A Guide to Issue No. 26 (Fall 2012)
A flood of books and blogs overwhelm us with detailed and stark expositions of crises and catastrophes. Their authors are not sensationalists. They are knowledgeable, often painstakingly methodical in their research, they care about the world and are deadly serious.
But…where is the action from our institutions and their leaders that might be commensurate with the enormity of the threat? Action by the leaders at the top of the economy and the government is sluggish, episodic, and ineffective. Indeed, it seems that failure to deal characterizes super-elite leadership in almost all countries.
Not perceiving action to fit the dire need for action, the people slip into a skeptical attitude, or they dismiss the warnings as “cry wolf ” (the Cassandra effect), or they go into massive denial. The flood of dire warnings act upon us therefore as a kind of narcotic, immunizing us from the reality of the situation.
We watch the destitution and desolation portrayed by the many books and blogs as if we were in a movie theater and we are the spectators – what is portrayed is not happening to us and will not happen—what we are seeing is just another titillating “reality show”.
You are young or old (like me) or in your middle years. You are having an ordinary day doing the usual things to stay alive and hopefully thrive.
Suddenly, out of the blue, you find yourself face to face with the unthinkable and unspeakable question, “suppose we don’t make it?” And the question will not go away.
In the 80’s, just a few decades ago, the world was caught up in the somber fears of a possible nuclear winter and the likely disappearance of our species. Recall or look up and read for the first time The Fate of the Earth by Jonathan Schell.
We think we’ve learned to live with that prospect. More accurately we have found ways to ignore and deny it. The threat is more real than ever. Adding to that threat and further deepening our descent to doom are the imminent collapse of the economy; rapid climate deterioration; steadily rising seas; melting of the polar ice; the consequent discovery of much more oil under the thinning ice and there- fore now drill-able. This means that “Peak Oil” will come way too late if ever. This means that yes the new vast oil fields will be drilled and marketed by corporate men and women gone mad.
As Bill Mckibbon in an impassioned article in a recent Rolling Stone has made clear, this will make climate deformation and our doom irreversible. On top of all this, we have an unbearable and incomprehensible political stalemate fueled by elite denial, greed and betrayal of trust.
HOPE – THROUGH ACTION
But whether young, old, or in the middle of your years, you, dear reader and writer for Green Horizon have not turned away from facing squarely the question, ”Suppose we don’t make it?” You have not imbibed the narcotic, you have not fallen into spectatoritis.
The biggest reason for that is this: you take action. Action is a great healer and source of problem-solving power. We offer in this issue illustrative examples of action taken by people like you and me, people who have not given up but are pioneers of resistance, pioneers of a new politics, and pioneers of a new society.
The examples are representative of what is going on all over the world. People are taking similar actions by millions. None of us knows this, of course, for we are kept ignorant of what others are doing. A cowardly corporate elite “shields” us from the knowledge.
As already Aristotle pointed out, a tyrant reveals his tyranny most clearly by keeping the people separate from one another and fearful of one another. But action is taking place. Do you feel that you are not taking action and feel awkward because of it? Think again.
I have a strong feeling that everyone who gets and reads our magazine, in some part of their lives, is taking action to save the world. If you are very old and infirm, or if you are saddled with illness, or if poverty makes it impossible to act, be comforted.
What I mean by taking action includes and starts with the action of the soul itself. Where your soul cries out to say, “We shall not be moved”, there lies the very core and substance, the very soul-substance, of action. For the soul radiates outward the unbelievable and stubborn will to live and persevere.
WHAT’S IN THIS ISSUE?
I start us out by giving a glimpse of the very remarkable campaign for president by Jill Stein and her running mate Cheri Honkala. Hers is a stunning example of action, a beacon of hope and inspiration, and a herald of great campaigns to come. Read it and love it. And love her.
There follows a letter to his grandchildren by my colleague in this Green Horizon endeavor, Steve Welzer. I have, over the years, learned of other people who’ve come of age who are sending a message to their heirs. A great action.
In the articles that follow Steve’s, Brian Kent and Maynard Kaufman write about living on the land in the way people are meant to live on the land. Their action is mirrored in thousands, if not millions, of actions of a similar kind taken throughout the planet. A major part of the theme is finding and practicing feasible alternatives to the fossil-fuel industry in agriculture, industry, neighborhood and urban living, and grass roots-managed economy in general.
David Schwartzman’s article provides hardy technical evidence that solar power is a feasible foundation for a new and democratic economy. He and his son Peter Schwartzman have probed and researched the question of a fully adequate healthy alternative to the unhealthy, community-destructive, and planet wrecking jihad of the fossil-fuel industry and its unholy and tyrannical political grip on our future.
GREEN PARTY ACTION
Living Green values in our politics is what Pam Hartwell-Herero describes she and her innovative colleagues are doing as members of the governing Council (Pam as Mayor) of Fairfax, California. Their successful grassroots efforts can and will be emulated by hundreds if not thousands of local jurisdictions in the coming years. They are part of a revolution that is going on under the radar screen of the established media.
Kat Williams galvanized a Workshop at the national Green Party Convention in Baltimore in early July. The standing-room- only workshop became a vivid discussion of the “Proposed Open Letter to the American People” (a draft of which appeared in the last issue of this magazine, Spring/Summer 2012.) Kat’s speech, reproduced in this issue, was a challenge to the Workshop participants to make Green Party values and practical positions on issues alive and known to the people in the streets, public halls and homes throughout the country.
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Dear friends and neighbors, we are in a great twilight struggle to rescue our communities, our nation, and our planet from desperate ruin. We need to know each other, we need to know that others are taking action, we need to know that together “we shall not be moved, just like a tree that’s planted by the water, we shall not be moved.”
A new day IS possible. Together, through action, we become the revolution. — JR