How has constant innovation creating more harm than good?

Did you know

Every year, millions of products are created, manufactured and sold to the public—products that are built to break down over a short period of time. Created with a mindset of “Built in obsolescence”, these products range from computers and mobile devices and run the gamut of all sort of products that are soon replaceable through the leverage and promotion of consumerist culture.

It is this mindset of people as constant and continual consumers that has, in many cases, caused a good part of the pollution and discard of products to the landfill.

The question we need to ask is: Do we really need all this “Stuff” and how can we transform into a mindset of being constant mass-consumers to becoming engaged public citizens?

Our mass consumerist cultures have contributed to the decline of personal and planetary health.

What’s going on?

CES, the self-described “global stage for innovation,” gives manufacturers an annual opportunity to show off shiny new tech, whether it’s fridges you open with your voice, AI-powered robot vacuums, or $3,000 smartphone-operated doggie doors. Some of it could be life-changing stuff. But many products never see actual release, those that do often fall short—and far too many of them are insecure, unrepairable, and destined for the landfill.

Damage Control

Every year CES encourages manufacturers to out-“innovate” one another by honoring “outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products” with its Innovation Awards … and boy do they innovate. While the press does their best to raise their eyebrows and ask whether anyone will really buy these things, there’s never enough time to dig into what these “innovations” really mean for people or the planet.

The Right to Repair and “The Worst in Show Awards”

That’s why the Right to Repair coalition teamed up to create the first-ever “Worst in Show Awards.” We think consumers should know which attention-seeking products were designed to be repaired, and which are destined to become hard-to-dispose waste, especially in a year when so many OEM service centers were closed and repair options were limited. We’ll also, with the help of our friends, draw attention to the least secure, least privacy-conscious, and straight-up least useful products introduced this week under the pretense of endless “innovation” (read: consumption).


Six award categories for the Worst in Show Awards include:

Repairability

A failure of repairability isn’t just a bummer for fixers, it means this product is sure to waste its resources mouldering away in a landfill.

Privacy

This award goes to the device most likely to leak your home security footage, baby photos, or just get you some alarmingly too-targeted ads.

Security

Voted most likely to be a zombie in a botnet, or to infect the rest of your Internet of Things, keep clear of this Trojan tech.

 

Environmental Impact

No matter how novel or well-designed, some products cost the planet and its people too much, luckily we’ve got just the badge of shame.

Community Choice

Sometimes there’s no perfect category and we just need an outlet for the collective groan we let out at a miserable product, here’s to you, voters!

 

Overall Worst in Show

This product is just an egregious hodge-podge of bad decisions and should not see the light of day.


To help us out, we called in an expert panel of guest judges for each award category, including:

  • Repairability (Kyle Wiens, CEO and cofounder, iFixit)

  • Privacy (Cindy Cohn, Executive Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation)

  • Security (Paul Roberts, founder, securepairs)

  • Environmental Impact (Nathan Proctor, National Campaign Director, USPIRG)

  • Community Choice (Selected by our community on Twitter, presented by Cory Doctorow, Special Advisor, Electronic Frontier Foundation)

  • Overall Worst in Show (Cory Doctorow, Special Advisor, Electronic Frontier Foundation).

Our panel of judges will be announcing their winners on Friday, January 15 @ 9am PST during a livestream on the iFixit Youtube channel. They’ll discuss the main factors driving their decisions and answer any questions you might have. If you can’t make the livestream, we’ll share the results of our awards and a livestream recording shortly after on Repair.org.

How can Holistic Management Solve Our Problems by Preventing them?

What is the philosophy behind holistic management?

Holistic Management is a way of managing complexity. In the 1950s I became concerned as I observed massive environmental destruction in Africa that threatened wildlife and ultimately humans. My determination to find a consistently successful solution led eventually to developing the Holistic Management framework for management and policy development. At that point (c 1984) when the holistic framework emerged I realized we had accidentally learned how to manage complexity in any situation from single person engaged in a job to family, community, governance and beyond.  At the beginning I had no idea that what I was witnessing in remote areas of Africa was global and that it was the tip of a large iceberg – mankind’s inability to manage complexity throughout history.  As Rebecca Costa concluded, early civilizations did not just fail because of their agriculture, but because they could not address the complexity of rising population and deteriorating environment.  They shelved the problems for future generations and turned away from gaining knowledge (science) to religion and sacrifice. Now we are seeing this on a global scale. More than twenty civilizations have failed in all regions of the world – armies change civilizations, farmers destroy them. And all of this has only one cause which is our inability to manage complexity.

Interview by Barry Dossenko

What are your expectations and hopes regarding the practice of holistic management?
We cannot address major issues individually but have to do so through our organizations or institutions.  However human organizations are defined as “complex soft systems” and as such exhibit wicked problems (almost impossible to fix).  My hope is that we can get enough people to insist that policies (particularly agricultural) be developed holistically for our institutions to change in time to save civilization as we know it.  If we heed the research, institutions cannot change from reductionist policy development practiced by all nations today to holistic policy development, until enough of the public insist on that change. There is not one case I can find of any organization ever adopting any new paradigm-shifting insight ahead of a change in public perception – no matter what the cost or how many lives are lost. No amount of data, evidence, danger, cost in money or lives changes institutions ahead of the public – institutions can never lead paradigm-shifting change.

There are different histories of interaction with the land, political systems governing land management, as well as current trends such as population growth and land scarcity.

Not a clear question. Yes over thousands of years a great many different cultures, economies, political systems, etc. etc. etc. but throughout always management and policy development has been reductionist.  So while we blame many things for what transpired and no doubt those things played a role, overall there was no way we could expect anything but unintended consequences when management was reductionist in what we now know is a holistic world.  This no doubt why economists talk of The Law of Unintended Consequences.

What is the potential of holistic management approaches to respond to a variety of contexts?

Holistic management approaches do not work so there is no potential in that line of thinking.  It is similar to pregnancy in which a pregnancy approach will never work – you are pregnant or you are not.  We would be arrogant if we thought we were the first people to think holistically. There is evidence that past people saw their connection to their environment more clearly than most people do today. There is apparently evidence that in North America people tried to think seven generations ahead because of lessons learned when managing their environment but the environment still deteriorated. It seems we have got to actually manage holistically.  In other words it is not what and how we think where the rubber hits the road but how we actually make decisions.  And it is essential to make management decisions at two levels – on the land or in our daily lives and at policy level where so much management is dictated. In all countries I have worked in and visited the mainstream agriculture that is the most extractive and destructive industry ever in history is not driven by famers and pastoralists but by government policies and institutional stupidity (a wicked problem of complex soft systems).


 What is your message for the ones that criticize the holistic approach?

I too criticise the holistic approach because that will never work.  I wish all scientists would criticise the Holistic Management framework, or even the Holistic Planned Grazing process when livestock are managed. We thrive and advance on criticism and I have gone to extraordinary and unusual lengths to encourage and foster criticism. In the early 1980s far-sighted people in the USDA engaged me over a two year period to put some 2,000 people through a week of training in the use of the Holistic Management framework. These people came from NRCS, BLM, BIA, USFS, USF&WL, World Bank, USAID and faculty members from the main US agricultural universities. In the week of training each group was give one hour of every day to do nothing but criticise and do all they could to find any flaws in either the process or the science.  There is a small group of academics who keep publishing papers and reports claiming to be critical of Holistic Management but not one has ever studied Holistic Management or even the Holistic Planned Grazing process. The kind explanation is paradigm paralysis.  One example: These authors James R. Heffelfinger, Clay Brewer,Carlos Hugo Alcalá-Galván,  Barry Hale, Darrell L. Weybright,  Brian F. Wakeling, Len H. Carpenter, Norris Dodd wrote a book about deer habitat management and cited 19 peer-reviewed criticisms of Holistic Management.

Chris Gill a person with a good liberal arts education who was seeing good results from his own management read all 19 papers. None of the authors had made any study of Holistic Management. So Gill then read the papers those authors cited and the papers those authors in turn cited, tracing every one back to source.  Not a single author had ever made any study of Holistic Management – all had criticised various rotational grazing systems bearing no relationship at all to the Holistic Management framework or even the Holistic Planned Grazing process.  So if any of you can criticise and find flaws in the process please do so and I will help you spread those findings world-wide.

How important was/is the interaction with local people (land managers, cattle rangers, farmers, etc.) in your professional career?
Very critical indeed. Initially I worked with ranchers willing to get rid of cattle and manage the land to reverse desertification using only wildlife.  When that failed to give the results sought and when I realized we had no option but to reconsider how we managed livestock then the work with eventually hundreds of ranchers was essential to eventual success. We achieve almost nothing on our own. I believe all we achieve is through working with others and even building on failure of our own or that of others.

How did/do this interactions contribute to shape the concept of “holistic management”?

I had no idea about the need to manage complexity. I was not seeking Holistic Management but was seeking a consistent solution to environmental degradation unfortunately called desertification over most of Africa and the world where the rainfall is seasonal. First I believed, like fellow ecologists still do, that livestock were largely to blame and so I coined the words Game Ranching in 1957 for a project I had in mind to work with only wildlife and restore the environment. Then working with American Fullbright Scholars (Mossman and Dasmann) we later developed what is today the game ranching multi-billion dollar industry. We were wrong the land on all ranches where only wildlife was being managed continued to deteriorate and is still doing so in those environments as are national parks. See this one minute video https://youtu.be/ntzCnpYhM3I that shows the extreme bare soil and habitat destruction in national parks under the best of management the world knows how, compared with the covered soil on land managed holistically – same time, same soil, same climate and even sharing some of the same animals – elephants and buffalo.

When I realised that we had no option but to use livestock as a tool to reverse desertification, working with many land and livestock owners became critical. By 1980 I believed we had solved the problem with the grazing planning process we had developed and tested successfully in an international trial, on many ranches and on two Advanced Projects (one in high and one in low rainfall). All were very successful regardless of how good of bad the season.  In the case of the low rainfall Advanced Project we deliberately selected the very worst land we could identify in the country with not a single perennial grass plant in over a 100 miles drive.  This we trebled the stocking rate on in the first year and over the next 8 years produced five times as much meat per hectare, with us unable to cause failure by pushing things to extremes to try to see if we could cause failure. We had over a hundred ranches operating successfully over five countries.

Then we had a four year break when I was forced into exile and lost contact with all of them. On my return all had failed to various degrees and even the low rainfall Advanced Project had reverted back to no livestock on the land and largely bare ground. Clearly we had not solved the problem.

Analysing the failures I found the fault was mine.  I had not understood complexity and like almost all scientists had it confused with complicated. I had in effect learned how to plan livestock use and movement in complicated situations involving wildlife, erratic seasons, crops, etc. but had not addressed the full social, cultural, environmental and economic complexity that is inescapable in any management. I had also made ranchers working with me consultant-dependent.  Where I thought they were learning by working alongside me they were not. I had then to seriously return to the drawing board and somehow solve the problem of managing the full unavoidable complexity.  From here and in a short time the solution came about by accident.

I had moved to living in Texas and one evening Prof. Bob Steager from Angelo State University called on me at home. I was surprized to see him because Texas universities having first plagiarized my work and failed because they thought it was some sort of short duration grazing system, were extremely hostile to me and my work. He said he had come to ask what I was doing that they did not understand because as he related, I had visited their research station three times.  Each time I had listened to what they were doing and then told them what the result would be and left.  Each time he said they ridiculed me because I did not even ask to look at the data – simply told them the result. But each time the result was eventually exactly as I predicted. So he wanted to know what the hell I was doing that enabled me to predict as soon as I knew any treatment on the land.  I then tried to explain to him what I had built up in my mind over the past twenty odd years of observing and researching – I picked up a pencil and drew on a piece of paper – four ecosystem functions, the “tools” we had as scientists, the influences of humidity distribution and of the tools across a scale of humidity distribution and more. I connected the various ecosystem functions and the various tools humans used with lines like a spider web.

All of this allowed me to predict with a high degree of certainty the results of any treatment to the land.  When they told me what research they were doing I simply thought of that as treatments and so it was a no-brainer to tell them the result they would conclude. I am sure Bob left more confused than he arrived but fortunately my wife had been watching.  It was she who said I needed to keep that piece of paper and build on it  because no one understood how my mind was working.  So I then began using that diagram and with each person as I explained I could easily see what they understood or missed and I kept refining it with the help eventually of hundreds of people till it became today’s Holistic Management framework.

And then when the USDA commissioned me to train the 2,000 scientists and others shortly after that I literally had that large sample of mostly bright minds to help me refine the entire process and help me find if there were still any flaws.  The hardest part in this whole process of many years were first finding out how we could manage livestock without causing desertification by shifting from rotational and other grazing systems to management by process as opposed to system.  And the next was discovering the concept of the holistic context – not in any branch of philosophy, religion or science – to prevent management automatically becoming reductionist as it does even with the most sophisticated inter-disciplinary teams of scientists.

In your talk “How to fight desertification and reverse climate change,” you mentioned a turning point in your professional career when you realized that cattle could actually contribute to tackle desertification, which led to opposite management recommendations to the ones formulated before. How did you handle this paradigm shift from a personal and professional perspective?

That was a pivotal moment again brought about largely by accident. I was violently anti-livestock because of my university training and what seemed obvious – that they were destroying the land and wildlife I loved. I had developed game ranching with others to enable us to “rewild” but that was not yet showing any sign of improving the deteriorating environment other than superficial changes in amount of vegetation with adjusting wildlife populations. Then one afternoon an elderly ranching couple came to my home unexpectedly in Bulawayo. I was surprized to see them in view of my antagonism to ranchers and their cattle but I offered them tea.

They said they had watched the conflict between me and the research stations and government officials and wanted me to help them. They said they had adopted every grazing system, eradication of brush advice, etc. the experts advised and followed all the advice of the Matopos Research Station nearby (our top range management researchers) but that they could see their land was deteriorating.  It was a surprize to me that ranchers cared as much as they did and I agreed to help them on one condition. That was that I did not know what to do, it would be the blind leading the blind, but I would solve the problem.  Once word got around literally hundreds of ranchers began turning to me not only in Rhodesia but in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland, providing me with the most amazing opportunity to work with many people all over five countries.

What did you learn from it?

I think I have answered this. But if not, once I was working with ranchers and their livestock I began reading all the research I could obtain from any nation to see what others had done. Clearly no one had answers despite the arrogance of range science professionals who kept blaming ranchers for not fully following their advice and resenting me who had never studied range science interfering.  I re-read Smuts thoroughly grounding more deeply in his theoretical foundation.

I read Voisin thoroughly and thought he had largely solved the livestock problem on pastures in France. I tried Voisin’s Rational Grazing but ran into trouble quickly as clearly humid European pastures and African veld were very different. I read an article by Acocks a botanist in South Africa who was studying the expanding Karroo desert and his belief that South Africa was understocked and overgrazed. These two men had the only new thinking I could find world-wide.

So I drove down to meet Acocks to hear his views and look at his work. He believed livestock destroyed the land because they were more selective feeders than the vast wildlife populations that had maintained healthy grassland.  He directed me to a ranching couple doing his sixteen paddock non-selective grazing system.

While I was looking at their land where they were forcing sheep to graze all plants evenly,  I noticed a small place with what I was looking for – land in about the same state I had observed with large almost intact wildlife populations. This was where their sheep had concentrated in a snow storm and that was a tremendous breakthrough.  From then on I knew we could do what we needed with livestock and simply had to learn how to do so.  The problem was not selective grazing but lack of herd effect a physical issue not a physiological issue. That led to me talking to rancher clients and getting us to combine Acocks and Voisin’s ideas. Again we came adrift but could see we almost had things right. We now knew we had not only to prevent overgrazing but had to achieve the physical impact necessary – overgrazing of plants was very over-rated when most of the damage was coming from over-resting the land although we still did not understand this well. Even though I had first semi-interpreted this big leap in understanding while tracking people and trying to unravel why different land was either easier or more difficult to track people across, it was to take some years before it became clear to me. I will return to this.

I then said Voisin is not wrong – we have to abandon all grazing systems and rotations no matter how adaptive. We have to use some planning process and Voisin’s was not up to the complications of the African environment and needed improvement. At that point I turned to the military and how they had solved the problem in immediate battlefield conditions and there it was just what we were looking for. The military over centuries had learned to break the problem or situation down into very small bites that even a stressed human could focus on clearly. And to build a plan step by orderly small step ensuring no factor was overlooked no matter how complicated the situation. Adapting this to longer planning times and more dimensions than armies had to face in battles was easy using a paper chart. On that several dimensions can be laid out clearly. Immediately we began to see improvement and often dramatic improvement on every single property over five countries.  But as I wrote earlier, unknowingly I had only solved how to manage complicated situations not complexity.

I said I would return to the physical impact of animals that was to lead eventually to understanding a new concept of partial rest.  Animals on the land but with such changed behaviour that they do not physically disturb soil or plants adequately to ensure health of grasslands in seasonal rainfall environments.  This problem could never have been solved in Africa but needed me working in America to solve because never in my life had I been on land so devoid of all life than is here in America.

Both sides of the fence exhibit severe desertification – on one side national park with no livestock, little life and vast expenditure on various soil conservation measures. On the other side ignorance and overstocking and overgrazing with sheep and no money spent on any soil conservation measures.  Both these treatments have been in place for almost 100 years so we should see a difference.  However there is no difference and so what do we observe and learn as scientists?

Again, I will return to this but want you first to think for yourselves.

Do you have any advice regarding how to handle these “turning point” moments in professional life?

From my own and also years of experience working with many professional people I believe that would depend entirely on what drives any professional person.  In my case I have been driven since a young man to save wildlife and later took this broader when I understood habitat destruction is not just a destroyer of wildlife but of all life including humans.

I was willing to sacrifice my career to achieve my aim and did so because I was never driven by money, a desire for recognition or fame but only driven by a determination to find solutions. I found I could not be a serious scientist working in an institution and subject to so many pressures to publish and so little curiosity and openness to learning first.  So I became an independent scientist having no idea how I was going to support my family but seeing no option if I was to be effective and live a meaningful life as a passionate young scientist and actually save the wildlife I loved.  Because of this it has always been relatively easy to admit ignorance, admit mistakes, not take myself too seriously and to largely ignore all the ridicule, rejection and hostility.

I have often said, and I mean it, that I have no deep ownership in Holistic Management and if anyone in the world can tell us where it is flawed or where it is outrightly wrong and that person has a better way of managing complexity I will adopt it immediately. I am willing to drop Holistic Management tomorrow should anyone have a better solution to saving civilization and all higher life as we face global desertification and climate change.  I will do this with ease because nothing drives me but the desire to see a truly better world.  I have observed that others who put career or money or fame first behave differently to any sudden paradigm-shifting insight and generally it is with extreme anger. This makes it impossible to ever give any advice because each of us differs in our levels of self-esteem.  Any young scientist will have and easy time with any paradigm-shifting new insights as long as they have not pinned their self-esteem to their PhD, academic status or fame.  If they have done that they will, as I have observed, respond with anger to any new insights that are seen as threatening.  During the training of thousands of professional people it became easy to pick out the people who would have difficulty as they introduced themselves.  Those who introduced themselves simply as people with a family and a job generally responded well to exposure to new knowledge and are still involved forty years later. Those who introduced themselves as doctor or professor so and so in some high position and not as humans would almost always react with anger and learn nothing.

Did you have any mentors during your professional career? Who were them?

Yes very much so. I had several mentors who still influence my behaviour sixty years later. Two of those had similar backgrounds in that they were passionate scientists but never got to go to university because of the second World War. One was a mammologist at the end of his career employed by the British Museum but who was a Game Ranger with me in Northern Rhodesia. As a young man I believe he even had a paper published on the status of Burmese rhino while fighting behind the Japanese lines so great was his passion. The other a botanist recognized as our finest field botanist in Rhodesia but coming straight out of the army into the Forestry Commission.  From both these men I learned more about the rigour and discipline of science than I gained from a very good university. A third mentor was an American Fullbright Scholar and professor of wildlife management who I worked with for four years in Africa.  I was also influenced heavily when in my teens I read many philosophers and biographies of men who had achieved great things and found them very inspirational.

What do you think is most important in mentor-mentee relationships?

Difficult one to answer.  Thinking as deeply as I can over the years of mentorship and perhaps what was deepest was truly liking and respecting them greatly because of how I observed them behave. I trusted them enormously because none were anything but humble and truly seeking knowledge and they were consistent and devoted to learning rather than job or career.  I don’t think any of them accepted “proof by authority” and all were genuine scientists in my mind – curious, open, never dogmatic, always crediting others very balanced people.  Criticism if ever needed they gave but always criticism of my actions or ideas not of me as a person.  By contrast I have had over fifty years of unbelievable criticism of me, my behaviour and personality and cannot get criticism of my work from most authorities and academics.  I also greatly respected the Professors I had at university because they concentrated so much on teaching us as scientists – when I did anything sloppy they pulled me (or any of us) up in public and tore into our work. And they made a point of always making it clear they were critical of our work not us as people. So we came to understand that in science it is vital to be able to disagree, argue, and discuss one another’s work not personality or character.  I was later to learn how lucky I was with such professors because this is not the norm in academia and I was to spend my life under personal attack and experience the difficulty I do to this day in getting anyone to simply attack my work which I always welcome but seldom get.

Where/how do you find inspiration?

I am not at all sure how to answer this because I don’t think that way – needing inspiration – I just live what I do and desire which is to see a better world pretty much like the generic holistic context I use when visiting other countries, reading research papers, reports, listening to news, etc.  This is that generic holistic context that I believe all reasonable humans would aspire to or desire We want stable families living peaceful lives in prosperity and physical security while free to pursue our own spiritual or religious beliefs. Adequate nutritious food and clean water. Enjoying good education and health in balanced lives with time for family, friends and community and leisure for cultural and other pursuits. All to be ensured, for many generations to come, on a foundation of regenerating soils and biologically diverse communities on Earth’s land and in her rivers, lakes and oceans.
Anyone developing their own holistic context to guide them in the management of their lives will I believe hardly need to look outside for inspiration.

If you could give a general advice to young ecologists starting their careers, what would it be?

I guess I would say to any young ecologist be a scientist not an academic!  I am serious. Science fascinates me but to me is a mix of observation, interpretation, deduction, experimentation, desire to understand nature.

All of the plants, birds, animals that were domesticated to make civilization possible – even developing six vegetables from one weed – was done by ordinary people observing, experimenting and learning and was science before any “scientists”.  However since we have had academics in agriculture we are losing species, varieties, even our cultures and languages under the name of science and we belittle the observational powers and commonsense of farmers.

Liebenberg wrote a book “Tracking the Origin of Science” and I believe he may well be right that science originated with tracking. I know that had I not spent over twenty years of my life tracking animals and humans in peace and in war, I doubt I could ever have developed the Holistic Management framework. Long sleepless nights in the cold or rain unable to light a fire lead to hours of thinking why was the tracking the enemy easy today but was so difficult a couple of days ago? What were the influences on that land we were tracking the enemy across – national park, hunting areas, farms, ranches or communal lands? How did those influences of wildlife, cattle, goats or fire influence the soil, litter, plants that made the tracking so easy or difficult and why?  The good scientist mentors I had were always probing, questioning and open to learning.

Today I hesitate to call many academics scientists because I believe they are simply academics – never questioning, dogmatic and angry when even questioned, don’t believe in observing, interpreting and deducing but only in peer-reviewed papers. Never admit to error, never retract even when clearly wrong and shown to be wrong. Unethical to an extreme that is embarrassing. It is not just my experience as I learned when reading the story of Prof. Karl Hart in High Price – a tenured professor at Columbia he described academic behaviour as less ethical than the drug gang hood of Miami where he grew up. 

Having had literally thousands of graduates from US land grant colleges through my hands in training sessions, I despair – many young people who must have been bright to get into universities are being turned out brain dead and unemployable except by a government agency or environmental organization.  Again this is not just my conclusion if you read John Ralston Saul’s best selling “Voltaire’s Bastards” on his exhaustive research. I quote “The reality is that the division of knowledge into feudal fiefdoms of expertise has made general understanding and coordinated action not simply impossible but despised and distrusted. ……In many ways the differences between various languages today are less profound than the differences between the professional dialects within each language. Any reasonably diligent person can learn one or two extra tongues. But the dialect of the accountant, doctor, political scientist, economist, literary historian or bureaucrat is available only to those who become one”.

I see that another independent scientist as I became had much the same view – James Lovelock – when he appealed to academics to become scientists saying they had everything to gain and nothing to lose except their grants!

So my advice I guess would be to be a scientist first academic second if that makes sense.  I said I would return to the matter of physical animal impact and here is the place. That picture I showed above with the land desertifying with severe habitat destruction for all life on both sides of the fence has been like that for close on a century. It is managed by government agencies – US National Parks Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management and observed by US environmental organizations, universities and the US has a severe problem of desertification and it arouses no curiosity!!!

How are we training people as scientists with so little curiosity or concern? So little power of observation and ability to see something as dramatic as this and not start thinking, questioning, asking, discussing? I have taken hundreds of academics to that very site and they leave and never follow up with any learning, any interest. Something in our education system is going wrong and endangering the US but it is beyond my understanding. Let’s see how you follow up. What do you conclude, what do you research or read to try to learn why the result is the same on both sides of that fence despite radically different treatments.

Because young scientists are so vitally important to the future I have spent considerable time answering your questions. Yes clearly I a willing to collaborate with you because you are the future.  The youth of today are rebelling and demanding adults take action on climate change.  What is that action to be?  When adult scientists are not even curious about the lack of fence contrast above what hope are we giving the youth?  What action will politicians take if they respond to youth demand?  Politicians have no idea what to do and they can only rely on professional advisors coming out of our universities.

Even much maligned Robert Mugabe stated “We do not have a greater problem than our rising population and our deteriorating environment.  We politicians do not know what to do. All we can do is to take the advice of our professional advisors, but when it goes wrong we get the blame”.  Think of that as future professional advisors and let’s see how I can help in any collaboration to see if we can do better.

 

Solar Power and True Democracy from the Voice who Led the No Nukes Movement

 


A life-long activist who speaks, writes and organizes widely on energy, the environment, US and global history, drug war, election protection and grassroots politics.

He taught (2004-2017) US history and western civilization, cultural and ethnic diversity, ecological history and globalization at Capital University and Columbus State Community College in central Ohio; and history, journalism and the Occultural Revolution at Hampshire College, Amherst, MA (1973-5).

He is co/author  of some 20 books; of  innumerable articles, essays and op eds appearing on the internet; two documentary films; a Grammy-winning song. He is host/producer of two weekly radio shows.  Howard Zinn, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Marianne Williamson, Studs Terkel, Kurt Vonnegut, Bonnie Raitt, Dennis Kucinich, Dr. Helen Caldicott, Ed Asner, Ina Mae Gaskin, Ralph Nader, Greg Palast, Dar Williams, H. Bruce Franklin, Lila Garrett, Eric Roberts, Eric Foner, Paul Krassner, Mimi Kennedy, Thom Hartmann, Tatanka, Joel Segal, Ken Wachsberger,  Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., are among those who have introduced and/or endorsed his work.
 
He currently hosts California Solartopiaat KPFK-Pacifca 90.7FM Los Angeles, and the nationwide PRN.fm podcast Green Power & Wellness Show.
 
He has an MA from the University of Chicago in US History, and a BA from the University of Michigan, in history and journalism.
 
In 1962 Harvey marched de-segregate a roller rink in Columbus; met Dr. Martin Luther King on the Meredith March for civil rights in Grenada, Mississippi, in 1966.
As a student editor at the University of Michigan Daily, his 1966 editorial “The Use of Marijuana: It Should be Legal” went viral on the UPI’s global wire.

Harvey marched on the Pentagon in 1967, the Chicago Democratic Convention in 1968, and  helped found the anti-war Liberation News Service (1967) and the communal organic Montague Farm in Massachusetts, a pioneer in a new generation’s movement against chemical farming (1968-2003).

In 1972 HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE U.S., introduced by Howard Zinn, published by Harper & Row, helped pioneer a new generation of people’s histories.

Harvey helped coined the phrase “No Nukes” in 1973-4, and “Solartopia” in 2005.  Since 2004 he has worked to helped secure free, fair and reliable elections.

In 1976-8 he helped coordinate mass non-violent Clamshell Alliance actions nukes at Seabrook, New Hampshire. In 1979, as part of the Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) No Nukes Concerts/rally in Madison Square Garden/Battery Park City, he edited the informational booklet accompanying the gold triple album.

In 1982 Harvey co-wrote (with Norman Solomon, Bob Alvarez & Eleanor Walters) KILLING OUR OWN: THE DISASTER OF AMERICA’S EXPERIENCE WITH ATOMIC RADIATION, documenting nuclear power’s harm.

In 1990 he became Senior Advisor to Greenpeace USA, for whom he spoke to 350,000 semi-conscious rock fans at Woodstock 2 (1994). In Kiev (1996) he spoke at the tenth anniversary commemoration of the Chernobyl disaster, and then in Kaliningrad, in the former Soviet Union, where he met with “liquidators” whose lives and health had been sacrificed in the Chernobyl clean-up.

In central Ohio, Harvey co-founded the Great Blue Heron Alliance, which saved 240 acres of land for a wildlife refuge, and grassroots campaigns that shut a trash-burning power plant, stopped a regional radioactive waste dump, shut a McDonald’s and saved the city of Bexley’s Jeffrey Park.

With Dan Juhl, Harvey co-wrote “Harvesting Wind Energy as a Cash Crop,” a guide for farmer/community-owned renewables.

Harvey and Bob Fitrakis broke many of the major stories on the theft of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio, and were called “the Woodward and Bernstein” of election protection by Rev. Jackson Jackson.  They’ve since published numerous more books and articles on the strip & flip disaster of Ameica’s stolen elections.

With Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and Graham Nash, Harvey helped form NukeFree.org  which (2007) helped stop $50 billion in new reactor loan guarantees.   On March 11, 2011, Harvey was among the first to go viral on the internet with news of the Fukushima disaster.  He helped campaign for the successful shut-down of California’s San Onofre nuke plant, and continues to campaign for the shut-down of Dablo Canyon, California’s last reactors.  He currently lives & works in Los Angeles.  

John Perkins: How we can remake financial markets to serve us all

An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the World Financial Markets IMPLODED— and What We Need to Do to Remake Them

“John Perkins has been in and out of the world of high finance and low ethics, and in Hoodwinked he not only illuminates that world with dramatic stories and keen insights, but suggests what we might do to create a better society.”—Howard Zinn, bestselling author of “A People’s History of the United States”.

Now in paperback, bestselling author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins pulls back the curtain on the real cause of the global economic meltdown with an all-new chapter.

Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Countrywide didn’t collapse simply because they made unwise bets on the subprime markets. The subprime mortgage  fiascos, the banking industry collapse, the rising tide of unemployment, the shuttering of small businesses across the landscape are all too familiar symptoms of a far greater disease. In his former life as an economic hit man, John Perkins was on the front lines both as an observer and a perpetrator of events, once confined only to the third world, that have now sent the United States—and in fact the entire planet—spiraling toward  disaster.

In his new paperback edition, Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the World Financial Markets IMPLODED–and What We Need to Do to Remake Them (Crown Business Paperback; $14.00), Perkins pulls back the curtain on the real cause of the current global financial meltdown. He shows how we’ve been hoodwinked by the CEOs who run the corporatocracy—those few corporations that control the vast amounts of capital, land, and resources around the globe—and the politicians they manipulate. These corporate fat cats, Perkins explains, have sold us all on what he calls “predatory capitalism,” a misguided form of geopolitics and capitalism that encourages a widespread exploitation of the many to benefit a small number of the already very wealthy (consider that CEO compensation runs to 400 times the pay of the average worker).

Their arrogance, gluttony, and mismanagement have brought us to this perilous edge.

But there is a way out

Inspired by the birth of his grandson in 2007, Perkins wrote Hoodwinked to make clear that we can create a healthy economy that will encourage businesses to act responsibly, not only in the interests of their shareholders and corporate partners (and the lobbyists they have in their pockets), but in the interests of their employees, their customers, the environment, and society at large. And he’s laid out a plan to do so—a course of action that we can take both as individuals and as a society.

If a relatively few of us, a critical mass—a tiny percentage of the population—consciously takes action, we will succeed, says Perkins. His strategy for implementing change encompasses five arenas of action:

I. How do we adopt attitudues that encourage good stewardship? Adopting Attitudes that Encourage Good Stewardship: After the Great Depression, our concept of heroism shifted. We began to see corporate executives as champions. We made icons of the likes of Donald Trump, a ruthless real estate developer, and Jack Welch, the former Chairman and CEO of GE who bragged about laying off one quarter of his company’s employees while paying himself multimillion dollar salaries. During the past four decades, we have sent a strong message of support to the modern equivalent of the robber barons. The heroes we choose guide our young people into making decisions about how they will lead their lives, and how they, as a generation will impact our economy and environment.

II. Current systems clearly are not serving the people so How are we enabling systems that work, that serve the people, that provide us with wholesome food, clean water and air, better education, affordable education without the burden of overwhelming student debt, better health systems, un-corrupted information, legal
systems that work, and cooperation? How can we collectively create and develop a well-informed solutions based media network that represents the people and not just the corporations? We can do this ourselves, you know! It is up to us to reverse the process that sprang out of the mutant virus of capitalism that infected our
economy, to let our leaders know that what we truly want is wholesome food, clean water and air, healthcare, the assurance that we will be provided for after retirement, legal systems that protect us and our rights—in short, a sustainable, just world.

III.How are we creating a better economy, healthier ecosysems, collaboration and cooperatives that truly engage the people in better health and better overall systems?

Creating a New Economy: Take a stroll through Wal-Mart, sift through the variety of selection decisions (Corn Flakes—with or without sugar? Or honey? Or raisins? Or strawberries?), and you’ll realize, the world is full of junk no one needs. Meanwhile a billion or more people are on the verge of starvation.
In the last few years, ten countries in Latin America have voted in new presidents who have opened the door to a new economy. They are showing the rest of us a way to combine a form of capitalism that produces things the world truly needs with the goal of making profits while creating a sustainable world.

IV.How do we enable a better understanding of how our actions impact others while accepting consumer and public responsibility? Accepting Consumer Responsibility:

Paying more for products made by companies that are socially and environmentally responsible is always an investment in the future. “Sometimes, you may not be able to afford that investment,” says Perkins. “You may have to purchase the cheaper item. If that happens, at least be conscious that you’re forgoing an investment. Beyond that, make a commitment to yourself that when you can afford it, you will do the smart thing, the thing that is best for you and everyone else over the long term.”
V. How do we engage more people in demanding new rules for business and leadership so our leaders truly represent us all? Implementing New Rules for Business and Government: If we are serious about changing our current situation, we have no choice but to set up rules and regulations that prevent us from engaging in activities that melt the glaciers, pollute the oceans, and fill the air with toxins. We must let the corporations know that we want better controls. We must demand legislation to protect our economy. We cannot afford to be lulled into complacency or allow indicators of “good news” like temporary increases in the stock market, lower oil prices, and payoffs of loans by bailed out banks soothe us into believing that things have returned to “normal.”

VI.How do we enable a higher level of consciousness amongst the masses so we can honor our individual passions and pathways—and therefore move away from dissatisfaction with our jobs and lives into passionate careers and lives? Afterall, Ordinary people who are filled with passion accomplish incredible things! Honoring our Individual Passions: Ordinary people, filled with passion, accomplish extraordinary tasks. Whether you are a carpenter, dentist, plumber, housewife, or something else, you can talk to your friends, family, and clients about the issues, join organizations that represent your passions, send emails, use materials that are environmentally and socially responsible, support politicians who take actions oriented toward future generations, vote in the marketplace for companies committed to doing the right thing, and accomplish objectives you have only dared to dream about until now.

Many books have been written about the pros and cons of Obama’s economic plan, current schemes for reforming Wall Street, and other short-term policies. These books deal with triage—the band aides we must now apply in order to stop the hemorrhaging. Hoodwinked is not about triage. It is concerned with larger issues. It addresses the disease that caused the bleeding.
And offers a cure.

JOHN PERKINS had the official title of Chief Economist at a major international consulting firm during the 1970s. He advised the World Bank, United Nations, International Monetary Fund (IMF), U.S. Treasury Department, Fortune 500 corporations, and countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. In his role as economic hit man, he worked directly with heads of state and CEOs of major companies to promote and develop the types of projects described in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, a book that spent more than sixty-five weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He has been published in over thirty languages and is required reading at universities and business schools in the United States and many other countries.

During the 1980s, he was CEO of an alternative energy company that was a pioneer in developing environmentally beneficial power plants. He devoted much of his time in the 1990s and 2000s not only to writing and lecturing, but also to establishing and supporting Dream Change, The Pachamama Alliance, and other nonprofit organizations that are committed to creating a sustainable, just, and peaceful world.

 

How localization leads to optimal health and well-being, hope and happiness.

At a time of rapid change, there is a better way forward. A path that leads to optimal health and well-being, hope and happiness. 

Localization.

As globalization and consolidation has changed many of the ways we live and work, it has also contributed to the depletion of resources, on-going pandemics and crises and human suffering.

For four decades, Local Futures has revitalized  communities and local economies around the world

Mobilized spent about one hour speaking with the visionary founder of Local Futures to the ideas into action for a better way forward.

“A new human story founded on connection and diversity is emerging. It’s called localization.”

Helena Norberg-Hodge, Founder and Director is the founder and director of Local Futures/ISEC. A pioneer of the ‘new economy’ movement, she has been promoting an economics of personal, social and ecological well-being for more than forty years. She is the producer and co-director of the award-winning documentary The Economics of Happiness, and the author of several books, including Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh, described as “an inspirational classic”, and most recently Local is Our Future. She was honored with the Right Livelihood Award (or ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’) for her groundbreaking work in Ladakh, and received the Goi Peace Prize for contributing to “the revitalization of cultural and biological diversity, and the strengthening of local communities and economies worldwide.”

 


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The middle.

A reader recently noted that our situation seems very similar to the late 1930’s.  In that time, the world was torn up with war.  For many people, it felt like the true end of the world.  It was a battle of good vs. evil, black vs. white.  There was nothing to do but fight.

They were largely correct.  And, they were wrong.  Because once the war was over, time marched on.  There have been other wars, other bad guys to vanquish.  Some of the ideas that were dominant in that time are still kicking around, gathering followers even though they were discredited 8 decades ago.  Accordingly, I want to help you re-frame your every day thinking. If your philosophy of life is based on the fundamental idea that this is a ‘last chance’ then you will not gain traction.

It is not.

Every generation, every single one for roughly 15,000 years now, has bathed itself in the fallacy that it was the last, best hope.  That it was the only people with special knowledge; and so that whatever choices they made therefore MUST be correct and therefore MUST be enacted.

We are no different.  It was a fallacy when begun, it is a fallacy now.  We A} simply do not know enough to have any real assurance that we are correct; and B} have blinded ourselves with arrogance over and over again that we DID in fact know… and… were proven wrong over time.

Nothing ever ends.  Every generation of our present civilization only grudgingly gives up the reins to the next one, because it is so certain that it is ‘Right’.  That’s a pity, because none of this particular struggle is necessary.

You, and many others who are concerned about the present situation, are quite right to be concerned.  But coming at the problem from a point of view that “Doom is just around the corner”, and that “drastic actions must occur NOW or else”; that is not a successful strategy.  It didn’t work in Europe in the early 1930’s**, for example.  It didn’t work in Prague in 1968.  It didn’t work in the US in the late 60’s / early 70’s.  I would even argue that such a philosophy actually made the problem worse here in the USA because all those hippies “dropped out” and stopped even trying.  Then, in the 80’s they “sold out” and became selfish Yuppies.  So take a lesson from that – preaching Doom is far more likely, FAR more likely, to result in a backlash against your stated goals, than not.

This moment in history is not our last chance, not by a long shot.  We are at best in the middle of history, and as such should act accordingly.  One can make a fair argument that the next century will be a painful one, no argument from me about that.  But the planet is billions of years old.  Humans have had communities for hundreds of thousands of years.  It’s only yesterday, historically speaking, that we changed course and have run ourselves into a ditch.  (When I say “yesterday”, I mean 15,000 years ago when we began to lock up food and deny it to other people.  What most people learn in school as “the invention of agriculture”.  It was no such thing, and that lie alone is responsible for much suffering today).

If you want to succeed, and I truly think that you do, you need to change your perspective.  You need to see this problem from both the lens of ‘Right Now’, and from the lens of History.  Most folks feel compelled to do a huge amount of work on the ‘Right Now’ side.  It is a very understandable motivation since many problems have festered for far too long.  But doing so leaves ones argument open to attack on the ‘Bigger Picture’ front.  In other words, most of us are too close to the problem to see it for what it truly is.  I take no pleasure in saying that.  But I too have been in that position, and my actions were likewise not successful.  Take a step back, and come at it again.

WE, us who know that solutions exist, we have to do better.  And so we need better strategies than the ones they used.  I hope that this note is received in the spirit in which I write it: with the deepest desire for a better and more fair society in every corner of the planet.  All, within my lifetime.  We certainly agree that the present situation is far from that.  Do your work – teach other folks, build and implement new systems, what have you.  But do not fall prey to feeling like your efforts are too small, or too late.  Ever.

Just do the work.

In the fullness of time, it will pay off handsomely.

 

 

 


**I talked about WWII above.  Need to make a big distinction: If we’re talking about the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, well, in many ways it really was the end of the world.  My point is that our moment (at time of this writing) is far closer in parallels to the early 1930’s.   The time before the war broke out in earnest.  The folks who warned of coming danger were ignored.  It would have all been so much better if their warnings were heeded.  They meant well, I presume that they also did their very best to tell the world not to go to war…. but they failed utterly.

We are the folks doing the warning in this present era.  So we owe it to ourselves to do a better job than the people in early 1930’s Europe did.

Represent Us: James Jameson: Wiki Politiki

https://mobilized.news/wp-content/uploads/Wiki-Politiki-James-Jameson.1.29.19.mp3?_=1

James Jameson is a versed campaign operative, bringing multi-faceted experience to RepresentUs. Starting off with fundraising for the 2012 Marriage Equality campaign in Maine, James has led canvass efforts in three states and field efforts in two. In the 2016 cycle, James served as the New Hampshire Out-of-State Director for Bernie Sanders before joining his National Advance Team, traveling to 27 states, and building rallies of thousands of people. Since first getting into political campaigning, James has been passionate about electoral reform, and was involved with Maine’s Ranked Choice Voting victory.

 

 

Courtesy: Wikipolitiki

Wiki Politiki is his latest project to inspire and empower a new political order that he calls “Deep Center.”  It’s not the centrist bipartisanism that seeks to preserve the status quo (impossible in the current evolutionary environment), but rather a transpartisan awareness that comes from honoring the sacred (whether that be represented by a Deity, a One Spirit, or the Web of Life) and building a world of thrival for each and all.  When people remark, “Oh, that sounds utopian,” he likes to remind them that one of the great visionary philosophers of the 20th Century, R. Buckminster Fuller, wrote a prescient book entitled Utopia or Oblivion.  That, says Steve, is our stark choice and our greatest opportunity.

 

 

 

 

About Represent.us
Brings together conservatives, progressives, and everyone in between to pass powerful anti-corruption laws that stop political bribery, end secret money, and fix our broken elections.

 

Have you seen?
Michael Douglas and Jennifer Lawrence appeared in Represent.us videos. You can experience them below:

 

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“The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention. It is the most important product of his creative brain. Its ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of the mind over the material world, the harnessing of the forces of nature to human needs.”  --Inventor Nikola Tesla

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We would like each individual submitting to have their own unique style and never compromise on their unique creative flow. It is important, however, to make sure that all submissions have certain ethical guidelines and principles.

What we look for:

Story Length: Pieces typically run about 500 to 800 words, though longer is also okay.

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Forward thinking

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Objectives

About Mobilized

Information and communications plays a vital role not only in formulating environmental management policies but also in the decision making process aiming at environmental protection and improvement of environment for sustaining good quality of life for the living beings. Hence, management of environment is key component and thus plays an important role in effecting a balance between the demands and resources available for keeping the environmental quality at a satisfactory level.
Realizing such need Ministry set up an Environmental Information System (ENVIS) in 1983 as a plan programme as a comprehensive network in environmental information collection, collation, storage, retrieval and dissemination to varying users, which include decision-makers, researchers, academicians, policy planners and research scientists, etc.
ENVIS was conceived as a distributed information network with the subject-specific centers to carry out the mandates and to provide the relevant and timely information to all concerned. Further, association of the various State Governments/UTs was also felt necessary in promoting the ENVIS network to cover a wide range of subjects. The subject area for States/UTs ENVIS Centers was the status of environment and related issues. Thus, the network was expanded gradually with the involvement of thematic subject-areas and State Government/UT departments to make it a more comprehensive environmental information network.
ENVIS network at present consists of a chain of 69 network partners out of which 40 are on subject-specific and 29 on State/UT related issues. These network partners are called ENVIS Centers and are located in the notable organizations/institutions/State/UT Government Departments/Universities throughout the country. The focal point of ENVIS is located in the Ministry and assists the Environment Information (EI) Division in coordinating the activities of all the ENVIS network partners by making ENVIS a web-enabled comprehensive information system.
Objectives of ENVIS Centers
Long-term objectives
  • To build up a repository and dissemination centre in Environmental Science and Engineering.
  • To gear up the modern technologies of acquisition, processing, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information of environmental nature.
  • To support and promote research, development and innovation in environmental information technology.
Short-term objectives
  • To provide national environmental information service relevant to present needs and capable of development to meet the future needs of the users, originators, processors and disseminators of information.
  • To build up storage, retrieval and dissemination capabilities with the ultimate objectives of disseminating information speedily to the users.
  • To promote, national and international cooperation and liaison for exchange of environment related information.
  • To promote, support and assist education and personnel training programmes designed to enhance environmental information processing and utilization capabilities.
  • To promote exchange of information amongst developing countries.
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