Tag: sustainability

Comparing the Social Security Shortfall and the Cost of the Bush Tax Cuts

KATHY RUFFING – Social Security’s trustees recently reported that — over the next 75 years — Social Security will have a shortfall of 2.67 percent of taxable payroll, or 1 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That is, raising taxes by an average of 1 percent of GDP could put Social Security on a sound footing over 75 years. How does that compare with the stakes involved with extending President Bush’s tax cuts?

Carbon Tax Needed to Protect Us from Coal

TAMATA STATON, LAURA CARVER & PHILIP CARVER -An economically efficient policy would place a price-adder (tax) on fossil fuels based on their carbon-content. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) has introduced legislation to price carbon emissions — the Save Our Climate Act of 2011, H.R. 3242. Revenue is collected at the point of first sale or import. In the first ten years, the IRS would return 80 percent of the revenue to the public on an equal, per-person basis. The other 20 percent would go toward deficit reduction.

Tea Party and Occupy Share Some Similarities

JOHN DARLING – Tea Party and Occupy supporters found that they have many similarities at a forum in Southern Oregon. In their first public outing together, Tea Party and Occupy backers — and an audience of 200 — found a lot of common ground. They agreed that corporations, lobbyists, the military and the federal government have a huge amount of power, are “bought,” and aren’t very responsive to the needs of the average person.

Illusion of Separation Causes Global Disasters

WINSLOW MYERS – The biggest challenges we face all have their root cause in an artificial separation—between nations, races, religions, classes, between political parties, between humans and the living ecosystem upon which we depend for life—even between our heads and hearts. Such apparent separations represent a kind of global neurosis for which one antidote is what Buddhist philosopher Thich Nhat Hanh calls “interbeing”—the recognition of our deep interdependence.

Sustainability Reporting Enters New Phase, Say Experts

GLOBAL REPORTING INITIATIVE – Reporting corporate economic, environmental and social performance is entering a new phase, moving from a pioneering and experimental practice to become standard practice, say sustainability reporting experts. The number of reports continues to increase, as does the variety of organizations that report, according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)’s Year in Review 2010/11.

Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Now

NAOMI KLEIN – I was honored to be invited to speak at Occupy Wall Street on Thursday night. Since amplification is (disgracefully) banned, and everything I say will have to be repeated by hundreds of people so others can hear (a k a “the human microphone”), what I actually say at Liberty Plaza will have to be very short. With that in mind, here is the longer, uncut version of the speech.

Green Transition is on the Global Agenda

HAZEL HENDERSON – Every country in the world is actively participating in preparations for Rio+20, the follow-up Earth Summit in Brazil, June 2012, to stimulate the transition to a green economy. The powerful 34 countries of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) have a Green Growth Strategy; the EU views “a transition to a green economy is imperative;” the U.S. focuses on “elimination of fossil fuel subsidies;” and Switzerland calls for a “green economy roadmap.”

10 Myths That Keep Us From Creating The World We Want

FRANCES MOORE LAPPE – From Diet for a Small Planet exactly 40 years ago, it dawned on me that humans are actively creating the scarcity we say we are trying to escape. Whoa! Why would our bright species do such a thing? Researching my new book, EcoMind, Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want (Nation Books), I discovered that it is the power of ideas.

Our Future Is Not Being Televised

PETER BERGEL – On Tuesday night a reported 100,000 Americans joined Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz for a national conversation about breaking the partisan gridlock in Washington DC. It was another great example of the growing willingness of ordinary people to reclaim their power from those to whom they have delegated it, only to see it abused.

University Offers Leadership for Sustainable Change Certificate

VERNICE SOLIMAR, PHD – Over the years, students and faculty at John F. Kennedy University have expressed a desire to apply principles of psychology, human development and human potential to social action, diversity and systems approaches to planetary issues…a major need for the 21st century was a new paradigm of leadership that would solve problems, shift systems and create opportunities that engendered respect and care of the community, ecological integrity, social and economic justice and world peace.

How Americans Can Get Up and Stand Up

DAVID SWANSON – In December 2009, psychologist Bruce Levine published an article at Alternet called “Are Americans a Broken People?” His timing couldn’t have been better. Americans of good will and bad analysis were suffering a severe fit of Obamanation withdrawal. The article was reposted everywhere, commented on endlessly, and responded to voluminously. (This was my response.) Levine has now developed his article into an important book called “Get Up, Stand Up.”

Is the World Headed Toward Peace?

KENT D. SHIFFERD – With the 20th century having been the bloodiest in history, and with bombs falling in Libya, explosions in Iraq, Hamas rockets falling on Israel and a seemingly endless war in Afghanistan, the answer to the question above seems an obvious “No!” However, if you take the long view and look at some trends that have been going on more or less unnoticed for a couple of hundred years, it could well be a “maybe.”

The People vs. the U.S. Government

DAVID SWANSON – Statistically speaking, virtually nobody in the United States of America knows that we spend more on the military than the rest of the world combined, that we could eliminate most of our military and still have the world’s largest, that over half of the money our government raises from income taxes and borrowing gets spent on the military, that our wars (outrageously costly as they may be) cost far less than the permanent non-war military budget, or that most of the financial woes of the federal and state governments could be solved just by ending a war in Afghanistan that two-thirds of Americans oppose.

Idealism is the New Realism

PETER BERGEL – I was among the 800 or so who turned out in Salem, OR on Feb. 26 to support preservation of Wisconsin public employees’ collective bargaining rights and protest the increasing domination by corporations of our political and economic system. It was one of those heady moments when ordinary people scent the distant fragrance of “the power of the people.” With the rest of the crowd, I cheered the speakers, smiled at my fellow demonstrators and agreed with others that something seems to be happening at last.

ReVisioning Value 2011 Conference Set to Take Center Stage March 7th & 8th

DAVID BALL – Those who have followed Oregon PeaceWorks peace visioning will find this event to be a natural tie-in. Often when proponents of social change are asked if they are succeeding, the answer is ambiguous. Identifying a problem is easy…finding a tangible working solution becomes the trick. Amy Pearl, executive director of Springboard Innovation, has been at the forefront of finding alternative ways to create, develop, and fund sustainable solutions to societal ills like poverty, hunger, and homelessness (to name just a few). Included in her work has been the development of the ReVisioning Value conference — held this year at the Gerding Theater in NW Portland March 7-8 — which brings together a host of experts from diverse fields (civil engineering, economics, impact investing, sustainability) to create a unique two-day symposium focused on innovative techniques aimed at producing immediate results.

Public-Private Venture to Make City an ‘Icon of Sustainability’

MICHAEL BURNHAM — Westward pioneers halted their wagons in Portland, OR 150 years ago, but today’s politicians and planners aim to make recession- battered Portland the starting point for green-economy trailblazers. Mayor Sam Adams and General Electric Co. executives are forging a first-of-its-kind partnership that will include retrofitting drafty buildings with energy-saving technologies and helping local startups sell their clean-technology products abroad.

Where There is No Vision, the People Perish

PETER BERGEL: “Where there is no vision, the people perish” says the King James Bible in Proverbs 29:18. Certainly the people are in danger of perishing today. If not from wars and nuclear weapons, then from global warming. If not from that, then from a series of other threats. Could vision be what rescues us?

Garten Services Launches Zero Waste Events Project in Salem

Garten Services has begun a new project that will help all your gatherings and events be more sustainable. It’s called Garten’s Zero Waste Events. Formally launched on June 15th with seed grant funding from the Oregon DEQ, Garten’s Zero Waste Events can now help you put sustainability into action by assisting in the reduction of your event’s solid waste impacts to the greatest extent possible.