Returning home from a new farmers’ market in Wooster, Ohio last Saturday (Nov. 21), I passed a scene in a farm field that might have said more about where farming is headed than any economist’s prediction I have seen lately. Out in a clover field stood a big yellow school bus full of chickens.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
My girlfriend is setting up her own business...She is hardly the only one in this situation. All over the country there is a flurry of new business creations. In normal times, this would bode well for a country which has indeed coined the word "entrepreneur" but had forgotten it quite a long time ago. We are not in normal times however, and this unprecedented wave of entrepreneurship tells in fact of an deep economic insecurity which can only increase with the coming energy descent.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Increasing the share of renewable energy will not make us any less dependent on fossil fuels as long as total energy consumption keeps rising. Renewable energy sources do not replace coal, oil or gas plants, they only meet (part of) the growing demand. The solution is simple: set an absolute limit to total energy production. Why should we not be able to cope in 2030 with the amount of energy we consume today?
Monday, November 23, 2009
Announcing Silicon Valley Reads 2010!
The newest selection for the Silicon Valley Reads community program is In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by award-winning author, Michael Pollan. To kick-off the program, Pollan will appear in person on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. at the Heritage Theatre in Campbell, CA. Mike Cassidy of the San Jose Mercury News will interview the author on-stage. Two companion books for kids have also been selected. They are Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens for grades K-3 and SeedFolks by Paul Fleischman for grades 4-8. Following the kick-off program, other public events for both adults and children around the concept of the book will be presented at each of the Santa Clara County libraries during the months of February and March. A book display featuring the Silicon Valley Reads title selections is now available at each of the community libraries as well as a book club kit in regular and large print for interested book groups. Stay tuned for more detail in December and January.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
A review at TAC.
Free Congress Foundation
A good balanced look at what Obama did (the first time), that gets it right, unlike the Republican and Democratic cheerleaders. It's not about the bow as a sign of respect, but how it is down, and how deep it was. The depth of the bow was just plain inappropriate.
Well if it does prove to be the case that the data was manufactured, will those who are promoting greater awareness of both peak oil and global climate change be able to dissociate themselves from the Global Warming scare?
Rod Dreher: Hacking the climate change deception
God Himself might have spared Sodom for the sake of 10 righteous men, but that doesn't really tell me if and how I should serve the community.
"An Opportunity to Emphasize the Unity of the Human Family"
The text of the Holy Father's address, which was summarized in various news articles to which I linked here.
Is immigration an opportunity for learning about others? Can this be done without weakening the native culture of a community? Or will it invariably lead to greater discord and conflict?
In fact, the financial gap between the poor countries and the industrialized countries is widening. The world financial crisis, with the enormous growth of unemployment, is reducing the possibility of finding work and increasing the number of those who do not manage to find even temporary employment.
Consequently, a great many people are obliged to leave their own countries and the communities of their origins; they are prepared to accept work in conditions that are in no way consonant with human dignity and the differences of language, culture and social system of the host society intensify the difficulty of integration.
The plight of migrants and especially of refugees in a certain way evokes that of the ancient biblical people who, fleeing slavery in Egypt with the dream of the promised land in their hearts, crossed the Red Sea but, instead of immediately reaching the desired destination, were obliged to face the trials and tribulations of the desert. Today, many migrants leave their country to escape humanly unacceptable living conditions but do not find elsewhere the welcome for which they had hoped.
In the face of such complex situations how can one fail to pause to reflect on the consequences of mere material development as the fundamental basis of society? In my Encyclical Caritas in Veritate I noted that integral development is the only true development, in other words it concerns every man and the whole of man.
Authentic development always features solidarity. In fact, in an increasingly globalised society, the common good and the effort to obtain it, I noted further in Caritas in Veritate, "cannot fail to assume the dimensions of the whole human family, that is to say, the community of peoples and nations" (cf. n. 7).
Indeed, the current process of globalisation, as the Servant of God John Paul II appropriately emphasized, can represent a propitious opportunity for promoting integral development but only "if cultural differences are accepted as an opportunity for meeting and dialogue, and if the unequal distribution of the world's resources leads to a new awareness of the necessary solidarity which must unite the human family" (Message for the 86th World Day of Migrants and Refugees 21 November 1999, n. 4; L'Osservatore Romano English edition [ORE], 22 December 1999, p. 6).
It follows that the great social changes under way demand adequate responses since it is clear that there can be no effective development without promoting encounter among peoples, dialogue among cultures and respect for legitimate differences.
In this perspective, why not consider the contemporary phenomenon of migration as a favourable condition for understanding among peoples, for building peace and for a development that concerns every nation? This is what I wished to recall in my Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees in the Pauline Jubilee Year (Message for the 95th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 24 August 2008; ORE, 15 October 2008, p. 27): migration is an opportunity to emphasize the unity of the human family and the values of acceptance, hospitality and love of neighbour.
However, this must be expressed in daily gestures of sharing, joint participation and concern for others, especially those in need. To achieve this mutual acceptance, St Paul teaches that Christians must be ready to listen to the word of God, which urges all to imitate Christ, and stay united with him. Only in this way is it possible to care for one's neighbour and never to give in to the temptation of contempt or rejection of those who are different.
Conformed to Christ, every man and every woman may be regarded as brothers and sisters, children of the same Father. This treasure of brotherhood makes them "practise hospitality", which is the firstborn daughter of agape (ibid.).
Dear brothers and sisters, faithful to Jesus' teaching every Christian family cannot but feel respect and attention for all human beings created in the image and likeness of God and redeemed by Christ's Blood especially when they are in difficulty.
This is why the Church invites the faithful to open their hearts to migrants and their families, knowing that they are not merely a "problem" but constitute a "resource" to be appropriately appreciated for humanity's authentic progress and development.