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Of Cabbages and Kings…

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Author: the Inkslinger

Continuing to wade through the accumulated digital clippings here at my perch in the Vermont clouds, where a foot and a half of snow over the last two days has made the task a bit easier by slowing life down considerably. So let’s continue with some more recent dispatches that have caught my eyes and ears of late…

You probably don’t know it (I sure didn’t) but our entire lifetimes and those of all other human beings throughout human history have been spent in the geological era called the Holocene, that period of time that followed the retreat of the ice age glaciers 12,000 years ago. Now, however, some geologists are suggesting that the Holocene Era is over and the Anthropocene Era has begun, a new geological age in which human activities not natural processes are the force responsible for shaping the surface of our world. It’s a semantic change, really, but it’s a very, very interesting notion, a bit of perhaps necessary symbolism if you will, that I think deserves some consideration if only for the attention it would bring to the tremendous impact people are having on the state of the Earth. We’ve now surpassed all of nature itself as the dominant force in the world. It’s the first time in billions of years of geological history that a single species has achieved such utter and overwhelming dominance. Truly we are as gods and surely that’s worth some discussion. Declaring the dawn of the Anthropocene Era would certainly be one way to start it.

Okay. This is just funny. And perfect. And brilliant. And you should watch it right now.

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Blessed Unrest

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I just finished reading Paul Hawken’s new book Blessed Unrest. It is a beautifully written, extensively researched, deeply thoughtful but in the end unsatisfying read. While Hawken talks convincingly about the convergence of the environmental/sustainability movement with the social justice and indigenous rights movements (collectively described as “the movement,”) and the significance of the millions of organizations that have arisen world-wide to tackle the many issues that all these movements encompass, I don’t believe that this alone will adequately address our challenges.

The role and responsibility of business is for the most part sadly minimized and its potential unconsidered.

In the last pages of the book, Hawken writes:

“The only spiritually responsible way I know to be a citizen, artist, or activist in these strange times is by giving little or no thought to ‘great things’ such as saving the planet, achieving world peace, or stopping neocon greed. Great things tend to be undoable things.”

While I understand the sentiment, I disagree wholeheartedly. To face the challenges that confront us today, we need a symphony of commitment and possibility. From those of us that are only willing to make small adjustments to our lifestyle to those of us willing to ensure that the world’s largest corporations become a source of hope and positive impact, only by believing that we can, as Hawken says, re-make the world into a better place, will that possibility come into existence.

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The Real Wealth of Nations – A Great Book!

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Great books are few and far between, but go out and get this one. A review from the Baltimore Chronicle gives a better overview than I can!

Do you ever open your eyes in the morning and think, Oh, wow, why bother...? If so, you’ll be glad to hear that macrohistorian and cultural transformation theorist Riane Eisler has just delivered another massive and exhilarating dose of hope for the sane and weary, with the publication of her latest book, The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics.

In The Chalice and the BladeThe Chalice and the Blade, her 1987 introduction to “partnership” as the leitmotif of sane social engineering, Eisler persuasively argued that nonviolent, egalitarian, culturally advanced and prosperous societies have existed in the past and could certainly be made (by us) to exist again.

Now comes The Real Wealth of Nations, tackling the ominous gaps in our mental map of what economic theory is all about. An economy is more than the market, the government, and the military, says Eisler, eventually citing chapter and verse from a long list of other scholars to create a very persuasive case. A complete picture of a national and global economy must include the whole range of vital caring and caregiving activities—mostly undervalued, undercounted, and either severely underpaid or totally unpaid; and mostly performed (surprise!) by women—that take place in the community and in the home.

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