Fixing the Problems of Our World

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4. Cooperation must become our intrinsic guiding ethic.  The long war of nature must seek a tentative truce after a billion rugged years.  We are in this together, as consciousness, the lion, the mantis, the lamb.  A strike against any is an attack against all. 

But oh, how quickly ideals are forgotten once the action starts! 

5. Burn vegetable oils and feces for energy.  This can be as impromptu as driving to MacDonald’s or Burger King and fueling up with the dregs of used potato oils or walking to the Indian restaurant down the block and topping off a gallon jug from naan frying vats.  Yes, these establishments will continue to wreak more biological and meteorological havoc than they can repay in transportation ergs and freight (measured on some hypothetical comparative energetic table), but we can begin to bend our economic and ecological formulas in the direction of reuse and sustainability.  We can provide rituals and mantras for recycling as a fundamental act, as we have already begun with resources centers and regional pickups by anti-garbage trucks.

Take back what as much as possible of what was discarded and incompletely consumed.  Collect poop from domestic cats and dogs—convert it to gas.  If everyone saved all the shit and garbage in their households, packaged it sanitarily, and hauled it to the nearest retrofitted power plant or composted it in garages into fuels and fertilizer, we would begin to cultivate an understanding that energy is sacred, and we might stop dissipating it in wide-scale manufacture of junk or mindless missions by SUV.  There might then be less to reclaim.

The denizens of Frank Herbert’s post-global-warming Dune understood that planetary existence was finite and every drop of sweat had to be captured in wetsuits if they wanted to have any of it to metabolize or drink.  They recognized, as we will have to sooner or later, that water is the only true commodity, more valuable than gold, more beautiful than emeralds.  Water is us.  Bad water is a sordid commodity and represents profligacy and social disintegration, every creature for itself until every waterhole is a cesspool or desert.

Note too that any house, apartment building, or office, with its plane of solar absorption, baffle of wind resistance, gravitational gradients, dormant synthesis of the urine and fecal by-products of habitation, and general indoor breathing and metabolism is capable of producing far more energy than it consumes, of feeding rather than draining the grid.  Reverse the basic energy equation; change the direction of flow, and human intention will follow the new isobars.

We are transporting materials and citizens heedlessly all over the planet at tremendous cost in energy, taking them some place and then bringing them back, usually with their stuff.  Anything any day could wind up anywhere, based on whims and vain imperatives.  We must try to act efficiently, understanding that there is an energy cost to everything on the physical plane and also that anything in a new position will release quanta of motion, some of them redundant or exorbitant, most of them unnoticed and unwanted, many of them expensive beyond reckoning or measure.

No wasted crud, no joy rides, no labored breath.  Skateboards and surfboards over NASCAR, Harleys, jetskis.  Burning Man in lieu of RV armadas.  Dzogchen practice instead of Las Vegas slot machines.  Yoga, not business trips.

Assess the actions of this civilization each second and see what is being moved.  Question why.  We are neurotic and restless, our economy a displaced symptom of our pathology.  Let’s make businessmen (and –women) into serious stewards, not mere product barkers.  Let’s figure out what the Earth and its habitants really need to be happy and at peace.

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