Tags >> politics
Feb 04
2010

Post Carbon Institute

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma County , Santa Rosa , resources , politics , policy , planning , nonprofit orgs , news , legislation , international , Ideas , Green , government , food , environment , economy , climate change , carbon , business , alternative energy , agriculture , activism

Bruce Robinson

When the Post Carbon Institute was started in 2003, the idea behind its name was a philosophical ideal. Seven years later, it’s become a imminent necessity—one with an accelerating deadline.

Moving into a post-carbon world will require all kinds of changes in the way people live, especially in our high-consumption culture. But Asher Miller (left), Executive Director of the Post Carbon Institute, believes that the necessary adjustments may not prove to be as difficult or disruptive as they may appear at this point in time.

This is Miller's Open Letter to President Obama, in response to his 2010 State of the Union Speech.

Dear President Obama,

Your State of the Union speech last week laudably referenced clean tech and renewable energy several times. We ask that you follow your words with action, by leading the transition to a post-carbon economy and a healthier world.

You also spoke of our need to face hard truths.

Hard truth: Our continued, willful reliance on fossil fuels is making our planet uninhabitable. We are evicting ourselves from the only paradise we’ve ever known.

Hard truth: No combination of current and anticipated renewable sources can maintain our profligate energy usage as the global supply of fossil fuels heads for terminal decline.

For the recently released Searching for a Miracle, Post Carbon Institute Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg conducted a “net energy” analysis of 18 different energy sources (including nuclear and “clean coal”). He concluded that the amount of energy available after accounting for the energy used in extraction and production of those sources is—at our current and anticipated rates of consumption—insufficient to get us “over the hump” to a post-carbon world.

Our 29 Post Carbon Institute Fellows—experts in the leading economic, energy, and environmental issues of the day—all agree that this "net energy" deficit is just one of many interrelated crises shaping the 21st century. Each crisis alone creates formidable challenges; in combination, their complexity admits no simple solution. But given their direness, inaction risks tragedy.

Mr. President, we respect you and your advisors and appreciate the enormity of the dilemmas you and all of us confront. When a great leader frames a great challenge, a resilient people will rise to meet the opportunity. And so we ask, Mr. President, that you tell the American people that we must:

1. Face reality. In a carbon-constrained world, true prosperity comes not from heedless growth, but from shared security, community, and liberty.

2. Prepare for the future. Conservation, with an emphasis on building a green economy and revitalizing struggling communities, offers cost-effective “found” energy, and the most immediate and long-term return on investment.

3. Lead the way. A substantial investment in renewable energy, with an emphasis on distributed solar and wind, offers the best hope for moving to a sustainable economy and environment.

Mr. President, lead us in creating a future worth inheriting. Post Carbon Institute and our Fellows will support you and your team in whatever capacity we can. We believe that the American people, and the world’s people, will support you as well.

With hope,
Asher Miller
Executive Director
Post Carbon Institute

Click here to comment on the letter to President Obama. You can also see the complete list of fellows on the Post Carbon Institute website.

 

 

 

 

Jan 20
2010

State of the County 2010

Posted by Bruce Robinson in tourism , speaker , Sonoma County , resources , public safety , politics , planning , legislation , jobs , housing , government , events , employment , education , economy , construction , California , business , budget , alternative energy , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

Each January, the chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors presents a Report to the community that reflects on the year just past, and looks ahead into the year just beginning. For the past several years, KRCB has been pleased to broadcast this annual State of the County address, a tradition that continues with this online posting of the audio from the event, as introduced by News Director Bruce Robinson.

Jan 13
2010

David Swanson

Posted by Bruce Robinson in war , speaker , rights , politics , peace , media , legislation , journalism , Ideas , history , government , events , Congress , business , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

The founding Fathers saw the U.S. Constitution as a dynamic document that would evolve and change over time. Writer and activist David Swanson believes we’re long overdue in getting to work on that.

In his new book, Daybreak:  Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, Swanson tracks the gradual accretion of political powers in the office of the presidency—something that has been underway for most of our national history, but which accelerated markedly in the past eight years. In his analysis, that is dangerously undemocratic, but its hardly the only place in our national governance where that is a problem. Another is the U.S. Senate, particularly the convoluted procedural practice of the filibuster, which Swanson would like to see ended.

The calls for impeachment of Dick Cheney or George W. Bush or members of their administration have diminished over the past year, but Swanson notes that leaving office does not remove or even lessen their vulnerability to such charges. And he contends that pursuing impeachment against any of the potentially culpable former officials would serve the further purpose of reasserting the strength of the House of Representatives.

The politics of 2009 were sharply different from the years before, Swanson observes, as much of the activism that had mobilized against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan got caught up in the Obama campaign, and has not yet re-established itself. He speculates that the anti-war effort might actually be more effective today if John McCain had been elected instead.

David Swanson will be speaking at the Glaser Center in Santa Rosa at 7 pm on Wednesday, Jan. 13, hosted by the Progressive Democrats of Sonoma County.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 11
2010

"Marx in Soho"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in politics , Petaluma , media , Ideas , history , events , education , economy , author , arts , activism

Bruce Robinson

Karl Marx was an economic and social theorist, and a self-described communist. But one thing he said he was not, was a Marxist.

Jerry Levy is a college professor, a longtime leftist activist and an actor who has been performing Howard Zinn’s Marx in Soho frequently for the past six years. (He's seen in character at the left.) He notes that the play’s central premise places the 19th Century writer and theorist into the present day, giving Marx a platform to comment on contemporary issues.

Although Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin are often linked in connection with the Russian revolution a century ago, Levy says that Lenin is largely ignored throughout Marx in Soho.

Below are photographs of Howard Zinn (left) and the offstage Jerry Levy.