Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Eleven Eleven Eleven

I wanted to post something on 11/11/11, the 11th month of the 11th day on the 11th year of the century, but the day, like so many days these days, was in my rear view mirror seemingly before it even came. But it's still eleven eleven, although just barely. And indeed, it is the 11th hour.

The eleventh hour is a colloquial expression meaning "a time which is nearly too late". The phrase originates in the book of Matthew of the Christian Bible and references workmen being hired late in the day (Matt 20:6). "And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?"

Certainly, it is the 11th hour on climate change, and once again another meeting on the subject is most likely going nowhere. Take this story:

Leading American environmentalists complained to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Wednesday that her negotiators at U.N. climate talks risked portraying the U.S. as an obstacle to fighting global warming because of its perceived foot-dragging on key issues.

Separately, European delegates and the head of the African bloc at the 192-party talks also denounced U.S. positions at the talks, which are seeking ways to curb the ever-expanding emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. (clip)

Discontent directed at Washington came as the U.N.’s top climate scientist, Rajendra Pachauri, warned the conference’s 15,000 participants that global warming is leading to human dangers and soaring financial costs — but that containing carbon emissions will have a host of benefits.

Although he gave no explicit deadlines, the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change implied that the world only has a few years before the Earth is irreversibly damaged by accumulations of carbon in the atmosphere. You see it everywhere, in the drought in Texas, in the bleaching of ocean coral, in the oysters in the Northwest.

Meanwhile, for the first time ever, there were more investments in renewables last year than in conventional sources. So, even as our political system continues to sleep walk into the dark night, there are workmen everywhere toiling late into the day on the new energy systems we need now.

Yesterday, while lunching with a true pioneer in the electric industry, I was criticized for being too conservative in a recent solar plan I had authored. And I suppose it is true. When you are working for real in an unreal world... a world where Capital has artfully hypnotized a great many folks into believing a great deal of nonsense, you learn to advance your cause with caution.

But thanks to many in the Occupy Wall Street movement, a few more folks are now at least looking in the right direction. For our nemesis is not the Rs or the Ds or even the 1%. For "the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings".

For until we understand our own shortcomings, our inability to truly see our culture and the belief systems that provide the foundation for the cultural edifice we take for granted, we will be lost in a endless Sisyphian do-loop of wasted effort. For we must re-envision ourselves.

Thanks to Michael Moore, here is OWS's first try:

We Envision: [1] a truly free, democratic, and just society; [2] where we, the people, come together and solve our problems by consensus; [3] where people are encouraged to take personal and collective responsibility and participate in decision making; [4] where we learn to live in harmony and embrace principles of toleration and respect for diversity and the differing views of others; [5] where we secure the civil and human rights of all from violation by tyrannical forces and unjust governments; [6] where political and economic institutions work to benefit all, not just the privileged few; [7] where we provide full and free education to everyone, not merely to get jobs but to grow and flourish as human beings; [8] where we value human needs over monetary gain, to ensure decent standards of living without which effective democracy is impossible; [9] where we work together to protect the global environment to ensure that future generations will have safe and clean air, water and food supplies, and will be able to enjoy the beauty and bounty of nature that past generations have enjoyed.

But we must go much further than this.

And our Principles must address the very foundation

of the unreal, unjust world we have created.

For after the 11th hour,

Is another day.

Why stand ye here all the day idle?

Earthfamily Principles
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Earthfamilyalpha Content III
Earthfamilyalpha Content II
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