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Excerpted from an article in Yes! Magazine's current Summer 2013 issue: Love and the Apocalypse.

Feeling anxious about life in a broken-down society on a stressed-out planet? That’s hardly surprising: Life as we know it is almost over. While the dominant culture encourages dysfunctional denial—pop a pill, go shopping, find your bliss—there’s a more sensible approach: Accept the anxiety, embrace the deeper anguish—and then get apocalyptic.


If all this seems like more than one can bear, it’s because it is. We are facing new, more expansive challenges. Never in human history have potential catastrophes been so global; never have social and ecological crises of this scale threatened at the same time; never have we had so much information about the threats we must come to terms with.


Mainstream politicians will continue to protect existing systems of power, corporate executives will continue to maximize profit without concern, and the majority of people will continue to avoid these questions. It’s the job of people with critical sensibilities—those who consistently speak out for justice and sustainability, even when it’s difficult—not to back away just because the world has grown more ominous.
- Robert Jensen,  Get Apocalyptic: Why Radical is the New NormalFeeling anxious about life in a broken economy on a strained planet? Turn despair into action. Yes! Magazine

Jensen also features this quote from James Baldwin:
“Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
This is a quick, thought-provoking slideshow: 5 Recycled Buildings: Wing House, Sea Fort Resort And More Places That Will Blow Your Mind.
The Corporation, still one of the most significant documentaries of the new millenium. Because what's clearly wrong is a strong signal of what would be right. The following trailer is good, but it only hints at its brilliant central motif, which shows how corporate behavior IS clinically psychopathic. If you haven't seen it, isn't it time?

The Corporation 2020 campaign gets it. But will we? This is part of the New Economics we MUST understand and engage in if we truly want to move forward beyond our current crises.
On a cool day last December, the eminent Swedish scientist Johan Rockström stood in front of a large audience at the European Parliament in Brussels and pleaded his case. “This is what we could call ‘the scientist’s nightmare,’” Rockström said. “We have disturbed the energy balance to the point where we are committed to three degrees warming. We have reached the sixth mass extinction of species on planet Earth—the first one to be caused by humans.” Rockström elaborated on his seminal 2009 Nature paper: “Suffice it to say that it’s not only climate change [we need to worry about], but we should be equally preoccupied with the interlinked issues of nitrogen, phosphorus, biodiversity, freshwater, land.” -


Launched at the Rio+20 conference in 2012 as a campaign to transform today’s model of business to make it fit for the future, Corporation 2020’s name points to the fact that a large-scale shift in human behavior must occur within the next decade or so—rather than in 2050 or 2100, as some multilateral negotiations discuss—if we are to maintain any hope of a sustainable world.


Corporation 2020 addresses this imbalance through four planks of change, which, when implemented, can snowball into significant structural changes in the economy. The first is a proper accounting and reporting system for these hidden externalities. Some companies have attempted to measure these on their own, but various groups (such as the TEEB for Business Coalition) are now coming together to collaborate on standardizing this measurement and disclosure. The second plank is a new system of taxation. Taxation can be used as an incentive to promote conservation and resource efficiency, but unfortunately our current system tends to rely mostly on taxes on income and profits. Third, Corporation 2020 takes a close look at corporate advertising, positing that advertising is a key factor in the expansion of an unsustainable consumer culture. Finally, recognizing that sustainability is not just an environmental issue, Corporation 2020 takes on the wildly risky levels of financial leverage that many companies now utilize, which contributed to the last four economic crises and which remain a threat to a sustainable economy.
- Solutions Journal

And deservedly so:

Bill McKibben's Sophie Prize Win For Climate Change Activism Awards Him $100,000
FYI, if, like me, you didn't know: there's a Green Shadow Cabinet. And it's got some great people.

The Green Shadow Cabinet includes nearly 100 prominent scientists, community and labor leaders, physicians, cultural workers, veterans, and more, and provides an ongoing opposition and alternative voice to the dysfunctional government in Washington D.C.. As with shadow cabinets in other countries, the Green Shadow Cabinet of the United States responds to actions of the government in office and demonstrates that another government is possible. This cabinet is led by the 2012 Green Party presidential nominees of Dr. Jill Stein and Ms. Cheri Honkala and supports independent politics and policies. However, it is not a project of any political party.
ProPublica updates the Timeline: How Obama Compares to Bush on Torture, Surveillance and Detention. Be sure to use the mouse over function.
The latest on New Era Windows, the workers cooperative formed to revive Republic Doors & Windows - Serious Energy, the company that bought and rescued the business back in 2009 following the worker "occupation," and then subsequently shut it down in 2012 as well, leading to a planned buy-out from the newly formed worker cooperative, decided at the last moment this past month that it would not be selling the factory to the workers after all. Apparently, liquidation looked better to them. Liquidation is set for July 6th. A protest RALLY is scheduled the day before.

What:  Rally and delegation at Mesirow Financial to save good Chicago jobs.
Where: 353 N Clark Street, Chicago
When: Thursday July 5th, 12pm Noon
What a Way to Go: Life At the End of Empire

This is the way: build a boat. WOW! Now this is what I'm talking about.

Let's Build a Boat from VisionQuest Pictures on Vimeo.

Surviving that old new economy, where a "recovery" spreads like an economic plague:
A new report from the Brookings Institution, “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America”, reveals how formerly affluent bedroom communities have faltered in recent years. Brookings researchers found that between 2000 and 2011, the rate of poverty in the American suburbs grew by nearly two-thirds — more than twice as fast as it did in cities.


But this report doesn’t really say that cities are winning. If anything, it says we’re all losing — you’ll notice that both of those trend lines in the graph are on the rise. It’s further evidence of the growing wealth chasm and how it dictates our choices.
- Susie Cagle, Poverty moves to the suburbs, Grist

Millenials could be the silver lining in the collapse?
A quiet revolutionary struggle is brewing in the minds of the US "millennial" generation, those 80 million Americans between ages 16 and 34. They are wrestling with the fundamental edict of capitalism: Buy and you shall be happy. The millennials have not rejected consumerism, but they have also not embraced it fully. They experience its very real downsides - that also afflict millions of older Americans and go to the heart of capitalist sustainability and morality.

Recent polls by marketing firms and the respected Pew Research Center show strong environmental concerns among millennials, but hint at a broader issue: whether consumerism itself makes for a good life and society. Americans, especially the young, love their computers and sleep with their iPhones next to their pillows, but still worry about the negative sides of consumerism.


In a recent informal study of Boston-area college students, I asked them how they felt about American consumerism. Almost all said they would prefer to be in a society that was less consumer-oriented, because consumer culture gives them these headaches:

    * It creates fierce competitive pressure to have more and newer "stuff."

    * It complicates their lives, always worrying about how to maintain, pay for and use all the things they buy.

    * It distracts from a quality life with their family and friends.

    * It creates a "dirty" lifestyle that makes them and the planet sick.

    * It leads to more inequality, with people seeking more at the expense of others.

    * It distracts from political engagement - President Bush told them to go shopping as he was gearing up for war with Iraq after 9/11.

    * It imprisons them in a life full of products and empty of meaning.

Consumerism and Its Discontents
- Charles Derber, Truthout

20 Big Ideas for Creating a Democratized Economy - from It's Our Economy, an organization of four amazing people I had the pleasure of meeting and working with for two weeks at the October 2011 occupation of Freedom Plaza in D.C. Two of them, Kevin Zeese and Dr. Margaret Flowers, are members of the aforementioned Green Shadow Cabinet...

For those wondering (fyi, 7:25; it's silent, but informative):

In response to a recent comment I read here on DKos, here are the problems with national Big Box consumerism, addressed constructively as the Top 10 Reasons to Support Locally Owned Businesses
Cohousing, a particular form of intentional community, combines the friendliness and cooperation of shared (yet usually physically discrete) housing and a chosen community with the economic advantages of sharing costs for common needs. Ironically, however, many who look into cohousing (my daughter did recently) find the available opportunities expensive. Achieving Affordability with Cohousing discusses this circumstance as well as ways that affordable approaches have been and are developed.
Cohousing tends to conjure up images of a happy but homogeneous group of communitarians—middle-class, highly educated, and culturally similar. This picture may feel out of reach, or even distasteful, for many people who don’t have significant financial resources, whether due to choice or circumstance.


The fact is that this picture represents only one segment of the cohousing movement—the segment that gets the most press. There are many cohousing or cohousing-inspired communities that are partially or totally populated by single parents, working-class singles or families, seniors with fixed incomes, and students. Successful homeless shelters and affordable housing complexes have been built using cohousing principles.

Cohousing is intrinsically an affordable model: one of its main purposes, outside of a strong sense of community, is limiting resource consumption by sharing resources. The savings in energy, maintenance costs, and food outweigh the apparent up-front costs due to new construction. A survey of 200 cohousing residents showed minimum cost savings per month of $200 per household, with some even saving over $2,000. With the addition of solar systems, residents at Nevada City Cohousing are actually earning money on their electric bills instead of owing it... - Communities Magazine

This piece from Hedges is still perhaps the most important one written this May and will no doubt remain relevant, unfortunately, for quite some time.
We stand helpless before the corporate onslaught. There is no way to vote against corporate power. Citizens have no way to bring about the prosecution of Wall Street bankers and financiers for fraud, military and intelligence officials for torture and war crimes, or security and surveillance officers for human rights abuses. The Federal Reserve is reduced to printing money for banks and financiers and lending it to them at almost zero percent interest; corporate officers then lend it to us at usurious rates as high as 30 percent. I do not know what to call this system. It is certainly not capitalism. Extortion might be a better word. The fossil fuel industry, meanwhile, relentlessly trashes the ecosystem for profit. The melting of 40 percent of the summer Arctic sea ice is, to corporations, a business opportunity. Companies rush to the Arctic and extract the last vestiges of oil, natural gas, minerals and fish stocks, indifferent to the death pangs of the planet. The same corporate forces that give us endless soap operas that pass for news, from the latest court proceedings surrounding O.J. Simpson to the tawdry details of the Jodi Arias murder trial, also give us atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide that surpass 400 parts per million. They entrance us with their electronic hallucinations as we waiver, as paralyzed with fear as Odysseus’ sailors, between Scylla and Charybdis.

There is nothing in 5,000 years of economic history to justify the belief that human societies should structure their behavior around the demands of the marketplace. This is an absurd, utopian ideology. The airy promises of the market economy have, by now, all been exposed as lies. The ability of corporations to migrate overseas has decimated our manufacturing base. It has driven down wages, impoverishing our working class and ravaging our middle class. It has forced huge segments of the population—including those burdened by student loans—into decades of debt peonage. It has also opened the way to massive tax shelters that allow companies such as General Electric to pay no income tax. Corporations employ virtual slave labor in Bangladesh and China, making obscene profits. As corporations suck the last resources from communities and the natural world, they leave behind, as Joe Sacco and I saw in the sacrifice zones we wrote about, horrific human suffering and dead landscapes. The greater the destruction, the greater the apparatus crushes dissent.


It is time to build radical mass movements that defy all formal centers of power and make concessions to none. It is time to employ the harsh language of open rebellion and class warfare. It is time to march to the beat of our own drum. The law historically has been a very imperfect tool for justice, as African-Americans know, but now it is exclusively the handmaiden of our corporate oppressors; now it is a mechanism of injustice. It was our corporate overlords who launched this war. Not us. Revolt will see us branded as criminals. Revolt will push us into the shadows. And yet, if we do not revolt we can no longer use the word “hope.”  
- Chris Hedges, Rise or Die


Enterprise Green Communities

We are Enterprise. Our family includes Enterprise Community Partners, Inc, a national Section 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides expertise for affordable housing and sustainable communities. Debt and equity financing for affordable housing is offered through our tax-exempt subsidiaries, Enterprise Community Loan Fund, Inc. and Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. Housing development and asset management services are offered through for-profit members of our family of companies, Enterprise Homes, Inc. and Enterprise Community Asset Management, Inc. Multifamily and commercial real estate financing is offered through Bellwether Enterprise Real Estate Capital, LLC.

Enterprise Communities Report: Incremental Cost, Measurable Savings: Enterprise Green Communities Criteria

Executive Summary

Applying comprehensive green methods and materials to affordable housing developments invariably raises two hotly debated questions:
1) How much do these measures cost?
2) Are these measures cost-effective?
In-depth answers to both questions are now available from Enterprise Community
Partners. This report shares findings from our evaluation of 27 affordable housing developments across the United States that meet the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria. From a strictly financial standpoint, the projected “lifetime” utility cost savings — averaging $4,851 per dwelling unit discounted to today’s dollars — are sufficient to repay the average $4,524 per-unit cost of complying with the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria.

In summary, estimated lifetime savings exceed the initial costs of incorporating the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria into affordable housing.

See Also: Making Green Housing Affordable ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Stuff That Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺
Stuff That Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺ is a DKos Group. At the same time, specific Stuff That Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺ are also Trade Secrets (heh...) to be revealed to, expanded upon and owned by people who pay attention and participate. :) It's going to take somewhere between 5-10 diaries to lay out the territory. IMO it's very interesting stuff and, of course, it's Stuff That Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺. So it's got that going for it.

Two other groups, Affordable Sustainable Housing, and Intentional Communities Research and Development also address Stuff That Matters Most™☮ ♥ ☺, as will become evident directly. If I could I would probably put the diaries of those groups in folders for this group. Maybe DKos 6 or something. In lieu of that I will just include links to those groups in diaries of Stuff That Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺.


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