Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Climate Treaty Parties

In case you missed it, the first meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (video) started yesterday.

Here is part of the press release:

"Canada will host the first meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in Montreal in conjunction with the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention.

The conference is an historic event. Not only will the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) be meeting for the 11th time, but 2005 also marks the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol.

At Montreal, the first ever meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (MOP) will be held parallel to the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP). The United Nations Climate Change Conference is set to be the largest intergovernmental climate conference since the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997.

Some 8,000–10,000 participants are expected.

Now that pan-European emissions trading has begun and the Clean Development Mechanism, as a tool to promote sustainable development and combat climate change, is operational, the conference is also attracting unprecedented business interest. "

Canada has a real interest in climate change. Many would believe that Canada will primarily profit from a warming planet by inheriting much of the weather that occurs in its neighbor to the south.

However, a new WWF report concludes that the effects may not be so benign.

2°C of global warming is too hot for Canada’s fish and forests
30 Nov 2005
Montreal, Canada

Canada’s Atlantic fish will be squeezed into ever smaller patches of cool water, endangered Atlantic salmon will be doomed, and key boreal forest species will be stranded as their natural habitats erode, if the globe’s temperature is allowed to rise too far, says WWF.

A new WWF report, launched at the Eleventh session of the United Nations Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention (COP-11), examines the impacts of a 2°C (3.6°F) increase in global average temperature on the Canadian fishery and forestry sectors.

While various studies have looked at ecosystem-wide impacts, this is the first time that scientists have studied the impacts of a 2°C warming on the distribution of individual species.

Unless aggressive action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, global warming will rise to 2°C above pre-industrial times, a threshold at which climate change impacts would become unmanageable for nature and people.

The potential for dramatic change in Ontario's forests is alarming. Sugar maple, black spruce and jack pine are projected to decline because their habitats move northwards too quickly. Production of maple syrup may be significantly reduced if temperatures remain above freezing during the sugaring-off period, although a small contribution to the GDP, effects on local economies and regional heritage could be large.

And warmer, drier conditions are expected to increase both frequency and severity of fires and insect outbreaks in Canada’s boreal forests. This could result in younger forests overall which reduces the amount of harvestable timber.

If we are to avoid irreparable damage to Canada’s nature and economy we need to act now to slow the increase in global temperature,” says Jennifer Morgan, Director of WWF’s Global Climate Change Programme. “The Montreal conference is the moment where leaders need to take a deep breath and make a formal decision to negotiate more action and commitments to cut CO2 emissions.”

Of course, the World's largest contributor to the problem

is not a Party to the Treaty.

It has its own response to Climate Change.

And it's a military response,

And it's not a party.



What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Sense of the House

October 24, 2005

Mr. BARTLETT of Maryland (for himself, Mr. UDALL of New Mexico, Mr. GOODE, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mr. JONES of North Carolina, Mr. TANCREDO, Mr. GINGREY, Mr. KUHL of New York, Mr. ISRAEL, Mr. BUTTERFIELD, Mr. UDALL of Colorado, Mr. VAN HOLLEN, Mr. GILCHREST, and Mr. WYNN) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States, in collaboration with other international allies, should establish an energy project with the magnitude, creativity, and sense of urgency that was incorporated in the `Man on the Moon’ project to address the inevitable challenges of `Peak Oil’.
Whereas the United States has only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves;
Whereas the United States produces 8 percent of the world’s oil and consumes 25 percent of the world’s oil, of which nearly 60 percent is imported from foreign countries;
Whereas developing countries around the world are increasing their demand for oil consumption at rapid rates; for example, the average consumption increase, by percentage, from 2003 to 2004 for the countries of Belarus, Kuwait, China, and Singapore was 15.9 percent;
Whereas the United States consumed more than 937,000,000 tonnes of oil in 2004, and that figure could rise in 2005 given previous projection trends;
Whereas, as fossil energy resources become depleted, new, highly efficient technologies will be required in order to sustainably tap replenishable resources;
Whereas the Shell Oil scientist M. King Hubbert accurately predicted that United States domestic production would peak in 1970, and a growing number of petroleum experts believe that the peak in the world’s oil production (Peak Oil) is likely to occur in the next decade while demand continues to rise;
Whereas North American natural gas production has also peaked;
Whereas the United States is now the world’s largest importer of both petroleum and natural gas;
Whereas the population of the United States is increasing by nearly 30,000,000 persons every decade;
Whereas the energy density in one barrel of oil is the equivalent of eight people working full time for one year;
Whereas affordable supplies of petroleum and natural gas are critical to national security and energy prosperity; and
Whereas the United States has approximately 250 years of coal at current consumption rates, but if that consumption rate is increased by 2 percent per year, coal reserves are reduced to 75 years:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
(1) in order to keep energy costs affordable, curb our environmental impact, and safeguard economic prosperity, including our trade deficit, the United States must move rapidly to increase the productivity with which it uses fossil fuel, and to accelerate the transition to renewable fuels and a sustainable, clean energy economy; and
(2) the United States, in collaboration with other international allies, should establish an energy project with the magnitude, creativity, and sense of urgency of the `Man on the Moon’ project to develop a comprehensive plan to address the challenges presented by Peak Oil.
This is not fiction.
It may be theatre.
But, it might also become real.
*art courtesy of William Hammock

Monday, November 28, 2005

In This Business

If this were a business, we would be heading toward liquidation.

Our primary asset base - in business terms, our "equity," is our natural capital.

All our welfare, our happiness and our hope derive from this capital stock.

Always have. Always will.

No sane business manager would promote, no sane venture capitalist would fund, no sane policy maker would encourage a business strategy with the overarching goal of depleting, at an increasing pace, the equity on which the enterprise was founded.

As we used to say in the Natural Capitalism practice at the Rocky Mountain Institute, "The only problem with capitalism in this country is that it hasn't really been tried!"

Any capitalists out there?


Sustainable Accounting

The other night, while having dinner with a friend, I mentioned that I wished that things were not the way they seem.

I wished, that in fact, those few hard core conservatives who still think that climate change is a left wing religion were right.

I wished that the reality of peak oil was in fact not a reality, but just another y2k kind of deal that would go away after a few years, once the promoters had sold their books and the profiters had made their money.

I wished that the corporate hegemony that has overtaken the very soul of the developed nations was just a figment of my rich imagination, and that our lives had not actually been devoured by the love of capital and the philosophy and system that justifies it.

I wished that the rapidly advancing technology around us could be counted on to provide us more freedom and more liberty, instead of becoming an army of oppressive tools for surveillance, tracking, and control.

I told my friend that I wished I was wrong,

That I wished that what we have now, our cars, our homes, our standard of living, our way of living in general, was sustainable.

And then she said,

"But you are not wrong."

There have been many philosophical attempts to describe the folly of running an enonomy or nation system on non-renewable energy sources. There have been attempts try to give shape to the ideas and visions of the visionaries who have seen, and do see, a giant brick wall in our collective future.

Bucky Fuller, in his Utopia or Oblivion, stated that we are currently running the world system on our capital energy not our income energy. Our oil and gas supplies are our collective capital, the money we have in the bank. Whereas, our daily allotment of solar, wind, and other renewable energies is our income energy.

We are like a trust fund baby living on the corpus of the trust with little or no regard for that future day when the trustee gives us the bad news.

The truth is, there is no trustee.

Organizations such as the World Bank, which arguably should act as trustee for the world's finite resources, is actually more like the world's liquidator.

Where any normal accounting system would require a store to make a double entry when an item is sold, the World Bank acts as if the store is so large that accounting for it's inventory is not neccessary.

The result is a world accounting system that does not actually account for the liquidation of finite resources. If Venezuela sells a billion dollars (Euros) of oil, its national capital account is not debited. The additional GNP of Venezuela from the sale of oil should be zero, not a billion euros. Sure, perhaps the reserves should be valued at a base price and the profits should be considered, but that simply belabors the point.

The World does not value its resources.

And until this very simple accounting measure is inacted,

The Capitalists will continue to plunder the earth for its riches, be they oil, silver, gold, or timber, as if they have no value at all, at least until after they have been sold.

Such an accounting revision is a very simple solution to a very serious problem and to moving towards a sustainable world.

If we want clean air, we must value it and capitalize it.

If we want a stable climate, we must place a value on it.

If we want finite resources to be available for our children's children,

we must place a fair value on what we consume today.

If we want communities with vitality and life,

we must place a value on their loss

when big box stores destroy our main streets.

Markets cannot work fairly if the accountants are unfairly counting.

A store that does not buy more inventory with its sales,

is destined for bankruptcy.

A World Monetary System that values natural resources only after they are sold,

Is Rigged.



What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Sunday, November 27, 2005

At Home

At first, I didn’t think too much about it.

I woke up in the early morning with an intense pain. It wasn’t food poisoning and it wasn’t any other discomfort that I am familiar with.

For no particular reason, I got out of bed and walked downstairs, maybe just to try to walk it off. When I got back upstairs, I started looking for the ibuprofen. It was on the top of my dresser, or at least it should have been there. I couldn’t find it though.

Then, I felt like I was going to pass out.

The next thing I remember, I was on the floor. My head was resting against my full length mirror. I must have looked like a drunk with his back against a dark alley wall. Underneath me was a choir of my recently worn shoes. More importantly, at least for the news photos, I was in my birthday suit.

I thought of Janelle finding me like this when she got home.

It was far funnier than you might think.

My bed side table had a few things knocked off of it. On the other side of my dresser, some ties had been knocked off their rack and had consequently found their way to the floor too.

After a moment or two, I got up and slipped into the cool sheets of my bed. The pain was gone and I went right to sleep.

The next day everything seemed about normal.

I went to my favorite coffee shop, ordered my red eye, and began to watch as my caffeine brethren came through the door, assessed the length of the line, and with no exceptions, patiently joined it.

As they came in though, I could see their faces with a certain clarity. It wasn’t like I could read their thoughts, but I could clearly sense their emotions. They were as easy to read as the menu behind the cash register.

One was troubled.

Another was expecting to meet someone.

Still another was late for something.

Then Janelle walked in.

She was happy… no she was triumphant.

It turns out that she had just found the perfect gift for our friend's baby shower while she was away on assignment.

I told her what was happening to me.

“Max, baby, you are a walking talking episodial twilight zone,” she says.

“No really,” I protested.

She gave me a big kiss and lovingly dismissed me and my newly acquired superhero powers.

All the rest of the day, I honed my new sixth sense. No longer was there this mystery of how gurus could tell everything about you just by a glance. Christ, your emotions are all over your face.

As the evening came and Venus showed its first twinkling, I saw a man walk by whose emotions I could not read. Actually, I could read them, but his emotions were totally foreign from all the others I had sensed during the day.

When he looked at me, his eyes had a depth that I had not seen since I chased down that jnana yogi in San Francisco so many years ago.

He seemed to say to me to follow him. So, I did.

We walked to the park next to the government center and we sat on a wooden bench. We sat silently for a while and watched the pigeons scurry around as the bundled up children ran deliriously between them.

After about a half an hour, I asked him who he was.

He said he was some kind of Buddhist Priest, a bodhisatva I think.

I asked him what was the emotion that I was sensing.

He said that he practiced “mindfulness” while he walked,

That he is perfecting the heartmind.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“It is the creation of the union of the heart and the mind,

Of consciousness and compassion,

Of the one with the other.

We call it Chitta.”

Around eight, I found myself apparently sleeping on the park bench.

I looked up at the couple that was walking by.

They looked at me in a poorly veiled disgust.

They thought I was homeless.

But I was very much at home.



What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Saturday, November 26, 2005

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

Sometimes the real stories can get pretty depressing.

Seemingly rational people arguing over everything.

Experts battling with charts.

Take a smile break.

Note the amazing inverse correlation between global warming and the number of pirates.

(Should the Kansas Board of Education recognize the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?)

I think you know what we need to do.

Give thanks!


Hard Core Ice Record

Perhaps one of the best ways to predict the future is to study the past in the frozen ice of our polar ice caps. Many years ago, the French and the Russians studied the ice pack in Vladivostok and found that temperature and CO2 concentrations follow each other quite closely.

Recently, another European team finished an eight year project in Antarctica. The results are pretty much what you would expect.

Carbon dioxide levels are at their highest in 650,000 years.

Here is the story.

Carbon dioxide levels highest in 650,000 years
Nov. 25 ,2005

With the first in-depth analysis of the air bubbles trapped in the ice core of east Antarctica, scientists have discovered that today's atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are the highest in 650,000 years.

The analysis highlights the fact that today's rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, at 380 parts per million by volume, is already 27 percent higher than its highest recorded level during the last 650,000 years, reported scientists in two papers in the Nov. 25 issue of the journal Science.

One study chronicles the stable relationship between climate and the carbon cycle during the Pleistocene (650,000 to 390,000 years ago). The second paper documents atmospheric methane and nitrous oxide levels over the same period.

Carbon dioxide and methane, known as greenhouse gases, are blamed for global warming. Scientists believe that humans have been accelerating the global warming trend by emitting more greenhouse gas through industrialization.

The ice core from Antarctica, containing hundreds of thousands of years-worth of atmospheric air samples within tiny bubbles trapped in the ice, adds to this argument by extending Earth's greenhouse gas record by 210,000 years.

The new records should help scientists better understand climate change and the nature of the current warm period on Earth, and may also aid researchers in reducing uncertainty in predictions of future climate change, said the researchers.

The greenhouse gas record also provides indirect evidence for abrupt climate change in the past, the researchers found. This suggests that abrupt climatic events on time scales relevant to societies may be common features of the last climatic cycles.

"We have added another piece of information showing that the timescales on which humans have changed the composition of the atmosphere are extremely short compared to the natural time cycles of the climate system," Thomas Stocker, senior author for both studies, said in a statement.

And here is the same story as reported from Australia.

Planet's gas levels highest on record
The Sydney Morning Herald
By Deborah Smith Science Editor
November 26, 2005

A STUDY of air bubbles trapped in a 3.2-kilometre long ice core from Antarctica, the oldest ever drilled, shows that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere today are at their highest levels in 650,000 years.

Carbon dioxide concentrations are 27 per cent higher than any of the past peaks evident in the frozen record of climate change, which spans six ice ages and six warmer interglacial periods, European researchers found.

In a separate study, US researchers have also found that sea levels are rising twice as fast today as they were 150 years ago.

These new pieces of evidence on the impact of human activity on climate come in the lead-up to a conference on how to combat global warming that opens in Montreal on Monday.

It took European scientists in Antarctica more than eight years to drill the 10-centimetre wide cylinder of ice, working in temperatures below minus 40 degrees. They chose a remote site called Dome Concordia, 1000 kilometres from the nearest base, where the low rate of snowfall had allowed an ancient section of ice to accumulate.

Carbon dioxide levels are now 380 parts per million, compared with previous peaks of below about 300 parts per million.

The ice core study, published in yesterday's issue of Science, confirmed that temperatures have been closely tied to greenhouse gas levels throughout this period in a way that climate modellers had predicted.

The US team, led by Kenneth Miller of Rutgers University, drilled 500-metre-deep cores of sediment along the local coast to determine where the shoreline had been in the past 100 million years. Its results were also published in Science.

The Americans found that sea levels had risen steadily by about 1 millimetre a year from 5000 years ago to 200 years ago. Sea level measurements since 1850, on the other hand, showed a rise of 2 millimetres a year, Professor Miller said. "Now, with solid historical data, we know it is definitely a recent phenomenon."

"It's a remarkable achievement," Dr Etheridge said. "To understand the future we need to understand the past."

Finally, here is another story on the sea rise in The Independent.

Perhaps you saw these stories in the American Media.

I didn't.

When I googled it,

I still didn't.


* Oz note, I did see the story on CBS and Yahoo this afternoon.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Friday, November 25, 2005

Daily Feed

Two options for those with a different appetite for news:

Citizens for Legitimate Government, or CLG.

And my favorite is "Truth Out."

The straight news isn't good, but it is true.

In Ourselves We Trust

There is really little question these days.

Our news, even NPR, totally sucks.

It is full of fear and shaping.

It is full of stories that shape the mind to distrust strange peoples

who aren't Christians who live where our oil is.

It is full of bombings and killings that support that fear.

It reports of the POTUS's famous 16 words

that Iraq is trying to get Uranium from Niger,

but hardly ever reports the idiocy of the claim,

given that Iraq had tons of uranium already.

It is too fearful to ask questions about a building that collapses

because the answer is just too horrible to contemplate.

It refuses to cover the really big stories.

Precisely, because they are big.

Too Big

It is afraid to call the war in the mideast what it is.

A War for Oil.

Craig Newmark is thinking that perhaps we deserve better.

Free ads guru to 'restore trust' in journalism
The Guardian
Stephen Brook
Tuesday November 22, 2005

Craig Newmark has already revolutionised classified advertising in the US with his hugely successful website, Now he is planning to shake up journalism, which he says has "lost the trust" of the public.

The founder of the free classifieds site - the seventh most popular website in the US in terms of page views - is to launch a major online journalism project within three months that will copy his "wisdom of the masses" approach to advertising and apply it to journalism.

"Things do need to change," Mr Newmark said. "The big issue in the US is that newspapers are afraid to talk truth to power. The White House press corps don't speak the truth to power - they are frightened to lose access they don't have anyway."

Mr Newmark told the Silicon Valley Comes to Oxford forum at Oxford University's Said Business School that, despite having a staff of only 18, his free advertising website ranked immediately below eBay and all the sites owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in terms of page views.

Craigslist, which began in 1994 in the San Francisco Bay area as an information service, decides its business strategy almost entirely by following up on the complaints and suggestions of its users.

"The American public has lost a lot of trust in conventional newspaper mechanisms. Mechanisms are now being developed online to correct that."

Mr Newmark would not reveal any specific projects, which will run separately from Craigslist, but implied that they would involve using web technology to let readers decide what the major news stories would be.

"We have seen a genuine wisdom-of-crowds effect at work at times on our website," he said.

Mr Newmark said the war in Iraq had spawned a series of events that had damaged American journalism.

Some analysts predict that Craigslist and its peers will kill off those newspapers that rely heavily on job advertisements because they allow users to post classified advertising for free.

The website is charged with sucking $50m out of the classified advertising market in San Francisco because it posts its adverts for free and does not charge for anyone to look at them."

OOOOH, now that's some serious hopeful scary,

The loss of income for newspapers and other fourth estaters,

who have lost their spine.

There are names for those kind of creatures.

Ask Adam.



What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Thursday, November 24, 2005


Ice water. Two silver knives to work through the flour
and shortening, add salt. It is an old art. Do not work
late into the night, with sleep nipping at your sleeves,
you will fall off, wake up at three a.m. to a room full
of smoke, two black disks in the oven, bad smell. Do
not think about business, or the wave of darkness
spreading through the Arts, do not think about
depression looming on the horizon or the rhetoric
and nonsense our leaders toss into its mouth, or the
prospect of revolution in America. Zen. Concentrate
on the art of pie. It is an old art. Ingredients spread
through the house like a layer of snow, later people
say: O, Pie. Pie. We love pie. It is a good art. No one
will say, Make this pie with only one silver knife, or
no ice, or make it with chalk instead of flour. Fill pie
with ingredients at hand, cans of things, fresh fruit,
cheese. Add it to a feast. Eat leftovers for breakfast the
next day, the celebration begins again, pie filling the
recesses of the body, exhilaration. Pie, it is an old art.
if we lose it, infants will wither in their mothers’
stomachs, writhe at sunken nipples, men will lose
direction, US Steel will manufacture rubber and the
pillars of society will flop around like spangles on a
half-mast flag. Pie. The planets are lined up—Saturn,
Uranus, Mars, Jupiter pull earthquakes, pull poison
from beneath the surface. Pie, cut through the mix
gently, roll out on a layer of wood and flour, pie. Flute
the edges, pour in apples and cinnamon and spices.
Pie. Zen. Concentrate on the art of pie. The rites of
passage pull us through the gates of depression and
war. We shall make pie. Cannot resist. We shall
celebrate Christmas, Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July;
holidays shall find us traversing the continent in
search of heritage. No one makes pie like Mother
does. Pie. No one says one pie should represent all
pies. Pie is like a thumb print. Some are sour. Pie is
silent, making only a light simmering noise as it bakes
in the oven. It spreads scent gently into our hearts.
There is ceremony as pie is lifted out of the heat. They
gather. O, Pie. The clutter is swept away, space
around pie is brought to sharp focus. Light pours
down on pie. Concentrate. The art of pie is an old one.
Try to imagine life without it. Like the unveiling of a
great painting, breaking a champagne bottle over the
bow of a ship going off to sea, the ceremony as a
cornerstone is laid, pie. Do not roll the crust too thick,
roll gently or the center will unfurl, rub extra flour on
the rolling pin every fourth stroke, remember these
things. Create pie often so the art is not lost. Do not
forget temperature. Cold is essential, then heat. You
must have an oven, cannot make pie over an open fire
or in a barbecue pit. Be firm with those who insist pie
can be made in a crockpot or on the back window
ledge of a Pontiac left out in August sunlight.
the rules of pie.

Sing a song of six pence/ A pocket full of rye/ Four
and twenty black birds/ Baked in a pie./ When the
pie was opened/ The birds began to sing—

©1978, Susan Bright

First published in Tirades And Evidence Of Grace available from Plain View Press


Enjoy your Thanksgiving


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Family Day

The day before Thanksgiving is our family
anniversary, a different date every year, which is
why Jay and I chose it when we went to the courthouse
in early December 27 years ago to declare
common law marriage.

We met at a poetry reading at Grok Books in Austin.
He was video taping the event.
OZ, introduced as Max Stamp,
is on that same tape, juggling, I think.

The day before Thanksgiving is also the first time
our adopted son spent the night in our home.

He celebrated his fourth birthday a few days
later by throwing his gifts at the guests
and pulling the dog’s ears.

Sometime before that, Jay invited me to dinner
the day before Thanksgiving
and I spent the night with him, repeatedly.

Today Jay is working on the washing machine
which has flooded the kitchen twice since
eleven o’clock last night.

I enjoy making our traditional family feast, using
my mother’s dressing, made with bread, celery,
onion, butter, giblets, not cornbread.

We serve dinner on Thanksgiving in the late afternoon
for whomever shows up. Left overs disappear
quickly the next few days, often in the form
of turkey hash which is fabulous.

Some of our more culturally aware friends
have re-named the holiday, Family Day,
to overcome the miscreant arrogance of our founders.

There is always something to be thankful for --
Jay is particularly fond of creamed onions.
I like the day long aroma.
And that we are alive.

But today there is something else to celebrate,
a small thing really, a "glitch" is what CNN called it when --

the day before yesterday, as the VP’s lips curled
around themselves snarling that we are unpatriotic

who demand answers to the Plame leak, cooked
intelligence about WMD’s, voter fraud, insider trading --

a huge black


appeared across his face.

No amount of bad news today can erase
the simple "HA" of that fast image.

It was wonderful to watch
the techie explain this happens in the normal
transition from shot to shot —
the one going out is X’ed as the new one
comes up, but their computers froze.

He said,
they were going to have to shut
the system down more often.

I agree completely,
and am off to toast
bread cubes.

©Susan Bright

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh

Future Trans

It is healthy to be a modest believer in the axiom that Humans will make the right decision, once all other alternatives have been exhausted.

That means that once there is a general concensus among us,

That we are truly in a situation that will lead to a serious die-off,

or that our extinction is just one more bad decision over the next hill,

That we will begin to reevaluate our condition.

We will reevaluate our dependency on oil-based energy supplies,

because we will understand that they have peaked,

and that the resulting scramble for the remaining reserves,

is going to result in a difficult challenge to maintaining global peace.

We will reevalute our belief that fossil fuels have any place at all,

in our future.

For we will understand that they are marching us towards

a species threatening change of climate.

We will reevaluate the way that we live and work and consume,

-as if there is no tomorrow,

because if we don't, there just must might not be.

And we will reevalute our transportation systems and most likely,

put our cars in the transportation museum with the other carriages.

Toyota, soon to be the car company of the World,

Has some ideas about that.

Here is one that just won a Time Magazine Coolest Invention Award.

It's official: Toyota's i-unit car is cool
The Japan Times
November 18, 2005

Toyota Motor Corp. announced Wednesday that Time Magazine has named its i-unit electric car one of the "coolest inventions" of 2005 in "The Most Amazing Inventions" issue.

The same day, Toyota offered people the opportunity to test-drive the leaf-shaped one-seater that runs off a lithium-ion battery at a New York show celebrating the Time designation.

Toyota engineers demonstrated the steering controls in the 180-kg unit, which can reach speeds of up to 50 kph.

The i-unit is an update of the Toyota PM, which was presented in 2003 at the Tokyo Auto Show. The current version is smaller than its antecedent and weighs roughly 400 pounds.

The i-unit creates a seamless transformation between the vehicle and human movement, minimizing occupied space and energy consumption with its lightweight and ultra compact size. Its components are made with decomposable and recyclable materials to reduce impact on the environment.

The concept operates in an upright and horizontal mode. Its small size enables the driver to move among people in an upright position in low speed mode. The i-unit reclines in high-speed mode and its low center of gravity ensures stable handling.

The length and width of the i-unit are respectively 1.100 x 1.800 mm in low speed mode and 1,800 x 1,250 mm in hi-speed mode.

According to Toyota, "i-unit represents a new approach to human mobility that enables the driver to interact with his or her surroundings. The design is inspired by a leaf, a natural expression of life on earth."

Other creative transportation strategies are appearing before our eyes.

Here is Dean Kaman's Segway.

And here is Amory Lovin's Hyper Car.

Most of these innovations need high density batteries.

And conveniently, Here is another Lithium Ion battery development.

More Powerful Batteries
Technology Review
By Kevin Bullis

A new, fast-charging battery will make drills and hybrid cars more powerful.

Lithium ion batteries have been powering cell phones and laptops for years. But they were not used for more power-hungry machines like power tools and hybrid vehicles, mainly because of their high cost, their inability to provide adequate current, and safety issues.*

All this has now changed, though, according to A123 Systems. This month the Watertown, MA startup announced a new lithium ion battery, based on research done at MIT, that's suitable for applications requiring high power output. The battery's high power density -- a measure of the watts of power it can produce per kilogram -- means it's also lighter than conventional batteries of similar size.

Yet-Ming Chiang, whose work as an MIT professor of materials science led him to co-found A123 with Fulop, says "this is a battery system that could have significant impact on hybrid electric vehicles."

The company says the batteries can withstand ten times more rechargings than other lithium ion batteries, can be charged to 90% capacity in just five minutes, and can be fully charged in less that 15 minutes. "

We can move away from oil.

We can move away from horseless carriages.

We can move away from the war and destruction they bring.

We will move into the future.

Once the present doesn't have one.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Touchstone

The following is an excerpt from a speech given by President John F. Kennedy on October 26, 1963 at Amherst College in Massachusetts, in honor of the poet Robert Frost. Frost had died in January of that year. Kennedy would die less than a month after he spoke these words.

When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.

For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.

The artist, however faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state. The great artist is thus a solitary figure. He has, as Frost said, a lover's quarrel with the world.

In pursuing his perceptions of reality, he must often sail against the currents of his time. This is not a popular role. If Robert Frost was much honored in his lifetime, it was because a good many preferred to ignore his darker truths.

Yet in retrospect, we see how the artist's fidelity has strengthened the fibre of our national life.

If sometimes our great artists have been the most critical of our society, it is because their sensitivity and their concern for justice, which must motivate any true artist, makes him aware that our Nation falls short of its highest potential. I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist.

If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth. And as Mr. MacLeish once remarked of poets, there is nothing worse for our trade than to be in style.

In free society art is not a weapon and it does not belong to the spheres of polemic and ideology. Artists are not engineers of the soul. It may be different elsewhere. But democratic society--in it, the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may.

In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation. And the nation which disdains the mission of art invites the fate of Robert Frost's hired man, the fate of having "nothing to look backward to with pride, and nothing to look forward to with hope.

I look forward to a great future for America, a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint,

its wealth with our wisdom,

its power with our purpose.

I look forward to an America

which will not be afraid of grace and beauty,

which will protect the beauty of our natural environment,

which will preserve the great old American houses

and squares and parks of our national past,

and which will build handsome and balanced cities

for our future.

I look forward to an America which commands respect

throughout the world not only for its strength

but for its civilization as well."

Our leaders don't talk like this anymore.

Enough said.



What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



* Mark Rothko

Monday, November 21, 2005

For the Future, from the Past

Not everything we have to learn is new (knew?).

Here is a story about the College Hall at New College in Oxford.

Legend is that the builders, in the 1300's, planted oak trees for a time centuries in the future when they would need lumber to replace beams in the ceiling.

It is a tale of optimism and wisdom.

The comments say that the story is likely myth.

I guess "myth" means the most advanced form of societal truth

- for only the greatest truth can survive as myth.

Ironically, one comment says, "[I]if you think back to a society where hardwood was the principal construction material, it is obvious that some trees in every wood had to be left to grow on, while the others yielded a crop of coppiced poles every fifteen years or so."

Happy Future!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Earthfamilyalpha II

On the anniversary of the second year of Earthfamilyalpha, I am moved to try to recapture the genesis of this project and to once again imagine its purpose.

Last year, after the defeat of John Kerry, it became evident to me that there was now a fundamental shear in the American system of government away from its democratic moorings.

I recall with excitement last election day, when according to almost all signs, a new president was soon to be elected. The signs were everywhere. Boston had won the World Series. The all important Redskin football indicator showed that the defeat of the incumbent was all but certain. Early on that day, the election trading sites were tilting towards Kerry. Exit polls showed Kerry a clear winner throughout the day.

I was cautiously non pessimistic.

But there was a little gnawing in my craw.

The night before, I asked my favorite divining device, the Tarot, to give me insight. I asked, “Will Kerry Win?”

He will, but he won’t.

I threw it again.

He will, but he won’t.

And again.

He will, but he won’t.

As the returns came in, I hid my concerns. I was the voice of confidence in an election watch group that was becoming increasing distraught. Finally, it was clear.

Ohio would be red.

Earlier in the year, I had started writing a new book that had the working title “Earthfamilyalpha”. It was to be my fifth book. My first book is mostly cultural philosophy with a focus on the human potential as we respond to climate change. The second is an energy handbook for communities. My third is a parable about culture and human settlements. My forthcoming fourth book is a discussion of a new operating system for our bio computers, and this fifth book would be about the creation of new inventions of social contract that could transcend our existing geographic social contracts.

I wrote several chapters on the book before I realized that a book about cyberstates would most definitely need to be written on line in cyberspace.

That revelation, coupled with the realization that the American Democracy was now in tatters, moved me to start Earthfamilyalpha.

Earlier this week, I was invited to a wonderful lunch at a friend’s house. She is a designer who moved here from NYC. We ate outside on her deck. The cool fall air was invigorating. The other guests were bright and intelligent and caring. One had worked with Bucky Fuller during his last years. Another was an environmentally attuned attorney.

We began to do what all open minded thoughtful concerned people of conscience tend to do these days.

We despaired over the lack of vibrant, meaningful leadership for our positions and causes.

I took that as my cue. And I made my pitch.

I shared that perhaps now is the time for people of conscience to quit despairing about our lack of leadership on the national level and instead begin to let go of this pathology of nationalism.

Every four years, we spend our money, our time, our energy, and our worn warm hearts trying to return to Camelot.

It is not there.

I offered that if we, as people of conscience, are to once again have power on this earth, we must create that power.

We cannot wrest this power away.

Like Google, or Microsoft, we must create this power.

In my view, the creation of large cybercoops or states is the only non-violent alternative we have to achieving a new dimension in human organization, freedom, and justice.

Such global cyberstates will embody the perfect marriage of the freedom and wealth building potential of capitalism with the justice and equity potentials of communal holistic living systems.

The global forcing issues of climate change, peak oil, accelerating technological advancement, and the increased consolidation of wealth and power, coupled with the now unveiled hegemony of shaped information systems, will channel us down this ravine as surely as an afternoon mountain thunderstorm brings a torrent of water and silt through the canyon.

We will survive, but the ride will be wild and fast.

For the tranquil sea,

is but a thin gray line,

on a far distant blue horizon.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Door Number Two


The reason everything doesn’t fly apart
is that a cosmic glue exists at the smallest
perimeters of the universe
holding this to that
in sequences of interactions
which, if you "photograph" them
with enhanced x-ray imaging,
look rather like the
wings of moths--
on which are also written
every letter in every language
on the planet
and all the numbers--

The smallest imaginable wings
stir in a delicate vacuum
of scale that disappears
into white fog if you
think about it -- so that
the difference between
one thing and another
and the glue
of us—
could be the flying stage of
some kind of metamorphosis,
or a giant.

Is there a
rhythm of form we cannot
know unless we go
into a dark and matted cave,
onto the slime trail
of the smallest worm hole
in the galaxy,
into a swirl of wings
and light

and back —

A flutter of small wings,
each whisper
and its opposite
quickening —

©Susan Bright

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content




Congratulations, you are now a second-grader. A sophomore.

Here is your homework:

Bill Moyers to the Society of Environmental Journalists, Oct. 2005.

Peace, out. Drop the "e" - the thoughts are just "polit."

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Murtha of God

Two days ago, Congressman John Murtha tore the knickers off of the administrations deferments and ripped them into little flaglets as he came out against the war and the way it has been managed.

"It is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering, the future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf region," Murtha said.

Here is the video from Brad Blog.

And here is a Congressperson dressed like a Republican luncheon napkin giving the infantile school yard response.

And here is the official school yard response.

Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America. So it is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party. The eve of an historic democratic election in Iraq is not the time to surrender to the terrorists. After seeing his statement, we remain baffled -- nowhere does he explain how retreating from Iraq makes America safer

Murtha is close to the generals in the pentagon and he is no chicken hawk. UPI claims in an editorial that his position will transform the dialogue.

For lots of video on yesterday's animal house behavior, go to the Democratic Underground.

In the meantime, Bob Woodward turns his coat.

And Fitzgerald goes for a new Grand Jury.

On another note.

Today is the End of Earthfamilyalpha

Year One

In this year, this site has grown to be in the top 2500 sites

in the country. But more importantly, with the translator,

Earthfamilyalpha is becoming a global site.

More on this tomorrow.

But for now,

Thanks to SB.

Thanks to Polit thoughts.

And thanks to Dorothy.

And thanks to all of you

who have given us your encouragement,

And your thoughtful comments.

These were the first words last November.

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it. Abraham Lincoln's Cooper Institute address, Feb 27, 1860


And These are not the Last.

For we cannot know what the wind sees,

and we cannot see the wind write its song

when the night is still,

and the dark walks weeping.



What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Friday, November 18, 2005

Boundary Layers

Yesterday morning, I hurried off to the Convention Center to participate in a panel. It was a panel on clean energy, but the convention was some high tech gathering. The panel was composed of a solar guy, a wind energy representative, and me, the electric guy. The session was chaired by the director of one of those industry-university creations designed to help foster development in a particular technology, which in this case was clean energy.

We all said our little peaces.

After our presentations, and in response to a question I think, I said something about transductional boundary layers. I guess I made it up. It was mostly just a lot of fun to say.

I was trying to describe a future where the word and concept of fuel becomes as silly a word as the word “horseless carriage”. When cars first came on the scene, that’s what we called them because we didn’t have any other context. As a legacy, a few of us still measure power and energy in terms of horsepower and horsepowerhours.

I talked about how up until just before World War I, the world was running pretty much the way it had run for thousands of years. At the beginning of that War, horses pulled cannons into place. At the end, we were shooting each other from airplanes.

A buggy whip CEO could have made a strong speech at his annual meeting of directors predicting many many quarters of strong buggy whip sales. The Farrier trade was a dependable way for you and your children to always make a living.

Then slam bam, thank you Sam, it all changed.

Today, our cities are as covered up with the residue from carbon fuel, as the cities of yesterday were covered up with the residue from animal fuel.

And just as those cities were shaped by the horse drawn carriage and the stone mason technologies of their day, our cities are shaped by our fossil fueled cars and our steel erection technologies.

I offered that the high tech business and the electric utility business are pretty much selling the same thing. We sell raw electrons and they sell shaped electrons. They are challenged by Moore’s Law, which I called Moore’s really great guess, and electric utilities are more or less driven by Less’s law of don’t change what you are doing if it still works.

Someday, perhaps soon, I suggested that every man made surface will become a tranductional boundary layer. Our surfaces will transform photons into electrons, electron to photon, light to energy, energy to light. Walls and ceilings will glow. They will absorb energy from your skin and give you the sense of cooling. They will energize you when you feel cool, de-energize you when you feel warm.

Our boundary layers will then become a great deal more than just walls or ceilings.

They will become transductional and as such, they will become technological metaphors for all of our boundary layers.

My skin is a boundary layer, but the energy from my skin emits into space at the speed of light. My ideas are somewhere inside my skull, but they travel to the other side of the earth in this blog with the help of my fingers and this keyboard.

Where does the real me stop?

Am I my body, my words, my effect on others?

We exist in a creation of transductional boundary layers that are constantly changing the energy from one side of the boundary into another form of energy on the other side of the boundary layer.

Live Oaks bring in CO2, breath out oxygen.

Red Foxes bring in oxygen, breath out CO2.

We exist in a unified creation which can be seemingly divided

by a legend of transductional boundary layers.

Yet, all of these boundaries,

mental, spiritual, emotional, physical, metaphysical, temporal, spacial,

because they are transductional,

Are actually illusory.

The Panel didn't get into that.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content



* art courtesy of

Thursday, November 17, 2005


If you want to know why I didn't wear black yesterday.

Watch this.


Easy to Make Origami Crane,
a found poem.

Wanting to help,
my son and his wife volunteered
to make paper cranes
for Peace Day.

I googled more instructions after he said —

"I don’t get how they go from five
to seven," and she said,


Prepare square a paper
in general origami
and fold it
the triangle.

Fold again.

Fold it square a paper.

Get it like this figure to the mark.

Turn a sheet of paper, fold it.

Fold the other side like one,
and get it the lozenge.

Fold a gap side like this figure.

Fold the other side line one
and turn a sheet.

Possibly the most enlightening
one was this —

You can shape the body
by pushing the top point down,
pulling the wings
or blowing air
into a tiny
hole at the bottom of the body.

©Susan Bright

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content