|jazzoLOG: Department Of Divine Intervention|
18 comments6 Jul 2007 @ 14:58 by Quinty @126.96.36.199 : If only we had
Jerry Falwell here with us to interpret all this.....
6 Jul 2007 @ 15:19 by a-d : Amen to that, Quinty! : )
Ohhhh, JAzzz, the Times of Miracles!..... Are they REALLY over???? Who said (read: claimed) they were only for.....and ended with..... ; )
10 Jul 2007 @ 20:48 by vaxen : D-Outer Space?
Is that 'Demonrats from outer space, perchance?' (R-OuterSpace?)
"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did you know beforehand that it would never appear in print.
"I am paid $150 a week for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for things, and if any of you would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before 24 hours, my occupation would be gone.
"The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it and what folly is this toasting an independent press. We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes.
"We are Jumping-Jacks -- they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes!" -- John Swinton, 1914, former Editor New York Times, (Un-biased Media?? and much worse since then!!)
Keep that in mind as you explore these News Page Links!!
(Live links here: http://www.barefootsworld.net/community/bwnews.html )
Idaho Travel News
Montana Travel News
Coeur d'Alene Press
The Idaho Observer
World Net Daily
Wall Street Journal
And on the bottom of the list
"Mr. Swinton made the statement in 1914 in his speech at the New York Press Club during his retirement party from the New York Times.
"Swinton had been managing editor of the New York Sun until he started his own journal - John Swinton's Paper in 1883. It became one of the most influential and interesting journals in the country. It played a significant role in the upheaval of the American working class in the mid 1880's. Swinton was active in the free-state movement in Kansas and later worked for the New York Times.
"As a side note, John Swinton (1828 - 1921) was the author of the book, "STRIKING FOR LIFE, Labor's Side of the Labor Question. The Right of the Workingman to a Fair Living (1894)", as the result of some experience, reflection and observation. This book contains a discussion of the rights of labor by some of their most important spokesmen.
A free and independent press?
The New York Times owns the Boston Globe. Look at who owns both:
Cede & Co., c/o The Depository Trust Co. (the Federal Reserve http://www.barefootsworld.net/usfraud.html )
United States Trust Company of New York
Wells Fargo Institutional Trust Company
Bank of New York
Bank One Ohio Trust Company
Bankers Trust Company
Boston Safe Deposit & Trust Co.
Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.
The Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A.
Boston Safe Deposit & Trust Co.
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Mellon Bank, N.A.
Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith
Morgan Guaranty Trust Co.
Northern Trust Co.
Smith Barney, Inc.
"What do you think the chances are that you're ever going to hear a single story that the Federal Reserve Banking Cartel doesn't approve?
"And which other media sources are owned by the Federal Reserve Banking Cartel established in 1913-1914 http://www.barefootsworld.net/usfraud.html ?? All of them???
""The bureaucratic objective is this: If you cannot suppress the news or control it, then for heaven's sake convert it into a meaningless mass of gobbledegook." (Roger Tarterian, Editor, United Press International, March, 8, 1967)
""You cannot hope to bribe or twist, thank God, an American journalist - But seeing what the man will do, unbribed, there's no occasion to." (Humbert Wolfe)
""This is, in theory still a free country, but our politically correct, censorious times are such that many of us tremble to give vent to perfectly acceptable views for fear of condemnation. Freedom of speech is thereby imperiled, big questions go undebated, and great lies become accepted, unequivocally, as great truths." (Simon Heffer, Daily Mail, June 7th, 2000)
"I suggest that everyone who reads this far also read "The Tripwire http://www.barefootsworld.net/tripwire.html " -- The tripwire which will result in open rebellion!! --
10 Jul 2007 @ 23:21 by vaxen : Choda
Choda, as in Choda Hafiz (Choda (God) "be blessed" is the Iranian word for God. When you know this you can trace the origins of the neuter word God back to its' source. Then you'll know the real meaning behind it which has been lost or rather ignored for countless centuries. No wonder!)
So what does that have to do with the price of tomatoes in Hung Chou province? nothing. Absolutely nothing. To wit:
Neocons, theocons, Demcons, excons, and future cons
By William Blum
Think of why you are opposed to the war. Is it not largely because of all the unspeakable suffering brought down upon the heads and souls of the poor people of Iraq by the American military? Hillary Clinton couldn't care less about that, literally. She thinks the American military has "succeeded". Has she ever unequivocally labeled the war "illegal" or "immoral"?
The Killing Machine
By President Fidel Castro
Bush has established powerful and expensive intelligence and security super-structures, and he has transformed all the air, sea and land forces into instruments of world power that take war, injustice, hunger and death to any part of the globe, in order to educate its inhabitants in the exercise of democracy and freedom. The American people are gradually waking up to this reality.
Private Spies: Who Runs the CIA? Outsiders for Hire.:
The most intriguing secrets of the "war on terror" have nothing to do with al-Qaeda and its fellow travelers. They're about the mammoth private spying industry that all but runs U.S. intelligence operations today.
11 Jul 2007 @ 08:36 by jazzolog : Choda Descends
Where are the good old gods that rise up out of the earth---as Vaxen does from time to time? Gee (which is the Midwestern word for God) I just was getting ready to delete this article...as it really is a joke entry...when along comes Vax with all this fascinating material. A dilemma of too much good stuff: 'tis a blessing.
12 Jul 2007 @ 07:12 by vaxen : Ah...
the Ancients. Where they have always been, jazzolog. ;) Need a rite, or two, with which to establish 'contact?'
Here is a little something I picked up over at ICH tonight. Thought it might bear posting here:
American preachers have a task more difficult, perhaps, than those faced by us under South Africa's apartheid, or Christians under Communism.
We had obvious evils to engage; you have to unwrap your culture from years of red, white and blue myth. You have to expose, and confront, the great disconnect between the kindness, compassion and caring of most American people, and the ruthless way American power is experienced, directly and indirectly, by the poor of the earth.
You have to help good people see how they have let their institutions do their sinning for them. This is not easy among people who really believe that their country does nothing but good, but it is necessary, not only for their future, but for us all.
--Peter Storey, former president of the Methodist Church of South Africa
12 Jul 2007 @ 09:52 by jazzolog : Peter Storey
Thank you Vax, I never had read that quotation---even though Google shows it's absolutely everywhere on the Net. The Open Letter to the United States was written 2 days after 9/11 (2001) and the whole thing warrants study~~~
Reverend Storey was chaplain to Nelson Mandela during imprisonment.
PS What's ICH? Information Clearing House or diseases among fish?
PPS Any gods conjured up out of the earth I prefer to be goddesses, and for them I have all the rituals I need. Thanks anyway.
13 Jul 2007 @ 11:14 by jazzolog : The Grim Look Of Climate Change
AlterNet and TruthOut have picked up George Monbiot's July 3rd column in The Guardian, and I think I should post it in case you missed it. I'm using the copy at his own site because footnotes backing his research are there~~~
A Sudden Change of State
Posted July 3, 2007
A new paper suggests we have been greatly underestimating the impacts of climate change – and the size of the necessary response.
By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 3rd July 2007
Reading a scientific paper on the train this weekend, I found, to my amazement, that my hands were shaking. This has never happened to me before, but nor have I ever read anything like it. Published by a team led by James Hansen at Nasa, it suggests that the grim reports issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could be absurdly optimistic(1).
The IPCC predicts that sea levels could rise by as much as 59cm this century(2). Hansen’s paper argues that the slow melting of ice sheets the panel expects doesn’t fit the data. The geological record suggests that ice at the poles does not melt in a gradual and linear fashion, but flips suddenly from one state to another. When temperatures increased to 2-3 degrees above today’s level 3.5 million years ago, sea levels rose not by 59 centimetres but by 25 metres. The ice responded immediately to changes in temperature(3).
We now have a pretty good idea of why ice sheets collapse. The buttresses that prevent them from sliding into the sea break up; meltwater trickles down to their base, causing them suddenly to slip; and pools of water form on the surface, making the ice darker so that it absorbs more heat. These processes are already taking place in Greenland and West Antarctica.
Rather than taking thousands of years to melt, as the IPCC predicts, Hansen and his team find it “implausible” that the expected warming before 2100 “would permit a West Antarctic ice sheet of present size to survive even for a century.” As well as drowning most of the world’s centres of population, a sudden disintegration could lead to much higher rises in global temperature, because less ice means less heat reflected back into space. The new paper suggests that the temperature could therefore be twice as sensitive to rising greenhouse gases than the IPCC assumes. “Civilization developed,” Hansen writes, “during a period of unusual climate stability, the Holocene, now almost 12,000 years in duration. That period is about to end.”(4)
I looked up from the paper, almost expecting to see crowds stampeding through the streets. I saw people chatting outside a riverside pub. The other passengers on the train snoozed over their newspapers or played on their mobile phones. Unaware of the causes of our good fortune, blissfully detached from their likely termination, we drift into catastrophe.
Or we are led there. A good source tells me that the British government is well aware that its target for cutting carbon emissions – 60% by 2050 – is too little, too late, but that it will go no further for one reason: it fears losing the support of the Confederation of British Industry. Why this body is allowed to keep holding a gun to our heads has never been explained, but Gordon Brown has just appointed Digby Jones, its former director-general, as a minister in the department responsible for energy policy. I don’t remember voting for him. There could be no clearer signal that the public interest is being drowned by corporate power.
The government’s energy programme, partly as a result, is characterised by a complete absence of vision. You can see this most clearly when you examine its plans for renewables. The EU has set a target for 20% of all energy in the member states to come from renewable sources by 2020. This in itself is pathetic. But the government refuses to adopt it(5): instead it proposes that 20% of our electricity (just part of our total energy use) should come from renewable power by that date. Even this is not a target, just an “aspiration”, and it is on course to miss it. Worse still, it has no idea what happens after that. Last week I asked whether it has commissioned any research to discover how much more electricity we could generate from renewable sources. It has not(6).
It’s a critical question, whose answer – if its results were applied globally – could determine whether or not the planetary “albedo flip” that Hansen predicts takes place. There has been remarkably little investigation of this issue. Until recently I guessed that the maximum contribution from renewables would be something like 50%: beyond that point the difficulties of storing electricity and balancing the grid could become overwhelming. But three papers now suggest that we could go much further.
Last year, the German government published a study of the effects of linking the electricity networks of all the countries in Europe and connecting them to North Africa and Iceland with high voltage direct current cables(7). This would open up a much greater variety of renewable power sources. Every country in the network would then be able to rely on stable and predictable supplies from elsewhere: hydroelectricity in Scandanavia and the Alps, geothermal energy in Iceland and vast solar thermal farms in the Sahara. By spreading the demand across a much wider network, it suggests that 80% of Europe’s electricity could be produced from renewable power without any greater risk of blackouts or flickers.
At about the same time, Mark Barrett at University College London published a preliminary study looking mainly at ways of altering the pattern of demand for electricity to match the variable supply from wind and waves and tidal power(8). At about twice the current price, he found that we might be able to produce as much as 95% of our electricity from renewable sources without causing interruptions in the power supply.
Now a new study by the Centre for Alternative Technology takes this even further(9). It is due to be published next week, but I have been allowed a preview. It is remarkable in two respects: it suggests that by 2027 we could produce 100% of our electricity without the use of fossil fuels or nuclear power, and that we could do so while almost tripling its supply: our heating systems (using electricity to drive heat pumps) and our transport systems could be mostly powered by it. It relies on a great expansion of electricity storage: building new hydroelectric reservoirs into which water can be pumped when electricity is abundant, constructing giant vanadium flow batteries and linking electric cars up to the grid when they are parked, using their batteries to meet fluctuations in demand. It contains some optimistic technical assumptions, but also a very pessimistic one: that the UK relies entirely on its own energy supplies. If the German proposal were to be combined with these ideas, we could begin to see how we might reliably move towards a world without fossil fuels.
If Hansen is correct, to avert the meltdown that brings the Holocene to an end we require a response on this scale: a sort of political “albedo flip”. The government must immediately commission studies to discover how much of our energy could be produced without fossil fuels, set that as its target then turn the economy round to meet it. But a power shift like this cannot take place without a power shift of another kind: we need a government which fears planetary meltdown more than it fears the CBI.
George Monbiot’s book Heat: how to stop the planet burning is now published in paperback.
1. James Hansen et al, 2007. Climate Change and Trace Gases. Philiosophical Transactions of the Royal Society – A. Vol 365, pp 1925-1954. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2007.2052. http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2007/2007_Hansen_etal_2.pdf
2. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, February 2007. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis – Summary for Policymakers. Table SPM-3. http://www.ipcc.ch/SPM2feb07.pdf
3. I am grateful to Marc Hudson for drawing my attention to this paper and giving me a copy.
4. James Hansen et al, ibid.
5. In the Energy White Paper it says the following: “The 20% renewables target is an ambitious goal representing a large increase in Member States’ renewables capacity. It will need to be taken forward in the context of the overall EU greenhouse gas target. Latest data shows that the current share of renewables in the UK’s total energy mix is around 2% and for the EU as a whole around 6%. Projections indicate that by 2020, on the basis of existing policies, renewables would contribute around 5% of the UK’s consumption and are unlikely to exceed 10% of the EU’s.” Department of Trade and Industry, May 2007. Meeting the Energy Challenge: A White Paper on Energy, page 23. http://www.dtistats.net/ewp/ewp_full.pdf
6. Emails from David Meechan, press officer, Renewables, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.
7. German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of Technical Thermodynamics Section Systems Analysis and Technology Assessment, June 2006. Trans-Mediterranean Interconnection for Concentrating Solar Power. Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany. http://www.dlr.de/tt/Portaldata/41/Resources/dokumente/institut/system/projects/TRANS-CSP_Full_Report_Final.pdf
8. Mark Barrett, April 2006. A Renewable Electricity System for the UK: A Response to the 2006 Energy Review. UCL Bartlett School Of Graduate Studies – Complex Built Environment Systems Group. http://www.cbes.ucl.ac.uk/projects/energyreview/Bartlett%20Response%20to%20Energy%20Review%20-%20electricity.pdf
9. Centre for Alternative Technology, 10th July 2007. ZeroCarbonBritain: an alternative energy strategy. This will be made available at www.zerocarbonbritain.com.
13 Jul 2007 @ 19:17 by vaxen : You...
won't stop, nor will he or anyone else...the climate changes coming your way. Makes good press and lots of money for the progenitors of theis FUD. Get the hell out of the system and rally round your hearts, if indeed you have anything like that left at all.
Worry about Iran in August. The people (humans?) killing this planet aren't going to stop. Sometimes a cancer must be 'forcibly' removed from office.
13 Jul 2007 @ 20:58 by jazzolog : Sure 'Nuff
Catch Moyers tonight. Impeachment is the topic. http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/index-flash.html
14 Jul 2007 @ 09:40 by jazzolog : And If Impeachment Ain't Enough
on to the Bastille!
Parisians celebrate the Great Revolution of 1789 in the Place de la Bastille on July 14th, 1988. In the center of the plaza stands the Colonne de Juillet, a monument to those who died during the 1830 and 1848 revolts.
14 Jul 2007 @ 12:27 by vaxen : Impeachment?
The word has a nasty ring only because of all the hullabaloo which surrounds it. In effect, though, it is an occasion to set war criminals and murderers free .
So what happens to the impeached? $250,000.00 per lecture and a lot of cushie offers to participate in this and that and...
Impeach the whole lot of em! I'm in favor of no Government at all but we all know where that would lead especially in a Nation like America. Might come to that anyway but I digress.
Thanks jazzolog. I'd love to see them, the US Marines, tear down that insane eidolon as well...like they did to the statue of Saddam then blamed it on 'the people.'
The people? Hahahahaha right. We can justify anything with that term, can't we?
"The founding fathers expected an executive who tried to overreach and expected the executive would be hampered and curtailed by the legislative branch... They [Congress] have basically renounced — walked away from their responsibility to oversee and check." — Bruce Fein
"On January 20th, 2009, if George Bush and Dick Cheney are not appropriately held to account this Administration will hand off a toolbox with more powers than any President has ever had, more powers than the founders could have imagined. And that box may be handed to Hillary Clinton or it may be handed to Mitt Romney or Barack Obama or someone else. But whoever gets it, one of the things we know about power is that people don't give away the tools." — John Nichols
14 Jul 2007 @ 13:12 by vaxen : PS:
Arthur Silber has this to say:
"Unfortunately, while Bush and Cheney can be driven from office and the ongoing crime in Iraq can be ended, neither of those things will happen as long as the governing class remains absolute in its determination to protect itself and its prerogatives.
"The Democrats could defund the Iraq occupation – remember the filibuster – but they won't. The plan always was and remains to stay in Iraq for the long haul. American world hegemony and global interventionism is the policy, and that policy requires bases around the world – and especially in the Middle East, which has resources over which the U.S. government will never give up control. And unless genuinely massive public protest compels them to act otherwise, the Democrats will never initiate impeachment proceedings against the Bush administration. To do so would upset the balance by which the nominally "opposed" parties continue the charade that enables the elites to perpetuate their rule.
"I think the Clinton impeachment must be regarded historically as a one-off, a unique occurrence that has almost no further application and meaning. It resulted from a combination of events and influences that are highly unlikely to be repeated; in largest part, the impeachment was made possible because of the hubris of a relatively small group of determined and extraordinarily manipulative political operatives (aided by the typically lazy and unintelligent national press), welded to the remarkable immaturity of the American public whenever the subject turns to sex, although it should be noted that the general public demonstrated considerably greater mental acumen on that score than did the media or the political class. That particular amalgam all but banished coherent thought from the dominant national conversation for several years."
And Cindy Sheehan says:
Don't fear change especially when the status quo is so freaking frightening.
A suicide bomber attacked a wedding in Tal Afar, a town 30 miles north of Mosul killing four people and wounding six, according to Brig. Gen. Mohamed Waka’a of the Mosul police. The groom was an Iraqi policeman. A car bomb aimed at a police patrol in central Mosul killed one policeman and wounded eight, General Waka’a said.
A freaking wedding? No wonder everything is so phracking haywire! Getting married in a warzone? Humans are totally insane!
15 Jul 2007 @ 07:30 by jazzolog : The Transcript
of the Moyers Journal on impeachment, with its amazing dialogue between John Nichols and Bruce Fein (from which Vax quotes up there) is located here~~~
We printed out a copy for immediate reference. The show also may be viewed (and maybe recorded) at that site. If you wish to buy a copy you may order now, but PBS won't have it ready until late September---and if there are too many orders you won't get it then. They just cancel your order. Hmmm, don't the principles of capitalism teach them to just make more?
15 Jul 2007 @ 15:25 by quinty : I saw it
And they made a good case. I don't believe 45% (approx) of the American people were in favor of impeaching Richard Nixon when Watergate became serious. The American people are really fed up with this crowd. Day after day it is one thing after another: I can't even stay on top of the latest scandal.
The only justification for staying in Iraq is if it is the "center" of the war on terror. Bush and his remaining backers cling to this fantasy, that Iraq is that "center," because otherwise staying there makes no sense. "We have to fight them there instead of here." The whole concept being nonsense.
These are the people who are accustomed to clinging to fantasies, for they often lie to themselves and everyone else in order to justify their greed, fears, nativist sentiments, religious beliefs, etc. They are accustomed to easily believing their own self-serving lies. And because of this thousands of people will die.
For the health of the country, impeach and convict Bush and Cheney! Law breaking and high crimes (lying to the American people to start an unnecessary war) should not be tolerated. Of course, Bush’s backers are among those people who fiercely went after Cliinton for lying under oath about a blow job. They can’t distinguish between this and lying about matters of true national importance. Frankly, I think Clinton should have been reprimanded by the Congress for lying and then when he emerged from office should have faced criminal charges for perjury, allowing a jury and judge to decide the matter. (But I think an understanding jury would have gone lightly on Clinton. Unless it was composed of several Senator Vitter types.)
Nichols and Fein (a conservative) made me nostalgic for Sam Irvin. Who meant business. (One of those anomalous Southern racists who loved the Constitution.) By the way, another lie has begun to circulate around. Not a whopper, but to keep the record straight the Republicans in Congress were not at all eager to impeach and convict Nixon. They finally gave in only because the evidence had become overwhelming. I remember watching on TV as the House Judiciary Committee voted, and half the Republicans who voted yes to send the matter to the full House were in tears. They were not, as some media folks have been claiming, eager to deal with Nixon’s wrongdoing. Nor did Nixon leave the White House "for the good of the country," as some have implied. He only left when it became obvious the Congress would impeach and convict him. He left to save face.
15 Jul 2007 @ 17:41 by rayon : "if they still have any heart left"
"Can't keep up with the latest scandal"
First from way up above from Vaxen, second from Quinty. jassolog, a joke you said? a joke? You missed out the 30,000 flooded homes across the Midlands in Britain for which there has been no appeal for assistance apart from the paltry offering from Brown.
If everyone rejects the notion of constant time, then they may prefer to consider the situation in relation to considering the feminine nature of things. The comment for this has already been posted in the previous log. It relates to notions of Excess.
Unfortunately one of the ways to get HEART is to have all the toys taken away, one way or another. My money is still on the media, after individual choice, for diverting certain countries from essential agendas and allowing such political shenanigans such as exist in Am Reka (as they say in In Dia), in the movie Bride and Prejudice!
2 Aug 2007 @ 13:41 by jazzolog : Today’s an Ozone Action! day
© 2007 The Toledo Blade.
Article published August 2, 2007
Today’s an Ozone Action! day
TARTA fares waived again; Toledo city pools are free
Continuing forecasts for hot, sunny weather with light winds prompted the Toledo Division of Environmental Services to declare a second straight Ozone Action! Day for today in Lucas and Wood counties.
The alert constitutes a recommendation to area residents, workers, and motorists to minimize activities that release hydrocarbon pollution, including driving, use of equipment with small gasoline engines, use of petroleum-based paints, solvents, and charcoal lighter fluid, and refueling gasoline-powered engines before 7 p.m.
As was the case yesterday, fares will be waived on Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority buses today. Admission to Toledo’s municipal pools will be free.
A similar alert declared for yesterday in metropolitan Detroit was not renewed today.
The National Weather Service and AccuWeather Inc. predicted conditions today in the Toledo area would be similar to yesterday, when sunshine prevailed, winds were light, and the temperature at Toledo Express Airport reached 93.
A slight possibility of late-afternoon thunderstorms exists today, the weather service said.
Hot weather, with temperatures near or exceeding 90 degrees each day, is expected to continue in the Toledo area into early next week, if not longer.
4 Aug 2007 @ 08:34 by jazzolog : I'm A Recovering Oiloholic
I don't remember when or how I subscribed to Cathy Holt's periodic newsletter. It's always fascinating reading...and just what I want to know about. When I get around to read it, that is, which sometimes is a couple weeks after it pops into an emailbox. If you want to subscribe you might contact her personally at that KindCommunication website she gives. Here's her latest~~~
EARTH & US: Oil Addiction and Recovery?
Bill McKibben's new book, Deep Economy, is full of encouraging facts at this time when so many challenges are upon us. Finland, Holland, and Denmark get up to half of their electric power through decentralized projects. The town of Woking, England uses gas-fired cogeneration and photovoltaics to power, heat and cool municipal buildings and housing projects and businesses. As a result, their carbon emissions have been cut by 77%. The funding for creating each of these has come through the energy savings realized.
Fact: Just two-thirds of the money spent subsidizing fossil fuels worldwide would provide renewable power to all the non-electrified parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
Ontario, Denmark and Germany all have legislation allowing homeowners, farmers, cooperatives, schools and towns to set up small renewable power generation, and sell that power to the grid at a price which will remain fixed for 20 years. This is leading to local self-sufficiency in these places.
Curitiba, Brazil has dedicated lanes for buses only, and stoplights that turn green whenever a bus approaches. Buses knife through traffic and this makes them hugely popular; hence, the bus system has decreased per capita energy consumption by 25%.
Europeans now use about half as much energy per capita as we do in the U.S., while having better quality of life. The top ten nations for quality of life were all in Europe, with the U.S. rated a distant 13th. The poverty rate in the U.S. is 17%; contrast that with 5% in Finland, 7.5% in Germany, 8% in France. What makes for a higher quality of life? Often it's having more leisure, more government-paid services (such as free, universal health care), and more community. McKibben points out that, after basic material needs are met, higher income does not make people happier. Having more community ties does. "We need belonging, not belongings," he concludes.
Let's get off the train
"What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire" is a film worth seeing for the questions it raises. While it chronicles the environmental devastation our oil addiction has wrought, there is nary a word about wind turbines, solar panels, or even conservation. Our current situation is shown as a run-away train traveling down the culturally laid track toward self-destruction. We are a nation with high rates of addiction, depression, PTSD, hyperactivity. Our grow-or-die economy bombards us with messages that happiness comes from consuming more, buying morefood, alcohol, drugs, consumer goods. Our culture encourages us to become more and more dependent and infantile. And we are less and less satisfied with these substitutes for the source of real happiness, which is connection with the earth and her creatures (including humans). Poetically, the filmmaker suggests getting off the train and returningon footto the natural world.
How do people change?
Rob Hopkins, who started the movement to plan for "energy descent" in the UK (Kinsale, Ireland, Totnes, England, and other "Transition Towns") has written a master's dissertation called "Energy Descent Pathways: Evaluating Potential Responses to Peak Oil." As a health educator myself, I found the most interesting parts to be the chapters applying theories on behavioral change and addiction to the current situation. Hopkins points out that the classic "AIDA" model (Awareness-Information-Decision-Action) does not always work when it comes to sustainability. In fact, too much information may hamper change; people may feel overwhelmed by all the problems.
According to Hopkins' research, people don't tend to associate sustainable consumption with any positive personal benefit or improved quality of life, but rather as requiring of sacrifice (of leisure and/or family time). Most prefer policy measures that don't disrupt their personal routine and give tangible benefits for the local environment or their home. This could be called the "Let government take care of the problem" approach. Also, people get locked into consumption habits by institutional factors beyond their controle.g., having bought houses in the suburbs when oil was cheap, there is no bus service to their jobs.
Anyone wanting to promote sustainable consumption must make a case for how it will improve quality of life by building more community, creating meaningful work and purposeful lives. Emphasis must be placed on local products, local currency, reforestation, seed saving, information sharing, alternative transportation. This could be called building a "parallel public infrastructure" or even a "shadow economic, social, and technological structure, ready to take over as the existing system fails." (Ehrenfield)
Widespread public involvement is essential. Tools for making this happen include such democratic forms as focus groups, citizen panels, consensus conferences, Open Space, and World Café. Particularly useful are visioning and "back-casting." The latter refers to working backwards from a desired future state to arrive at the needed steps to be taken.
Models for recovery
"Oil is an addiction that sustains and destroys at the same time. Like any junkie, we think were in controlbut we're not. If we don't break the cycle, the cycle will break usand much of the rest of the planet too." Kingsnorth (2006).
Hopkins believes that addiction characterizes every aspect of industrial societydependency on alcohol, food, drugs, tobacco, and cheap goods. LaChance, who formulated "Twelve Steps of Ecological Spirituality," says we must deal with collective addictions collectively. Thomas Berry calls for "cultural therapy." We are addicted to a lifestyle made possible by the "oil slaves" that do our work, more than we are to oil per se.
A hallmark of addiction is "needing more of the substance to achieve the desired effect." Indeed, per capita fossil fuel use has increased steadily in the U.S., without an increase in happiness. A major decrease would lead to massive malfunction at all levels in society. "Unsuccessful efforts to decrease or control use:" the Oil Depletion Protocol, a reasonable method for gradually tapering use of fossil fuel, has gained little support. "Much time spent in activities necessary to acquire the substance:" people work more hours to sustain the lifestyle; not to mention the wars in Iraq and elsewhere to gain access. "Persistent use despite evidence of harmful consequences:" climate change, air pollution, environmental degradation are well known now. There have been 160,000 deaths per year due to global climate change already. Additionally, air pollution by vehicles accounts for 310,000 deaths per year globally.
The "Trans-Theoretical Change Model," or TTM, has been applied in the study of addictions and behavior change of both individuals and groups. It has 5 stages:
1) Pre-contemplation (resistance to change)
2) Contemplation: intention to change within the next six months; aware of pros & cons, ambivalent
3) Preparation: intending change within 1 month
4) Action: modifying lifestyle (relapse is common)
5) Maintenance: sustained new behavior pattern for an extended time, integrated into lifestyle.
However, there are no studies of how this works in a community or town. One cannot assume that each person in a community is at the same stage. Only a small percentage of the population participates if it's assumed that everyone is ready for immediate, permanent behavior change. How to get around this problem?
Do a survey/ brief questionnaire with a representative sample of the population to determine what percentage is at each stage of change. (The UK's widespread resistance to wind farms puts it in stage 1, according to Hopkins.)
Use Motivational Interviewing to explore and resolve ambivalence (particularly useful with stage 2). MI, which has been used successfully in the treatment of problem drinking, is defined as "a client-centered, directive method for enhancing intrinsic motivation to change by exploring and resolving ambivalence." Rather than arguing in favor of change, it involves taking one of the sides of the conflict that the person is already struggling with.
The FRAMES model, also from the drug and alcohol field, stands for Feedback, Responsibility, Advice, Menu (options), Empathy and Self-Efficacy. Applying this to peak oil:
Feedback means education about the nature of the problem behavior.
Responsibility must be taken by many, both as individuals and as communities, to achieve the vast mobilization that's needed.
Advice is best given as recommendations, not prescriptions, both to individuals and to communities.
Menu of options can be explored as a range of scenarios, used in workshops with visioning and back-casting.
Empathy means skillful, compassionate engaging with people in a 2-way dialogue (not telling people what to do).
Self-Efficacy is the key to success. People need to see that they are not helpless, and that their quality of life can be improved. Permaculturist David Holmgren writes, "Permaculture is the wholehearted and positive acceptance of energy descent as not only inevitable, but as a desired reality."
In light of the above, Hopkins suggests:
1) A questionnaire to assess the readiness for change of various sectors of the public
2) Different programs for each level of readiness
3) Oral histories with elders to access ways to live with less consumption
4) Education and awareness raising with creative teaching to engage people: "learning through doing"
5) Getting a baseline and establishing indicators of progress
6) Visioning, back-casting
7) Creating an Energy Descent Action Plan and timetable (as Kinsale, Ireland has done)
8) Regular longitudinal surveys to monitor impact
9) Organizational structures
10) Despair and empowerment work (Joanna Macy)
For more on Rob Hopkins' work, see www.transitionculture.org.
Please forward this to anyone who might be interested! Thanks.
Stop the words now.
Open the window in the center of your chest
And let the spirits fly in and out.
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