The Primary Shades of Green (Clifton Ware, Editor/Publisher)
When was the first time you heard of the color “green”, in relation to green practices or green movement? Like a lot of trendy terminology, it seemed to have crept into the environmental lexicon, but so far I’ve had no luck in discovering its origin. If you know where such information can be found, please advise. Otherwise, I can only assume “green” evolved as a metaphor, probably as a reference to living green plants. It seems that both the colors blue (sky, water) and green (plants) are used to represent environmental concerns [which explains why both colors are used in the CFS logo and newsletter lettering.]
As a consolation for not providing the origin of “green”, here’s a capsule history of the green movement in the U.S. (please continue reading at the end of this newsletter)
> Peak Prosperity: Understanding Asset Bubbles – Crash Course Chapter 17. Through the long sweep of history, the bursting of asset bubbles has nearly always been traumatic. Social, political and economic upheavals have a bad habit of following asset bubbles, while wealth destruction is a guaranteed feature.
> New Economics: The Next Financial Crisis – Not If But When. The latest World Economic Outlook from the International Monetary Funds (IMF) paints a gloomy picture of slowing growth across the world. Even mainstream economists like former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers are talking seriously about “Secular stagnation” – the idea that developed economies are now in a permanent slump.
> Market Watch: Ready Or Not: Three Unsustainable Trends Are About To Collide (Chris Martenson). A perfect storm of demographics, debt, and energy are converging. And it helps to bear I mind that most of the negative news and major world events we see around us are symptoms of the disease, not the disease itself.
> Business Insider: China Overtakes Us As World’s Largest Economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) measures both GDP in market-exchange terms and in terms of purchasing power, in which China is overtaking the US right about now and becoming the world’s biggest economy. By the end of 2014, China will make up 16.48% of the world’s purchasing-power adjusted GDP (or $17.632 trillion), and the US will make up just 16.28% (or $17.416 trillion).
> Peak Oil: Schools Of Thought On Degrowth (Brian Davy). Different groups with different words in different languages and they do not always translate exactly into an identical idea.
> Resilience-ASPO-USA: Peak Oil Review – Oct 13 (Tom Whipple). A weekly review including Oil and the Global Economy, The Middle East & North Africa, China, Ukraine; also Quote of the Week and The Briefs.
> Peak Oil News: Peak Oil Is Here: The View From Barbastro (Antonio Turiel). We discovered that the peaking mechanism is very general and affects everything that can be overexploited. There was peak gas, peak coil, peak uranium and – in time – “peak minerals”, which was the origin of my book “Extracted“.
> Common Dreams-Resource Insights: World War III: It’s Here And Energy Is Largely Behind It (Kurt Cobb). It’s not the war we thought it would be, that is, a confrontation between major powers with the possibility of a nuclear exchange. Instead, we are getting a set of low-intensity, on-again, off-again conflicts involving non-state actors (ISIS, Ukrainian rebels, Libyan insurgents) with confusing and in some cases nonexistent battle lines and rapidly shifting alliances.
> Post Carbon Institute: Paul Krugman And The Limits Of Hubris. Richard Heinberg responds to Krugman’s latest op-ed (“Slow Steaming and the Supposed Limits to Growth”) in which he derides “hard scientists who think they are smarter than economists.” Heinberg examines Krugman’s latest assertions and arguments one by one, saying they reveal a great deal about how economists think, and why they tend to disregard physical science when it comes to questions about finite resources and the possibility of infinite economic growth on a small planet.
> The Guardian: Boeing Investing In UAE Effort As Detractors Warn Of ‘Peak Travel’. According to the 2013 IPCC report on climate-change mitigation strategies, the answer is to reduce travel, as well as to advance technology: “Sectoral studies suggest that achieving significant reductions in aviation emissions will require reductions in the rate of growth of travel activity through demand management alongside technological advances.”
> MinnPost: New Evidence Suggests Earth’s Oceans Are Warming Far Faster Than We Knew. New evidence indicates that the world’s seawater has been absorbing far more heat than expected over the last 45 years, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are saying in a paper published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change. In fact, they say, the oceans may be warming twice as fast as has been generally assumed.
> RTT News: Military Must Be Ready For Climate Change Challenges. US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday described climate change as a “threat multiplier,” and stressed that the US Defense Department is taking steps to incorporate this issue into all planning.
> The Gazette: Iowa Scientists Point Climate Change’s Effect On Health. The fourth annual report of “The Iowa Climate Statement 2014” was signed by 180 science faculty members and research staffers from 38 Iowa colleges and universities, claiming that climate change is negatively impacting water quality, increasing exposures to allergens and air pollutants, introducing new infectious diseases, flooding cities and croplands, and imposing increased stress on Iowa families.
> Common Dreams: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Could Trigger A Trillion-Dollar Coral Reef Problem. The report—An Updated Synthesis of the Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Marine Biodiversity—explains how the oceans’ absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide has driven a change in ocean chemistry that lowers ph levels, meaning the waters are more acidic, 26 percent more since pre-Industrial times.
> ENSIA: Hey, America: It’s Time To Talk About The Price Of Water. The problems are also laying bare the flawed way we pay for water — one that practically guarantees pipes will burst, farmers will use as much as they can and automatic sprinklers will whir over desiccated aquifers. We’re subsidizing our most wasteful water use — while neglecting essentials like keeping our water plants and pipes in good repair.
> Inter Press Service: Humanity Failing The Earth’s Ecosystems. Over the last 40 years Earth has lost 52 percent of its wild animals; nearly 17 percent of the world’s forests have been felled in the last half-century; freshwater ecosystems have witnessed a 75-percent decline in animal populations since 1970; and nearly 95 percent of coral reefs are today threatened by pollution, coastal development and overfishing.
> ENSIA: We Only Have One Earth, So We Better Start Taking Care Of It. With limited, and in many cases, dwindling natural capital, it is increasingly looking like we will be unable to provide all of the food, water and energy that we need for 9 or 10 (or more) billion people in the decades ahead.
> Yes! “Nature Deficit Disorder” Is Making Us Sick—But These “Bioneers” Believe They Have The Cure. Kenny Ausubel: “Taking care of nature means taking care of people—and taking care of people means taking care of nature. The principle was this: Working with nature to heal nature.”
> Civilian Intelligence Agency: If Global Response Not Improved, Ebola Cases Could Spike. Demanding a stepped-up global response to the Ebola crisis, especially in the hardest hit areas of West Africa, the World Health Organization warned on Tuesday that if efforts to combat the deadly virus are not improved there could be as many as 10,000 new cases per week within two months.
> USA Today: Oxfam: Richest 1% Own Nearly Half Of World’s Wealth. In its study titled Working for the Few, the British-founded development charity Oxfam concludes that the $110 trillion wealth of the 1% richest people on the planet is some 65 times the total wealth of those floundering at the “bottom half” of the world’s population.
> Truth-Out: Why We Should Be Seething With Anger Over Inequality (Paul Bucheit). A look at the numbers compiled by Us Against Greed shows how personal it really is. Out of that $5.35 trillion made since the start of 2013, the bottom 80 percent of America took an average of less than $5,000 each. The richest 6 to 20 percent fared better, taking an average of about $65,000.
> Common Dreams: #Worldvsbank: Global Coalition Demands End To World Bank’s ‘Moral Bankruptcy’. The U.S.-based Oakland Institute, a think tank that focuses on the intersection between social, economic, and environmental issues, released a new report (pdf) aimed at dismantling well-worn “myths” about the role the bank plays in terms of agriculture and development. See also: Farmers, Indigenous Peoples, And NGOS Take To Streets.
> Archdruid Report: Dark Age America: The Collapse Of Political Complexity (J.M. Greer). The senility that afflicts ruling elites in their last years, the theme of the previous post in this sequence, is far from the only factor leading the rich and influential members of a failing civilization to their eventual destiny. Another important factor is a lethal mismatch between the realities of power in an age of decline and the institutional frameworks inherited from a previous age of ascent.
> Peak Prosperity: The Schizophrenia Tormenting Our Society & Economy (C.H. Smith). Those who shape our interpretation of events also shape our responses. Thus, propaganda’s role: Shape the interpretation, and the response predictably follows. The phrase politics of experience unpacks the way our internalized interpretation of experience can be shaped to create uniform beliefs about our society and economy, forming norms of behavior that support the political/economic status quo.
> Foreign Policy: Aging Population Forces Disaster Planners To Adapt Strategies. With the 60 or older population expected to nearly triple to 3 billion by 2100, according to the United Nations, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is taking new measures to protect the world’s elderly.
> Common Dreams: The Solution Is The Soil: How Organic Farming Can Feed The World And Save The Planet. Mark Smallwood will deliver a Rodale white paper (Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change) on Oct. 16th to U.S. lawmakers, alongside a broader coalition of advocates for a global agricultural transformation in growing crops, managing soil, and feeding livestock, as the key solution to stop, even reverse, the growing volumes of carbon and other greenhouse gases that are overwhelming the atmosphere and oceans.
> Resilience-Transition Network: What Is Reskilling Anyway? The [reskilling] process itself clearly has many dimensions, some of which are purely social, but I would argue that reskilling is first and foremost a community-oriented method to master the simple, practical, and useful appropriate technologies that will be prevalent in a localized and carbon-constrained world.
> Common Dreams: Bring Home Best-In-The-World Ideas To Make Sure Your City Thrives. Imagine a major city where 35 percent of all traffic is people on bikes. Or think even bigger–an entire nation where 27 percent of all trips are pedal-powered.
> YouTube: White Oak Pastures: A Polyculture Farm. (2-minute video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBFVba6–Ks&feature=youtu.be). Will Harris grew up on a conventional factory farm, but now he has converted his family farm to a beyond-organic operation that celebrates polyculture, rotational grazing, solar power, and the recycling of all “wastes” from his animal operations.
> Star Tribune: Nature Play Areas: The Next Big Thing In Minnesota Parks. A growing body of evidence finds that children of all ages who play outside and play with natural, found materials — such as water, rocks and dirt — have better physical and mental health, greater social resilience, and more creativity than their couch-surfing counterparts.
CFS AND OTHER LOCAL EVENTS
> CFS FORUM (New Format): HUMANS AND THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT. Sat., Nov. 15th, 3-5 p.m., St. Anthony Village Library in St. Anthony Shopping Center. Presentations and discussions include a book, For Love of Lakes by Dave Demsey, presented by Isabelle Peterson; “The Ebola Crisis”, material presented by Peter Daughty; plus discussion of articles by various writers, and presented by participants. Limited seating—20 people. RSVP (email@example.com)
> THIRD ANNUAL EVENT: SUSTAINABILITY FAIR, Thurs., Nov. 20th, 5:30-8:00 p.m., Silverwood Park Visitors Center, St. Anthony Village (Map). Co-sponsored by the cities of St. Anthony Village, Lauderdale, and Falcon Heights, in collaboration with Three Rivers Park District and U of MN sustainability faculty and students. Poster exhibits presented by 43 students and other exhibits presented by local sustainability groups, including CFS. Free and open to the public.
> Pilgrim House Unitarian Universalist Fellowship: Sand, Cattle & Land Stewardship: How Can We Keep The Land And People Together? (George Boody, Executive Director, Land Stewardship Project). Sun., Oct. 19, 10:15 a.m., 1212 W. Highway 96, Arden Hills. Info: http://www.pilgrimhouseuua.org
> UM Cont. Ed: Building Minnesota’s Capacity For Climate Adaptation: Second Conference On Climate Adaptation, Nov. 6, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Hyatt Regency Hotel (1300 Nicollet Mall, Mpls.) Information: (http://wrc.umn.edu/news/PreparingMinnesotaforClimateChangeAConferenceonClimateAdaptation/) Online Registration>>
EDITOR — The Primary Shades of Green (Continued)
The beginning of the green movement in America has been attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, transcendental visionaries who in the early 1800s believed that “nature possesses a spiritual element that transcends human utility.” Unfortunately, the powerful forces of the Industrial Revolution overcame the philosophy of natural ecology, a conflict that has continued ever since, thanks largely to the discovery and use of carbon based energy resources that provided civilization with growing material prosperity.
Around the turn of the century John Muir, visionary proponent of the West’s natural beauty and founder of the Sierra Club, helped convince Theodore Roosevelt to establish vast wilderness areas for conservation, leading to further measures to save wilderness areas for the sake of preserving species, including humans. Gifford Pinchot, an early ally of Muir, was another influential environmentalist who Muir eventually criticized for instigating damaging forest management policies.
Due to two world wars and a worldwide depression in the early 20th century, followed by unbridled economic development and its negative effects on the environment, the environmental movement was reborn, inspired largely by Rachel Carson’s insightful book, Silent Spring (1962), and followed by Paul Erhlich’s controversial book, Population Bomb (1968). In 1969 senator Gaylord Nelson promoted a nationwide grassroots movement that resulted in the formation of Earth Day, which took place on April 22, 1970. With the growth of environmental interest and political action, President Richard Nixon supported the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and government support of scientific research led to the Apollo 8 mission, with astronaut William Anders snapping a photograph from space of Earth that helped world citizens to better visualize humanity’s place within the universe.
The oil crisis in the early 70s, and President Jimmy Carter’s attempts to create a more sustainable use of natural resources, provided an opportunity to establish political and economic policies that likely would have prevented or drastically slowed the several converging crises humanity is facing. However, throughout the past four decades socio-economic-political forces focused on creating greater material growth, causing public awareness of the environmental movement to diminish and fluctuate.
Today, one of the most well-know spokespersons for the green movement is Al Gore (some people might disagree), whose blockbuster film, An Inconvenient Truth, awakened millions to awareness of the climate crisis. But it took the serious recession of 2007 to stimulate a growing environmental awareness, especially regarding the future impacts of climate change, along with other major concerns.
So here we are now, finally awakening and undertaking some positive initiatives, though not nearly aggressively enough. [For a more detailed accounting of the green movement, please refer to What Is the Green Movement?]
My main purpose in writing this commentary is to draw your attention to the articles by Kari McGregor, who is featured regularly on Generation Alpha. Org. Resilience. Org. is featuring two of her articles that every green advocate needs to read: What Shade Of Green Are You? and Shades Of Green: Reconciling Differences And Building Solidarity.
In brief, McGregor explains the major types or stages of green advocate, including: Bright Green, Lite Green, Deep Green, and Dark Green. [Perhaps you might think of others; like the “Poison Green” which my wife, Bettye, suggested, as a reference to hypocritical corporations and individuals professing some objectives and projects, all the while continuing nefarious activities that pose harm to people and the environment.]. McGregor hastens to add that green advocates are not a single shade of green, but possibly a blend of all shades in various degrees, depending on one’s background, experience, and overall level of awareness.
Most of us don’t appreciate being festooned with labels, at least unfairly, but the truth is we use labels freely in describing almost everything, including personal characteristics, behaviors, relationships, beliefs, status, associations, and so on. So I’ll leave you to read and ponder Ms. McGregor’s articles, which may help determine how you wish to be labeled as a green advocate—in a progressive movement that’s growing stronger day by day.