Are we a country whose democracy is active, or are we at a point where our democracy is approaching a state of inaction?

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20Apr/111

Beyond the Reasonable Doubt

Posted by Nate

A blind spot is Global Warming or climate change. Some need absolute proof, beyond any doubts, that Global Warming exists. It is like the sky is falling and they are waiting for more evidence of what is happening. Do you know what the absolute proof is for these people - the sky hitting them over the head! But then there is not much time left to react.

Clean water

Water

From what I know there is a consensus among main stream scientists that Global warming is a fact of life now. But let us assume for the moment that Global warming has not been proven beyond the reasonable doubt. So what? Tell me what is wrong with trying to reduce pollution, to conserve energy, to use alternative energy sources, to stop deforestation, to save the environment, to breathe clean air, eat healthy food, to swim in clean water. What is wrong with energy independence that, by the way, would improve our security? Let us assume that we created this new economy that improved our quality of life. Let us imagine that the new economy is serving our needs and not the needs of big corporations. What is wrong in knowing that we helped future generations, our children and grandchildren, to live healthy lives on our little blue world, the only home we have? What stays in our way? What prevents us from accomplishing this?

Polluting our environment

Greed

Greed, selfishness, short sightedness, lust for money and more money, our Congress that is for sale to the highest bidder,  Are we so selfish and short sited that we want to insist on “our way of life” just to prove our freedom and independence? What is this freedom anyway? Are we free enough to decide what needs to be done to ensure the future of our country? Are we brave enough and independent enough to buy a more efficient car instead of an SUV that neighbors are driving?
'Carbon Nation' is an optimistic discovery of what people are already doing, what we as a nation could be doing and what the world needs to do to prevent (or slow down) the impending climate crisis. We already have the technology to combat most of the worst-case scenarios of climate change, and it is very good business as well. We meet a host of entertaining and endearing characters along the way, including entrepreneurs, visionaries, scientists, business, and the everyday man, all making a difference and working towards solving climate change.

30Jan/110

The way we look at things

Posted by Nate

At times, I feel that we approach life from the wrong direction.
A few examples:
Climate change

Climate is changing

1. Global warming, or perhaps global cooling, let's just call it climate change. Is this really occurring beyond a reasonable doubt? Before we do anything to reduce pollution, should we not wait for incontrovertible proof of its existence? But, why wait? What could be bad about cleaning up our planet? Must we have hard facts indicating that current energy resources will be depleted before practicing energy conservation? Just what could be the downside in developing green energy sources?

Usually the counterargument states that these efforts “will hurt the economy." It is my understanding that people create economies. Economies are created by people in order to make life better, in other words, in the pursuit of happiness.

Polluting the environment

Clean air

Does dirty air, water and a toxic laden environment make us happier let alone healthier? Does the chronic worry about toxins everywhere make us healthier and happier? It seems to me that the only entities which become happier and benefit from our current situations are multinational corporations.

2. Now about health care. First, people need to be educated on how to stay healthy. We all know that our country's people are not getting healthier; cancer will soon surpass heart diseases as the main cause of death, and rates of CVD (cardio vascular disease) are skyrocketing. Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions, especially in children. I see this as the unintended result of our Western economic model spiraling out of control. The economy appears to be feeding on itself for the sake of the economy. There is a movement in this country and in the rest of the world to encourage people to take personal control of their health by educating themselves about adopting a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle. Will we need affordable healthcare for all?

Absolutely! It is the only ethical choice.

Again, I think we are approaching the issue from the wrong side. The state of our current economy is itself very stressful, and what creates most of the stress? Money! In our country, a disproportionate amount of our people's income is spent on medical bills.

stress factor

Stressed out

So, people get sicker due to technology, the industrialization of their food supply and chemicals in our environment. Making it even worse, people are further stressed because of the money needed for “health care.” And this just makes them sicker. It seems obvious that it would be sensible, moral and prudent to remove these stress factors. As our economy grows, trying to solve problems, it appears to be creating new ones. In short, the current economic model is not sustainable.

So, what would be the right approach? Again, what is wrong with staying healthy? We need to educate ourselves, and use technology wisely, for our sake, not for the sake of the “economy”. Do the right thing and the economy should follow. After all, the economy is supposed to function for our benefit, not the other way around. There was a saying in the USSR "we create problems and successfully overcome them." Are we are following in their footsteps?

3. It seems to me that a significant portion of our planet’s resources is being wasted. Our economy is a consumption-based economy. We consume stuff; our economy produces more stuff to consume so we can generate income to enable us to purchase and consume more stuff. While admittedly not an economist, I can state that in the long run this continual spiral of production and consumption is unsustainable. It is just a giant Ponzi scheme. Our planet’s resources are limited. The planet’s population is growing exponentially. If we continue on a current path, we are heading toward a cliff.

Our planet’s capacity to feed its growing population is diminishing. In order to keep up with the demand, farms become technological factories overusing chemicals, utilizing genetic engineering and adopting mono-culture-based farming (corn, soy beans) . These practices create tremendous health problems for our population. Pharmaceutical companies come up with more and more drugs to deal with health issues. The use of these drugs then cause side effects creating the need for more drugs. The spiral continues.

All of the above issues are interconnected. We must understand how all these problems affect each other and how these interconnections exacerbate our problems. To keep up with growing demand, the industrial nations need more and more energy. More energy allows us to make stuff for us to consume; so we get sick; so pharmaceuticals make more drugs for us to deal with that sickness, and we just get sicker. In order to afford “healthcare” we need to consume more stuff to support the economy, and this way we just continue to poison our environment and create energy crises and an unhealthy planet

And all this is supposed to make our lives better? Because, remember, we created this economy for our benefit. So, maybe we should do things that will benefit us and “the economy” will follow. For example, our approach to healthcare and medical education should be changed from "cure" to prevention.

The Russian scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov stated, “At the end, the moral choice, is the most pragmatic choice.”

We must do the moral thing and the economy will adopt, follow and support ethical practices.

In my opinion, if we do not change our approach to the “economy” there will be no economy.

   

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