31 July 2009

Ethical Investing

I am reading a book right now that has me turned on to the topic of ethical investing, also known as socially responsible investing. The book is titled, The Richest Man in Babylon, and it talks about strategies and techniques for earning money and gaining financial wealth. It's a very interesting read, and it is challenging some of my thoughts about economic domination and exploitation, in a good way. It is clarifying in many ways. I suppose I have probably written about this before. But I am of the belief that financial wealth, even affluence, is probably not necessarily bad in and of itself. The problem comes, when, to garner the wealth and riches, there is some engagement in harmful activities and behaviors.

Of course, we could spend a year talking about what constitutes harmful behavior. And we should. But that's outside of the scope of this weblog entry. For now, let us ponder what it means to be harmful, any experiences in which we feel that we have been harmed - and also any experiences in which we feel it is likely that we may have harmed, or contributed to the harm, of another (whether it be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual in nature.)

Ethical Investing, the Precautionary Principle, the notion of leaving the planet in better shape for future generations, "Eco-Psychology" (including a study of the psychological impact of ecological degradation), these are some of the hot topics on my mind recently.

Back to Ethical Investment: it seems to me, based on my sense of moral - my ethical values - that investing in weapons, especially weapons of war, is not socially responsible. In fact, I am of the opinion that it is wrong to make money off of the weapons of war. Well, there's a lot more to write about and discuss about this, but I am in a hurry, so I gotta go. Take Care!

29 July 2009

Mayor Rocky Anderson

This conversation recently came up on my flickr account, so I want to share it here. You can probably tell that I sometimes enjoy a little argument, a little bit anyway:

Rocky Anderson

Rocky Anderson
Mayor of Salt Lake City Utah, Accountability Advocate and Powerful Orator

See Video of this Speech: Mayor Rocky Anderson on the Impeachment of President George W. Bush

More information here.

Archived testimony from the day's anti-escalation and impeachment hearings is available by clicking this link.

And, here is a link to a diary on the Daily Kos by Mayor Rocky about his speeches and testimony. Check it out!


Spoiler_3 says:

^Berd says:
why do you say that?

Spoiler_3 says:
Because he is an embarassment to the state, No sitting Mayor should EVER protest against the President of the United states. Maybe on his time, but not on the States time. Thats my money he was wasteing by doing that. Just what Utah needs is another black eye. Does he think that by doing that he is speaking for me as a Utahan? He better not. The man is just another Dumbacrat. and what he was doing wasn't helping Utah it was hurting us. Maybe he could star in Michael Moore's next movie. The man is a LOSER!!!!!!

^Berd says:
I totally disagree with you Spoiler. And I think your comments are unnecessarily rude and insulting - in fact - your meanness detracts from your argument. But that's another story.

Rocky Anderson is a good reason to move to Salt Lake. As an elected leader, Mayor Anderson used the position in office to advocate for accountability on what is likely the most grave issue pressing humankind.

The President of the United States was rightly and reasonably accused of making false statements for the purpose of wrongfully driving the nation to war. This is a crime that has no parallel. This is the worst crime that can be committed.

Mayors everywhere would do well by all Americans, and all people everywhere, to use their positions to speak against the virtually insurmountable wrongs of the Bush Administration (what have we: vainglorious and unprecedented use of signing statements, wrongfully representing threat to national security by a foreign nation in order to justify war, torture, et al.).

Spoiler - Don't you care that our country was wrongfully driven to war? Hundreds of thousands of people have died? Iraq never attacked us. Iraq never posed a threat of attack. - That's the truth. Don't you care about all those people have died? And people are continuing to die.

One of my most profound measures of disappointment with the new Obama Administration is its utter lack of ambition for holding the previous administration accountable, and also the lack of drive for an expedient and just end to the military occupation.

What we need is to get US military forces out of foreign nations. What we need is to get rid of the foreign policy of dominance and conquest. Imperialism is killing more than people, it's killing the USA.

^Berd says:

I also see that Mayor Rocky Anderson has been in the news recently:

Rocky Anderson joins chorus calling for torture investigation
» A letter co-signed by Nader urges Holder to look into Bush administration.

The Salt Lake Tribune
Updated: 07/29/2009 07:20:56 PM MDT

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson on Wednesday joined Ralph Nader and 14 other political activists and artists in calling for an investigation into alleged Bush administration crimes.

Anderson's nonprofit High Road for Human Rights Education Project is asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate alleged torture, unconstitutional detention and other human-rights and civil-liberties violations by administration officials and cohorts.

"Investigating and, if appropriate, prosecuting perpetrators of these serious crimes," Anderson said in a statement, "is a crucial step to preventing the recurrence of this dark, demoralizing chapter in our nation's history, which has done so much to damage our national security and reputation abroad."

The letter, dated Wednesday, says an independent review is important for the nation's constitutional and judicial integrity.

"No less than the rule of law is at stake," it claims. "Your decisions in this regard will be of historic importance."

Others signatories include rock singer Graham Nash, author and political consultant Naomi Wolf, TV actress Mimi Kennedy and Utah author and naturalist Terry Tempest Williams.

Brandon Loomis
link to photo on flickr

23 July 2009

Precautionary Principle

According to Wikipedia, there are already some jurisdictions in Europe use the precautionary principle as a matter of policy. It would be great to get the precautionary principle into the legal structure here in the USA. I was alerted to this concept most recently by reading this article, First, Do No Harm, in the January/February 2006 issue of World Watch Magazine.

Magazine Article

I found this copy of the magazine at the Free Store, which has all sorts of stuff that people drop off and leave for others to pick up for free.

Here's the Wikipedia precautionary principle article introduction:
The precautionary principle is a moral and political principle which states that if an action or policy might cause severe or irreversible harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of a scientific consensus that harm would not ensue, the burden of proof falls on those who would advocate taking the action.[1] The principle implies that there is a responsibility to intervene and protect the public from exposure to harm where scientific investigation discovers a plausible risk in the course of having screened for other suspected causes. The protections that mitigate suspected risks can be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge that more robustly support an alternative explanation. In some legal systems, as in the law of the European Union, the precautionary principle is also a general and compulsory principle of law.[2]

date accessed: July 23, 2009

21 July 2009

Imagining a Different World

A world, where people first do no harm,
A world, where people do not hurt each other!
A world, where people people refrain from entering into violent conflict with one another.

18 July 2009

Stamets on Mycoremediation: Six Ways that Mushrooms Can Save the World

Stamets: "Save the old growth forest as a matter of national defense."

Using fungi to ameliorate toxins in the environment. That's Awesome!

13 July 2009

On the Right Side

"I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

~ Martin Luther King Jr.

10 July 2009

Bohemian Grove Summer Encampment with the Cremation of "Dull Care"

Bohemian Grove Entrance

Every Summer, about 2,500 of some of the world's richest and most powerful men gather at the Bohemian Grove. During the encampment's opening ceremony, a ritual sacrifice is performed. It's called the "Cremation of Care." In the initiation, the effigy of a human child named "Dull Care" is ritually sacrificed, and then cremated.

Rumors abound that in times past the ritual involved the sacrifice of a real actual living human child. I don't know if that's true or not. But whether or not that's actually the case, this ceremony is disturbing on many different levels. Two ways in which it is disturbing are: one, the basic idea of human sacrifice, and two, the notion of wanting to do away with care (via cremation.)

Ritual human sacrifice, and cremating care - that is the effigy of a child named "Dull Care": this seems strange to me. What's behind it? - I wonder.

Personally, I think it is wrong. The idea of some of the world's most powerful men gathering, performing ritual human sacrifice, and celebrating the concept of doing away with care: it's just wrong.

Care is a virtue. Care is a form of love - not something to be lightly or gaily discarded. Children are not to be sacrificed. They are to be protected, to be cared for, to be treated with love, understanding, respect, and kindness - to be taught about the magic of life, and the deep and sacred majesty of the planet, and their fellow humankind.

So Please - Don't sacrifice people (even for pretend.) And don't cremate care!

02 July 2009

Egalitarian and Sustainable Future

Purple SunsetI believe that to have holistic sustainability will require economic egalitarianism. To have sustainability will require ending economic exploitation, both of each other, and of the resources of the planet. The fight for sustainable, and sound, economic practices and ecological relationships is tied in tightly with the fight against oppression - the fight against discriminatory behaviors. This is especially true when people in power express preferential treatment for some. The path to peace, justice, nonviolence and sustainability will be paved with love and understanding, with radical compassion and forgiveness.

Here's an excerpt of a comment I recently posted on OlyBlog about egalitarianism and sustainability relating to future potentials:
The standard that makes sense to me is for an egalitarian future. We need curtailment, I believe that is clear based on unsustainable consumption of resources. Will the future be one of responsible, and holistically sustainable, environmental relationships?

Population growth downtown sounds great to me. But this population growth must be coupled with a serious and responsible reduction in resource consumption. I believe it will be possible to grow in terms of population (and people power,) while simultaneously reducing overall resource consumption to levels which are holistically and fundamentally sustainable.

I believe in the power of community - the power that people have with each other.

What needs to be changed is the the status quo - the current system - where decision makers have coercive power over others.

Real power exists in our relationships with each other, in our ability to cooperate and to serve truth and life.

The idea of some few having power over others is destined to recede - to fail along with the cultural status quo of oppression, of exploitation, of imperialism and economic/social/political dominance.

When some people receive preferential treatment in their interactions with elected decision makers, while others are discriminated against, then we have a system that is divisive and socially destructive. It's unsustainable. People are waking up. People are talking. People are sick of it. And I believe people will not tolerate the current inequities for long.

"Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy rotten system."
- Anarchist and Catholic Worker, Dorothy Day
I want to live in a world where the concepts of long-term sustainability, the precautionary principle, and the well-being of all people, and planet, take precedent over economic self-interest.

And, here are a few Ben Harper tunes to keep you company. Have a Good weekend. I'll be in Seabeck Washington Celebrating Peace with the Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation:

Oppression/Get Up Stand Up - Acoustic Live

Give a Man a Home

Beloved One

Be Well