JOURNAL — TAPE #208, SIDE #2
Q: Mark Russell Bell
Q: They’re selling Big Macs for 55 ¢ each this weekend. (“THAT”) That’s some sinister shit, if you ask me.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE FOLLOWING DAY I VISITED A McDONALD’S TO BUY A BIG MAC FOR MY HOMEBOUND MOTHER AND DISCOVER THAT ONE MUST BUY AN OVER-PRICED SOFT DRINK AND FRENCH FRIES TO QUALIFY FOR THE SPECIAL PRICE.)
Q: I guess when Boo says library he means library. (“YEAH”) But I did find a Hermann Hesse paperback I haven’t read yet: Steppenwolf. A good edition.
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Q: It makes me very nervous when I think that even though my Boo communicates with me from beyond time and space, He could have — I mean Mighael — I don’t understand if my Boo — will I think my Boo is actually Mighael. And so when you consider that He could have a physical incarnation now on Earth. It makes me very uncomfortable when I consider that.
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Q: How could anybody put a value judgement on homosexuality unless they’re suppressing it in themselves? If people use religion to suppress homosexual rights for individuals, they have no other excuse. Religion is so convenient for people because you don’t have to have reasons — at least in most people’s conception of what religion is.
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Q: Oh my God. The license plate holder in front of me says, “Yes I Am.” If you don’t believe me, it’s a Nissan Pulsar NX, license 3MCP934.
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Q: So the Edgar Cayce book I need is on loan so I guess I’ll have to return to the library next week.
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Q: For all you Cliff Notes fans, one of the major messages of my book is that the misinterpretation of religious dogma has compelled people to interpret God as an angry God. After all, how could He not be to send his only begotten son to die a horrible death at the hands of his persecutors? So what we have here with the Jesus ministry is something quite different — a metaphorical story about a single incarnation of an enlightened one. And people have an impulse to always kill the messenger rather than consider the message. (“[MESS]AGE”) And only then is the one they have murdered extolled in whatever way that whatever church would like for it’s own gains and profit. Churches today are mostly all small corporations. They don’t care about helping humanity. They only care about increasing their profit revenues; therefore, the original Christ is the Antichrist in our society. So the antidote to that is a new Christed One, Mabus; and I’m your tour guide for an interesting journey as we each see God’s truth channeled through our subconscious minds. For example, I understand that U2’s recent music video features them as the Village People. Well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I read in one story in the Los Angeles Times that Pavarotti gave Bono a contract signed by Elvis for one of his Hollywood movies so that is basically — well take your choice: a pact with the Devil; or selling out. Look what happened to Elvis. Look what’s happening to U2. Double entendre intended — at least as I said it I realized it was valid. My book/s are spontaneous, after all. Heaven knows I would change a lot of it, if not. I don’t even believe some of the things I say a half hour after I say them, which makes interpretation a bit difficult. So I admit I’m very psychic because we’re each psychic and as you develop these capabilities you become more so based upon what most people think the word means. In one recent tape, for example, I said what I truly believe — that I can feel it once in a while telepathically when Boo climaxes from His other dimension. The vibes have a tangy, mango quality. And the thought that Mighael might be incarnated into our hell just makes me so worried and fraught with concern as to what will happen when He realizes that, depending upon His own circumstances. (“SSU”) I know I felt very selfish. And at first I couldn’t even be honest about being gay, which broke His heart. God’s heart. And/or Mighael’s heart. It’s something to ponder. As long as we’re true to our own self and our own feelings how can we be dishonest in terms of sexual preference if we look past status and social pressure and feel what’s in our hearts? I mean if you were God would you want someone in Your presence for all eternity who couldn’t be honest about something so basic and important as that? Well, it looks like I’m almost home now. So this was the Cliff Notes version for all you Cliff Notes fans and, boy, don’t I know there are a lot of you out there. And I saw somebody eating ice cream so I’m going to go buy some ice cream. After all, nobody ever can stay mad at somebody who just wants to have some ice cream.
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Q: I just saw Diane in the little store in our complex and I said, “Just last week I told Lucia I hadn’t received my renter’s contract yet for my apartment.” And she said, “I know. I haven’t received mine yet either.” I said, “Well, that’s funny because that means I’m here on my rules; not theirs.” I just held the lobby door open for someone so I haven’t been treating others the way people treat me. It’s like every time I try to back into a parking place someone honks because they think they saw the place first or — it’s always something and people only care about themselves. Let’s hope they don’t do anything to make Mighael or God mad in Their (“RRR”) contemporary Incarnations. Which is Many(All) for the latter, I might add. I’ll just say one thing more and then I’ll stop this — and that is — for every dollar that someone puts into a bank account, doesn’t use and doesn’t need, that could be a dollar used to buy some food that could save the life of another person who could have your success and your life if circumstances were a little different. And it’s really no wonder people don’t understand the difference between good and evil when you have these self-righteous so-called ‘rights groups’ drunk with power forgetting to use common sense in their activities. Barbara Dudley, executive director of Greenpeace, USA, said in the 1989 Greenpeace Policy Statement: “Greenpeace is neither for nor against the killing of marine mammals” — according to an ad that appeared in the Wednesday, April 16th Los Angeles Times. In today’s edition of the newspaper, it says, “The human rights group Amnesty International is looking into the deaths of the rebels of the leftist Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement and of a hostage, Supreme Court Justice Carlos Giusti Acuna, according to a spokeswoman in Argentina . . . ‘The organization calls for exhaustive and impartial investigations of all of the deaths,’ Amnesty said in a statement.” We live in a time where people who break the law to the most horrendous degree are given more rights than those who quietly and humbly follow the law day in and day out. People have got to understand that they must take responsibility for their actions. Whatever Jesus may or may not have done doesn’t mitigate anyone else’s sins.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES: THE FOLLOWING ARE LYRICS FROM THE U2 SONG “THE UNFORGETTABLE FIRE” — SOME I CAN’T DISTINGUISH. THE SONG BEGINS WITH BREATHING SOUNDS.)
Come on take me home. Home again. (murmurs and crescendos are followed by gentler notes) And if the mountains should crumble Or disappear into the sea, Not a tear No not I . . . Ever after is loving time . . . Don’t push me too far . . .
We can create jobs, reduce taxes, shrink government, increase social spending, and restore our environment. . . .
by Paul Hawken
Q: (turning pages) So this is a series of articles — oh, by the way, there’s an ad here for U2’s Pop album. I’m listening to “Zooropa” in the background and, let’s see, it starts on page 40. It says — I’ll read the beginning. The author of the articles, Paul Hawken, is a “businessman, environmentalist and author” whose books include the bestsellers Growing a Business, The Ecology of Commerce, Seven Tomorrows, The Next Economy; and the upcoming Natural Capitalism: The Coming Efficiency Revolution with Amory and Hunter Lovins. He’s also the chairman of The Natural Step, “an educational foundation that assists world government and business leaders in achieving long-term competitive advantage through environmental sustainability.” So I’ll read the beginning of this article. It says:
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES: MINI-ARTICLE HEADINGS ARE IN BOLDFACE.)
Somewhere along the way to free-market capitalism, the United States became the most wasteful society on the planet. Most of us know it. There is the waste we can see: traffic jams, irreparable VCRs, Styrofoam coffee cups, landfills; the waste we can’t see: Superfund sites, greenhouse gases, radioactive waste, vagrant chemicals; and the social waste we don’t want to think about; homelessness, crime, drug addiction, our forgotten infirm and elderly.
Nationally and globally, we perceive social and environmental decay as distinct and unconnected. In fact, a humbling design flaw deeply embedded in industrial logic links the two problems. Toto, pull back the curtain: The efficient dynamo of industrialism isn’t there. Even by its own standards, industrialism is extraordinarily inefficient.
Modern industrialism came into being in a world very different from the one we live in today: fewer people, less material well-being, plentiful natural resources. As a result of the successes of industry and capitalism, these conditions have now reversed. Today, more people are chasing fewer natural resources.
But industry still operates by the same rules, using more resources to make fewer people more productive. The consequence: massive waste — of both resources and people.
Decades from now, we may look back at the end of the 20th century and ponder why business and society ignored these trends for so long — how one species thought it could flourish while nature ebbed. Historians will show, perhaps, how politics, the media, economics, and commerce created an industrial regime that wasted our social and natural environment and called it growth. As author Bill McKibben put it, ‘The laws of Congress and the laws of physics are not likely to yield.’
The laws we’re ignoring determine how life sustains itself. Commerce requires living systems for its welfare — it is emblematic of the times that this even needs to be said. Because of our industrial prowess, we emphasize what people can do but tend to ignore what nature does. Commercial institutions, proud of their achievements, do not see what healthy living systems — clean air and water, healthy soil, stable climates — are integral to a functioning economy. As our living systems deteriorate, traditional forecasting and business economics become the equivalent of house rules on a sinking cruise ship.
One is tempted to say that there is nothing wrong with capitalism except that it has never been tried. Our current industrial system is based on accounting principles that would bankrupt any company.
Conventional economic theories will not guide our future for a simple reason: They have never placed ‘natural capital’ on the balance sheet. When it is included, not as a free amenity or as a putative infinite supply, but as an integral and valuable part of the production process, everything changes. Prices, costs, and what is and isn’t economically sound change dramatically.
Industries destroy natural capital because they have historically benefitted from doing so. As businesses successfully created more goods and jobs, consumer demand soared, compounding the destruction of natural capital. All that is about to change.
NATURAL CAPITAL Natural systems provide trillions of dollars in services that have no man-made substitutes, as Biosphere II’s failure shows. Q: Of course, everyone saw on the news the media public relations event that publicized the beginning of the Biosphere II experiment but the mass media didn’t inform us of the results, did they? The article says:
Q: “The lesson of Biosphere II is that there are no man-made substitutes for essential natural services. . . .”
CAPITAL GAINS If we fully value natural resources, capitalism will have a better chance to live long and prosper.
NATURAL CAPITAL AS A LIMITING FACTOR The new limits to prosperity are natural systems — not boats, but fisheries; not sawmills, but forests.
Q: “Throughout the industrial era, economists considered manufactured capital — money, factories, etc. — the principal factor in industrial production, and perceived natural capital as a marginal contributor. The exclusion of natural capitalism from balance sheets was an understandable omission. There was so much of it, it didn’t seem worth counting. Not any longer.”
RESOURCE WASTE The U.S. is far better at creating waste — 1 million pounds per person per year — than products.
Q: Read the article if you don’t believe it. So in italics it says:
Money and prices and markets don’t give us accurate information about how much our suburbs, freeways, and spandex cost.
HE HIGH PRICE OF BAD INFORMATION Economists make no distinctions when reporting growth — whether we’ve invested in new schools or paid to clean up a toxic waste spill.
SOCIAL WASTE One billion people cannot support their families. More than 5 million men are in prison, waiting for trial, on probation, or on parole.
Q: ” . . . The U.S. economy (“ME”) may not be growing at all, and may have ceased growing nearly 25 years ago. Obviously, we are not talking about the gross domestic product (GDP), measured in dollars, which has grown at 2.5 percent per year since 1973. Despite this growth, there is little evidence of improved lives, better infrastructure, higher real wages, more leisure and family time, and greater economic security.”
OUR LOST WEALTH The U.S. wastes more than $2 trillion annually.
WASTING RESOURCES MEANS WASTING PEOPLE Reducing resource waste creates jobs.
Q: The author writes:
We cannot heal the country’s social wounds or ‘save’ the environment as long as we cling to the outdated industrial assumptions that the summom bonum of commercial enterprise is to use more stuff and fewer people. Our thinking is backward: We shouldn’t use more of what we have more of (people). While the need to maintain high labor productivity is critical to income and economic well-being, labor productivity that corrodes society is like burning the furniture to heat the house.
Our pursuit of increased labor productivity at all costs not only depletes the environment, it also depletes labor. Just as overproduction can exhaust topsoil, overproductivity can exhaust a workforce. The underlying assumption that greater productivity would lead to greater leisure and well-being, while true for many decades, has become a bad joke. In the United States, those who are employed and presumably becoming more productive, find they are working 100 to 200 hours more per year than 20 years ago. Yet real wages haven’t increased for more than 20 years.
In 1994, I asked a roomful of senior executives from Fortune 500 companies the following questions: Do you want to work harder in five years than you do today? Do you know anyone in your office who is a slacker? Do you know any parents in your company who are spending too much time with their kids? The only response was a few embarrassed laughs. Then it was quiet — perhaps numb is a better word.
Meanwhile, people whose jobs have been downsized, re-engineered, or restructured out of existence are being told — as are millions of youths around the world — that we have created an economic system so ingenious that it doesn’t need them, except perhaps to do menial service jobs.
Q: There’s a picture of a $500 bill and it says, “When you start to perceive the extent of America’s waste, and then how much can be saved, it’s like finding a $500 bill on the sidewalk, then another, then another . . .” So —
Clearly, when 1 billion willing workers can’t find a decent job or any employment at all, we need to make fundamental changes. We can’t — whether through monetary means, government programs, or charity — create a sense of value and dignity in people’s lives when we’re simultaneously developing a society that doesn’t need them. If people don’t feel valued, they will act out society’s verdict in sometimes shocking ways.
The new resource revolution is showing up in all areas of business — from home building to furniture to semiconductors.
RESOURCE PRODUCTIVITY Innovations — from ultrasound washing machines to virtual malls — will radically reduce resource inefficiency.
Q: There’s a small box that presents:
THE McDONOUGH PRINCIPLES One of the world’s most innovative designers in resource productivity is William McDonough, dean of the University of Virginia’s school of architecture. Inspired by the way living systems actually work, McDonough follows three simple principles when redesigning processes and products:
(1) Waste equals food. This principle encourages the elimination of the concept of waste in industrial design. We need to design every process so that the products themselves, as well as leftover chemicals, materials, and effluents, can become “food” for other processes.
(2) Rely on current solar income. This principle has two benefits: First, it diminishes, and may eventually eliminate, our reliance on hydrocarbon fuels. Second, it means designing systems that sip energy instead of gulping it down.
(3) Respect diversity. We need to evaluate every design for its impact on plant, animal, and human life. For a building, this means, literally, what will the birds think of it? For a product, it means, where will it go and what will it do when it gets there? For a system, it means weighing immediate and long-term effects and deciding whether it enhances or people’s identity, independence, and integrity. — P. H.
We subsidize landfills, Superfund cleanups, nuclear storage, and floodplain developers, but discourage work by taxing labor.
RESOURCE POLITICS Reducing income taxes while increasing resource prices will stimulate employment and environmental restoration.
Q: “. . . What we hinder, apparently, is work and social welfare, since we mainly tax labor and income, thereby discouraging both. In 1994, the federal government raised $1.27 trillion in taxes. Seventy-one percent of that revenue came from taxes on labor — income taxes and Social Security taxes. Another 10 percent came from corporate income tax. By taxing labor heavily, we encourage businesses not to employ people.”
For a tax shift to work, we must reverse the breakdown of our democracy, which means addressing campaign finance reform.
THE FUTURE Our living systems and social stability are at risk. But the solutions are profitable, creative, and eminently possible.
Ironically, groups such as Earth First!, Rainforest Action Network, and Greenpeace have become the real capitalists.
Q: So this article ends with: “The future belongs to those who understand that doing more with less is compassionate, prosperous, and enduring, and thus more intelligent, even competitive.”
See Hot ! media (page 71) for more resources. I’ve given an abbreviated presentation of this very important article and can definitely recommend the book. So back here on page 73 it says:
The Winnipeg-based International Institute for Sustainable Development does some of the best work in the field, and its Web site is no exception. This comprehensive, thoughtfully designed site offers something for everyone: Novices still trying to figure out what exactly sustainable development means can take a quick interactive crash course; experts will appreciate the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, which provides daily coverage of U.N. policy on the environment and development. With a wealth of documents, resource listings, and action alerts, this is the kind of organization we need everywhere. Surf it and weep! http://iisd1.iisd.ca/
Q: The compilers of "hot ! media" in the magazine are Todd Kimm with Leah Shahum. Right below it, it says, “MEET A POTATO.” There’s also a T-shirt ad where it says, “RAISE HELL IN STYLE!” Mojo T’s. (“SSS”)
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Q: So looking at this website, this month the highlighted articles are on: “Bellagio Principles,” “Five Years After Rio,” “Developing Ideas Digest” and “Countdown Forests ’97.” So looking at this “Bellagio Principles” — “Guidelines for the Practical Assessment of Progress Toward Sustainable Development,” it says: “Background” — “In 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission) called for the development of new ways to measure and assess progress. This call has been subsequently echoed through activities that range from local to global in scale. In response, significant effort has been made by corporations, non-government organizations, academics, communities, nations, and international organizations.” So, in terms of “Who Developed the Principles?,” it says, “In November 1996, an international group of practitioners and researchers from twenty nations came together at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy to review progress to date and to synthesize insights from practical ongoing efforts. The attached principles resulted and were unanimously endorsed.” So the “List of Participants” names: Alan AtKisson, Redefining Progress, USA; Joe Baker, Commissioner for the Environment, Australia; Jan Bakkes, RIVM, The Netherlands; Chaouki Benazzou, Ministry of Planning, Morocco; David Berry, The White House, USA; Maria Buitenkamp, Friends of the Earth, Netherlands; Candido Cabrido, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippines; Walter Corson, George Washington University, USA; Arthur Dahl, Division of Environment Information & Assessment, UNEP; Gilberto Gallopín, Centro Internacional de Agricultrura Tropical, Colombia; Allen Hammond, World Resources Institute, USA; Peter Hardi, International Institute for Sustainable Development, Canada; Tony Hodge, National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, Canada; Devaki Jain, National Commission for Women, India; Jochen Jesinghaus, Statistical Office of the European Communities, Luxembourg; Anne Kerr, Indicators and Assessment Office, Environment, Canada; Tord Kjellström, Office of Global and Integrated Environmental Health, WHO; William M. Lafferty, Program for Research and Documentation for a Sustainable Society, Norway; Bedrich Moldan, Charles University, Czech Republic; Sabine Müller, Kiel University, Germany; Michael Narodoslawsky, Graz Institute of Technology, Austria; Laszlo Pinter, International Institute for Sustainable Development, Canada; Robert Prescott-Allen, International Development and Research Centre/World Conservation Union; Gül Tanghe-Güllüova, Human Development Report Office, UNDP. The website continues: “What is Their Use and Who are the Users? These principles serve as guidelines for the whole of the assessment process including the choice and design of indicators, their interpretation and communication of the result. They should be applied as a complete set. They are intended for use in starting and improving assessment activities of community groups, non-government organizations, corporations, national governments, and international institutions.” The “Overview” provided says, “These principles deal with four aspects of assessing progress toward sustainability. Principle 1 deals with the starting point of any assessment by establishing a vision of sustainable development and clear goals that provide a practical definition of that vision in terms that are meaningful for the decision-making unit in question. Principles 2 through 5 deal with the content of any assessment and the need to merge a sense of the overall system with a practical focus on current priority issues. Principles 6 through 8 deal with key issues of the process of assessment, while principles 9 and 10 deal with the necessity for establishing a continuing capacity for assessment.” The “Guiding Vision and Goals” page says, “Assessment of progress toward sustainability should be guided by a clear vision of sustainable development and goals that define that vision.” The “Holistic Perspective” says, “Assessment of progress toward sustainability should: include review of the whole system being considered as well as its parts consider the well-being (including the state as well as the direction and rate of change of that state) of human, ecological, and economic sub-systems, their component parts, and the interaction between parts consider both positive and negative consequences of human activity, in a way that reflects the full costs and benefits for human and ecological systems, in monetary and non-monetary terms.” The “Institutional Capacity” page says, “Continuity of assessing progress toward sustainability should be assured by: clearly assigning responsibility and providing ongoing support in the decision-making process providing institutional capacity for data collection, maintenance, and documentation supporting development of local assessment capacity. A discussion paper that provides the rationale and explanation for the principles as well as case studies that illustrate practical application will be available from the International Institute for Sustainable Development in the spring of 197.”
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: I CONTINUE REVIEWING MOTHER JONES VOLUME 22, ISSUE 2.)
Q: There’s a cartoon that I think ‘corporate’ readers will especially relate to. It’s entitled “The Nightmare” and it shows a (man in a) ‘suit’ in a bed with various items — items mentioned in his monologue. The cartoon is by Nicole Hollander. This is what the man says:
I DREAMT THERE WAS A HUGE PUBLIC OUTCRY AGAINST CORPORATE WELFARE. SUBURBAN MOMS PICKETED WALL STREET, CHILDREN CRIED WHEN THEY SAW ME . . . I HAD TO CARRY MY BRIEF CASE IN A BROWN PAPER BAG. MY CAR WAS STONED, IT WAS TOO BIG. I WAS FORCED TO TRADE IN MY LEXUS FOR A HONDA CIVIC, MY GOLDEN RETRIEVER FOR A COCKER SPANIEL, AND MY YOUNG WIFE FOR AN OLDER ONE. I DEVELOPED A RASH. IT SEEMED ALL WAS LOST, WHEN I HEARD A TINY VOICE WHISPER, “AIN’T NEVER GONNA HAPPEN.” I WOKE UP RAVENOUS.
Q: There are so many ads of environmentally aware products such as Earth Friendly Products: “From the Earth. For the Earth.” And then there’s (inside front cover ad):
AUTHENTICALLY ORGANIC FOOD EDEN®
The Eden® brand means:no irradiation, no preservatives, no chemical additives, no food colorings, no refined sugars, no genetically engineered ingredients, and the safest, most nutritious, certified organically grown food that could possibly be offered.
Q: I mean isn’t that what every product should adhere to? I mean you shouldn’t even have to advertise that. That should just be a given. It just shows what society has come to. It continues:
Each EDEN® brand food has been carefully prepared and selected by Eden Foods as if it were for our own children. Q: There’s also an article in this issue called “Cease Fire” by Barbara Grizzuti Harrison. It says:
It says about the author: “Raised in Brooklyn as a Jehovah’s Witness, Barbara Grizzuti Harrison has written extensively on cults, from the Moonies to est. ‘The NRA reminds me of a cult,’ she says, ‘embattled, absolutely convinced of their cause, in continuous need of external enemies.’ A traveler and essayist, Harrison is the author of one novel and five books of nonfiction, including Italian Days (winner of the American Book Award) and, most recently, An Accidental Autobiography.” I guess that’s what my book is. On page 37 it says, “Female Firepower” —
So, anyway, there’s an article about potatoes by Leah Shahum. It says, “The potato has inspired several revolutions — not all of them agricultural. So, next time you chomp on a French fry, show a little respect. . . . The potato is a nutritional tour de force, rich in 12 essential vitamins and minerals and 99.9 percent fat-free. Annually, Americans consume 140 pounds of potatoes per person (only 49 of which are fresh; the others are processed).” There’s an interview with George Carlin. It says, “Carlin speaks up about what’s wrong with Mickey Mouse, baby boomers, private property, and political activism. By Ricky Young." Carlin says: “Twenty years ago ‘spiritual’ had a distinct meaning. Now there’s a lot of jack-off thinkers who love to talk about it . . . I don’t use the word ‘Republican.’ . . . The word ‘conservative’ gives people a little more freedom to join you if they want. " There’s also an interview with the new president of Planned Parenthood, Gloria Feldt, by Evan Smith. The “Editor’s Note” for this issue, entitled “Bipartisans in Crime” by Jeffrey Klein, says in italics: “Gingrich and Clinton’s common gift is to divert attention with reams of rhetoric. But the public wants nonpartisan reform, not bipartisan corruption.” Even in “BackTalk,” the letter page, it says one of the themes of my book. In italics, it says: “The common thread tying together the problems you discussed is corporate greed, not biotechnology. And banning the latter won’t make the former go away.” There’s a funny ad in here too that I like. It says: “They say in thirty years a burger & fries could cost $16, a vacation $12,500, and a basic car $65,000. No problem. You’ll eat in. You won’t drive. And you won’t go anywhere.” (“IT HAS A”) © 1997 Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association/College Retirement Equities Fund. There’s also an article in the “Home Planet” section entitled “Buying the Farm” — “Consumers give ‘share cropping’ a whole new meaning.” By Leora Broydo. It says:
Well don’t start scouring Nasdaq for clues. These shares are traded in an exchange of a different sort. Called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), it’s an arrangement in which consumers bankroll a small farm and get fresh organic fruits and vegetables in return. CSA may be the only investment plan where eating the profits is encouraged.
(“THERE’S) An interview in the “Visions” section with Robert Hass by Sarah Pollock. It says, “Our poet laureate began his term facing an unruly Congress and a growing national literacy problem. As his tenure ends, he’s thinking about the “small, local ways we keep ourselves alive.” Highlighted it says “Writers are always moaning abut why more people don’t read books . . . Everyone is convinced that there was a time when literature really mattered and that it doesn’t now. . . . Thoreau read Wordsworth, Muir read Thoreau, Teddy Roosevelt read Muir, and you got national parks. It took a century for artistic values to percolate down to legislation. . . . I think that the job of poetry, its political job, is to refresh the idea of justice, which is going dead in us all the time.” In the major cover article which I read from, there are several pages of illustrations that I skipped and I think I’ll share them with you now.
Although we think of the value of forests as wood, their biggest value is the services they provide.
There are no substitutes for many of the services provided by natural capital. Try to imagine the technologies that could replace these services: Production of oxygen Maintenance of biological diversity Purification of water and air Regulation of the chemical composition of the oceans Maintenance of wildlife migration and habitats Production of genetic and medicinal resources Prevention of soil erosion; sediment control Regulation of runoff; flood prevention.
Since 1950 we have destroyed nearly one-third of the world’s forests. Each year in the United States we cut down nearly 800,000 acres of trees, throw away 27 billion pounds of wood, and go through 181 billion pounds of paper.
My reason for optimism? Waste is too expensive. It’s cheaper to do the right thing.
Our annual shopping spree generates 6 billion pounds of polystyrene, 28 billion pounds of discarded food, and 300 billion pounds of chemicals.
There’s no difference between incarceration and an Ivy League education. The main difference is the curriculum.
The U.S. has surpassed the former Soviet Union as the world’s largest penal colony. One out of three black males in their 20s is in the U.S. correctional system; close to 40 percent of young black men are growing up in poverty. Is there a correlation?
MAGIC CARPET How to make a profit by reusing waste.
The key is to understand products as a means to deliver a service — and do it better.
Carpeting lasts for up to 12 years, after which it goes into landfills for as long as 20,000 years. Americans throw away 3.5 billion pounds (920 million square yards) of carpet every year. One company, Interface, wants to lease its carpet service, replacing carpet tiles as they become worn or frayed, then recycling the old tiles into new ones for fresh carpeting.
HYPERCAR This quiet, safe vehicle gets up to 200 miles per gallon.
Cars are barely 1 percent efficient: Only one in every hundred gallons of gas burned actually moves the passenger. And we throw cars away — 647 million vehicles were junked between 1900 and 1984.
The hypercar, designed by the Rocky Mountain Institute under Amory Lovins: The body is mostly made of superlight carbon fiber, which is safer than steel.
The car employs a small motor-scooter-sized engine and variable-speed reversible electric motors to recapture braking energy. The car is 95 percent less polluting.
Q: Oh here’s a Mother Jones ad. It says:
Full-color reprints of Paul Hawken’s path-breaking Mother Jones cover story are available at attractive rates for classroom use and other bulk distribution . . .
Q: Among the advertisers in this issue is Bear & Company Publishing in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’m supposed to call them next week. I agree with this “Call to Action” ad. It says, “Find out how your personal choices affect the environment, your health, animals in the wild, and in labratories. The American Anti-Vivisection Society will send you our brochure, ‘Liberate the Environment to Liberate Animals,’ a cruelty-free shopping guide, and other materials that will help you and help animals. Call (800) SAY-AAVS.” Here’s another one I like. It says, “Sick of Corporate Fat Cats Setting the Agenda? Tired of public policy being made in corporate board rooms? Join INFACT, the national corporate watchdog organization behind the successful GE and Nestlé Boycotts. Now organizing the Hall of Shame Campaign, targeting Philip Morris, RJR Nabisco, Dow and WMX. Which transnational corporation will be next? Call today for your free bumpersticker . . . BIG BUSINESS OUT OF CONGRESS (bumper sticker message)