Archive for the 'Reflections' Category

Crowdfunding for PACE in New Jersey

August 7th, 2014

JCloudStorerSmThe challenges we face in New Jersey as a result of climate change are significant, and so therefore are the opportunities. The experience of Superstorm Sandy showed us just how ill-prepared we are for the more frequent recurrence of extreme weather; and how important it is that we set an example for taking action to mitigate our own greenhouse gas emissions, as other states are doing around us. And there’s also no doubt about the urgency of it — as you can see from this remarkable video:
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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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Leveraging Our Attention

January 4th, 2013

The story of professional pickpocket Apollo Robbins, in the January 7, 2013 issue of The New Yorker, demonstrates the critical significance of attention in every aspect of life. What we pay attention to iswhat exists for us — including when we discover that we’ve been distracted and missed what was really going on. The story, by Adam Green, reveals a man in many ways puzzled by his own gifts, which is the ability to distract people so thoroughly that they simply don’t see what’s occurring right in front of them.

Being distracted, when so much is actually occurring in the world, is one of the most serious problems of our time. The recent media frenzy over the “fiscal cliff” was a perfect example of this: while Syrians were killing each other in record numbers, while machine guns are being sold in record numbers to crazy people, and while climate change is bearing down on the planet at a record speed, our attention is being held captive by the posturing and obstructiveness of a small faction of fiscal fanatics, who are daily trying to convince us that “the deficit is the biggest problem we have and the only thing that matters.”

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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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A Work in Progress

November 20th, 2012

s Thanksgiving approaches, I recognize in myself a growing desire to get off on my own, to be alone with my thoughts, to reflect on my small fragment of the human condition. To begin with, what am I grateful for?

Or, I could possibly more easily ask, what am I not grateful for? Because life itself is such an extraordinary gift — in all its chaotic, disturbing, and often cruel outcomes, as well as its moments of sheer joy, awe, and exuberance — that it seems difficult not to be grateful for any of it.

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Latest Thoughts and Interests

November 5th, 2012

Here’s a link to my article for the EuroCharity Yearbook 2011 (which actually appeared in August of 2012, and was presented to the European Parliament on October 29, 2012): Leading the Change to a Sustainable Future (2011).

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One of the consequences of having so many projects is that most of my work is now elsewhere, and I don’t have time to update this “vanity” site on a regular basis. (Who needs a vanity site anyway, if the real goal is getting things done?). But it’s probably still worth listing some of these things out here, if only for my own interest. And this is where I turn when I’m not sure where an item or an article belongs.

Take the Dead River Journal, for example. My last post there is A Common Framework for Global Change? — from around this time last year. I started something on going after the Tea Party crazies, like the one I ran into at a clean energy seminar in Old Bridge, but couldn’t see the need to actually publish 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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State of the Sustainability Movement 2011, Part 2

December 20th, 2010

As soon as I wrote the original post, of course, I started discovering new signs of our times that are not adequately reflected in my earlier assessment. Let’s consider a few examples, and see what conclusions we can draw about where we are in the process, and where we might be going from here.

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State of the Sustainability Movement 2011 (Part 1)

December 19th, 2010

In the Spring 1990 issue of In Context — which described itself as “A Quarterly Journal of Humane Sustainable Culture” — Robert Gilman described the state of the sustainability movement in his time, and I thought it would be interesting to review this and reflect on where we are today. (See “Sustainability: The State Of The Movement,” in Sustainability (IC#25), Spring 1990, Page 10.)

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