Links for the Week – July 1, 2006

duck by linny
Photo by the amazing UK nature photographer Linny
A decidedly green hue to this week’s links:

The Law of the Commons: Seventh Generation proposes ten principles for protecting the commons, as an antidote to the ‘privatize everything’ extremists:

  • The commons shall be passed on to future generations unimpaired.
  • All commoners have equal access to the commons and use by commoners will be allocated without discrimination.
  • Government’s key responsibility is to serve as a trustee of the commons. The trust beneficiary is present and future generations. The trustee has a responsibility to protect the trust property from harm, including harm perpetrated by trust beneficiaries.
  • The commons do not belong to the state but belong to commoners, the public.
  • Some commons are the common heritage of all humans and other living beings. Common heritage establishes the right of commoners to those places and goods in perpetuity. This right may not be alienated, denied, repudiated or given away. The Common Heritage law is a limit on one government’s sovereignty to claim economic jurisdiction and to exclude some commoners from their share.
  • The Precautionary Principle is the most useful tool for protecting the commons for this and future generations.
  • Eminent domain is the legal process for moving private property into the commons and shall be used exclusively for that purpose.
  • Infrastructure necessary for humans and other beings to be fully biological and social creatures will reside within the domain of the commons. The positive benefits (externalities) of the commons shall accrue to all commoners.
  • The commons are the foundation of the economy. Therefore the market, commerce and private property shall not externalize damage or costs onto the commons.
  • Damage to or loss of the commons shall be compensated to all commoners.

Grassy Narrows Boreal Forsest Slated for Weyerhauser Bulldozing: Another petition for Canadians to sign, in the first battle in Big US-Owned Forestry’s war on Canada’s boreal forest.

Scenario: After the Dollar’s Collapse: Another scenario of the future, reminding us that another Great Depression is likely, and what it will mean. This one is from FTW’s Carolyn Baker, via the Adaptation blog. I think that, like most future visions, this one is a bit exaggerated (evicting millions from their homes serves no one’s purpose, and won’t happen, but most of the rest of this scenario is credible) and has the time line much too short (2030s, not 2010s), but it’s still interesting and well-written.

Safer Products for the Home:
Safer Products provides analysis and remedies for the many toxins we inadvertently allow into our homes, and has a new report outlining some leading practices in Cradle-to-Cradle manufacturing by companies like Interface carpets and Herman Miller.

Pull Your Weight, Do Your Job: A nostalgic Garrison Keillor remembers the time when work meant something.

Whole Foods Ain’t Green: The libertarian CEO of Whole Foods, which has tried to cash in on the green movement by selling expensive organic products from far away to rich people, acknowledges that he believes corporations are above people and the law, and shouldn’t be subject to prosecution. Corporations don’t kill people, people kill people.

Planned Obsolescence: A report in Grist reviews Giles Slate’s new book Made to Break and explains why corporations are motivated to make and sell shoddy products that break quickly and fill our landfill sites.

Who Killed the Electric Car?: Also in Grist, an interview with the makers of the new cult film on the rise and fall of EVs.

Using the Internet for Green Activism: Interesting and far-ranging article by Vijay Gupta in WorldChanging about why the promise of the Internet as an organizing, personal activism, information finding and aggregation tool for a greener world hasn’t occurred, and how we could use it better.

And on subjects other than the environment…

Nine Principles of Innovation: From Google, via Innovation Weblog:

  • Ideas come from everywhere
  • Cheer everything you can
  • You’re brilliant, we’re hiring
  • A license to pursue dreams
  • Innovation, not instant perfection
  • Data is apolitical
  • Creativity loves constraints
  • It’s users, not money
  • Don’t kill projects, morph them

Supreme Court Says Gerrymandering Is Constitutional: Hey, cheating to win elections is just the American Way.

Afganistan: Just an Anarchic Front in the War on Drugs: A new report from the UK-based Senlis Council warns gullible Canadians that there is no peace to keep in Afghanistan, and that Afghanis fed up with the inept and destructive occupation of their country are becoming just as mad at Canadian military lackeys as they are at the Americans that caused the mess. Bush-adoring Canadian PM Harper is, of course, furious at the report.

US Report Confirms Growing Social Anomie and Isolation: A new American report says Americans are increasingly feeling detached and remote from others and their feelings and values. This is what the Adams book I reviewed at length has been talking about. Thanks to Dale Asberry for the link.

Thought for the Week: From Gore Vidal, as cited in Burning All Illusions, the book I reviewed yesterday:

Although [we are spending billions seeking antibiotic cures for diseases], the true epidemic [in our society] can never be discussed: the fact that every fourth American now alive will die of cancer. This catastrophe is well kept from the public by the tobacco companies, the nuclear power companies (with their bungled waste disposal) and other industries that poison the Earth so that corporate America may enjoy the freedom to make money without the slightest accountability to those they are killing.

What if that $30B that Buffett has earmarked for Gates’ Foundation to find “cures” for the world’s top 20 diseases ends up discovering that the cause of most of these diseases is not microbial, but rather the very industrial activities that produced suchobscene profit and wealth for, among others, Buffett and Gates?

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