Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Friday, June 21, 2013
Friday, March 8, 2013
As a former college professor, I have told my students that I believe they have no moral obligation to repay student loans. Several intelligent nations provide free university education so their youth will be better citizens.
The corporations which they would repay have stolen their futures, by destroying America's industrial and financial base, while MediCare and Social Security are drained.
It is the obligation of elders to communicate essential knowledge to new generations painlessly, so that society may progress.
Therefore, rather than worry about loan repayments, graduates have a greater moral obligation to do with their lives what is best for themselves, their families, communities, the nation and the planet.
Ordinarily we are obliged to honor contracts. This contract, however, chains graduates to decades of debt servitude which they must repay often by doing work they dislike and which damages their future.
When the alternative to signing such a malicious bond is having no college education, it is made under duress and should be broken. Both education and health care are rights to be enjoyed by all, not just the rich.
The game is rigged by bankers and Wall Street, who are screwing an entire generation. Their mismanagement of the economy has broken the implied contract between college diplomas and dignified jobs.
Again, the greater moral obligation of graduates is explore lives and work which repair communities and nature. Obligation to bankers is last on the list.
When parents cosign the contract the student is on the hook. Millions of such students and parents will need to create broader political challenges.
But when the student is the only signer they have complete discretion. Their penalty for defaulting loans is that they'll less easily be able to buy a home or car in their name. You can live in a home or drive a car anyway. Owning cars and homes has been overrated. They easily become anchors rather than wings.
Universities will be forced to accommodate new realities. Most curricula are less relevant to the urgencies of rebuilding civilization so we live well with less fossil fuel, reliant more upon neighborhoods than corporations. Those universities will fade whose teaching is designed for service to corporations, and whose giant bureaucracies and buildings demand higher tuition.
New universities and new curricula are emerging to serve needs for low-cost and enlightened knowledge. When you don't see education of a style and price you prefer, get together to create your own curricula and university and credential. By effective promotion, you'll overtake the Ivies.
I've taken such initiatives to create renegade grassroots money, health insurance, free clinics, planning departments, etc.
Am intending to start a school system in Philadelphia which credentials and rewards low-income neighbors for teaching skills to neighbor children, who are also rewarded and credentialed.
Glover is author of the book "How to Take Power" and the article "Time for Millennnials to Take Control."
Friday, February 8, 2013
Contemporary LEED standards are feel-good gestures, by the standards of the 22nd Century.
So I suggest the following standards that expand LEED:
Cities of the future will need buildings which eliminate rather than reduce reliance on fossil fuels and grids, while lowering living costs, promoting self-reliance and social justice. The closest examples in North America are Earthships, Living Machines, Ecolonies and Rocky Mountain Institute. Cities will evolve to meet such standards, or civilization will crumble.
DESIGN: Deeply earth-bermed passive solar orientation for heating and cooling without fossil fuels. Bermsgardened. Sun tubes and onsite PV for lighting. Rainwater collection in cisterns on roof and basement. Edible roof garden. Trombe walls, garden walls and aquaculture. Basement food storage. Maximum three bermed stories above ground. Upper floors wheelchair access via berm slopes. No elevator.
CONSTRUCTION: Disassembly and re-use of materials from existing structures. At least 80% recycled building materials (particularly from existing building on site) rather than virgin materials. Maximum employment of physical labor, maximum from within neighborhood. No extension of existing footprint.
SURROUNDS: Porous walkways only. No cement or asphalt paving. Edible landscaping. No lawn. No automobile or truck parking spaces. Lots smaller than 5 acres: at least 25% orchard. Six-ten acre lots: at least 50% orchard. Above ten acres: at least 75% orchard. Fruits for free harvest and/or local sale. Recycle leaves and drops.
ACCESS: Located within three blocks of train, trolley, pedicab, or bus route. Bicycle, pedestrian and wheelchair access. Solar hot water showers for these commuters.
INTERNAL TECHNOLOGIES: Solar, wind, biogas, hydro and/or pedal electric. No connection to electric utility other than for reverse metering. Greywater re-use. Waterless toilets and urinals only. No flush toilets: onsite processing and re-use.
NTERNAL PROCESSES: Recycling only. No trash collection. Biodegradable cleansers only. No bottled water. No paper towels or blow dry. Furniture, carpets, drapes and other accoutrements regionally-made of recycled materials.
CORPORATE FORM: Nonprofit land trust. Building reverts to neighborhood organization upon extended vacancy. Stocks not publicly traded, other than on green regional stock exchange. Equitable development principles.
PURPOSE: Strengthens neighborhood power and affordability. Nonmilitary uses: no building can purport to benefit the planet while preparing to destroy it.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
The green jobs movement parades as many green hues as our national parks, ranging from deep green work to pale green employment. All green work expands the economy by reducing waste of resources, workers and wealth. Green jobs make life easier for everyone by reducing the costs of fuel, food, and housing. Green work repairs soil, water and air, making these cleaner and healthier.
Deeper green jobs build profound solutions to resource depletion, by expanding use of passive solar HVAC, trains, bicycles, superwindows, deconstruction and depaving, rainwater catchment and solar distillation, earth shelters, cellulose insulation, tree-free paper, compost toilets and greywater systems, urban farms and orchards, edible landscaping, greenhousing, solar windowboxes and solar water heaters, green roofs and white roofs. These humble tools prove that billions of humans can enjoy this planet while repairing it.
Most American cities are today chained to crumbling and costly centralized grids-- sewers, freeways, power plants. Deep green technologies can gradually supplant these grey techs. Reliance on fossil fuel can be reduced toward zero, shrinking taxes by reducing repair fees.
Liz Robinson, whose Energy Coordinating Agency, trains people to insulate and weatherize, says, “You’re going to be shocked how big these efforts are. The tipping point... is very exciting to see. Efficiencies are the cleanest, safest, most labor-intensive, and cheapest sources of energy.”
Yet the deepest green jobs do even more than sharply cut fossil fuel dependence, and provide more than a paycheck. They serve the broader social mission to shift economic power toward lower-income neighborhoods. They replace the Poverty Industry (charity, police, courts, jails) with worker-owned neighborhood light industries. They enable low-skilled neighbors to employ one another to create work that lowers their living expenses.
Exemplary of such grassroots enterprise are Chicago’s Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Evergreen Cooperatives of Cleveland, sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation and the City of Cleveland. They grow fresh hydroponic vegetables, perform brownfield remediation, photovoltaic installation, weatherization, and operate a water-conserving nontoxic laundry.
In Philadelphia, Project RISE facilitates green business starts among ex-offenders and at-risk youth. Says director Bernadine Hawes, “The vision should be based on what the population being served sees, and not just on the standards and traditions of the professional business development community.”
John Churchville, green jobs planner for the American Cities Foundation, agrees. “The mind switch from seeking a job to creating a green business has the potential to single-handedly bring our entire nation back from the brink of economic ruin. Building a green economy that has the capacity to employ the majority of America’s unemployed and underemployed residents will be critical for our future...”
This is a big job, since our country hosts at least tens of millions unemployed, plus the world’s highest incarceration rate.
Yet Americans are wealthy in this poverty, because deep green jobs that fix the above rise from vacant lots and vacant lives, from Americans hungry for dinner and hungry for respect. Our vacant spaces invite planting,