Saturday, June 13, 2009

Feedbacks and Interactions between Global Change...

Feedbacks and Interactions between Global Change, Atmospheric Chemistry, and the Biosphere.

A very thought provoking review paper from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (Otto Hahn Institute) Biogeochemistry Department, Germany. The research in by Professor Andreae's et al and is closely tied to the International Biosphere/Geosphere Program, and involves a high amount of international collaboration.

And check out the amazingly detailed diagram: CONCEPTUAL MODEL of Earth System process operating on timescales of decades to centuries. You may discover a lot of existing and potential feedbacks. (negative or positive...)

Here is a simplified, nicely colored overview of that diagram via NASA (1988)

Earth Systems Science: an Overview

Saturday, June 6, 2009

CarbonTwollar redirect to ecoTwollar

The CarbonTwollar experiment has spun a new incarnation.

It has been reshaped as ecoTwollar to reflect better its capacity. It can now accommodate various eco-streams, depending on what resource your eco-Act you think saves -- [carbon,kwh,water,etc,...]

It is NOT and offset, you don't need to estimate the exact amount saved in any of those. The idea is that you let you peer estimate the innovation content instead, and award #ecoTwollars accordingly.

And it works like this:

First, You do something innovative and simple, like you used a solar charger to your batteries, instead of plugging the charger into the mains. You take a picture of the charged betteries before and after and put it online with a link.

Next, you tweet about it @ecoTwollar or anyone else on your network who cares to follow you being so entirely brave. Give it a descriptive #hash in the end, such as in our example would be #solarCharge. One of us will look at the picture and decide it is clever enough. If it is, you will be given #ecoTwollar and asked to delete your Tweet. The information content of it is important, so put it up again with a #ecoSold hash. This way others will learn from your idea, but you will need to do another eco-Act to get paid in #ecoTwollar again. And so on.

If your act does not merit the pay in #ecoTwollar, don't dispair. One of two things will happen. You will get a friendly suggestion from me or someone else how to improve it next time. And so you decide to improve and get #ecoTwollar then. But you might get lucky in the future, if you keep the tweet up as it is, and someone may decide at a later date to give you #ecoTwollars. It is less likely though, since the strength of Twitter is real time reaction.

Oh...and one last thing: Please encourage others to do the same, and if you like what they do, give ecoTwollar, if not give a friendly advice.
That's all really...

Your starting account is 100 ecoTwollars:
The ecoTwollar tweet home:

Have fun ecoTollaring away.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Twollars Friends page growing

It is so good to see that the list is growing:

Friday, May 22, 2009

First wonderfully short mail post to bloGR

In many ways I am a slow adopter.
As this belated email post to blogger illustrates to point amply.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

CarbonTwollar on Twitter...

CarbonTwollar Experiment launches on Twitter. And a Friends to Twollars post

@CarbonTwollar Experiment has been nested at Twitter:

And sent the nice folks over at Twitter folks a Friends-to-Twollars post. I hope they might consider it and see CarbonTwollars as perhaps a worthy category to spread the climate energy gospel:

PS. Would like to give Twollars to Carbon-manna to help spread their act faster on Twitter. (Currently they are not Tweeting...and I think there is great potential in promoting there...)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Peer-to-peer Environmental Energy Exchange

Recently I helped prepare a policy research application for project funding much inspired by the kindhearted and generous inputs to this discussion we have had with community activists, advocates and platform developers:

It is based on the idea that environmental ingenuity might need to enlist grassroots energies and resourcefulness in a more organic way. Our insight was that one way of attempting that is by applying and adjusting available systems developed for a peer-to-peer reward/ act/ evaluation/ information model.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

More on Group Accountability

Touched on collective accountability on a blog previous. While on the subject...

Interesting, somewhat studious and didactic but overall thorough white paper I found on Public Accountability becoming both practicable and conscionable in democratic Taiwan --- published to Australian Journal of Public Administration as special edition:

"Accountability is answerability for conduct and responsibility" Source also cites Rethinking Democratic Accountability, Behn (2001:3)

"it is much easier to design and implement systems to track financial or legal accountability...the most difficult area for designing and implementing an accountability mechanism is that of [...] performance-based accountability. However, the truth is that this is at least as important to taxpayers, if not more so. Performance means many things to different stakeholders, ranging from public service quality, efficiency, public service satisfaction, policy outputs, policy outcomes, the perception of fairness, or even the extent of public participation."

Yet partial control and a network of complexity of delivery, outsourcing to private sector and losing a more complete and necessary oversight, or changing perspectives of performance could be an entirely legitimate problem of implementing ways to effectively measure it. And a solution is not always in overcoming a problem entirely, but use the remainder as an opportunity to handle the next. Public implementation is a process, not a race with pit-stops to get squirted with champagne. On reading the piece one cannot help but think the old adage that "polity is the art of the possible" because it seems to relate well to public group accountability too.

Also, there is a continuation of responsibility involved beyond the immediate here-and-now that commercial and market interest is usually for. Hence commercial type performance can be more readily applied to legal issues (insurance, risk minimization) and economic (budgeting, cash flow, accounting) than to social policy performance (success with the process of a publicly mediated environmental macro-infrastructure.)

Considering performance based accountability, in general, also raises the spectre of Quality Assurance in the Public Sector as well as it has been already applied in the Private. And there ARE standards of accountability. I would think that precisely in the social accountability field they are well captured in the ramifications of a continuous development program than in a fixed definition of a methodology of how to get results.

I find this set of standards a quite a a thorough one:

More on Crowdsourcing of Infrastructure

With many chances for effective debt control dwindling and with rising deficits into the foreseeable future, energy infrastructure investments to be more affordable is not going to go away in a hurry. So I have kept thinking about ways of crowd-sourcing the costly part physical infrastructure. A good solution has been devised by David Palella, who takes kindly to our endeavors. But he planned for developing countries and the large costs saved saved are for licensing a preexisting network.

True, crowd-sourcing of large infrastructure would be very desirable on the count of effective public debt control. If only a handful of well-defined sponsors could "own" the project and only through group mediation.

But important issues need to be tackled, issued that are generally successfully solved on a more micro level. Pretty important among them are:

  • co-leadership of management
  • group accountability
Some say this is typically only works when one person (corporate or natural) is at the helm. (And I agree with it with important qualifications, commented on that article.)
But this typically ALSO works well in a well-bonded smaller group, such as balanced familial duties, minority business, sports team, rapid-growth partnerships. On closer examination, what is characteristic in these are:
  • "clicking"and/or forging together, and
  • long period of low risk slow bonding
In fact, some close business partners were also able to become pretty big successes that of course germinated over a long bonding period --- in the case of Walt and Roy, Gates and Allen, and Brin and Page. (Still, the two of them acted like one executive unit, which would be somewhat difficult in a crowd-sourced setting.)

It is also important to note that some leadership information will always remain confidential and vested in a smaller group, especially that of vested in a more macro-scale infrastructure.

Also, group accountability has generally been applied in the form of retribution, not reward. One might think of the ruthlessness of collective punishment, which is usually associated with the practice of victim-blaming. This is either a militant, hostile or "re-educational" concept, and also have been successfully applied by colonists mostly against convicts or the natives. But that is not exactly what most of us would normally have in mind as a good example to follow.

Not to mention the housing privacy issues, and who guarantees it planned and maintained. That always wrought with dangers to corrupt to process, and if not, still throws a major spanner in the works.

That said, I still find projects that have goals focused on inevitability and a bit away from the immediate here-and-now still merit such thinking.

See for more: The Masarang Foundation

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Consumption and Growth; OR Wise and Humble

Consumption isn't what it's cranked up to be.
An excellent article by John Coulter a Beijing-based independent Australian researcher collaborating with Tsinghua University and China Agricultural Unversity.

"If the economy is now a mindset of financial solutions, hope is in vain. The word we should be grasping for is humility.

At the Boao Forum, the President of Mongolia was one speaker who struck on this theme. What conventional economists call consumption and growth needs to be appreciated as wise, economical, and yes, humble."

How true...

"A 1997 article in Nature estimated the value of the annual services of Natural Capital (the services Earth provides free to the Real Economy) is about double the global GDP.

No way can we ever dream of paying back, we are just depleting it. There is no way the air and ocean can purify the CO2 that comes from 18 billion tons of fossil fuel burned just in 2008.

It is like 10 people living and smoking in an elevator for a week. You want to try throughputting all that?"

How sad...

On Sustainable Policy Technique

Have found interesting suggestion for sustainable policy technique at the Union of International Associations (UIA). Their thesis though a little too roughly:
Toward transformational and cyclic policy making responsive to change and flux:
There need to be a somewhat external view to western dialectics (summed up logically by Aristotle: A=A, A'=not-A; and by Hegel: A > -A > A') to the tetra-lemmic Discourse on the All-Embracing Circular Net of Views (mentioned extensively in Brahmajala Sutta and I-Ching, the Book of Change/Season/Year (A, not-A, A and not-A, neither A nor not-A.)
On closer examination, dialectics captured identity in difference in the A and not-A synthesis, but another and broader technique may incorporate that without undue fallacy in the said tetra-lemmic cycle and that could enrich adaptive policy in general.
Interesting thought, certainly and perhaps not just another source of mental burden on decent folks...The point is expounded to direct linkages with sustainable policy techniques, which certainly worth a look.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Crowd-sourcing physical Green Infrastructure pipes

Following on my previous post regarding opportunity savings in scientific research - the high cost of a next best options vs the very low cost of the one adopted - I kept thinking about economic accountability in large environmentally sound infrastructure projects. And it looks like, there is something there for crowd-sourcing.

I found the following article that made me think.

"Economic modeling typically includes only that for which we have evidently paid, with large assumptions concerning opportunity costs; or what we gave up in order to get it. Such an approach is not ideal for capturing actions we wouldn’t pay for...Nor is it suitable for capturing our future ambitions and directions, which are based on
ideals and values rather than our present constrained choices. Unpaid activity and future directions are exogenous to economics, but fundamental to society."
Social Policy Research Centre, discussion paper No. 134. University of New South Wales. 2004

From this excerpt and also from the article it contains, it appears that, at least in this respect, some Chinese science officials may suffer from a very established economic habit: - not accounting for the value of that which is free or low cost even though it is of high value (such as open source or volunteering) compared to that which is foregone to get it. This problem may be at the heart of the problem of founding large infrastructure with much less debt and tax.

Crowd-sourcing environmentally sound infrastructure:

Let's take the example of distributed and more or less crowd-sourced supply:
On the face of it, it is a great idea.

Feedback Electricity: Domestic, and commercial windows and solar cells creating a portion of electricity, and supplying any surplus for money back into the main grid.

Feedback Water: Domestic, and commercial water tanks, condensation cells etc creating the portion of water supply, and supplying any surplus for money back into the main grid.

I am not an economist, so this is just thinking aloud:

Distributed low cost is not accounted for in economic analysis when, what is low cost is being considered of low market value. In other words opportunity costs (or savings) are not considered factors.

What is the problem here logistically? Here I am a bit more knowledgeable.

Water and electricity are part of the flow stream. That stream can be distributed. But there is a much larger cost of supplying the pipeline and the reservoir. To avoid central bank debt or tax hikes --- could that also be crowd sourced?

Crowd-sourcing the Pipeline

How to get those large funds from micro-pools of money that we expect to self-administer and self-organise? Granted, I can only attempt to answer this using very basic arithmetic: division.

If a crowd based shareholding of a pipeline is underwritten by the central bank it will put the government in more debt that will in due course increase taxes; this ultimately coming back to bite taxpayers to fund the servicing and administration of the debt facility extended to the government by the central bank.

The alternative is in crowd-sourcing --- in part by pooling small credit from a small army of the multi-skilled worker recruited for the project. One model is the cellphone based Carbon-Manna model by David Palella. He proposes recruiting a smaller consortium by commercial sponsors in developed countries to kick-start the process and provide the handsets and network.

For a physical pipeline skilled and even multiskilled (clearing, digging, concreting, plumbing, electrical work, ect) workers need to volunteer.

But how could a supplier consortium of a major pipeline actually sponsor multi-skilled volunteer acts without putting those who provide that act an mass in debt just to foot the bill of coordinating the project and organizing the sponsorship?

These are tough questions.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sea-faring Micro-bots. Again.

Some time ago I wrote about the possibility of micro-bots playing a big role in drastically mitigating climate change (what we call here "Changing Climate Back".)

Now there is news that Sea-faring bots are not only out there, they may have been overlooked. The context is different, but the message is the same. Check it out:

"Launched at the start of the millennium, ARGO (Array for Real-time Geostrophic Oceanography) is an ongoing and developing program aimed at keeping a regular check on the temperature and salinity of the Seven Seas with satellite-tracked, automated floats.

The robots, which have a lifespan of four years and dive to 2,000 m for 10 days to take crucial measurements, help scientists to better predict changes or trends in the ocean's climate, explained Xu Jianping, a researcher at the second institute of oceanography under the State Oceanic Administration and chief scientist for the China ARGO program."

It is important to note that the ARGO program is ubiquitous, transparent, highly popular overseas. YET, in China it may be royally overlooked. Why? Because it is too low cost or even free...

"But while experts in Great Britain, Australia, Japan and the United States have embraced the "revolutionary" research, Xu warned his nation is lagging far behind.

"In most participating countries, scientists from various fields have shown great interest in the ARGO program, with climatologists the most enthusiastic," he explained. "But in China, ARGO is still little known among scientists, except oceanographers.

"Everyone has access to the same data. Even a high school student who wants to be an oceanographer or climatologist can access it on his desktop. He or she could also catch up with the international research and climate change studies using the ARGO data. It would be a great pity if China's scientists miss such a good opportunity."

He said researchers in China were failing to exploit the valuable data from more than 3,000 floats across the globe not because of a "lack of interest", but because of restrictions over project funding or background expertise.

The country's climatologists had got too used to expensive information access systems and had no idea the ARGO research could be obtained for free, he said. "Few have shown an interest in the data because they are not used to things being free of charge"."

This is an interesting question. Big funding need usually signifies the value of the research. And, between the lines it says, that research institutions are not interested in saving government money if they can spend it.

In fact, the situation may uncover some important problems:

1. HOW TO VALUE THE SOCIAL CAPITAL? This would be the benefit to societies wealth and welfare - present and future - of a program or research, if the costs of carrying it out can be kept very low. The market value would seem to dictate a fractionally low amount, clearly not the real value of such a research.

2. HOW TO FUND SUCH A LOW COST PROJECT? It would still require a multitude of highly priced brains and people-years.

3. HOW TO PASS ON THE BENEFITS? Regardless how we may calculate it, and what is the exact amount, there are clear and massive cost savings to made here. A research team may only be incentives to go low cost in a market value environment IF THEY GET BONUSES IN LINE WITH THE MASSIVE SAVINGS they make. But some of the monetary savings may also need to be passed on to Society,--- perhaps in a form of less related taxes.

So here is a thought: If big research is funded by taxpayers' money, wouldn't it make sense to pass on the savings back to the taxpayer at the end of the financial year when big savings WERE made that did not deter from value adding, but added even bigger value to society? ...Perhaps splitting the benefits as a percentage bonus to researchers and tax cut to the tax payer...

Question is: savings compared to what?

If each year, a certain percentage of the GDP - but not below a certain absolute minimum amount - would be designated to research, and scientists would propose cheaper ways of carrying it out while adding MORE value to society, this could work quite nicely.

Each project could have a long 3-year account and a short half-year account. Savings would be calculated every six month, and realized savings passed on IMMEDIATELY to tax payer and scientists, who could then use it to pay it as bonus or re-invest for more future social capital savings.

You may say this is a little presumptuous when financial years are whole length periods and calculating mid-way makes little sense. However, I suggest that with the climate change crisis unfolding and requiring more emergency response type techniques, such an accounting will be a matter of when not if.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

AVETech Update - Interview with Louis Michaud

We have been conducting an interview with Mr Louis Michaud P. Eng. inventor of a transformational climate change tool the Atmospheric Vortex Engine and chairman of Avetech we featured before. And so I think it is important that we begin to make some important distinctions and clarifications. Here is the precis with a flashback link:

"The troposphere is already warming. So it must be absolutely ensured that radiating heat whizzes past the troposphere and into the stratosphere (currently cooling and also unexpectedly retaining water vapor) where it then can safely expelled from."

I strive to be technically rigorous with my proposal. Ecologists without technical understanding can make statements that can not be supported and can hurt credibility. The heat does not have to whizz past the troposphere; the heat only has to be carried high enough to get above the elevation where high concentrations of water vapor and CO2 interfere with infrared radiation to space. Putting large quantities of water in the stratosphere might not be a good idea; the water might stay in the stratosphere a long time and interfere with infrared radiation to space. For this reason, the AVE should be controlled so that the vortex extends no higher than natural convection. Penetration in the stratosphere could easily be avoided by limiting the heat content of the rising air.

We thank for this exclusive clarification to Mr Louis Michaud, P. Eng. and look forward to further discussion on this fascinating theme (particularly on how one might expel heat back into space if it is kept below the stratosphere as is currently being the case) and us being able to report on more growing success of his exciting initiative.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Masarang Foundation

This is the first featured weather making project: The Masarang Non-profit Foundation Chaired by Forestry Engineer and Nature Conservationist Willie Smits. He is working on an amazing blueprint for gentle deep ecology in the tropics.

What is important that it adheres to the People+Profit+Planet principle and it has worked out a detailed blueprint to restore over-logged and decaying tropical rain-forests. It recruits local people with important agricultural and forestry knowledge and builds a project that provides long term income for them, restores the rainforest in the matter of years, and changes back the weather in the area.

Create a Rainforest in Samboja Lestari ("eternal Samboja").

So there is no question, that this is our first true Change Climate Back Project to feature.

Other candidate to watch is the Atmospheric Vortex Engine.
However, I am yet to see how it will involve local people, and how it will be applied organically.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Carbon Credit flaws --- On-line discussion continued

There is a specialist discussion is going on on at meta-currencies - the meta network on community resource and currencies - with currency and sustainability experts, about reconsidering Carbon Credit. Is it irredeemably flawed? Can it be engineered from the bottom up, or that would result in something else altogether?
Be a part of this interesting discussion.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More Musing on Measuring Environmental Wealth in Complementary Currencies

This silly question has been nagging me: - If we need more and more value, and growth in activities reducing pollution, but also measured in some kind of currency2.0 today, then how that currency might relate to inflation? Because, obviously, it needs to be inflated a lot and fast - pollution cleaning can't wait.

Now, conventional money - the paper money - becomes worthless when inflated too fast. When there is way too much of it, the incentive is lost to back it up with increase in real products or services and they become next to worthless.

So to make a value system work for the environment and to acknowledge rapid improvement in that area, it may not be based on what can potentially be worthless - wealth that is only valuable if scarce. It should be based on what is also valuable when in abundance.

Whether or not it is to be based on what should be freely available, like clean air, or something that needs to be paid for to remove - like CO2 in the air, that's another question.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Currency, Competition and Inflation.
Thoughts on Flaws of Carbon Credit continued

Ok, I hear you. You say currency is about competition too, not just what is scarce today. It is who can own more of that scarce stuff.

So here is another thought. And don't hold against me that I'm an engineer who only accomplished cursory reading of a couple of books on finance and the market. For a while Samuelson's hefty tome of Economics was traveling with me even on summer holidays. That's how highly esteemed those thoughts were.

What follows, however, are the words of one who also tries to follow things with open eyes and verify things empirically.

Because you will be hard pressed to find stuff more empirical these days, than over-polluted air and over-consumed earth. You can almost touch those stuff.

So if currency is about competition too, than we would all want to see folks competing in who can MAKE MORE clean air, clean water, etc. Now, one can do that by bidding to save them for tomorrow, not overuse them and if possible clean them.

And at heart of it, clearly, that is the positive idea behind the carbon credit system. More recently, that's the idea behind 'cap and auction', instead of 'cap and trade'.

But to trade or bid for who can pollute air and who can't - like it is inevitably done with the currency called carbon credit - makes no difference in one important aspect. It already makes fresh air for people scarce here, and in abundance there. And you can bet that this makes a lot of folks happy and comfortable here, and a lot of folks very uncomfortable there. All in the while the ecosystem ties their interest strongly together.

They should out-compete each other to make more fresh air overall. We should have an unprecedented and exponential growth in goodeys. Surely, nature is not a zero sum game that should or can be controlled with artificial and forced scarcity. Nature is an open sum game not amenable to our will: it controls us.


Let's look at it this way: - What kind of currency is that we should be interested in inflating to the max? Money has a high price when it is scarce. And inflated money becomes worthless when available in abundance for everyone. It is called super or hyper inflation and it is the stuff of nightmares.

When your entire salary can worth just an egg in a matter of hours, no one cares about money anymore. Everyone barters. Stuff that is scarce for someone exchanges hands for stuff that is scarce for someone else. People throw away money - it's free then. And it also is worthless.

Yet it is exactly valuing more fresh air AS WELL AS the hyper inflation of fresh air that we are interested in right now. We are interested in not making fresh air worthless, we want that to be available to everyone and in abundance.

And so the exchanges of wealth - the free currency market - to make the value system work towards that goal should not aimed at what is worthless, it should be aimed at what is free.

Liberty, Egality, Fraternity? Read it this way:
Free will, free market and free air.

Money or Goodey?

Here I follow on with a thought from a previous post titled "Scarce Money or Scarce Resources?", or why I think that carbon credit is deeply flawed.

The notion of money is strongly tied to the notion of currency. We value what is scarce, and we value today what is scarce today. We value what is hip, what is cool, what is funny -- pretty much what makes us healthy and happy.

So if real, natural, and free market is based on scarce resources (as we discussed this previously) and what really matters to us right now, then currency should be tied to good air, good water, good forest, good reef - stuff that is scarce, not stuff that is in abundance.

In short, currency shouldn't be money, it should be all the natural goodies of earth that are currently at risk to be in very short supply. Then, may be not 'open money' is the best way to call it. Open goodie perhaps? You decide.

But if it to become a household name frequent use will erode it into one shortened label to be sure. In fact, you could in your mind shorten open money in just one word right now. Imagine making this a household name: goodey to give us some reminder of what it meant to replace.

Do you think it could work?

Scarce Money and Scarce Resources
Why I think carbon credit is deeply flawed

A new wind is blowing. Yes, there is a new idea in the wings. And when you think about the story that pushes it forward, it all makes sense.

There is a specialist discussion is going on on with currency and sustainability experts, specifically about reconsidering Carbon Credit. Be a part of it.

For eons, folks thought that resources were in abundance. The idea that stuff like good air and fresh water and good river for fish and irrigation are scarce and we can still live in comfort would have been unthinkable. That general sense of fairness went to the heart of markets that sprung up everywhere.

Now let's have a second look. The lifeblood of those markets (currency) was based on scarcity: - So among folks and even nations who possessed a lot of them - goats, grains or gold - were considered wealthy. (And precious metal like gold was clearly a scarce resource.)

Again, the notion of basing the exchange of wealth (market) on scarcity of good air would have been unthinkable when it was in unlimited supply. Partly because no one would have felt comfortable if fresh air was limited and partly because everyone was striving to have good air and water in abundance. If anything, there was always another land, another forest, another river to go to. Or another nation to plunder for it.

But over time, natural scarcity as the basis of exchange of wealth gave way to something else. Exchange of gold became exchange of paper - printed money, and IOY slips and slips of future promises by wealthy folks. But there is a twist. Because folks only value exchange if what they get is scarce for them. So money became a commodity in itself, and folks only valued it if it was scarce.

Today, what really is scarce is the good tree that money can be printed on.

Today what really is scarce is good air and good water. That scarcity is now the fact of the day. And because without those natural resources no one feels comfortable in a really free market any real and natural exchange system of wealth should be based on those resources.

It follows that to base our new money on carbon is the silliest notion possible. Carbon is in utmost abundance on earth. We ourselves are made of it. Carbon credit and carbon money will only replicate the same problem we now have with printed money. Understand, that in order for the issuer to make that kind of money valuable, they need to put a price on them and have the power to make it scarce. In other words carbon credit markets may only operate if artificial scarcity can be imposed upon them.

And artificial scarcity implies the power of controlled reduction.

Well, it is not carbon that is scarce - it is good water, good air, good forest, good reef that is scarce. Stuff that is not yet polluted that is what is scarce. And a natural, fair and free exchange system should probably be based on what is naturally scarce. Indeed, that implies no more artificial scarcity in the wealth exchange systems either. At least not until we clean up our stuff and feel comfortable again about the natural resources that makes us all healthy.

But that time is well in the future. Some say the horizon is a thousand years or more. This I cannot tell, and my guess is - no one can. What I can tell though is that there is a new exchange system in the wing.

It is called open wealth acknowledgment, and the best example I can find so far is open money. Folks, we should adopt this between communities around the globe, the more and the freer the merrier. And what it might need to be based on for the environment are fresh water, unpolluted air, healthy reefs, good rain-forest, sustainable plantation forest and the like.

An open exchange market based on the amount of time spent, but also moderated by the measure of good you did to the environment by it. The value would be a relative measure compared to a similar action e.g.: saving water in your home in Melbourne.

Stuff that we need, not stuff that we are made of. Like carbon. The very notion of carbon credit closes the door on you. It says you live on borrowed time.

Well I don't know about you. If that's the story of money, I need a little more positive message.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Eco-Republican

An eco-Republican is about economy AND ecology, and about security AND citizenship.

Or more simply it defines someone who Cares about what is healthy in nature but also about
Protection against trespassing. That's just how I think it can be defined, you may have your way. Note that what is healthy in nature is a consensus product and a moving point in focus and intensity. All in a field that is defined by those four poles: economy, ecology, security and citizenship.

When you look around, public servants frame their important messages so they can be moved around by how you interpret them in a smaller patch in that field. Note that that patch itself also moves around quite a bit for conservatives, moderates and liberals alike.

But to find the public servants who may qualify as eco-Republicans we need to know where to look for them. I would most probably position them somewhere between the Nationals, Greens and Liberals/Republicans in Australia. In the US they are probably the shifting shades of moderate Reps and centrist Dems. And in the UK they might have been the promise of what was called once the 'New Labour'.

At any rate, I believe what is good citizenship in democracy used to be quite well represented by Roosevelt's Republicans in the US and Menzies Liberals in Australia. These movements established a proud and pragmatic heritage. But until very recently, the citizenship pole in the field experienced a more or less steady decline in focus, intensity and gravity. The economy and security poles experienced a strong pull and the ecology pole was simply ignored.

However, more recently, a worldwide green movement with the added power of public concern about Global Warming and Irreversible Climate Change moves the above mentioned streams of conscious sense of purpose toward the political center where there is now heightened emphasis on citizen participation. In other words, the pull was ecology, but the field now once again extends toward another pull: citizenship.

However, there is only so much interest in the public field and some other poles pull got to give. The problem is, neither economy, nor security can be ignored or diminished in importance. No administration in their right mind would do that. They can only juggle between them. Some public servants, who realize just that pay lip service to citizenship, some others - to ecology.

They are pressured by public opinion to polarise their actions to reflect the integrity folks obviously expect of them. We need predictability in a politician to trust them.

The free will of the public has always demanded pragmatism. It is only when that will is distorted or suppressed that a few can feed them ideology. But ideology is nothing without a propaganda. One needs catechism and demagoguery to make it work. It needs to dumb down public mind and free will - hence dumb down natural public pragmatism and citizenship.

Today that pragmatism again dominates the policy agenda, but with two very important modern distinctions. First a hard-wired international monetary instinct makes economy trump ecology -- scarce money is overemphasized and not just for those who need to manage people as well as resources well. And second, defense security trumps climate security due to another hard-wired and legitimate survival instinct that naturally goes stronger in this time of perceived crisis.

On the first count, international monetary instruments experience a clear crisis in solving problems in a dominant way, let alone by themselves. On the second count, emergency and the associated desperate fire fighting effort that are due to climate change disasters and refugees are on rapid and possibly exponential increase compared to traditional defense security planning. And they both draw heavily on the military budget, which in turn can be a huge burden on the economy --- and presently is.

What is missing is the mutual understanding and policy interest to support that voters and representatives are part the Ecology first, before they are part of a (hopefully Peace and not War) Economy and only then part of a regions Security. I think an eco-Rep must have these priorities sorted out.

So how about Australia, our Nature's Republic? --- that would nicely wrap it in one neat package. The political will is shaping, or is it just a thought...?