Friday, January 27, 2006

Why we need a Global Green Party:

There are many who claim that the Green Party is just another left-wing party. In the United States, there are those who claim that the Green Party undermines Democracy. Even those whom I admire (i.e. Sarah Vowell) believe them to be only spoilers. In England, I doubt the consensus is Greens spoil elections - and take votes from Labor and Social Democrats. England doesn't have the harsh ballot access laws America does.

Right wingers and Christian Conservatives, equate evil with socialism. They feel that socialism will lead the way to Godless Communism. And many equate the Green Movement with socialism. But where the Green Movement lacks, we see devastation of the environment and lack of economic sustainability. Case in point: Latin America. Today, Hugo Chavez and Lula da Silva are creating a natural gas pipeline that will devastate the Amazon Rain Forest. Unfortunately, the Greens cannot stop this travesty in Latin America - Socialists are in charge.

The Green Party and the Green Movement are two movements working intermittently with each other to reach a postive environmental and economic goals. For those not voting for Greens or unable to - changing personal consumption habits is attainable. You can support positive solutions - ESPECIALLY in a developed nation like Estados Unidos! Fair Trade, Organic, Recycled, environmentally friendly, consumer-supported agriculture(CSAs), products abound - but one can easily recycle more and reduce consumption - and put more money in the bank! OR one could work less - either way it is a win for a higher quality of life for people and planet! A simpler life is both attainable and improves local economies!

I honestly do not see how one could not be both conservative politically AND part of the Green Movement. As conservatives tend to be those who are promoting biodiesel, and transit - while Republicans also started the Peak Oil caucus in America.

Now where are the Democrats? Oh yes, taking ballot-access away from Greens! THAT is such an honorable and humbling way to assist in democracy and improving the environment! They were VERY effective in closing the door to Nader as well! Of course - their anti-democratic ways will affect ALL future third-parties ( which is the point).

Regardless of party, living as you wish to see the world is the best thing one can do in this life. Politics is a very difficult field to implement sustainable strategies - unless there is a foundation built first. The way we live our lives influences those in power - and vice versa.

$20 billion gas pipeline planned for rain forest

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) - Environmentalists were caught off-guard when South American leaders announced plans to build a natural gas pipeline through the Amazon rain forest.

Proponents say the $20 billion project, still in early planning stages, would help satisfy the growing demand for gas and help make South America less dependent on outside sources.

But environmentalists say that it could damage part of the Amazon - the world's largest wilderness - by polluting waterways, destroying trees and creating roads that could draw ranchers and loggers.

Glenn Switkes of the International Rivers Network said if the pipeline is built, it would inevitably foul the environment.

Brazil's rain forest is as big as Western Europe and is thought to contain at least 30 percent of all plant and animal species on the planet.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Why on EARTH would I support Sue Jeffers? And are the Libertarians clueless?

I don't like her stance on indoor smoking. I never stepped FOOT into a bar ( unless with relatives at a younger age) - until the smoking ban went into effect. I will admit - I was in Iraq at that time. But when I had my 2 weeks off - yes I did actually decide to go to a bar. ( Viking Bar on Riverside Avenue )

It's pretty simple why I went to the announcement of her candidacy - to see who her supporters were. Were these the same Libertarians who had a meeting with Jesse Ventura and then blasted him for building light-rail? Yes - indeed they were. [ If light-rail could be run as a profitable business, the private sector,risking its own capital and not taxpayer dollars, would enter the market.] Unfortunately they forgot that our ROADS are not run by for-profit businesses.

The Minnesotan Libertarians are definetely extremists. They are against not just some taxes but ALL taxes. They want NO government - or at least only one that supports the Consitution. Unfortunately, they want our state and local governments to adhere to the same standards. This is where we disagree - I believe in a strong state and local government - and want a Federal government that has no debts. But I do not wish the eradication of government.

The big thing about Libertarians is their lack of understanding as to what the purpose of government is. They feel we should all "self-govern." That is if we have a dispute with anyone - it should be settled only between those two members. I specifically asked what their take on the environment is - they think individual owners should take on polluters. WOW - so when Xcel Energy owns a coal-burning plant that adds mercury to the atmosphere and ending up strewn throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan - the individual owners must deal with this themselves. I can only IMAGINE the lawsuits in a "Utopian Libertarian Society."

The biggest surprise of the night for myself was meeting Jeremy MacKinney there. I guess he has been a Libertarian for quite a while - as he is in charge of several related Meetup groups. The meetup group I have been semi-involved with is one pertaining to Peak Oil. He believes it would be "nice" to have the free-market solve our problems - yet is cynical it will happen. Again, what is he to do? Blame the government for not preparing us or not allowing a "free-enough market.?" I think we give the oil industry free reign above and beyond necessity. And as a Libertarian - how can you complain about the government not doing something for you? He had no real answer apart from free-marketism.

Libertarians are just clueless with regards to what a government is. A government is where people can solve a mass amount of problems that individuals simple cannot do alone. If I find my property is polluted with a substance (i.e. mercury ) who do I take to court? Do I take every business that could have possibly influenced this to court within 50 miles of my home? Wouldn't that actually disempower many people to actually do something? But a government CAN do something - they can impose standards to reduce lethal and toxic emissions. They can require the recycling of harmful electronics - and impose taxes to non-renewable substances thereby improving sustainable investments.

Sue Jeffers said this in running for Minnestoa Governor: "I am running for governor because people are fed up with the two-party system and voters want an alternative choice that truly represents them. My neighbors, co-workers, friends, family and the public have been ignored. I will be their voice in this election."

The reasons she is running could have easily have came from ANY third party candidate. I am not excluding ANY political party in any election - though my social values lean me against the Republicans.

I will be honest in that I have supported the Libertarians since 1998 - 7 years of supporting their National organization. Part of my money went to the crazies in Minnesota who think our State government is too excessive. I think they have lost touch with reality - our state governs 100 times better than states like Mississippi,Texas, or Alabama. I no longer feel the Libertarians to be a viable alternative if their belief in State government is the same as Federal. And now that their membership dues are zilch - I could stay a member(but why?). And I will use my money to support better alternatives - like the Greens.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Profiting from peak oil -- or creating an sustainable future?

I found this rather interesting. Guiness Atkinson Funds is now looking for investors to profit from our energy dependence on fossil fuels. This is nothing new - and it would make sense to invest in it and then use your returns to finance alternative resources. Profits would be made at the expense of people's finances - both developed and developing nations - and the poorest being hurt worst. But nonetheless their site states:

*** Dr. Colin J. Campbell at the Association for the Study of Peak Oil estimates the global oil peak in production will occur in 2008. Guinness Atkinson Funds is estimating the global peak oil production year will occur between 2015 and 2020 (see chart at left). We suspect that soon, daily oil demand will outstrip daily oil production capacity, potentially creating an opportunity to profit from the ownership and exploitation of the world's dwindling hydrocarbon reserves. ***

As the situation hits mainstream investors more - I foresee more speculation from investment firms and investors that this is the way to go. Only those who want to risk their fortunes will pour it into renewable resources - of course those would be the smarter long-term investment. But the globalized society of investors only look to the next quarter. And if they see oil as a strong investment each quarter and wind as a smaller profit-margin - then so be it.

For those of us who want to improve our finances as well as invest in items beneficial to future generations - there are options. I have been informed by Brian Walter Antonich of Minneapolis based Windustry, that there is an organization linking small and large investors to renewable energy projects. The organization is known as C-BED or Community-Based Energy Development.

But for those of us in Minnesota - C-BED also presents us an opportunity to own our own wind:

1/2 of All New Wind Capacity in Minnesota to be C-BED!

Nov 8 2005 - Today the Pawlenty administration has established a goal of bringing 800 MW of C-BED wind energy on-line by 2010. Minnesota currently has 615 MW of existing wind capacity and 123.6 MW is being installed in 2005. According to the MN Dept of Commerce, 2,275 MW of wind energy is needed in Minnesota by 2010, which means that more than 1/2 of all new wind energy in Minnesota the next 5 years is expected to be C-BED, resulting in over a billion dollars of wind energy investment in Minnesota's rural communities and farm economies.

I have signed up to be linked up for the minimum investment of $1000. I personally hope that I am actually able to be part of something that is positive in regards to financial investments and promoting renewable energy. I hope that those who can invest in our state's, region's, and planet's future can do so as well.