Megan Siebert at REALgnd.org “What to do”

Preface. This is what I saw on December 12, 2020. To see a more up-to-date list go to the Real GND website: https://www.realgnd.org/recommendations

If you’d like to know how to fund these measures, then go here. To take action, go here.

Since what I write is such devastating news to people who stumbled on this on a search, or who recently lost their energy blindness, I feel obligated to have a “What To Do” category. I was devastated for months after reading about Hubbert’s Curve in 2000 on top of already having read “Limits to Growth” and “Overshoot” decades earlier. There are actions to be taken to get through the bottleneck, and you will meet interesting and wonderful people along your journey while you learn new skills.

The “Real Green New Deal” site describes itself as “a top-down and bottom-up approach to the energy descent transformation, covering actions that governments and individuals can take. We focus predominantly on policy recommendations for government since creating change from within the system would be the most effectual and since individual behavior is constrained to such a large degree by the current system.

But we simultaneously recognize that it is the actions of everyday people that influence the governments we institute, whether through who we vote for, what information or rhetoric we chose to accept and act upon, what we do or don’t push back against, or how we respond on an individual level to the chronic psychological afflictions imposed by today’s dysfunctional world.

We suggest an initial set of recommendations – along with how to pay for them – to be pursued now, ahead of the more specific and likely radically transformative recommendations contained in the final Action Plan. Some echo those that have grown in recent popularity while others are less common or perhaps novel.”

Alice Friedemann   www.energyskeptic.com  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer, Barriers to Making Algal Biofuels, and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: Collapse Chronicles, Derrick Jensen, Practical Prepping, KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity , XX2 report

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Population

  • Enact a national one-child policy, encouraging the global community to do the same
  • Make all forms of birth control (including those for men) free, and in the case of non-surgical forms, available over the counter
  • Make abortion free and widely available
  • Pay women/couples a significant financial incentive to have one child or none
  • Educate children and adults alike about the harmful impacts of overpopulation and its central role in our overshoot crisis, shifting from a human-centric view of the world to an inclusive view that honors and respects all life
  • Replace the taboo surrounding population with a moral imperative to make it a front-and-center social topic
  • Given our moral responsibility for global restitution, provide financial assistance to countries who seek it in order to help enact similar policies

Empire

  • Close all overseas military bases
  • Cease all overseas military operations
  • Stop military funding and arms sales to foreign countries
  • Close unnecessary domestic military bases
  • Reduce the size of our armed forces
  • Abandon the use of Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMFs) in exchange for official declarations of war by Congress, as is its constitutional responsibility
  • Dissolve NATO
  • End contracting of military and defense-related products and services to private companies

Democracy

  • GET MONEY OUT OF POLITICS and establish 100% publicly funded elections at all levels of government
  • Enact ranked-choice-voting
  • End voter discrimination laws and constitutional eviscerations
  • Undo gerrymandering
  • Increase voting access (e.g. Automatic Voter Registration in every state, mail-in ballots in every state, national holidays for elections)
  • Ban electronic voting machines
  • Eliminate the Electoral College
  • Establish 100% public funding for the media

Equality of Treatment & Opportunity

  • Make corporations actually pay their taxes, potentially increasing their rates
  • Shut down overseas tax havens
  • End subsidies to harmful industries
  • Break up monopolies
  • Enact a fairer tax code in which average people pay less and the very wealthy pay more
  • Increase the minimum wage to $25/hour
  • Enact Medicare-for-All
  • Forgive all student loans and make higher education free
  • End the war on drugs, pardon all drug-related offenders in prison, and decriminalize low-level possession of all illegal drugs
  • Issue financial reparations to the African American and Native American communities

Money and Finance

  • Put an end to interest-bearing debt
  • Ban the financial markets that “Wall Street” has become a symbol for, allowing instead for community-level capital raising
  • Abolish the Federal Reserve (a private corporation accountable to no one) and absorb its functions back into Congress, as dictated by the Constitution

Infrastructure

Place a moratorium on major infrastructure projects in light of:

  • The significant drawbacks of so-called renewable technologies
  • The need to re-design infrastructure in a highly decentralized, self-sufficient way with all life cycle needs (energy production, water acquisition, and waste treatment) handled on-site
  • The likelihood that many technologies and conveniences we enjoy today will not be possible in the energy and resource constrained future we imminently face

Consumption & pollution

  • Nationalize fossil fuel companies and establish a plan for phase-out
  • Ban the exploration of new fossil fuel reserves (i.e. oil, shale, gas) and the development of new extraction sites
  • Fine heavily toxic industrial processes
  • Ban factory farming
  • Offer significant financial incentives for the conversion of monoculture operations to polyculture regimes that are small-scale, humane, free of fossil fuel inputs, and implement rigorous water conservation methods
  • Provide legal and financial incentives to ensure seed conservation and ban activities that threaten it
  • Offer financial incentives for the expansion of hemp farming
  • Offer financial incentives to businesses that source local products
  • Fine major businesses that don’t make easily repairable products
  • Place a tax on companies that extract metals and water
  • Terminate so-called free trade agreements
  • Invest in sailing ship companies and financially incentivize their use for international transportation

Ecosystem health

Endorse and begin implementing the Nature Needs Half proposal, which calls for protecting 50% of the planet by 2030 using an ecoregion approach

Significantly increase funding for ecosystem restoration projects

Individual Action

Engage in the inner transformation that goes hand-in-hand with transforming the outer world, for example

  • Cultivate critical, independent thinking that inoculates against propaganda and manufactured consent
  • Question and examine your mental models and change them when confronted with compelling information
  • Spend as much time in nature and connecting with the non-human world as possible
  • Develop practices that help you slow down, relax, and connect with the stillness and wisdom within

Learn as many self-sufficiency skills as possible and do whatever you can to be as fossil fuel free as possible, whether on a household or community level

Engage in strategic, direct action to impel system change

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11 Responses to Megan Siebert at REALgnd.org “What to do”

  1. fred says:

    I concur, and find it difficult to pose an argument against any of the proposals. The possibility of this happening in the foreseeable future, in my
    opinion, is extremely remote. Almost everyone is too complacent, even if they are aware, which 95% are not, and most of the rest are in denial. Short of a miracle we will never see this vision come to fruition. The nature of the human is the problem. The only hope we have, I believe, is that the ones who survive the collapse will be enlightened by the experience.

  2. Monique says:

    Wow love this! Now there’s some policies I could get behind

  3. Garrett Hardin says:

    It is a mistake to think that we can control the breeding of mankind in the long run by an appeal to conscience. Charles Galton Darwin made this point when he spoke on the centennial of the publication of his grandfather’s great book. The argument is straightforward and Darwinian.

    People vary. Confronted with appeals to limit breeding, some people will undoubtedly respond to the plea more than others. Those who have more children will produce a larger fraction of the next generation than those with more susceptible consciences. The difference will be accentuated, generation by generation.

    In C. G. Darwin’s words: “It may well be that it would take hundreds of generations for the progenitive instinct to develop this way, but if it should do so, nature would have taken her revenge, and the variety Homo contracipiens would become extinct and would be replaced by the variety Homo progenitivus“.

    The argument assumes that conscience or the desire for children (no matter which) is hereditary — but hereditary only in the most general formal sense. The result will be the same whether the attitude is transmitted through germ cells, or exosomatically, to use A. J. Lotka’s term. (If one denies the latter possibility as well as the former, then what’s the point of education?) The argument has here been stated in the context of the population problem, but it applies equally well to any instance in which society appeals to an individual exploiting a commons to restrain himself for the general good — by means of his conscience. To make such an appeal is to set up a selective system that works toward the elimination of conscience from the race.

  4. Rice Farmer says:

    Sounds great, but fuhgedaboutit. The attempt to enact any of these changes immediately brings one up against powerful entrenched interests, brain-dead growth fanatics, religious beliefs, anti-nature attitudes, the long tradition of American anti-intellectualism, and too many other things to list. All we can do is wait for the inevitable collapse.

    • Philip Botwinick says:

      Hey, if you ‘The Rice Farmer’ of the famous Rice Farmer blog I just wanted to say I miss you, appreciated you all these years and hope you’ll return in the future. If you are in contact with J.O. they will vouch for my ‘credentials’.

  5. Mike Spangler says:

    “Fine heavily toxic industrial processes”

    Congratulations, you just banned the production of high purity silicon. No computers, no solar panels. Or are you just planning to outsource all that to China?

    Also no windmills (metal refining, etc.)

    By the way, there is no free. Even slaves have to eat. So instead of free you might mention a 25% VAT to pay for at least some of your wish list.

    Abolishing NATO is going too far. Scaling it back to what is needed to keep the sealanes open is a fine idea. Bringing the Army home I do support. And we can park the aircraft carriers is the Navy becomes more defensive/anti-piracy.

    Even the Federal Reserve serves a purpose as a lender of last resort unless you want to back to the days of runs on the bank, but they need to be scaled back as well. Two percent inflation is not maintaining a stable value of the currency.

    Abolishing the Senate and Electoral College would effectively enslave the countryside. Maybe that is where you intend to get all that “free” stuff. I can’t support that unless you come up with an equally effective way to protect the rights of the rural minority.

  6. Jay Carter says:

    It is clear that Ms Siebert, like most people, really doesn’t understand the true extent of the energy problem confronting our current modern civilization. The problem all comes down to a “number” and a “three letter word”. The number is the “7.6 billion” people who are alive on this earth because of the three letter word “oil”. When the oil runs out (and this is happening now), the 7.6 billion will be reduced to perhaps about a 1.5 billion population. Maybe even less. We had the stone age, the bronze age, the iron age, and now the hydrocarbon age. What comes next when the hydrocarbons are gone? Back to the stone age, I fear.

    • energyskeptic says:

      Oh, I think Megan and the rest of us who aren’t energy blind are fully aware of the carrying capacity of the planet. We just would like to see a kinder, gentler Grim Reaper…

      • Jay Carter says:

        I’m afraid the Grim Reaper will never be kind or gentle. Your piece on “If trucks stopped running” showed the chaos resulting from just that problem. Imagine no energy to pump water to southern California. No energy to treat sewage. No energy to maintain, the electric grid, the water supply system, The sewage piping system. No excess energy to allow a significant number of individuals to be nonproductive in food production, etc. Those are the people who now go to universities and learn how to build and then run our modern technological civilization. Without them, the system will fall apart much more quickly than most people could imagine. And most significant of all, it means that the accumulated knowledge of our progress in the last 200 years now stored in books, online, etc, will disappear. That is truly frightening. The fact that some think driving a Prius is part of a valid solution to the problem indicates just how much the mass of humanity is unaware of what awaits us in the future. Yes, it is depressing. Sorry to be so glum, but what is, is.

    • Luca Heine says:

      I think “scavenger age” is a better term than “stone age” for what’s coming. Survivors will have no need of stone tools as they will be able to use or repurpose much of the stuff civilization left behind. For example, books, furmiture, paper money, plastic and fabrics can be converted to fuel, vehicles and buildings to shelters, things like pans, pots, knives etc. can be used as they are while ubiquitous iron parts, aluminium cans, copper wires, coins etc. can be melted down and recycled. I also cannot imagine that survivors in the temperate zones will be hunters and gatherers like stone age people. I believe they will be primarily mobile pastoralists and will use wild grasses, tubers and fruits for their carbs.

  7. hugh owens says:

    great suggestions on how to save the world but zero chance of en action.
    This machine will not be turned around by protests and petitions and voting and wishful thinking that it can is just that. give it up and withdraw from the machine and make small positive changes in your life like learning some useful skills and developing self sufficiency.