Earth Day and Green Movements

SUBHEAD:This Earth Day get involved with some Green Wizardry. Prepare yourself and enjoy the ride.

By Juan Wilson on 22 April 2015 for Island Breath  -

Image above: Earth Day by Sam Spook on Deviant Art. From (

Each year, Earth Day -- April 22 -- marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental Green Movement in 1970.
"Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts."  (
Along the way the Green Environmental Movement became political. There was a time about a quarter of a century back when the Green movement was a political idea with some teeth. The Green Party Movement was (and is) a real force in German politics that was compared by some with Red Communism. In America the Greens have run candidates for office with little success. In 2012 Jill Stein ran with Cheri Honkaka against Obama and Biden. Did you vote for them?

The Ten Principles of the Green Party of the United States are (
Every human being deserves a say in the decisions that affect their lives and not be subject to the will of another. Therefore, we will work to increase public participation at every level of government and to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We will also work to create new types of political organizations which expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in the decision-making process.

All persons should have the rights and opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, barriers such as racism and class oppression, sexism and homophobia, ageism and disability, which act to deny fair treatment and equal justice under the law.

Human societies must operate with the understanding that we are part of nature, not separate from nature.  We must maintain an ecological balance and live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our planet. We support a sustainable society which utilizes resources in such a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation. To this end we must practice agriculture which replenishes the soil; move to an energy efficient economy; and live in ways that respect the integrity of natural systems.

It is essential that we develop effective alternatives to society’s current patterns of violence. We will work to demilitarize, and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments.  We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in helpless situations. We promote non-violent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.

Centralization of wealth and power contributes to social and economic injustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. Therefore, we support a restructuring of social, political and economic institutions away from a system which is controlled by and mostly benefits the powerful few, to a democratic, less bureaucratic system. Decision-making should, as much as possible, remain at the individual and local level, while assuring that civil rights are protected for all citizens.

We recognize it is essential to create a vibrant and sustainable economic system, one that can create jobs and provide a decent standard of living for all people while maintaining a healthy ecological balance. A successful economic system will offer meaningful work with dignity, while paying a “living wage” which reflects the real value of a person’s work.
Local communities must look to economic development that assures protection of the environment and workers’ rights; broad citizen participation in planning; and enhancement of our “quality of life.” We support independently owned and operated companies which are socially responsible, as well as co-operatives and public enterprises that distribute resources and control to more people through democratic participation.

We have inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control with more cooperative ways of interacting that respect differences of opinion and gender. Human values such as equity between the sexes, interpersonal responsibility, and honesty must be developed with moral conscience. We should remember that the process that determines our decisions and actions is just as important as achieving the outcome we want.

We believe it is important to value cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity, and to promote the development of respectful relationships across these lines.
We believe that the many diverse elements of society should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies, and we support the leadership of people who have been traditionally closed out of leadership roles. We acknowledge and encourage respect for other life forms than our own and the preservation of biodiversity.
We encourage individuals to act to improve their personal well-being and, at the same time, to enhance ecological balance and social harmony. We seek to join with people and organizations around the world to foster peace, economic justice, and the health of the planet.

Our actions and policies should be motivated by long-term goals. We seek to protect valuable natural resources, safely disposing of or “unmaking” all waste we create, while developing a sustainable economics that does not depend on continual expansion for survival. We must counterbalance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations who will inherit the results of our actions.
The only problem with Green Politics in America is that no one is listening or cares. It's dead in the water because it would mean turning our attention away from the big colorful flat screens that suck the life out of us.

The Green Consumer movement envisions solar panels charging lithium batteries in self-driving sedans and home 3D printers producing plastic buckets and dustpans while thorium and fusion reactors power server-farms for our wireless devices. And let's not forget local food production - there is nothing like foraging at the artisanal food market for expensive organic greens grown sustainably by wwoofers.

One thing that Green Consumerism clings to is Techno-Optimism. That's the idea that more advances in science and  technology - and their implementation in our everyday lives is the only way to save ourselves and the world. The TED Talks - focusing on Technology, Entertainment and Design - are a good example of the Green consumer propaganda. Today's Earthday TED talk is titled "How Virtual Reality can can Create the Ultimate Empathy Machine".

There is also the feel-good side of being a green consumer. is one sterling example. It once was a website with some teeth. It has devolved into one "Partial to a modern aesthetic, sharing sustainable design, green news and solutions." Some headlines from Earthday 2015:

A look at NYC's eco-friendly residential buildings

China's low-carbon electricity on track to be greater than entire U.S. grid
Cutting emissions slows climate change faster than we thought
Twelve really cool random things about planet Earth  subtitled:
In celebration of Earth Day: An ode to our awesome orb.

And so Earth Day has become an empty vessel. Environmentalism has become co-opted and transformed into a new approach to corporate consumerism and dragged the Earth Day crowd along for the ride. They do not want to hear the bad news or change what they are doing. Who does? Unless knowing the truth is required to living life in the future.

As individuals there is precious little we can do to influence the large environmentally destructive forces that surround us and in which we are embedded. One can participate in organized protests, demonstrations, walk-outs, sit-ins and the like, but these efforts are more symbolic than strategic.

The economic, political, military and social forces that weave the tale of history may even notice your efforts in numbers, but the play of the larger forces are what really make the changes on the ground.

What is available to individuals is an understanding of the overarching forces and how personal planning and action can anticipate changes over the horizon and make decisions that result in the best accommodation to the future.

The players in the big system have to do this all the time. The pharmacy chain Walgreens just made such a decision regarding Kauai. See TGI article from 4/18/15:
The first Walgreens on Kauai will not be opening after all, at least not in the Hokulei Village shopping center under construction in Lihue.

Walgreens spokesman Philip Caruso said the decision was based on review of the geographic market presence and performance of its stores, including existing locations and future-planned stores, conducted over the past year.
“As a part of this process, we conducted a comprehensive financial reassessment of our plans to open a new store in Kauai and have concluded that it is not in our company’s best interests to move forward with opening a store in that location.”
In my opinion the Hokulei Village was one shopping center too many for the Lihue-Puhi area to accommodate. The idea that a giant Safeway Lifestyes supermarket was needed within a stone's throw of the Kukio Grove Times supermarket and the Costco supermarket is obviously a bad idea.

If there was a need for another supermarket on the southside of Kauai  perhaps it might be located in a town without any supermarket -  like Kalaeho or Kekaha.  Wouldn't that help to alleviate the traffic we are forced to widen the Kaumaalii Highway for?

Walgreens will not be the last to decide Kauai is not a place to invest for growth. The reality is that the world powers are being dragged kicking and screaming away from abundant energy, resources and consumption.  Many of their best laid plans for Californicating Kauai will face economic headwinds that will not abate.

The Chinese real estate bubble is unraveling and their economy is entering recession. So is Europe while facing the Greek Euro Exit and a war in the Ukraine...  and so is America and its federally financialized fake equity markets and fake job markets and fake promise of higher education for everybody. The old growth model, and the middle class are in the dust bin.

Things will not get built that already have permits. Middle class tourists won't be able to afford a family of four vacation to Hawaii. Existing national chain stores on Kauai will start closing their doors.

You will find your life here changing dramatically. What you can do?

John Michael Greer, the Archdruid of North America, coined the term. See( and

Greer sees the environmental movement of the 1970s of having grasped the solution to our current dilemma of social and environmental collapse. It is a combination of conservation, solar energy organic gardening, and other hands-on DIY skills from the appropriate tech toolkit.

So this Earth Day get involved with some Green Wizardry. There is hard work ahead. But it is work that you can do on your own and those close to you, that will improve where you are. That is really all we can do. 

Prepare yourself and enjoy the ride.


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