¡ Solution ! to What Will You Do ? | Citizen Muscle Boot Camp | Be a Climate Changemaker

For those of you who hadn’t caught President Barack Obama’s “State of the Union Address” last evening, he said:

“No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change; 2014 was the planet’s warmest on record, and 14 of the last 15 years since 2000, have been the warmest in history. If the best scientists around the world are telling us our human activities are changing the planet, posing immediate risks to our national (and world) security “we should act like it”. The world needs to reach an agreement to protect the one last planet we have.

A few months ago I wrote this blog What Will You Do? https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/what-will-you-do-the-greatest-story-of-our-generation-dosomething-timeforchange/ containing lots of information to ponder. The title’s intent was to en courage people to participate: we all need to adapt and actively work towards a sustainable and healthy environment.

Turns out there already is a program in place ¡ a solution ! to guide us to work together and dis cover what each of us can do, to invest towards making positive changes. Annie Leonard created the short animated film The Story of Stuff, which has gone from a movie to a movement.

StoryofStuff Project, Movement

StoryofStuff Project From a Movie to a Movement

Annie Leonard’s efforts as an environmental campaigner and communicator were recognized by Greenpeace, who hired her this last year as Greenpeace USA’s new Executive Director. It is she who is orchestrating the Citizen Muscle Boot Camp.

StoryofStuff, Citizen Muscle Bootcamp Signup

StoryofStuff Citizen Muscle Bootcamp Signup

The Citizen Muscle Boot Camp link will take you on your own path – to participate in the change you want to see – and flex your muscles to work together towards a common purpose. It’s designed to guide each of us to finding what we can contribute. It’s flexible, so that you can do what you can, in the time that you can afford.

Week One is starting now, January 20th, 2015.

PURPOSE: Connecting to Your Passions and Skills

Changemakers are at their best, and most powerful, when they’re working from a personal sense of purpose. So, let’s get connected to your unique passions and skills!

Former White House Press Secretary Bill Moyers urges all of us as well, to Be a Climate Changemaker. Everyone brings different skill sets to the environmental movement: everyone needs to use their unique abilities to fight climate change, live more sustainably and protect the next generations from environmental toxins.

Moyer’s is perhaps best known for his book based on the 1988 PBS documentary, in which he interviewed Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. Here’s an overview of “The Power of Myth.

SmallBizConnect has a toolkit regarding making your Business Environmentally Sustainable, through making responsible decisions that will reduce your business’ negative impact on the environment.

En finale, an article to digest, submitted January 19th by DON MELNICK, MARY PEARL and JAMES WARFIELD in the Opinion section of the New York Times:“Make Forests Pay: A Carbon Offset Market for Trees”

And now, I have to get started myself to Connect my Passions and Skills

Carol Keiter, blogger

Photo from 12-13-14 Carol Keiter_the_blogger

Donations for Carol Keiter’s writing, eBook, music composition and art are graciously accepted !-) PayPal Donate Button

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Worth Taking Your Time to Breath In All of This Message

Earth Upworthy, Home

Our Earth, Our Home

I happened to look at this eloquent short video by Bitthu Sahgal brought to us through Upworthy. It brought tears to my eyes. Densely populated with images and edited so articulately that the message is profound. It is a testimony to our home, the earth, which humans share with all of its creatures. Our earth, our mother, is hurting, from what we humans have been doing. Human beings have the unique capacity to grasp this information, understand its implications and do something about it, before it is too late.

Upworthy Video If you Live on Earth

If You Live On Earth, You Must Watch This

Earth_home_upworthy

Earth_home_wetlands_upworthy

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” – Desmond Tutu.

In other words, one who witnesses something that is wrong and does nothing, is an accomplice.

I want

Human Want and Greed

sliced up earth looks like circuit board

Slicing up the natural world until it looks like a circuit board

Habitat_loss_Upworthy

We Share Our Planet, Kumi Naidoo GreenPeace

We Share Our Planet, Help Us Remind Those Who Forget

Issac Cordal Politicians Discussing Global Warmingl

Politicians Discussing Global Warming

This sculpture by Issac Cordal in Berlin is called “Politicians discussing global warming.”

Below are several links to blogs I’ve written previously, regarding recognizing how precious our earth is, having compassion for the creatures that share this earth and leaning in to taking responsibility towards doing what we can to change our habits. We need to bring her back into balance, and make this our top priority.

http://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/the-truth-earthlings-love-letter-to-the-earth-thich-nhat-hanh-kumi-naidoo-greenpeace-saving-the-earth-from-ourselves-only-after-cree-indians/

Banksy street art Global Warming

Global Warming

https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/dothemath-350-org-bill-mckibben-global-climate-crisis-washington-d-c/

WHAT WE CAN DO

Carbon_Capture

Carbon Capture How It Happens

Read about and watch these videos to familiarize yourself with the impact of your actions & educate yourself about how your own personal actions can positively affect change!: The Story of Stuff: The Impact of Overconsumption on the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health-And How We Can Make It Better

The Story_Of_Stuff _ Annie Leonard

The Story Of Stuff Project Annie Leonard

People's Climate March September 21st NYC

People’s Climate March September 21st NYC

Water Dragon

Water Dragon

If you wish to donate to my cause of sharing information, please do so. If you are aware of any groups or individuals who may wish to listen to my intentions and help me to reach them, please help to guide me and put me together with those who may wish to financially help me reach these goals. My intentions are to continue to write, photograph, illustrate, compose music and basically communicate in order to educate the public about social injustice, raising peoples’ awareness about what they can do to have a lighter environmental footprint, advocating for animals through writing and producing music that gives a voice to creatures whose time is limited due to habitat loss and poaching as well as completing the writing of my interactive eBook which is geared as a multi-lingual educational tool involving a great deal of scientific discovery, for which I will compose music for a soundtrack. It all takes time, and it’s worth it. I’ll be happy to join a group full-time who are involved in projects of this sort as well.

PayPal Donate Button

My first intention was to blog this announcement: I must shift from merely writing blogs to gaining income through submitting articles to publications, and subsequently linking these to my blogs. It will be a much more convoluted process; taking the time and effort to research first what publications may want to print the information I write, and then after sending the query, waiting to hear from them. I have little choice, since I have no income whatsoever.

An article I will write promptly, is a social anthropological one. It came from a conversation that I had last evening, in which i was bringing up parallel points that are all cases involving increased community, at the cost of less freedom. The examples tied together are through people I have known who have delivered their first-hand observations of communities in which they lived. Hopefully, you will get to read this if one of the publications or internet magazine sites that I send the query to opt to print it.

Joel Sartore, animal catalogue

Picture of primate, compliments of Joel Sartore’s photo catalogue of species and me, Carol Keiter the blogger

https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/gross_domestic_problem_-why-measurement-of-wealth-depends-on-a-healthy-environment/

“Pity Earth’s Creatures” Edward Hoagland | “No” film by Pablo Larraín

Pity Earth’s Creatures” By Edward Hoagland was published March 23, 2013
The author, Edward Hoagland is a longtime nature and travel writer, and the author of the forthcoming novel “Children Are Diamonds: An African Apocalypse.”

Pity_Earths_Creatures_Jillian_Tasmaki_illustration
Here are excerpts highlighted from his article:

Power to the people is a worldwide revolutionary slogan advancing democracy, but presupposes a more ancient meaning: the prehistoric conquest of every other vertebrate on earth.

There are precedents for our imperial decline but not, in written history, for climate alteration on the scale that’s looming or for gargantuan extinctions in forest and ocean — our global skin.

Kindle presents a lapful of world thought and literature on tap at a tap, but will the owners pore over it with wholehearted absorption, as book lovers used to do? And when cars drive themselves, will the operators lavish their leisure on the landscape or on a tablet in their hands?
But love is central to life, now and again overriding selfishness for a spell. Love, mercy, pity are vividly called for with respect to corals, songbirds, sea mammals, lofty trees and other majesties, not to mention endangered pleasures like eating clams and marveling at the starshine in the depthless heavens. Nature is undefended by the powers that be, having no vote or much innate appeal to the sort of “people people” who run for office. They don’t saunter (Thoreau’s favorite term) and gaze, turn off the motor and open the window when passing a pond to hear the spring peepers sing — won’t know if the frogs have all died from toxicities. They’ll jog on a treadmill for their heart’s health while scanning spreadsheets. It’s not just ponds being steamrollered for industry, but gazing itself being lost to Twitter. The attention span involved in formulating a menagerie out of cloud shapes in the sky while lax on one’s back in the grass has been eclipsed by what’s interesting on-screen 20 inches away…

-.-.-.-.-.-.-

In response to his true and tragic view at what we humans have done, a woman commented on his Time’s article mentioning that rather than only honing in to the gloom, we could do a left turn by looking at the example the movie “No”, made in Chile demonstrates. In response to Pinochet’s oppressive regime, Pablo Larraín’s No dramatizes Chile’s Berlin Wall moment in 1988. Under international pressure to legitimize his government, but bathing in the support of a newly prosperous middle and upper-middle class and hugely confident of success, General Pinochet allowed a referendum on whether he would be allowed another eight years in office. This movie dramatizes the “No” campaign devised by young advertising executive René Saavedra, played by Gael García Bernal, who decided to stay away from angry political images and instead emphasize an upbeat, almost apolitical vision of happiness and the future.
takepart.com_No_movie_ Pablo Larraín
http://www.takepart.com/no-movie

mitakuye owasin | we are all related | the West has much to learn from Native American tradition

wow! Here’s a short article about how the Native American ‘Shapokee Mdewakanton Sioux community’ tribe in Minnesota, have shared the wealth from the riches they’ve gained through their casinos (a kind of taxation – except that the people are sitting around smoking and drinking and gambling ‘-). They’ve contributed to all of these fantastic progressive environmental and health programs and given money to other unrelated tribes and educational institutions. As the writer says, this tribe is keeping with the tradition of the Dakota Indian tribe which says ‘mitakuye owasin’, “we are all related”. This is a concept unfortunately terribly alien to our carnivorous and narcissistic, competitive and consumer-driven capitalist societies; in which we learn how to ‘use’ the other person, animal, resources until they are depleted, instead of the Native American way of taking only what one needs and respecting the source; sharing the rest (with other people, animals, the land, earth). Not to be wanton in glamorizing the natives, but as quoted “the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community have granted and loaned more than half a billion dollars to other tribes for economic development, and donated $14.5 million to the University of Minnesota for scholarships and a new football stadium. Far from its days of destitution, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is setting an example any business would be wise to follow.” Just read about the various clever environmental programs they’ve developed and improvements in infrastructure. If other communities would follow suit, we would be creating jobs, educating the people and communities in instituting new programs, raising the level of health of people and the environments in which they live, to just create a higher quality of life. We, ‘Occidental European Western Culture’ have a lot to learn from the traditions of the Native Americans.

Read more: http://www.utne.com/arts-culture/shakopee-mdewakanton-sioux-community-zm0z12jazwar.aspx#ixzz21CAv2q27

GDP | Gross Domestic Problem | Why the measurement of wealth depends on a healthy environment |

why trees matter | mushrooms offer solutions | Handprint | Gross National Happiness

When I walk or ride along streets basically every where, I look at trees as I pass them by. I see trees as elegant beings, that besides providing oxygen and shade and beauty, create a home for insects, birds and other animals. They are an integral part of what has created life as we know it on our planet.

This Op-Ed article in the New York times sparked my interest.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/12/opinion/why-trees-matter.html

Walnut tree in a gentleman's yard in Pennsylvania.

As this writer states, “In a bit of natural alchemy called photosynthesis, for example, trees turn one of the seemingly most insubstantial things of all — sunlight — into food for insects, wildlife and people, and use it to create shade, beauty and wood for fuel, furniture and homes.” Ah, and sunlight is hardly insubstantial – as I write about in my other blog regarding plasma cosmology and the electric universe theory.

“Decades ago, Katsuhiko Matsunaga, a marine chemist at Hokkaido University in Japan, discovered that when tree leaves decompose, they leach acids into the ocean that help fertilize plankton. When plankton thrive, so does the rest of the food chain.

Trees are nature’s water filters, capable of cleaning up the most toxic wastes, including explosives, solvents and organic wastes, largely through a dense community of microbes around the tree’s roots that clean water in exchange for nutrients, a process known as phytoremediation. Tree leaves also filter air pollution.”

I will let you read the rest of the article yourself, instead of copying and pasting it ‘-))

Yet, on the same subject, mushrooms also have the capacity to filter and clean toxicities out of the environment, as this article in UTNE reader demonstrates. “Mushrooms Offer Solutions for Environment and Economy

http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_stamets_on_6_ways_mushrooms_can_save_the_world.html?quote=294

An image of mycelium below.

“Human beings are more closely related to fungi, than they are to any other kingdom. Within a single cubic inch of soil, there can be 8 miles of these cells. Mycelium are externalized stomachs and lungs, essentially extended neurological membranes.” Paul goes on to say that mycelium form a fabric which is the biological version of earth’s natural internet. The internet, in turn, is man’s tool, or extension, which can be allocated to protect the biosphere”. It’s kind of like the concept that DNA replicates itself, in order for life to ultimately witness and see itself.

We can not measure the worth and wealth of a country or its peoples through qualifiers like the GDP, Gross Domestic Product; the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders, because this becomes a

Gross Domestic Problem

Gross Domestic Problem

Bhutan has a more enlightened way of approaching the subject, with the King’s assertion of a measure of Gross National Happiness!

Recognize that happiness and environmental health play a much larger role in the attributes which contribute to ‘quality of life’, than ‘wealth’, as measured by economic means alone. Bill McKibben who started 350.org contributed this article about the politics of global warming for the Rolling Stone magazine “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math“.

We need to pay attention to our carbon footprint, showing the detrimental results of our actions on the environment as well as to actively become aware of our social handprint, revealing the benefits of our actions on nature; with the concept of balancing out what we take, through what we share and give!! Our handprint measures the positive impacts we can make, simply by changing the way we do things; at home, at work…

You can read more about this
http://challengingbehaviour.marketingmagazine.co.uk/2012/03/05/forget-your-carbon-footprint-whats-your-handprint/

Why does this matter? Because we don’t inhabit this planet alone.

http://www.joelsartore.com/galleries/the-photo-ark/

A Proposal for “Occupy Wall Street” by Michael Moore | 10 Things We Want |

Where Does Occupy Wall Street Go From Here? …a proposal from Michael Moore

Occupy Everything” Discussion panel on Democracy Now with Michael Moore, Naomi Klein…guests of Amy Goodman.
Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Friends,

This past weekend I participated in a four-hour meeting of Occupy Wall Street activists whose job it is to come up with the vision and goals of the movement. It was attended by 40+ people and the discussion was both inspiring and invigorating. Here is what we ended up proposing as the movement’s “vision statement” to the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street:

We Envision: [1] a truly free, democratic, and just society; [2] where we, the people, come together and solve our problems by consensus; [3] where people are encouraged to take personal and collective responsibility and participate in decision making; [4] where we learn to live in harmony and embrace principles of toleration and respect for diversity and the differing views of others; [5] where we secure the civil and human rights of all from violation by tyrannical forces and unjust governments; [6] where political and economic institutions work to benefit all, not just the privileged few; [7] where we provide full and free education to everyone, not merely to get jobs but to grow and flourish as human beings; [8] where we value human needs over monetary gain, to ensure decent standards of living without which effective democracy is impossible; [9] where we work together to protect the global environment to ensure that future generations will have safe and clean air, water and food supplies, and will be able to enjoy the beauty and bounty of nature that past generations have enjoyed.

The next step will be to develop a specific list of goals and demands. As one of the millions of people who are participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement, I would like to respectfully offer my suggestions of what we can all get behind now to wrestle the control of our country out of the hands of the 1% and place it squarely with the 99% majority.

Here is what I will propose to the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street:

10 Things We Want
A Proposal for Occupy Wall Street
Submitted by Michael Moore

1. Eradicate the Bush tax cuts for the rich and institute new taxes on the wealthiest Americans and on corporations, including a tax on all trading on Wall Street (where they currently pay 0%).

2. Assess a penalty tax on any corporation that moves American jobs to other countries when that company is already making profits in America. Our jobs are the most important national treasure and they cannot be removed from the country simply because someone wants to make more money.

3. Require that all Americans pay the same Social Security tax on all of their earnings (normally, the middle class pays about 6% of their income to Social Security; someone making $1 million a year pays about 0.6% (or 90% less than the average person). This law would simply make the rich pay what everyone else pays.

4. Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, placing serious regulations on how business is conducted by Wall Street and the banks.

5. Investigate the Crash of 2008, and bring to justice those who committed any crimes.

6. Reorder our nation’s spending priorities (including the ending of all foreign wars and their cost of over $2 billion a week). This will re-open libraries, reinstate band and art and civics classes in our schools, fix our roads and bridges and infrastructure, wire the entire country for 21st century internet, and support scientific research that improves our lives.

7. Join the rest of the free world and create a single-payer, free and universal health care system that covers all Americans all of the time.

8. Immediately reduce carbon emissions that are destroying the planet and discover ways to live without the oil that will be depleted and gone by the end of this century.

9. Require corporations with more than 10,000 employees to restructure their board of directors so that 50% of its members are elected by the company’s workers. We can never have a real democracy as long as most people have no say in what happens at the place they spend most of their time: their job. (For any U.S. businesspeople freaking out at this idea because you think workers can’t run a successful company: Germany has a law like this and it has helped to make Germany the world’s leading manufacturing exporter.)

10. We, the people, must pass three constitutional amendments that will go a long way toward fixing the core problems we now have. These include:

a) A constitutional amendment that fixes our broken electoral system by 1) completely removing campaign contributions from the political process; 2) requiring all elections to be publicly financed; 3) moving election day to the weekend to increase voter turnout; 4) making all Americans registered voters at the moment of their birth; 5) banning computerized voting and requiring that all elections take place on paper ballots.

b) A constitutional amendment declaring that corporations are not people and do not have the constitutional rights of citizens. This amendment should also state that the interests of the general public and society must always come before the interests of corporations.

c) A constitutional amendment that will act as a “second bill of rights” as proposed by President Frankin D. Roosevelt: that every American has a human right to employment, to health care, to a free and full education, to breathe clean air, drink clean water and eat safe food, and to be cared for with dignity and respect in their old age.

Let me know what you think. Occupy Wall Street enjoys the support of millions. It is a movement that cannot be stopped. Become part of it by sharing your thoughts with me or online (at OccupyWallSt.org). Get involved in (or start!) your own local Occupy movement. Make some noise. You don’t have to pitch a tent in lower Manhattan to be an Occupier. You are one just by saying you are. This movement has no singular leader or spokesperson; every participant is a leader in their neighborhood, their school, their place of work. Each of you is a spokesperson to those whom you encounter. There are no dues to pay, no permission to seek in order to create an action.

We are but ten weeks old, yet we have already changed the national conversation. This is our moment, the one we’ve been hoping for, waiting for. If it’s going to happen it has to happen now. Don’t sit this one out. This is the real deal. This is it.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Yours,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@MichaelMoore.com
@MMFlint
MichaelMoore.com

The Population Elephant | “The Problem” we choose not to discuss | by Kurt Dahl

I was sent this article a week ago, and upon reading it, feel that it needs to be circulated !-o


The Population Elephant

A resource for those who are willing to think

http://www.populationelephant.com

Why overpopulation and the population problem are never discussed – the taboo topic of overpopulation.

The problems with the “The Problem”


The Real Problem

Some things are so preeminent within their context that they need no adjectives or explanation. Ask any American football fan what is referred to by “The Play” and they will tell you abut the final play in the 1982 Cal/Stanford game when, after several laterals and a mad dash through the Stanford band, Cal scored the winning touchdown as time expired (do a Google search on “the play” and see for yourself). Likewise, “The Open” refers only to the British Open golf tournament, even though there are dozens of other “Open” athletic events.

The world today is beset with a host of major issues – oil depletion, climate change, food shortages, resource wars, species extinction – to name but a few. But these are only symptoms of the one true problem. “The Real Problem” – the one that spawns all others, and the one that mankind must face at some point – is that there are simply too many human beings on this planet.

Therefore, I suggest, that like “The Play” and “The Open” – hereafter overpopulation should be referred to as “The Problem”.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, we are content to address only the consequences of the The Problem – climate change, energy depletion, food shortages, etc. This is the same classic mistake that a physician makes in treating only the patient’s symptoms, and ignoring the fundamental disease.

So then, the million dollar question is: “Why aren’t we addressing the real problem?”

First – A brutally honest reality check is necessary

World population stands at over 6 billion today. Every four days one million more people are added. Reasonable projections put world population at between 9 -11 billion by 2050. Rocket science is not required to understand what that implies for the host of issues (symptoms) listed above.

CO2 emissions are causing global warming. This is a fact. Many in the scientific community propose that an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 is necessary to forestall the extreme consequences of global warming. But how can this be done when at the same time we are adding 3, 4, or even 5 billion more people to the world?
Get real – it can’t!

Likewise for energy and food consumption – the addition of billions of people means that these commodities will dramatically increase in consumption. But these are finite resources, already we are far above sustainable levels. So, can this go on forever?
Get real – it can’t!

Can the use of new light bulbs, hybrid cars, cloth grocery bags, and mass transit offset the sharply upward consumption demand that will come from both the increasing world population and the dramatically increasing standard of living of the existing populations in developing countries like India and China? No way!
Get real – it can’t!

So why aren’t the sirens blaring, why isn’t the alarm sounding, why isn’t this even being discussed?

In fact, the opposite is happening. There have been several recent opinion pieces in the Boston Globe and the New York Times expressing the belief that we have a problem with decreasing population! Absurd.

Why then is overpopulation not discussed? The Problem, it turns out, has many fatal problems of its own:

Five Fatal Problems with The Problem:

1. There is no money in it.

Going “Green” is a huge industry. Thousands of companies are trying to sell you efficient light bulbs, hybrid cars, cloth grocery bags, solar panels and a host of other gimmicks and gadgets.

Alternative energy sources need massive investments in capital expenditures and research and development. Government grants to universities, venture capital, bond issues, etc., all create a whirlwind of financial activity.

Money is to be made everywhere. And with these massive financial opportunities come huge profits, well financed lobbyists, publicity, and media creation. Indeed, the media explosion surrounding “going green” is a major industry all by itself. Everyone benefits financially by “going green”. Though, in the end, it is not a solution. At best, it will only modestly delay the dire consequences of our current over-consumption.

But, conversely, who would benefit financially from reducing the Earth’s population? No one! There is absolutely no money to be made in the one and only solution – fewer people.

So – one problem with The Problem is that it is a pauper, and therefore has no friends.

2. Not my problem – the short term view.

The United Nations provides the basic population projections that everyone else quotes. There is some arbitrariness necessary to create these models. For instance, the year 2050 is the endpoint for their current set of projections for no reason other than it is a convenient round number.

Almost every article written about population growth quotes the figure of 9 billion people by 2050 (though the UN projects other possible 2050 outcomes of 7, 11, even 13 billion). And then the reader of the article goes: “So what, I won’t be around by then.” As if the problem won’t happen until 2050.

I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but I would strongly assert that in the United States, the “event horizon” for concern about the future, is short and getting shorter. A major problem that arrives in 2050 is too far away for most people to even think about, much less do anything about.

Not only that, but you can’t reduce The Problem to a short time frame and have it make sense to the average person. To say that there will be two million more of us on the planet in just a little over a week (a true statistic) also gets a big “So what?” “These two million newcomers aren’t in my neighborhood, so why should I care?”

Unfortunately, even though the problem won’t manifest itself for several decades, the solutions must begin now!

So – one problem with The Problem is that by the time it becomes obvious to the average person, it will be way too late.

3. The world’s fundamental systems oppose it.

Today there are three dominant systems that define and control the culture of human beings – democracy, capitalism, and religion. And unfortunately, all three of these fundamental systems work against addressing The Problem.

Democracy, to our great benefit, allows us the freedom to make certain personal choices. Among those is the choice of how many children we are allowed to have. No democratic government would even consider limiting that choice – because, at the first opportunity, they would be voted out of office. Simply put – it is impossible to imagine a situation where any mandate resembling population management could be enacted under a democracy.

Capitalism requires growth. Anything other than growth in consumption and demand under capitalism is considered bad – a recession, or worst case, a depression. But, The Problem is only solved by a declining population and declining consumption – or negative growth. It would be hard to conceive of a model of capitalism that could “succeed” under such a deliberate, sustained, long term, decrease in demand.

Imagine how capitalism would function if population declined steadily over several decades to levels approaching one billion people. The excess quantities of goods alone (think of housing) would virtually eliminate demand and eliminate the incentive for the constant struggle to achieve the ever bigger income. Capitalism, at least as we know it today, simply wouldn’t work in a declining population scenario.

Organized religion’s primary goal, like living organisms themselves, is to continue to exist. Religions always strive to increase the flock, whether by conversion or by birth. And in today’s world, they have even become competitive with one another to see who has the bigger numbers and thereby will “rule” here on Earth.

What would happen to the Catholic Church if each Catholic couple only had one child? It would shrink dramatically – heaven forbid! That is why they continue with their completely irrational stand against birth control.

And all religions work to obfuscate The Problem by proposing bizarre superstitions like the rapture. We will all be taken up into heaven soon, so why worry? Or even more simply: Worry not, God will solve this problem.

All religions work actively, aggressively, and with massive resources, to discredit any hint of activity that might be construed as population management. Considering the influence that the world’s religions have in today’s world, it is assured that The Problem will never be allowed to be addressed in any meaningful way.

As proof that these three fundamental systems work against a solution, look no further than China. The only successful approach to population management in the world is China’s “one child per family” mandate. Without this program, China alone would have several hundred million more people today, and perhaps a billion more by 2050. As it is, China’s population will increase by only 100 million by 2050 – in contrast, India will increase by almost 600 million in the same timeframe. China’s policy is by any reasonable measure, a great success. And yet, it is relentlessly attacked, here and abroad.

And now, with the dramatic rise of capitalism in China, internal attacks on the one-child policy are beginning. The capitalists in China are raising concerns about whether a declining young demographic can “support” (read – continue to grow consumer demand) an aging population. And concerns are being raised about China’s internal market not growing fast enough. If China’s one-child policy is ever watered down or eliminated, it will be because of this increasing pressure from the pro-growth, new Chinese capitalists.

So – one problem with The Problem is that it requires a godless socialist dictatorship in power in order to mandate any actual action.

4. The Problem has no voice.

It is hard to think of any issue in today’s media saturated world that doesn’t have several advocacy groups speaking and lobbying for or against it. If you are a newcomer to this population debate, I am certain that you assume that an issue as important as The Problem has many powerful voices advocating for population management, sustainable population goals, etc. Unfortunately – you would be wrong.

But, you say, surely the environmental groups all support population management and sustainable population goals? After all, isn’t their primary responsibility the health of the Earth’s ecosystem? Well, once upon a time they did, but ˇ˝ no more – not even one of them.

More remarkably, the group created solely for this purpose – ZPG (Zero Population Growth) – its name identifying its position – began turning away from any specific population management agenda in the 1990’s. And now, it has even abandoned its own name! (Too confusing to have a name that says “Zero Population Growth” when that is no longer your position, I guess.) It is now called “The Population Connection” – a happy name, sounding like an arm of “Sesame Street”. Now it specializes in educating young people.

There are several reasons given for this complete abandonment of the issue by the very groups that strive to protect the planet – starting, once again, with money.

For the reasons stated above, The Problem has no friends. And no friends, means no money from contributions, memberships, grants, etc. In fact, many grant-giving entities would shy away from any organization that advocates positions directly opposed to such powerful institutions as the Catholic Church. So, no matter how important The Problem is, if it doesn’t generate any income (or might even cost money and members), the big environmental groups have no use for it.

And in addition, as it turns out, The Problem runs afoul of several Liberal sacred cows (Just an FYI – I’m a knee-jerk liberal personally, so don’t think this piece is some kind of veiled right-wing political agenda – it is not).

Understand, the big environmental groups are primarily American institutions, and so they generally take an American perspective. Population management from a solely American position (specifically – managing America’s population) becomes then a discussion of immigration policy, or of minority fertility rates. Since the Liberal “politically correct” tradition is to not offend any minority groups, serious population management strategies cannot be discussed.

But the killer blow for population management advocacy has probably come from the women’s-rights movement. Women have made incredible progress toward equality in this country in just the last forty years. The women’s rights movement is now a large and powerful force. And one of the foundational rights of women, is the right to personally control their own reproductive choices. Obviously, this is in direct conflict with most population management solutions (China’s one-child policy, for example).

Population lore even puts a time and place when the women’s movement usurped any meaningful population management advocacy. In 1994, at the U.N. International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, the paradigm for population management dramatically shifted from “population control” to “the empowerment of women”. Virtually all environmental advocacy groups now promote the education and empowerment of women as the only acceptable population management strategy.

Now the world, facing a horrifying disaster in the making, is left with only a grassroots effort by a handful of individuals with personal websites trying to sound the alarm.

So – one problem with The Problem is that no one speaks for it.

5. There is no positive approach (spin) to solving The Problem.

Our culture thrives on optimism. We believe that every problem must have a positive solution. I recently watched Al Gore’s newest version of his global warming slide show. The first third of the presentation now emphasizes how optimistic Mr. Gore is about both our ability to fix the problem, and how positive the fix would be for us – a true win-win – problem solved, and a richer world to boot.

Politics works the same way. To the politician, all situations, all problems have a wonderful and positive solution. Perhaps the last politician to even remotely suggest that things will get worse and stay that way, was Jimmy Carter, and he was roundly criticized for his “negative” approach, not to mention being roundly defeated in the next election.

But there is a simple and obvious solution to The Problem – one that has been tested and proven to work – one that causes no unnecessary harm to anyone – and one that costs absolutely nothing: the one-child per female policy. If implemented today, calculations show that world population would be reduced to a sustainable level of 1 – 2 billion people on earth by 2100. Within one hundred years the problem would be solved at no cost, and no harm – so simple.

But the one-child solution is considered completely onerous by almost all cultures on this planet. To almost everyone, it is a terrible choice, with difficult and frightening possible consequences that would require a rewiring of our thinking. No positive spin can be applied to this solution – except that in a hundred years, people will still be here and will be living on an increasingly healthier planet.

So – one (last) problem with The Problem is that the only reasonable solution is the worst possible choice – except for all the others.

If you have read this far – thank you. Now, go forth find your own way to sound the alarm. It is up to us to speak the harsh truth – the powerful will not.

Because – as it is now – mankind heads to the abyss, knowing why, and doing nothing.

Copyright “The Population Elephant” and Kurt Dahl January, 2009 – All rights reserved.

Send any comments or reprint requests to suggestions@populationelephant.com

Berlin Rally Oct. 15th 2011 | Global Day of Economic Protest from the 99% |

On Saturday October 15th, I participated in the rally which took place in Berlin, among those rippling around the world, on this global day of economic protest. Spawned by the “Occupy Wall Street” movement instigated in NYC, the 99% of the population around the world wish to ‘occupy’ and gain the wealth due, which has been up to this point in the hands of the 1% – the banks – who happen to also control the weapons. People around the globe; in New York, London, Madrid, Berlin, Paris, Hong Kong, Sydney… demand that the bankers not be bailed out, but that wealth be shared.

Here’s a pic posted from Alex Gendler, who’s a resident in NYC.

The title alone of his blog is clever!!

http://crasstalk.com/author/achilleselbow

In the meantime, here’s what the New York Times coverage in the USA reveals.

Here’s what Amy Goodman on Democracy Now had to say about this incident (pictured above) of a 24 year old Iraq War vet, Scott Olsen, who received a fractured skull after being hit on the head during the protest in Oakland by a projectile fired by the police.

More people’s testimonies can be viewed directly on the we are the 99 % site: http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/world/occupy-wall-street-protests-worldwide.html?_r=1

In fact the ‘occupy wall street movement‘ marked one month on the 17th of October, as instigator’s of the people to rally in New York city and camp out at Zuccotti Park. You can get continuous updates about what’s currently happening in New York and other cities through Amy Goodman’s broadcasts on Democracy Now.

And there’s another call for people to occupy the Bundestag/Parlament – Spaziergang zum Platz der Republik – this time on Saturday the 22nd, from 1pm to 3pm. Berlin Versammlung #occupyberlin #occupybundestag.

In Berlin, the air was festive and the crowd represented all ages, ethnic and economic backgrounds. There were loads of signs and testimonies regarding each person or group’s particular insights. There were quite a number of Guy Fawkes masks in the crowd, appropriately.

There was music everywhere during the march; from bicycles equipped with speakers blaring techno, to older folks singing folkloric songs in pairs, a choir of people singing A cappella with lyrics about the economy, drumming groups and wagons with music…. It was mostly a joyous gathering of people with a lot of laughter and dancing at different stopping points. People sat before the Reichstag/Parlament making various speeches, using the ‘human microphone’ aka Michael Moore style in NYC. One person would stand up stating a phrase, and the group of people sitting around him or her would echo line by line the words, so that everyone further away could hear. The only tension (while I was still present) was at the the end of the march when people were gathered sitting before the Reichstag – the building which houses the Bundestag / Parlament, when the the riot police came in to the crowd to confiscate the people’s tents! It seemed more like a symbolic show of power, with the tent more a representation of the people’s demand to be there, than anything more. There was commotion and boos coming from the crowed when the police lifted the tent above their heads and carried it away. Then cheers sprung from the crowd, when suddenly another tent appeared and was lifted back into the same circle. Ha! I imagined this scene going on for a while, with each subsequent tent being just a little bit smaller, like the Russian “Matryoshka dolls” each replica smaller and smaller, nestled within the next. I imagined the last tent hoisted by the ‘people’ being about a foot in diameter, as their own might is deflated by the police.

Heine of http://de-de.facebook.com/pages/Berlin-gegen-Krieg/246706007440 set up his symbolic cash register which states: The Zero Sum Game – Berlin-Gegen-Krieg/ Berlin Against War.

One of the more amusing signs was one which read on one side:

• Wir sind die 99%, Schluß mit Lustigem Casino / We are the 99%, put an end to this joke of a casino.

and on the other

• Rettet der Erde! sie ist der einziger Planet mit Schokolade!
Save the Earth! It’s the only planet with chocolate!

The guy who was flaunting this before where we were sitting in the crowd in front of the Bundestag was quite a joker himself. At one point he stated loudly in hearing range of a lot of people; well, I have to leave the revolution now, because Lidl/the grocery store, closes at 8pm. I felt as if this ironically sums up a lot, because as long as people are relatively comfortable and not in any dire circumstances, they will be propelled to continue with their routines, among them, buying food before the stores close or any other dictates by our culture through manufactured consent… going home to watch a TV program. ouch!

Two other things stood out in my head from the protest, one was a man who was mad, not necessarily a madman, who had a megaphone. He was ranting into the crowd yelling at people for taking pictures and having cell phones…but then giggling as he was ranting. At one point this other man annoyed, came up to him and grabbed the microphone to start shouting some things back at him, and they proceeded to argue for a while standing within a foot of one another, taking turns grabbing the little black thing to speak into the megaphone.

The other which I found amusing, was when as my friend and I were standing in one spot as the march had finished but people hadn’t yet started to gather at the Bundestag, suddenly all of these police in riot gear appeared right in front of us. They just stood there quietly inspecting the crowd, peering around in all directions. At on point a pair of kids walked up, one of them dressed very colorfully, and his language was just as flamboyant. He walked up to the police and asked them in if they were planning on shooting? I couldn’t follow all that he was saying in German, but he stood right next to the bulwark of about a dozen Policemen, and casually spoke in a louder than normal tone of voice to his friend standing next to him, talking about the Police, as if they weren’t standing right there beside him. He kept making all of these comments that were so provocative, dressed in flowery clothes that dangled on his lithe body, with a little pouch over his shoulder that was a stuffed animal. The police didn’t seem to be getting too perturbed, but this guy just kept on talking relentlessly. He never had an aggressive tone, just a kind of passive commentary, loud enough that they could all hear him, but never quite impressive enough to cause them to retaliate.

And the most endearing image was that of this adorable Spanish child of about 5 who was so excited every time this guy raised his string of wire to blow a bunch of bubbles with soap. This guy rode in a harmless little chariot that said “Capitalism is organized Crime”. Anyway, the boy would throw up his arms in delight and then run after the bubbles, as many kids of various ages did, and as many children of all the world would. Odd how money gets in the way, and the human factor is disregarded as dispensable, as is preserving nature and the animals of the planet, in the face of greed and the desire for more and more profit.


I saw one sign leaning over the shoulder of what appeared to be a well-dressed yuppy, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”, from the film Network. Yes, there was quite an array of voices and statements out there, and much of it quite amusing.

Here’s a link to a short video looking at the occupy wall street movement in NYC from the inside. http://www.planet-mag.com/2011/events/editors/right-here-all-over-occupy-wall-st/

350.org (To preserve our planet, scientists tell us we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 392 parts per million (“ppm”)to below 350 ppm) also is coordinating an occupy movement worldwide: #Occupy and the #Climate Movement.

Descriptions of the various signs can be viewed as you drag your mouse over the picture.

Politicians in Corporate Sponsored Suits

This was posted today on FaceBook, among my community of friends on the Left Coast of the USA.

Humpback Whale Rescue in San Francisco – StayWithFamily Forum

Humpback Whale Rescue in San Francisco – StayWithFamily Forum.