All posts by Clifton Ware

About Clifton Ware

Sustainability Education Forum Editor-Publisher Dr. Clifton Ware is an international figure in the world of voice pedagogy. During the the past fifty years of teaching students how to sing -- both nationally and internationally -- Clif developed his signature "Efficient and Authentic Voice Technique". What distinguishes his method is its holistic approach, simplicity, and effectiveness. Siingers find that they are able to ensure their vocal health while cultivating their own unique, expressive sound. This approach stands in sharp contrast to faddish techniques that encourage mimicking the vocalism, style, and qualities of other singers, possibly limiting their own vocal imprint and even harming their vocal instrument. The "Efficient and Authentic Voice Technique" produces singers that enjoy vocal power, range, ease, individuality, and a liberating learning process.

What Can One Do? Learn! – SEF News-Views Digest

SEF News-Views Digest No. 170 (5-24-17)
Clifton Ware, Editor-Publisher

It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins –Benjamin Franklin

As a career-long educator, I’m convinced that life-affirming and life-enhancing education holds the motivational key for world citizens to create a sustainable existence on Earth—for all flora and fauna. This belief undergirds the 2014 founding of “Sustainability Education Forum”. The term “forum” represents the original intent of the five citizens who co-founded the precursor, “Insight Forum”, the intent of which was to explore together relevant sustainability topics and issues.

Continue reading What Can One Do? Learn! – SEF News-Views Digest

Kingdom of the Super Rich? – SEF News-Views Digest

SEF News-Views Digest No. 169 (5-10-17)
Clifton Ware, Editor-Publisher

My original commentary-rant (enclosed at the bottom) is longer than usual, but worth reading—if you share my deep concern about the egregious wealth chasm that separates the super rich from the rest of us.

Many experts agree that the super rich are largely using their wealth and power to transform our democracy into a plutocracy-oligarchy. I suspect most readers deplore the rapid gains in income by the super rich, far outpacing gains made by most hard-working citizens. For an elite faction of citizens, annual incomes in several fields—business, entertainment, sports, etc.—have skyrocketed obscenely. Meanwhile, most people in these fields struggle desperately to make ends meet.

For certain, this ominous trend is not sustainable—for anyone, including the super rich. I suspect that, somewhere in the near-to-long term, life for the masses will grow so stressful that society will be overwhelmed by a series of converging crises, mostly driven by the accumulating negative effects of worldwide overpopulation.

It’s possible that the super rich might eventually reap the disastrous results of what they’ve sown—at the unfortunate expense of everyone else. At such time, they will probably migrate to presumably safe havens, including fortified, well-stocked underground bunkers. But isolation and fear of the outside world will not create an optimistic outlook or pleasant lifestyle.

Some lavish, degenerate illustrations of super-rich individuals’ affluence are found in the first article in News (also, read the second article), and a deplorable example of extravagant luxury is portrayed by two prosperity-gospel evangelistic preachers discussing why God approves of their private jet-setting travel: Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Defending Their Private Jets

If humanity has a chance of creating sustainability, it might require the catalyst of a grassroots uprising to bring it about. Establishing a true democracy, one in which all citizens are treated justly and equitably, may require taking robust measures—NOW! Revolt, anyone?

Finally, if you’re up for it, please read my full commentary, located at the bottom of this newsletter. Thanks for caring—and acting!

SUSTAINABILITY NEWS

> Bloomberg: A Look At The Ugly Side Of Getting Rich (James Tarmy).  Dozens of lavish and disconcerting vignettes fill Generation Wealth (2017), a 504-page monograph by Lauren Greenfield, and due out on May 15. A photographer who has spent the last 25 years documenting wealth, class, and status symbols, she offers a glimpse into the spending habits of ultra-wealthy tribes. Through Greenfield’s lens, the accumulation of wealth comes off more as a destructive addiction than a path to self-improvement. “The trajectory of the last 25 years isn’t sustainable on a lot of levels—environmentally, morally, spiritually, or within communities and families.”  Greenfield is not particularly anti-materialist or anti-capitalist, but a photo documentarian. David Siegel [the time-share king] said that money doesn’t make you happy—it makes you unhappy in a better part of town. [I agree!]

> Independent: US Has Regressed To Developing Nation Status, MIT Economist Warns (Chloe Farand). In his new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, reviewed by the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Peter Temin says the fracture of US society is leading the middle class to disappear. The economist describes a two-track economy with on the one hand 20 per cent of the population that is educated and enjoys good jobs and supportive social networks. On the other hand, the remaining 80 percent, he said, are part of the US’ low-wage sector, where the world of possibility has shrunk and people are burdened with debts and anxious about job security. He found that the high-income sector was keeping wages down to provide cheap labor, and social control was used to prevent subsistence workers from challenging existing policies and social mobility was low.  Temin says that education is the solution, and calls for investments in public schools and public universities. [See also: America Is Regressing Into A Developing Nation For Most People]

> Think Progress: The Earth Just Reached A CO2 Level Not Seen In 3 Million Years (Natasha Geiling). Recent measurements taken from the same observatory show that yet another marker has been passed: Carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere, for the first time in modern record-keeping, has surpassed 410 parts per million. Since the 1950s at Mauna Loa, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased 42 percent increase from pre-industrial levels. Children born today will likely never live in a world with levels below 400 parts per million. The last time Earth had comparable levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide was about three million years ago, during the mid-Pliocene. Back then, global average temperature was about 3.6-5.2°F warmer than it is today. Sea levels were also higher, by about 15–25 meters. Hitting a high of 410 parts per million won’t trigger any immediate climate consequences, but it is a stark reminder of the profound influence human activity is having on the planet.

> World Wildlife Magazine: A Changing Arctic (Isabelle Groc). In September 2012, the extent of sea ice hit a record low after a particularly hot summer: 1.32 million square miles, 44% below the 1981–2010 average. And from mid-October to late November 2016, the extent of Arctic sea ice was the lowest since the satellite record began in 1979. Ice sheets on land are melting at an accelerating pace, as well, contributing directly to sea-level rise, a growing threat for coastal cities and communities worldwide. In fact, changes occurring in the Arctic are affecting the entire planet in a profound way. As sea ice retreats and land ice melts, sunlight that would have been reflected back to space by the bright ice is instead absorbed by the ocean, warming the water and melting even more ice. Moreover, at least 1,500 billion tons of organic carbon have been safely locked away in the frozen soils of the Arctic for thousands of years—almost twice as much as is currently in the atmosphere. As this permafrost thaws, the carbon breaks down, releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and amplifying global warming.

> The Guardian: Medical Scientists Report On The Impact Climate Change Is Having On Health (John Abraham). The fact that climate change is already affecting personal human health around the world was the focus of a summary report just published by the Medical Society Consortium. The report is limited to the USA, with key impacts by regions, but the general conclusions and trends can be applied to worldwide conditions. Most importantly they find that climate change is already affecting our health, especially children, student athletes, pregnant women, elderly, people with chronic health conditions, and the impoverished. With respect to extreme weather, the report correctly notes that the frequency and severity of some weather events such as heavy downpours, floods, droughts, and major storms are increasing. The nutritional value of food is also a concern, because increases in carbon dioxide actually result in a lowered nutritional value of grown food such as wheat, rice, barley, and potatoes.

> Think Progress: The Climate Denier Caucus In Trump’s Washington (Claire Moser& Ryan Koronowski). There are 180 members of Congress [plus Trump] who deny the science behind climate change and have received more than $82 million from fossil fuel industries, according to new analysis from the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Of the 180 climate science deniers in the 115th Congress, 142 are in the House and 38 are in the Senate. That’s more than 59 percent of the Republican House caucus and 73 percent of Republicans in the Senate that deny the scientific consensus that climate change is happening, human activity is the main cause, and it is a serious threat. No Democrats publicly deny the science behind climate change. The majority of Republican members of Congress are still ignoring public opinion, but as members of Congress increasingly face resistance in their districts with constituents calling for climate action, some deniers are starting to shift their tone.

> New York Times: 23 Environmental Rules Rolled Back In Trump’s First 100 Days (Kadja Popovich & Tatania Schlossberg). President Trump, with help from his administration and Republicans in Congress, has reversed course on more than a dozen environmental rules, regulations and other Obama-era policies during his first 100 days in office. Citing federal over reach and burdensome regulations, Mr. Trump has prioritized domestic fossil fuel interests and undone measures aimed at protecting the environment and limiting global warming.  Nine rules have been overturned, 7 are under review, and 7 are in limbo. In most cases, lobbyists representing major industries and corporations are responsible for encouraging rollbacks on existing rules and regulations. [All rules and regulations are listed, with brief explanations about who wanted them changed.]

> Alpha News Minnesota: Minnesota Ranked One Of Nation’s Greenest States (Preya Samsundar). Wallethub has named Minnesota the 7th Greenest State in the country. The report, released on April 18, looked at three main categories: environmental quality, eco-friendly behaviors, and climate-change contributions. The study examined different environmental factors like air, water, and soil quality, and also looked at the number of green buildings, energy consumption from renewable sources, gas, water, and energy consumption. Tied for first with Michigan, South Dakota, Washington state, and Wisconsin, Minnesota was also ranked highest in the nation for soil quality, based on the pH level of the soil. The study did find that Minnesota (ranked 31st) could improve on climate-change contribution. The category looked at per-capita emissions when it comes to carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated greenhouse-gas. Moreover, blue states were found more likely to be eco-friendly than red states.

SUSTAINABILITY VIEWS

> World Population Balance: Technological Progress Is Slowing?! What Every Overpopulation Activist Needs To Know (Alan Ware). Today, much of the media and our most influential thought leaders have a blind faith that as-yet-undiscovered technologies can save us from overpopulation and ecological overshoot. But there is now mounting evidence—and hugely underreported evidence—that technological progress has actually been slowing in recent decades compared to earlier decades and centuries, with the “low-hanging fruit” principle also applying in the realm of human technical innovation. The fact is that technological advancement of the past 40 years or so has occurred primarily in the realm of electronic bits. Now, even in the realm of digital technologies, we are seeing diminishing returns in innovation. Some researchers conclude that, “just to sustain constant growth in GDP per person, the U.S. must double the amount of research effort searching for new ideas every 13 years to offset the increased difficulty of finding new ideas.”

> St. Cloud Times: Despite Constitution, Legislators Attack Environment (Editorial Board). Minnesotans have been asked five times through constitutional amendments if and how much they value the state’s natural resources, and the answer has always been: Yes, a lot! The collective message to legislators is crystal clear: Preserving and protecting Mother Nature is a—perhaps even the—top Minnesota priority. That’s why it’s both puzzling and stunning that so many legislative proposals rooted solidly in Republican House and Senate majorities undoubtedly aim to weaken, even remove, scores of rules, regulations, public-input processes and funding put in place to uphold the very values Minnesotans have placed through the state Constitution on the state’s natural resources. Among the easy-to-see examples: 1) weaken water quality standards; 2) use courts, not science; 3) repeal the buffer law; 4) mess with legacy amendment funds; 5) place profits above protections; and 6) other indirect attacks.

> VOX: How Republicans Came To Embrace Anti-Environmentalism (Christopher Sellers). [Sellers, a professor of history at Stony Brook University, provides a general overview of this issue, beginning with the strongest environmental support that appeared in the 1960s and 1970s, followed by describing two major anti-environmentalism strands of rebellions, one in western states among ranchers, miners, and other larger property owners, and another early strand ran through the South, where traditional Democratic dominance was in flux, and eventually helped elect Georgian Newt Gingrich into congress. in 1978. The early Reagan administration undertook a frontal assault on environmental agencies and regulation much like what we are now seeing. Conservative think tanks, like the Heritage Foundation enjoyed a heyday as an idea factory for tugging the administration to the right. Gingrich’s Contract with America embodied the new stealth strategy of attack, by calling for a variety of restraints on “regulation.” Newly sophisticated ways of attacking environmental sciences publicly arose that appealed to doubt and uncertainty, and were promoted via conservative media. Trump’s 2016 victory was a testimony their successes.]

> Weathering The Storm: Eight Megatrends That Are Reshaping The World (Mike Conley). Conley’s latest book-in-progress–-“Mortgaging the American Dream: What Were We Thinking?”–-focuses on eight megatrends that are reshaping the world. In this sneak preview, the abbreviated megatrends are listed, along with a “looking ahead” commentary on potential implications of each. The 8 megatrends are: 1) climate change; 2) overpopulation; 3) energy; 4) ecological footprint; 5) global economy; 6) geopolitical instability; 7) technology; and 8) the American dream.

> Peak Prosperity: The Relentless Push Towards War (Chris Martenson). The push to war includes a series of carefully crafted talking points being endlessly repeated over the print and airwaves. It’s an ever-present condition of living in our manufactured reality, where what we are told to care about is beamed at us around the clock in a rather tediously but emotionally-manipulative way on the “news.” Meanwhile, the actual things that are deteriorating alarmingly are not even talked about in the main news outfits: alarming species extinction rates, the loss of phytoplankton in the oceans, the loss of terrestrial soil fertility into oceanic dead zones, and the largest wealth gap in all of history created on purpose by central banks. These very dangerous crises aren’t talked about because doing so won’t sell more weapons, advance any political careers, or goose banking profits next quarter. Any outbreak of war is going to be a very bad thing for the globe at this particular moment in history.  Debt levels are stretched to the limit, GDP is weak, and it won’t take much to upset the economic and financial market apple carts.

> Organic Consumers Association: Modern Agriculture Drives Hunger, Obesity And Disease While Simultaneously Threatening Food Chain And Worsening Water Crisis (Dr. Joseph Mercola). A century ago farmers believed that agriculture was necessary for food production, and that farming the land or raising cattle was not going to unduly harm anything or anyone. However, such an impossible scenario is precisely what we’re facing today. Virtually every growing environmental and health problem can be traced back to modern food production. This includes but is not limited to: 1) food insecurity and malnutrition amid mounting food waste; 2) rising obesity and chronic disease rates despite growing health care outlays; 3) diminishing fresh water supplies; 4) toxic agricultural chemicals polluting air, soil and waterways, thereby threatening the entire food chain from top to bottom; and 5) disruption of normal climate and rainfall patterns. The good news is there are viable answers to all of these problems that do not merely scratch at the surface, and the answers hinge on the widespread implementation of regenerative agriculture and decentralized food distribution.

> Peak Prosperity: Sympathy For The Devil? (Adam Taggart). In our recent report, Banks Are Evil, we pulled no punches in making the accusation that the financial system is the root cause of injustice in today’s society. Their influence and reach has metastasized to the point where we now live under a captive system. From our retirement accounts, to our homes, to the laws we live under—the banks control it all; and they run the system for their benefit, not ours. For decades, more and more sharks found their way into the financial industry, and there was plenty of prey for them all to feast and fatten on. But now there’s much less to prey on, so the biggest sharks are now turning on the smaller ones. The edifice of central planning omnipotence is crumbling and when it finally breaks down in earnest, the financial markets will implode, the central banks will be overrun and discredited, and investors will discover that overly-long parties come with massive hangovers.

SUSTAINABILITY SOLUTIONS

> The Conversation: More People Than Ever Before Are Single – And That’s A Good Thing (Bella DePaulo). Today, the number of single adults in the U.S and worldwide is unprecedented, and more are staying single for life. As a researcher, DePaulo has found that the rise of single living is a boon to our cities and towns and communities, our relatives and friends and neighbors. This trend has the chance to redefine the traditional meaning—and confines—of home, family and community. People who live alone tend to participate in more civic groups and public events, enroll in more art and music classes, and go out to dinner more often than people who live with others. They also volunteer more for social service organizations, educational groups, hospitals and organizations devoted to the arts than people who are married. Those who remain single also develop more confidence in their own opinions and undergo more personal growth and development than people who marry. [And they also help reduce overpopulation!]

> Tufts Nutrition: Waste By Design (Clare Leschin-Hoar & Julie Flaherty). Nearly a third of the food that we produce each year winds up getting thrown away or lost somewhere along the supply chain. According to the United Nations, that amounts to about 1.3 billion tons of food that’s squandered annually. The energy used on wasted food would make it the world’s third-largest producer of greenhouse gases. Waste also carries a hefty economic price tag for food producers—about $750 billion annually, says the U.N. In 2013, when the Natural Resources Defense Council released a report showing that a substantial portion of America’s $160 billion food-waste problem could be traced to those “use by” and “sell by” dates on food containers. The findings imply that the way foods are packaged can enable waste. Tweaking package sizes may keep consumers from buying more than they’ll eat. But one wide-reaching change would be to standardize date labels—currently unregulated at the federal level—so that they have a consistent meaning.

> Truthout: Americans Need To Stop Trashing 15 Million Tons Of Clothing Every Year (Judy Molland). More than 15 million tons of textile waste is generated every year the US, an amount that has doubled over the last 20 years. On average, each American throws out approximately 80 pounds of used clothing a year. Nationally, it costs cities around $45 per ton to dispose of old clothing. Even worse, synthetic clothing can take hundreds of years to decompose.  Most clothing companies seem unconcerned by the environmental impacts of their business. But there are a few exceptions, such as H&M, Nike, and Patagonia. An exciting new development is the emergence of Evrnu, a startup that’s been working with Levi to turn recycled T-shirts into jeans. Buying recycled clothing could be the way of the future, but it may take a while to get established. Meanwhile, there are three key ways consumers can immediately lessen clothing waste: recycling, repairing, and reducing consumption.

> Reuters: Cities Best Armed To Fight Climate Change: U.N. Climate Chief (Reuters). According to Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), cities can have most impact in fighting climate change because they are engines for innovation and also highly vulnerable to a warming planet. More than 140 countries have ratified the Paris agreement on climate change and they are looking for leadership from cities to help them implement commitments their national governments made. Climate change risks will become even more pressing as around two-thirds of people are predicted to live in cities by 2050, with developing countries in particular poised to see their urban populations soar. Data show that more than two thirds of the world’s largest cities are in coastal regions, making their citizens vulnerable to sea level rises, flooding and other extreme weather.

> Yes! Magazine: Crowdfunding Real Estate Isn’t Just For Millionaires Anymore. Could It Be For You? (Alizah Salario). The real estate crowdfunding portal Small Change provides a way for communities to both preserve history and add much-needed housing units in a thriving area, as it did in a Pittsburgh neighborhood with an historic building. Potential investors are attracted to the Small Change website, where they find a thorough description of the property and proposed project. This type of funding is known as “equity crowdfunding.” It differs from sites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter in that the people who contribute are investors seeking a return, not donors supporting a project. Equity crowdfunding is relatively new, and came about in 2012 thanks to the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the JOBS Act) signed into law by President Obama. Anyone over the age of 18 can participate, as long as the offerings are capped at a $1 million raising amount over a 12-month period.

> Common Dreams: For First Time Ever, Majority Of House Dems Support ‘Medicare-For-All’ Bill (Nila Knight). As President Donald Trump and the GOP attempt once again to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a much crueler bill, House Democrats are pushing in the total opposite direction: as of Thursday, a record 104 have signed on to co-sponsor a Medicare-for-All bill. The bill, H.R. 676, known as the “Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act,” has been introduced into Congress repeatedly by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.). It has now received support from more than half of the Democratic caucus, a record for the party. Multiple polls in recent years have shown that most Americans support a single-payer system.

> Resilience: What Keeps Me Going (Rob Hopkins). There are a few things that keep me going through these difficult times and which keep me focused on what I can do to help. The first is that you never know where the tipping points are. You never know who will be inspirited to act by what you’ve done or you’re doing. Another is that we have no idea how things are going to turn out, considering remarkable things we’ve done, and what we’re capable of doing. The third is that things are moving so fast that, many of the doors that were thought to be closed are beginning to swing open. I try very hard to put firebreaks into my life. I’ve also come to deeply respect the need for developing a healthy group culture in shared projects. Ultimately what sustains me is a rather heady cocktail of stubbornness, optimism, a strong faith in the human spirit and in other people, rage, a deep wish to live a life of service to others, the thrill of seeing people step up and take their lives into their own hands, all coupled with a deep sense of urgency.

SUSTAINABILITY EVENTS

  • > Citizens For Sustainability: Monthly Meeting-Forum, Sat., May 20th, 10 a.m.-noon, St. Anthony Village Community Center, 3301 Silver Lake Rd.
  • > Transition Twin Cities: Events: Northern Spark Transition Message—May, June; 1st National Gathering of Transition Towns US—July 27-31, Macalester College, St. Paul. For info: (http://transitiontwincities.org/).
  • > Citizen’s Climate Lobby: Regular Meetings And Events (www.citizensclimatelobby-mn.org); Meetings in 18 MN locations on the 2nd Saturday of each month to focus on bi partisan Carbon Fee and Dividend Legislation36 members of the US House on the Climate Solutions Caucus are involved.
  • > Clean Energy Resources Teams (CERTS). MN Energy Stories & Upcoming Events; Calendar.MnCERTs.org
    > MN Environmental Partnership (MEP) Upcoming Environmental Events. See website: http://www.mepartnership.org/events/ (search by month)
  • > MN350: Climate Campaigns And Projects. For a listing of campaigns, projects, and events, see: http://www.mn350.org/campaigns-projects/
  • > Alliance For Sustainability: Linking Citizens, Congregations And Cities For Sustainable CommunitiesSee Projects: http://www.afors.org/

SUSTAINABILITY INFO

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Kingdom of the Super Rich? (Original version)

An elite faction of super-rich individuals (and corporations) is exerting increasing negative socio-economic-political effects on American life. Understandably, a majority of citizens are understandably alarmed, including me. The growth of inequality and inequity is undermining democracy, and creating unsustainable long-term living conditions.

Before expressing how much I disrespect the extravagantly wealthy lifestyles of the super rich, I readily acknowledge that we are rich enough, materially and otherwise. Bettye and I are fortunate to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, one that provides essential needs, as well as some personal wants, including occasional travel, supporting favorite charities, and giving time and energy to worthwhile artistic and sustainability initiatives. Admittedly, we are not exemplars of a super-green, minimalistic lifestyle, only a moderate one. But this doesn’t deter me from expressing some strong biases.

For example, I hold a positive bias for citizens who live moderate lifestyles guided by minimum consumption (having “enough”), green practices (reducing, reusing, recycling), and willingly provide essential goods and services for their fellow citizens. Would that such citizens could inherit the earth—forever!

Conversely, I hold a negative bias for citizens who live extravagant, high-consumption lifestyles, the affluent faction that produces the highest rates of per-capita pollution and waste. It seems justifiable to criticize the super-rich, because their economic aspirations lead to accumulating enormous financial assets (legitimately or not) that are used to exert inordinate power and control over others.

Experts inform us that the ancient evolutionary survival mechanism of gathering and hoarding essential items is ingrained in human DNA. Ergo, those who accumulate the most goods improve their chances of surviving, even prospering aplenty. Yet, as civilization has progressed in achieving higher enlightenment, shouldn’t humanity have developed a more enlightened coping mechanism? Must we continue to be manipulated by egocentric drives and psycho-emotionally addictions that morph into disproportionate wealth and power?

One reason given for why the super rich are driven to accumulate vast amounts of material goods and services is to enhance their self-image and social-image. Their social status is further enhanced with gaining impressive titles, associations with prestigious organizations, influential contacts, and material possessions.

Insularity is common among all strata of society, but the super rich are super segregated from the rest of society. They appear to live in a metaphorical alternative universe, in which they enjoy special privileges, cushy comforts, and pampering by minions (most working folk) who serve their expected needs and wants.

Lest it appear that I’m singling out rich conservatives, I hasten to add that rich liberals are also a part of this self-indulgent phenomenon. A host of Democratic political leaders have demonstrated their appreciation of the high life, including the Kennedys, the Gores, the Clintons, and, more recently, the Obamas. How shocked and disappointed I was to learn that Obama recently received a $400,000 fee for a speech sponsored by a Wall Street firm. But I’ve since learned the Obamas have donated two million dollars to Chicago summer youth programs.

It’s true that many super-rich people donate to worthy causes, some a lot, but the percentage amount of their total income is less than the percentages donated by poor or middle class citizens. Moreover, those intentionally choosing to live moderate lifestyles are very rare. It seems that people living excessively consumptive lifestyles acquire a false sense of reality, the result of living inside a growing protective bubble of affluence that isolates them from the types of problems experienced by less economically fortunate folk.

Our democracy is threatened by a governing system that’s increasingly leaning toward a plutocracy-oligarchy. When an elite group of billionaires and multi-millionaires are in power, attention given to the wellbeing of most Americans, the 90-99%, decreases. The Trump administration is rife with super-rich political appointees, and we’re learning that they care more about enhancing the coffers of the rich than providing sustenance and opportunities for the lower and middle classes. As Timothy Eagan of the New York Times wrote recently: “Wealth gives them [Trump family} the patina of respectability —the American reflex of deference to the rich. But make no mistake: The Trump family and assorted cronies are using the highest office in the land to stuff their pockets” (as further illustrated with the Trump-GOP proposed tax plan).

One eye-opening video I viewed recently on Facebook, thanks to a friend’s posting, is a discussion between two evangelists about why God approves of their private jet-setting travel. Watch it and weep: Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Defending Their Private Jets. And they aren’t the only evangelists with private jets. Do these so-called Christians really believe they have earned and deserve special godly treatment? If so, I think they need to heed this biblical report of Jesus using a hyperbolic figure of speech to emphasize the dangers of being rich (Matthew 19:24): “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Generally speaking, anyone earning millions of dollars annually—entertainers, athletes, and many others in a variety of fields—are actually victims in the existing imbalanced socio-economic-political system, which can distort one’s sense of reality and promote a neurotic dependency on extravagant materialism. The unjustified escalation in incomes of the rich over the past few decades has created a bloated sense of self-worth and importance among the super rich. In addressing the equality-inequality and equity-disparity chasm that separates the super-duper rich from the rest of us, Senator Bernie Sanders reminds us: You’ve got the top 400 Americans owning more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans. Most folks do not think that is right.” Agreed!

If you’re wondering what can be done to rectify the growing inequality and equity gap, one of several options is a grassroots activism proposal by Truthdig columnist, Chris Hedges: The only route left is revolt. If this revolt is to succeed it must be expressed in the language of economic justice. The oligarchs and corporations, many of them proponents of political correctness, are our enemy.” So, yes, down with the kingdom of the super rich!

For ongoing, up-to-date information about inequality, please refer to Inequality.org.

Dear Readers . . . – SEF News-Views Digest

SEF News-Views Digest No. 168 (4-26-17)
Clifton Ware, Editor-Publisher

Perhaps you’ve noticed that this newsletter is no longer being issued weekly, but every other week. I’ve pondered some options, questioning if the EROEI (energy returned on energy invested) makes this project tenable long term. I’ll probably continue producing it on alternate weeks, or perhaps periodically, or maybe not at all.

My quandary is a common one: prioritizing several interesting, worthwhile projects on which to focus my finite time and energies. Attaining the ripe age of 80 last month seems to have brought this topic to the fore, making it easier to address it. Researching, reading, writing, and publishing the newsletter have certainly presented positive challenges for an aging brain, and I’ve enjoyed participating in the process and publishing a worthy product. I intend to remain mentally active as long as possible, pursuing various intellectual and artistic activities.

Readers who have been receiving my newsletters from the beginning in 2013 are aware of some evolving changes in formatting, content, and style. The goal has been to produce a sustainability-oriented e-newsletter unlike any other that’s available, with contents that include a personal commentary and one-paragraph summaries of 20-30 articles offering views, news, and solutions. Also included are announcements of events and information associated with creating resilience and sustainability.

I realize that some readers think too much information is provided, and read very little, if any of it. Most readers probably read and/or skim a few articles. I suspect only a few read everything, even though it takes no more than 15 minutes or so. It’s easy to understand why. Like readers, I receive an inordinate amount of email, including newsletters, most of which I typically skim for essential information. The plethora of negative news reports—plus numerous requests from a multitude of worthwhile causes seeking activism and financial support—can be overwhelming.

The motivation in producing this newsletter is rooted in a deep concern about the acceleration of converging crises that humanity and the planet are facing. With great gratitude, Bettye and I have lived through what could well be the most extravagantly productive era of human history on Earth—the second half of the 20th century—when fossil-based energy was plentiful and cheap, and the world economy was expanding. But along with that constant economic growth were some “externalities” associated with modernity’s technological advances. The devastating long-term results include: profligate consumption; increasing amounts of waste products and pollution (air, land, and water); ongoing decline of all natural resources; and overpopulation, the main catalyst of all socio-ecological crises.

I confess that an abiding sense of moral responsibility weighs heavily on me, spurring a need for atonement; thus, this newsletter. The lifestyle benefits we’ve reaped were made possible by a socio-economic system that is increasingly growing untenable, especially for future generations. Regrettably, I sense that getting the public to understand the severity and precariousness of life in the 21st century and beyond might not occur in time to avert potential future catastrophes. Most readers will not feel the full effects of the changes that are coming, but it’s very likely that anyone alive at the turn of the 21st century will be experiencing a drastically different world. Several articles in Views and News sections provide ample support for such concerns.

So what can we do? First, become better informed on all major issues, always supported by critical thinking and analysis. Second, act constructively and positively in promoting community resilience, all sustainability causes, and effective political leaders. Third, accept the realities of living on a finite planet, and enjoy all that’s true, good, and beautiful—while it’s still possible!

Finally, I don’t know how long I’ll continue producing this newsletter, but I do know I’ll stop when it seems appropriate and timely. For certain, feedback from readers is appreciated—and welcomed!

SUSTAINABILITY VIEWS

> Huffington Post: Climate Change Is Ruining Farmers’ Lives, But Only A Few Will Admit It (Joseph Erbentraut). Federal research indicates that extreme weather events like droughts and floods can harm crops and reduce yields. Warmer weather can also mean more weeds and pests for crops, and more heat stress and disease for livestock. The limited research available on the topic indicates that most farmers agree that climate change is happening. Yet only a few—perhaps about 16 percent, according to one survey of Iowa farmers—seem to believe that human activities are a primary cause, even as a growing body of research shows that farming is a leading contributor to climate change and is responsible for as much as one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, due largely to livestock and use of synthetic fertilizers. Meanwhile, the Trump administration expresses climate skepticism  and works to dismantle climate-change initiatives.

> Resource Insights: Living World: Should Natural Entities Be Treated As Legal Persons? (Kurt Cobb). It defies our normal modes of thinking that natural entities such as trees, rivers, mountains, lakes, and glaciers should be given legal standing in courts and public life. And yet we take as a matter of course the legal rights of other inanimate entities. Perhaps our most important blind spot is that we forget that we humans are natural entities as well. Ultimately, what’s at stake is what our relationship with other natural entities will be and whether it is in our interest to grant them legal rights. How we would be obliged to act if humans were classified as an endangered species under the law. What might we as a species be required to change to insure our own survival? The argument for legal rights for natural entities goes beyond human survival. It imagines that natural entities have worth in and of themselves and not just as materials necessary for human survival.

> Humanity’s Test: Exiting The Anthropocene (Roger Boyd). The beginning of the Anthropocene, the period when humanity became the predominant driver of changes in the Earth Systems, includes three main views: the period of the post-WW2 Great Acceleration; the beginning of industrialization; and even the European conquest and colonization of the rest of the world. Now, to exit the Anthropocene is to enter a period where humanity will be incapable of doing anything meaningful to stop climatic changes, which may occur abruptly. While the evidence mounts that the door to the end of the Anthropocene is opening wide, our society seems unable to grasp the scale and urgency of the danger. The Arctic is the canary in the Earth System. With temperatures now regularly 20 degrees centigrade above normal in parts of the Arctic it is apparent that it has already entered a period of abrupt climate change. We are close to the point where the Earth will tip over and start rolling by itself, ending the short Anthropocene.

> Resource Insights: Split Personalities: We Like Some Science, But Not All Of It (Kurt Cobb). We modern folk embrace what the sciences and technology have to offer, but refuse to believe that we live in the world described by those very sciences. The science of physics tells us that we live in a thermodynamic system that produces entropy. In the U.S. two-thirds of all energy used is wasted, resulting in increasing amounts of climate-changing CO2 in the atmosphere. We can keep increasing our wellbeing by drawing down the natural capital of the biosphere, but eventually this drawdown will drastically cut into the productivity of the biosphere. Although Earth’s resources are finite, there are people who claim with a straight face that resources are infinite, especially when considering other planets. What they do not take into account is the risk of systemic discontinuities, the type of systemic ruin that could come from climate change, resource extraction and new, untried technologies.

> Resilience: No More Devil’s Bargains (Aaron Vansintjan). Forty years ago, the rulers of the West made not one, but several Devil’s bargains: 1) The oil-to-arms deal made the 1970s; 2) The credit-for-resources deal, with Western banks lending money to colonies that could be paid later (debt); and 3) The promotion of cheap goods for cheap labor, a deal made with Western consumersFor a while economic growth was great, but the party couldn’t last. Another Devil’s bargain was made when the lifeblood of the economy, fossil fuels, was found to be toxic when consumed in high doses. Finally, the financial system became unwieldy. Now, options for the West include: 1) Increasing Neoliberalism policies (borrowing, increasing weapons, cutting government budgets, receiving migrants, increasing surveillance, etc.); 2) Promising a progressive liberalism approach, by slowly shifting to a better world while not challenging anything; and 3) Taking a conservative nationalism approach (sealing the gates, militarizing borders, increasing public spending, pumping oil, etc.) An alternative fourth option—progressive nationalism–will involve: 1) Stopping the arms trade; 2) Stopping credit-based finance; and 3) Ending cheap labor.

> Permaculture Research Institute: Do People Really Care About The Environment? (Angelo Eliades). The idea of caring for our planet may seem like self-evident common sense to the indigenous tribes of the world who live in close connection to the Earth. Likewise, for all other environmentally aware people worldwide, including green activists and practitioners of permaculture (who are supposed to live by the ethics of care for the people, care for the planet and taking only one’s fair share). To such people, the idea that others may not actually care for the planet may seem quite perplexing! Why would they not care for the natural systems that sustain their lives?

> Resilience: Limits To Economic Growth? (Brian Davey). This lecture was presented at the University of Nottingham on April 4, 2017. It is a lengthy presentation filled with slides, explanations, and information about the historical development of economic thought and practice, plus the effects produced, including environmental conflicts. Some positive solutions are offered, as indicated with the closing comment: “Many groups therefore share an overarching vision of the need for a Great Transition—and for “Degrowth”.

> Peak Prosperity: Where There’s Smoke… (Chris Martenson). Central banks around the world have colluded, if not conspired, to elevate and prop up financial asset prices. At the macro level, dumping hundreds of billions of freshly printed currency units into the financial markets each month without any question whatsoever, plays a huge role in keeping them elevated. A tumble from these heights would destroy jobs by the millions, wipe out trillions of (phony) wealth, and invite great populist angst opening up the possibility of truly horrible leaders to emerge.  As I’ve quipped to some people, if you don’t like Trump you are going to positively *hate* whoever comes next—if the current wealth gap persists (or worsens). But make no mistake: it will be the ordinary people who will be forced to eat the losses when all this blows up.

SUSTAINABILITY NEWS

> U.S. News-Reuters: March For Science Draws Big Crowds, Clever Signs Across U.S. (Lacey Johnson & Lisa Fernandez). Tens of thousands of people turned out in cities across the United States and beyond on Saturday for Earth Day events billed as a “celebration of science” to counter what organizers say is a growing disregard for evidence-based knowledge in Washington. While the events were non-partisan according to organizers, many marchers were in effect protesting Trump’s proposal to sharply cut federal science and research budgets and his administration’s skepticism about climate change and the need to slow global warming. The marches put a new twist on the traditional Earth Day activities, the aim of which was to reaffirm “the vital role science plays in our democracy,” according to the march’s website. Festivities at one of the largest events on Washington’s National Mall included scientific “teach-ins” and musical performances. [See also: At Least 10K Gather At Capitol For Minnesota’s March For Science]

> Climate Progress: Arctic Meltdown: Sea And Land Ice Are Cracking Up At A Record Pace (Joe Romm). Driven by warming air and water temperatures, Arctic sea ice continues its death spiral. A big new crack has been found in a major outlet glacier of the Greenland ice sheet, and disintegration is accelerating. Last month set records for the lowest Arctic sea ice extent ever in March, as well as the lowest sea ice volume and lowest sea ice thickness. Faster melting of the land-based Greenland ice sheet causes faster sea-level rise. Greenland ice mass loss has tripled since 1997. In National Geographic’s Greendex Sustainable Consumption Index, American consumers ranked last in regard to sustainable behavior, while Chinese and Indian consumers rated highest. The main reasons why people don’t care about the environment are: 1) greed; 2) apathy; 3) technological utopianism; and 4) misinterpretation of religions. In sum, the way to change the world is to change how people think about it! [See also: Arctic River Ice Deposits Rapidly Disappearing]

> Climate News Network: Jet Streams Stumble As The World Warms (Tim Radford), Researchers have once again linked a sequence of devastating climate events to global warming fuelled by prodigal human use of fossil fuels. They believe they have identified the agency behind the blazing summers that have repeatedly claimed lives and destroyed livelihoods during this century. They argue in the journal Scientific Reports that human impact on the climate now reaches high into the stratosphere, influencing the behavior patters of the giant jet streams that carry heat and moisture around the northern hemisphere, and keep the weather on the move. “The unprecedented 2016 California drought, the 2011 US heat wave and 2010 Pakistan flood as well as the 2003 European hot spell all belong to a most worrying series of extremes,” says Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University. The researchers now have support for their suspicions: the jet streams that sweep the hemisphere in huge atmospheric waves, plunging between Arctic and tropics, bring changes of weather.

> Common Dreams: Wilder Fires And Rising Waters, Climate Impacts Coming To America’s Door (Lauren McCauley). Studies show that Americans are generally reluctant to perceive climate change as anything more than a moderate risk, seeing it as something that impacts people in more vulnerable, developing nations. The idea of a person becoming a climate change refugee seems similarly foreign. Mathew Hauer, a demographer at the University of Georgia, estimates that by the end of the century as many as 13.1 million Americans could find themselves displaced due to rising sea levels, forcing migrants to inland cities, ultimately “reshaping” the population landscape. The U.S. coastlines on the Gulf and Atlantic will be the most affected. At the same time, residents who live near drought-stricken areas of the western U.S. are going to increasingly see larger, more devastating forest fires—and researchers are beginning to recognize that the only way to deal with them is to get out of the way.

> LA Times: Status Of Forests Is ‘Dire’ As World Marks 2017 Earth Day (Ann M. Simmons). Since 1990 the world has lost the equivalent of 1,000 football fields of forests every hour. That’s 1.3 million square kilometers of forest, an area larger than South Africa, according to the international financial institution. Tropical regions are seeing the fastest loss of forests. Indonesia, with its thriving paper and palm oil industries, has lost at least 39 million acres since the last century. Brazil, Thailand, Congo and parts of Eastern Europe also have significant deforestation. Aside from the increased demand for food, energy and minerals, the clearing of forestland for agriculture “accounts for the lion’s share of the conversion of forests. Outright forest clearance could result in the loss of species, while degradation—where a forest’s quality is compromised—could reduce species’ ability to find food and reproduce and cause potentially dangerous exposure to humans. Moreover, deforestation and forest degradation have caused a surge of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, according conservationists.

> The Washington Post: The U.S. Wind Industry Now Employs More Than 100,000 People (Brady Dennis). The U.S. wind industry, like renewable energy in general, is continuing to flourish. The fastest-growing occupation in the United States—by a long shot, is wind turbine technician. The number of workers maintaining wind turbines, a job with a median pay of about $51,000 a year, is set to more than double between 2014 and 2024. Wind energy remains a relatively minor part of the nation’s electricity mix, contributing about 5.5 percent of overall generation in 2016, according to the Energy Information Administration. Coal and natural gas, by contrast, account for nearly two-thirds of U.S. electricity generation. And the solar industry still employs more people than wind, about 260,000. The wind industry also faces other potential obstacles, such as the gradual phase out of a key federal tax incentive for wind energy investment that Congress extended in 2015.

> Inside Climate News: The Surprising List Of States Leading The U.S. In Clean Energy (Zahra Hirji).  A new analysis, which ranks states in a dozen different ways, offers some intriguing results. Depending on what’s measured, many different states can claim laurels, according to the report published Thursday by the science advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists. And there are high performers among states led by Republicans and Democrats alike. Kansas led the nation in largest increase in renewable energy generation between 2011-15. Hawaii ranked No. 1 in residential solar power. In California, electric vehicles made up the highest percentage of new car sales last year. And in Iowa, in-state companies could most easily procure renewable energy from utilities and third-party providers in 2016 than anywhere else. While this report paints an optimistic picture of the U.S. clean energy industry, it faces new obstacles even in states when there has been progress.

> Big Think: 10 Companies That Control Just About Everything You Eat (Ned Dymoke). In today’s increasingly corporate world, we all have certain brand allegiances. They (sad but true) make us who we are in today’s America. But it might surprise you that the majority of items in American supermarkets are owned by about 10 companies: Nestlé, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Associated British Foods, and Mondele. Each employs thousands and makes billions of dollars in revenue every year. The study, undertaken by Oxfam, is summarized in an impressive graphic.

> Star Tribune: Appetite Grows For Local Food, Fueling Land Rush In Twin Cities (Hannah Covington). Consumers, concerned about climate change and pesticides and food safety, have become much more willing to pay higher prices for food grown locally on smaller, sustainable farms. This “local food economy” as it’s been called, can be measured by the soaring number of farmers markets, which have quadrupled in the Twin Cities over the last 15 years, and by the grocery stores and restaurants where “locally grown” has taken root as a critical marketing pitch. That has set off a scramble for the land to grow those vegetables and fruits, especially 1- to 10-acre parcels close to metro area markets. More than 20 new community gardens were planted in the metro area in 2016, according to the Minneapolis-based nonprofit Gardening Matters. Last year, it counted 608 community gardens in the Twin Cities, up from 166 in 2009. The Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association estimates that there are about 60 farmers markets in the Twin Cities.

> Chicago Tribune: Don’t Count On That Government Pension (Terry Savage). Millions of Americans are expecting to receive a pension from the city or state that employs them. The nonprofit organization Truth in Accounting surveyed 237 municipal pension plans across the country, using newly required reporting data about pension underfunding, and found many pension funds in bad shape. This newly collected data should be frightening to those counting on a state or municipal pension. Of the 237 cities studied, 29 received an “F” grade, reflecting a funding ratio of less than 35 percent. Based on the size of unfunded pension liabilities, Chicago, NYC, and Portland, Oregon represent the most troubled cities. The largest unfunded promises in America come from the federal government and are related to Social Security, military, and federal worker retirement pension plans. But it is easier for the federal government to get away with underfunding pensions—because it can always print the money.

SUSTAINABILITY SOLUTIONS

> Post Carbon Institute: Building A National Community Resilience Corps (Asher Miller). In 1934 Eleanor Roosevelt championed the formation of the National Youth Administration (NYA), which joined the better-known Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in providing incomes, skill building, and meaningful work for millions of young people. Young people today face their own share of economic and financial challenges, along with other, very real, fears about their future—most notably, the climate crisis. Considering the economic insecurity that even a smooth transition to a post-carbon economy will bring, might it be time to bring back the NYA or the CCC, or to establish something like these for the twenty-first century? One means of doing this would be to form a National Community Resilience Corps (NCRC), which would harness the untapped passion, creativity, and labor of millions of young people to implement projects to grow resilience and build sustainability in tens of thousands of communities across the country. [Chapter 18 excerpt: EarthEd: Rethinking Education on a Changing Planet]

> Waging Non-Violence: Preparing For The Next ‘Movement Moment’ (George Lakey). Jonathan Matthew Smucker’s new book—Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals—is timely, revealing deep learning from the important role he played in the Occupy movement. Smucker believes Occupy was unable to realize that potential partly because of its unwillingness to give up its specialness, its identity, as different from not only the 1 percent but most of the 99 percent as well. The problem, Smucker says, comes when we make the need for community more important than our mission. He also suspects another fear might be lurking beneath the surface: the fear of being powerful. It’s counter-intuitive, but people grow more extreme within homogeneous groups as a way to conform. Even fairly homogeneous groups can transcend such dynamics by centering on campaigns and cooperative businesses. Smucker’s book offers a kind of chart for diagnosing the condition of our own group’s culture.

> Resilience: Embracing Climate Truth And Escalating To Win: Excerpt (Anya Grenier). Most Americans today acknowledge that climate change is real, but the scale and urgency of the threat are not widely known. The premise of the Climate Mobilization is that if people did—if they recognized that they and their children are profoundly threatened by runaway global warming—they would want to do everything possible to save humanity from this fate. The crisis is too advanced for gradual, incremental measures to be effective. An all out, all-hands on deck emergency effort is our last, best hope for stopping runaway global warming. Which is why we are campaigning for a World War II-scale climate mobilization to end emissions in less than ten years, transform our agricultural system and use every tool we have to draw down the excess carbon in the atmosphere. For an in-depth explanation of how this rapid transformation could take place, please see our Victory Plan.

> TED TALKS: 3 Ways To Plan For The (Very) Long Term (Ari Wallach). We increasingly make decisions based on short-term goals and gains—an approach that makes the future more uncertain and less safe. How can we learn to think about and plan for a better future in the long term … like, grandchildren-scale long term? Wallach shares three tactics for thinking beyond the immediate: 1) trans-generational thinking; 2) futures thinking; and 3) telos thinking, which focuses on meaning and purpose.

> Becoming Minimalist: 9 Stress-Reducing Truths About Money (Joshua Becker). According to a recent survey, 71% of Americans identify money as a significant cause of stress in their lives. But money-related stress is not entirely a matter of simple dollars and numbers. Instead, the stress stems from the way we think about and interact with money and the solution is not as simple as “just add more.” This may mask the symptoms temporarily, but the anxiety always returns. Instead, the solution may be as simple (and as difficult) as changing the way we think about money entirely. Here are 9 stress-reducing truths about money: 1) You need less than you think: 2) Money won’t make you happy; 3) Money is not the greatest goal of your work; 4) Wealth has its own troubles; 5) The desire for riches robs us of life; 6) Boundaries are life giving (art thrives with limitations); 7) There is joy in giving money away; 8) The security found in money/possessions is fleeting at best; and 9) Money, at its core, is only a tool.

> Peak Prosperity: Does Your Plan B Include A Second Place To Live If Plan A Doesn’t Work Out? (Charles Hugh Smith). In case Plan A doesn’t work out, people with reasons for a Plan B break out into three general categories: 1) Preppers who foresee the potential for a breakdown in Plan A due to a systemic “perfect storm” of events that could overwhelm the status quo’s ability to supply healthcare, food and transportation fuels for the nation’s heavily urbanized populace; 2) People who understand their employment is precarious and contingent, and they might have to move to another locale if they lose their job and can’t find another equivalent one quickly; and 3) Those who tire of the stresses of maintaining Plan A and who long for a less stressful, less complex, cheaper and more fulfilling way of living. This inherent fragility of current modern society has long fueled interest in rural “bug-out” retreats, a topic I recently addressed in Having A ‘Retreat’ Property Comes With Real Challenges.

> Resilience: What An Energy Revolution Looks Like (Alexis Zeigler). Living Energy Farm (Louisa, Virginia) is a fully operational, modest-cost farm community that’s mostly self-supporting, and independent of fossil fuel use. Village-level use of renewable energy allows for a level of centralization and integration that works fantastically well. LEF has cooperative housing at LEF, no free-standing, single-family or “tiny houses.” Cooperative use of resources is the most important “technology”, which results in acquiring, building, and integrating better housing, water, and agricultural systems, and the various tools needed for support. The village grows and preserves much of their food. The goal with the direct drive economy is to build machines that are cheap and effective, and to store energy in forms other than electricity. Living a comfortable and happy life supported by renewable energy is easy if we are willing to adjust our lifestyles to the rhythms of nature.

> Ensia: How A New Way Of Thinking About Soil Sparked A National Movement (Steven Rosenzweig). The soil health movement is a management philosophy centered around four simple principles: reduce or eliminate tillage, keep plant residues on the soil surface, keep living roots in the ground, and maximize diversity of plants and animals. Some immensely successful farmers are growing more food while drastically reducing their inputs, like herbicides and fertilizers, which is the ultimate strategy for becoming more profitable. Benefits on top of profitability include enhancing the health of ecosystems we depend on. One of the most unexpected outcomes of the soil health movement is that groups that were once fighting each other are now working together to achieve the same goal. The soil health terminology made it possible for agroecological farming practices to emerge in mainstream American agriculture.[See also: The Key To Feeding The World? It’s Healthy Soil]

SUSTAINABILITY EVENTS

> Sierra Club: People’s Climate March Minnesota April 29, 2017• 2:30 PMMinneapolis, US Federal Courthouse, 300 4th Street S, Minneapolis, MN 55415. Host Contact Info: jessica.tritsch@sierraclub.org; Get Details & RSVP;

MN350.Org: People’s Climate March-Washington, D.C. April 26-28. Several buses from MN: https://mn350.yapsody.com/event/index/63186/bus-mn-to-peoples-climate-march-in-dc

> Transition Twin Cities: Events: Northern Spark Transition Message—May, June; Transition Day in Northeast—May 6th; 1st National Gathering of Transition Towns US—July 27-31, Macalester College, St. Paul. For info: (http://transitiontwincities.org/).

> Citizen’s Climate Lobby: Regular Meetings And Events (www.citizensclimatelobby-mn.org); Meetings in 18 MN locations on the 2nd Saturday of each month to focus on bi partisan Carbon Fee and Dividend Legislation36 members of the US House on the Climate Solutions Caucus are involved.

> Clean Energy Resources Teams (CERTS). MN Energy Stories & Upcoming Events; Calendar.MnCERTs.org

> Beyond Pesticides: The 35th National Pesticide Forum: Healthy Hives, Healthy Lives, Lands: Ecological and Organic Strategies for RegenerationApril 28-29, U of MN Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Mpls.

> Transition Twin Cities: General Transition Mailing List (click here to sign up). NOTE: The National Transition GatheringJuly 27-31, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN

> MN Environmental Partnership (MEP) Upcoming Environmental Events. See website: http://www.mepartnership.org/events/ (search by month)

> MN350: Climate Campaigns And Projects. For a listing of campaigns, projects, and events, see: http://www.mn350.org/campaigns-projects/

> Alliance For Sustainability: Linking Citizens, Congregations And Cities For Sustainable Communities. See Projects: http://www.afors.org/

SUSTAINABILITY INFO

> World Population BalanceThe Overpopulation Podcast: Episode 8: Small Family Campaigns & Incentives (Ethicists Colin Hickey & Jake Earl, with Director Dave Gardner); Listen here;  One Planet, One Child (worldpopulationbalance.org); Preview: https://youtu.be/T4bed-He-Zk

> WTS: Weathering The StormMichael Conley, Founder-Speaker-Author, Seminars & Presentations; Several offerings: News FlashNewsletterInformation ServicesOLLI Course Hand-outsBest PracticesBuy The Book (Lethal Trajectories)

> Conversation Earth: Conversation Earth–Exploring Our Place on the Planet (Dave Gardner, Interviewer). This weekly Radio Series & Podcast provides surprising perspectives from leading thinkers on the most important issues of our time. The latest: Travis Reader featured on Moral Basis for Small Families and Public Policy Brakes on Procreation?; and Cultural Metamorphosis and What Keeps Us Stuck? with Mike Nickerson.

> Resilience: Think Resilience – Preparing For The Rest Of The 21st Century. This course, consisting of 22 video lectures by Post Carbon Institute Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg, totaling about 4 hours), may be taken at your own leisure ($20) or in a six-week long guided course, facilitated by Richard himself (currently sold out).

> Population Growth: Population Clock – Poodwaddle World Clock. Watch the population increase minute by minute.

> Bloomberg News: Bloomberg Carbon Clock. A real-time estimate of the global monthly atmospheric CO2 level.

> US Debt Clock: U.S. National Debt Clock: Real Time. Every aspect of the economy is documented.

Happy Planet Index. The HPI Index measures what matters: sustainable wellbeing, life expectancy, inequality of outcomes, and ecological footprint. America limps in at a thoroughly miserable 108th. About the HPI

Earth Day—Every Day, Every Way! – SEF News-Views Digest

SEF News-Views Digest No. 167 (4-12-17)
Clifton Ware, Editor-Publisher

Given humanity’s continuing assault on Mother Nature, it seems most appropriate for us to celebrate the 47th official anniversary of Earth Day this year on Saturday, April 22nd. Ideally, we should demonstrate every day our profound appreciation, respect, and gratitude for Nature’s life-sustaining bounty. But, sadly, it seems that only a small portion of the world population is fully aware of our species’ destructive role, and even fewer acknowledge it, especially by paying homage to Nature, our precious home planet, and the source of everything that sustains us.

Continue reading Earth Day—Every Day, Every Way! – SEF News-Views Digest

Transitioning To Resilient Sustainability – SEF News-Views Digest


SEF News-Views Digest No. 166 (3-29-17)
Clifton Ware, Editor-Publisher

Some readers are very familiar with the growing transition movement, while others may have only heard of it. But I suspect a majority of readers are not fully informed about this growing grassroots movement.

In brief, the transition movement consists of citizens who recognize and accept the potential dangers associated with a series of converging socio-economic, political, and environmental realities. Instead of complaining and agonizing about dire future prospects, they’ve decided to take proactive initiatives to form greater individual and collective resilience in their local communities. In general, they believe that only through mutual cooperation and collaboration will communities be able to establish sustainable ways of living.

Continue reading Transitioning To Resilient Sustainability – SEF News-Views Digest