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  1. #76
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    What makes it seem apropos is the identification of where we are to day as Independent (an either/or mindset), self-interested, linear thinkers, static structures, reductionists, practitioners of standard education and accountability, deriving meaning from materialism, primed for competition, acting on prediction and certainty, with cultures intentionally dumbed down (KF’s consumerist society), accustomed to debate issues with the notion that there must be one best answer, and believing unconditionally in representative democracy. That seems a fair summary of everything we’ve been saying in the Applying the Subjective, Education, and this thread.
    If that is a fair summation of where we are today, then this site’s anticipated alternative is depicted in the middle column, much of which seems to be along the lines KF has been advocating, is a possible goal. The site maintains it is part of on-going trends already in motion. Maybe so; maybe not. But, for me, an interesting point of departure for furthering this conversation.

  2. #77
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    Ok, here's the basics of what I would do if I was in charge. And if I'm not in charge, what I've considered pitching to my local rep for implementation in the area where I live as a local experiment. (Not all of it, of course, but the relevant bits.)

    To my way of thinking, the basic thing that has to change is how we generate electricity. Just about everything else flows from there.

    First, I'd commission attractively designed small-scale wind turbines for installation on the roofs of every single building. Aesthetics being what they are, they aught to blend in nicely. Then I'd commission a pile of attractively designed solar panels, for the same reasons. This measure alone could probably substitute between 25% and 75% of our existing power usage, hopefully improving over time.

    As a model for infrastructure, this would require that every home have a battery system, and be linked in a web-structure to a central hub. Most cities already have these hubs, so it's simply a matter of reorganizing the distribution and feed, as well as installing additional battery storage for a planned excess of power. The idea here is that if one piece of the web is low in strength, the other parts of the web will hold it up.

    To account for the remaining need and non-ideal weather situations, there still needs to be some centralized power generation. But this system should be able to easily avoid carbon emissions through the use of nature-based technologies.

    To that end, I'd explore the viability of installing a few more hydroelectric dams, as well as some tidal-electric fans. By now, the big dams of the past have been around long enough that we know that the environmental impact is relatively short term. The local habitat simply adjusts to a new body of water, and downstream the local habitat adjusts to decreased water levels by moving upstream. I'd try to create large (100km+) greenbelts around the artificial lakes as natural aquifers/wildlife areas.

    If they were open to it, I'd ask First Nations groups to explore the possibility of hosting, running, and overseeing the new dams (or alternatives). I'd do so in part as recognition of the impact of such systems on their way of life, but also to encourage the development of infrastructure and the influx of expertise to the rural areas. I figure that by providing them with off-grid power as above, that also increases the independence of rural communities. For people of the First Nations, it should hopefully be perceived as an olive branch to hand them a certain amount of power over the rest of us invaders. Give them control of the switch, give them a voice with power behind it. Not perfect compensation, but perhaps a start.

    If not dams, then I'm thinking geothermal is probably smart. Between geo and hydro, that should be enough to cover the remaining energy needs. I'd like to experiment with a space tether and see how it works. If it doesn't suck all the lightning out of the sky, infinite power will have arrived.

    Along with all this will be a clarification of taxation on all consumed goods. There will be a recycling deposit tax on everything. You buy it, you pay for it to get turned back into natural organic material. The less easily recyclable the material, the higher the tax to offset its recycling. At the corporate/production level, I'd introduce a tax break incentive for any corporation that runs its own recycling program that adheres to the minimum standard of 100% total recyclability. In theory, this will cause the people who make the goods in the first place to make their goods easily recyclable.

    In practice, this probably means increases in illegal dumping. So I guess I'll need to hire an army of inspectors. Inspector positions will be 6 year posts, maximum, and no more than 2 years in any one geographic area or industry sector.

    For emissions, I think we need to develop a standard unit of pollution. To do so, the basis of the amount will be the average animal production of natural toxic emissions per day. This is based on the "return to earth" idea, which relies essentially on the notion that humanity in the wild will still pollute a certain amount, but that the biosphere is designed to process natural waste. i.e -- Homeostasis.

    Each unit of emissions/waste will be measured against that amount and charged accordingly. Partly to pay the poor hippie kids who will plant the tree to compensate for the emissions, and partly to fatten the government coffers off the senseless waste (to be returned in clean-up projects). Non-recyclable goods will have a hefty storage tax, pending the development of an adequate recycling technique. So I'd charge a flat rate on emissions per unit, independent of who you are or what you do. That should create some incentive for the auto manufacturers, as well as industry.

    So that should about handle emissions. Cars should be smaller and universally electric hybrid. They'll be powered by the new grid and factored into the per-person quota, so they are no extra burden on the system. Hybrid with what though, I'm still not sure. Fryer grease? But the goal will be 100% electric, and as soon as possible.

    For mass and distance transportation, I'd like to examine the possibility of improving and modernizing the rail system.

    I'd put a lot of funding into colonizing the moon and mars -- the theory here being that if we can devise an enclosed self-sustaining environmental management system that isn't on earth, the resulting environmental technologies will be highly valuable in reversing what damage has been done to our system. At the very least, it will help us better understand environmental nuances and produce better environmental management and recycling technologies.

    I'm thinking that to do this, we've probably got to open space up fully to the private sector. Unpleasant, I know. But I think necessary. Then the private sector can employ individuals with expertise outside of military channels, which should hopefully improve the complexity of expertise going on out there. And the space industries will be subject to all the same rules as everyone else.

    Then, I'd get into talks with the national treasury and try to devise a fundamental change to the nature of currency. I'm inclined to think it should be based on energy. One dollar equals one kilowatt equals 100 calories. Something like that (obviously will need tweaking). Make money worth the two major fundamentals of modern existence -- electricity and food. This idea is still in the "hmmmm" stages, though. As a basis for economic value, I think that's a decent platform on which to approach the total economy. But I'm open to alternate suggestions.

    For the military, I'd like to explore modernizing some lower-tech solutions to modern problems. If the situation in Afghanistan is any indication of how future wars will evolve over time, then I think using "green" based power in our military camps will create green infrastructure in those areas. Decentralization may improve defensibility and enhance local development. However, I suspect certain concession to old and dirty technologies will have to be made. This too has to be open for suggestions. But I don't think it's unfeasible to ask the military to incorporate green technologies where appropriate.

    And that's about it.

    Trickle down changes I would expect to see would include greater self-management and self-governance, hopefully with less overall reliance on federal level public works and centralized infrastructure. If a community has extra power at their disposal, that power can be sold out of the local grid to industry and infrastructure, or to beautify the local area. Even to put heaters into driveways if that was deemed a help in winter.

    Other advantages I see pertain to defense in that a decentralized energy system of this sort makes terrorist or normal military attacks on the power grid virtually pointless. The maintained centralized station remain a vulnerability, but become more easily defensible due to the decreased reliance on centralized power.

    One of the basics of this whole idea is that we need to steer away from trying to create permanent, perfect solutions. NASA is currently the pinnacle of this ideology, but we see it everywhere. We have the capability to build things that will last much longer than us, but I think it is both economically and environmentally advisable to focus on shorter-term life cycles for our constructions. The pace of development and consumerism simply doesn't jive with permanence. If we shift toward a modifiable and maintenance-form of construction, this should improve our ability to detect flaws in our constructions and their effects. It also more readily allows us to make changes in the event of mistakes. The fundamental paradigm shift here is recognizing that what we do today can affect the future, and not always in a good way. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. We need to build things that are easy to take down and recycle if required, but good enough to last with proper maintenance.

    That should also generate an entire industry based on performance assessment and optimization. I would expect that by decentralizing the power grid, we'd increase the size of the energy industry. This would create a greater requirement on local expertise, hopefully increasing the number of community level maintenance technicians.

    So... pull it to shreds!

  3. #78
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    What could generate a more inclusive 'we majority' today?
    Well, in the States, it will have to be on political lines. If someone in the private sector threatens to take economic-environmental leadership away from the White House bubble, you can bet there will be hell to pay. American politics has shaped the system such that no private sector action goes forward without a nod, which is one of the many reasons why American democracy is becoming more and more of a farce. It's become a semi-transparent form of fascism as far as domestic policy goes. And that, I'm afraid, is the root of the problem in the US.

    We have this in a slightly lesser form in Canada, but we have a 4+ party system here, so this partisan hackery you see in the US isn't quite as bad (though it still exists). When a political party's only real reason for existence is to oppose the opposition, it's not really acting in any interest but in maintaining the existing system. It's false controversy, over and over again. So no matter what anyone suggests for everyone to get behind, the opposition will simply oppose it on principle.

    So for the States, I think the democratic party needs to fold. It's completely useless. McCain will win the election. As an alternative in an ideal world, McCain would leave the Republicans and run independently with Hillary as his co- or vice-president. They need to do it on the principle that the existing system cannot produce results. I think that would appeal to many voters, as most people are probably uncomfortable with feeling like they're in a high-school gang from the 50's greaser era.

    If they can do that, and then establish a voting base under them, then they could generate a third political party with a viable basis for significant inclusion in the house of reps.

    But this is, of course, a pipe dream and will never happen.

    But if the democratic party simply folded itself into the Republican party, then we'd see some real democracy in action. A one-party system would cause a conniption, but given the present state of American politics, it's probably the best thing that could happen right now to create change. It would be the boldest strong arm move ever made by a political party in history.

    Again, total pipe dream.

    So for you Americans... frankly, I think you're screwed. The culture is based on red or blue, and neither option is a good one. No "we majority" can exist in a system based on unnecessary and false opposition. The fact that you've had nearly continuous political campaigning for the entire second term of Bushy is not a sign of a healthy democracy. Politics has become nothing more than entertainment. Oy....

    So in short, unless something happens to shake up the system by some major players, you're doomed to more of the same.

    The "we majority"... "we" majority need to oppose the very system that gives us power. Zoinks!

  4. #79
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    It's interesting to me to hear other's interpretations of where and how America has failed at democracy. I work in small business. It hasn't failed there at all. I finance entrepreneurs and private business owners, artists, creative people. Small business is thriving.

    What I sense from your posts, Fung, is a very modernized Big Brother is Watching system.

    We need to identify the magnitude of the problem. When necessity demands a government mandated rule for everything we consume, buy, eat, everywhere we travel etc, then we reached that point that I mentioned before - that 'necessity' point that is governed by questions of survival. Self-preservation.

    But questions of self preservation and worries about it can shape the Zeitgeist in the long run.

  5. #80
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    It's interesting to me to hear other's interpretations of where and how America has failed at democracy.
    I'm Canadian... America is the greatest 24/7 reality TV show on the air. Y'all are the Truman Show to us. We're all armchair experts on you people!

    And the view from the inside is always different from the view outside. When I lived in Australia and England, the differences in journalism about Canada was intriguing. Comparatively, though, internal local media about Canada versus international media about Canada is fairly equal. Whereas local media in the USA compared to international media..... that's something else entirely. It's almost night and day.

    And living north of you people means we meet an awful lot of you. And we Canucks notice one thing overwhelmingly... you have no idea why we criticize you. And that alone is reason enough to suspect that America is not what it thinks it is.

    What I sense from your posts, Fung, is a very modernized Big Brother is Watching system.
    Reeeeeeeeally???? Hmmm... that's very interesting to me, since right now I'm involved in fighting a work place privacy law contravention. All very much about Big Brother...

    Everything I suggested is anti-Big Brother to me. In fact, the measures I've described were all designed to thwart Big Bro. So what exactly are you taking as Big Brotherly????


  6. #81
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    I'm just not thrilled when people tell me what I have to do. I dont really care whether they're right or wrong. I'll find my way. Right or wrong? Who really knows anyway?

    I get overwhelmed.

    But I do see us reeling toward environmental ruin. I guess as humans we always were. Now we are aware of it. Knowledge alone should shape our spirit. I dont think we can dictate effective awareness.

  7. #82
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    also I'm a new yorker. We feel very free here. I feel very free here. I dont 'perceive' America the way you do. People i know still believe they can accomplish a lot in their lives by working and thinking and creating. They're very positive about the future despite the issues we all face.

  8. #83
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    I'm just not thrilled when people tell me what I have to do. I dont really care whether they're right or wrong. I'll find my way. Right or wrong? Who really knows anyway?
    I didn't think I said you had to do anything...

    But here's the thing... you doing the right thing your way is great and all, but the very electricity you use is adding to the problem immeasurably. You don't produce that electricity yourself, and if you're like most people in North America, you actually have no choice in energy providers. Even if you think you do, you really don't.

    In Toronto we have this company called Bullfrog that supplies "green" power to homes. It's like a specialty channel for home owners, but instead the content is for the green-feel-good. Yet it uses the existing power grid, the existing power meter, and the existing wiring in your home. You, in turn, pay an arm-and-a-leg for your electricity.

    All they really do is buy power credits from wind farms (including as yet unbuilt ones) and use your dollar as a symbolic exchange for a unit of "green" power. There's no guarantee whatsoever that the power you receive actually comes from the green source. And the wind farms in question are in the middle of a heated debate because to install them, the energy companies are a) cutting down forests, b) using standard polluting manufacturing processes to create the turbines, and c) killing as many as 35,000 birds a year.

    So... yes, you can control what you do yourself. But you don't take your garbage to the dump. You don't put your organics into the communal compost heap with your own hands. You don't clean your water before it hits the sewage system. Etc etc etc...

    In addition, the dollars you spend in galleries, restaurants, museums, on income tax, municipal taxes... this money all goes toward supporting others who are in the same boat, and using the same wasteful technologies. Its not their fault -- they simply have no other options, just as you don't.

    The point is simply this: the existing infrastructure we use to run our lives is unavoidably wasteful.

    You're familiar with the black box theorem, yes? (I certainly bring it up all the time, at least.) If the technology that a society produces can be said to be reflective of how that society is organized and what it's beliefs are, then to look at the technologies of our infrastructure we see that they can only be used in a certain, limited number of ways. None of which are environmentally friendly, because that wasn't part of the societal weltanshauung/zeitgeist at the time the system was established. The technology itself is incapable of being used in too-different a way.

    So, my theory is that we do the reverse -- create technologies that reflect a certain kind of desired society. If technologies can only be used in a way that reflects the society and values upon which they were designed, then to design a green-based technological system of infrastructure is to create a green-based technological society.

    But if the technologies are too different, it will never work. So I'm trying to propose technology that will fade into our current existence easily, almost unnoticed. The society should then accordingly morph around those technologies (slowly) to represent the way in which they are required to be used.

    It's manipulative, yes. But I think we need that, don't we? I don't see that as being Big Brotherly though... I'm not telling you what to do any more than what you're already using is making you do. I'm trying to give you the same system that already exists, but better and more sustainable.

    But I do see us reeling toward environmental ruin. I guess as humans we always were. Now we are aware of it. Knowledge alone should shape our spirit. I dont think we can dictate effective awareness.
    Knowledge can only help us here if we use it though. We know that the Black Box theorem has practical value. We use it all the time in our approach to support work in third world countries -- we have to look for technological solutions that are meted with the culture we deploy them in, otherwise that culture doesn't know how to use them, or uses them incorrectly.

    Knowledge changing our spirit would be great if the system we live on top of was capable of being green, but it's not. I think the bulk of the frustration and disillusionment we see about environmentalism is because our knowledge has shaped our spirit, but the body we're dealing with her is not our own. It's our great-great-great-grandparents', and their spirit had other things in mind for the body.

    So I'm with you -- we can't dictate awareness, but we can shape the foundation a little to hopefully help that awareness be less difficult to use as part of one's lifestyle. Right now, environmental idealism is just plain silly -- there's no way around the pollution without utterly rejecting modern life. But modern life ain't so bad, and those who wish to do no harm should have the option to live the modern life and maintain an environmental ideal. Cuz it is possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    also I'm a new yorker. We feel very free here. I feel very free here. I dont 'perceive' America the way you do. People i know still believe they can accomplish a lot in their lives by working and thinking and creating. They're very positive about the future despite the issues we all face.
    As I pointed out previously, New York is pretty much its own country. Particularly because its three primary economic attributes are finances, media, and the arts. Finances is get rich or die trying, media is be famous or die trying, and the arts is the angry cousin of the other two. The entire social economy of New York is based on the concept of possibility.

    My great-uncle has lived in NYC since the 50's (lives at Madison and 28th) and worked in the travel business. We go visit him often, and when we're out walking the city he tells us about all the changes he's seen. Last time we were down (October), we watched a documentary together on the clean up of NYC that started in the 80s and is now showing incredible results. The average New Yorker now has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the entire USA.

    But this is the thing -- how is this being accomplished? The answer is surprisingly simple: by changing the infrastructure. Many of the new skyscrapers in NYC have such advanced air filtration systems, they're actually scrubbing the air. The intake cleans the air on the way in, and re-cleans it on the way out. The exhaust is cleaner than the intake! This kind of air quality control never existed before, so NYC is slowly become a carbon sink. That's effing cool, if you ask me.

    So this approach I'm suggesting is based on the same idea as what's happening in NYC. Update and change the infrastructure to technologies which can't help but be green. Then everyone feels freer.

    Do you feel manipulated living in New York? Do you feel like someone is telling you what to do when you walk into a building that reclaims its own water, filters it, uses it in the air conditioning system to pump it to the roof, then puts it into the toilet bowls, which then gets filtered and cleaned, put back into the AC, etc...? When they filter the air in the city? Are they telling you what to do when you get into a hybrid city bus? What about the underground steam system? Even though it's old and not perfect, it's still a comparatively green technology -- do you feel like that's impinging on your freedoms and privacy?

    Would a solar panel and small turbine on the roof of every skyscraper in NYC limit your freedoms? Would getting the extra power the city needs from geothermal or hydro power limit your freedoms more than getting your power from Three Mile Island? Or is it giving the natives control over the power that's threatening?

    If I'm coming across as defensive... it's just cuz I'm bamboozled here by the suggestion that there's anything Big Brotherly in what I suggested... I just don't see it.... But if it's there, I need to where...

  9. #84
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Don't be defensive. No need. This isn't personal.

    The reason, I believe, that NYC has come as far as it has, is because the people who live here demanded it. We asked for it. We wanted a cleaner, safer, better city. We elected mayors whom we believed would pursue that goal for us without having to answer to other political pundits and lobbyists. Guiliani was our law and order man and Bloomberg our free spirited change maker. We needed safety first and quality of life in other areas later.

    Now people flock here because of the spirit of this city, so the Zeitgeist of NYC has become an impetus for change and is definitely shaping the green Weltanshauung that subtly influences our choices and decisions now.

    My only objection to your previous post (prior post?) is that you seemed to be telling rather than leading, dictating rather than inspiring people to dictate for themselves. And in so doing, I think you doom your hopes and dreams to failure. You have to change the spirit first and the rest will hopefully follow. Comprende, amigo?

  10. #85
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    Don't be defensive. No need. This isn't personal.
    I know it's not personal It's just that there's peripheral discussions about this stuff going on in my real life, and these things I suggested were very specifically designed to be low-impact in terms of personal privacy, and low on demand for change. I'm simply shocked that any were thought of as Big Brotherly!

    We elected mayors whom we believed would pursue that goal for us without having to answer to other political pundits and lobbyists.
    So pretend I'm running for office! I'm telling you, in a pleasant tone (thanks to my team of speech writers ), that I have a plan for us all to do our part in saving the planet. What I'm asking y'all to do is install systems on roof space you're probably not using anyway to create your own power. And I'm offering to subsidize much of the cost for the first few years to help get the basic industry setup, and I'm offering to buy your excess power from you in the greater support of us all.

    I'm taking about creating an energy distribution network so robust that electric cars are no longer a joke, but a viable, clean reality.

    I'm promising to find those willing to install environmentally friendly alternatives to coal, nuclear, and other non-renewable-resource-based energy plants in remote and disadvantaged communities to help foster local independence, education, employment, and specialized expertise in those areas. Giving leverage to those people to back up their vote and have their say, and the tools to look after themselves.

    I'm promising to explore space in the hopes of expanding our scientific knowledge of the universe, but also, as an offshoot, this exploration will enhance our environmental control technologies so that with a little practice we can start to undo the damage that's been done.

    I'm also promising to setup the single largest recycling system on the planet, with a goal of 100% recyclability, through a reorganization of the existing tax system, basing it on a standardized pollution unit (which does yet exist). That standard unit is based on what life was like before we discovered fire and plastics, when all nature had to worry about was us taking a dump in the woods, peeing on the grass, and the odd lightning-strike forest fire.

    I'm promising that in just a few years, with almost no major disruption to your normal lives, you can live with all the rights and privileges you have now, with all the technologies and services you enjoy now, but free of the guilt in knowing that those privileges are hurting our planet.

    I'm promising new jobs in the eco-industries as we make the changes. I'm promising improved health from living in a cleaner world. I'm offering a goal for us to all get behind so that we can all stop worrying about the past catching up with us, and start looking ahead to humanity's next big leap.

    I'm talking about creating a platform for our world today that will sustain our future tomorrow.

    So whaddya say, Wassner? Gonna vote for me?

    My only objection to your previous post (prior post?) is that you seemed to be telling rather than leading, dictating rather than inspiring people to dictate for themselves. And in so doing, I think you doom your hopes and dreams to failure. You have to change the spirit first and the rest will hopefully follow. Comprende, amigo?
    I comprende. If it's coming across that way, I suspect that it's partly because that's how I often come across.

    I believe the cultural spirit is willing. Most people are pro-change when it comes to the environment -- they just don't want to be overly disturbed in the process. And there's also a lot of dis- and misinformation out there cluttering up people's minds.

    But we seem to be rapidly arriving at the point where if we don't do something soon, we won't wind up doing anything at all. Someone needs to do a little dictating.

    The problems with waiting for people to follow the lead are that at present no one is leading, and no one is proposing anything that anyone can reasonably afford to do.

    If I had stated my plan in a less dictatorly voice, like above (at least that sounds less dictatorly to me!) would it appeal to you? As a solution, do you see any glaring faults with respect to environmental or economic considerations? Other considerations I may not have thunk up?

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    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    I think that people in general like to feel as if they can make a difference. So it would be appealing, particularly if Bloomberg, for example, said it and organized it and began to implement it. ****, he's forcing the fast food restaurants to post the calorie counts, and how unpopular is that to them? You think McDonalds wants everyone to know that a big mac is 5000 calories?? People can't smoke in bars in NYC. But we go along with his legislation because we believe it's not self-interest that motivates him. It takes a special politician to garner that kind of trust and support. Maybe it's because we feel he's beyond being bought. He's a billionaire already, and due to information services, not war machines or drugs or chemicals.

    So again, what's the real key to change? Lots of people have lots of plans, but it's the spirit that adopts and allows for the implementation of the plans.

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    So for you to accept my plan, I have to let Bloomberg take it?

    It's become clear to me that this discussion is about to devolve into me screaming at the USA. It's totally derailing me from the discussion topic and making me want to scream obscenities.

    You're a smart one. Do you seriously believe the things you've mentioned in your last few posts? That the pilgrims were fleeing religious persecution? That Guliani was a great mayor? That Bloomberg is pioneering these great new ideas? Are you next going to tell me that it was the protests that stopped Vietnam?

    And what does this have to do with the environment and the economy?

  13. #88
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Ah, Foo, rein down. After all, the world realizes that NYC and its residents are at the forefront of all that is good and beautiful in this world. Take for example:
    http://www.nyc.gov/html/planyc2030/html/home/home.shtml
    This plan is obviously far superior to any other city’s plan. Why, just compare it to Phoenix’ plan: http://phoenix.gov/sustainability/air.html and you can immediately ascertain the merits of NYC’s plan and the demerits of Phoenix’ plan. And do not ever attempt to compare a Canadian city, say Toronto: http://www.toronto.ca/environment/ as the outcome will be destructive to the psyche. Even Quebec http://www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca/ministere/inter_en.htm must compare unfavorably with the superior efforts and superior people of NYC.
    London http://www.london.gov.uk/londonissue...ainability.jsp Melbourne http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/info...op=236&pg=1624 Tokyo http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/ENGLISH/TO...6/ftg3n100.htm and the other major cities of the world can be readily seen to trail NYC’s lead since they began working on these concerns in the 20th Century while NYC is more of a 21st Century kind of place.

    It serves no one well to establish their home as a paragon. Most Westerners live where we live because we choose to do so. That choice requires justification: to ourselves and to others so that our choice becomes seen to be based on a constructed reality that we live in the finest place with the finest people in the world.

  14. #89
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    Man, I'm firing my search engine and hiring yours!

    Agreed on the whole paragon thing. But then I've never lived in one place for longer than 5 years at a time in my entire life. Identification with "place" just seems like such an empty association to me. But I suppose you'd never know that if you haven't lived in a lot of different places.

    So... Given that where we live is a choice, and the aesthetic morality of our times allows for such a choice, it's very interesting how this idea of "my home is better than your home" has sustained itself in a time characterized by massive population mobility. I can only assume it's a holdover of old-school nationalism peeking its toe out of the modern globalized worldview.

    Your post brings up an interesting point then. To what extent should environmental and economic policy be national versus local? Given that environmental effects are not always immediately local, does it make sense that all the cities to which you provided links have devised "their own homegrown" environmental policies? Or should we be encouraging everyone to adopt a single, unified, national (international?) policy?

    Bringing this back to your point about social disconnection, which approach do you think is better for encouraging social connection? National or local? And if, as Gary suggests, we need to encourage the spirit, how should best approach "spiriting" the masses?

    And by extension... what would you do (if in power) if you devised and implemented an environmental policy in your city, designed it to be similar to other cities' policies, but the city immediately upwind of your city has no such policy? Or, if you devised a national policy, but your neighbouring nation hasn't? (Like with the Kyoto Accord, for example.) Would failure to comply to an international initiative to implement coordinated national environmental and economic policies be sufficient reason to go to war? Are economic sanctions enough?

    And, to what extent are the people -- the spirit -- responsible for a city's, region's, state's, or nation's failure to initiate proactive environmental policies? Can New York declare war on Arizona if New York feels that they aren't doing enough for the environment? Can New York deny Arizonians right of passage? Nations could so this -- can states or provinces?

    These are questions I'm still not sure we've come close to addressing. In fact, these are questions that really aught to be basic civics, yet I've never once (even as a trained teacher) heard any official word that gives any clear direction in this regard. Who, ultimately, is responsible here?

  15. #90
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Boy, we're defensive today, aren't we??

    If I lived in San Francisco, I'd probably be lauding or denigrating the merits of the leaders there as well. But since I don't, I can only speak from and about the city I do live in.

    What this has to do with your plan, Mr. Foo Dogma, is the mindset that will allow for it. Or for any plan to become effective, for that matter. If the people aren't receptive, then what good is a great plan?

    I'm sure your temper and temperament yields frustration in many cases. You're quite zealous. Relax. This isn't supposed to be a stressful place to visit.

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