Ten Difficult Things You Can Do to Save the Earth
With an extra item thrown in in case any one of these is too extreme or unpalatable.
May 15, 2002
- Planning an "eco-tour" to some exotic foreign destination? Don't take a jet: travel by bus, train or tramp steamer. To be a real "eco-tourist," walk. (It was good enough for John Muir.)
- Recycling is for wimps. Every time you get stuck holding packaging that is (a) excessive, (b) wasteful or (c) reusable, mail it back to the manufacturer - by first-class mail.
- Don't buy any products that are advertised nationally - on television, radio or in newspapers and magazines.
- Print your own local currency! It's legal so long as it's not used outside your community - and that's the beauty of it. Local currencies stay in the local economy instead of being siphoned into the coffers of distant, faceless corporations. [Community Money Starter Kits are available for $25 from Ithaca Money, Box 6578, Ithaca, NY 14851.]
- Build a viable political Third Party in the US by 1996. If there's gong to be a "green" alternative to Republicrat politics-as-usual, the work has to start now. (If you don't, Ross Perot and the Christian Right will.)
- Challenge corporate charters. Corporations claim to have the same "rights" as citizens (e.g., deceptive commercial advertising is "free speech" protected by the First Amendment). The American Revolution was, in large part, a rebellion against the power of British colonial corporations. Many states consequently passed laws stipulating that corporate charters were privileges to be granted by the people - not by kings. These charters were to be revoked whenever any corporation acted against the best interests of the people. These laws are still on the books. [See Taking Care of Business, Richard Grossman and Frank Adams, Charter, Ink., PO Box 806, Cambridge, MA 02140. Available for $4 plus 52 cents on a self-addressed #10 envelope.]
- Replace "winner-take-all" ballots with "proportional representation" (PR). Most of the world's working democracies use variants of PR. Without PR, the Greens never would have won seats in the Bundestag. Without PR, no US Green Party candidate will ever be elected to the US Congress. [See Lani Guinier, The Tyranny of the Majority, Free Press/Simon & Schuster]
- Resist racial devisiveness and ethnic cleansing: marry an illegal immigrant. Demand local and state voting rights for tax-paying immigrants. (Other countries allow resident aliens to vote. "No taxation without representation," what a concept!)
- Reform - or subvert - GATT. The General Treaty on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) abolishes trade barriers to create "a level playing field" for multinationals. Consumption-and-growth-based economies require leveling mountains to mine minerals and leveling forests to obtain lumber. Demand a "level paying field" - i.e., a Globally Sustainable World Minimum Wage.
- Depave the planet. More roads means more cars not less traffic. There are already more than enough highways and parking lots. Defund the Road Lobby. Put the brakes on nature-destroying "infrastructure." Dig up your driveway and plant a butterfly garden.
- Recycle a millionaire. A proliferation of millionares is a sign of an unsustainable economy. Convince a millionaire to sell just one limo and use the money to buy 3000 bicycles for the inner city.
For more information contact:
Gar Smith, Earth Island Journal (December 1994)
(Reprinted in E Magazine)