October 2008

Hopes for the Next President

(Platform and Candidate Endorsement)

After all the debates and rhetoric to this point, I believe that one major party's team is a guarantee for disaster. The other team, though also lacking a strong scientific and ecological foundation, may still help us bridge to the future. They will most definitely need the constant input and influence of the many who are dedicated to creating a sustainable future for our children and the innocent creatures of Earth.

Simply, I have long felt that John McCain was a better than average senator; however, he has no understanding of the dangers posed by human population levels, which from my perspective, disqualifies him. His running mate has no understanding of the importance of conserving natural resources, including air and fresh water, thereby disqualifying her.

If Obama can be influenced by people like Lester Brown, Amory Lovins, William McDonough, Jimmy Carter and us, then we have a much better chance of facing the real issues that threaten the survival of the human species.


Establish Sustainability as a Destination: If the goal of our society is to consume natural resources at a rate no greater than they can regenerate, then our infrastructure development, educational and foreign policy will have a commonality of purpose. We could once again be a nation with a real mission. With a clear destination, we can plot a viable course to get there. Without a clear destination; no matter how well intentioned, the US government will continue to put band aids on dinosaurs, and this economy will crash down under its own weight again—meaning that the amount of money and resource that is extracted from the system by the top 1% of the population will continue to be invested unsustainably at the expense of the American workers. In short, they've been taking our money and wasting most of it.

On sustainable economic development: The first thing we're doing here is establishing the basis for a team that would be capable of working through all of the homes and businesses of any given town. We will begin by fixing any water and natural gas leaks. Perform an energy audit and implement cost effective efficiency upgrades. We can also help educate home and business owners and dwellers in conservation and maintenance principles. This should be a national job creation initiative, whose ultimate cost could be completely paid for by incorporating the cost of the service into the utility bills. We could freeze the fees paid by the consumer to the utilities for a period of, perhaps, one month to several years, depending upon the level of upgrade. After the service fees have been paid, the consumers' reduced utility bills will reflect the reduction in consumption. The net result of this one initiative would be many (long and short term) jobs created, reductions in pollution, prolonged natural resource levels, and reduced utility bills for consumers.

Regarding sustainable infrastructure: Every individual and industry needs to take the time to consider their place in a sustainable society. Jobs pertaining to the essentials of life: food, water, shelter, health and connection, should have real value and staying power. Organic farming and soil conservation at all production levels will be areas of enormous growth. Also, all forms of alternative energy and the conservation industry will flourish. Many of the pursuits of the Dinosaur, greed-based, economy have been completely useless or counterproductive. We need to shift over to jobs that are good for the environment and public health, or at least those that do not threaten environmental health more than is necessary. If we're going to use any band aids on the fossil fuel dinosaurs, it should not be the mythological clean coal or the equally heavily promoted, environmentally friendly, off shore drilling. It might be the breeder reactor (or recycling reactor). We hope to do a short film soon, looking for the present realities of coal, oil, nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal. My personal belief is that conservation, passive solar, vegetation, ventilation, insulation and some simple refrigeration design alterations can, and will, transform normal consumption and waste levels to a normal we can live with.

I'll return with more specific suggestions, but for now we all have to begin to contemplate a different, simpler life style with a long-term focus. Local, National, and Global Sustainable Policies Now.