Thursday, December 31, 2015

Rear View Mirror





















The Christmas season came like it always does.  Too soon.  But this year, after my trip to Paris for the climate Change talks, I was taking things in stride.  I got my natural foliage wreath with my little birds and antique silvered balls installed  above the mantle in the living room in the big house, but I decided  not to hang the big flat Christmas tree in the dining room.

We were going to New Orleans the day after Christmas and it seemed like more work than it was worth.  So I did a miniature tree on the dining room table instead.  Originally, we were taking the whole family to our mountain home in Real de Catorce for the Holidays, but some little voice told me not to get that far away from civilization.  While I was in Paris,  and after, I noticed that my stride was slowing down, especially after dinner.

When I got back, I bought a fit bit, one of those cute little space watches that records your pulse and measures your activity.  For the last 30 years, excluding  2015,  I have been an avid runner and exerciser, and it seemed to me that my pulse was running too fast, even just to get up and walk to the bathroom.  So as I did my shopping and other Xmas chores, I was watching and recording my heart rate on a daily basis.  It seemed as if my resting heart rate was going up a little everyday.

On the 22nd of December, I found myself responding to a freedom of information request from a channel 8 reporter.  The whole thing irritated me, but I got it done early on that day.  Now, I was ready for the Holidays, and to eat some good bad food in New Orleans, and enjoy the rest of the trip I had planned with the family.

However, an odd thing happened on my way to the forum.

My blood pressure suddenly shot up way high... Like 200 over 150.

That afternoon, thanks to my guardian angel partner,  I was in the Cardiologist's office getting an EKG.  The next day, I went in early for a nuclear stress test.   I flunked it spectacularly.  Instead of the pictures showing a  nice round donut of red, the bottom half of my donut was light yellow.

We drove from the Doctor's office across the street to the Heart Hospital.  Within 2 hours, I was being wheeled into the Heart Cath room.   This is where the Cardiologist inserts an instrument into your groin and winds his way up into the heart.  They inject die and take pictures.  If necessary, they can also do work to improve the situation.  They can open up areas or put in balloon like devices.  (I figured I would end up with some stints.) They don't knock you out to do it, they just make you real dopey.  But I do remember the cardiologist saying something like, "Let's get out of here, this is going to take full surgery".  I looked up over at him.  "Sorry, he said"

Within an hour, and in the proverbial blink of an eye, I was being scheduled for full open heart surgery.  Only problem was, now it's the day before Christmas Eve, the 23rd of December, which was also my son's birthday. And finding a good surgical crew out of the holiday shift surgeons and remaining kitchen and janitorial staff was looking grim.  So, I got to go home on Christmas Eve and return on the next Monday when the A team would return.

Obviously, Christmas was very different this year.

But that first night, when I first learned of my situation, it was a doozy.  By the time I came to, both mentally and actually, it was around midnight.  For the next 6 hours, using my mifi and my mini, I did an internet super search on bypass surgery.  And, make no mistake, there are a lot of stories out there that tell you not to do it.  There are even new techniques called EECP that in some cases can substitute for it.  Obviously, by six o clock in the morning, I had a head full of ideas on the subject.

But I was mostly trying to just get my hands around it.  And with a 5% bad outcome rate, it sounded a little like trying to scamper across I 35 with a bad knee.

The next morning, the Cardiologist came in.  He listened as I emptied my head of my newly acquired internet degree in heart health.  My physician partner patiently allowed Dr. Tibliet to artfully bat my serves  back over the net.  But when it came down to getting through, it was these words,  "Look Michael, look at it this way,  in 30 days, you will have this in your rear view mirror, and in six months, you'll be booking a flight to Greece without even a thought of it."

It's been thirty days today.

And he was right. (knock on wood)

My quadruple coronary artery bypass graft (cabg)

is now in my rear view mirror.

And I am grateful.

And I send warm embraces to those whose love and care

Made this journey,

a ticker tape parade of a thousand kindnesses.















 

 

 

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Monday, November 30, 2015

Paris Climate Talks















SANTA LOVES ALL GODS CHILDREN


During a dinner party at the big House in which a pretty good group of thinkers, leaders, and commotion makers met just before Thanksgiving, a group of us decided that we should go on and pull the trigger and go to Paris for COP 21.

Certainly, we had been thinking and even planning to some degree to go, but the actual commitment to go came quite late.  Given the recent events in Paris, we figured we could book the flights and find the Hotels we would need.  And we were right.

So, by the end of November, we were on our way.

This was not our first Climate Change Conference, nor, I suspect,  will it be our last. I made two videos, one which was very personal, and another  which was our Mayor's remarks at the convention at the Cities and  Region's Pavilion.

Here is the first:





During our stay we were attending meetings at the official site way north of Paris and at the Hotel de Ville in downtown Paris.  The meetings up north were in temporary well lit buildings and I was told that the site was an old military base.  The meetings at the Hotel de Ville (city hall) were in on the Seine in the Island east of the Louvre.

The Meeting of the the Nations going on to the north were significant and important, but this was the first time that the Mayors and the Cities had met at the same time as the Nations.  This was different.  And these were the meetings that drew our attention.  Besides, we all had good credentials for the Meeting of the Cities, not the case up north in Le Bourget.

For it was at the meeting of the Mayors where a great deal of excitement was occurring.  We had the President of France, the Mayor of Paris, the Mayor of Rio, the Mayor of London, Bloomberg from New York, and others like Al Gore, Leonardo di Caprio, and Elon Musk.

We were invited to the American Ambassador's  little party. Her residence is more like a Palace.   The Secretary of Energy was there.  So was the US lead negotiator at the talks.  We met  Mitch the Mayor of New Orleans.  And we met that high energy Mayor from Baltimore.  I was chatting in another room with a state department guy who looked like security.  He was sort of.  He was in charge of keeping track of all the decommissioned nuclear weapons in the world.

When the Mayors signed their agreement, we did it at the Eiffel Tower.  And it was then that the somber blue heart in the tower of the city of light was  once again brought to life.

The next day, Mayor Adler spoke at the Cities and Region's Pavilion up north:




Later that evening, I went to a piano quartet in the Sarbonne with my old friend Jim Haynes, and we ate dinner at the restaurant across the street afterwords.

Jim has been feeding and introducing people to one another in Paris for three decades.

But before that, he did it in Amstersdam, London, and Edinburg.

The next night, I took Commissioner Shea and Councilmember Pool to Jim's dinner.

We felt as if we were in the center of the universe,

in the City of Light.

Perhaps we were.

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Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Solar 600


 



On October 15th,  on a 8-2-1 vote, The Austin City Council instructed Austin Energy to purchase 450 MWs of solar power now and to build or buy another 150 before 2019.  This will put Austin Energy's solar portfolio somewhere in the 850 MW area with 750 MWs of west Texas solar and perhaps another 100 MWs of local solar.  And, it represents a substantial compliance with the recommendations of the Austin Generation Task Force in July of 2014.

But it came about only after a lot of work from the broad community and pressure from the Electric Utility Commission.

For it was the EUC resolution that cleared Council to get Austin Energy to release the RFP for the 600 MWs of solar that was required in the adopted gen plan of December 2014.  That request went out on April 8th.

Austin, Texas – Austin Energy today issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) that includes options for both power purchase agreements and direct ownership for up to 600 megawatts of solar generation.
 Proposals are due by May 15, 2015. The RFP is available on Austin Energy’s Web site at www.austinenergy.com.
 Acquiring up to 600 MW of utility-scale solar is a major component of Austin Energy’s recently adopted Resource, Generation and Climate Protection Plan to 2025. The plan sets a goal of delivering 55 percent of all of Austin Energy’s electricity to its customers from renewable energy sources by 2025.
 A good telling of the story from the perspective of the Sierra Club can be found here.

But my telling is more personal.  As the Chairman of the Electric Utility Commission that pushed the solar purchase through a half dozen votes and the Chair of the Generation Task Force that provided the original 600 MW recommendation, my story is one of a once progressive utility and leader in the fight against climate change to a Utility that had returned to the dark ages of utility management and vision... and of the City leadership that overcame it.

Originally, when the Generation Task Force made it's recommendations, the Utility said it would cost billions of dollars.  In truth, it will save money for our rate payers from day one.  When the bids were received at prices below 40 dollars/ MWh, the Utility then argued that it was not prudent to buy the 600 MWs because solar prices would go to 30 dollars/MWh in a few years and we would have buyers remorse.

Yet, when they compared the price of the natural gas plant that they wanted to build, they compared the price of the Gas Plant with  higher solar prices than the prices they were predicting in their buyers remorse arguments.

They had become duplicitous.

The night before the big vote, I met with the Mayor, a council member, other staff members and the Mayor's representative on the Electric Utility Commission We worked for 3 hours trying to come up with a path that took advantage of the great pricing represented in the offers, the needs of our customers both big and small, and the demands of our consumer and environmental communities. And even though we went through most of our old ideas, and a few new ones, I can say that when I left that night, I didn't have the answer.

Later that night, during a dinner with a former EDF senior staffer, I pondered the events of the next day, and answered the calls of those who were anxious to know what the plan was.  The truth is, we didn't have one yet.

Then, the next morning, one of the most experienced environmental/consumeristas in the region, if not the country, called me and told me he was going to talk to the Mayor.  At the time he was in Indiana.  I told him to text him first.  As I was driving to City Hall, he called.

"We've got a deal" he said.  The Mayor has agreed.

I listened and it sounded good to me.

I had the sponsors office type up the amendment. And I ran it by them.

Just before the Council meeting convened, I walked up to the dias and to the Mayor.

Is this our deal? I asked.

He turned it around and added one word and turned it back to me.

I nodded.  We shook hands with our eyes.

The motion with one more minor change passed.

That would get one R.

It passed 8-2-1.

We have a really good Mayor.

And a Council we can be proud of.

And a Utility that needs to come home.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Red Neck Red Tide















We didn't do much for my birthday this year but we did make it down to the redneck Riviera.   Now for those of you who don't know what the Redneck Riviera is, it's one of our better beaches here in Texas on the third Coast.  We like Mustang Island where Port Aransas is. It is an old fishing town where President Roosevelt used to come fish for Tarpon.  In fact, we stay in the Roosevelt Suite in the Tarpon Inn when we can.

But this year it was particularly red because of a bloom of red algae called the Red Tide.

This from Wikipedia:

Red tides in the Gulf of Mexico are a result of high concentrations of Karenia brevis, a microscopic marine algae that occurs naturally but normally in lower concentrations. In high concentrations, its toxin paralyzes the central nervous system of fish so they cannot breathe. Dead fish have been observed to wash up on gulf beaches of Mexico and Texas.[2] Dense concentrations appear as discolored water, often reddish in color. It is a natural phenomenon, but the exact cause or combination of factors that result in a red tide outbreak are unknown.[3] Red tide causes economic harm and for this reason red tide outbreaks are carefully monitored. For example, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission provides an up-to-date status report on the red tide in Florida.[4] Texas also provides a current status report.[5]
Red tide is also potentially harmful to human health.[6] Humans can become seriously ill from eating oysters and other shellfish contaminated with red tide toxin.[7] Karenia brevis blooms can potentially cause eye and respiratory irritation (coughing, sneezing, tear production, and itching) to beachgoers, boaters and coastal residents.[8] People with severe or persistent respiratory conditions (such as chronic lung disease or asthma) may experience stronger adverse reactions. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Ocean Service provides a public conditions report identifying possible respiratory irritation impacts in areas affected by red tides.

We thought about not going, but what the heck, we gave it a try.

There were warnings from the Texas authorities about fish kills only a few miles from the stretch of beach we like to go to and we imagined that the air would be full of fish death and that the beaches would be less than desirable.

But, as we got to the Ferry landing at Aransas Pass, we had the longest wait we've had in years.  When we got to Port Aransas, we were pleased to see that this off season weekend was actually pretty busy.  And even though we were reading about the health dangers of the Red Tide, no one else seemed to be.  I asked the ferry loader and he told me that he was fine.

The State of Texas doesn't really like to talk about it much either.  This comes from their website:

Why doesn't the state post signs on the beach warning the public about red tide?
 
The eye and throat irritation caused by red tide results from high concentrations of the algae and rough surf. These conditions cause the red tide's irritant to become suspended in the air in the salt spray. There is typically little or no irritation when surf conditions are relatively calm. In most red tides in Texas, these conditions vary a lot within the space of days or even hours. As a result, the same part of the beach may have irritating conditions in the morning and those conditions may be gone by afternoon. On a calm day, even with red tide in the surf zone, many people can enjoy the beach because there is not a lot of salt spray from the surf carrying irritant to the beach. The best advice for beach visitors is if they feel effects in an area, leave that area and try another one. Some local authorities will post signs on beaches that they manage.

However NOAA says this about the health effects:

Human inhalation of brevetoxins produced by the red tide organism, Karenia brevis, is an increasing public health concern.  The scientists, led by John Ramsdell of NOAA's Center for Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research in Charleston, S.C., determined that brevetoxins react with DNA of lung tissue and attach to the DNA-bases that code genetic information. The linkage of chemicals in the environment to DNA is a first step for many cancer causing agents and can lead to mutations in genes that normally prevent the formation of cancers.

I'm about as allergy prone as anyone I know.  I can sneeze 50 times in a row on a bad day, so we were particularly careful, but no one else seemed to care or notice.

I love our Texas beaches.  The sand is perfect for carving sand castles and all kinds of beautiful things.  You can see mermaids and a dizzying array of sculptures on the right weekend, existing in the blustery wind and waves for just a blink in time.

I might have felt a little tickle in my throat, but I figured it was more my imagination.

The weather, the water, and the whole experience was as good as it gets.

Red Tide is just going to get worse as climate change makes our seas warmer.

Meanwhile,  the red neck red tide  rolls on.

And on.

In the deep blue sea.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

The Road Ahead

As Chairman of the Electric Utility Commission of Austin, Texas, Peter Sinclair of  Climate Crock of the Week interviewed me the other day about the new solar contracts that the City of Austin and Austin Energy are considering.  It comes in two parts.  Here is the first one:



And here is the second:



In the back ground, you can see the two new Huichole string drawings that we just purchased during our most recent trip to Real de Catorce.

Things are better in Mexico, and this is the first time we have driven in three years.  It's like the good old days when you have to wait 2 hours to get a permiso for your car.  And the police at the state lines (we cross three on our trip) actually stop you again. During the height of the panaderos, only the military would stop you.

Regarding the 600 MW solar purchase by Austin Energy, City Council should make a decision in October.  If they decide to do the entire 600 MWs, Austin Texas, the nation's 11th largest city, will  have close to 50% Renewable Energy by the end of 2016, with a remarkable 800 MWs of affordable solar.

In my second year  as Chairman I am delighted how far we have come.

And I am strengthened by the road ahead.


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Friday, July 31, 2015

God Bless the Pope



The most important statement on climate change in a very long time came out this summer and it didn't come from the IPCC or the National Academy of Sciences.  No it came from Pope Frances

Now, I'm not a Catholic, but I play like one when I'm in my mountain home in Mexico.  I go to the 200 year old church of Our Lady of the Clean Conception (Nuestra Senora de Concepcion Limpiada) almost everyday to pray to a particularly tortured Jesus back to the right of the apse. However the real star is St. Frances.  Folks from all over Mexico come to this church to see him. Many of them walk and some walk on their knees.  For St Frances is known as a healer and this church is known for its healing power.

And Pope Frances is doing his part to try to heal the world in his encyclical on Care for our Common Home.  There has been a lot of reporting about the Pope's position and how it may or may not effect change and mobilize the billion Catholics in the world.  Already the Catholic Rs in the US have made it clear that the Pope should stick with Religion since he's not a scientist.  (actually he is)

But very few reports have actually shared the actual language of the letter.  And it is really quite inspired.  Pope Frances begins

1. “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.[1]
2. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters. clip
 Saint Francis of Assisi
10. I do not want to write this Encyclical without turning to that attractive and compelling figure, whose name I took as my guide and inspiration when I was elected Bishop of Rome. I believe that Saint Francis is the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically. He is the patron saint of all who study and work in the area of ecology, and he is also much loved by non-Christians. He was particularly concerned for God’s creation and for the poor and outcast. He loved, and was deeply loved for his joy, his generous self-giving, his openheartedness. He was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature and with himself. He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace. clip
 I. POLLUTION AND CLIMATE CHANGE
23. The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon. Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it. It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanic activity, variations in the earth’s orbit and axis, the solar cycle), yet a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity. Concentrated in the atmosphere, these gases do not allow the warmth of the sun’s rays reflected by the earth to be dispersed in space. The problem is aggravated by a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, which is at the heart of the worldwide energy system. Another determining factor has been an increase in changed uses of the soil, principally deforestation for agricultural purposes.
24. Warming has effects on the carbon cycle. It creates a vicious circle which aggravates the situation even more, affecting the availability of essential resources like drinking water, energy and agricultural production in warmer regions, and leading to the extinction of part of the planet’s biodiversity. The melting in the polar ice caps and in high altitude plains can lead to the dangerous release of methane gas, while the decomposition of frozen organic material can further increase the emission of carbon dioxide. Things are made worse by the loss of tropical forests which would otherwise help to mitigate climate change. Carbon dioxide pollution increases the acidification of the oceans and compromises the marine food chain. If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us. A rise in the sea level, for example, can create extremely serious situations, if we consider that a quarter of the world’s population lives on the coast or nearby, and that the majority of our megacities are situated in coastal areas.
25. Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited. For example, changes in climate, to which animals and plants cannot adapt, lead them to migrate; this in turn affects the livelihood of the poor, who are then forced to leave their homes, with great uncertainty for their future and that of their children. There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind, without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever. Sadly, there is widespread indifference to such suffering, which is even now taking place throughout our world. clip
It's pretty hard to say this any clearer.   Europe is dealing with this migration issue right now.  Trump would have us build a beautiful wall.  The reality of climate change is upon us. As the new story in Rolling Stone says:

"Historians may look to 2015 as the year when shit really started hitting the fan. Some snapshots: In just the past few months, record-setting heat waves in Pakistan and India each killed more than 1,000 people. In Washington state's Olympic National Park, the rainforest caught fire for the first time in living memory. London reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest July day ever recorded in the U.K.; The Guardian briefly had to pause its live blog of the heat wave because its computer servers overheated. In California, suffering from its worst drought in a millennium, a 50-acre brush fire swelled seventyfold in a matter of hours, jumping across the I-15 freeway during rush-hour traffic. Then, a few days later, the region was pounded by intense, virtually unheard-of summer rains. Puerto Rico is under its strictest water rationing in history as a monster El Niño forms in the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifting weather patterns worldwide. clip

Last fall, in northern Alaska, in the same part of the Arctic where Shell is planning to drill for oil, federal scientists discovered 35,000 walruses congregating on a single beach. It was the largest-ever documented "haul out" of walruses, and a sign that sea ice, their favored habitat, is becoming harder and harder to find.

Marine life is moving north, adapting in real time to the warming ocean. Great white sharks have been sighted breeding near Monterey Bay, California, the farthest north that's ever been known to occur. A blue marlin was caught last summer near Catalina Island — 1,000 miles north of its typical range. Across California, there have been sightings of non-native animals moving north, such as Mexican red crabs."

The Pope goes on to say:

207. The Earth Charter asked us to leave behind a period of self-destruction and make a new start, but we have not as yet developed a universal awareness needed to achieve this. Here, I would echo that courageous challenge: “As never before in history, common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning… Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life”

God Bless the Pope 

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Earthfamilyzeta























It was 10 years and about a month ago when I wrote this post that starts with this 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 the 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.  U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864.

Ten years ago, I was convinced that the only way to save ourselves and our planetary nest was to begin to create new inventions of social contract that transcend the geographic state.  I offered that these new cyberstates or cybercoops would bring human kind to higher levels of cooperation and understanding.

I still am.

Since that time, so much has happened and yet so little has happened.

When I wrote these words a decade ago, there was no Facebook.  There were no smart phones, and there was no Uber, and no so called sharing economy, even though I predicted they would come.  There were no plug in hybrid vehicles, but we would soon start a successful campaign to create them.  There was no Tesla and there were no Nest thermostats.

Most of us still used desk top computers.  Wireless was just becoming ubiquitous.

Hardly any one knew who Barack Obama was.  But in three years, many of us would be enthralled with a new vision of hope and a "can do" attitude.

Soon after the election, the plutocrats ran to their Supreme Court to get their Citizens United decision which would allow the Corporations to give any amount they chose  to the political process because it was "corporate free speech".  The internet  fund raising techniques developed by the Obama campaign was thus neutralized.  And the Corporations kept their hold on government from slipping any further.

Miraculously, the first semi-progressive health care law based on Republican think-tankisms was enacted with democratic majorities in both houses. Even though it still lined the pockets of the 1%, the Affordable Care Act was attacked before the President's signature on the bill was dry.  And just this month, like grateful abused partners and children, we all celebrated its survival from the judicial political attack of the power hungry opposition.

In the meantime, Republicans who once supported climate change actions became emboldened as the "thank you for smoking lobby" managed to confuse those who were looking for something they could tell themselves that would make them see themselves as something that wasn't just plain evil.   Pope Frances has now pretty much fixed that.  Still, humankind lost 10 years of action that may prove to be critical in our combined effort to right the wrong we have brought upon ourselves.

Fortunately, the solutions to climate change have matured.  Wind is the most cost effective way to generate electricity.  And now, just in the last few years, Solar has become the new wind with pricing that coal, nuclear, and gas plants just cannot compete with.  And like the Citizens United solution to people electing their leaders, some plutocrats would take away the tax advantages for renewables that simply level the field with the carbon competition, while leaving the depletion allowance and drilling write offs for oil and gas in tact.

And as I look forward to our third Bush or our second Clinton, without the intoxication of our first non-white President, the vision returns.

We can achieve what we can imagine.  And we can do some of that through our geographic state, or through our local community.  Most of the good work that I have accomplished in the last 10 years has been local.  Within a few years, Austin will be 75% carbon free.

But we can do so much more for ourselves as we begin to understand that soon, very soon, we will be able to help ourselves and one another in new forms of social contract.  New forms of internet family will emerge. Your Facebook family will be replaced with a functioning electronic family.  New neural networks will grow in the fertile human social soil at exponential rates.

These families will provide housing, food, the energy, mobility, communication, the finances, the entertainment, and security to those who choose to create the solutions to the 1% domination that 99% of us must endure.

And in time, the domination of the today's Corpus of Corporations will give way to a Confederation of Cooperations.

There might even be an Earthfamilyzeta.


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