modern slavery

Social justice  is one of the trifecta  of sustainability (the other two are environmental and economics).  But modern slavery still exists, in our own backyards…and most of us unknowingly contribute to it. Sure, Apple i-phones and apparel, food, etc. are sometimes purchased from dubious factories that are not exactly upward on the scale of social justice, BUT…

….if you get frequent package shipments to your home,  you are contributing to the work load of truckers and mega-warehouse workers – both working within slavery conditions.  Consider this:

Truckers

Most of our packages are delivered from a seaport to a central warehouse to our homes by trucks.The next time you’re rollin’ at 70+mph next to a couple 18 wheelers, consider the condition of the driver.  Here’s one of the stories behind truckers. A recent USA Today Report shows one truck driver making 67cents/week!

Thousands of drivers work up to 20 hours a day, sometimes for pennies. When they get sick or refuse to keep working, trucking companies fire them and take their truck lease payments and more.  USATODAY.COM article link here:
 “A yearlong investigation by the USA TODAY Network found that port trucking companies in southern California have spent the past decade forcing drivers to finance their own trucks by taking on debt they could not afford. Companies then used that debt as leverage to extract forced labor and trap drivers in jobs that left them destitute.”
Amazon warehouse slaves
We’re all into instant gratification.  You order some stuff on the Internet and it shows up three hours later. How could all the things that need to happen, make that happen so fast?
And soon a drone may deliver it within the hour, and teleportation coming soon…  yikes!
Warehouse handlers making $7.25/hour and hundreds of people anxiously on the wait list for these jobs that are way below the poverty line.   Stress leave,  illnesses,  quitting and reapplying, are all part of the daily grind of warehouse slaves.
Do you really want to support the corporate behemoths that continue this by design?  Can’t we put robots in place of humans for this?
some links to explore:
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Solutions?  Until driverless trucks and robotic warehouses are a reality,  I minimize ordering ‘stuff’.  I do things this way:  1) Do I really need this?  2) Can I borrow it from somebody?  3)Does the local HfH Resource/hospice/SaverMart have it?  4)Can I buy it locally? And after a few weeks if I still really need it, I’ll order it along with a whole bunch of other stuff and get it delivered to a post office.
Outside of not using a shipping service, there’s only so much you can do.  Combining orders, picking up your package at a brick&mortar store, using a mail center or post office where thousands of packages are delivered more efficiently are all better than a UPS/FedEx driver trucking all the way to your home to deliver one small package.

‘Drawdown’ update

I’ll let Paul Hawken do the talking:

(see an update from Tom Brady’s wife on Drawdown below)

I want to share three important areas of interest with you.

First, the Drawdown book took off like a rabbit on its release date April 18th and became the #9 New York Times bestseller in its first week. This is the first time a climate or environmental book achieved this distinction in over 25 years. The last two were Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature in 1989 and Al Gore’s Earth in the Balance in 1992. After only eight weeks, it is in its fourth printing. After two decades of books, blogs, and articles that have been unrelenting in terms of threat if not fear, the world is hungry to know what we can do together as communities, parents, companies, schools, students, churches, cities, and more.

Our Advisor, Jon Foley, head of the California Academy of Science, believes the world does not need more climate science or facts in order to change. Society has been hammered by them. The climate movement has often operated from a “science deficit model,” the idea that if people have more facts about what is going wrong and how things are worsening more quickly, that will solve the problem in terms of lack of engagement. It has the opposite effect as psychologists are quick to point out. The Drawdown approach has gained a large following quickly because it does not make people wrong or invoke fear and doom as a motivating method. We believe the science is impeccable. The IPCC has created an astounding problem statement. The daily reports about climate impacts reinforce the accuracy and rigor of the problem statement. Given that, we need to work vigorously on the solutions, all of the solutions. People have never before seen a comprehensive, science-based list of solutions until Drawdown.

Second, we are now working directly with the Commonwealth of Nations based out of London. Formerly the British Commonwealth until 1969, it comprises 52 nations with nearly one-third of the world’s population. Under the leadership of the Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, the Commonwealth is initiating with its member nations an initiative based on Drawdown: Regenerative Development through Reversing Climate Change (RDRCC). We work hand-in-hand with the Secretary General and her staff. Our research team led by Chad Frischmann will be endeavoring to map applicable solutions onto specific nation-states to measure the beneficial impacts, the positive externalities. We believe, based on analysis and data, that economic regeneration, ecological regeneration, social regeneration, and the regeneration of the atmosphere are identical. We are the only species without full employment, and never has so much work needed to be done. My personal motto for the RDRCC is “Let there be jobs.” We firmly believe that the only way to reverse global warming is to meet human needs. Providing dignified, family-wage employment that provides people world over a sense of worth and meaning is the pathway to reversing global warming. Our data show that is is profitable on virtually every level. Please see the link below for more information.

Third, and this is critical, we truly need your support. People may believe that having a best-selling book and a wonderfully designed website indicate that we are well-funded organization. Because the entire staff had been devoted to both the creation and promotion of the book, we were not able to direct our attention to fundraising. It was all hands on deck. If you believe in the importance of the work, if you want comprehensive, science-based solutions to lead the climate movement instead of fear and despair, if you appreciate what we have been able to do with very modest amounts of money, know that we urgently need your financial support. Please help us help the world to pursue the reversal of global warming. Thank you.

Paul Hawken

Regenerative Conference UK May 2017

——————————————–UPDATE——————

Even Tom Brady is supporting Drawdown with his wife Gisele Buenchen:   http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gisele-bundchen-evironmentalist-paul-hawken-climate-change/

“….Tom Brady says, ‘Unless I had this plant-based diet, I would not be the player I am and I would not be — have the career at 39 that I do,'” Rose said.
 
“He’s almost 40, right? … But the thing is, he said he’s been feeling so much better, I have to say it’s amazing. You know? The way he feels, he doesn’t feel achy. He just feels so much more energy,” Bündchen said.  …”http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/gisele-bundchen-on-tom-bradys-concussions

Pipelines & microgrids

Gas & Hazardous Liquids Pipelines

Pipelines are everywhere. There’s probably one near you right now  delivering hundreds of cubic feet of a fossil fuel allowing you to live comfortably.  Whether you’re in the countryside or downtown of a big city – pipelines are everywhere.  There is a solution to get rid of pipelines – and it’s right there waiting in your hood… just like your farmers market!

San Bruno 2010 Gas Pipe explosion

The people of San Bruno, CA.  discovered their pipeline in a violent way on September 9, 2010  when a PG&E gasline exploded underneath their homes killing eight people and destroying 38 homes. That pipeline was 30” in diameter going right underneath a major suburban area. It was part of PG&E’s 1800 miles of major gas transmission feedlines.

1st hand PG&E experience
When I was doing intense six month training period at PG&E in 1977, a gas department VP  explained how their piplines were used as storage tanks and the pressures could vary 10x fold depending on various demand and supply needs within the system. At that time I thought it was an ingenious, multiple use for a simple underground pipeline system, now we know different.

I’ve come to discover since that the utilities also have massive ‘natural’ underground storage caverns… but that’s a whole different topic.

Other pipelines    Even low pressure pipelines like the infamous DAPL and Excel oil pipelines present unseen hazards to our comfortable living environment. Any and all pipelines present hazards to modern living – even the countless little gas/electric/water/sewer pipes in and under your home.  A low pressure water pipe can create an immense sink hole.  In last year’s DAPL demonstrations, the chant ‘Water is Life’   

DAPL demonstrations

resonated with me.   Even tho oil is now flowing (for now) through the DAPL line, we need to remain vigil and insist that no pipeline be placed within 150 feet of a body of water.  Is that so difficult?  Is that so outrageous?  We don’t allow oil refineries next to schools and hospitals, why should we tolerate pipelines close to our homes any less?  It’s a simple resolution to start on.

We need to get around in our cars.  Pipelines are safer than railcar delivery. Pipelines are here to stay.  Let’s just stop polluting countless underground aquifers and geological formations for centuries to come with pipelines that will satisfy our appetite for gasoline for only 30 years??  We have rules that we  shouldn’t piss within 150 feet of a river or lake when you’re out hiking – so why not the same for pipelines?  It’s just common sense!

The case for microgrids        

Power island

 

The ultimate solution is to wean ourselves away from all this massive, centralized infrastructure and just like our food supply (local farmers markets and not big Ag), take control of our own community’s energy needs.  Several cities are already well on their way in taking control of their energy needs.

 One example:   

MAKE  BROOKLYN  LOCAL  “In New York, the Brooklyn microgrid is conceived to work with the conventional grid, which is in the midst of a reboot under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s directives to make it more flexible, resilient and economically efficient while reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. That effort, known as Reforming the Energy Vision, or REV, includes encouraging the development of microgrids and more active community participation.” ….    -New York Times

REAL microgrids

I’d take it one step further like some European cities are doing: cut the cord to the main grid completely and embrace your neighbors’ microgrids for backup and resilience.  With all the renewable choices out there, a symbiotic relationship between microhydro, geothermal, wind, solar, and biogas/mass can easily be tailored to each community’s needs.

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eating local

You’ve heard that eating local is the thing to do.  But how about sourcing all your food locally – is that even possible?  From your tea/coffee to your starches (rice, potatoes, pasta), to your drinks.  I’m lucky if I can  arrive at 50% – and that’s in Northern California – where we have ample fruits, vegies, rice, wine, etc.

I would be fortunate to get 50% of my food intake locally.   Starting with my first morning routine: coffee.  How can I  get local coffee when the nearest coffee plantation is in Santa Barbara – 400 miles away?  … and they have 5 acres with beans selling at $60/lb.  How can 90% of consumers in 1st world countries get their coffee or teas locally? Where are the large tea/coffee plantations in the USA or Europe?

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Another consideration in going local on all  food is the seasonality.  It’s easier in summer, difficult in winter.  They say an apple stored in a warehouse for several months, is way carbon intensive than an apple shipped from Chile.  That gives me pause.  Maybe the best solution is dehydration or canning.  Freezing in my book uses way too much energy, although it is quick and convenient.

Again, I am spoiled in California – we have year round greens:  the Salinas valley on the coast has year-round moderate temperatures and hectares of greenhouses.

I think greenhouses, vertical and urban farming have tremendous bright futures as fresh, local food becomes more important to every human.

Is it really local?

The label ‘local’ and ‘regional’ are not regulated.  I don’t trust my local farmer markets anymore.  There are unlabeled white trucks from industrial farms 500 miles away pretending to be local organic farmers.  I ask questions and am connected with local farmers and CSAs where I volunteer and help out on.

For most people the best they can do is join a local CSA and  get to know their own local farmers and pay them fairly.   I find that many local farmers discard  ‘not-so-perfect’ food since customers won’t buy them – so you probably get a bounty of imperfect produce at  low cost.

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Here’s a great article on one European’s experience in sourcing all their food locally…German DW article

http://www.dw.com/en/would-you-eat-local-for-a-week-i-tried-and-discovered-what-eating-green-really-means/a-36751273