Posted by: Re.Rooting | 18 June, 2008

Sustainability and Justice is for Everyone!

Lately, I’ve been struggling with not only making the case for localization and sustainability, but ensuring that the case is made accessible to everyone (in the U.S. in this case). It is in humanity’s best interest to ensure that we all safely transcend the convoluted, inefficient and misrepresentative systems and doctrines we currently ascribe to. More and more, however, I realize that a lot of it involves returning to our core values as a country and building a foundation out of dignity, trust and respect for one another. This is something we can all work towards, with the revolution of the mind and open access to knowledge and the resources to attain these goals. Many people who ascribe to the political center, such as moderate liberals, and those further along on the right of the spectrum find themselves trapped in a web of miseducation about the issues of the need for and real models of sustainability and justice and how these can be achieved. In order to reach the point where the need for sustainability and justice is common consensus, there are some steps we can take in educating the public about these issues and showing them the wealth of possibilities for how it can be attained. Here is an outline of some angles I have devised for making a common, baseline argument and drawing out important points in ways that are sensible and realistic.

REAL Traditional American values:
Self Sufficiency
Family and Community Responsibility

Instead of eco-friendly, ‘ecologically sensible’. Its common sense, duh!
Also, all of what we are proposing is not necessarily so much radical as it is sensible!

REAL Knowledge:

-knowledge for empowerment, that is useful and applicable and grounded
-knowledge that is available, not tied up in bureaucratic institutions, causing redundant research and inefficient research and design development processes
-respect for elders, the worldly and wise who understand ecosystems, and the political and economic systems embedded in them for what they are in actuality, and for those who have achieved and spread Swadeshi

REAL Political and Economic Dignity:
-Participatory, self governed organisations based on truth and serving real human needs, not the needs of the privileged few
-Abundance of available means to self reliance (nothing more sad and embarassing than losing your job at <> and being forced to sit-on-ass while your family scrambles for money)
^ relates to localizing economies. money should be able to stay in a community, not quickly climb the corporate ladder and end up in offshore accounts. your local global walmart provides goods 99% produced in other countries, pays employees pitiable wages that do go back into the community, what little there is, and then the profit goes who knows where. How do union guys feel about that?

REAL Farms, Real Food:
-small farms where you know where your food is coming from and you know whats in it, and building sustenance oriented economic relationships on trust and providing real, sustainable interdependance. Not only is the farmer benefited by eliminating a mountain of middlemen, but also the food “consumer” who is able to trade goods, services, or local currency for good food that comes from the local bioregion or ecosystem is benefiting. talk about a mutualistic relationship!
-Also, the food has intrinsic value in its utility, its nutrition, its flavour and the difficulty in growing, instead of being tossed around like a ragdoll on futures markets as if people didnt need it to survive.

REAL Technology
Technology that can provide a heritage, where precious resources of knowledge, ingenuity and physical natural resources and energy are not wasted on crappy products that are designed for discard. This is not just a bad trick, its injustice. We have the capacity to design technology to last for as long as possible, to be easily maintained and repaired and to provide material utility that can be handed down through generations and passed between friends and relatives as producive drives change (i.e. i’ve been making circuit boards for 6 years now, maybe i’ll go into building earthbuildings.) My friend andy talks about how his grandpa still uses tractors from the late 60s/early 70s. The ’71 model has never had a rebuild. It will last for an extremely long time. Jim told me about how his buddy just got rid of a tractor because it wouldnt make fiscal sense to repair it, and now hes buying one thats $300,000 and most likely won’t last long. We can do so much better than that. (of course, you guys are working on this and the food issue)

Recognizing that its not just the left that is effected by bad policy, but everyone. Not only have we been suckered into being dependent on vast, confabulatory and inefficient systems, but many have also been convinced that this still equates with being independent. Farmers, soldiers (why does the military have to provide some of the only jobs available in small towns?), small business owners, truckers, the list goes on and on. The problem here is that many of the oppressed do not realize that they are oppressed, or blame it on all the wrong things, leading them down a self destructive path to unsustainability and reliance on unviable systems.

My great grandpa, a farmer who today would be considered to be using organic methods in his orchards and melon patches, would be disgusted with the status quo and would be proud that his progeny is doing something about it. I intend to be proud of my progeny for doing the same. And we have a responsibility to them, whether you have kids or not, to give them real options and viable solutions to deal with. Lets not be the generation that gave up, that surrendered to the volatility of negative human impact when it could have been harnessed it for the betterment of all.

Don’t be a fool. Sustainability isn’t a dream, its a tool. (for resilience)


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