Sunday, November 23, 2008

And Big Mistakes


I just read about how British Petroleum wants to create some genetically modified prairie grass to make biofuels. Well of course! The fact that prairie grass is a perfectly fine solution all on its own is just not good enough. You can't patent weeds!

The problem with corporate solutions to sustainability is that people who are in decision making capacities in these places unfortunately usually have a really hard time confronting an actual ecosystem. It is all a bunch of figures on a piece of paper, or in an offshore bank account, or in a power point presentation.

My suggested program for corporate executives who want to make their activities in life sustainable would be to spend a month or two 'vacation' time at Tom Brown's school:

If they did that, they might walk away with some real knowledge about how ecosystems work - about how life itself works - and what their personal relationship is to other forms of life. Otherwise, discussion about sustainability is all just an intellectual exercise.

I feel it's important to find some point of reality with the industrial/corporate/consumer world, if we are to bring it to sustainability. It's hard sometimes though. Here is why:

For a few hundred dollars or less, you can convert a gasoline engine so that it can run on prairie grass ethanol. And you could make your own still in the backyard to create the fuel from weeds (lots of people did that during Prohibition...). But wait, that means anybody who can grow or find some weeds could...provide their own fuel! Oh, no, no, we musn't let that happen! We need multimillions, even billions of dollars of investment by multinational emperors in order to solve this problem. It shall not be given to the common man to do - he would no longer be dependent on us and our ultra complicated, patented and expensive monster weed fuel!

As long as corporations have a vested interest in "controlling resources" and patenting what should be available to anybody who can actually be responsible for it, they are not going to pick the solution that actually makes the most sense and is the greatest good for the vast majority of us (and all other life, as well as future generations).

Let me repeat that - we are never going to get an optimum solution to sustainability from multinational corporations or big governments. It's not that they do not have the resources. They do not have the motivation, because the optimum solution too often means putting them out of existence or cutting off their money teat - making them irrelevant. At the very least it would mean a serious restructuring and reevaluation of virtually all of their activities. To find a truly ethical solution - the most optimum solution, one must be willing to change one's position in life, one's occupation, one's daily habits, or perhaps even give up some of one's favorite beholden beliefs.

It is impossible, in most cases (maybe every case), for corporate decisions makers, because of the very nature of corporations, to choose the most sustainable model of behavior and production available. It is simply not "competitive" or so it seems. This is always an illusion because sustainability is the ONLY thing that actually is always competitive - the artificiality of the game we're playing is what makes that seem not true. Think about it - in nature, the only things that survive for any length of time are things with the most sustainable qualities. Then think about all the civilizations that no longer exist, like Rome, that didn't have those qualities.

There has been a lot of discussion about the legal problems with corporations gaining personhood status. Perhaps a more insidious problem is that the people who work for corporations grant this abstract legal concept more personhood than they grant to themselves! Why else would they think it's ok to work for and support an organization that is destroying their own playing field?

This is a problem that is sooner or later going to come home to roost on all of our doorsteps, to the degree each one of us does not take responsibility for it.

There are growing numbers of towns and communities who are taking responsibility for this and taking back their natural resources and their sovereignty and trying to do something that is sustainable with these things. Here's an example:

More and more people are starting to realize that if they take responsibility for their existence (which means food, water, energy and shelter minimally), they can actually be in control of it. They do not have to be slaves to the "system" or be effect of what wealthy money manipulators do behind closed doors in foreign locales.

The only way we can be slaves or adverse effect of anything is if we agree to be.

This is a difficult concept, until you see it demonstrated in your life. Every one of us can think of an example where this is true. Sometimes it is hard to see how one could have done anything but agree, in certain situations.

If a person can't see it, then they simply do not have the technology or knowledge of how to avoid slavery in that area. That know-how does exist however! The answers are there.

We continue to experiment with getting these answers implemented - currently focusing in on Clearwater, FL, and in Los Angeles. Our latest efforts can be viewed at:

It is a gradient process, because we are trying to take a culture in which almost nothing about it is sustainable, to one where just about everything about it is. If nothing else, it is quite a challenging and interesting adventure. And it is quite a bit more fun than being a slave and not even trying to do anything about it.


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