By Steven Schmidt
Founder of GreenPolicy360 and Green Institute Online
. . .
Green Horizon raises the question – how can greens rise to the challenge of global politics and have substantive and meaningful impact globally? Clearly, the times in which we live demand green values and solutions.
“Think globally, act locally” captures a green ethic ¹ yet climate change/global warming and a litany of threats to our earth’s future go beyond a call to local action. A green strategy that is comprehensive, diverse and empowered in every community is needed to join local actions into green networking and a rippling, powerful global wave.
AN EOS PROPOSAL
Let us raise the question of how to go about a green politics on a global, international scale.
Let us propose then how to go about a network of effective green politics on a global, international scale. Within Green Horizon we see calls for “transformative politics.” ² How can we best bring change that transforms politics and offers effective answers to problems in our day-to-day lives? The answer can be found with new organizing tools that enable both near-term and long-term impact, local and global green solutions.
When we speak of “security”, green thought looks to a larger picture than orthodox thinking defined in terms of military solutions and “national security” policy. Greens address deeper security issues and challenge failed policies and false choices.
Larger political questions are the realm of green thought.
Who will speak for the earth, for defending quality of life, human rights and natural rights that protect a sustainable future and real security in our communities? ³ Greens will, and the following begins to describe an international, global platform based on green values and solutions.
Green “best practices” are the basis of this eco-organizing system (eOS) proposal.
‘FOLLOW THE MONEY’
Here, in the U.S., over one half of the annual budget goes to military spending for “defense and security”. Special appropriations war spending has added trillions more over the past decade and during this period a rapidly expanding security state has added additional hundreds of billions more. A rapidly expanding “national security state” intrudes into every aspect of lives, as recent revelations demonstrate surveillance data is being collected, analyzed, and held in vast repositories.
The “security” interests of the U.S. now manifest in a behemoth military and national security presence, hundreds of bases in a global footprint, naval projection on all seas, a forward air presence that’s tactical, strategic, 360/365/24/7, a militarized space command that can target and deliver weapons to any part of the world at any time, an NSA/Cyber Command that has launched another war, an intrusive Cyberwar that is worldwide as signals/SIGINT intelligence captures billions/trillions of messages across all communication mediums. The security state scope is unprecedented.
Alternative strategic visions to this expanding ‘security’ system are rarely considered. Instead we hear the U.S. Congress debate the necessity of protecting national sovereignty in a world of nation states.
Challenges to an expanded national security state and surveillance are rare, though now increasing as the public becomes aware of the scope of this militarized ‘security’ vision.
As we look for new visions of security, each year military appropriations, under pressure from special interests, ratchet higher.
U.S. military spending dwarfs all other nations, and exports of weapons from the U.S. and arms supplying nations continue to feed conflicts across the world – all this while larger threats to security, a gathering storm, environmental crisis, global and local, looms large and draws nearer. ‘
Greens realize a new vision is needed, a new definition of what security, real security means.
Fortunately the green community is speaking up with millions of voices, together comprising a worldwide advocacy growing in influence and power. The green movement is of every age, geography, and nation.
Greens-as-a-cause include nascent Green parties, a movement that goes beyond traditional political parties and forms an organization of values, ideas, organizers, personal improvement efforts, health and food movements, independent agriculture, growers, workers, sustainability ideas around the world.
Green allies, green organizations, NGOs, students, a multifaceted mix of local, regional and global green groups form a political presence that is diverse and positioned to be an effective force for change. Given our unique worldwide, on-the-ground green diversity, how do we, as Green parties and communities of interest, grow the green voice, coming together powerfully to accomplish a new green vision?
Greens must ‘take it to the next level,’ as the saying goes, to act on behalf of the commons, our shared community, across borders. The diversity of the green communities can become a multi-dimensioned strength in this way.
Green core values, our common ground platforms look to connections, not separateness, acknowledging the reality of living systems and interconnections that reflect the factual worlds of physics and biology.
Greens believe “it’s all connected” as, for example, the intrinsically green Bioneers network has put forward in its work over the past 25 years, bringing together thousands of eco-minded individuals and groups working on “practical solutions to heal the environment.”
Here we are talking of ‘resilient communities’ and real solutions that deliver security beyond war mobilization. Greens, as political parties, are in around 100 nations and, as an environmentally aware, eco-social movement, Green parties and green movement groups are most everywhere.
Consider that, if the Green Party and greens in a larger sense are to bring green values, ideas and solutions to problems, problems that are beyond the grasp of other political parties, then it is time for a connected, interactive networked approach at the beginning of the 21st century. Now is the time to employ new tools, to till the earth in new ways. Now is the time to act, to create a global interactive platform.
Consider an eco platform, an ‘eco Operating System’, an eOS. An initial interactive platform has been established at GreenPolicy360.net coming out of initiatives of the Green Institute.
The GreenPolicy wiki can be considered as a model, an approach, a democratic Wikimedia/MediaWiki system acting to provide Greens/greens with effective tools for change in every community.
Within the breadth and depth of the larger green community we see a profound diversity of ideas and on-the-ground work for effecting positive change. Let us consider these ideas and work in the spirit in which they are offered, an evolving vision based on core values.
We need to spread our ideas, to till the soil as it were, and a new model, a “distributive web” model using the Internet could be key to powering up green ideas, locally and globally.
Looking out at the future that we face, a successful “Green Horizon” must be farsighted and idealistic, practical and day-to-day with rights expansion at the center of our vision. Looking back, it’s vital to carry forward the lessons learned, our takeaways and green “best practices” over the years. This is a key to success, to build on successful green best practices.
In an eOS platform, best practices would be presented in an easy-to-use way and local greens and green groups can take what is relevant for them from the models presented. An interactive platform pulls together the diversity of green work and says – consider these model projects and proposals as templates, as methods ‘to take it to the next level’, ways to share what has worked and by sharing, the green vision together becomes more powerful.
As a starting point, local/regional/national climate plans can be distributed, downloaded from an eOS platform, modeled and improved upon. What works in Portland, Oregon, for example, one of the initial city/county plans to respond directly to global climate change, can become a model for other cities/counties.
The model Portland plan and a Maryland state response to climate change put forward this July are, in effect, green best practices at work and can be quickly accessed and retrieved at www.GreenPolicy360.net. Visit the site and consider how a best practices database works.
Click through to Portland, the first U.S. city to adopt a plan to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions:
- Portland, OR and Multnomah County Global Warming Action Plan
- Local Action Plan on GW April 2001 [PDF]
Check the current Green Policy Index here:
POLITICS ON A GLOBAL, INTERNATIONAL LEVEL
Let’s take a closer look at this potentially powerful eco-tool from what could become an interactive tool kit – a database of green best practices as models and templates-for-action delivered over the Internet with all its software, applications/apps, and mobile connectivity. The mobile internet is approaching 4 billion wireless connections and in the past few months Google has announced mobile net – working to reach another 2 billion in the near future.
High speed fiber is going into cities in addition to satellite coverage with micro distribution and ubiquitous cell phones present in even the poorest communities globally. Soon the world will be connected nearly everywhere, virtually speaking, via cable, cell towers and wireless.
E-tools will be in place enabling unprecedented outreach and connection, education and engagement with and among people in every community. The Green/green opportunity to carry forward green values and ideas at this moment is with – out precedent – the multiplier effect of the Internet is there to be developed and energized.
Globally, greens can use the Net in ways that are uniquely ours and appropriately scaled. Globally, Green parties, I’ll reiterate, see the future more clearly than most all parties in the political arena. The questions of imminent and growing threats to quality of life are at the center of a green message. We are confronting what former Green Institute adviser Bill McKibben called “The End of Nature” in his ground-breaking 1989 book. The results of human activities are challenging life as we know.
An eOS platform will enable another level of networking with NGO’s like McKibben’s 350.org, providing a multiplier where a database of best green practices as an interactive eOS platform assists the broader movement.
In this new age of electronic systems, networks, data, and instant delivery of content, we can offer an e-platform with down-to-earth solutions from the green movement for green communities, a global connectivity that brings innumerable ways to network, provide solutions, solve problems and shape decision-making.
We need to combine an “e”, the eco, with an operating system, electronic and human, designed to be alive, evolving and growing with green ideas in an age of biology and life science.
After all, greens are standing up to speak for life on earth. The proposal here for an eco Operating System, an eOS, an eco- social platform intended to spread successful green ideas is a beginning. The current GreenPolicy360 platform is a start, connecting, engaging, interacting and effectively using the Internet.
The model platform I am proposing to Green Horizon involves ‘agile’ development. The initial concepts of www.GreenPolicy360.net give a perspective of the possible. It is an evolving vision and the wiki model is a democratic endeavor. Planning for the GreenPolicy360 database of best practices began in 2004/5 and the first content was posted online in 2006.
As of July 2013, there have been a total of 2,649,685 page views and 12,028 page edits since the Green Policy MediaWiki site setup. After the Green Institute became inactive in 2012, the GreenPolicy site continued on with my aid as siterunner.
It’s time to consider this template as a best practices model for local/global greens beyond the couple million views to date.
It’s time for sharing successful green practices over the Net in ways that deliver local and global impact. GreenPolicy360 as a user-friendly database of green best practices delivers green proposals, resolutions, ordinances, and legislation.
It can deliver much more. It has over 2000 case studies of successful green templates/projects available for download and use, but it’s just a start. A database of green best practices, expanded and improved, will provide model green templates that can be utilized/replicated community-to-community.
Again, this will set in motion a multiplier effect, seeding, nurturing and growing coordinated field work that is practical, day-to-day and goal-oriented. The success of one community will be emulated in another, producing cooperative effective local and global green campaigns. This is how a democratic ‘wiki’ concept for a green interactive platform employs the World Wide Web and new interactive, appropriate tools, shareable media and becomes a source of effective action, both local and global as greens decide and determine.
With an eOS approach like www.GreenPolicy360.net, greens of all shades can explore how to bring best practices, alliances, coalitions, coops and associations, fundraising and interactive cooperation together as a means to confront threats to our local and global security.
An eOS database of accessible model-projects will ‘add value’ to existing NGO efforts, political formations, studies and proposals by scientific and academic communities.
Online, multi-language ‘shareable media’ (Google translate tools for example) delivered over an eOS platform will enhance, extend and multiply green successes across borders.
The eOS is a step, a green step forward, a proactive, needed step as we look out at our mutual, global security horizon. More details on the composition of an eOS will be in the next issue of Green Horizon.
• Global political change begins with the need for global political action, democratic processes and direct involvement.
• The eOS proposal extends Green politics beyond traditional political borders to shape a Green politics of the future.
eOS / RESOURCES / LINKS [Part 1]
2. Against All Odds; the Green Transformation of American Politics by John Rensenbrink
3. Who will defend the Earth? Who will uphold the rights of nature? Who will adopt the role of steward of the commons, our collective possession?- Noah Chomsky, July 2013
5. Surviving Victory – “Policy analysts warned this week that America’s foreign policy has to be urgently re-evaluated to prevent wider disaster.” – UPI
6. Green Platforms
– Global Greens Network – http://www.globalgreens.org/platforms
7. Resilient Communities – Bioneers
8. Green Best Practices / GreenPolicy360
10. Die Grünen example of “exportable green models” – Germany – national renewable energy plans
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eOS: Part One
eOS: Part Two