The incoming US Federal administration of 2009 will have an important opportunity to launch a New Green Deal that promotes locally directed efforts to solve many of our urgent problems. This is a time of economic and environmental crisis, and we need to demonstrate authentic leadership in pursuit of a vibrant, healthy society that is sustainable and equitable. A New Green Deal can address domestic economic, social and ecological problems in a way that also has a positive impact on foreign policy and relations.

The New Green Deal focuses on developing basic requirements for moving towards sustainability such as green collar jobs, regional ecological restoration, and inclusion of under-represented communities. Its mission is to enable comprehensive long-lasting social, economic and natural resource policies. The New Green Deal can become the foundation for healthy, productive domestic programs that reduce our nation’s oil dependence and provide proactive responses to global warming.

The New Green Deal’s founding principle is there needs to be regional improvements to local conditions and carried out by local people, businesses, and communities. This means the overall approach to accomplishing programs will vary according to the places where applied: New York City will have a different emphasis than Los Angeles, and Puget Sound from Chesapeake Bay. The New Green Deal should then be applied in five general directions:

1) Survey, inventory and evaluation of local/regional renewable and non-renewable assets. These include but are not limited to food, water, energy sources, building materials and methods, open space, and transportation alternatives with an emphasis on a North American, inter-regional railway system.

2) Public participation in designating and implementing priorities for projects and activities.

3) “True cost” analysis to evaluate and select the most sustainable alternatives.

4) Green Collar employment programs in the following areas:

a) Ecosystem restoration,

b) Remanufacturing that maximizes use of recyclable and/or post-consumer materials,

c) Renewable energy production and use,

d) Regionally-based sustainable agriculture,

e) Converting all wastes into resources,

f) Water conservation and reuse,

g) Energy efficiency,

h) Green building, living roofs, and landscaping,

i) Ecology and conservation education,

j) And special Green Collar job training programs in vulnerable communities.

5) Create or transform governmental institutions and agencies with policies that promote localization and embody principles of sustainability.

*A genuine “stimulus package”, on the scale of the 1930’s New Deal, for the present day. The New Green Deal promotes positive programs to replace catastrophic activities that underlie climate change, economic inequities, water and food shortages, habitat destruction, and species extinction.

COMMITTEE FOR A NEW GREEN DEAL: Email: mail@planetdrum.org, Postal address: Committee for a New Green Deal, P.O. Box 31251, San Francisco, CA 94131

Please view some photos & a recent Spanish write-up of some of Planet Drum Foundation's activities in Ecuador from local El Nuevo Globo newspaper. The children are 12-14 year-olds who attend our "Bioregionalismo" after-school class (also the title of the textbook we developed for them). They are holding a poster of activities during the term. Course teacher Ramon Cedeno is wearing white cap.
Peter Berg
The etymological root of the word economics is found  in the Greek language: Oikonomia is literally tranlated as “home  management”. Economics measures the in flow and out flow of resources and energy  within our home planet. Economics is the management of our life support system.  The planet Earth is the base system that we engage for resource and energy  exhange to support our life. The earth is our home. All living things engage in  economic relationships through the trade of energy and resources. We can build a  conscious and connected economic science by understanding our place within this  integrated global exchange of energy and matter. Most economists ignore these  underlying economic structures and only measure human commerce. Such false  economic science does not factor in the very real environmental costs of human  industry and activity. Real costs have been ignored for two centuries, and now  come home to roost as global warming, resource depletion and environmental  degradation.

Economics and ecology are actually the same science, the science of the interrelationship of all life. To build an effective new economy we must first understand this whole system, then we see how the parts within the whole behave as a living ecology. Our home is the basic unit of the human economy. Historically, all commerce started as home-based industry. I founded Sustainable Operating Systems to build the new ecological economy from the ground up. We have assisted with the launch of 300 family enterprises in 22 nations that utilize renewable resources. Within this new economy, open trade takes place as free-agents choose to engage in mutual life support/economic relationships. I authored
Sustainable Operating Systems: The Post Petrol Paradigm to document this emerging ecological economy. This book is not just about theory, it provides practital tools to build a sustainable society. A just society begins with a just economy, a just economy is brought about by an ecologically aware human community. This change requires a very dramatic paradigm shift.

As great wealth has accumulated at the very top in the USA, the rest of society has not benefited proportionally. In 1960 the gap between the top 20% and the bottom 20% was thirty-fold. Now it is eighty fold. Thirty years ago the average annual compensation of the top 100 C.E.O.’s was 30 times the pay of an average worker. Today it is 1000 times the pay of the average worker. The Financial Times publihsed a study by American economist Robert J. Gordon, who found “little long-term change in workers’ share of U.S. income over the last 50 years.” Middle class Americans are being squeezed, as the top ten percent have captured half the total income gains in the past four decades The top one percent have gained the most, more in fact, than all of the bottom 50 percent combined.

A recent book, Economic Apartheid in America describes how thirty zip-codes in America have become fabulously wealthy while whole urban and rural communities are languishing in unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, growing insecurity, and fear for their future. This is not the just America that was envisioned by our founding fathers. This is deeply disturbing in a country with the inherent promise for equal opportunity for “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. Our collective memory resonates with the hallowed idea of “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Reality no longer reflects the original American dream. Great progressive struggles have been waged throughout history to make sure ordinary citizens, and not just the super-rich, share in the benefits of a free and open society. Citizen groups support broad social goals of affordable medical coverage for all, decent wages for working people, safe working conditions, a secure retirement, and clean air and water, but there is no longer a government “of, by, and for the people” to deliver our common aspirations. Elections are simply purchased by well funded special interests. Elected official then operate as special interest mercenaries. A small oligarchy is choking democracy to death. Concentrated wealth totally controls our political agenda. America no longer works for most of America. Louis Brandeis, one of the greatest Supreme Court justices in US History stated; “You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or
democracy. You cannot have both”. I established Sustainable Operating Systems to reverse this very alarming situation.

Federal economic measures such as Gross National Product only measure gross dollars in circulation. Official policymakers have no criteria in place to measure if those dollars create value or destroy value. Building bombs and blowing up cities, to provide contracts for multinational corporate war profiteers to rebuild the destruction are all part of the GNP equation. GNP only measures cash flow. Your health and a sustainable Earth are not even on the agenda. Fifty % of your Federal dollars are squandered on the death and destruction of the war machine. In the book, Sustainable Operating Systems, I offer a new scientific economic metric: Gross Productive Output (GPO). GPO measures progress, productivity and real value. It does not assign economic value to gross resource waste, the mass murder of war, and disease. GPO measures war, waste, environmental degradation and disease as what they actually are; huge economic loss. In present economic theory, such non-productive loss is just measured as more money in the bank for the Petrol-Paradigm Oligarchy that operates the military/industrial complex. Our current official economic system defers the huge environmental and social loss to future generations. Such defermentis highly immoral. Our present system steals from our grandchildren and damages our planet. The war machine has hung a millstone of federal debt around the neck of each child in America. I call you to real change and conscience. An ecological economy is one element of this change.

Ecology is the study of life’s whole system. Real ecology and real cconomics are thus a spiritual and scientific discipline. Economics is the measure of the flow of energy and resources in the planetary ecology. Ecology is the study and documentation of all elements of life on Earth as a whole system. The health of the whole is necessary for the health of each part. Life exists only as a unified system. Knowing this scientific fact, and integrating your own life with this reality is absolutely essential for life to continue to grow and thrive on this planet.

For centuries the global human community has been growing increasingly disconnected. We are disconnected from the vital life of this planet, disconnected from each other in disintegrating communities and families, profoundly disconnected from our own earthbound souls. The antidote for our present environmental, social, political and spiritual disintegration is reintegration of each person with this whole system of life. Integration with our planet and one another is essential for personal and human survival. There is only one life on this planet. Connect with it. The Latin root word of religion is religio, which simply means “reconnect”. False religion is divisive, destructive and now pervasive on planet Earth. A global scientific and spiritual paradigm shift is our most urgent need.

My book is offered as a community survival guide for life on our home planet Earth. Life emerged on this planet though a dynamic integration of elements; made vital by Divine energy. Elements apart do not exist as Life. Life is a whole system of Integrated Elements that are animated by spirit. Being “holy” is not about separating yourself from life as an ascetic recluse, but ra ther it is the exact opposite, to be “wholey”: to actively immerse oneself in the human and planetary ecology, to live as a vital part of the whole. The divine destiny of the human community is to celebrate our profound participation in the Sustainable Operating Systems of Life. Conscious ecological integration brings us into spiritual enlightenment.

No priest, minister, imam, rabbi or guru can bring you to this vital consciousness. A teacher can lead you to the water, but only you can drink it in deeply. You enter into this state through a deep ecological embrace of all life. All concept of “other” is swallowed in Oneness. This effort is actually a “non effort”. Just like Buddha sitting under the Bodhi tree, we enter spiritual enlightenment as we simply let go and fall deep into the well of our own real being. Access to spirit is available to saints and sinners, kings and paupers alike. My book provides a guide for a radical shift in the daily life of humanity. We change our thinking, and thus change our life. Sustainable Operating Systems offers a practical life support system to integrate your life and community with the ecology of all Life. Welcome home to Earth. The Garden of Eden is in your own backyard. Go till it.

Michael Richards is author of the recent book, Sustainable Operating Systems: The Post-Petrol Paradigm.

A Continental Bioregional Congress on the Prairie: An Audio Documentary of an Eco-Revolution
produced by Jacqueline Froelich, hosted by Pete Hartman. Fayetteville, AR.: KUAF National Public Radio, 2002. A 29 minute NPR report of the bioregional congress featuring Judy Goldhaft, David Haenke, Stephanie Mills, Gene Marshall, Alberto Ruz, Anna Diaz, and many others.
Listen to an mp3 audio from this event. (26.4MB)

Dear Friends,

The main goal of our 10-person all-volunteer Coordinating Council of the Bioregional Congress is to help make the next Continental Bioregional Congress happen.

The bioregional movement resonates with what we know, who we are, the work we do, and what we want for this precious Earth. Together, we not only find ways to live in balance with our home communities, we find home. The Congress creates a ceremonial village in which we can share resources and strategies, mobilize around common issues, and further ecological community, spiritual, economic and societal restoration. It also strengthens bioregional projects and creates new opportunities for learning and collaboration throughout the continent.

In April, it was decided there was not enough energy at the site for the projected 2008 Ohio Valley Congress. We have continued to meet monthly and are working on a 2009 Congress in Tennessee at The Farm. More details will be posted on the discussion group when they are available.

We are asking you to take a few minutes to help support the next bioregional congress. In addition to scholarships, we need money to get detailed planning moving; to develop a bioregional curriculum that congress participants can help test, strengthen and take home with them;to sustain a web presence at our www.bioregional-congress
website; and to continue to support bioregional organizing and networking on our continent and throughout the world. We need to share and learn from our brothers and sisters across the planet as they in turn nurture the movement in our home places.

All of us together need to build a strong scholarship fund to bring people from throughout the Americas to the next congress. Do you want to help bring some bioregional organizers, healers, artists, writers, theorists, permaculturists, educators and other activists from places all over the continent; citizens of the planet who are doing amazing things but otherwise couldn’t attend?

We are hoping you will send what you can and ask others you know to do the same.

How to Donate:
1) Visit www.bioregional-congress.org or www.ecovillage.org and then make a contribution through paypal;
or 2) email
Linda@ecovillage.org to set up monthly billing or credit card charges. $10 each month over the next years can be extremely significant in helping create the Congress

Thank you for your consideration of what you can do to help grow and sustain bioregionalism.

For the Earth, the Continental Bioregional Congress Coordinating Council: Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg & Ken Lassman, Mary Meyer & Richard Cartwright, Laura Kuri & Fabio Manzini, Liora Adler, Barbara Harmony, Juan-Thomas Rehbock, and Bob Randall.

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