Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

Nuclear Waste Cost Estimates will Likely Increase

d07761.pdf (application/pdf Object)

Here is a newly released GAO study on nuclear waste whose title says it all-

Nuclear Waste: Plans for Addressing Most Buried Transuranic Wastes Are
Not Final, and Preliminary Cost Estimates Will Likely Increase.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Agricultural commodities | Biofuelled |

Agricultural commodities | Biofuelled |

More ammunition showing that as food crops such as corn and soy are turned toward biofuels production, their prices have begun to reflect the (increasing) price of oil. Meanwhile, as more of the world's people become "well-off" enough to consume meat, the grains the steers, milk cows, and chickens feed on are in competition with biofuels cultivation and driving up their cost, so more for meat, poultry, eggs and milk.

Moral: Eat more produce, drive less.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Fruit could make 'powerful fuel'

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Fruit could make 'powerful fuel'

This makes the point that widespread use of this technology could have an adverse effect on food prices, but does not go in to it much.

Still, it is a concern. Other "waste" products suggested as a potential fuel source depend upon an as-yet not developed enzyme as its promise. As I have said, biofuels needs to be approached cautiously, as does any technology that attempts to protect the status quo- in this case car culture.

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China building more power plants

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China building more power plants

Here is an interesting story that makes ther point that a good share of China's carbon footprint is the result of a long history of Western nations sending their manufacturing to China to take advantage of cheap labor.

The article suggests that the West could export more renewable technologies to China to help lessen the environmental footprint and give a nudge to renewables. I think we need to rethink the entire area of trade from an environmental perspective. All concerned should consume locally and learn what we can do without, so we don't use so much of our dwindling resources, especially oil which we are in a war for, sending consumables all over the world.

Producing less to consume less is not a popular message to some sectors of capitalist society. But for long term conservation efforts that will reduce our impact on the earth's ability to support us, it will be necessary.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

YouTube - Myths of Biofuels

YouTube - Myths of Biofuels

Check out why we need to remain vigilant of energy choices we make. Sometimes, Green(wash) can Kill us.

Donny Fix

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Review "Escaping the Matrix"

Here is a book review I wrote.

Escaping the Matrix- How We the People Can Change the World

Richard Moore

The Cyberjournal Project - 2005

a book review by Don Eichelberger aka Donny Fix

Escaping the Matrix is methodical and informative, but breaks down in its quest to do too much in too thin a volume. It is a valiant effort, none the less, and I think worth the read.

The early parts of Escaping the Matrix are valuable for the historical overview they provide on how we have gotten to where we are today.It takes its name from the cult movie hit, "The Matrix", where people live an illusion while their real bodies hang unconscious, suspended in a solution that extracts the body’s energy to power the machine that produces the matrix. He calls upon us to look past the intricate “reality” presented as fact and see behind the illusion.

It reviews much of the current literature on alternative histories and globalization, drawing from Howard Zinn, David Corten, Francis Moore-Lappe, Jerry Mander and many others, as well as Internet resources. Examples chronicle the story we were being given, and the truth behind the illusion.

World War I, “The War to End All Wars” is shown to be really a plot to extend Western influence in the Middle East for oil, a long-time goal of the ruling elites. In the process, elites were able to establish the Federal Reserve and offer a means for JP Morgan and other bankers to fund the European war effort, with interest, while establishing an economic model for manufacturing money, transforming a cash and carry economy to one of credit cards and consumerism.

After examining the role elites have taken to mold society and extend their power, the conclusion is that society is in crisis, with many of its very life-giving processes threatened by global corporations and their political benefactors. These ruling elites are seen as the central problem, which continue to stand in the way of very logical steps We the People can take to turn things around.

Moore discusses the need to move from a dominator society to a partnership society. He says this will happen when We the People begin to throw off the dominator ethic and learn to act more cooperatively and in the public interest.

Looking back in history, he shows that things were not always defined by a “survival of the fittest” mentality, which rules our thought today. Early agricultural civilizations, which lasted peacefully over thousands of years, show that humanity has it in us to live differently than the dominator, hierarchical cultures that began taking over in the early ages.

This is where the methodical facade begins to loosen. A profound social change will need to take place before the reality this volume wants us to let in is seen. Once that change happens, Reality As We Know It will melt away and We the People will assume control.

Some of the vision here is attractive. It calls for a falling way of the political system, which, at its base is a mechanism developed by the Matrix to divide and conquer, and keep an elite plutocracy in power.

Instead of representatives voted in along party lines to work out compromises from two dominant points of opposition, he envisions ad hoc community councils that will hold facilitated discussions of community problems, called “Harmonization”, and offer solutions that have consensus approval. No candidates. No elections. Just skilled facilitation that can harness the energy in the room to pull people out of their normal thinking patterns and see the wisdom of the group.

Nice vision, but it begs the question of who calls the community meetings, how they are noticed, and what measure is used of accountability. His vision is that, when The Change comes, people will no longer be self-serving, and we will learn the importance of working selflessly on behalf of all.

Still, the model of empowering local action on issues through facilitated community discussion and adoption of common goals is something community groups can begin to do now. It is never a bad thing to empower local activity, especially toward a consensus position that is inclusive and representative of all the stake holders. As with all consensus models, it will work if there is a spirit of wanting to arrive at a common agreement because everyone feels part of something larger and more important that can overcome petty differences.

The anti-nuclear movement provided that sense in the 1970’s and ‘80’s. The power of the energy companies was enormous and the odds against us were high. We organized people to take part, even face arrest, by holding potluck meeting discussions and inviting people to join an affinity group and learn inclusive decision-making using consensus process.

This is a process that we as Greens have begun to explore through what we have been terming “Convergences”. We want to empower local, solution-oriented discussions on issues of urgent social concern and how to affect it.

The anti- nuclear movement had a basis of unity around using direct action to oppose governmental policies that supported nuclear power development. Today, there are so many “presenting problems” that it is difficult to find that kind of solidarity on anything, especially a political solution. Indeed, as mentioned, Moore sees the political process as it exists as consciously divisive in favor of maintaining the status quo, and the rich in power.

We need to identify and work from new bases of unity, recognizing the fundamental thing that unites us is this blue orb that rides us through the cosmos, and will provide for the needs of us all, if not ostentatiously.

During the 2005 Convergence at Bohemian Grove, I was acquainted with a book by George Lakoff, The Elephant in the Room. It came to the same conclusion that we need to find our way past the differences that divide us through our realization that we are all in this together.

Lakoff characterized the major belief that distinguishes a dominator society from more cooperative ones is the sense that people are evil and out to get you and you need to work for your own self interests. If everyone does that, they claim, it distributes the resources of life more efficiently. Caring is a feminine principle that shows weakness and should be avoided for the greater good.

Of course, for progressives, it is care for the whole society, not only the individual, which should motivate individual behavior. A sense that no one should prosper until all are fed. That is anathema to the survival of the fittest mentality, which itself is a part of the Matrix that makes people believe that it is their duty to leave the weak behind.

To move toward a more cooperative ethic, Moore feels we need to redefine current conceptions of progressive and conservative, and especially recognize our commonality around issues like wariness of big, intrusive government, emphasis on local solidarity and self-reliance, and skepticism around mainstream media. With openness and good facilitation, he feels we can overcome our superficial differences and discover our role in creating the power of We the People.

· end-