‘Grotesque greed’ of oil companies ‘destroying our only home’: UN chief

'Grotesque greed' of oil companies 'destroying our only home': UN chief

Image via Shutterstock.

 Jessica Corbett and Common Dreams 

August 03, 2022 (AlterNet.org)

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres unveiled a new report Wednesday about the global effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and took aim at the fossil fuel sector that’s been widely accused of war profiteering.

“Household budgets everywhere are feeling the pinch from high food, transport, and energy prices, fueled by climate breakdown and war,” Guterres said at U.N. headquarters in New York City. “This threatens a starvation crisis for the poorest households, and severe cutbacks for those on average incomes.”

“Many developing countries—drowning in debt, without access to finance, and struggling to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic—could go over the brink,” he warned. “We are already seeing the warning signs of a wave of economic, social, and political upheaval that would leave no country untouched.”

Guterres outlined key takeaways from the third brief of the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy, and Finance—which first met in March, about a month after the Russian invasion.

“First, it is immoral for oil and gas companies to be making record profits from this energy crisis on the backs of the poorest people and communities, at a massive cost to the climate,” he declared. “The combined profits of the largest energy companies in the first quarter of this year are close to $100 billion.”

The U.N. chief said that “I urge all governments to tax these excessive profits, and use the funds to support the most vulnerable people through these difficult times. And I urge people everywhere to send a clear message to the fossil fuel industry and their financiers: This grotesque greed is punishing the poorest and most vulnerable people, while destroying our only home.”

Along with blasting the fossil fuel industry, Guterres called out rich countries for refusing to do their part to help the Global South transition to clean energy.

“Developing countries don’t lack reasons to invest in renewables. Many of them are living with the severe impacts of the climate crisis including storms, wildfires, floods, and droughts. What they lack are concrete, workable options,” he said. “Meanwhile, developed countries are urging them to invest in renewables, without providing enough social, technical, or financial support.”

“All countries—and especially developed countries—must manage energy demand. Conserving energy, promoting public transport, and nature-based solutions are essential,” he stressed. “We need to accelerate the transition to renewables, which in most cases are cheaper than fossil fuels.”

Guterres added that “private and multilateral finance for the green energy transition must be scaled up,” citing an estimate from the International Energy Agency that “renewable energy investments need to increase by factor of seven to meet the net-zero goal.”

The new U.N. report, which follows briefs released in April and June, “aims to achieve the energy equivalent of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, by managing this energy crisis while safeguarding the Paris agreement and our climate goals,” Guterres explained.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative is an agreement between Russia and Ukraine, negotiated with Turkish and U.N. leaders, to help address global food shortages by safely transporting grain from Ukrainian ports. The first involved ship left Odesa on Monday and, after an inspection, was allowed to proceed to Lebanon on Wednesday.

While welcoming the Monday departure as “an enormous collective achievement,” the U.N. leader also called for an end to the war, a message he reiterated in his Wednesday remarks.

“The war in Ukraine continues to have a devastating impact on the people of that country,” he said. “Civilians are dying in the most tragic circumstances every day. Millions of lives have been destroyed, or put on hold.”

“This war is senseless,” Guterres added, “and we must all do everything in our power to bring it to an end through a negotiated solution in line with the U.N. Charter.”

Why America shouldn’t have nuked Japan

US belief that atomic bombings were necessary to obviate even deadlier invasion of Japan is as false 75 years later as it was at the time

By BRETT WILKINS AUGUST 6, 2020 (asiatimes.com)

A survivor walks through the ruins of atomic-bombed Hiroshima in August 1945. Photo: AFP

Seventy-five years ago today, the United States unleashed the only nuclear war in history.

Among the truths held self-evident by millions of Americans is the notion that the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved lives, both American and Japanese.

This narrative is deeply flawed.

‘Anxious to terminate’

Japan had in fact been trying to find a way to surrender for months and US leaders knew it. Japan could no longer defend itself from the relentless US air onslaught; ferocious firebombing had reduced most Japanese cities, including Tokyo, to ash.

General Curtis LeMay, commander of strategic bombing, even complained that there was nothing left to bomb but “garbage can targets.”

The Allies, through a secret cryptanalysis project codenamed Magic, had intercepted and decoded secret transmissions from Shigenori Togo, the Japanese foreign minister, to Naotaki Sato, the ambassador in Moscow, stating a desire to end the war.

However, saving face was imperative to the Japanese, which meant retaining their emperor. Unconditional surrender was, for the time being, out of the question.

In a secret memo dated June 28, Undersecretary of the Navy Ralph A Bard wrote that “the Japanese government may be searching for some opportunity which they could use as a medium of surrender.” In a 1960 interview, Bard reiterated that “the Japanese were ready for peace and had already approached the Russians” about capitulating.

On July 26, the leaders of the US, Britain and China issued the Potsdam Declaration, demanding unconditional Japanese surrender and vowing “prompt and utter destruction” if Japan refused. The US had successfully tested the first atomic bomb in New Mexico 10 days earlier.

The declaration was originally written so that Emperor Hirohito would not be removed from the Chrysanthemum Throne, with Japan to be ruled as a constitutional monarchy after the war.

However, secretary of state James Byrnes removed that language from the final declaration. It would be unconditional surrender or total annihilation.

President Harry S Truman, who only learned about the Manhattan Project after being sworn in on April 12, approved a plan to drop two atomic bombs on Japan. Planners sought undamaged cities.

Tokyo, which in early March suffered firebombing that killed more people than either atomic bomb, was off the table. Kyoto was spared due to its cultural significance. Hiroshima, Japan’s largest untouched target, would die first, then Nagasaki.

Widespread opposition

Seven of the eight five-star US generals and admirals in 1945 opposed using the bomb. One of the opponents, General Dwight D Eisenhower, later said that “the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”

“Japan was already defeated and dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary,” Eisenhower wrote in 1954, by which time he was the president. “I thought our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was no longer mandatory to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of face.”

The idea of giving Japanese officials a live demonstration of an atomic bomb on a remote island, proposed by Strategic Bombing Survey vice-chairman Paul Nitze and supported by navy secretary James Forrestal, was rejected. It was believed the demonstration would likely not move the Japanese any more than the ongoing destruction of their actual cities via conventional bombing.

“The Japanese could not fight a two-front war, and were more anti-communist than the Americans were,” Martin Sherwin, a historian awarded the Pulitzer Prize for co-authoring a biography of Manhattan Project leader J Robert Oppenheimer, said during a recent webinar. “The idea of a Soviet occupation of Japan was their worst nightmare.”

Historian and professor Peter Kuznick, co-author of the best-selling The Untold History of the United States, also spoke at the webinar. “The joint chiefs of staff repeatedly reported that if the USSR should enter the war then Japan would realize that defeat is inevitable,” he said.

Kuznick also noted that General George Marshall, the only five-star US officer to approve of using the atomic bomb, said that a Soviet invasion would likely lead to Japan’s swift surrender.

Truman knew this too. On the opening day of the Potsdam Conference, he had lunch with Josef Stalin. Afterwards he wrote in his diary that the USSR “will be in the Jap war by August 15. Fini Japs when that occurs.”

Regardless, Truman pressed ahead with the plan to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “I have told Secretary of War Stimson to use [the A-bomb] so that military objectives … are the target, not women and children,” the president wrote in his diary on July 25.

The nuclear era dawns

At 8:15 am on August 6, 1945, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress dropped “Little Boy.” It exploded above Hiroshima with the force of 16 kilotons of TNT, destroying everything and everyone within about a 1.6-kilometer radius.

The heat, blast wave and ensuing inferno killed as many as 90,000. Tens of thousands more were injured, many mortally. Tens of thousands more people perished from radiation over the following weeks, months and years.

Three days later, “Fat Man,” the second and so far the last nuclear weapon used in war, obliterated Nagasaki in a 20-kiloton air burst. As many as 75,000 people died that day, with a similar number of people wounded and tens of thousands more dying later from radiation.

Despite Truman’s self-delusion, most of the people living in the two cities in 1945 were women, children and old people, as most of the men were away fighting the war, or dead from it.

The morning Nagasaki was destroyed, prime minister Kantaro Suzuki addressed the Japanese cabinet, declaring that “under the present circumstances I have concluded that our only alternative is to accept the Potsdam Proclamation and terminate the war.”

Why Japan really surrendered

Suzuki did not learn about Nagasaki until the afternoon of August 9. But he did know that the Soviet Union had declared war on Japan the previous day. This, Japanese officials and historians on both sides of the Pacific agree, precipitated Japan’s surrender more than the A-bombs, although it also slammed the door shut on attempts to negotiate a surrender via Moscow.

“The destruction of another city was just the destruction of another city,” said Sherwin. “It was the entry of the Soviets into the war that really threw the Japanese into a complete panic.” They knew that if they didn’t surrender soon to the US, they would lose not only their overseas empire, but also Hokkaido.

An exhibit at the National Museum of the US Navy in Washington, DC, states that “the vast destruction wreaked by the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the loss of 135,000 people made little impact on the Japanese military. However, the Soviet invasion of Manchuria changed their minds.”

“The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all,” General LeMay stated flatly in September 1945.

“The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan,” agreed Admiral William Leahy, Truman’s chief of staff. “The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.”

It is probably too much to say the atomic bombings had nothing to do with ending the war. Hirohito spoke of “a new and most cruel bomb” that could “lead to the total extinction of human civilization,” in his surrender broadcast. And the decision to capitulate was not unanimous; a cabal of hardline military officers attempted a coup the day before the emperor’s announcement.

American leaders knew that the Soviet Union would feature prominently in the postwar world order. The US wanted to maximize its own position as the dominant world power – and what better way to do this than to show the Russians that the United States had the cold resolve necessary to unilaterally wage nuclear war and hold an atomic monopoly.

Stimson acknowledged that some US officials saw nuclear bombs as “a diplomatic weapon,” and that “some of the men in charge of foreign policy were eager to carry the bomb as their ace-in-the-hole” and wanted “to browbeat the Russians with the bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip.”

“I’ll certainly have a hammer on those boys,” Truman reportedly said, referring to the A-bomb and Soviet leaders.

According to Manhattan Project scientist Leo Szilard, Byrnes believed that “a demonstration of the bomb might impress Russia.” But some US officials admitted that waging nuclear war actually pushed Moscow rush to develop its own nuclear arsenal, which it did in 1949.

‘A nice, round figure’

As for the common claim that a US invasion of Japan would have cost a million lives, Kai Bird, who shared the Pulitzer Prize with Sherwin for their Oppenheimer biography, said it is simply not true.

“This figure was never given to Truman or bandied about by Stimson,” Bird told the webinar audience. “I asked [Stimson protégé] McGeorge Bundy about it, and he sheepishly admitted that he chose 1 million because it was a nice, round figure. He pulled it out of thin air.”

There is no doubt that an invasion of Japan would have been horrific for all involved, as demonstrated by the bloody battle for Okinawa, in which more than 12,000 American invaders and six times that number of Japanese defenders died – along with as many as half of the island’s 300,000 civilians, many of whom committed mass suicide rather than fall under enemy occupation.

However, the probability of Japan remaining in the war by the time the US was ready to invade was extremely low, especially given the Soviet Union’s declaration of war.

Plus, the claim that the United States cared about the lives of Japanese people, who were portrayed in wartime propaganda as sub-human barbarians, is questionable. Back in the United States, Japanese-Americans and Japanese nationals – who had been banned from even immigrating to the US since the 1920s – were still languishing in concentration camps.

The cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would make perfect laboratories in which to test the atomic bomb, as some US officials later acknowledged.

“When we didn’t need to do it, and we knew we didn’t need to do it, and they knew that we didn’t need to do it, we used [the Japanese] as an experiment for two atomic bombs,” said General Carter Clarke, the intelligence officer in charge of intercepted Japanese cables.

Many of the very men who invented the A-bomb had grave misgivings, even before its use. These Manhattan Project scientists wrote what came to be known as the Franck Report in May 1945. It recommended a demonstration of the bomb to the Japanese and questioned whether using it would really bring Japan to its knees when massive conventional bombing had not.

“If no international agreement is concluded immediately after the first detonation, this will mean a flying start of an unlimited armaments race,” the report prophetically stated.

A false choice

Seventy-five years later, millions of Americans believe the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were acts of “necessary evil,” while ignoring alternatives to the standard narrative.

What if the United States had clarified its unconditional surrender stance to assure that Hirohito would not be hanged? Or announced that he would be allowed to remain in a position of ceremonial leadership? After all, General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Allied Commander, ultimately allowed Hirohito to remain emperor, albeit as a figurehead.

“It is possible,” wrote Stimson in his memoir, “that an earlier exposition of American willingness to retain the emperor could have produced an earlier ending to the war.”

The official US narrative blames the Soviet Union for starting the Cold War and the nuclear arms race, which on numerous occasions over the following decades brought the world within reach, and once to the brink, of thermonuclear annihilation.

But it was the United States that fired the first salvo, resulting in the Soviets scrambling to develop their own deterrent and launching an arms race.

There are now thousands of nuclear warheads in the arsenals of a record number of countries. The risk of nuclear armageddon as real as it has ever been. Humans have the power to bring about our own extinction.

“If we’d lost the war, we’d all have been tried as war criminals,” General LeMay remarked. “What makes it immoral if you lose, but not immoral if you win?”TAGGED:Atomic bombEmperor HIrohitoFirebombingGeneral Curtis LeMayHarry S TrumanManhattan ProjectNagasakiNortheast Asia

BRETT WILKINS

Brett Wilkins is a San Francisco-based journalist and author who contributes regularly to Common Dreams and Counterpunch. He is also a member of Collective 20, a new anti-war collective with Noam Chomsky, Medea Benjamin and others. More by Brett Wilkins

PREPARING TO EXIT THE GLOBAL MEGAMACHINE

From competition to cooperation

Patrick Mazza

Aug 5, 2022 (theraven.substack.com)

The End of the Megamachine with Fabian Scheidler - YouTube

This is the fourth and final part of a series. Part one is here. Part two is here. Part three is here.

Greatest opportunities for change in centuries

This is a time when the chances for profound change are the greatest in a very long time, and the potentials for catastrophe unprecedented, for the same reason, the increasing instability of the global system.

This is both the hope and caution with which Fabian Scheidler concludes his spanning survey of civilization from its inception to the present, The End of the Megamachine: A Brief History of a Failing Civilization. Challenging the hierarchical nature of the system he calls the Megamachine, infusing virtually every institution that shapes our world, political, economic and social, one could be overwhelmed with despair. Instead, Scheidler leaves us with a sense of possibilities, as he titles the closing chapter.

In his compact work, Scheidler traces the rise of hierarchical civilization to the Bronze Age around four to five millennia ago, when the hard metal provided disproportionate advantage in weaponry and armor to power-seeking elites. Evidence of hierarchy previously not found soon pervaded human settlements, including palaces and variations in diet and burial rituals. The early Megamachine had its first peak under Rome, an empire of iron with legions armed by steel. The collapse of Rome lifted the burden of taxes and slavery, and was actually a relief to the masses.

But the Megamachine revived in the late middle ages when wealth accumulated in Italy funded standing militaries and wars throughout Europe. This consolidated its modern form, capitalism, which seeks unlimited accumulation of money in a world marketplace. It reached its peak in the past two centuries, only to produce critical instabilities. A system that concentrates wealth in the hands of a relative few is producing repeated economic meltdowns, while its operations are undermining the ecological fundaments of life and causing radical climate change.  In the Megamachine’s increasing and overlapping crises are both opportunity and danger.

“The growing instability and the possible disintegration of this system present an opportunity for change that has not existed for centuries,” Scheidler writes. “Under the right circumstances, the farther a complex system strays from equilibrium, the greater the impact that small movements can have, just like the famous butterfly that triggers a tropical storm . . . in the chaos looming on the horizon all our actions will count . . . that which occurs will be the result of an infinite number of individual decisions, made by almost an infinite number of people during an infinity of moments.”

Whether the outcome will be authoritarianism, a warlord world, or democratic self-organization “will depend on how we are prepared for the systemic ruptures that lie ahead. That means we must already begin our exit while the Great Machine is still operating . . . The good news is that this exit has been in progress for quite some time, both in resisting the old and building the new.”

“Revolution Without a Master Plan”

In one of the critical insights of his book, Scheidler writes that while alternatives are emerging in all fields, there is no “master plan for a single global system that will replace the old one. Not only is there no such plan, but most people do not believe that it is even a good idea to have one . . . it is rather a mosaic; a patchwork of varying approaches that are adapted to local and cultural conditions.” This is a departure from the universalism of Western Civilization, the “one valid truth” that spans western philosophies from Christianity to Communism. “Therefore, the lack of a master plan is not a shortcoming, but an example of learning from the disasters of past centuries.”  

Resistance struggles are decentralized. Scheidler calls out the “thousands of battles” being waged against ecological and social destruction, ranging from struggles against fossil fuel infrastructure to fights against water privatization. These resistance actions build solidarity among people “who organize and dare to oppose power,” from those who gathered at Standing Rock in opposition to an oil pipeline, to the self-governing structures created by the Zapatistas in Mexico. 

“As long as the system functions fairly smoothly, many of the resistance activities may seem like tilting at windmills. However, as soon as the system enters chaotic phases, which is precisely what seems to be happening at the moment, the learning experiences  . . . become decisive  . . . politically alert and well-organized citizens have a real chance to use systemic crises as a starting point for social reconstruction that leads us out of the destructive logic of accumulation.”

In other words, we need to prepare in order to not let a good apocalypse go to waste.

The work of reconstruction, as decentralized as resistance, is being modeled in numerous social experiments around the world. These are characterized by the replacement of institutions in which capital accumulation is the key driver with cooperative institutions based on human solidarity. Scheidler does not see a true green economy rising without this shift for “the obvious fact that the principle of endless capital accumulation – making money just to make more money – is the primary reason that our economic system is on a crash course with the planet.”  

Scheidler cites many cooperative examples. Catalonia’s Cooperativa Integral is building an economic and social ecosystem to meet the range of human needs including health care, education, transportation and housing. Brazil’s Solidarity Economy, involving 1.6 million people, joins worker cooperatives with an annual turnover of $4 billion, including 100 community banks. Both initiatives have created their own currencies. Transition Towns are building local production in areas such as food to increase resilience in the face of supply chain disruptions. Peer-to-peer networks are making patent-free plans available to cooperative enterprises making everything from solar panels to tractors.

The author draws attention to struggles over housing, which merge both resistance and the creation of new social institutions. Noting increasing ownership by massive real estate funds, he writes, “In many large cities, people now have to spend half their income on rent, which is akin to working as serfs to ensure a return on the real estate agencies’ investments . . . it is therefore of crucial importance to separate housing from the money machine and put it in the hands of the residents themselves.”  He cites housing cooperatives created through solidarity-based financing, as well as a Berlin initiative to transfer 200,000 apartments owned by real estate companies to public ownership.

The struggle for democracy

Creating “true democracy” is one of Scheidler’s keystones in the exit from the Megamachine. Representative democracy has been eroded by legalized corruption and lobbying, he notes. The point is not to abandon it, but defend it against authoritarian and corporate forces, while building new forms based in grassroots democracy, already used in many community-based institutions. “ . . . decentralized structures must be built from the bottom up, and centralized state structures must be transformed to permit more democracy.”

How direct democracy can be applied to larger institutions “is for the most part still an open question.” Workers councils organized from the Paris Commune to the early Russian Revolution to the Spanish Republic and beyond suggest it can. “None of these council democracies failed because they were unworkable. On the contrary, it was precisely because they did work that they were all but wiped out by military force.”

Even today, those council models inspire the self-organization of communities among Kurds in the Rojova province of Syria, where the economy has been organized into production cooperatives. As with earlier efforts, these too are threatened by military action, in this case by Turkey.

In the struggle for democracy, a key front is against the Megamachine’s component parts, large corporations. The 500 largest dominate the world economy, with 40% of global GDP, as well as politics. “Despite their obvious power, however, these giants have a weakness that is often overlooked – most could not exist without state support . . . their power and wealth are largely based on collusion with the state.”

Fossil fuels, agribusiness, finance, etc. depend on direct government subsidies, as well as the indirect subsidies of limited liability protection and the right to sue against environmental and social protections under free trade agreements. Challenging those subsidies is a vital part of the struggle, Scheidler says. In the next, inevitable financial meltdown, he adds, banks should not be bailed out, but dismantled and converted to institutions serving the common good.

Perils and the need for peace

When complex, hierarchical orders break down, a time of disintegration generally follows before reorganization. When Rome collapsed, Scheidler writes, an agrarian society could absorb the blows. Today, he notes, there is greater peril in a world linked by supply chains, while ecological deterioration erodes livelihoods. It is also a world with around 15,000 nuclear weapons and 600 million small arms. The examples of efforts to build networks to supply basic needs cited in Scheidler’s book are an answer to the economic challenges. To the threat of weapons and war, the author makes a clarion call.

“In the long run, peace, or at least the absence of war, is probably the most important prerequisite for the success of approaches to transformation that are described in this chapter. The peace movement therefore has a key role to play.” People living in the U.S. have an especially crucial part. “ . . . a decisive question will be whether or not the U.S. will peacefully give up its role as global hegemon, a position that can no longer be sustained in the twenty-first century . . . Above all, there is an urgent need to dismantle the nuclear arsenals that pose an acute threat to our survival.”

All evidence is that U.S.power elites are unwilling to give up their efforts to run the world, at the same time they are actually building up the nuclear weapons complex. So a mass movement on the scale of protests against the Vietnam War in the 1960s and ‘70s, or nuclear weapons in the 1980s, is required. But whether a movement of the needed scale is on the horizon is a giant question. It is clear a revived peace movement is central to everything else, including climate. World militaries are among the greatest greenhouse gas sources. The U.S. Department of Defense is the planet’s greatest single institutional carbon polluter.

Exiting the machine in our heads

The phrase, “Another world is possible,” has rung out for decades. The struggles and models cited in Scheidler’s book evidence another world emerging even as the Megamachine moves into deeper crisis. In the classic phrase, they are the new growing in the shell of the old. As Scheidler notes, it is crucial to have the new up and running, with people well acquainted with the arts of self-organization, to prepare for the system’s inevitable breakdowns.

The place where it all begins is in the imagination, the author says. “Since childhood, we have been conditioned to assert ourselves against others in a competitive system . . . Our idea of life has been narrowed down to earning more points than others in the game of prestige and income . . . Celebrities attract the attention of millions, while we don’t give a second thought to the neighbors next door . . . We sit in partitioned cells and turn our eyes upwards. An exit from the machine in our heads begins with unlocking our gaze . . . so we can actually see those standing right next to us and stop staring up at ‘the top.’ Once we have accomplished that, we can begin to imagine a society based on cooperation instead of competition.”

If it is difficult to imagine a world that diverges from the structures that have prevailed in the four to five millennia since the emergence of hierarchical civilization, and the world of recent centuries ruled by unlimited capital accumulation, Scheidler has focused the key issue. Replacing competition with cooperation in all fields, from relations among nations to our sources of sustenance. The challenges facing us in the final malfunctioning of the Megamachine, from wars and economic crises to ecological collapse, require no less of us than we imagine and create that world, in an innumerable number of actions, large and small. As Schiedler says, all our actions will count.

Please sign up to receive posts from The Raven in your email box for free every Friday, using the subscribe button below. And if you are so moved, please subscribe to support my work.

Subscribe now

A GLOSSARY OF REGENERATIVE CULTURE

jenny andersson

May 26, 2019 (medium.com)

Heliconius Helicale just out of mothballs

As new ways of thinking and doing grow, a new language always grows with them. Here are many of the words, phrases and terms you’re likely to find in discussions about a regenerative future.

The legendary Joanna Macy

Active Hope: legendary deep ecologist Joanna Macy’s approach to the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambigious future we face. Not just being blithely hopeful, but digging in with deep commitment to fostering action for the future. Joanna’s Work That Reconnects is a perfect example of how to find active hope; recognise your grief for what we are losing, find your focus — what you can do and go forth in community to take action.

Agroecology — is the science of sustainable farming as well as a political movement that aims to improve the way food is grown and processed globally. Fundamentally, agroecology is about shifting the control of the land, seeds, markets and labour out of the hands of big business and back into the hands of small-scale farmers.

Agroforestry — the Soil Association describes this as the combination of forestry and agriculture. There are two main types: silvo-pastoral agroforestry: grazing of animals under trees, where the animals enrich the soil while the trees provide shelter and fodder for the animals; and silvo-arable agroforestry: where crops are grown beneath trees, often in rows which are large enough for a tractor to tend to the crops without damaging the trees. This is farming in 3D, the trees and the crops occupy different levels above ground, and also below ground where the tree roots will reach down deeper than the crops.

World Cocoa Foundation’s Cocoa & Forests Initiative helps to increase agroforestry

Agroforestry is helping to revitalise degraded cocoa plantations in West Africa for example.

Anthropocene: the name given by scientists to the era — estimated to have begun near the late 1950s — when the impact of one single species — humans — determined the fate of all other life on Earth.

Biomes are global-scale zones, generally defined by the type of plant life that they support in response to average rainfall and temperature patterns. For example, tundra, coral reefs or savannas.

Biomimicry: is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. Founded by the awesome Janine Benyus, the Biomimicry Institute seeks to promote and develop design and social innovation according to the principles of nature.

Velcro | Cobweb glass and homeostatic building in Essen, Germany

A famous piece of biomimicry design were the ultimately-banned Speedo sharksin swimsuits.

Seven fabrics inspired by nature: from the lotus leaf to butterflies and sharks

Biomimicry brings nature and technology together to create exciting new fabrics that are smarter and more sustainable

www.theguardian.com

Bioregion: a debated term. I’ll go for the World Resources Institute definition:

“A bio-region is a land and water territory whose limits are defined not by political boundaries, but by the geographical limits of human communities and ecological systems. Such an area must be large enough to maintain the integrity of the region’s biological communities, habitats, and ecosystems; to support important ecological processes, such as nutrient and waste cycling, migration, and stream flow; to meet the habitat requirements of keystone and indicator species; and to include the human communities involved in the management, use, and understanding of biological resources. It must be small enough for local residents to consider it home.

A bioregion would typically embrace thousands to hundreds of thousands of hectares. It may be no bigger than a small watershed or as large as a small state or province. In special cases, a bioregion might span the borders of two or more countries.

A bioregion is also defined by its people. It must have a unique cultural identity and be a place in which local residents have the primary right to determine their own development. This primary right does not, however, imply an absolute right. Rather, it means that the livelihoods, claims, and interests of local communities should be both the starting point and the criteria for regional development and conservation. Within that framework many other state, investor, and other economic interests must be accommodated.

Bioregionalism is the act of working out how to create a regenerative future in any specific, defined bioregion. Cascadia in Western America is a great example of a bioregional approach to the future (see above map).

In the UK, Bioregional is a not-for-profit consultancy led by Sue Riddlestone which supports towns and cities to develop their own One Planet Living approach to bioregional stability. We also have The Bioregional Learning Centre in Devon which looking at a bioregional strategy for the South Hams.

In the USA, the Capital Institute is bringing together a number of different bioregional initiatives and projects under the Regenerative Communities Network and Hubs.

Blended Finance: according to the OECD, blended finance is the strategic use of development finance for the mobilisation of additional finance towards sustainable development in developing countries. It is a mechanism designed to help deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Blind Spots: Nora Bateson has something beautiful to say on blinds spots. Blind spots show up as the reflex always to bestow uncritical faith in authorities (including one’s own superiors) and handed-down rules; the other, the quick dismissal of seemingly irreverent assertions. It’s a comfort blanket in times of uncertainty and volatility that we all need to be aware of when working towards a regenerative future.

Buckminster Fuller Institute: again not a piece of terminology, more of a legend. The institute covers just about everything that sits under the umbrella of Design Science Revolution.

Circular Economy: is synonymous with Ellen Macarthur for me. No-one has done more to promote the concept and value of shifting from sustainability to a circular approach to tackling our extractive, wasteful economy. Her Ted Talk still gives me the shivers.

Climate Emergency: thanks to Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg, it seems there is at last some momentum from grassroots to government to recognise that we need radical action yesterday. The resurgence of non-violent activism of the 60s and 70s which served Martin Luther King, marks a new renaissance for resistance to business-as-usual. Long may it glue up the works.

Extinction Rebellion Principles

Complexity: I like author Michelle Holliday’s story in The Age of Thrivability and I hope she won’t mind me paraphrasing it here. The wiring on an aircraft is complicated; it would take you a long time to figure out where everything had to go if you didn’t know. But you could study and learn. Put a crew and passengers on a flight, combine it with prevailing weather and you can’t possible predict or work out what might happen on that flight. Even if you studied all the people for years. The system’s behaviour is unknowable because it is complex.

Co-creative collaboration: is what nature does, and its how we should approach the future. Contrary to the most popular interpretation of Darwinism, although competition exists in nature, it’s not quite the dog-eat-dog world of high human finance that we might have been led to think. A great example is the collaboration between sea anemones and clownfish which is also a symbiotic relationship.

Intricate relationship allows the other to flourish : Sea Anemones – AskNature

Of the over 1,000 anemone species that live in the ocean, only 10 species coexists with the 26 species of tropical…

asknature.org

Commons (avoiding the tragedy of): I love Elinor Ostrom’s Governing the Commons — it’s been transformative to my thinking. Elinor Ostrom’s work deals with common pool resource (CPR) management, for which she won a Nobel Prize in economics in 2009. Ostrom outlines a few theories that we typically use to explain why common resource allocation will fail without intervention:

  • Prisoner’s dilemma: A game where two individuals do not cooperate, even though they rationally ought to
  • Tragedy of the commons: Individuals in the commons act according to their personal interest, thus depleting the resource
  • Free-rider problem: Individuals enjoy a benefit without contributing back, because there is no cost associated with doing so

The underlying assumption is that without external intervention, individuals will act selfishly, without regard for collective interests.

Convergence: when the divergent parts of an ecosystem or biological entity or system come together in relationship to form a convergent whole with new characteristics and capabilities.

Daniel Christian Wahl: author of Designing Regenerative Cultures sneaks in at D because although he’s a name not a narrative word, he’s the author of one of the most seminal books on regenerative culture and he can’t be left out! He’s written multiple articles on this platform that are worth exploring.

Divergence: in every living system there are individual parts — for example the cells, organs and systems within our bodies or the different departments and people in an organisation. The more diverse the parts are able to be, the more likely it is that the whole will be adaptable, agile and resilient the system will be.

Doughnut Economics: economist Kate Raworth’s model for a just space for humanity, combining the Stockholm Resilience Centre’s Planetary Boundaries and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. A brilliant framework for creative conversations around innovation for a regenerative future. We need bridges like this that help us to have the dificult discussions we need to have to take us forward.

Kate Raworth and the Doughnut

Duality: could be described in many ways. But here I’ll use binary thinking, the presentation of discussion as black/white, right/wrong.

Ecoliteracy: I’ll leave this one to Daniel Christian Wahl. He says: “Ecoliteracy is the ability to understand the organization of natural systems and the processes that maintain the healthy functioning of living systems and sustain life on Earth. An ecologically literate person is able to apply this understanding to the design and organization of our human communities and the creation of a regenerative culture.” Read more here.

Ecosystem: a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment — for example a marine ecosystem; a complex network or interconnected system — an entrepreneurial ecosystem like Silicon Valley

Ecosystem Services: a disputed term, but one definition is the benefits provided by an ecosystem that make human life possible and enjoyable. Clearly that’s an anthropocentric definition that doesn’t work for a regenerative mindset. So I think of it as what ecosystems do for people (that often aren’t recognised, protected or rewarded in any way) including providing food and water, controlling climate and disease, supporting nutrient cycles and oxygen production and offering cultural benefits to humans such as leisure pursuits.

EcoRestorationCamps — is a non-profit organisation founded by a movement of people who wanted an action-based solution to address accelerating climate change. Less of a terminology, more of a movement on a mission to restore degraded landscapes on a global scale. One for the out and out action takers who want to get their hands dirty.

Courtesy of EcoRestorationCamps

Emergence: in systems theory refers to how collective properties arise form the properties of parts which come together. I see emergence happening when running creative strategy workshops where the collective intelligence in the room can bring into being a solution to a problem that no one individual could have created alone.

Gaia Theory: was written by scientist and environmentalist James Lovelock alongside microbiologist Lynn Margulis. The principle of gaia theory is that living organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a synergistic and self-regulating, complex system that helps to maintain and perpetuate the conditions for life on the planet. Life creates the conditions conducive to life.

Green New Deal: brought back to life by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the green new deal is a proposed stimulus package in the USA that aims to address climate change and economic inequality. It is opposed by President Trump. It is growing globally as a movement for people that want to take control of their environmental and economoic futures and to change the rules to deliver the investment and shifts in economic power needed to make the new green deal a reality.

Holistic agriculture — home of the Savory Institute who have done so much to pioneer regenerative land management through holistic approaches. Reinvigorating grasslands through a shift from industrial agriculture to rotational and mixed agriculture — mainly livestock — on his family farm has been the lifework of Will Harris of White Oak Pastures. You can hear both Will and Danielle Ibarra-Howell, CEO of Savory talk about their approaches below.

Regenerative Agriculture (Regenerative Series)

HOST: Jenny Andersson | We Activate the FutureSPEAKERS: Daniela Howell | CEO at Savory Institute. Roian Atwood |…

www.connectle.com

Indigenous Wisdom: regenerative culture recognises the wisdom and knowledge that exists about life creating the conditions conducive to life in the indigenous peoples of the world — and speaks respectfully about their culture and contribution to the future. Equally ancient wisdom also has a place in regenerative conversations.

Interbeing: the quality of not being separated, it means to inter-dependently co-exist.Of being able to acknowledge and live with other life in partnership. The suggested replacement word for the verb “to be,” coined by Vietnamese Buddhist Monk and scholar Thich Nhat Hanh. The meaning of interbeing recognizes the dependence of any one person or thing as to all other people and objects.

Liminality: a period of time or state of mind characteried by ambguity and disorientation. We’ve all been there as teenagers. Standing with one leg in one world and one in the unknown future.

Maker Movement: The Maker Movement is a cultural phenomenon and is highly inclusive as everyone is welcome, regardless of their race, financial status or background. It is also changing the way we learn, discover and innovate and is seen as a valuable contributor to our local economy.

makerspace is a workshop where professionals, novices, entrepreneurs or students alike can come together under one roof to collaborate and share ideas or work on individual projects with a firm focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. There are nearly over a 100 makerspaces across the UK. This movement has now also been firmly embedded into well know established universities and colleges and are viewed as a key selling point when talking to prospective students and forms a compelling argument for learning through hands-on exploration.

Makerspaces are also referred to as hackerspaces and Fab Labs and in certain instances provide communal facilities in an open accessible space, giving access to resources including digital fabrication and electronics.

Midwifing: has become a popular term for bringing forth the new regenerative future we want – much like a medical midwife helps bring new life into being.

Natural Capital: another hotly debated term and idea that might not have a real place in regenerative language, but gets included because it has growing backing in the world of business so we need to examine its place. According to the World Forum on Natural Capital, natural capital can be defined as the world’s stocks of natural assets which include geology, soil, air, water and all living things. It is from this natural capital that humans derive a wide range of services, often called ecosystem services (see above), which make human life possible. Should we use the language of capitalism to put a price on what is priceless? Although nature is priceless, it isn’t without value. By putting a monetary value on nature’s services to us, it enables the world to allocate the cost of ‘externalities’ i.e. damage done by primary production and processing businesses, to the environment. This may, in the future, lead to better legislation and financial measures to call organisations to account and prevent future degradation.

Prince William and Sir David Attenborough at Davos 2019

New Deal for Nature: is closely related to natural capital. Alongside WWF and Prince William, Sir David Attenborough called for a new deal for nature at WEF 2019. The World Economic Forum (WEF) is aiming to produce a report to be launched prior to the 15th CDB COP meeting in Beijing in 2020 which sets out a framework to mobilise governments, and which would essentially redefine the biodiversity agenda, such that the rather technical frame of protecting biological diversity becomes broadened into a movement that sets out a “New Deal for Nature” — something that captures wider public, business and political imaginations.

Organic: when we think of organic, we mostly think of food. Food grown without pesticides and fertilisers. Organic agriculture is part of the regenerative agriculture movement in that it does not deplete soil. It does not have to be fully regenerative in terms of providing high levels of animal welfare or biodiversity care, but in general an organic farm will be much more likely to provide both these things.

Permaculture — the practice of producing food, energy, etc, using ways that do not deplete the earth’s natural resources. Permaculture design principles are a great way to protect biodiversity in your own built environment. The Permaculture movement has spread all over the world. You can learn the basics in the UK in many places; start your voyage of discovery at The Permaculture Association.

Regenerative: regeneration is an interconnected process of becoming that all living systems participate in, where the healthy unfolding of every life form is inextricably connected with the healthy unfolding of everything else. This interconnected process includes the unfolding of everything from tiny bacteria cells, to insects, trees, animals and human beings, right through to schools, organisations, societies, and the Earth as a whole. The regenerative movement covers all major systems such as agriculture, energy, business, oceans, land management, but also regenerative culture. Check out my Regenerative Series of inteviews for Connectle platform.

Ash Buchanan summed up the different regenerative fields in his article on regenerative wellbeing:

  • Regenerative design and development; “a process by which cities, towns, and other human communities bring themselves back into life-giving alignment with the ecological systems that support them. As a practice, it seeks to create a built environment and human systems that are capable of co-evolving with nature.” (Bill Reed, Pamela Mang, Ben Haggard and Regenesis)
  • Regenerative economics which is based on the observation; “we can — and must — bring our economic theory and practice into alignment with our latest understanding of how the universe and our humanity actually work.” (John Fullerton). The EU Cost Action RESTORE which is concerned with REthinking Sustainability TOwards a Regenerative Economy — defined Regenerative Economy as ‘a product of human and societal vitality, rooted in ecological health and the inclusive development of human capabilities and potential’.
  • Regenerative business which explores how the concept of regeneration applies “to business strategy with an emphasis on: human potential, work systems, resilience and growth.” (Carol Sandford)
  • Regenerative cultures which asks; “how can we collaborate in the creation of diverse regenerative cultures adapted to the unique biocultural conditions of place?” (Daniel Christian Wahl)
  • Regenerative agriculture which seeks to “provide food, water, clean air, a stable climate, biodiversity, good health, security and happiness.” (Commonland)

Resilience: back in 1973 C S Hollins published research into the complexity of change within ecosystems. He noted that while complex systems existed within a variety of different states of equilibrium, after they have received a shock, they can either bounce back to their original state or they will degenerate to a lesser state. In ecosystems services, resilience refers to the ability of a system to withstand shocks and have the inate elasticity to return to its former state. You can read more about this specific application of resilience in Daniel Christian Wahl’s Designing Regenerative Cultures or here on his profile page.

Sacred reciprocity: regenerative entrepreneur Maya Zuckerman describes this as a concept that most traditional societies have used . It’s a practice of being reciprocal with nature and all relations and relationships.

Salutogenesisregenerative health — a design for the built environment that focuses on the improvement of health, rather than just an absence of bad health, or only reducing health impacts

Sovereignty: I first heard a modern idea of sovereignty when studying evolutionary biology and came across Joe Rogan’s infamous interview with Bret Weinstein and Jordan Peterson. I’ve learned more from Jordan Greenhall recently through Rebel Wisdom.

Stewardship: brings in the idea of care, responsibility, duty and reverence for the awesome but simple fact that, as far as we know, we are still the only planet in the vast ocean of the universe that contains life. Stewardship offers a sense of a spiritual calling to not just future generations of humanity, but future generations of life. To protect the idea of life on earth. As Kenneth Mikkelsen said in his talk to House of Beautiful Business — To be a good descendent and a good ancestor.

The Symbiocene: a name proposed by Glenn Albrecht for the post Anthropocene era. The key organizing principles of a Symbiocene society include:

  • full and benign recyclability and biodegradability of all inputs and outputs;
  • safe and socially just forms of clean, renewable energy;
  • full and harmonious integration of human systems with biogeochemical systems at all scales;
  • using the renewable resources of place and bioregion;
  • the elimination of toxic waste in all aspects of production, consumption and enterprise;
  • all species, great and small, having their life-interests and life-sharing understood and respected;
  • evidence of a harmony or balance of interests where conflict is recognized as a sub-set of grand-scale cooperation;
  • protection of symbiotic bonds between and within species at all scales; and
  • re-establishment of symbiotic bonds where they have been severed in the Anthropocene.

Symmathesy: anew word for ‘System’, proposed by Nora Bateson. Symmathesy refers specifically to living systems and to their capacity for interacting with, and learning from, one another.

The nutrient-poor diet of cicadas is supplemented thanks to specialized bacterial symbionts Photo: Texas Eagle

Symbiosis: is a relationship between two different biological entities, and can be mutual (anemone and clownfish/bees as pollinators), parasitic (mistletoe and host tree) commensalism, or amensalism. There are many great case studies of symbiotic relationships at Ask Nature.

Synthesise: I am a human synthesiser. I see life in patterns of interconnected ideas. I can join dots together easily and make one simple idea bigger and bolder by immediately connecting it to other parts of a system into which is can have impact. Synthesisers as humans are polymaths, neo-generalists — people who have many layers ofexpertise held together by a fine red thread. They are people whose skills should be much more in demand than they are for this era of complexity but we are still addicted to our notion of experts.

Systems Thinking: a simple but profound idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Systems thinking is interested in the inter-relatedness of parts, and of synthesising what happens or what impact occurs through the pattern of interaction between an organism and the environment in which it lives. The systems thinkers who have most influenced me include Fritjof Capra, Donella Meadows, Nora Bateson, biologist Humberto Maturana, Peter Senge. But there are many more.

Tensegrity: couldn’t leave Buckminster Fuller out of this list! Tensegrity is an elision of ‘tension + integrity’. Buckminster Fuller, building on the highly original sculptures of Kenneth Snelson, coined the term, to indicate that the integrity of the structure derived from the balance of tension members, not the compression struts. Tensegrities can be built in hierarchies — each element of a tensegrity can be built out of smaller tensegrities — making for the most efficient use of materials, an evolutionary imperative. This efficiency is also a very important property, as the rule of biological evolution is efficiency — getting the most performance from the least material.

Theory U — another model, but one which allows us to think and feel into the emerging future as we use it to develop transformational change. As it’s based on the creative process, I find this easy to use in almost all circumstances as it is highly adjustable in terms of the level of consciousness of the audience. You can go as ‘deep’ or as light as you like. You can learn more through The Presencing Institute or ULab. Thanks Otto Scharmer et al!

Thrivability: Seb Paquet, a co-founder of the innovative Enspiral network of initiatives, describes thrivability like this:

Thrivability is a philosophy of work that is centred on perfroming actions that are generative. This is in contrast to sustainability. I associate thrivability with spirals. Something that is thrivable will spiral out, constantly improving, becoming more beautiful, cleaner or more enjoyable. It is a continual unfolding.

Author Michelle Holliday describes it as ‘a continual and purposeful drive to create the fertile conditions for life to thrive at the levels of the individual, the organisation, the community and the biosphere.

Transition Network: again a movement not a noun but should have been in from the start. One of the most successful experiments in community activation and imagination for a fossil-free future, Transition has many active communities around the world achieving genuine grassroots and regional impact within town and village communities. In Europe, Belgium and France have been particularly successful, and of course Totnes in Devon is the movement’s flagship town.

Unintended Consequences: are freezing some governments (IMHO) from taking the action they need to. In a complex world it is almost impossible to predict outcomes of taking action within a system. Of course the precautionary principle applies, but even so, unintended consequences are everyone’s worst nightmare. This video is probably the best I’ve ever seen to describe UC.

Weaving connections and collaborations replicates the way in which nature brings different communities together for mutual benefit. You’ll frequently hear people in the regenerative community refer to themselves as weavers — a recognition of the complexity we live and work in, but also the value of people who bring polymathic approaches to regeneration.

Warm Data: recognizing that complex problems are not susceptible to predetermined solutions, the International Bateson Institute has taken up the task of generating a category of information specifically dedicated to description of contextual relational interaction, calling it “Warm Data”. The units of knowledge by which reasoning and calculations are made namely, data, information, and facts, suggest processes of research into which we place our hopes for better understanding of the world we inhabit.

Xenophilia — Awareness and understanding that enables inclusive design for ‘the other’, i.e. not just human-centric design, but designing as part of nature not apart from nature, also, importantly a holistic design for all that is socially just not only for wealthy, influential, our culture.

So. What have I missed out? What would you like to add? Or is there anything you would like to edit? Let me know in the comments below.

Jenny Andersson is a creative strategist helping organisations and leaders to develop strategic narratives. She designs collective intelligence journeys and workshops to help organisations shape regenerative strategies and communications.

REGENERATIVE CULTURES, REGENERATIVE ECONOMIES, AND BIOREGIONAL REGENERATION

Daniel Christian Wahl

Feb 11, 2020 ((medium.com)

From the original article linked in the subtitle

Edit of original by Virginie Glaenzer and Daniel Christian Wahl

Some people are starting to talk about regenerative cultures as possible pathways towards a thriving future of people unfolding their unique potential within the context of the communities and regions they help to regenerate — cultures that are healthy, resilient and adaptable.

A regenerative economy goes beyond sustainability and requires local collaboration and solidarity among individuals as co-creative participants.

What Is a Regenerative Culture?

Regenerative cultures are unique expressions of the potential inherent in the people and places of a given bioregion. They add value and health to the nested wholeness from local, to regional, to global in the understanding that human thriving critically depends on healthy ecosystems and a life-supporting biosphere.

In strengthening regenerative economic activities, we need to learn to balance: efficiency and resilience; collaboration and competition; diversity and coherence; and small, medium, and large organizations and needs.

In other words, regenerative economics is an economic system that works to regenerate capital assets, which are assets that provide goods and/or services that are required for or contribute to our well being. We need to recognize the earth as the original capital asset without trying to reduce the intrinsic value of life to only utilitarian value to humanity, nor trying to make living capital convertible to financial capital as that would enable the most dangerous form of enclosure of the remaining ecological commons!

Regenerative leadership is a process [of personal development that aligns] one’s own way of being and actions with the wider pattern of life’s evolutionary journey within the communities, ecosystems, biosphere and Universe [we participate in].

As Janine Benyus has said so succinctly: “Life creates conditions conducive to life.” Regenerative Cultures aim to emulate this insight in how we relate to the human family and all life.

What Are the Challenges?

Our challenge is to free ourselves from the mindset of scarcity and competition and step into co-creating a future of shared collaborative abundance for all of humanity and the community of life.

One crucial aspect of this transition is to understand the limitations of the narrative of separation that has informed our understanding of who we are for too long and reconnect with our fundamental interbeing with the very fabric of life that our common future depends upon.

Regenerative Leadership

Transforming the human presence and impact in Earth

medium.com

Regenerative leadership can no longer be about positioning your company as a market leader, celebrated for having some positive impact on society. It starts by leading our own lives regeneratively in service to our communities and to the wider community of life.

Can regenerative economics & mainstream business mix?

Or, is it even possible to create regenerative businesses in a degenerative economic system?

medium.com

What Are the Principles?

Capital Institute, a non-partisan think-tank launched in 2010 by former JPMorgan Managing Director [until 2001], John Fullerton, is searching for a new narrative. The people working with the institute draw insights from modern science and are grounded in timeless wisdom traditions. Fullerton suggested 8 guiding principles:

1. In Right Relationship

2. Views Wealth Holistically

3. Innovative, Adaptive, Responsive

4. Empowered Participation

5. Honors Community and Place

6. Edge Effect Abundance

7. Robust Circulatory Flow

8. Seeks Balance

One of the core principles of a regenerative culture is to co-create shared meaning by supporting indidvdiual and collective capacity for shifting from competitive to collaborative systems. Regenerative cultures are about “co-evolving mutuality” (Regenesis Group) between people and within the community of life.

How Does One Get Started?

Take a look at the World Future Council’s and Herbert Girardet’s work on the transition from “petropolis” to “ecopolis” through the creation of regenerative cities nested within their bioregion.

Ecologically informed urban and regional planning

Everything that is white in the winter should be green in the summer. Everything that gets rained on, everything under…

medium.com

Regeneration International maps regenerative agriculture projects around the world and aims to support the transition towards regenerative land management practices and a regenerative food system.

There are events happening around the world such as Regeneration 2030 or The Regenerative Business Summit, where many of the global experts on regeneration will come together to explore how we can deliver well-being and shared prosperity on a healthy planet. You are invited to be part of it, in person or online.

What Questions are being Raised?

We have to admit that capitalism is broken and structurally degenerative, and understand that redesigning the human presence and impact on Earth will go hand in and with re-localization and re-regionalization supported by global collaboration and solidarity.

By daring to ask deeper questions we begin to see the world differently. As we engage in conversation about such questions, we collectively begin to contribute to the emergence of a new culture.

  • How do we create an economy with its operations based on cooperative relationships?
  • How would a regenerative economy nurture the entrepreneurial spirit and enable empowered participation?
  • How can we ensure that the economy promotes robust circular flows?

Questions more than answers can guide us as we choose a wiser path into an uncertain future. That is why Daniel Wahl’s book ‘Designing Regenerative Cultures’ has more than 250 questions in it. Consider them a place to start!

If you like the post, please clap AND remember that you can clap up to 50 times if you like it a lot ;-)!

Daniel Christian Wahl — Catalyzing transformative innovation in the face of converging crises, advising on regenerative whole systems design, regenerative leadership, and education for regenerative development and bioregional regeneration.

Author of the internationally acclaimed book Designing Regenerative Cultures

Sanders Announces Amendment to Strip All Fossil Fuel Handouts From Manchin Deal

Sen. Bernie Sanders waves at demonstrators on Capitol Hill

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) waves to demonstrators outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on August 1, 2022. (Photo: Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

The Vermont senator will also introduce an amendment to strengthen the reconciliation bill’s drug price reforms.

JAKE JOHNSON August 4, 2022 (CommonDreams.org)

Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Wednesday that he will be filing amendments to remove fossil fuel industry giveaways from Democrats’ new reconciliation bill and strengthen the legislation’s drug price provisions, which the Vermont senator has characterized as unacceptably weak.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Sanders reiterated the message he delivered in Tuesday remarks outlining what he sees as the deep flaws of the reconciliation package, the product of months of negotiations primarily between fossil fuel industry ally Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

“We have got to do everything possible to take on the greed of the fossil fuel industry, not give billions of dollars in corporate welfare to an industry that has been actively destroying our planet,” Sanders said in his Wednesday speech. “I will be introducing an amendment to do just that.”

According to Warren Gunnels, Sanders’ staff director, the amendment would “eliminate all of the fossil fuel giveaways in the so-called ‘Inflation Reduction Act,'” a proposed change that’s sure to draw opposition from Manchin.

One section Sanders is targeting is the requirement that millions of acres of public lands be offered for oil drilling as a condition for new solar and wind development. He also warned that the measure in its current form would give the oil and gas industry “billions of dollars in new tax breaks and subsidies over the next 10 years.”

“It might seem a bit incongruous to people why we are rewarding the people whose emissions are driving the temperature of the Earth up and causing massive destruction,” the senator said, “but that is in fact what this bill does.”Play

Sanders also said he intends to introduce an amendment that would ensure Medicare “pays no more for prescription drugs” than the Department of Veterans Affairs. At present, the reconciliation bill includes limited provisions that would require Medicare to negotiate the prices of a small number of drugs directly with pharmaceutical companies, which are lobbying aggressively against the proposal.

A recent study by the Government Accountability Office found that in 2017, Medicare Part D—the prescription drug benefit provided through government-approved private plans—paid twice as much as the Department of Veterans Affairs on average for the same medicines.

“How insane is it that you have one federal agency called the VA that pays 50% of what Medicare pays,” Sanders said Wednesday. “I mean, how crazy is that?”

“When it comes to reducing the price of prescription drugs under Medicare, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” he continued. “We could simply require Medicare to pay no more for prescription drugs than the VA pays, end of discussion… And if we did that, we could save Medicare some $900 billion over the next decade. That is nine times more savings than the rather weak negotiation provision in this bill.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a debate

‘Is It Better Than Nothing? I Suppose’: Sanders Disappointed by Dems’ Drug Pricing Plan

Jessica Corbett

The Vermont senator’s criticism of the reconciliation bill and his proposed fixes come as Democrats are racing to complete work on the package by the end of this week and pass it before recess is scheduled to start on August 8.

The Senate parliamentarian is currently examining provisions of the legislation and preparing to advise lawmakers on whether each section complies with the arcane rules of budget reconciliation, raising the possibility of last-minute changes to the bill.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), meanwhile, is reportedly pushing for the removal of carried interest provisions aimed at limiting the ability of private equity moguls and hedge fund managers to dodge taxes. Sinema, whose vote is necessary for final passage, has yet to publicly express support for the bill.

RAINWATER EVERYWHERE ON EARTH CONTAINS CANCER-CAUSING ‘FOREVER CHEMICALS’, STUDY FINDS

From the Arctic to the Tibetan Plateau, rain water is ‘unsafe to drink’ under current PFAS guidelines

By Harry Cockburn

August 3, 2022 (independent.co.uk)

IndyEat

Even in the most remote parts of the world, the level of so-called “forever chemicals” in the atmosphere has become so high that rainwater is now “unsafe to drink” according to newly released water quality guidelines.

Forever chemicals are a group of man-made hazardous products known as PFAS, which stands for perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances, some of which are linked to cancer in humans.

In recent decades they have spread globally through water courses, oceans, soils and the atmosphere and as a result, they can now be found in the rainwater and snow in even the most remote locations on Earth – from Antarctica to the Tibetan Plateau, researchers have said.

Guideline values for PFAS in drinking water, surface waters and soils have been revised down dramatically due to greater understanding into their toxicity and the threats they pose to health and the natural world.

Recommended

The changes mean the levels of these chemicals in rainwater “are now ubiquitously above guideline levels”, according to researchers from Stockholm University and ETH Zurich university.

“There has been an astounding decline in guideline values for PFAS in drinking water in the last 20 years,” said Ian Cousins, the lead author of the study and professor at the Department of Environmental Science at Stockholm University.

“For example, the drinking water guideline value for one well-known substance in the PFAS class, namely the cancer-causing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), has declined by 37.5 million times in the US.”

He added: “Based on the latest US guidelines for PFOA in drinking water, rainwater everywhere would be judged unsafe to drink.“

“Although in the industrial world we don’t often drink rainwater, many people around the world expect it to be safe to drink and it supplies many of our drinking water sources,” Professor Cousins said.

To study the prevalence of these chemicals the Stockholm University team have conducted laboratory and fieldwork on the atmospheric presence and transport of PFAS for the past decade.

They have found that the levels of some harmful PFAS in the atmosphere are not declining notably despite their phase out by the major manufacturer, 3M, already two decades ago.

PFAS are known to be highly persistent – hence being known as “forever chemicals” – but their continued presence in the atmosphere is also due to their properties and natural processes that continually cycle PFAS back to the atmosphere from the surface environment.

A key way PFAS are continually cycled into the atmosphere is through the transport from seawater to marine air by sea spray aerosols, which is another active research area for the Stockholm University team.

“The extreme persistence and continual global cycling of certain PFAS will lead to the continued exceedance of the [water quality] guidelines,” said Professor Martin Scheringer, a co-author of the study and based at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and Masaryk University in the Czech Republic.“

“So now, due to the global spread of PFAS, environmental media everywhere will exceed environmental quality guidelines designed to protect human health and we can do very little to reduce the PFAS contamination.”

“In other words, it makes sense to define a planetary boundary specifically for PFAS and, as we conclude in the paper, this boundary has now been exceeded,” he added.

Recommended

The research team noted that PFAS have been associated with a wide range of serious health harms, including cancer, learning and behavioural problems in children, infertility and pregnancy complications, increased cholesterol, and immune system problems.

Dr Jane Muncke, managing director of the Food Packaging Forum Foundation in Zurich, who was not involved in the research, said: “It cannot be that some few benefit economically while polluting the drinking water for millions of others, and causing serious health problems.“

The vast amounts that it will cost to reduce PFAS in drinking water to levels that are safe based on current scientific understanding need to be paid by the industry producing and using these toxic chemicals. The time to act is now.”

The research is published as a perspective article in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Articles ~ Petitions ~ Aug. scheduled executions ~ Events for Friday, August 5 – Sunday, August 7

By Adrienne Fong

ARTICLES

A. Chesa Boudin Won’t Run For DA Again In November…August 4, 2022

https://sfist.com/2022/08/04/chesa-boudin-wont-run-for-da-again-in-november/

B. Today, Ukraine bombed a Donetsk hotel full of journalists – here’s what it felt like to be there – August 4, 2022

https://www.rt.com/russia/560241-ukraine-bombed-donetsk-hotel-journalists/

   By: Eva K. Bartlett

C Officials Decide to Pause Housing Construction at People’s Park – August 3, 2022

Officials Decide to Pause Housing Construction at People’s Park – NBC Bay Area

Check for updates:People’s Park – People’s Park, Berkeley, California – Community, History, Trees, Green Space, Free Speech, Social Justice, Civil Rights, Gardens, Music, Art, Style, Freebox, Recreation, Ecology, Education, Sports (peoplespark.org)

EMERGENCY ALERT: TEXT “SAVETHEPARK” TO 74121  to get on the list

D. ‘Ugly American’: Nancy Pelosi Taiwan visit sparks pro-China protests – August 2, 2022

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/ugly-american-nancy-pelosi-taiwan-visit-sparks-pro-china-protests/U6EZOAMQ3MJBCKYTFHEXRKF2BY/

E. Explore: Almost 14,000 eviction notices served in SF public housing over 5 years  – August 2, 2022

Explore: Almost 14,000 eviction notices served in SF public housing over 5 years – Mission Local

F. Failure to Disclose Evidence in Murder Case Led to Full Review of DA Brooke Jenkins’ Work Under Chesa Boudin

Failure in Murder Case Led to Review of DA Jenkins’ Work Under Boudin (sfstandard.com)

  See event # 2

G. Nancy Pelosi’s Planned Trip to Taiwan Enrages SF Anti-War Activists – August 1, 2022

Nancy Pelosi’s Planned Trip to Taiwan Enrages SF Anti-War Activists – The San Francisco Standard (sfstandard.com)

H. ‘I’m 61, and I’m going to be homeless for the first time in my life’: S.F. co-op residents face eviction on odd technicality  – July 30, 2022

https://www.sfchronicle.com/sf/article/co-op-residents-eviction-technicality-17339584.php

   See event # 1

4 PETITIONS

1. Stop Black displacement in the Fillmore!

  SIGN: Stop Unfair Evictions of Black Residents in the Fillmore – Action Network

2. Tell EPA to Fully Restore State, Tribal, and Community Rights Under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act

  SIGN: Waterkeeper Alliance | Tell EPA to Fully Restore State, Tribal, and Community Rights Under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (quorum.us)

3. End U.S. Military & Security Aid to El Salvador & Central America

 SIGN:  https://cispes.salsalabs.org/SenateAppropsAxn2022/index.html?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=adb1a567-2370-4879-abe9-73bce8616152

4. Amazon Could Be Giving Away Your Private Doorbell Footage to Police Without Your Consent.

  SIGN: petition: Amazon Could Be Giving Away Your Private Doorbell Footage to Police Without Your Consent. (thepetitionsite.com)

Scheduled Executions for August ~ Click on names to sign the petitions

August 17, 2022: Kosoul Chanthakoummane in Texas 

   Kosoul Chanthakoummane has asserted that he is actually innocent since he was arrested for the murder of Sarah Walker in 2006.

First, know that Joseph Walker, the father of Sarah Walker, opposed the death penalty in this case and had reason to question whether prosecutors and police had the right suspect. Mr. Walker was not permitted to testify in the victim impact portion of the sentencing phase of Mr. Chanthakoummane’s trial.

August 25, 2022: James Coddington in Oklahoma

EVENTS

Friday, August 5 – Sunday, August 7

Friday, August 5

1. Friday, 10:00am, Stop Evictions at  King-Garvey Apartments

In Person

King-Garvey Apts. Courtyard
Eddy & Pierce St.
SF

For more information contact prestonstaff@sfgov.org

RALLY AGAINST DISPLACEMENT

 At least five long-term African-American residents there are facing eviction by property manager Kalco Properties. Some have lived at King-Garvey for decades, including Richard Henegan, who has lived in his home at King-Garvey for 54 years . Richard is facing eviction on August 10. 

We are demanding that Kalco take displacement off the table and agree to meet with my office and resident representatives to resolve the underlying issues.

Join Supervisors Dean Preston & Shamann Walton, King-Garvey co-op residents and community

leaders to stop unfair evictions.

Info: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cgw5nMhLSws/

2. Friday, 1:00pm – 2:00pm – Mothers On The March – Will be in front of DA Jenkins Office

In person

350 Rhode Island (North Building)
SF

SF MUNI # 22 Fillmore line

Stand up to say:

JUSTICE: YES

JENKINS: NO!

BREED & JENKINS:

BAD GOVERNMENT

POLITICS OVER PEOPLE

NO to HATE

in our

ASIAN, BLACK, BROWN

& WHITE COMMUNITIES

BROOKE JENKINS

LIES, LIES, LIES

DON’T BE FOOLED!

Since appointed district attorney by Mayor Breed, DA Jenkins has made 3-4 visits to SF Chinatown for ‘Stop Asian Hate’. She is pitting the Asian, Black, & Brown communities against one another which promotes more hate.

 Many of the people she visited also worked in the recall campaign, as she did, of DA Boudin and some have supported the hate messages to Supervisor Mar.

Below are a few facts (If U want the complete list let me know)

Expose the truth about the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office

LIE: “Chesa Boudin prosecuted only 14% of domestic violence cases.”

FACT: It’s a cherry-picked stat from a single quarter in 2020 (during the height of a COVID surge). The actual overall prosecution rate for domestic violence cases is 30.72%. In 2021, the rate was 36.71%; in 2022, it’s been 47.02%. By comparison, from 2011 – to 2019, the filing rate was 32.49%. (Source: DA Data Dashboard)

LIE: “A small business was forced to close because Chesa Boudin wouldn’t prosecute drug dealers.”

FACT: That small business closed in September 2019 – before Boudin was elected, let alone sworn in. In response to a reporter’s inquiry, “Neither Safer SF nor Young disputed that Mr. Smith’s closed before Boudin took office, nor did they directly respond to characterizations that the ad is misleading.”

LIE: “He hasn’t prosecuted a single drug dealer, despite drug overdoses causing two times as many deaths as COVID-19.”

FACT: Under Boudin, the SF District Attorney’s Office has prosecuted over 1,100 narcotics cases, and has secured hundreds of convictions. (Source: SFDA Narcotics Fact Sheet)

 LIE: “Almost half of San Francisco’s prosecutors have resigned”

 FACT: Turnover in the office was the same in 2020 and 2021 under Boudin as in 2018 and 2019 under Gascon. Boudin has also recruited and hired talented attorneys from across the state including experts in their field and former prosecutors from San Francisco and other counties. (Source: SF HR Department)

Here’s the bottom line: The recall effort was about Chesa’s record, and they lied about San Francisco. Worse yet, they spent MILLIONS of dollars spreading these lies. Chesa Boudin is proud of his record dramatically expanding the number of Chinese and Asian staff in his office, increasing language access with a first-in-the-state policy, to require court-certified interpreters be requested for any victim who wants to watch their case move through the court system, and he’s proud of his record prosecuting and holding people accountable who victimize Asian elders.

All are welcomed

Host: Mothers On The March

Saturday, August 6

Anniversary of Hiroshima

3. Saturday, 9:00am, Virtual Rally & Action For Nuclear Disarmament

View online or archived at: August Rally – August Rally – Enlightened Films

Speakers and musicians include:

Pentagon planner and whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg

Nagasaki survivor Nobu Hanaoka

Russian peace and democracy activist Natalia Mironova

Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab watchdog Marylia Kelley

And more

Info: August Rally – Enlightened Films

4. Saturday, 9:30am – 1:30pm, End Climate Chaos: 10th Anniversary of Richmond Explosion 

In person

MARCH
9:30am @Richmond BART to Gate 14 @ Chevron

KAYAK
11:00am Keller Beach – site of February 2021 Chevron Oil Spill to meet kayakers coming on shore

Judge George Carroll PARK
12:00pm to converge with rest of community marching to Chevron’s main gate

GATE 14 @ Chevron
12:45pm Full group unites for mural and fencelines art

 Saturday, August 6, hundreds of Richmond residents are coming together to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the 2012 Chevron Refinery Fire. We will be marching to Chevron to send a message that we REFUSE another 120 years of violence on our bodies, our communities, our air.

On August 6, 2012, a massive fire tore through the Chevron Richmond refinery, sending a huge plume of black smoke over West Contra Costa County. The fire blanketed neighborhoods in black smoke and the sky turned dark as the smoke blocked out the sun. 15,000 residents sought medical treatment, and many report developing long-term respiratory issues as a result.

In the aftermath of the fire, thousands of people mobilized to City Hall, demanding that our politicians and air regulators take real action to hold Chevron accountable and protect the health and safety of workers and communities. Investigators with Cal/OSHA and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board found that Chevron had ignored a decade of warnings about severe corrosion in the pipe that caused the refinery fire.

Host: Richmond Our Power Coalition

Info: End Climate Chaos: 10th Anniversary of Richmond Explosion : Indybay

5. Saturday, 10:00am – 12Noon, CCSF (City College of SF) Enrollment Kickoff with AFT 2121

In person

Meet by the Hidalgo Statue near the Church & 19th St entrance to Dolores Park

SF

RSVP: Talk to your Community about Leveling Up at City College—AFT 2121 Enrollment Campaign RSVP #CCSFintheCity (google.com)

Pick up a poster for your home, and then join CCSF staff, faculty, students, and others in distributing posters to the people of San Francisco.  

The faculty union of City College, AFT 2121 is launching #CCSFintheCity, an art project enrollment campaign designed to remind San Franciscans of everything City College has to offer. From Biotech, Auto Repair, & Nursing to Firefighting, ESL, and Dance, City College is the largest and most accessible for new job skills, passions, & degrees in this city. And, best of all, it’s free.

Info: https://www.aft2121.org/2022/08/ccsf-enrollment-campaign-kickoff-sat-8-6-at-10am-in-dolores-park/

Sunday, August 7

6. Sunday, 12N00n – 2:00pm, Honoring Pan African Women’s Day and The Haitian Revolution in Black August

In person

Liberation Park
7101 Foothill Blvd.,
Oakland, CA 94605

Join the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP) and its women’s wing, the All-African Women’s Revolutionary Union (A-AWRU) for its Pan-African Women’s Day celebration 2022 in collaboration with the Haiti Action Committe and the Black Cultural Zone

For More Information: 510.388.4022

Health Cost Calculator Shows Most Californians Would Save Big With Medicare for All

Single-payer healthcare advocates march in a Medicare for All rally in Los Angeles on February 4, 2017. (Photo: Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Single-payer healthcare advocates march in a Medicare for All rally in Los Angeles on February 4, 2017. (Photo: Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images) 

“Working together, Californians can save our state billions, save each family thousands, and most importantly, guarantee healthcare for all so that everyone has equal access to lifesaving treatment.”

BRETT WILKINS August 1, 2022 (CommonDreams.org)

Universal healthcare campaigners in California on Monday unveiled a tool they say shows how most working families would save at least hundreds—and likely thousands—of dollars each year if the state implements a Medicare for All-type system.

“Every second of inaction costs hundreds of dollars, and each year of inaction has an even greater cost—4,000 lives.”

The advocacy group Healthy California Now, together with National Union of Healthcare Workers and University of California, San Francisco professor and health finance expert James G. Kahn, launched a calculator that compares what individuals or families currently spend with what their costs would be under the type of Medicare for All system that Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom campaigned on a promise to enact—but has done nothing to advance.

“It’s a new day for healthcare reform in California, and working together, Californians can save our state billions, save each family thousands, and most importantly, guarantee healthcare for all so that everyone has equal access to lifesaving treatment,” Healthy California Now president Michael Lighty said in a statement. “Every second of inaction costs hundreds of dollars, and each year of inaction has an even greater cost—4,000 lives.”

According to the calculator, a family earning California’s median annual household income of $78,600 and paying $500 in monthly health insurance premiums and $4,000 in yearly out-of-pocket costs, whose employer contributes $1,400 per month toward healthcare costs, would save nearly $16,500 every year under a Medicare for All system. An individual making $50,000 per year with a $300 monthly health insurance bill, a $500 employer pay-in, and $1,500 in self-funded healthcare expenditures would save $7,600 annually.

For an uninsured person or family earning under $50,000 with less than $2,500 in out-of-pocket healthcare spending, savings would range from hundreds to around $2,000 per year.

“Taxpayers already foot the bill for over 70% of our state’s healthcare,” Kahn said in a statement. “The savings we can achieve by cutting the waste in private health insurance will allow us to guarantee improved healthcare services for all Californians while also lowering costs.”

“Our estimates of spending under a universal healthcare system account for the added taxes required to cover the single-payer budget, while premiums and out-of-pocket costs disappear,” he added. “Overall spending for single-payer will be less than under the current system, and taxes will be higher only for very high-income earners and corporations. Thus, the vast majority of working families will save money.”

Although he campaigned on a pledge to deliver single-payer healthcare, Newsom has disappointed activists by backing away from his promise and taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the private health insurance industry.

In January, A.B. 1400, a bill that would have implemented a single-payer healthcare system in California, was withdrawn from consideration in the state Assembly in an eleventh-hour move that shocked and outraged progressives who had fought for the measure.

While Newsom has expressed concerns over the cost of universal care, the governor’s Healthy California for All Commission reported in April that such a system would save 4,000 lives annually and $500 billion over the next decade. Meanwhile, the commission found that healthcare costs are projected to rise 30% over the next 10 years under the current system.

Writing for Common Dreams, Lighty said in a Sunday opinion piece that the commission report “shows we simply can’t afford not to adopt a universal healthcare system.”

“The door to quality, universal, and affordable care is open,” he wrote. “On the other side is a California where we save lives and save money by cutting out waste and bureaucracy and putting quality healthcare before private insurance company profits.”

A 2020 study published in the medical journal Lancet found that Medicare for All on a national scale will save Americans $450 billion and prevent 68,000 unnecessary deaths each and every year. Last month, Common Dreams reported that a universal single-payer healthcare system such as Medicare for All could have prevented 338,000 U.S. Covid-19 deaths.