Thursday, March 26, 2015

Is the future already here?

This morning I re-encountered on of my all time favorite quotations, William Gibson's "The future is already here--it's just not very evenly distributed." Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything captures much of Gibson's observation as it incorporates root causes of many of our current problems and an array of emerging solutions that could represent a better future for all of us in the 99%. She focuses on climate change but recognizes that that involves almost every factor of daily life for every one of us. If you have children, plan to have children, or care about children and the world we'll be leaving them, as well as the world we have to live in today, it's worth a read.

Minnesota's future: renewable resources like solar
Minnesota's future: renewable resources like solar
Photo by J. Harrington

Minnesota's past: diminishing resources like fossil fuels
Minnesota's past: diminishing resources like fossil fuels
Photo by J. Harrington

We know the Iron Range and other communities are hurting because of layoffs triggered by "a glut of foreign steel and declining demand in the U.S." Maybe, instead of engaging in a race to the bottom, so we don't have to cut wages along with reducing environmental protections, we should reject NAFTA and the World Trade Organization, and not try to sneak the Trans Pacific Partnership through Congress on a fast track. We need leaders focused on local solutions that move us ahead, not backwards. Instead of depending on international corporations run by overpaid executives we need to build our own capacities and local economies. On their web site pages on environmental responsibility, U.S. Steel writes:
"U. S. Steel is also committed to investing in technology to move the steelmaking process in an even more environmentally responsible direction. In the United States the best available control technology is being utilized at the new coke batteries being built at our Clairton Plant, and at our Granite City Works we partnered with SunCoke Energy to build a byproduct recovery coke making system to provide both coke and energy for our facility."
But they don't have the capital to invest in Minnesota's water quality? Think about it. What kind of businesses do we want in Minnesota's future? We could be a state that makes others green with envy. We used to be. Speaking of which, here are some more shades of green we can consider for our future.

There didn't seem to be a dictionary definition for any of today's shades of green so we cheated a bit on two of them. Even with our cheating strategy, we couldn't find any definition for pansy green. Maybe it's eponymous.

Eden, Then and Now

By Ruth Stone 
In ’29 before the dust storms
sandblasted Indianapolis,
we believed in the milk company.
Milk came in glass bottles.
We spread dye-colored butter,
now connected to cancer.
We worked seven to seven
with no overtime pay;
pledged allegiance every day,
pitied the starving Armenians.
One morning in the midst of plenty,
there were folks out of context,
who were living on nothing.
Some slept in shacks
on the banks of the river.
This phenomenon investors said
would pass away.
My father worked for the daily paper.
He was a union printer;
lead slugs and blue smoke.
He worked with hot lead
at a two-ton machine,
in a low-slung seat;
a green-billed cap
pulled low on his forehead.
He gave my mother a dollar a day.
You could say we were rich.
This was the Jazz Age.
All over the country
the dispossessed wandered
with their hungry children,
harassed by the law.
When the market broke, bad losers
jumped out of windows.
It was time to lay an elegant table,
as it is now; corporate paradise;
the apple before the rot caved in.
It was the same worm
eating the same fruit.
In fact, the same Eden.

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Please be kind to each other while you can.