Archive for September, 2006
The E.F. Schumacher Society, centered in Great Barrington, Mass., has joined up with others in its area to launch a local currency in the Berkshire Mountains region of western Massachusetts. Here’s the announcement I got.
If our common interest is to create more sustainable communities, then part
of that effort will be to build more independent regional economies–ones in which, as economist Fritz Schumacher advocates in “Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered”, the goods consumed in a region are produced in a region. Following Schumacher’s lead, the late Jane Jacobs, a brilliant regional planner and intuitive economist, argues in “Cities and the Wealth of Nations”, the strategy for economic development should be to generate import-replacement industries. She would have us examine what is now imported into our regions and develop the conditions to instead produce those products from local resources with local labor. Unlike the branch of a multi-national corporation that might open and then suddenly close, driven by moody fluctuations in the global economy, a locally owned and managed business is more likely to establish a complex of economic and social interactions that build strong entwining regional roots, keeping the business in place and accountable to people, land, and community.
Our classic book is fiction, the kind of fiction that tells truth in its own way. Now nature newsblog reports that it was telling truth in another, now-scientifically established way, all along. Not really a surprise, but still, it’s nice to get the nod. “Which truth?” you ask.
Satellite observations suggest vegetation encourages rainfall in Africa.
More rain makes for more plant growth: that much is obvious. But now a statistical study of satellite images has added weight to the reverse notion: more plants also make for more rain.
I started today talking about my mom, and now here’s my brother-in-law: Extra! Extra! He likes Full Moon Feast by Jessica Prentice! Plus, he clearly is in need of a copy of Heather Flores’s brand-spankin’-new Food Not Lawns.
Keep the Great Writ alive
For eight centuries, habeas corpus has shielded people from detention without trial. The Senate “compromise” denies this right — and threatens the rule of law.
By Michael Ratner, with Sara Miles
Sep. 26, 2006 | For nearly five years, I’ve been fighting attempts by the Bush administration to sweep away the cornerstone of our justice system: habeas corpus, which protects people from being summarily detained without trial. Considered the hallmark of Western liberty, habeas corpus has its origins in the Magna Carta of 1215. The “Great Writ” ended kings’ power to kidnap people at will, lock them in dungeons and never bring them to court. Habeas corpus forever marked the line between authority under law and authority that thinks it is the law.
As president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, I’ve challenged the Bush administration for acting as a law unto itself and blatantly disregarding the Great Writ in its prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Twice, the Supreme Court has insisted that the administration respect habeas corpus; repeatedly, the White House has ignored the court’s rulings, going to Congress to get approval for previously unthinkable kinds of detention.
Well, okay, maybe that’s overstating it a little. But she did tell me on the phone a couple days ago that, having heard my spiel, she’s been experimenting lately with driving more slowly on the highway, which is where she does most of her driving. Previously she was going along with the high-speed flow, generally running at around 75 mph, and getting around 29 mpg. Now that she’s dropped into the slow lane, maintaining more like 65 mph, her efficiency has gone up to 35 mpg. A 20% increase in fuel efficiency! Way to go mom!
We think that Maggie Hess rocks. I know I said earlier today that Jen Sorensen rocks–and she does–but I had no idea at that time that the “rock” lingo was going to be so much in need. It’s getting hackneyed, but what can I do? When someone rocks, you gotta say so. And Maggie Hess rocks.
Our fingers are crossed, wishing the folks at Z Squared success with their zero-carbon emission, zero waste home and business project.