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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Maybe I’m stupid but I have a hard time understanding what to focus on in terms of environmentalism, community sustainability, gentle consumption and NFL in general.<br><br>
I thought I would start at the top…<br><br>
What are the big impact issues?<br><br>
Politics?<br>
Home size?<br>
Toilet paper?<br>
Auto use?<br>
Consumption?<br>
Consumerism?<br>
Cleaning products?<br>
Organics?<br>
Recycling?<br>
Where we choose to live?<br>
Travel?<br>
Toxins?<br>
Medicine?<br>
Sustainability?<br>
Working conditions for the people who manufacture and farm our consumption?<br>
Capitalism?
 

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Multiinational corporations are the biggest offenders, imo. Everything else is secondary.<br>
They have too much power; they control everything, including our government.<br>
One day we will wake up and find out that they are the real government; the different national governments are their subsidiaries.<br>
What can we do? I wish I knew. I feel pretty hopeless, to tell you the truth. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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I think the biggest offender is selfishness. People are selfish to think they can just consume all the want and it will have no impact. Corporations are selfish to put their needs first and act like only they matter. Humans are mostly selfish to think they can just put themselves first above all creatures. I could go on.......
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Selu Gigage</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I sound like a Marxist, but capitalism is the first of the biggies IMO.</div>
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Yup, everything stems from the capitalism.
 

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Actually, <i>democratic</i> capitalism, when held in check by labor organizations, environmental protections, and human rights legislation, is actually probably the most effective economic system we've seen in terms of alleviating extreme poverty. It's just that everyone has to have access to some of that capital. I'd just like to throw out the examples of the success of small business loans to destitute people in developing countries; get a little capital into people's hands, and its amazing how they can rise out of extreme poverty in a free market. Everyone deserves the start-up materials to provide for their families and be dignified members of their communities--ON THEIR OWN TERMS-not those of big business.<br>
I agree with njeb that it's the power of the multinationals, and their utter disregard for human rights, justice, and the environment, is what is spoiling today's capitalism. Also with boongirl that it's selfishness and greed at the root.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>JesiLynne</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">How Is Home Size An Offender?????????????????</div>
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not sure if you are serious or not, but large homes use up vast amounts of resources to build, and to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer. they are also likely to have large yards, and all the bad stuff that goes with them. certainly not on the top of the list of offenders, but it is certainly one of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you all for your thoughts. I’ve been doing some reading on capitalism, which is why I listed it. I must admit that I really don’t know all that much about why it’s such a big problem but, from what I’ve read recently, it seems tied to many of our problems.<br><br>
Could anyone recommend some good articles about capitalism?<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>JesiLynne</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">How Is Home Size An Offender?????????????????</div>
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I just listed the scattered efforts and concerns that run through my mind.<br><br>
I listed toilet paper as a kind of personal joke. See, I considered trying to go no TP a while back. It’s definitely something I *could* do. But, then I started thinking about all the waste in our life and the effort to go no-TP seemed ridiculous considering.<br><br>
For instance, we have a large (rented) home and it gets cold here in the winter. I often wonder how much waste and resources are created by this compared to other things in our life.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>njeb</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Multiinational corporations are the biggest offenders, imo. Everything else is secondary.</div>
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Supporting the local community is something that I feel really good about. I do have to make a conscious effort to do this but, because I’m also concerned with being frugal, and buying organic and stuff like this, I often get side tracked.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Super Pickle</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Most of us here are mothers of young children. They need us so much in the early years that it's frustrating not to be able to do more to fix the world they're going to inherit.</div>
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It is true that I’m frustrated by wanting to do more. My own issues are a large part of the problem but another block for me is now is not knowing what has the biggest impact (or <i>smallest</i> impact on the things I care about.<br><br><br>
Cross post SLW... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod"><br><br><br>
I am truly interested in this topic so keep posting if anyone has any thoughts, resources or questions of their own. Thank you!<br><br>
Oh, and some added inspiration is that it really helps me motivate myself if I can prioritize this stuff. I’m simply too scattered to just “do as much as I can”. I am doing quite a bit (admittedly I could do more) but I get the feeling that some of the big effort things aren’t even that significant and maybe the most significant things I haven’t even considered.
 

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I think greed and consumption. I don't know that much about capitolism except it sure seems to be about greed and consumption!
 

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On the large corportations: They do have problems, but in general they take much better care of their employees. Dh has worked for a small business for the past three years. We've barely made any money. He and I have no health insurance, the kids get Medical Assistance. There are no retirement options there.<br><br>
Next week, he starts his job at Terminix (ew, I know). It's a big corp. They're paying him Lots More. He'll have insurance, plus me and the kids. That'll include vision and dental also. He gets a 401K, which I believe the company contributes to also. He gets a car allowance every month to pay for gas and repairs/maintenance.<br><br>
Much better than working for a small local business.
 

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You seem to be thinking only on how the big corporations are good to you and yours Phathui5, and extrapolating from there that they are good for us.<br><br>
I with you guys on your criticism of capitalism. Unbridled capitalism, as seen most clearly in the West is a mad system which is pillaging the earth, endangering our very lives in the process as climate-change looms up over us. I would say the real problem of capitalism, and communism for that matter, is that they allow a small group of people to take command and get their own way. You know, like the oil corporations don't want alternative technologies which don't use oil to be developed so they use their enormous moneyed influence to threaten inventors, buy them out etc., in collusion with bought off amenable movers and shakers in the political world.<br><br>
I got told a great story by a frenchman once. He told me his uncle back in the 50s developed a grape vine which would produce beautiful wine grapes (he came from a wine growing family) without the need to be sprayed with chemicals to keep it healthy or even to be grafted. It was an amazing plant. However in about 1970 a huge chemical firm which makes sprays for wine bought the rights to this plant, and that was the last they heard of it. It probably still exists but no-one can use it.<br><br>
But I agree that at bottom the problem is really a spiritual one. Despite the enormous power and influence of the Corporations, the real power still resides with the people. They are fearful of that. So if people weren't so greedy and heedless themselves we'd have a much better system in place. But I guess knowledge is important too, and it is a lack of politicization that is to blame also. That is why you are doing a great thing for the world if you start to educate yourself. Reading environmental magazines like the Ecologist and Mother Jones is always educational. For books on capitalism .....well, I like Noam Chomsky's books. The Canadian film "The Corporation" is supposed to be excellent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The way I’ve been thinking is a lot like your last paragraph, Aquaduct. It starts at one idea and moves all around:<br><br>
I recently read that the most important organics are animal products. DC eats a lot of eggs so I started thinking I would buy organic. Then I wonder where I can get the cheapest organic. I do that for a while. But then I remember my local shop and the family I want to give my business to. I remember that their eggs are local, feathery and dirty and come in a big flat and that it’s easy to reuse my container. THEN, I start thinking about what a small decision this is in the long run and how the way I think about it is consumeristic in a way. I wonder if I should just not worry about it and read more and become more involved in politics.<br><br>
But, this thread has made me think that maybe I’m at an odd space when it comes to the amount and quality of information that I’ve been gathering. I read little tidbits here and there, which is probably why I feel so scattered.<br><br>
Did anyone read Protecting the Gift? I’d love if there was a book this style for this topic.<br><br>
We’ve got lots of Noam Chomsky…I’ll read one this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Oh, BTW, I looked up the Wikipedia article on capitalism, which looks good.<br><br>
I also wanted to mention that Harper’s (May) had some good articles on capitalism. One discussed how modern economics is based on the assumption that humans will always consume rationally. :LOL
 

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Modern economics is founded on the theory that if everyone in this world consumes more then we will all be better off. It totally disregards the reality that this cannot be sustained, and we will choke the biosphere and make the planet unlivable for mammals (including us) within the next 95 years if we don't change.<br><br>
You don't even need to read a book to know this is true. Greenland is melting fast. The snows on Mt. Kilamanjaro in Africa will be gone within 30 years. The north-west passage used to be virtually unpassable for boats because of the ice. It is now sailable. THE EARTH IS HEATING UP!<br><br>
Then take a look at the capitalist press. As far as they're concerned this is not major news. Large car manufacturers are hoping to set up big plants in China so they can gain access to the burgeoning car market there. At the moment there are only 15 million cars approx. in China. It is increasing rapidly, and this is only going to make climate-change even worse. Do the car manufacturers and the oil companies care? Nope. Do the leaders of China and the USA care? Nope, it doesn't look like it.<br><br>
The concept that underpins the modern consumer society is crazy, and unsustainable. We have to change if the human race doesn't want to create a catastrophe. I suspect this will entail having to face the great spiritual truth that satisfying desires and wants doesn't lead to true satisfaction.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>IdentityCrisisMama</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Thank you all for your thoughts. I’ve been doing some reading on capitalism, which is why I listed it. I must admit that I really don’t know all that much about why it’s such a big problem but, from what I’ve read recently, it seems tied to many of our problems.<br><br>
Could anyone recommend some good articles about capitalism?</div>
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<span style="text-decoration:underline;">The Divine Right of Capital</span> by Majorie Kelly and <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Moving Forward: Program for a Participatory Economy</span> by Michael Albert<br><br>
Modern Marxism isn't nearly subject to the excesses and broad overgeneralizations of Karl himself. Parecon (the Albert book) is a form of alternative or cooperative capitalism. Those notions are antithetical to corporate globalism (uber capitalism on crack) because they are competitive and yet inherently democratic. "Market Capitalism" or American style Capitalism is the stuff of the 19th century and is horribly stupid, brutish and outdated, IMO. Parecon is better, but only if practiced in the context of an ecologics based bioregional ethos. Otherwise, it too will spiral into capitalist nonsense, killing everyone in it's path ultimately.
 

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What a great topic!<br><br>
I agree with several people here - I also see capitalism as the source of the problems listed above.<br><br>
I read a really insightful commentary from the Peoples' Weekly World a few years ago. The jist of it was that socialism is *not* inevitable (as Marx originally theorized), but it *is* necessary, if we are going to have a sustainable future.<br><br>
I'll post more later on when I have some time!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Aquaduct</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I got told a great story by a frenchman once. He told me his uncle back in the 50s developed a grape vine which would produce beautiful wine grapes (he came from a wine growing family) without the need to be sprayed with chemicals to keep it healthy or even to be grafted. It was an amazing plant. However in about 1970 a huge chemical firm which makes sprays for wine bought the rights to this plant, and that was the last they heard of it. It probably still exists but no-one can use it.</div>
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Two similar stories:<br><br>
John DeLorean of the Delorean Motor Car Company. (Think the car from Back to the Future) He was harassed and even had a price on his head by the Big Three Auto Makers. His ideas were so good, they were dangerous to their wallets.<br><br>
More personally, I have a close friend, "A." I am also fairly close to A's boyfriend, "C." (boyfriend sounds so juvenile.....they're in their early 50s.) Well, C and some associates designed this Thingy that makes diesel cars and trucks get downright AMAZING gas mileage. Imagine cars that get over 100 miles per gallon and tractor trailers that get nearly 50 mpg. It's unthinkable currently. Well, they've made it. It's small, it's inexpensive to produce and they have a buyer for the product, to the tune of nearly $1 billion. Except, the purchase can't be completed. It's in court right now to stop the sale, because it would hurt the gas moguls. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"> So, C is just waiting. Most likely, he'll never get the cash, because the azzhole gas folks just have too much money and will win.<br><br><br>
Sorry to go off topic. I just thought it was interesting.
 
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