Monday, October 13, 2014

My name is Earthmanpdx

I was looking for a handle for my twitter account. A number of ideas came to mind. The one that I liked best was Earthmanpdx.  It is an audacious way to identify one’s self.  But, when I discovered that no one else was using it, I figured, ‘why not me?’

What does Earthmanpdx stand for?   It means I am a citizen of the Earth first and foremost, and I happen to live in pdx,  which is code for Portland, Oregon, USA.   Yes, I have a USA passport, and I grew up pledging allegiance. I do identify as an American citizen, but even more so, I see myself as a citizen of the Earth. My first obligation is to nurture and preserve the Earth and its living biosphere. That, to me, is the principle responsibility of every human; protect the integrity of our planet’s living fabric. Job one for every human person on Earth should be to do no harm. 

For the longest time, humans have taken for granted the rich living bounty of our planet. Up until a few decades ago,   the planet’s  biosphere was resilient despite the ravages of human exploitation.  When I was born, the planet’s population was about 2.5 billion human beings. Now, in 2014, in just the past sixty-some years, the number of humans on Earth has nearly tripled to 7.3 billion,  and demographers believe by the end of this century we could have nearly 11 billion, all needing food, water, and shelter at a minimum.  The biosphere we all depend on, the only one we have, is suffocating.   Human demand is outstripping  the planet’s ability to provide.   An unbiased examination of the facts leaves no room for any other conclusion.

I recently read that since 1970, less than fifty years ago, the number of non-human life forms on the Earth has dropped by 52%.  In the same time frame, the human population on Earth doubled. The correlation couldn’t be more obvious.   

We dump millions of tons of our cultural waste into our oceans. We have stripped the sea’s fish stocks to the point  of collapse.  We are using up the planet’s aquifers and fresh water resources.  We have cut down vast areas of forestland. We have replaced our biologically resilient landscapes with industrial monocultures.  We are consuming massive quantities of coal and oil, fossil forms of energy that have choked the atmosphere with pollutants that are directly linked to an unprecedented planetary warming.

People are the problem. We are taking too much of the planet’s rapidly dwindling resources.  Mindless exploitation is no longer an option.  We must mend our ways. It’s either that, or doom future generations to a vastly diminished quality of life.

 Many millions of people around the world recognize that humanity is in severe need of a course correction. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the earth’s population continue, business as usual. They still don’t get it.  That must change.  Reaching a tipping point in global human awareness has to be the primary focus.  

When I chose to identify myself as Earthmanpdx, it is because I want to be a change agent fully engaged in the process of charting a worthy future for humanity.  I am looking for ways to draw people to a life-affirming worldview that respects nature and is sustainable over the long term. 

The good news is there are worthy answers to nearly all of the major global challenges we face.  Human induced atmospheric warming, and the sea level rise, weather extremes,  and other global scale consequences that go with burning fossil fuels,  can dramatically be curbed by choosing a rapid transition to inexhaustible forms of clean energy like solar and wind.   We have the ability to provide reproductive choice to every person, thus slowing the growth of the human population. We can create a regulatory framework for restoring our water, forest, and ocean resources.  We can create a human culture on Earth that assigns proper value to nature and focuses on building a future that can be sustained for generations to come.  To some extent, it is already happening, but not fast enough.  The impediments to progress are much less technical than they are political.  

In America, the Constitution says that government is supposed to be ‘of, by, and for the people’.   In fact, it no longer works that way.  Democracy has been replaced by a plutocracy, in which a handful of very rich bankers, billionaires, and multi-national corporations use their money and influence to buy politicians and shape the public policy they want.

For any chance at a better, more sustainable future for all life on Earth,  the first order of business must be to push back against the stagnation and corruption that has taken over our economic and political system.

Achieving the level of transformation that is sorely needed will be no easy task.  A handful of big money manipulators have amassed an incredible amount of political power.  They will not go away quietly. 

So, what is the prescription for renewal recommended by Earthmanpdx?

An initiative called Move to Amend is growing across America. It’s agenda is simple and straightforward. Move to Amend is entirely about  building a grassroots movement that calls for a Constitutional Amendment that would strip corporations and the rich of their ability to unduly influence our economy and our political process.  A proposed 28th Constitutional Amendment  would say that 'Corporations are not People' and ‘Money is property, not Speech’.   

There has never been a law that said ‘corporations are people’.   They are in fact, state chartered legal fictions that are supposed to be accountable to the people.   Likewise, the idea of ‘money being speech’ has never been codified in law, instead, it is a corrosive idea that gained legitimacy through legal precedence created by a series of corrupt, high court decisions.

I believe that Move to Amend is focused on the critical struggle of our time. Blunting corporate power.  An amendment that ends corporate personhood and clearly defines money as 'property not speech',  must become a  national calling.  No matter where one’s activism is focused – social justice, economic fairness, environmental protection - the common thread that offers the best hope for achieving positive change is a 28th Constitutional Amendment as presented by Move to Amend.

My best years are behind me.  In the  time that I have remaining, I intend to be Earthmanpdx, serving as a change agent for a better future by championing Move to Amend’s Constitutional agenda.  I urge every person to think about who they are, consider the reality that we all face, then join the movement to achieve a constitutional amendment that says ‘Corporations are not People’ and ‘Money is not Speech’.   

Here is a link to Move to Amend's website...


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