We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, February 6, 2015

Why Local Matters, and Why It’s Inevitable

Click here to access article by Asher Miller, the Executive Director of the Post Carbon Institute. 

At a recent conference Miller gave a slide and lecture presentation in which he provided an excellent perspective on the use of fossil fuels and their impact over the last century on the economy. This perspective functions to introduce his main thesis advocating local conservation measures. He refers to the latter as a "critical strategy in reversing and responding to many of our environmental, energy, economic, and equity issues." Ironically, he prefaces this thesis with a gross understatement: "Of course, 'going local' doesn’t solve everything, particularly problems—like climate change—that are global in nature."

While offering some very important insights on the major issues facing humans today such as climate destabilization and the problems posed by the rising cost of energy, he can only offer an anemic solution. "Going local" will hardly make a dent in all these problems! I think it is very likely that such an intelligent person knows what the real fundamental problem is and the real solution, but he must engage in self-censorship in order to keep his job at the institute which is funded by major foundations and the rich-- after all, their wealth and influence depend on the capitalist system. Meanwhile, working people (if they are lucky enough to be working at all) are so bamboozled by the lies and distractions proliferated in corporate media that they are effectively neutralized as a force for change.

If the capitalist ruling classes had not come to power, and in their place cooperative, publicly owned, and democratically controlled economies had taken control, we more likely would have seen the benefits of cheap energy raising the material living conditions of the vast majority instead of a tiny minority, avoidance of so many devastating wars, and a responsible usage of fossil fuels that wouldn't be threatening climate destabilization as we see today.