Friday, December 7, 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012



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Thursday, November 22, 2012

I May Be Crazy, But It Keeps Me From Going Insane…..

(modified from Boko Harem first written in Adbusters Magazine.)

So you’re sitting in the coffee shop sipping your latte and staring at your iPad and you think you know what’s going on?

You flip through some images and read the latest news about some disgruntled guys in some far away place who are wearing face coverings and brandishing AK-47s and RPGs. They are the enemies, the story says. Luckily you’re reading some “liberal” journalism so you’re getting some good in-depth analysis and not just a knee-jerk disregard of whatever these people stand for. They’ve got a few legitimate grievances you find, but mostly they’re fanatics.

So now you’re informed about some of those pockets of ultra-Islamist barbarism springing up in parts of the world. You think you might have even connected some of the dots on your own about why this phenomenon is happening. Then you scroll down some more and it gets all fucked up again.

You check out those crazy people in Nigeria who call themselves Boko Haram. They want a complete overthrow of Western cultural and economic values (Boko Haram literally means “Western education is sinful”) and they are so fanatical about their cause that they vow to kill anybody who criticizes them.

How is this possible? Even your liberal arts degree knows you can’t excuse this type of cultural relativism. Our governments, our NGOs, our peacekeepers, our business leaders are enlightened, right, building schools for these peoples girls and handing out candy and toothbrushes to their shoeless kids? You tap your finger on the screen which starts a video where one of these Boko Haram guys says “democracy is not a decree of God” and “I rejoice in the killing the way I rejoice in cutting chicken.”

What the hell is with these people? Where does their terrifyingly dystopic logic come from? What is it they want and why do they think they can get it by bombing government buildings, public squares and even churches? We in the West are wiser now from our failed soirĂ©es into Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. We’ve learned to not sow the seeds of this kind of blowback. Right?

So now you’re left with only one conclusion: “My god they must be bloodthirsty barbarians, evil creatures who need to be droned into submission.” But something in you is still not satisfied. And each time you probe a little deeper you realize that there are billions of people out there living in a dog-eats-dog state of poverty that we in the West would find inhuman and unimaginable … you understand that we have no idea about what it takes to maintain some modicum of social cohesion in these desperate places … and when you delve a tad deeper you may even start to think that these rebels may actually be at the cutting edge of a multi-faceted global revolt against Western-style capitalism: usury, petrol-states, Lady Gaga, Coca Cola, the IMF, World Bank, that whole decadent, self-serving kaboodle …

Then you click to a mini documentary which shows an African man who hasn’t eaten for days carrying his half dead goat to market in a last desperate attempt to buy some food for his starving family … to sell off the last remaining goat that this year’s drought has not killed yet … there he sits, on the screen of your tablet, in the hot sun all afternoon and nobody wants to buy his goat because who wants to buy an emaciated dying goat?

Suddenly you realize the same world that lets a man starve to death in some no-name place clutching a shitty old goat is the same world that sells Hummers and air conditioners and $1000 stilettos and Super Big Gulps less than 24 hours away in any direction from that very same dying man; the same world that at this very moment offers you travel deals on the corner of your screen because Google knows based on how long you’ve been lingering on this page that you are interested in Africa and maybe want to go there.

You take your hands off the tablet and warm your cold fingertips against the cardboard to-go cup of your latte. You get a bit angry at the injustice. You get a bit shameful. You go back to scrolling again …

There is horrific pain, suffering and death happening right now in Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso and across Africa and the Middle East and other parts of the world. You might think that for us in the West things look bleak: you may lose your job and your house, tuition might go up and you may not be able to afford your morning lattes much longer, but in places like Northern Nigeria, climate change induced drought – largely caused by us in the West – is decimating people by the millions … And you know it is only going to get worse.

If you’re living, like that guy with his goat, in a world where death is always lurking just around the corner, then maybe it isn’t so inconceivable that it would one day dawn on you that you too may want to join their cause?

Live and Learn. We All Do.

Thanks for reading. Please leave a comment and pass this along to someone who means something to you.

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Adbusters, africa, Aramco Brats, BokoHaram, Burkina Faso, children, CNN, consciousness, egypt, enlightenment, environment, Lady Gaga, life, Nigeria, Northern Nigeria, West, World Bank, WWF

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We Are….The Seventh Generation

I love when an idea and a product merge together; especially if it has a positive impact on "humanity". I applaud companies that have people behind them that try to develop products and brands around a positive philosophy. That's why I like Oprah; actually, I think that's why a lot of people like Oprah. Oprah's message is about Love and with every touch point she is trying to communicate that message - No WONDER we LOVE her. Another company and idea that came together is Seventh Generation. Their mission: To inspire a revolution that nurtures the health of the next seven generations. I love this idea and as a parent I think this is more how adults should be making decisions these days. [youtube] Oddly, seven generation sustainability is an ecological concept that urges the current generation of humans to live sustainably and work for the benefit of the seventh generation into the future. [youtube] “You can resist an invading army; you cannot resist an idea whose time has come.” I believe it originated with the Great Law of the Iroquois - which holds appropriate to think seven generations ahead (a couple hundred years into the future) and decide whether the decisions they make today would benefit their children seven generations into the future. Unfortunately today, the natural world is often the unseen participant in many situations of ethical significance. We have treated it as a passive backdrop, when in fact nature plays an active role in shaping human society. For instance, it was not uncommon that a blind eye could be turned to the environmentally damaging effects on a community of manufacturing or waste disposal. Now, however, community well-being is assessed not only in terms of such things as the quality of jobs or the provision of health care. Rather, such well-being is also assessed in terms of the environmental safety and health of the community. Our struggle comes because we seek short-term benefits. We have become consumers rather than producers. We know no moderation. We respect no limits. We demand our needs be met - now. We destroy in the name of progress. We cheer destruction, and reward its perpetrators. Our attempts to correct imbalance causes greater imbalance. The future of human life is at stake? So what! The planet is being destroyed? So what! Global warming threatens our very future? So what! We still have a long way to go to modify our thinking to develop products and systems that are good for seventh generations into the future. Today, we are still used to thinking of ethics in personal or interpersonal terms. But, the field of environmental ethics has invited us to think more broadly about who in fact are the subjects of ethics. [youtube] We need to think of our own children - what will they eat? What will they breathe? What water will they drink? If we can't think of our own children, how could we possibly follow our instructions to think always of the Seventh Generation. We still hold the keys to the future: our Original Instructions as human beings. It is not too late to adopt a new way of life. Too old fashioned? Not Practical? Impossible? Going backwards? Perhaps. But those are the words of arrogance, which have brought us to the brink of our own existence. The choice is in our hands. It always has been. By restoring our own spiritual life, we can find the way back to a sustainable future. We are the Seventh Generation. Live and Learn. We All Do. Thanks for reading. Please pass this on to someone who means something to you.