The following announcement comes from Michael Richards, founder of Sustainable Ecological Economic Development (S.E.E.D.):
The S.E.E.D. Mid Term Conference
will take place on April 26, 2008
North High School in Davenport, Iowa
As you may know the first Annual S.E.E.D. Conference took place in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on October 26,27 and 28 of 2007. The Second Annual Conference will take place at the same location in Cedar Rapids on October 24, 25,26 in 2008.
Sustainable Ecological Economic Development (S.E.E.D.) was founded in 2006 as a statewide initiative to foster a paradigm shift to a sustainable society in Iowa. We are committed to the making this necessary change during our present generation. For this reason, we have committed to a 20 year cycle of community conferences in various locations around the State of Iowa.
S.E.E.D. Mid Term Conference
North High School, Davenport, Iowa
9 am to 4 pm, Saturday April 26, 2008
Jim Larew, Chief Counsel for the Governor of Iowa
-State Official responsible for the State of Iowa’s environmental initiatives
Mayor Gluba of Davenport, Iowa will serve as our Official Conference Host
Michael Richards, author and founder of Sustainable Ecological Economic Development (S.E.E.D.)
and… workshop leaders in 6 tracks throughout the day;
Track I; Sustainable Food, Health and Wellness
Track II; Community Ecotecture; Integrating bio-shelter and environment
Track III: Ecological Economic Development Ethical Basis for Resource Stewardship
Track VI: Renewable Energy
And; Many exhibitors in the areas of renewable resources and sustainable community development
The present group of S.E.E.D. executive board members represent many communities throughout the state of Iowa. Contact us if you would like to participate; [email protected]
a guest article written for by S.E.E.D. Mid-Term CONFERENCE Keynote Speaker, Michael Richards;
Sustainability for Survival
Rational people that do research beyond the spoon fed official pablum of mass media will conclude that our present economic and political systems are literally collapsing as our “leaders” stand like deer in the headlights. We face a triple whammy of global warming, oil depletion and credit melt-downs such as the sub-prime crisis. Building reality based sustainable communities is no longer just motivated by a “green ethic”. Setting up intelligent sustainable systems is a necessity for survival. Changing light bulbs or fuel just won’t get it. We need a total paradigm shift.
“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” -Aldous Huxley
“In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” -George Orwell, 1984
Twenty Principle Points to Guide the Building of Sustainable Communities:
1. As we evaluate “economic development” in our community, always ask how any proposed change or new development will effect the entire community; the commonwealth of citizens and the surrounding ecology.
2. Meet as many local needs from local sources as possible through the mutual work of citizens. Build a local and regional economy that supports the creative and productive enterprise of local free market entrepreneurs, not state subsidized multi-national corporate behemoths. It is good to remember that the dictionary definition of fascism is simply “the merger of state and corporate interests.”
Here is a sobering quote:
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . -corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of this country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” — Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864
3. Use local resources to meet local needs first, and then market any surplus outside of your local community in concentric circles of distribution. Sell closest to source first to minimize energy used in transport of goods.
4. The industrial concept of “labor saving” technology diminishes the real economy of a community if it results in an increase of unemployment or substandard quality of goods produced. Technology and mechanization may save time and money from a one dimensional view, and then cost the community greatly from a “whole system” perspective. Rapidly rising energy costs are changing this equation dramatically. This requires constant reassessment.
Our present industrial model of agriculture is a striking case in point; We now spend 10 calories of petrochemical energy to produce 1 calorie of food energy. Industrial agriculture presently operates with a huge net loss to the community; It is only propped up with expensive subsidy programs. In the USA, the petroleum industry receives nearly 100 billion in annual subsidies. The actual cost of petrochemical fuels is $10; $3 at the pump, and $7 in tax payments, and this doesn’t even measure the huge impending costs of climate chaos from a carbon burning culture. The bio-fuel and agricultural sector is propped up with another $100 billion in subsidies. Subsidies can only be supported as long as the global economy buys US paper currency. Our global monetary system is not sustainable; it’s based on “shared illusion”. Once this illusory bubble collapses, the entire economic system collapses. A real economy must be built in each local region by real people with real resources within a new real value paradigm.
5. Set up intergenerational communities where the old and young work within a “whole system” community structure to care for the specific needs of people at each stage of the life-cycle. Institutional childcare and the exploitive nursing home industry have very high social and financial costs. We must integrate all ages into efficient systems of a well functioning local community. Inter-generational co-housing is a good model to develop.
6. Develop appropriate technology for adding value within the community at a scale that is in balance with nature, the actual community scale, the real human social scale and the actual carrying capacity of the local ecology.
7. Develop small scale industry and business to support local farm, fishery, and forest economies to produce real goods for real needs. A sustainable society can only be supported with resources from sustainable sources.
8. Produce as much of the energy needed by the community as possible at the local level. Conserve and utilize all energy within intelligent systems to lessen the actual need for energy. Effective conservation is much more cost effective than chasing an illusory and temporary techno-fix. Nature conserves energy whenever possible. There is no waste in nature. We need to apply scientific bio-mimicry to build an efficient human ecological-economy.
9. Work to increase the real income within the community and lessen the need to purchase resources and services outside of your community. The net value of economic activity is the only valid and real measure.
10. Set up integrated systems to circulate money produced locally within the local economy through as many cycles as possible with inter-dependent local goods and services. Bank locally. Support the local economy in all sectors.
11. Build direct local connections between urban consumers and rural producers of food and energy.
12. Be aware of the real economic value of neighborly acts and community cohesion. A safe, sane society is much less costly to operate than a society burdened with systemic dis-enfranchisement that leads to crime and violence.
A world that works for all of us can only be built up from local communities that work for all of the participants.
13. Develop reality based currencies, web-based direct value trading and traditional barter systems to replace the inflationary/imaginary global money system. As the sub-prime mortgage crash is painfully demonstrating, a sustainable economy must be based on the trade of real goods and services, not just financial “paper”. Sustainable societies can only be operated on real resources and real capital, not false credit conjured up out of thin air.
14. A local community works best if connections are built with other local communities. Live locally, and connect globally for knowledge exchange. An interconnected “global village” is possible with our present electronic voice and web communication. Knowledge is the most viable resource to transport over long distance in an energy scarce era. “Best practice” in permaculture, energy conservation and production of real value can be shared in this way. We need to see the survival of the entire human enterprise as a shared global responsibility. A fear based “survivalist” mentality is deadly. Life only works when we understand the multiple layers of our global ecology.
15. Maintain the human community without despoiling any adjacent or distant ecosystem. It is all connected.
16. As we plan the operating systems of our sustainable economy, we must include the entire natural living system; The local ecology of land, water, air, native fauna and flora are full members of the community. We need a “whole systems perspective” to decide the best course of action for each community and the human species as a whole.
17. Account for real ecological costs now hidden. Have those that cause these costs pay for the cost. No more corporate or governmental deferral of real and measurable costs to future generations. Our children deserve this.
18. Always think about how our actions contribute to measurable economic value, not just the movement of cash. An industry may in fact generate a lot of cash, but create huge long term loss to the community in social and ecological costs and damage. We need a new economic measure; RPP, Real Productive Product to replace GDP.
19. Start to reclaim our democracy at the local level first, then as a local populist power base is established, real citizens can reclaim their birthright of political power that’s been usurped by our present political mercenaries that are controlled by special interest groups and multi-national corporations at the state, federal and global level.
20. Work with all of our local business and industries to shift out of economic connections to the military/industrial
complex. 60% of all public funds are spent on military largesse and outright waste. Huge portions of the general economy are hard wired into the military industrial complex. This is not sustainable and it will crash. We can maintain real “defense” with an intelligent and effective alternative to our current corrupt empire building oligarchy.
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched,
every rocket fired signifies a theft from those who
hunger and are not fed, from those who are cold
and not clothed. The world in arms is not spending
–money alone, it is spending the sweat of its workers,
the genius of its scientists and the hopes of children”
-Dwight Eisenhower, WWII General/US President
Empire is always based on violence and economic overreach through military exploits. There’s never been a sustainable empire in human history. The current U.S. empire is no exception. We’re at an epochal crossroads; Make a conscious choice to shift into a sustainable economy, or let history repeat itself one more time with collapse.
The average U.S. citizen consumes 32 times the resources of the average person anywhere else in the world. We cannot have it both ways. We cannot claim to be against war and global climate change as long as we participate in this orgy of consumption every day. If you do not want to support the death and destruction of war and you do not want to endanger your children with the effects of unmitigated climate chaos, then only you can make the change in your own day to day lifestyle. Opt out of the mass consumer economy. Power-down your own lifestyle to a sustainable “low consumption/high value” lifestyle. Vote for a new world reality with the way you live today.
Essay by Michael Richards, founder of Sustainable Ecological Economic Development (S.E.E.D.) author of SUSTAINABLE OPERATING SYSTEMS/The Post Petrol Paradigm (available at www. Amazon. com) For speaking engagements, contact the author by e mail at; postpetrol @ aol. com or phone at; 319-363-1774.
SEED Mid-Term Conference, Saturday April 26, 9-4