Wednesday, January 28, 2009

kilocalories = Calories (w/ a capital "C"): Response to a Brother

"Kilocalorie" is the "Calorie-term" (big "C") the public generally uses when dealing with measurements of energy.
(We can convert kilocalories to joules--used by physicists and other scientists; or to BTUs--used in the energy industry, etc. ... However, I believe most folk can most easily think in "Calories".)

o We need ca. 2000 kilocalories (or Calories) of food intake per day for body maintenance depending on weight, activities, metabolism/metabolic rate, etc..

Folk who make <$2 per day make it on 1500-5000-10,000 Kilocalories per day*.

We in the U.S. (and in many other parts of the "developed" world--or the Haves in "less developed") make it on 200,000 to 400,000+ kilocalories per day*. [We need to bring the 3 billion or so folk making it on 10,000 kilocalories up to 10-50,000 kilocalories per capita per day (for "quality life")--and we need to come down to that (or risk serious species destruction).] ...
One can do a little playing round with the numbers--and do a little thought-experimenting and modeling-- and see that if we did that, we'd solve many of our problems: energy "needs", energy-greed impacts on other species, etc.
Of course the daunting challenge is: coming up with the socio-political/economic system redesign to make this happen--and making a smooth transition to truly sustainable community. It is obvious that a free-enterprise, libertarian, capitalistic, trickle-down/deregulated economic system will not get us there!

o There is quite a bit of carpooling in this south central Texas region (though not percent-wise)--and plenty of websites dealing with car-pooling. (In the 80s/90s I "carpooled" to Austin from San Marcos in a van.) ... But this is a "band aid" approach.

o Increased efficient use of home insulation (and other means of effectively maintaining a comfortable home in a sustainable way) is needed--and penalty/incentive strategies/tactics should be employed to increase cost-effective, ecologically-sound home insulation. (A major energy "leakage" is in rent & owned homes of the poor--and some in the environmental community in San Antonio, and other communities, are attempting to address this in a comprehensive and long-term way).

Communication in a face-paced chaotic world of ca. 7 billion humans is really difficult!**
*[Of course this includes all our food, fiber, shelter, transport, recreation, luxury, ... "needs".]

What is written herein includes basic vocabulary and concepts of fundamentals of biology/ecology that every citizen should develop--through public schooling, continuing education from public institutions, public service announcements communication/shortcourses, etc. and reading--in order to develop and realize critical thinking skills.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

What a Real Maverick, Maury Jr., Called Succotash

Communication Toward Positively Ethical Applied Community Ecology. If we can view local community from the inside and from the outside in a holistic way, it helps in doing what’s "right" and making constructive change toward quality life for all for a long period of time. … And there are many ways (knowledgeable, courageous leadership; grassroots community organizing; good investigative journalism; petitions; op-eds/letters to editors; etc.; etc.) to effect such appropriate change, i.e., change to:

o Respect the need for scientific knowledge of ecological principles and processes, which includes socio-economic/political actions of what is now the dominant species (humans).
o Target the poor with power and resources.
o Curb consumption and increase ethical transformation of energy. (This must include fewer automobiles, low square-footage of home space and built capital per capita, local production of food, fiber and shelter, small neighborhood and rural schools promoting “Lands On” ecological literacy, and local community-directed preventative-health care and healthy living.)
o Give the nations of the world—and people of the world—the courage and means to lay down all arms and armaments.
o Establish holistic, dynamic and sustainable decision-making processes in manageable wholes, and involving goals (of desired quality life, landscape, and needed production), policies, strategic and tactical plans, monitoring, analysis, evaluation and replanning.
o Redesign our current socio-economic, political systems in a holistic way toward sustainability.

Efforts to Turn Around Global Climate Change and Other Ecological Disasters Must Lead to Sustainable Livelihoods for All. Those who worry about losing jobs because of concerted efforts to deal with global climate change have reason for concern if they plan to continue doing “business as usual”.

o Consumption and lack of conservation, growth, rampant conversion of natural capital to human financial and built capital, use of GDP as a measure of sustainability and quality life are major aspects of “the problem”, and we who have undue power need to come off of our consumption levels of up to 400, 000 kilocalories per capita per day, and help billions of others to increase their levels from a few thousand kilocalories per day to 5-10 times those current levels.
o Present ways of “living” involving conventional consumerism and capitalism are very problematic. … We need to move from such systems of bio-destructive livelihoods toward sustainable livelihoods .
o We must begin to make the transition from our currently very broken systems dependent on economic growth to systems involving ecological economics proposed by Herman Daly, H.T.Odum, David Pimentel, Robert Costanza, Gus Speth, et al.

Learning About “Ecological Economics”, “Sustainable Livelihoods”, “Conservation and Development of Sustainable Community”, and “Positively Ethical Applied Community Ecology”. There is much really good educational scientific information on conservation and sustainable community coming out, and I hope we all will become more knowledgeable in these areas and truly begin to work together for PEACE. (I’ll try to list some of the really great books, scientific journal and magazine articles, film, pieces “on-line” and in newsletters, etc. that have come out recently.

But in the meantime, … “Google on!”)

Doing What’s Right in Seguin (and Other Communities). I do hope our community leaders (Mayor & City Council--and associated governmental entities, County Commissioners Court, School Board, etc.) will have the courage to do what is right, and-- through creative and critical thinking and courageous/prudent risk-taking--

o Move us toward a system of small neighborhood & rural schools providing holistic ecological literacy.
o Promote local agricultural food (fiber and shelter) production, community gardens, farmers markets, etc.
o Encourage conservation and develop creative curbside trash and recycling pickups that are fair for the poor, and involve sliding-scale fees--that encourage a reduction of disposables and decrease in consumption.
o Facilitate a transition to intra- and inter-city transport/people-moving systems involving walking, bicycling, and mass transport.
o Curb growth and protect and enhance green space and biodiversity.
o Develop a healthy, relatively drug-free community of citizens among all ethnicities and economic levels.

We (Seguin/Seguinities) could be a model for President Barack Obama, other communities, and the world, rather than always cautiously following in the footsteps of others—oftentimes not thinking about whether the direction is “right” or wrong.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Gadfly, Thorn in the Side, Pain in the Butt, Fly in the Oinment, Quixotic

(The title indicates some of the nicer things I've been called through the years.)

o If the poor in a community aren't using "Green" technologies, projects, and programs, and these poor aren't being "Green", then these technologies, projects, and programs aren't Green. ...

Moreover, the community isn't Green (or sustainable)!

o If the poor of the world aren't significantly benefiting in a healthy way from "Green" technologies and programs, etc.--and "Green" technologies, etc., etc. aren't helping the poor to move toward quality life, sustainable livelihoods, equity and equality, then "Green" really ain't Green! ...

And it definitely isn't sustainable.

o Sustainable systems involve deliberate, empowering human labor (sustainable livelihoods involving less than a 40-hour week of labor, good health care with an emphasis on prevention, and time for community and celebration), low-input technologies, and ethical use of energy.

Systems involving high input technologies, including most internal combustion engines, and emphasis on pseudo-efficiency and speed, are not healthy, Green or sustainable.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

HOPE expressed in the Nov 2008 Dr. Bill Martin TX MONTHLY article on the COVENANT CHURCH

I really appreciated a number of my cousin Bill Martin's phrases in this Texas Monthly article (Covenant Church, Faith Base: Reviews of Place of Worship, Nov. 2008) he sent me in response to some of my comments in my previous post:

"I am also an amateur worshipper with a 'church home' of my own, one that I attend simply for the love of it."

"Fittingly a metal cross that sits atop the communion table usually tilts slightly to the left."

"'Pray to whomever you kneel down to' ... (Jesus, Buddha, Adonai, Allah, and Mary, ... ) ... ."

"The unison prayer of confession recalled Jesus' observations in the Sermon on the Mount about humility, meekness, hunger, purity of heart, peacemaking, and persecution, contrasting them with arrogance, false independence, gluttony, aggression, half-hearted commitment, and failure to take a stand."

"Jeremy [the Covenant Church's current minister] compared [controversial Jesuit priest Daniel] Berrigan's actions to those of the priest and prophet Jeremiah, who had mocked the illusionary idols of Israel. He depicted American military might as just such a false god, unable to deliver the security it promises. Though he conceded that reasonable spending on defense is warranted, he said that when the outlay for tanks and missiles requires the neglect of hunger, health care, and the education of children [of the world], we have laid our money at the wrong altar."

"... congregants gathered to visit, drink fair-trade coffee, eat healthy snacks, and sign up for various projects, such as marching in the gay pride parade to support our gay and lesbian members. At another table people wrote letters to their representatives in Congress ... ."