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A green-powered future is our only hope.
A planet run by King CONG—Coal, Oil, Nukes & Gas—cannot be sustained.
But to get beyond it, our Solartopian vision must embrace more than just a technological transformation. It also demands social, political and spiritual transcendence.
From Fukushima to global warming, from fracking to the Gulf disaster(s), it’s clear the fossil/nuclear industry is hard-wired to kill us all. Its only motivating force is profit; our biological survival has no part in the equation.
Thankfully, renewable energy has achieved technological critical mass. Green power is cheaper, cleaner, safer, more reliable, more job-producing and more secure. Despite a furious fossil/nuke push-back, the multi-trillion-dollar transition to a green-powered economy is well underway. Photovoltaic cells alone will be the biggest industry in human history.
Likewise, our food supply cannot be sustained with chemical pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, monoculture, industrial meat and genetic modification. The switch to organic, sustainable agriculture is essential to our survival
But this vital transformation in food and energy will not happen in a vacuum. We can prove the economic, ecological and public health rationale for a Solartopian transition.
But we can't win without a cultural and political transformation.
That starts with the empowerment of women. Nature-based societies are matriarchal. And only when women are guaranteed equal education, pay and control of their reproductive rights will the human population come into balance with the planet’s ability to support us.
We must also cure the corporate virus that’s killing us all. Our economic and political system is being devoured by a Frankenstein monster whose only imperative is to make money. It claims human rights but has no human or ecological responsibilities. Until the engines of our economy are made accountable to us and the planet, we have no chance of survival.
The corporate monster's primary assault mechanism is war, the continual slaughter of humans and the Earth. War’s only predictable long-term outcome is massive corporate profit and a destroyed planet. It is the ultimate divide-and-conquer strategy of a terminal cancer.
Sustaining our life also means all humans must be fed (which can be done globally at a fraction the cost of war), housed, clothed, educated and healthy. Without social justice, Solartopia is a meaningless dream.
And there’s only one way to get there—with true democracy, which cannot be had while corporations own and operate our government. Big money must be banned from our elections, which can only happen with universal voter registration and hand-counted paper ballots.
We also need a neutral internet, free of corporate control, a global nervous system by which our evolving consciousness can freely communicate.
As a species we can count great strides in cultural awareness and social ecology. But in the material world we run a dead heat with mutant fossil/nuke technologies and the vampire corporations now draining the life out of us and our planet.
In the long run, our human survival instinct must transcend the corporate profit motive.
There are those who say it’s hopeless, and that the battle is already lost.
But for the rest of us, for our kids and grandkids, not to mention our own good times, let’s just say we’ll see you in Solartopia ...
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By Tracy L. Barnett
Sources reviewed this article for accuracy.
For Sicangu Lakota water protector Cheryl Angel, Standing Rock helped her define what she stands against: an economy rooted in extraction of resources and exploitation of people and planet. It wasn't until she'd had some distance that the vision of what she stands for came into focus.
Last week, the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers' Association (JUNPALMA) promised to enter into an agreement for sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil production. The promise was secured by the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in collaboration with the local government, growers and the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo.
The rallying cry to build it again and to build it better than before is inspiring after a natural disaster, but it may not be the best course of action, according to new research published in the journal Science.
"Faced with global warming, rising sea levels, and the climate-related extremes they intensify, the question is no longer whether some communities will retreat—moving people and assets out of harm's way—but why, where, when, and how they will retreat," the study begins.
The researchers suggest that it is time to rethink retreat, which is often seen as a last resort and a sign of weakness. Instead, it should be seen as the smart option and an opportunity to build new communities.
"We propose a reconceptualization of retreat as a suite of adaptation options that are both strategic and managed," the paper states. "Strategy integrates retreat into long-term development goals and identifies why retreat should occur and, in doing so, influences where and when."
The billions of dollars spent to rebuild the Jersey Shore and to create dunes to protect from future storms after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 may be a waste if sea level rise inundates the entire coastline.
"There's a definite rhetoric of, 'We're going to build it back better. We're going to win. We're going to beat this. Something technological is going to come and it's going to save us,'" said A.R. Siders, an assistant professor with the disaster research center at the University of Delaware and lead author of the paper, to the New York Times. "It's like, let's step back and think for a minute. You're in a fight with the ocean. You're fighting to hold the ocean in place. Maybe that's not the battle we want to pick."
Rethinking retreat could make it a strategic, efficient, and equitable way to adapt to the climate crisis, the study says.
Dr. Siders pointed out that it has happened before. She noted that in the 1970s, the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved itself out of the flood plain after one too many floods. The community found and reoriented the business district to take advantage of highway traffic and powered it entirely with solar energy, as the New York Times reported.
That's an important lesson now that rising sea levels pose a catastrophic risk around the world. Nearly 75 percent of the world's cities are along shorelines. In the U.S. alone coastline communities make up nearly 40 percent of the population— more than 123 million people, which is why Siders and her research team are so forthright about the urgency and the complexities of their findings, according to Harvard Magazine.
Some of those complexities include, coordinating moves across city, state or even international lines; cultural and social considerations like the importance of burial grounds or ancestral lands; reparations for losses or damage to historic practices; long-term social and psychological consequences; financial incentives that often contradict environmental imperatives; and the critical importance of managing retreat in a way that protects vulnerable and poor populations and that doesn't exacerbate past injustices, as Harvard Magazine reported.
If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says, doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.
"It's a lot to think about," said Siders to Harvard Magazine. "And there are going to be hard choices. It will hurt—I mean, we have to get from here to some new future state, and that transition is going to be hard.…But the longer we put off making these decisions, the worse it will get, and the harder the decisions will become."
To help the transition, the paper recommends improved access to climate-hazard maps so communities can make informed choices about risk. And, the maps need to be improved and updated regularly, the paper said as the New York Times reported.
"It's not that everywhere should retreat," said Dr. Siders to the New York Times. "It's that retreat should be an option. It should be a real viable option on the table that some places will need to use."
Leaked documents show that Jair Bolsonaro's government intends to use the Brazilian president's hate speech to isolate minorities living in the Amazon region. The PowerPoint slides, which democraciaAbierta has seen, also reveal plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact.