NAOMI KLEIN – capitalism

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photo by PIXABAY

NAOMI KLEIN, “NO IS NOT ENOUGH” “With unleashed white supremacy and misogyny, with the world teetering on the edge of ecological collapse, with the very last vestiges of the public sphere set to be devoured by capital, it’s clear that we need to do more than draw a line in the sand and say ‘no more.’ Yes, we need to do that and we need to chart a credible and inspiring path to a different future. And that future . . . has to be somewhere we have never been before.”

We know, we all know that the violence, hatred, greed and intolerance in today’s world cannot be sustained.  Most of us also know that the destruction of the earth’s resources for financial gain cannot be sustained.  We must transcend to a place where polar bears and rain forests are more esteemed than stock portfolios and asset holdings.  The consequences of ignoring the pleas of nature will be dire.  Do you hear Mother Earth screaming?  No, she’s not calling to us for assistance; rather, the scream is at us for being so stupid and self-indulged.  She knows the earth will recover and flourish – we, homo-sapiens, will not.

Mike Pompeo, our Secretary of State, referred to the melting polar ice cap as ” a wonderful economic opportunity for international trade…..West to Asia shipping routes across the ice free Artic would cut shipping times by 2 to 3 weeks.”  Perhaps Mike would be ecstatic with the prospect of Atlanta, Georgia, becoming a major Atlantic seaport after the waters have risen to cover the entire eastern seaboard.  Charleston and Savannah will have gone the route of ancient fabled Atlantis.  That’s right, Mike.  Who needs polar bears?

Naomi Klein, in her book, is speaking to unfettered capitalism, the kind that doesn’t value polar bears and rainforests.  But, run-away capitalism relies on all of us playing the game of consumerism.  It’s a relatively new game plan that did not exist generations ago when the wood cook stove was an heirloom handed from generation to generation or the wooden furniture was truly made of wood and lasted for centuries.  My grandmother’s first encounter with “throw-away” was a roll of paper towels.  She washed out the sheets and hung them behind the stove to dry.  😍

We can beat the capitalists at their own game.  Don’t buy their products and the money flow reverses.  When the bottom line for stockholders declines, management and ownership will need to change the game.  It’s not at all complicated.  My grandparents mastered consumerism out of necessity.  The family car was not replaced until the wheels no longer turned.  The old Frigidaire refrigerator in the kitchen was not replaced just because it did not have the latest gadgets and dials.  It served faithfully for 30 years with a freezer that served up hundreds of gallons of home made ice cream.  Designer clothes for school were not purchased every year because we all wore clothes without fancy name tags until they had no wear left in them.  Our shirts were JC Penney hand-me-downs.  We learned how to conserve natural resources because we had a deep reverence for the earth.  Too simplistic, you say?  Just learn to say no to the incessant flow of advertising on your media screens and half the battle is won.

Of course the consequences of allowing the corporate world to rape the earth are huge.  But, so are we.  Collectively, we have a voice bigger than anything that comes off Madison Avenue or Wall Street.  Each one of us can decide today to put off that new phone or flat screen.  We can choose to have a vegetarian dinner tonight instead of beef raised on land that once was a rain forest.  We can wear that same old pair of sneakers for another year.  Grandma and Grandpa will be proud of us.  The polar bears will love us.

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“This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth.  All things are connected like the blood that unites us all.  Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand of it.  Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”  TREATY ORATION 1854 CHIEF SEATTLE

 

 

HERE COMES THE SUN – rise up joyously


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SEBASTIAN VOORTMAN photographer

If I were a miracle worker, every child on earth would have a breakfast waiting for them on the kitchen table, every mother would have the resources to feed her family with nutritious foods, every father would have a job that provides for a comfortable home, every morning would fill the house with cheer, sunshine and laughter.

But, I am just me.  So, I guess the little things I can do to make this world a better place will have to suffice.  Feed myself in a way that leaves food on the table for the next person, live my life without excess comfort, bring whatever cheer I can to those less fortunate.  Love the Muslim brother and sister down the street the same as I love me.

HAPPY RAMADAN, MAY WE SHARE TODAY’S SUNSHINE EQUALLY AND JOYOUSLY.

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SIMPLICITY

Just another traveler on life’s highway hanging out in the slow lane.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful.  Beyond the horizon is rest beckoning me.  Green pastures, still waters, my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy will follow me.

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Book, Candle, Desk, Chair, Pen & Sleeping Mat.

This is what it has come to, my friends.  As I look around at the accumulation of stuff which has followed me around for 53 years since the day I rented my 1st living space, I sigh and mutter to myself, “Is this all there is?”

No, I’m not having a Peggy Lee moment.  I am simply tired of the baggage in my life.  Looking at the cupboard which I lovingly restored in 1972, the wash stand stripped of paint and returned to its original beauty, the rocking chair which rocked my great-grandfather as he listened to his floor model Motorola radio, and the old dishes in the cupboard which also set in my Grandma’s “shunk”, I realize that as I carted them from numerous abodes in Pennsylvania to Florida in 1995, the memories traveled with them.  And those memories will always be with me until the memory banks fail or die.

But the stuff, oh Lord, the stuff that keeps me from living in a cave or in a monastery, or in the woods in a tent, or in a room up in somebody’s garret.  Just a book, a candle, a desk, a chair, pen and sleeping mat today screams to me, “Freedom!”

Some of my recovering friends would say that I need a thorough housecleaning, an internal inventory to alleviate my travail.  But, although they are often right, this is not the case today.  I simply need simplicity.  I am tired and I am ready to embark on a different and exciting journey, a new QUEST.

You may challenge me with, “From what are you running, Larry?”

Truly, I have run from many things in my life, mostly myself.  But, I know what ‘running from’ is like.  This is different.  This is running towards the place where I hope to spend the last few years of my life – a simple, uncluttered life.  If I sincerely trust that a higher power will provide for my needs, then what I desire should not be impossible.  If I really believe that all my material needs can be packed in a suitcase and a backpack, then what is holding me back?

Commitments.  Yes, sadly I still have commitments to other people.  Those who have stood by me for many years now rely on me for comfort and security.  The shared responsibilities of a shared life with another person cannot be abandoned even when increasingly difficult.  Even Max, the cat, depends on me for his survival.  And who would clean this house and cook the dinners and make sure the bills get paid on time?  Who?  Tell me, who?

Ahhh, it’s a pipe dream, is it not?  Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.  Someday I will be free.  Until then I have my stuff and my responsibilities and Max.

live simply

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Our world today seems overwhelmingly complicated for most of us, especially when we are trying to balance sobriety and its demand for spiritual growth with our social needs in an ego-driven society.  At some point all of us have experienced ‘burn-out’ with our lives.  It happened to me many years ago when my burnout coincided with chairing an AA meeting.  I suggested that very issue as the meeting’s topic of discussion.  Not many in the group participated and I soon realized it was a negativity which was not good fodder for a spiritual conversation.

Living simply, of course, applies to our physical presence on this earth in many ways.  Our consumer habits, our use of natural resources, our food preferences all contribute to the footprint we leave behind as humans.  We are urged by ad councils and corporate America to buy, buy, buy.  Buy this item and you will be beautiful.  Buy our brand and you will be keeping up with the Joneses.  Buy a shiny, new automobile and, baby, you have arrived.

“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”  A PROVEN PLAN FOR FINANCIAL FITNESS by Dave Ramsey

As important as these issues are, it is the inner application of “live simply, so that others may simply live” that is extremely challenging.  How do I bring my mind to a place which embraces all humanity as a brotherhood?  How do I simplify and refine my ethics code to a common denominator of tolerance and inclusion?  My inner simplicity determines my outward display of compassion and acceptance.  When my mind analyzes and rationalizes it is not maintaining a core of simplicity.  I am my best self when I become one with you and with all humanity, when I am in solidarity with brothers and sisters worldwide.

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POVERTY

50% of our world’s population lives on less than $2.50 per day.

80% of the world survives on less than $10 per day.

1 billion of the world’s children live in poverty.

The average American earns $24.57 per hour.

16 million American children live below the poverty level.

1 in 7 Americans struggle with hunger.

The United States holds 41.6% of the world’s personal wealth.

 

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