Making Waste a Resource

ColdSPring

Cold Spring, NY

The level of food waste in our world is estimated by the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to be 1.3 billion tons of food wasted every year.

If epigenetics has any validity we (as a species) can’t have totally forgotten the hundreds of thousands of years we lived in a natural relationship with the earth. In our current acceptance of progress and competition our estrangement from the earth is reflected in our waste. One way that we could successfully stop the massive waste of food worldwide is to support and adopt the principles and practice of Permaculture.

Permaculture first began as an agricultural-based practice but it is now a living philosophy that can be applied to address solutions on the community and national level. Permaculture is aligned with the principles of the Equal Life Foundation in that the philosophy recognizes the fact that no single problem or solution stands on its own. The Permaculture approach, like the Equal Life Foundation promotes the use of existing resources and infrastructure to correct our relationship to each other and the natural world.

Permaculture works with nature, not against it. It uses observation and investigation rather than thoughtless labor. Each element should perform many functions, rather than one as everything is connected to everything else.

All solutions come from us – where else could they come from?  Permaculture enhances the self-confidence and ownership we need to create solutions and alternatives. It challenges the energy-intensive and pollution-producing linear distribution networks that produce food waste. Waste, if not able to be eaten, can be used to compost,  making “waste”  a resource.

Some other solutions to the problem of food waste include:

International Food Distribution Network: http://www.redistribute.me/

FoodCloud : a company that uses technology to link retailers holding excess food with charities. http://foodcloud.net/

Gleaning Network UK coordinates teams of volunteers with willing farmers across the UK to direct surplus produce to charities that redistribute it to people that need it most.

Food Waste Collective in Brighton, UK

Other Notes:

“Permaculture was created in the 1970’s by Bill Mollison, an Australian ecologist and University of Tasmania professor. He had spent many years out in nature as a wildlife biologist observing how natural systems work and became very distressed at the destruction that he saw going on around him. He decided that instead of being angry about what was happening and reacting against the destruction he wanted to work on creating a positive solution And he thought the solution would be living based on the patterns he had observed in nature.” [1]

http://www.heathcote.org/PCIntro/2WhatIsPermaculture.htm

More links on Permaculture:

Permaculture Research Institute

http://permaculturenews.org/2012/06/28/hope-for-a-new-era-before-after-examples-of-permaculture-earth-restoration-solving-our-problems-from-the-ground-up/

http://www.neverendingfood.org/about/

The Links among plants:

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20141111-plants-have-a-hidden-internet

“The more we learn about these underground networks [of plants], the more our ideas about plants have to change. They aren’t just sitting there quietly growing. By linking to the fungal network they can help out their neighbours by sharing nutrients and information – or sabotage unwelcome plants by spreading toxic chemicals through the network. This “wood wide web”, it turns out, even has its own version of cybercrime.

We can each begin by composting nation-wide and in the individual household level.

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What’s the Cure for Corruption?

corruption

“Industry does everything they can and gets away with it almost all the time, whether it’s the coal industry, not the subject of this hearing, or water or whatever. They will cut corners, and they will get away with it. ” Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D, WVa

“To ask why there is corruption is a pertinent question…Our society has been made by us – we are the architects of it. And because the foundation is wrong…it is bound to be corrupt” Osho

The normalization of dishonest and fraudulent acts – from the small dishonest acts to the systemic institutional ones, makes it clear that the constraints we have to prevent corruption are unable to control or compete with the manic pursuit of self-interest.

Doctors prescribe drugs to strangers that they would not give their own children. Hedge fund managers buy the rights to critical drugs and then hike the price up 5000%. Pharmaceutical industry’s PAC money funnels massive amounts of cash to every member of congress. Treaties like the TPP would extend Big Pharma’s patent rights to other countries. We have judges caught getting kick-backs for sending kids to for-profit prisons, prisons that push for 100 percent occupancy and charge exorbitant rates for phone calls, basic necessities and who lobby for longer sentences and the list goes on…are we all “sharks doing what sharks do?” How can we investigate the deeper, systemic problem within each of us where we allow corruption to exist on a personal level?

Working from the inside (ourselves) out (the world system) we could start with our general conditioning – the belief that equates survival with competition. This leads to justification, blame and lies – it is then that our personal desires come to dominate the principles we say we live by.

How can we correct our fear towards the very “system” we allow? What is the extent of control that money imposes on us and how can we gain control over our relationship to money? How can we change undermining beliefs such as “this is the way it is and it can’t be changed?”

A Living Income addresses the primary cause of conflict: inequality

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We have been in this care centre for almost four years, living in broken tents and with no one helping us.
Pikas Kapi, Bulolo care centre, Bulolo town, Morobe province Papua New Guinea

Inequality is on the rise worldwide, creating extreme disparities in wealth, education and other areas of human development. Inequality has caused increased marginalization of mostly rural geographic areas and this in turn has caused the rising up of “formerly repressed sectors of society seeking greater independence, power and control.” These countries “were among the most economically vulnerable and least able to cope with crisis.”

Wealth disparity when combined with all the armed conflicts and an abundance of weapons puts civilians at risk unlike in any time in world history. 2014 was a record-breaking year for displaced people. Over 38 million were forcibly displaced within their own country by violence, up from 33.3 million for 2013. 2015 will be even higher and there’s no end in sight. [1]

The corporate media is not compelled to investigate the displaced or to make the connection between inequality and conflict. The media is not compelled to demand solutions. So why do we expect it to?

A living income will allow many more of us to not only read, but read between the lines and challenge the policies of war, the impunity of weapons manufacturers and the prevalence of conflict and poverty – for starters.

A living income would help us understand and challenge the ways and means of conflict so that we can build economic and social parity and give to each other that which we all deserve and desire.

* According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre

http://www.internal-displacement.org

The ‘Clock Boy’ and Competing Narratives

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This is not America. That is not us. This is not like us.
Mohammed Al Hassen, father of Ahmed Mohamed

What are we indignant about today? It seems being indignant is the preferred response to a world of abuse, violence and destruction. Perhaps the dissonance between living in “the land of the free” and the reality of the U.S. war economy is so great that being in the state of outrage is the only power we believe we have left.

As a country it seems we’ve backed ourselves so far into disassociation from common sense that when a thirteen year old boy is handcuffed, suspended and treated like a terrorist, we don’t immediately ask: How come his teachers didn’t know this student better?

News outlets are the equivalent of the film Roshamon  each touting conflicting agendas. Are we aware of the motives behind the various narratives? Do we question whether or not we are being nudged within using what we think we already believe to then accept and believe something else? How well do we read symbols and question the telling?

We neglect to be  to be indignant about the completely undemocratic activities occurring right in front of us, like the secret trade agreement negotiations – treaties that when they are no longer secret, will dramatically alter our lives and our world. Why haven’t these startling proposals received the media attention they deserve?

Why don’t we use our ‘indignant’ energy to ground ourselves in common sense for the common good?

Notes:

Nudging News Producers and Consumers Toward More Thoughtful, Less Polarized Discourse
http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2014/02/05-news-media-polarization/west-stone_nudging-news-consumers-and-producers.pdf

The New Media and Social Change
http://www.thehatchergroup.com/doc/Social_Media_091009.pdf

Karma and I and #AshleyMadisonHack

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I’ve been mulling over the idea of ‘karma’ and voilà, the #AshleyMadisonHack…it’s a metaphor, it’s symptomic, it’s #cyberkarma on a platter! It’s like some dystopian PHD diss-ertation (Western Karma and Full Disclosure ) that you write before you move to Bejing to teach English  touching on so many layers of duplicity, perceived needs, dissassociation etc etc… What a show about our ability to live in alternate realities!

So would we still act and be who we are if everything about us was disclosed?

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Meanwhile, one of 60 million refugees from last year alone … and in spite of the full disclosure of such unnecessary evil, we do not work together to stop this. Should we expect karma to come knocking?

Learning isn’t linear and evolution isn’t something we learn from ‘out there’ and then ingest and feel better …
I think we have to do something, show something, We must evolve ourselves. But for what purpose? Would you wish to reincarnate here again? Is this a world you would want to come back to? Am I getting too woo-woo?

woowoo (Secret Knowledge … invoking Neo- Platonism and Rosicrucianism; rejection of ‘rational’ logic while preaching a reconciliation of science and mysticism: a smorgasbord approach to other revealed religions and ‘teachers’; and a final opt-out to the ‘inner self’ when the going got sticky. Equally significant was the need for lots of money (which was duly forthcoming), and the way that exposure of fraud and scandal perversely strengthened the authority of the most unlikely people, often through their manipulation of paranoia and conspiracy theory.”

If I only consider my own life and I end up despondent and sad because I have only created memories —my karma is not the instant payback variety a la #AshleyMadisonHack, it’s much worse than that. It means I haven’t created anything of lasting value.

Meaning requires creation otherwise it’s ephemeral – like memories.
It’s not ‘pollyannish’ to say that humans have shown the ability to work together along with the worldwide immediate needs of so many  – Karma means action and work as well as cause and effect – and everyday we have a choice  #HeavenOnEarth or #HackedHellOnWheels ?

Migration and Reason

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The Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan is home for 160,000 refugees who have escaped the brutal Syrian civil war. 6,000 people arrive a day (Getty Images)

The number of refugees has dramatically increased over the past three years with almost 60 million people migrated from their homes in 201440 percent more than in 2011. There exists a false perception that the majority of the immigrants to Europe are economic migrants. But they are not: they flee as desperate asylum seekers, not economic migrants. They flee persecution and human rights abuses.

The main countries of origin are Syria, Eritrea, Somali and Afghanistan while millions are being driven out of the Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon. The Syrian civil war, instigated by the United States and its Arab allies in 2011 has caused more than 3.5 million people over the border with an additional 7.5 million people within Syria having fled their homes from a volatility that is the direct and indirect consequence of the continued and centuries long exploitation of the continent by Europe and the United States. Nobody wants them.

Like modern Gullivers, (see gullible, google, yahoos etc) pinned and nudged to be ‘reasonable’ we watch the jackboot of the Hegelian dialectic speed up time, dismantle countries, and take the lives of children and beings we do not know – people we do not see, people we evidently do not regard as equals.

As Alan Watt recently noted on his radio show, our thoughts about such atrocities are accepted as real, while reason – the part where we recognize that we are all fundamentally similar and equal – that part we can’t seem to access.

Are we not are in danger of  becoming displaced ourselves –  psychologically deadened and damaged by merely observing and not acting to create alternatives to the “…hidden injuries, hidden wounds that have been inflicted on [the] children [of Syria] because of what they have experienced; the behavioral changes, the nightmares that they carry around with them – the way in which they can no longer function as normal children do”?

A wise man said, “the answer is never in the context that created the problem…thus let the past go and create the future.”

Damage of conflict on Syrian Children

http://www.voanews.com/content/un-highlights-effects-of-damaging-conflict-on-syrian-children/1868559.html

What is life like inside the largest Syrian refugee camp

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/jordan/11782770/What-is-life-like-inside-the-largest-Syrian-refugee-camp-Zaatari-in-Jordan.html

Leisure and Magic

flute

Woman playing flute by reflecting pool:  San Francisco Chinatown post-1910

Leisure activity in consumer culture is usually ready-made and pre-designed – and within it’s predicable banality it’s no wonder that the ‘magical’ has grown in popularity and most importantly, profitability.

Where’s the fun?

The ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ magical options are astounding in their variety – the Crowley-ites, Queens of the Nights, fey Renaissance fairs, the law of attraction, tricked out tantrikas, the burning people – all kinds of allure from ordinary reality – a little love and light, or a little light bondage will bridge the gap between boredom and consumption.

Consumer culture loves the mainstreaming of the occult. It sustains and maintains what it needs most to thrive – our energy, self-absorption and our self-interest. The mainstreaming of magic offers a ‘more’ real world of the esoteric – a clever choice for sophisticated audiences who poo-poo what is ordinary.

Each era seems to have its own variety of cognitive dissonance; like the dissonance required for monks in the Middle Ages to burn people alive, take their money for positions in heaven and then say mass. This is not unlike the Law of Attraction with it’s training to “block the negative”, and only see what is possible for ourselves, a kind of feeding frenzy of self-interest.

At the root of it all is money. To pursue leisure and magic – to have exotic experiences and attract more money –you first need money.

Money allows us live in alternative realities. It also allows us to create real alternatives so that all the children of the world – the millions now living in poverty and abuse – are given the chance to experience what it means to have some fun within “leisure time.” We have the means and we have the opportunity to transform our relationship to money and leisure from being takers of experience to caretakers of existence.

‘For Profit’ War

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the mystery that is Franz Ferdinand

The biggest change I’ve seen in my life 50+ years is how most people now (generally) believe that wars are started and created for profit. It’s like “duh” — way to make buckets of money.

This ‘for profit’ angle of the origin of war is not new, it’s taught in every political science class  with Hegel on the reading list… but can we stop for a moment?  If we can pause, breathe, and step outside the dialectic and the explanations/ideologies which lay claim to telling history, we stand back  like a painter facing a blank canvas. The origin of war requires investigation  — that most wars were started for one group/person to profit over another within the understanding that there is never any excuse for this – this is the news whose time has come.  All the dialectics in the world can’t create a decent school, running water, or a clean bathroom. The first casualty of war is not just the truth, it’s also the infrastructure … but none of this is really news. Old Cicero asked, “Cui bono?”

…the profit professional can often be found in professorial positions…

I would twiddle my thumbs when I was taught about Franz Ferdinand and how this single event (his murder) was credited with the start of WWI. Did it add up to you? Theology is hardly confined to religion. The motivation and the cause for the delusion is important but what really matters is the solution.

We agree that war is a business and that it is easy to overlook the effects of war. The generational side effects that include longitudinal despairare scantily reported in the historical record – the grandfather who drank himself to death, the woman who lost her young adulthood and boy who never had a dad. War has a fictional telling that abstracts it’s brutality, a brutality none of us should ever know.

The media and especially the internet are studied and used to illustrate the mechanism – the buy and sell button – of the human and because war must be sold, the marketing of war is of primary concern — but it’s also it’s primary disadvantage… hehe, war can be unsold, the ‘internets’ can assist. War and it’s profit-motive can be reversed and profit can be used to create real things for real people.

So that’s the good news. John Lennon sang “War is Over” and it could be if we stop the general backchat, secret plans, patterns and consequence allowing the rogue elements of our mind to create the belief that there is no alternative to war,   when there is. Each one of us is a creator of an alternative if we choose, to do the leading by example and using what’s already here.

See what’s new in equality!
https://www.facebook.com/BasicIncomeGuaranteedByEqualLifeFoundation?ref=stream&fref=nf

“War is a Racket” Major Gen. Smedley Butler, USMC
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4377.htm

My Selfie

selfie

The Selfie has finally become boring. In a world of planned obsolescence the exhaustive desire for affirmation – for the  pose and the pout – has finally become passé. What’s next?

The human has been studied, focus-grouped and dissected down to the last pubic hair within the  promotion of the passive consumer. The Selfie is another commodity in fear of it’s expiration date.  Self-fulfillment is about Self, never about the welfare of the whole. The ruse is that the real individual has been replaced by the collective devotion to the image. It’s a neat trick; a simulacrum of individuality cocooned within the collectivism of consumerism.

We show off the uniqueness of our taste, our travel destinations, the experiences we buy – but we lack relationship: the Selfie is just that: the illusion of the collective with no relation to community, to each other.

What actions can challenge the isolation of the modern consumer?

A suffering world waits for Self as Image to become Self as Creator – that would be real self-validation.

Who else is there to create communities that consider the welfare of everyone, equally?

see: “Nice Guys Will Finish First”
http://livingincomeforall.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/nice-guys-will-finish-first-living-income-guaranteed/

Consumer or Creator?

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A great many cons have been played on the unsuspecting majority of the world throughout our history. Great cons have had the means and the opportunity to exist because an exchange takes place. Conspicuous consumption is one such con: in exchange for not stopping the con, the conned get a semblance of stability, identity, or predictability – but only for a while.

Conspicuous consumption is the premier myth driving the engine of our economy. An amalgam of emotionalism, excess and impulsiveness, conspicuous consumption rests upon mountains of research and decades of well-funded social psychology that have created the collective acceptance that we are primarily consumers of life, not creators of life.

We have been studied and dissected like no other species. Conspicuous consumption adapts, it is a changing art of artifice, from badges of status to experiential luxuries and ‘alternative’ lifestyles and did you know that today’s consumers are “different” from consumers of  ten or fifteen years ago? “Consumers today place a greater premium on connoisseurship, quality, and authenticity than on status.” (Luxe Redus, Boston Consulting Group)

Perhaps it is our malleability and uncertainty as a collective that causes our vulnerability to marketing. On the flip side, why can’t our malleability and vulnerability be the starting point for a different choice – a choice that, if we would only decide, would never allow a world where 2.5 billion people lack basic sanitation and where one in six people do not have access to clean water?

How did we fall for the con that freedom is the freedom to choose products? Such freedom  becomes compulsion, where a $1200 handbag and bags like are now coveted by women in the big cities because it shows others that “someone loves me this much.” (This from a Deloitte’s analysis that also found that the world’s 75 largest luxury goods companies generated nearly $172 billion in sales in the most recent fiscal year. A 13% gain over the previous year.)

This great con of modernism is looking shabby these days and as this era winds down the next con is in waiting in the wings – the ‘post consumer’ society, with it’s transhuman bright lights and big cities. So, what is growing and gaining strength – is it conformity to consumerism or is it the challenge to consumerism?

Today most luxury buyers, “detest the old values conveyed by the word luxury—the idea of ostentation or the evidence of conspicuous consumption, for instance—yet they do want to treat themselves, to enjoy fine products and experiences for their own sake, and to share those products and experiences with family and good friends.”  55% of global consumers surveyed by Neilson claim they are willing to pay extra for products or services from companies that contribute to social or environmental causes. Can this positive trend be redirected toward intentional spending to rescue real people who are really dying, right now?

The Living Income Guaranteed would provide the basic foundation so that everyone can, at minimum, live a decent life. Finally, a new definition of luxury.

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