Archive for the 'Policy' Category

Finally, Some Sanity on Climate Change

June 27th, 2013

June 25, 2013: A great deal of what Obama just said on climate change at Georgetown University will seem like common sense to many of us, so it’s important to recognize just how dramatic a shift in the public conversation it is likely to cause.

Several distinct concepts were introduced and reinforced in the speech, most notably that of “carbon pollution,” which is clearly more emotionally and politically powerful than “greenhouse gas emissions.” By calling it (some might say “calling it out as”) carbon pollution more than a dozen times during the speech, he laid the groundwork for a comprehensive approach to the challenge of climate change as a priority for the U.S. and for the rest of the world — including placing the U.S., now second in the world as a carbon emitter to China, at the head of the line in addressing the problems.

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What We Should Do about Gun Control

March 23rd, 2013

(Full text of blog pitch submitted to Huffington Post)

Although I’m in favor of gun control — for what I think are pretty obvious reasons, like not wanting to get shot by some crazy person at the movie theater — I’ve never spent much time thinking about it. But listening to the current discussions and debates in Congress and in the media has left me thinking that there’s something missing in this conversation.

The argument for people freely owning guns rests, supposedly, on “protecting our Second Amendment rights.” But what if it infringes on my rights to have guns readily available to a small minority of the society, that is seemingly angry, or fearful, or likes to kill animals? Don’t I have a right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” that takes precedence over any other person’s right to carry a gun? And given that the Second Amendment was explicitly intended to refer to “a militia” to ensure that America remains a free state, how does it make sense to let people have guns for any other purpose?

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A Common Framework for Global Change?

November 26th, 2012

On several other sites I’ve posted articles calling for the development of a “Common Framework” for global change, the kind of change that we really can believe in, and can work to bring about ourselves regardless of who’s in Washington.

(You can find the original article here: Demanding Change, and the experimental work on the new economy here: Altonomy.com. I welcome your thoughts and comments.)

This idea grew out of thinking about the development of a “Common Currency” and a “Common Currency Exchange” (and coincidentally trying to find a way to unite and evolve the energies of the Occupy Movement). What if we had a way to convert local and alternative currencies to each other and to the established national currencies of the mainstream world? What if we had a way to establish and provide abstract value that did not depend on control by the wealthy, but was in fact engineered to produce “the greatest benefit for the greatest number”? Wouldn’t people want to migrate to it?

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The Sustainability Movement in 2011, Part 3

January 26th, 2011

This little survey of the state of the sustainability movement going into 2011 would not be complete without looking further at policy and practice in a number of increasingly problematic areas, from water, to energy, to agricultural runoff, to education, and so on. As always, the rhetoric far outpaces the reality. But it’s important to know where each of these are, so we know where we’re starting, and what we need to move forward.

Despite the failure of climate change legislation to pass the Senate and become law, the Obama administration remains clear that the problem is an urgent one. In a speech on September 20, 2010, Education Under Secretary Martha Kanter led off the “Sustainability Education Summit” with the following:

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New Public Policy Contribution

August 27th, 2010

In collaboration with the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise at Fairleigh Dickinson University, I have recently contributed to a new public policy initiative, to develop a sustainable growth strategy for New Jersey (many parts of which apply equally well elsewhere).

Download a copy of the paper here: NJSustainableEconomicStrategy23Aug2010b. If you have any comments, or want to to reference this in your own work, please email [email protected].

How to Survive—and even Thrive—in this Recession

March 30th, 2010

Things are looking bleak in many parts of the world. Even some of the wealthiest parts are experiencing the consequences of the severity and persistence of the downturn. The chances of a further significant decline, both in the market and in the real economy, are now perhaps 50-50. According to some estimates, up to one-fourth of all commercial properties are in trouble; and 1 in 5 homes remains in danger of foreclosure. The effects of the stimulus program, weak at best, are now being offset by sharp declines in state and local government spending. The need for new economic policies is obvious, and yet such policies are not forthcoming.

In New Jersey, Governor Christie has taken an axe to the state budget, apparently with the approval of many voters; but he has not followed through on his commitment to stimulate the economy at the same time. On the contrary, he is looking to seize funds from the Clean Energy Program (which are ratepayer contributions, not tax revenues), which will cripple that fledgling industry; when he promised during his campaign to support renewable energy as the future engine of NJ’s economy. Is it possible to do both at the same time?

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Paying for Reform

November 13th, 2008

If we think about the challenges facing the new Obama Administration, at the top of the list has to be prioritizing the actions that are desperately needed, in so many different areas, and integrating them into a coherent strategy that will put the country back on track, that will get the economy going again, and will once again inspire both sacrifice and greatness.

Should the administration move first on health care, or on the environment, or on housing, or on the economy? Clearly the answer is that it has to do all of these. The question most often asked in the media, though, is how to pay for it.

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