Links for the Week: Saturday, December 6, 2008

BLOG Links for the Week: Saturday, December 6, 2008


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”:

  • Are we willing to not just listen, but to respond and adapt based on the back and forth?
  • Are we willing to become active participants – not just in our channels but in the other channels and spaces as well?
  • Are we willing to change the focus from being on our company to on everybody – us, customers and the entire community?
  • Are we willing to be participants with just as much fervour and passion when it’s not good for us, but good for the community or the industry as a whole?
  • Are we willing to be really, really open and transparent?

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“.
What’s Going on in Canada?:

  1. Well, the Governor-General (wrongly, in the view of constitutional experts I’ve read) allowed our right-wing ideologue minority prime minister to prorogue (shut down) Parliament this week to avoid being defeated and replaced by a majority coalition of the progressive parties. So effectively Canada now has no government until the end of January, so we had better hope no (further) emergencies arise, because only the civil service is working. 
  2. And meanwhile, we’ve discovered that the money to buy Canada’s higher-risk mortgages (admittedly not as bad as the US’s) has eaten into our currency reserves, to the extent 40% of the Bank of Canada’s assets are now this illiquid (and hopefully not worthless) stuff. Thanks to David Parkinson for the link.
  3. And in yet another damning study, research predicts that the Alberta Tar Sands will kill up to 166 million birds before the oil there runs out and the toxic clear-cut wasteland left behind becomes our children’s responsibility to clean up.
  4. But at least we’re a social bunch.

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.

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3 Responses to Links for the Week: Saturday, December 6, 2008

  1. David Parkinson says:

    Something wrong here:”… when the recession is deeping [deepening] so quickly that they will surely regret it last [next?] year (because prices will be much lower then, and they might not have a job)…”

  2. EJ says:

    ‘Revolution, food riots in America by 2012’The man who predicted the 1987 stock market crash and the fall of the Soviet Union is now forecasting revolution in America, food riots and tax rebellions – all within four years, while cautioning that putting food on the table will be a more pressing concern than buying Christmas gifts by 2012.Gerald Celente, the CEO of Trends Research Institute, is renowned for his accuracy in predicting future world and economic events, which will send a chill down your spine considering what he told Fox News this week….”America’s going to go through a transition the likes of which no one is prepared for,” said Celente, noting that people’s refusal to acknowledge that America was even in a recession highlights how big a problem denial is in being ready for the true scale of the crisis.Read more here:

  3. Dave…much as I loathe what has ahppened in Ottawa this past week, it’s not true to say we are without a government. The Conservatives are still the government, and still they technically have the confidence of the House, even if everyone is lined up against them. As a result, they DO in fact have the right to be government until they are defeated. Of course, there are lots of times of the year when the House doesn’t meet and all this means is that legislation can’t be passed. The government can still operate and orders in council can be issued. What we need though, is a multipartisan supported budget to ensure that our federal resources are spent as wisely as possible, and for that you need a budget bill and a confidence vote to implement it. That will have to happen in January in order for the 2009-10 fiscal year to be resourced.So we do have a government, although it is operating on the thinest of pretexts. Makes me ask who REALLY stole the election….

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