Friday, April 19, 2013

A Proposed Fix

Just watched Chasing Ice on the small screen – showing on the big screen in Wells Hall next Thursday, 25th. I turn off the tv come upstairs and stumble into this report . All this after listening to campus leaders on radio and webcasts this week assuring us that our pace at addressing climate is fine. I think I need a vacation! Luckily I'm going soon...

Meanwhile the constant weather fluctuations are threatening our agricultural systems with growing unpredictable floods, droughts, storms, freezes, etc – all of which are predicted to increase as the CO2 we keep pumping into the atmosphere accumulates. We continue to add more buildings to heat and cool and light and otherwise power from power that is primarily from fossil fuels. It's as if we in higher education feel that our work is so essential that we can defy the laws of thermodynamics. That somehow we are bequeathed with some moral hegemony that allows us to forgo controls on growth on a finite planet. Where is the sanity in that? Are the feedback loops to slow?

And if that isn't loony enough, we'll actually keep investing in those fossil fuel companies as long as we think we'll be enriched over the next quarter or year.Even as the report above suggests the lunacy of such efforts.

There are ways out of this insanity, but you don't see leadership coming from higher education leaders or politicians, partly because they have been captured by the way the rules of the game have been rigged to favor greed and power. 

Here’s a brief doable plan (if politics wasn't in such a horrid state) that allows us to move a lot faster and brings more equality, creates jobs, and reduces our consumption of fossil fuels.More people would benefit more, for a longer term than the current approach our leaders(?) want us to believe.

1)      Reinstall our income tax strata from the 1950s; tax short-term speculative investments - shorter they are held the more they are taxed; and tax capital gains at same rate as regular income. Reduce work week to 32 hours - we have a labor surplus people - not a ,labor shortage!
2)      Launch a new CCC that focuses on energy conservation and efficiency
3)      Launch and or support neighborhood centers that build and strengthen local food systems
4)      Remove subsidies for large commodities - we create more mayhem in the developing world by chasing people off the land
5)      Reduce defense spending, increase peace spending – more on trained negotiators with knowledge of the regions, more training on democratic group processes to be used for effective community conversations.
6)      Support young people who want to be global peacekeepers with the same level of training and benefits as we do soldiers for war. They are both risking their lives.

 It tries to reflect in spirit the beautiful systemic approach for which John Todd was awarded the inaugural 2008 Buckminster Fuller Award for his Comprehensive Design for a Carbon Neutral World: The Challenge of Appalachia

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