to do so. On this planet we are physically limited to caring for small tribes of core humans in our lives. We can’t possibly get to know everyone or have them know us back. But, with technology, we have cobbled together ways to build community relationships while tracking local leadership and involvement in communities at the same time.

The significance of this insight is that we can actually report on local neighborhood influence, carbon emissions saved, energy not used, and many other earth-preserving behaviors. For instance, in the following screenshot, you can see I’m communicating with a local neighborhood organizer, a popular radio DJ, a concerned citizen, and a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Twitter Bright Neighbor

Marketers pay millions of dollars to achieve the kind of free PR, influence, and tracking now easily achieved for free on the Internet. Money aside – If you can get others to pay attention to you, you can improve your sphere of influence at a hyper local level to achieve sustainability. The idea is to be a local leader and use your results to help others at the national level through showcasing your success. Other influential leaders can easily amplify your message, creating near instant consciousness of thousands of individuals.

In order to focus these breakthroughs, I have been experimenting with ways to use Twitter to track items lent out to neighbors and friends, and many upcoming Bright Neighbor 2.0 features will continue to innovate in these areas. In the meantime, here is a 10-step action plan on how Twitter can help people that live in close proximity to one another get to know one another better:

1) Go to your local neighborhood meetings
This may seem so simple that it’s stupid. Get involved! There is a local neighborhood organization that you can join and if you can’t find one, you can start one. This way you can place faces with people you will be connecting with.

2) Create A group and go back to old-school promotions

Being in a rock band helped me learn this one. If you are ready to be a local leader, then go old-school and hit the streets. Putting flyers up at local shops and into people’s hands still works. The constant real-time flow of communications data goes away in seconds, and if someone has calendared one event and learn via Twitter or whatever where other cool people have gathered – they will alter their plans to go where the people are that can help them advance their social status. Offline flyers help build your online reputation to achieve this by putting your group’s Twitter name or hashtag on the flyer and asking neighbors to join your group.

3) Ride sharing
“Can anyone give me a lift downtown? I’m at the corner of SE 39th and Stark.” If you get a big enough group of followers in your neighborhood, that message could score you a lift if your friends are too lazy or broke to come pick you up.

4) Resource locator
“Does anyone have a ladder I can borrow”? The more you know your neighbors, the more people that will follow you and that will see your plea for help when your bushes go wild and need a trimming. With the ability to add pictures and video to Twitter, soon people will be able to discover a person in close proximity who has what they need and communicate in real time to strike a deal.

5) Saving money
“Does anyone have a coupon they can forward for the India Grill?”
Offering people coupons used to be a paper-only option, and times have made it such that there are multiple online methods to save big money on stuff like:

* Activities
* Bars
* Clubs
* Coffee
* Fitness
* Food
* Shopping
* Health & Beauty
* Hotels
* Automotive
* Events
* Dessert
* Tickets

Because that’s the kind of stuff we humans value right now. And in order to keep getting it, we are looking for ways to save money on it. One way is to call out to our social networks to see if anyone can forward access or knowledge of a money-savings deal without everyone becoming annoyed by cheap people looking for deals.

6) Work with your local government
In Portland, the Office of Emergency Management has set up a Twitter feed. If each neighborhood leader subscribed to the emergency feed and vice-versa, top-down communications could mingle with grassroots reporting to keep communications clear in an emergency.

7) Tap into your neighbor knowledge base
My raspberries developed a bunch of ugly yellow spots on them, and with a click of the camera in my phone, I sent out messages to neighbors and friends asking if they knew what the disease was. While I didn’t get a solid answer back on that try, I found out the solution to the by walking next door and asking my 93-year old neighbor instead. Take care of our old-time gardeners!

8) Give help, get help
As technology allows us to define our roles in society, it also helps define each of us because people are judgmental. The more projects you get involved with, and the more people Tweet about them, the better your Karma Card looks. Your actions and activities are now transparent in real-time and the historical record, and people will be able to see how much you give back in addition to asking for help.

9) Showcase your breakthroughs
Don’t just send out a picture of that new rainwater catchment system you built out of spare parts, invite people over to learn from it! We have so much waste in our system, we can repurpose woods and plastics to help retrofit our homes to prepare for climate change. If it’s too expensive to go buy new stuff like solar arrays or hybrid-cars, then we can help each other by teaching useful, sustainable behaviors that we know how to do. Online video has not yet replaced human-to-human team learning.

10) Make people laugh
Because laughing is a part of healing.

May 19, 2009 at 11:23 am 4 comments

Knock Knock, The Future Is Here!

Don’t you love when your pizza finally arrives at the door? Imagine if the delivery driver arrived at your doorstep wearing a solar powered jacket connected to his i-phone that he’s jamming out to.

Knock knock, the future is here!

the future is here
Credit: World Changing

For years now, I have had people ask me about my Voltaic solar-powered backpack. I use it to charge my phone, which doubles as my camera and music device. I’m a happy camper with a complete mobile ability to stay in communications with the world, and all I need is some sunshine.

Today at Earth Day, Bright Neighbor teamed up with some other great organizations. One of them grows fruit and vegetable starts, and they sell the plants. No big deal, right? What if I told you for every plant they sell, they give away 10 of them to needy families across Oregon? They sell greenhouses to generate funds for making their operation sustainable – so while they are profiting from selling the right kinds of products, they are also giving back 10 X as much to the community at the same time.

Knock Knock, the future has arrived!

Since we began selling soil through Bright Neighbor, we can’t keep up with the orders. We are talking about beautiful, awesome, wonderful living soil. Once the “IKEA” branding of growing food at homes kicks in, capitalism will have completely transformed itself into a lean, mean, earth saving machine – run and managed by more youthful generations.

If you want to order soil, you can do so at the top of this blog.

The point is, that the future HAS arrived, and we are kicking ass. The ship will sail on, even if the banks all fail, oil runs out, and world currencies go away. As long as we have electricity and mobile devices, we are all set! We have music to listen to while we all take turns helping our local communities grow food. Tada!

The future is really, really cool. It looks a lot like Burning Man-meets-the Oregon Country Fair-meets-Capitalism.

future
Credit: World Changing

April 22, 2009 at 6:49 pm Leave a comment

Postcard From A Transition Movement Hot Zone

The following is a guest column written for The Oil Drum. Randy White is a municipal sustainability expert, was a member of Portland’s Peak Oil Task Force, and is the Founder of Bright Neighbor, LLC.

Greetings From Portland

It’s no secret that Portland is a pretty radical city. While mainstream America is still learning how to make the leap to full-time sustainability activities, Portland, Oregon is a major hot zone and leader in the human revolution. The intent of this article is to offer an opinion and insight into strategies, collaborations, and technologies that are occurring in our city to solidify life-supporting social constructs.

We All Have Our Problems
Portland is dependent on energy and money just like any other city. With over 500,000 people, we have the 23rd largest economy in the US at $88.6 billion dollars. We have crime, poverty, homelessness, and hard-working people who would love more time off to pursue more joys in life if only they didn’t have debts to pay.

The fact is, not enough people here have the skills, resources, or contribute to the system to say Portland can become a completely self-sufficient city. While science has determined the amount of calories and nutrition needed for human bodies to survive, only each individual can determine what is needed to satisfy each of our own living requirements. Right now, people around the world are searching within themselves to determine what this mother-of-all-market-corrections means in the context of their own life. In countries around the world, people are reflecting on survival, whether it means scrambling to meet basic needs such as food and shelter, or committing one’s life to helping others survive as we dismantle nuclear weapons.

Indeed, finance industries and governments continue to try and figure out how they can game the now collapsing currency market, and around the world thousands of loose-knit social movements and groups are acting together, radically altering the balance between commercial and non-commercial economies. Portlanders are trading sink repair for firewood, worm castings for books, and organizing into sustainability groups, meeting to discuss a multitude of survival strategies. The cool part is that it is in the most relaxed manner I could have imagined. You know something cool is happening when the art community gets involved. To see scholars, artists, chefs, teachers, farmers, faith leaders, bureaucrats and other various communities coming together to discuss survival in a civil manner is surreal. It is also the beauty of the Portland conversation, because empathy, understanding, and cooperation are now winning out over personal greed.

Let’s examine some of the conversations taking place, and how people are organizing to do what we can locally:

Food, Food, Food
Portlanders will practically strip naked and make love to the soil. Our city is full of a diverse ecosystem of people and cultures who love and worship local food, soil, and farmers. The cool thing to ask at parties is “So what do you grow”? Little kids wear shirts that say “I Love My Farmer”. They worship apples – and I’m not just talking about their phones and computers.

As mobile as the city is with its fantastic bus and rail system, we have no problem getting around to all the amazing restaurants that showcase seasonal, locally grown vegetables in their menus. Our chefs strive to use local ingredients, as long as the cost doesn’t put them out of business. Our citizens have one of the highest percentages of CSA subscriptions. The fact is, we love food. So when it comes to loud-mouthed know-it-alls, you can bet Portland likes to brag about it’s success with food.

Using a variety of technologies to list events, food experts are leading the conversation. If you know how to grow food, fix soil, and install edible landscaping, you are all the rage. Take a look at this quick video and you will see what the job of the future looks like.

Presently, Bright Neighbor offers a “Lawns to Gardens” service, helping match people to homeowners willing st share their lawns. We are connecting Gerding Edlen’s newest building CYAN/pdx to Portland land owners to help create more garden activity and boost our local local food system.

Our April 17th kickoff of the Bright Neighbor Community Revolution Tour will include boosting lawn farming production, water harvesting, and permaculture practices throughout the city.

Transportation
This one is real easy. Portlanders either walk, bike, drive, ride, or rail it to and from where they need to be. If you need to get there, you can get there cheap, you just have to consider whether you will be exposed to the elements and how much time it will take. But we know we will get there somehow.

When it comes to fuel supply solutions, some Portlanders have electric vehicles, and many are discovering that you can make ethanol from hundreds of non-food supply threatening feedstocks other than corn. As for ride-sharing, people are getting to know their neighbors to work on cooperative projects and partake in resource sharing. For instance, if you need a ride right now, you can just call up your friends or discover your neighbors via one of the many Internet technologies. You can always use the Internet and phone to find a ride and share resources. The question is which technologies to use will make it easiest for communities.

Fixing our local commerce system
One high-brow conversation among Portland communities is talk of fixing our money system and the restructuring of the economy based on a non-fiat based local currency. The challenge with this movement is an assumption that outstanding debts can or will be canceled or repaid using any new system. The beauty of this movement and conversation is that even if we don’t solve the new riddle right away, the conversation is fascinating and the beer is great. Even thinking about the idea of replacing the world’s current broken money system is exciting in and of itself. The questions being asked have to do with real value, the meaning of real wealth, and property rights. It is being talked about by all political parties, all religions, and all citizens.

We are asking:
Who grows my food?
Who supplies my fuel?
Are my water need secured?
What is worth more, a knife or a variety bag of seeds?
How does the community determine each person’s value?
How do we know who is trustworthy and who isn’t?
How long will dollars matter?
Am I capable of doing what it takes to survive?
What is my purpose if not to make money?

The conversation in Portland revolves around a common realization that our community is quickly developing an entirely new system of accepted social values, logistics, and supply chains. I will end this postcard from a transition hotzone with the opinion that emerging businesses are using a variety of technologies to bring new food supplies into pop-culture at maximum velocity. More of our citizens are contributing real value to the community through hyper-involvement at the neighborhood level, and Portland will continue to lead the way in defining modern community survival trends.

What’s cool that is going on in your city?

March 3, 2009 at 5:15 pm 1 comment

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