Let’s Just Sell the Sun.

24_6sun

The stars that shine are yours and mine
The rainbows in the sky are yours and mine

 The song of springtime
The lullaby of Fall

The sunshine of summertime Belong to us all

 The moon above Is yours and mine

The right to fall in love Is yours and mine

The hope of finding the dream

Our hearts desire

All this is Yours and mine

                        Yours and Mine – Billie Holiday

 

If the intent is to save capitalism at all costs, Let’s Just Give The Sun to the Oil Companies.

They already assume they own the right to the earth.

Before you dismiss this absolutely mad idea consider the dilemma – this is for the whole, habitable, Blue Marble.

When I happened upon this essay from Chris Agnos, so many pieces fell in place, I was spinning.

Of course expert economists, industrialists, investment bankers and politicians will dismiss it without a second thought. But, consider this; it was Winston Churchill as Admiral of the British Navy, who had the foresight to retool the entire British fleet from coal-fueled, steam engine technology, in anticipation of Hitler’s stirrings of fascism1 , to save the free world.

And what’s the difference? Capitalists2 already believe in major ownership of at least one body in our solar system. But for at least two reasons, selling solar radiation is a brilliant idea.

One, It challenges the very idea of who even owns the earth – and the right to poison the water, air and health of all and everything that live here?

And two, by selling (or leasing) this solar resource, owned by all humanity, it just could provide a critical mechanism to peacefully unwind fossil fuel reserves, leases and investment infrastructure.

And why not? We sell off and mine the Earth, corporate satellites orbit our atmosphere and futurists envision someday mining asteroids and planetary objects (if we are still around).

So let’s call the energy industry’s bluff and offer to buy out their leases and devalued assets. Let’s call the Sun, Humanity’s Capital (it always was). Have this fund our climate change obligations to make island nations, indigenous cultures, coastal cities, farming, fishing and displaced fossil fuel industry communities and nations – resilient.

Finally, if the (US Secretary of State and fmr. Exxon CEO) Rex Tillerson, wants to talk to Elon Musk (Tesla and SpaceX entrepreneur and US Presidential advisor) about a deal with the rest of humanity along with every other sun-rich and even petroleum-rich nation…we might be willing to consider it.

 

References:

1 The Quest David Yergin

2 Capital In the 21st Century, Thomas Piketty

Let’s Just Give the Sun to the Oil Companies is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Chris Agnos and ChrisAgnos.com.

Advertisements

Running Meditation

24_6icons_sneakers

Running. It was boring, exhausting, and repetitive and didn’t do much to make a person look all that good.

Discovered by complete accident, I was once told, “To burn body fat it’s not how fast you run but how long you run”. So I started going further.

What makes jogging a 24-6 pastime is that it requires no fossil-fuel energy, starts a day off the grid and you’re in the elements. You don’t need new-age trainers, gyms, treadmills or anybody’s permission (check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program though mine would be skeptical).

Of late, I tell myself that I feel like running and then, to just keep on running. At times it seems to help put the past behind and free my thoughts.

Believe it or not there are many people who run all day.
They’re called Ultra Runners and though that sounds like the province of elite athletes or exceptional humans – perhaps not always.

To spare you the long story here’s all you need to know.
Slow down a little and stay on the ball of your foot.

But the long story is a great one. And the anthropological record suggests that humans are evolved as a running species.

The book that explains a lot of this is Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen written by Christopher McDougall. The main character, Michael Randolf Hickman, a.k.a Micah True or Caballo Blanco was beautiful. He believed what he did was “running meditation” and his motto was ”Run free”. This I know against all expectations to be true. Even though I am a terrible athlete and way past my prime.

(I resist attaching links because 24-6 is s’posed to be your “Exit Ramp of the Information HighwaySM” but here it is). https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6289283-born-to-run?ac=1

Exercise for mind and body should seem obvious but perhaps not as much to a western mind. Remarkably, there is a quality of experience when you realize you are your body.

Running at a modest comfortable pace becomes easy to maintain.

Your breathing becomes regular.

Your thoughts range as in sitting or walking meditation and you, by necessity, return to your breath.

Silly of me to suggest this is a spiritual equivalent of other ancient practices or the current vogue of “mindfulness” but damn if it doesn’t have some merit to it. There is a crossing over of ordinary consciousness and perceived physical limits. To “run free” is not the cliché theory of runners’ high but our more evolutionary human state.

Who knew, or did we forget?

Steven Mitsch

Sunday Paper

Image

Sunday Paper

If only a kid on his bike delivered our Sunday paper, it would be a perfect example of how easy it is time spent off the grid. Instead, the delivery woman arrives in her aging Honda probably earning little more relative to what I earned as a boy.

The New York Times is a treasure of a newspaper contrary to the fulmination of those who prefer hardened ideologies. Of course there seems to be a bias that favors their readers but, regular contributors and stories give a wide range of perspectives – even to a fault – to present positions contrary to the weight of consensus science or in politics – the rush to war.

The declared mission of the newspaper, “All the News That’s Fit to Print” is both true and a kind of pun. It can take the whole day to read and it’s a huge and varied tome.

The pages of The Times display everything imaginable, from exclusive advertisers of palatial home sales to stories of refugees, or advertisements for hundred thousand dollar watches to news of the minimum hourly wage. I’d be surprised if I’m the only person not feeling whiplashed and suffering a kind of extreme mood disorder.

How does it all make sense when taken all together?

It takes time to absorb information and let it play on the subconscious compared to the distractions we confront daily. Perhaps see our own life in a larger context. In his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman relates that, compared to various academic experts, attentive readers a publication like The New York Times, are reasonably good at reading emerging situations.

It does help to go deeply to inform my choices and for that I am grateful to the journalists, editors and advertisers that support this, unusually rare independent institution. A functioning democracy depends on it and us to be well informed.

As New Media has upended virtually every enterprise, it is reassuring that in this Digital Age this newspaper ranks in about the top 5 news websites.

Spending a Sunday engaged in one place along with 2.3 million other NY Times readers is a delightful way to recharge.

Sunday readers instead of Sunday drivers. That could save a good deal of carbon emissions.

Now if kids on bikes could feel the heft wouldn’t that be a sight?

Fracking Comes Home

24_6icon_gaspipes

My apartment complex has been rigging an elaborate looking connection to the town gas line over the last several months. It’s an optional fuel source for heat and hot water.

What’s interesting, besides the economic reprieve from higher heating costs, is the Rube Goldberg contraption. I remarked to the utility inspector that the thing looks like a wellhead and he chimed, “That’s right where it’s coming from”.

When I pass them I can hear the reassuring hiss of fuel delivering us the warmth inside, or conversely I hear a relentless mocking telling me “Of courssse you want thisss.

Ordinarily these essays are about what we do when taking a weekly day off the grid but thought it worth mentioning. Besides, I’ve been working from home for a while and walk a ’lot. (That really does save a lot of running around).

Energy workers have a point when they tell us; if we like to cook they need to drill. The director of Gasland, Josh Fox, said those of us opposed to unconventional energy, including fracking, cannot just be against something – we have to be for something. What we ought to be fighting for is an all-out speedy transition to safe renewable energy and all the prosperity that will generate – forever!

Why aren’t oil and gas companies transitioning to sustainable energy companies? The oil tycoon, T. Boone Pickens, placed an enormous bet on wind energy and lost a fortune. He argues that American oil and gas companies are the best at what they do and I guess in a way that’s supposed to be reassuring. But that’s the problem if it’s unbridled capitalism – bottom line it’s simply best at one thing only – profiting.

Originally, Congress assigned rights of incorporation requiring they not exceed their authority or cause public harm. It was at our nation’s discretion they were allowed to serve!

The lauded former industry titan/climate change skeptic, Jack Welsh, presided at General Electric during the deregulation era of the 1980’s. I got a sense of his zeal for Darwinian Capitalism working on computer services advertising for the company – the same year our ad agency helped launch the Apple Macintosh computer.

In the intervening years the stocks of both companies would have made you comfortable (if you could have owned them). Point is, not long after, Steve Jobs needed to leave his own company until the world caught up to his vision, and he and Apple earned largest valuation of every company on the planet, blah, blah, blah.

It’s as good a lesson to take away with regard to the fossil fuel industry. If Jack Welsh supports the conviction that giving consumers the environmentally friendly goods they seek, his reasons seem unapologetically cynical or a damming truth that business responds to consumer demand.

“There’s an enormous opportunity…whether you believe in global warming or not…If you’re in a company, you’d better be pushing those (green) products because the world wants these products.

– Jack Welsh, Fresh Dialogues Interview Series with Alison van Diggelen, May 12, 2009

A delightful GE commercial several years back had creatures in the jungle dancing to Singing in the Rain and stated “Water that’s more pure.”­ – this after spending years and several-hundred-million dollars fighting the EPA requirement to remove their factory’s toxic waste in New York’s Hudson River. Translation; We can make money even when we help cause the problem.

Businesses must protect stockholders and profits until the time comes their actions become unprofitable.

Corporate missions need people to guide their immediate and long range decisions. And the campaign to divest investments in the fossil fuel industry will lead them into the future.

Especially if we, each carbon-based human, reduce our carbon-based energy consumption and help them get their heads out of the ground!

Incredible things happen when we used our boycotts and purchases to dissent. They help mitigate racism, human suffering and destruction of our environment.

The goal of practicing 24-6 is to slow this corrupting process. Everyone take a day off the grid. Earn your own “carbon credits”.

Surely there will be unintended consequences if we all start doing this. Lower energy costs seem to increase usage for one. That makes alternatives costly. But it is something each of us can actually do for ourselves and our childrens’ children.