Friday, October 8, 2010

A Response on Endorsements

The 2010 Tucson Weekly Endorsements were printed in its Oct. 7, 2010 issue. In the LD 28 State Senate race, it went with the incumbent, and simplistically brushed aside the only rational solution being offered with, "Ewoldt's agenda is too neo-hippie for even us." So, I guess we've at least finally gotten an admission the Weekly is just a right-wing rag. Anyway, here's my response, a shortened version of which was sent to the Weekly as a letter to the editor.

My relocalization platform is neo-hippie? Democracy, conservation, putting Main Street before Wall Street, requiring corporations to assume their responsibility to help maintain the amenities they benefit from and clean up their messes, funding an educational system that prepares our youth for rapidly changing times, and a practical, scientifically based plan to make Arizona a global leader in sustainability and the new economy instead of fodder for late-night comedians is neo-hippie?

The International Energy Agency says we're "running out of time" and "forecast a depleted energy supply in the next decade." They then connect the most obvious of the dots: "Energy availability underpins economic growth, and without the opportunity for future repayment of debt the financial system as we know it could stop working."

The recent Bundeswehr report by German military analysts acknowledges Peak Oil and points to a likely reduction in standard of living that might render societies less stable and make them more attracted to extremist political positions. Investment will decline and debt service will be challenged, leading to a crash in financial markets, accompanied by a loss of trust in currencies and a break-up of value and supply chains--because trade is no longer possible. This will lead to the collapse of economies, mass unemployment, government defaults and infrastructure breakdowns, ultimately followed by famines and total system collapse.

The Pentagon's Hirsch Report concludes that it will require at least two decades to put an alternative energy infrastructure in place IF we start before peak occurs. It is now generally accepted that peak in conventional liquid fuels occurred between 2005 and 2008. Supply is now 5% below demand, and the Obama administration predicts this gap will increase to 10% by 2015.

The world's top climate scientists say we no longer have the luxury of merely discussing whether or not we should make changes, but must start lowering greenhouse gas emissions TODAY. We must start immediately heading down toward 350 ppm of atmospheric carbon dioxide, not fervently pray that things will somehow be OK if we allow it to increase to 450 ppm, considering the calamities already occurring from allowing it to reach 390 ppm.

Does the Weekly consider all the above to be neo-hippie organizations and individuals? Are you aware of any other elected official or candidate that is offering ANY type of Plan B? The only "solutions" I've heard are minor attempts to mitigate the worst of the damage, doing even more of what created this mess, or pointless deck chair reshuffling.

It seems what you're really saying is that you know you can neither counter nor refute my arguments on issues or my pragmatic responses to them, so you're reduced to childish ad hominem attacks. What specific part of my platform do you consider to be unrealistic, other than the Powers That Be simply say, "We won't allow that"?

Oh, and it probably wouldn't be too wise to continue ignoring the increasing rate of biodiversity loss, increasing biospheric toxicity, our increasing body burden and disease rates, depletion of global fisheries, increasing desertification, dwindling fresh water supplies, topsoil loss, ocean acidification and growing dead zones, and the growing wealth gap as the middle class disappears.

Since the majority of Americans agree we must start addressing these critical issues now, the Weekly clearly demonstrates it is so far out of touch with reality it's difficult to find the words to adequately describe it. It seems that not only has critical analysis become a lost art, but so has the ability for independent thought. This is a clear dereliction in the duties of the Fourth Estate.

Is it really the Weekly's opinion that Arizonans don't deserve better, or just that they aren't capable of better? I disagree on both counts.

Beyond that, I'm really not sure what else to say, or a different way to frame it, that might make my platform more understandable, and why it is so urgently necessary. The alternative I'm proposing, relocalization, which includes steady-state economics and moving toward sustainability by using the same natural systems principles healthy, vibrant and resilient ecosystems have been successfully using for billions of years, presents a practical, affordable and comprehensive plan that addresses the roots of our current crises. While it may not be possible to totally stave off the coming collapse brought on by our failing system--considering how far down that path we already are--relocalization provides the only realistic plan I'm aware of that can provide, at the very least, a foundation for a democratic, equitable and sustainable future where coming generations at least have some positive possibilities to begin rebuilding.

Provided, of course, that we don't continue to make things worse by continuing to support the status quo, or remain content to think that slapping a band-aid on a symptom here and there will be good enough. People across the political spectrum agree we must become sustainable, and even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in a speech on Oct. 4, 2010 to the Annual Meeting of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, said the current trajectory of government finances is unsustainable and that the U.S. is on the brink of a financial disaster.

And the best advice the Tucson Weekly can offer is to carry on with business as usual. Well, at least we have the New Southwest to fill the void for an alternative paper in this town.


  1. Paradigm shifts have to start somewhere, and I imagine that, all too often, that beginning lies with one person unafraid to proclaim a radically different new vision of things to come. . .

    Dave, you have my endorsement!


  2. Just discovered your site...if you win maybe I'll move to Arizona!

    But one comment - a sustainable economy does not require steady-state principles. In fact, it can be argued that many benefits will be lost by insisting on steady-state principles -- as opposed to using judgment about specific situations.

  3. Just to clarify what I said above -- multiple steady states may coexist.