Sunday, October 30, 2011

peak natural resources message introduced to occupy wall street...,


Video - Talib Kweli addresses Occupy Wall Street

PostCarbon | Recently, we sent filmmaker Ben Zolno to New York to bring the “end of growth” message to Occupy Wall Street. While the global Occupy movement is right to name inequity and lack of opportunity for what they are—unacceptable and un-American—addressing these alone cannot fix an economic system that is fundamentally unsustainable.

Below is Ben’s story of what he learned in New York as he hand-delivered 100 copies of PCI Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg’s The End of Growth to #OWS participants. We hope to send Ben back to New York soon so that he can further the critical work of spreading literacy around the dwindling resources that run our economy.

Meet Beth. She just dropped out of NYU $50,000 in debt because, with job prospects so dire, she doesn’t want to dig a deeper hole for herself.

Meet Brian. He’s software engineer from Minnesota who knows his job is entirely dependent on a growing economy, so he’s planning on leaving tech to focus on back-to-the-land basics.

Meet David. David is an environmental science professor disgusted to see his university selling the “growth-lite” paradigm to his Sustainable MBA students.

On my first day in New York, I met Beth, Brian, David and many others…and quickly learned Occupy Wall Street is the hub for highly intelligent, educated citizens who have been brought to the edge by a sense of desperation.

Desperate for change. Desperate for work. Desperate for answers.

While I enjoyed the dialogue and learned a lot, I heard many solutions that didn’t take the big picture into account. Instead, most demand their "fair share”--higher taxes on the rich, more corporate responsibility and, of course, Goldman Sachs schemers sent to the slammer. All valid, if you're looking at the current injustices of the system, but I found little examination of the system itself.

And so, I teamed up with Post Carbon Institute to spread the word. The real story is that our economic system requires infinite inputs, on a planet with finite resources. It's just not physically possible to continue this way. Sooner rather than later we’re going to run out of the resources that maintain our growth.

Thus, most "solutions" of equity and accountability will actually make things worse--by increasing participation, increasing growth, speeding up the train's path toward ultimate destruction of the planet we depend on to further our quantity and quality of life.

We must now broaden the questions beyond, "How can we make sure we all get our fair share in this system," to include: "How do we make sure we all get our fair share in the new system--a lower-carbon system--and how do we handle this transition?” Also, “What economic change can we create, and what default changes must we learn to accept?"

I shared these questions with hundreds of Occupiers, and stood patiently while they went through the usual phases: confusion, denial, anger and acceptance. Ultimately, they each walked away with a good grasp on this new perspective, grateful to have a copy of The End of Growth to explore and share.

OCCUPY is the new national discourse. This moment is permeable, yearning for an honest exchange of ideas. Good ideas can push the movement forward into territory never seen before; bad ones could mean the end of the movement. Now is the opportunity to use the energy of passionate, intelligent people to make an all-hands-on-steering-wheel turn away from out-of-control consumption and toward a path of conscious sustainability.

This is why I’ve proposed to go back. I want to continue inserting Post Carbon Institute’s message into the discussion. I’m currently hammering out details of my proposal with PCI. If we can swing it, I will give more seminars, like this impromptu speech that got 40 people engaged. I will talk to the press more, which is waiting to spread coherent messages like the quote I gave to Fox Business News. Working with Occupy Wall Street’s Education and Empowerment Group, I'll help start ecological/economic education groups. I'll present the ideas to the General Assembly and stay engaged until "the end of growth" becomes part of the national dialogue. Thanks and stay sane.

20 comments:

brotherbrown said...

Cnu, I keep telling people that the movement is real, and they ignore it at their peril.

Also, you should engage the Occupy Banner project on this site.

CNu said...

so it is written, so let it be done..., 

Ed Dunn said...

What movement is real?

Unless this so-called "movement" have a true solution to disrupt or reverse the economic trajectory we are currently we on,   then all we are seeing is a bunch of whining consumer-orientated salary-seeking Americans sitting around blabbing off at the mouth who just figured out 4 years later they been marginalized to the globalized economy.

CNu said...

 The great irony of your critique Ed, is that from what I've observed of your "solutions" approach - you are wholly and completely wedded to a strategy of middle-man insertion into collapsarian consumption, whether that be cutting edge search, retail/POS,  or even automated physical security solutions.

http://www.cityfarmer.info/2011/10/27/shipping-containers-grow-lettuce-in-atlanta/

brotherbrown said...

In the first place, the US economy peaked three decades ago, and has been in decline since.  I don't believe it will ever again produce the number and quality of jobs it did.  All this non-sense about giving a tax break to job creators only served to aggrandize the wealthiest, who did NOT deliver on the stated rationale of creating jobs.

But I'll just focus on the turn of the 21st century, because during the time from 2000 until now, both my children graduated from high school, entered and graduated from college and are now in the workforce, such as it is.  The outlook for them is much dimmer than it was for my wife and me in '81-'82.  They work without medical benefits, they hustle on the side, and my wife and I give the moral, as well as financial, support.  This is not a unique situation among any of our friends, either.The old adage, "go to college, get a degree, change the world" means nothing for a teenager today, and I don't think it's wise to have children with all the uncertainty.  So whereas you may not be hearing solutions, I'll give you one:  Banks and other financial companies have to take one for the team and refinance mortgages to more rational levels.  I'll give you another:  ExxonMobil has to also take one for the team, and live off those record profits while holding the line on gasoline prices at $2 for 2 years.   These two actions combined will allow millions of American households to get on a strong financial footing.

brotherbrown said...

I originally put it on the right side as well, but it made getting to the dashboard problematic, so I went left. ;o)

CNu said...

Since I'm not optimistic that the top will concede anything without far more strenuous (violent) demands - I'll offer three more solutions approaches.

1. USonians plow through five times as much energy per capita as Swiss with no corresponding advantages in quality and quantity of life. That 5 time multiple comprises a HUGE opportunity for an enterprising maker-builder to spawn interlocked trades and industries focused on low-cost, grass roots energy efficiency - starting with homes and low-cost housing stock.

2. Closely associated with the energy-efficiency solutions space, there is the food-security solutions space represented by low-cost, high-yield, sustainable urban agriculture. No need for any further whining about urban food deserts, if you focus on building up a generation of high performing urban garder/farmers.

The above two are the indispensible foundation stones of the real economy, of any real economy, and there is a readily accessible national domestic market for their outputs.

3. Public education is ripe for systematic disintermediation and radical change in operational methods. Distance learning, one-to-one "computing" and Web 2.0 mediated collaborative study and advancement - are the low-hanging fruit of this opportunity. The end-game is of course community-building (as in communities of interest/practice) and culture change.

That said, collapse-arians are going to do what they're going to do  - no matter what. The very notion of "changing the system" is a priori ridiculous, the system was designed to do EXACTLY what it's doing. Creating alternative systems in parallel is where it's at.

Sooner or later, the Occupy Movement will inevitably be compelled to move in this direction, as Occupation of the status quo system is not going to yield the results it intends. The injection of peak resources knowledge into the movement is a great opening move. Doubtless there will be many more such cognitive infiltrations to come.

CNu said...

I figured I'd backdoor through New Post. Didn't want to obstruct search as there are literally  4650 articles to sift through, though I'm increasingly unhappy with the depth and accuracy of blogger's search functionality.

Big Don said...

Gotta get rid of the parasites, e.g., what is the carbon footprint of 32 million on phony disability, 2 million incarcerated, 4 million chronically on welfare, ....... 

Ed Dunn said...

Aren't we trying to shift the consumption habits of the middle class upon the banks and oil companies? All the middle class has to do is make a run on the banks and stop paying their mortgage collectively, isn't that correct?

So until this "movement" can make that happen, good luck trying to make some billionaire give a rat behind about this "movement" while they are in Davos relaxing throwing stacks of $100USD bills into the fireplace to keep warm...

Ed Dunn said...

CNu,

Do you see any of those issues being addressed and on the forefront in the Occupy movement? All I see is Kayne West, Immortal Technique and stuff like that. 

brotherbrown said...

What you cannot or will not see is that when the oligarchy bleeds the people dry, they too will die.  Is it not in the long term best interest of the firm to have consumers with future spending power?  A simple example hopefully makes the point:  a person uses a tank full of gas to commute to work each week.  A 20 gallon tank takes costs $40 to fill with $2 gas, so a person pays $160 per month to commute, $2,080 a year,  When the price is $3 a gallon, add a thousand dollars, if it's $4, add two grand that goes out the door.  Imagine if a million consumers had an additional $2,000 in spending power?  Are you going  to tell me the economy is better off if that $2 billion dollars is in the coffers of  ExxonMobil?
As far as banks go, I've always used credit unions and would encourage everyone to participate in National Bank Transfer Day this Saturday, November 5, 2011 if they currently use a bank.

Ed Dunn said...

brotherbrown, the people have been bled dry a long time ago which explain why exotic derivatives were even introduced to keep making the dead cat bounce. The rich is doing their job very well of getting richer and the poor is doing a fine job of "getting poorer" but it is the middle class that failed to re-innovate and recalibrate America and instead accepted the role of a consumer with consumer debt. 

What I'm keep hearing is a lot of blather but I'm yet to see anyone explain zero sum game theory, race to the bottom, peak oil, food and energy to the level that the people can act upon and change the conditions with real results. Again, "ooooh, Kanye West and Talib Kwali showed up!!!" is the stuff I'm seeing...

 

CNu said...

Ed, I do not see any of these issues being addressed on the forefront of the Occupy movement - what I see, and what this post reflects - is the abundant and growing opportunity to inject these issues and solution approaches into the moving crowd. Before this movement began, there were scant few such opportunities.

CNu said...

c'mon dood - occupation must inevitably give way to cooperation and creation - instead of condemning the movement for not enough of what they don't have, apply your ingenuity to helping furnish them with what they need - there is abundant opportunity in this movement if it's wisely guided and channeled.

nanakwame said...

Show me a movement that didn't begin with opening a conversation about consciousness and verses ideas for solutions. It took the USA passed the Civil War to get something correct about a Republic. As our earth his 7 billion, our conservation about our species and the globe needs even more conversations and actions. The problem for the last couple of decades is smart conservation, was drowned out by beavis and buttheads. No we got no choice.

CNu said...

That decision has already been taken Nana. 5.9 billion gotta go..., the only things remaining to be decided there are the specific methods and accompanying narrative...,

nanakwame said...

You really want an open range. You are an old spirit my friend. Time will tell, will we see what our ant-like nature will do

Muerte: Michecacihualt/Always there to remind you/7 billion will feed ©

brotherbrown said...

There are glaring flaws in your logic, Ed, and you are denying what you have already observed.    The zero sum game is precisely what I just described by way of example with the price of gas.  The middle class is supposed to do what, exactly, to impact that game, stop consuming gasoline altogether as a collective?

If all you hear is celebrity participation, you may be tone-deaf.  If you want a 36-point manifesto, you'll have to be patient; OWS is six weeks old.

Ed Dunn said...

The middle class can first stop being consumers that drive the globalists that they complain about. They are refusing to withdraw from the big banks, refusing to stop watching and supporting mainstream media (that are the real enemy here) and continue to shop at big-box faceless retailers that do not provide high quality jobs to create sustainable economic activity. 

All of those rappers should have been called out on what they are doing for their community if they showed up on OWS, IMO.