Biodiversity is down 30% since we crashed through the point in the early 1980s at which our species began to consume, all by itself, with no allowance whatever for any other species on the planet, more than the planet can sustain. The new 2008 WWF Living Planet Report, from which this chart is taken, suggests that our “ecological debt” is accelerating, but continues to assert that there is just enough time to return to sustainability if we all act now. Magical thinking, methinks.
Living It Tough: Cheryl’s making her way on a year-long tour around the perimeter of Australia by caravan, and now reports in from Esperance (which is the French word for “hope”) on the stunningly beautiful Southwest Coast. What’s especially fascinating are the stories of the country’s (mostly) wheeled nomads, the people with no “home” to return to. Some of them are truly “homeless” while others are seeking to discover where they belong. Their stories are a metaphor for the endless search of all of us.
The Great Famine of 2009: The guy who correctly predicted the collapse of the Iceland economy now predicts that US agriculture is going to have a terrible year in 2009 because of a complex series of problems relating to fertilizer, propane, input costs, lack of insurance, and weather. Will the US have any money left to bail out millions of farmers? Thanks to Dale Asberry for the link.
What Do We Do When the Government is Broke?: Andrew Leonard explains why citizens who spend money now, when the recession is deepening so quickly that they will surely regret it next year (because prices will be much lower then, and they might not have a job) are acting recklessly, and no amount of fervent consumerism will be enough to turn around the economy anyway. He argues that the government should be spending instead, on infrastructure, on nationalizing and repurposing the auto industry and other failing companies to produce something really needed (like a functioning national and commuter passenger rail system). And in job creation, especially in areas like renewable energy where new jobs can also benefit the whole country. But what happens when the government has printed so much money and borrowed so much that no one will accept it anymore, that it is worthless?
Why Business Still Doesn’t Get Web 2.0: Or KM 2.0 or Business 2.0 for that matter. (Thanks to Amy Lenzo for the link) Mitch Joel: “Most companies looking at Social Media and Web 2.0 see it as a media channel to broadcast their messages into. This includes most Governments and Associations. This is the wrong reason to do it and the wrong strategy.” If a business really wants to participate in social media, they need to be prepared to engage in intimate conversations and small-group interactions, which most are unprepared and unwilling to do. Trusted conversations and small-group social activities are what persuade us to buy, not advertising, but only Natural Entrepreneurs are able to answer these questions “yes”:
Making Other Arrangements: In Orion magazine, Greg Gordon writes the story of a village in Northern Guatemala that has found a way to become self-sufficient, how to do things for themselves, cooperatively and sustainably, instead of relying on governments and big, multinational corporations.
NBC, Disgraced Poster-Child of the Mainstream Media: NBC, which is owned by GE (quite possibly the next insolvent company to go asking the government for a bailout), has been caught shilling for a military supplier and Pentagon stooge by passing him off as as an “NBC military analyst“.
Just for Fun: See which US states, proportionally, talk most about Intentional Community, or Nascar, or hemp, or any other subject you care about. Thanks to colleague Greg Turko for the link. Or learn something new by trying the 5th sentence on page 56 of the book nearest to you right now. From Dan Carter’s It’s the Right Time Now: “I alternated from living under bridges, sleeping on stranger’s couches, or just wandering around the cold streets all night”.
Thought for the Week: I spent yesterday afternoon volunteering at The Daily Bread Food Bank, packing food hampers for the poor. I began to realize, as my little shift of fifty workers packed 1500 hampers and loaded them on to trucks, and I was told that they can’t begin to keep up with the demand, just how great the need is, how fortunate I really am, and how little I actually do to reduce the suffering in this world.