Why Demonstrations Aren’t (Nearly) Enough: Keith Farnish, who made the ‘alternative’ 350ppm logo above, argues that if we really think that participating in a 350.org event is going to achieve anything, we’re delusional. “If an international grassroots movement holds our leaders accountable to the latest climate science, we can start the global transformation we so desperately need,” trumpets 350.org. Keith’s reply: “If you are planning to go to a 350.org event, then please go, but don’t go expecting the group’s aims to change anything: go with a view to helping people understand that only by rejecting the system that the group’s organisers are still pandering to, can the atmospheric carbon levels go below 350 parts per million. Either that, or the Earth will reject humanity.” Exactly.
Our Economic System is Now a ‘Corpse’: Ilargi points us to my friend Joe Bageant’s brilliant rant about the Democrats’ betrayal of working Americans:
The solutions we aren’t allowed to discuss: adoption of a Wall Street securities speculation tax; repeal of the Taft-Hartley anti-union laws; ending corporate personhood; cutting the bloated vampire bleeding the economy, the military budget; full single payer health care insurance, not some “public option” that is neither fish nor fowl; taxation instead of credits for carbon pollution; reversal of inflammatory U.S. policy in the Middle East (as in, get the hell out, begin kicking the oil addiction and quit backing the spoiled murderous brat that is Israel).
then Ilargi goes on to cite Paul Farrell’s 20 reasons the capitalist system is poised to collapse, and then sums up with his own bleak assessment of how economic collapse will precipitate collapse of other systems:
Our economic, financial, capital, and credit system is done and gone. What you’re looking at today is a corpse propped-up by the promise of future tax revenues from millions upon rapidly increasing millions of homeless and jobless Americans. Unfortunately, that’s just the beginning. Because the financial system has been allowed to infiltrate the political system to the degree in which it has (a full-scale take-over), America’s political system is as bankrupt as its financial system is. It will take a long and hard time to replace.
Hacking Industrial Civilization: There are three ways to make the world a better place: (1) Creating new working models of a better way to live and make a living (so we can opt out of industrial civilization’s models); (2) Increasing our capacities and competencies (so we’re less dependent on industrial civilization and more aware of its dangers); and (3) Acting to undermine and ultimately dismantle industrial civilization (without hurting anyone or getting arrested). We have to do all three, but for many, the third one is the hardest and scariest, and the one we least feel comfortable knowing what to do. The Yes Men show us the way with their brilliant punking of the shameful US Chamber of Commerce, Dow Chemical and others. In the same vein, Keith Farnish suggests 100 ways to hack industrial civilization (my favourite: print up stickers that say “energy waster”, “made in sweatshops” etc. and stick them on appropriate products in stores — I’m also going to make stickers that say “harmful to your health”, “environmental hazard”, “not locally made”. and “there are green alternatives to this product”).
What If You’d Been Born Someone Else?: A new educational tool lets you virtually ‘live’ the life of someone in Pakistan, or Uganda, or Rio, one year at a time, with life events based on the historical likelihood of that happening in real life. Thanks to Sue Braiden for the link.
The Digital Evolution of the Book: Utne describes some innovations in online reading and e-publishing that go far beyond transferring content to a new flat medium. The article mentions CellStories, daily fiction you can read while you sip your morning coffee (and which will probably inform you better than the daily paper). I’ve always thought digital media would help us to read in more natural ways (the way we see, not the way books are commercially required to be laid out). Thanks to Paul Heft for the link.
A Depression Diary: If we can’t learn the lessons of history from textbooks, perhaps we can learn from stories. A new unedited diary of a man struggling through the Great Depression tells us a lot that the economics textbooks leave out. Thanks to Paul Kedrosky for the link.
POLITICS AND ECONOMICS AS USUAL
The Eco-Holocaust of the Alberta Tar Sands: A terrifying series of three short videos explains how, and at what cost, oil is extracted from the tar sands. (Sorry, I’ve forgotten who sent me the link to this — if it was you, please remind me!)
FUN AND INSPIRATION
David Vaine sends up Knowledge Management, brilliantly. Thanks to Nancy White for the link.
The amazing Chris Pureka singing Burning Bridges. Modern torch song with brilliant lyrics. “You can’t choose who you love.”
Another heartbreaker by Sarah Bettens (K’s Choice), 20,000 Seconds.
THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK
From the late Kurt Vonnegut:
Many people need desperately to receive this message: ‘I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.’