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Solutions & sustainability - Nov 28

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Husbanding Resources

Sharon Astyk, Casaubon's Book
Presumably I'm not the only person whose personal preparations continually run up against a limitations of funds and time. Learning to find ways to get as much benefit out of our limited income and free time is one of my major projects. Thinking about the ways we (and other people in the American economy) use their resources has led me to think it might be worth pointing out to people how often what they have goes outwards, to feed the economy, rather than inwards, to benefit themselves, theirfamilies, their communities. To me, ensuring that my expenditures not only produce the optimal result for me, but also benefit the economies (household, communal, etc...) that I most want to serve seems like the basic goal of any human centered economics.

Consider the contemporary model of family. ... For purposes of simplicity, we'll imagine that Mom and Dad have a couple of children, and one set of aging parents, but we all know it gets more complex than that. Mom and Dad have a baby - how exciting. They are comparatively young, and both work full time, so they put baby in daycare at 8 weeks, which takes up a large percentage of one household income. They save what they can to afford a down payment on a house, but it is a struggle to put anything away.
(25 Nov 2006)
Sharon points out that seperate housing for different generations, childcare and assisted living lock us into more isolated and debt ridden lives. Great article. -AF


Earthshakers: the top 100 green campaigners of all time

David Adam, The Guardian
The Environment Agency has invited experts to name the people who have done most to save the planet
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From the woman who raised the alarm over the profligate use of pesticides to the doctor who discovered that chimney sweeps in 18th century London were dying because of their exposure to soot, the government's Environment Agency has named the scientists, campaigners, writers, economists and naturalists who, in its view, have done the most to save the planet.

To help celebrate its tenth anniversary, a panel of experts listed its 100 greatest eco-heroes of all time. And it does mean all time: St Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) is there, as is Siddartha Gautama Buddha, who died in 483BC.

Top of the list is Rachel Carson, a US scientist whose 1962 book, Silent Spring, is credited by many with kick-starting the modern environmental movement. Her account of the damage caused by the unrestrained industrial use of pesticides provoked controversy and fury in equal measures. Barbara Young, the Environment Agency's chief executive, said: "She started many of us off on the road to environmental protection."

At number two is the maverick economist EF Schumacher, a German national rescued from an internment camp in the English countryside by John Keynes, who went on to achieve worldwide fame with his green-tinged economic vision.

Jonathan Porritt, head of the Sustainable Development Commission, is third, with the wildlife broadcaster David Attenborough, fourth. James Lovelock, the UK scientist who developed the Gaia theory of life on earth, is fifth.
(28 Nov 2006)


Pastor Chosen to Lead Christian Coalition Steps Down in Dispute Over Agenda

Neela Banerjee, NY Times
The president-elect of the Christian Coalition of America, which has long served as a model for activism for the religious right, has stepped down, saying the group resisted his efforts to broaden its agenda to include reducing poverty and fighting global warming.

The Rev. Joel C. Hunter, pastor of a Florida megachurch, was named the group’s president-elect in July. He was to have taken over the presidency in January from Roberta Combs, who is also the chairwoman of the Christian Coalition’s board. Mrs. Combs will continue in both positions now.

Over the last few years, Dr. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland Church in Longwood, Fla., has gained a reputation as an evangelical leader seeking to expand the agenda of conservative Christian activists from issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.

...The author of “Right Wing, Wrong Bird: Why the Tactics of the Religious Right Won’t Fly With Most Conservative Christians,” Dr. Hunter has argued that a large number of conservative Christians feel that right-wing religious groups do not represent them, because they focus their energies too narrowly on what he calls moral issues, often to the exclusion of economic and environmental concerns.
(27 Nov 2006)
Related article from Clarion Ledger (Florida), which has this quote:

The coalition's rejection of his approach means it is unwilling to part with its partisan, Republican roots, Hunter said.

"To tell you the truth, I feel like there are literally millions of evangelical Christians that don't have a home right now," Hunter said.

Tension among the evangelicals. As David Roberts said on Gristmill, evangelicals concerned about the care of God's Creation (aka environmentalism) are welcome at Grist. (And also welcome at Energy Bulletin). -BA

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