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2019 Is the Year to Embrace Energy Democracy—Or Face Social and Climate Breakdown


2019 Is the Year to Embrace Energy Democracy—Or Face Social and Climate Breakdown

Susann Scherbarth, Sean Sweeney

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.” Is there any better explanation for our collective failure so far to prevent climate breakdown and social division? As another year passes with global greenhouse gas emissions still rising, it’s time to shake up what we’ve always done.



Energy Democracy= Public Utility / Co-operative model

Richard Wolff provides a documentarist’s level overview of our current economic situation - which is done monthly - particularly salient given the recent events w/ Amazon in NY; PSEG in California and other extraordinary current events in France and globally



The Quaker Office at the UN prepared a Government Official’s Toolkit. Many of our City Councils are adopting 100% renewable energy goals.

This introduces a format of LOCAL engagement that We The People begin to impact decision making

Recognizing that we DO HAVE POWER means that we do have responsibility to explore, experiment with changes in our lives and participating with others.

Capitalism will probably not introduce timely alternatives as it is in debt stranglehold indicating possible intensification of existing problems.
Thinking outside the box, becoming familiar with Coop implementation practices and technological development such as block chain will probably be part of the alternatives

Reclaim, what Hillary Clinton so cynically twisted, the observation that within every disaster there is opportunity. The weaknesses of a collapsing system reveal opportunities for change.

Here is a link to one Cityś Draft Resolution - an interesting read

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I’m not sure what your definition of “poor” is. With the lone exception of air travel, every other aspect of both personal comfort and commercial activity can be powered with electricity from non-carbon emitting sources (next-gen nuclear, eventually fusion energy being an important part of it). Some of it will be challenging - like agriculture - and so it and a few other things will still use some hydrocarbon fuels for the mid-term future. Nobody is proposing. or claiming the need for, cutting fossil fuel use to absolutely zero. That is the “nirvana fallacy” seen too often in rhetoric.

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I find the arguments - and the fuel-cost uprisings in France rather exasperating, becasue it is not “big corporations” who are burning the fossil fuels, it is the middle-class consumers of the products and services of those big corporations - car-buyers, and airline flyers and air-conditioning addicts, who are burning the fuel. So, like it or not, the car, and airline travel for every intercity trip has got to go as a fixture of the global middle class lifestyle. And sure, electric public transit and high speed rail alternatives have to be provided, but even then, the real cost of burning fossil fuels has to be imposed on the end-consumer or they will never switch to their alternatives. The costs of fuel and plane tickets have got to go up.

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The "Extinction Rebellion must be a worldwide movement, not simply restricted to one country.

The survival of the human race matters not to the Oil and Gas industries that will continue to do, what they have always done.

And, Social Division will clearly remain everywhere as long as major political parties continue to divide our populations with their usage of hateful rhetoric and support of bigotry by preying on those in our societies that are most vulnerable.

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social breakdown’s happening regardless, thanks to record-setting inequality. we end capitalism or it ends us.



Here’s the reality: global emissions are on track to increase annually over the next decade.

So that breakdown stuff is baked in. If you have young kids, I pity you.



The article mentions community involvement, and that’s what I was thinking about while reading this. I have not studied how much invention is going on right now, but local engineers can operate communities according their needs.
People powered vehicles using new tech. materials, batteries, and mechanical gearing should get us a version of a lightweight one or two passenger urban vehicle. Mass transit for highway travel, and some time each workday on the electrical generator that powers your company building. Use your arms, legs, or both to run the generator crank. The Japanese have had these social health programs in companies for a long time already. Time to think out of the box, or parish.



HI GANDOLF: I once saw a photograph from a long time ago which showed a boy on a bicycle running the power for the gas station pump. I thought that was an excellent use of brain and people power. : )



I agree that the terminology here is vague.

I also disagree with the subtitle. It’s not “the private sector” exactly that is the problem, but the corporate sector, particularly the large corporate sector and the people whom they pay–which, sadly, includes governments. But I suspect strongly that this is the author’s intent anyway.

However, a sustainable world is not necessarily a poor world. One actually hears that all the time and ad nauseum, because people who own media do not wish to quit selling. And because all of us have been inundated all our lives by the propaganda called commercial advertising, which persistently pushes the idea that one will purchase some gizmo that will release one from misery, we tend to accept the notion uncritically.

An unsustainable world will not be sustained. It shall therefore become poor by any measure or conception that might matter.

By contrast, people do just fine off grid if we are not strapped to huge and abusive mortgages, and sometimes even when we are. People do fine in various stages of transition, which is where the greater part of those of us interested are right now. People do fine in sustainable agriculture and with sustainable gardens. There is some learning curve, and there are some difficulties, but these are the result of the current dominant system and tend to become easier as one learns one’s way apart from it.

It is the theft, abuse, and parasitism built into the international or dollar economy that creates poverty. Regenerative practices create plenty. Drawing surplus away from the ecosystems that support us may create isolated pockets of money and power, but creates poverty overall.

I am tired of sacrificing for other people’s perverse desire for power and tired of the ignorance that I received from my upbringing. I am happy to step away from this economy by pieces, since a next system must develop and evolve. It does take a bit to figure: better do it sooner.

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I saw one similar to that as a water pump in Vietnam. Pumped water from one rice paddy to the next.
I’d wager that there are similar bicycle water pumps there today, except they are likely listening to an MP3 or similar listening unit.



Hi GANDOLF: I have been trying to remember where that picture was and I think it was a news photograph from the 30s or 40’s when a tornado or hurricane had taken all the electrical power away from the gas pumps… Maybe if America had to bicycle ride a lot of our power, we would have a much more healthy nation. Imagine an entire business complex riding stationery bikes or connecting gyms to office buildings for power. All workers would take rides on bikes or stair masters to keep the lights on and the computers humming, : )



Well, that’s what I said earlier. People power at your place of work. Maybe a half hour per employee at two rounds of 15 minutes each.
This conversation will begin when the oil barrens surrender.



I guess when you think you are exceptional, you believe in the fairy tale that the private market cares about anything but profit.

Or maybe I had my eyes opened when I was young. Maybe most people are blind. They couldn’t see reality. Or didn’t want to.

When I was young my parents would rent a small cottage on lake Eire. There was a nice beach just a couple hundred feet from the lake. I could swim or fish, spent my daytime on the beach. One of my nice memories.

But after a few years, the warnings against swimming were posted. Seems the fish die off was bad and a health hazard. There would be tens of thousands of dead alewives littering the beach. The smell alone would drive most away. Then there was the no eating the fish, they were too poisonous. And after that we didn’t rent that cottage anymore.

A few years later the lake was declared dead from pollution. A few years later I was going to the andirondack mtns. Then acid rain began, killing lakes and forests.

Then I moved to a city where the lake had been dead for decades because of the pollution. Don’t go into the water, it’s highly poisonous. Decades of mercury and PCBs had killed it. It used to be a sacred lake to the native americans. Now it was dead. When I was studying to be a biologist, we studied the land around the lake, esp where they buried the poison. Supposedly deep underground where it couldn’t hurt anything.

I have been to deserts and they had more life on them. In my study we would stake out the area in 1 sq foot plots. Then you would examine them and count all the life in each. All the plants and insects you could find both above and below ground. Making it to a half dozen would be amazing. That is total life. Then you used a microscope and observe nothing. Microbes are one the most common lifeforms. Yet the land was so deadly, they couldn’t live there.

This was the private market at work. They didn’t care what they destroyed as long as profit was to be made. So anyone thinking they would save us or keep the environment clean was either naive or didn’t care what happened.
The private market puts profit above everything else. If they were told they had to stop or the world would die tomorrow, they would try for that last penny, screw the world.
I have never hoped they would save us, because I knew they would kill everything to make that last bit of profit. They are completely amoral and that means the people who run the private market. Only they matter and profit is all they think about.
That is why they ned to be heavily regulated to save the rest of us from their destructive behavior. Thinking that the private market would ever save us in any way is about the most foolish thing to do. Unless there is profit in saving us. Bottled air anyone? Maybe a real blade of grass under glass (extra points if you know the song that came from.).
If we don’t control them, they will kill all the life on earth.



I take it you prefer dying instead. Because that is the choice life or death.
And you are quite wrong about what it means to have a sustainable world. It can be done w/o a great deal of discomforture. For one we waste so much energy, that just becoming more efficient would help. Plus renewables would also allow us to live comfortable lives.
And it is true what they say about fossil fuels and it’s not sugar coating to state that we can live w/o them or die with them.
I prefer the living part. And if my comfort is a little less, I’ll make do. I have done w/o for decades. A few more won’t matter.



Play a game of domino:
30 dominos, all fossil fuel uses - transport, household, industrial, agricultural, chemical etc in category and/or class, 2% and under to 25% for transport, 40% household/industrial, etc. The object of the game is to guess which domino is tipped first: Answer to the game: ONE hint:
The first domino is indirectly related to a near 2% chip.
Write your guess in simple terms the fossil fuel use
domino to tip first, the others to follow.
Measurable progress within 5 years.
Good luck. I’m sure Yun will figure it out.




Doing away with fossil fuels brings us in uncharted territory. Would we be able to feed the current world population without ff, nobody knows.

And that’s also the reason that climate change is all talk and zero action.