30 November 2008

Power of Community

I already published this video on this blog, but it's worth posting again. It is about how the nation of Cuba survived a crisis similar to Peak Oil, in 1991, when imports from the Soviet Union ceased (upon collapse of the U.S.S.R..) The film explores how the Cuban people adjusted, specifically in terms of local economic solutions.

Many of the same solutions could be applied to societies elsewhere, if we were to make conscious changes, and a decision to move away from an economic infrastructure that is based on and utterly dependent on petroleum resources. Petroleum is a finite resource. It will run out. Whether it is in 30, 50, 100, or 300 years (or however long), there will come a time when we will not have access to petroleum.

What will fuel our economy and our every day lives? To what will we turn?

I argue that we would be better off to make these decisions, to make appropriate changes, without a (metaphorical) gun pointed toward our heads. Already, we are embroiled in wars over resources. Many people suffer and die because of domestic demand for petroleum. It's unethical to kill people over resources. The technology exists for an altruistic and enlightened society. Let us make changes that will benefit ourselves, and indeed all of humankind and future generations.

link to film on internet: http://www.livevideo.com/video/mercofspeech/CD893609A0CB495D9A9CF04AC9E4AEFF/power-of-community-how-cuba-.aspx

24 November 2008

Going by Berd

I'm now calling myself and going by, "Berd." It's a conjunction of Robert Friend. Drop the R-o, then pick up the b-e-r, then drop the F-r-i-e-n, and finally pick up the d! Make the b upper case and there you go.

Berd. Your's Truly.

19 November 2008

A Few Photos

Mountain Overseer
Mountain Overseer

Sunlit Forest
Sunlit Forest

Tree Detail
Tree Detail

Mount Rainier View
Mount Rainier View (Currently endangered by proposed zoning changes and development, more information: Isthmus (even though it's not an isthmus) 2008)

17 November 2008

Polished Steel

Stainless Steel Close-up
Stainless Steel Close-up

Here's another perspective of the electrical generator turbine runner unit:
Turbine Runner Unit
Turbine Runner

And more information about the "runner:"
Glen Canyon Turbine Information

14 November 2008

Support Women's Resistance to War

I support the Oly 26, a group comprised mostly of women who are being persecuted for their resistance, in November of 2007, to the ongoing illegal occupation of Iraq.

Civil Resistance - Nonviolent Direct Action

10 November 2008

It's Not Too Late to Impeach! Please Call your Congressional Representative

I sent the following note out to some of my contacts today:
I just called the office of my Congressman, Brian Baird, to advocate impeachment. His Washington D.C. office telephone number is (202) 225-3536.

What did I say in specific? Well first I sincerely told the staffer who answered the phone: "good afternoon." Then I asked to speak directly with Congressman Baird: "Is Congressman Baird available?" To which the staffer replied quite rudely: he asked what I was calling about before informing me that Mr. Baird was busy "in a meeting."

I told him that I was calling with a message about impeaching President Bush and Vice-President Cheney.

When he said that Baird was busy, I left the staffer a more detailed message. It went something like this:
I urge Congressman Baird to support holding President Bush and the Office of the Executive, including Vice-President Cheney, accountable for various alleged criminal actions, malfeasances, and improprieties relating to the function of their official duties. We need to hold them accountable if we are truly a nation of laws and ideals, and not a nation dictated by the will of men.

I believe that impeachment will benefit all Americans. I urge the Congressman to sign on as a supporter of Congressman Kucinich's 35 articles of impeachment. Impeachment will be possible with enough support from Congressional Representatives, like Congressman Baird.
Then I said thank you to the staffer for making sure to deliver the message to the Congressman.

Please try it for yourself, call your Representative, Baird or whoever yours is. Finding the telephone number is as easy as looking it up on the Internet. Please do this today or tomorrow. Make sure to speak with a live person - don't leave a voice mail. Remember to first ask to speak directly with your representative. And be friendly. It helps the staffer to listen to your message.

Finally, please talk to your friends about impeachment, and consider sending a message to people in your network asking them to call Congress on behalf of the cause of impeachment.


It's not too late to impeach! Please call your Congressperson! It will only take a few minutes.

07 November 2008

How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

I watched this movie for the first time tonight, and I recommend it highly. Well worth dragging all of your friends to see.

Read More: Oil and Sustainability and Cuba [OlyBlog].

05 November 2008

Political Frustration and What's Up

I am back in Olympia after a couple weeks spent traveling to Houston, TX and back. It was a good trip, but even after being back for over a week I feel like I am still recovering. I drove out there, by myself, which I wouldn't recommend. It would have been much better to have someone to drive with.

I am back and looking forward to what's next.

So the election is over. Here we are on the precipice of a new day in America. We have the potential for a better government - one that is more geared toward the service of life, rather than the service of big business.

That's what we need. We need a government that is interested in representing people. What we have is a government that is basically representing the interests of the biggest and most powerful, the most influential, businesses. Which is not a bad thing, if you're a big business person. But most of us are not big business people. In fact well over 90% of the world's human population do not derive special benefit from big business. And the fact is that what is good for business is not always good for the greater body of people - in fact what is good for business is often times not good for the overall population - the public.

Now - not all business, businesses, or business activities are disharmonious with the interests of the public (people and planet.) Some business activities can benefit people. But the fact is that many business activities and interests are harmful overall - harmful to the people, to the planet, to plants and animals and ecosystems...

We need a government that is in the service of life. We need a government that is in the service of the people. We need to stand up to, we need to oppose and resist a government that is playing host to the influences of the biggest businesses as they push for imperialism via wars of aggression - as they push for weakened regulation to enable even greater exploitation of resources (be they mineral, human, financial, or whatever.)

We need a government that has an eye not for protection of private property and wealth, we need a government that has an eye for protection of ecosystems, of human rights, civil liberties, and a healthy world to pass on to generations of humans far into the future.

There is Hope. Obama represents a truly new frontier. Someone wrote of the momentous historic aspect of a black family moving into the "White House" (the real color is actually a light tint of green - I saw that on the Discovery channel years ago) - the White House that was the product of a society that was built on the backs of black slaves...

I am so glad that Obama won. However I must be frank and personal - I was frustrated by the Presidential Election because I don't feel that either of the candidates represent my true best interests. It seems to me that government has been hi-jacked by big-business.

This election took the concept of divide and conquer to new territory - the appearance of contrast between the presidential candidates was stark. I am so glad that Obama won the election - or rather, maybe my gladness is more due to McCain (and Palin) not winning. But then again, let's ask: what are the real differences between Obama and McCain? How will the presidency of these two men differ on some of the most formative issues of our time - issues like corporate and foreign policies?

The real work begins now. Special interests are lining up for more of the same - more influence over Congress and White House. It is imperative that the common interest be represented effectively. Public and common interest must be represented in a way that it is clearly prioritized above the special interests of big businesses and corporations.

No longer can motive for financial profit be placed above the health and long term well-being of people, plants, animals, ecosystems and indeed, the whole planet.

Peace to you and good health, bert