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Part Three: Talking with Harvey Wasserman, activist, journalist, author, college professor (and more)

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We're back for the third and final installment of my interview with activist and author/journalist Harvey Wasserman. We've covered quite a lot of ground so far, Harvey. Anything you'd like to add?

We are at a critical turning point on Afghanistan. It is the decision that will decide all that follows. Obama has been a horrendous president, squandering the huge progressive momentum that put him and a democratic congress in place. But he is not yet George W. Bush. If we can stop the Afghani escalation and turn the country toward a sane disengagement from there first, and from empire in general, it will mark an historic turning point. The glimmer of light that we might be able to do this is very small. But it's something tangible, and we must pursue it now with all our powers.

Once we do that, we can start to think in terms of where we really want to go. In SOLARTOPIA, I tried to envision a holistic overview of what we need to do. There are those who believe utopian thinking is wishful. It is. But without a clear goal we can never improve our lot.

SOLARTOPIA is the vision of a totally green-powered earth that is also just and sustainable. The eight green steps to getting there define its reality. They are:
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1. BAN WASTE AND WAR: Nothing may be produced that cannot be fully recycled or that will not completely bio-degrade. This includes weapons whose sole purpose is death and destruction, and whose manufacture and use must be ended by a global community that knows war to be the ultimate act of ecological suicide.

2. MAXIMIZE EFFICIENCY & CONSERVATION: From energy to building materials, food to fiber, water to paper, our resources must be preserved. Our unsustainable consumption and wasteful industries must be made appropriate and efficient, starting with a reborn mass transit system and complete preservation of all remaining virgin land and waters.

3. TRANSCEND FOSSIL/NUKE: King CONG (Coal, Oil, Nukes & Gas) must take its place in the compost heap of history. Our addiction to filthy, finite fossil/nuclear fuels has led us to the brink of economic and ecological collapse. In the new green millennium, we either kick the habit, or it kills us.

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4. CONVERT TO RENEWABLES: Solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, ocean thermal, wave, current, sustainable bio-fuels and their green siblings are proven, profitable and have time on their side. Each has its imperfections, and no single source will dominate. But union-made renewables sing in economic and ecological harmony, and are the ultimate job-creators.

5. GO ORGANIC: Factory farming, genetically modified crops and chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are unsustainable. Diverse, community-scaled, reliably organic agriculture is the key to a future fed by food that's fit to eat.

6. TRANSFORM THE CORPORATION: Our most powerful - and destructive - institution claims human rights without human responsibilities. Corporate charters must require social service, ecological accountability and establish a barrier between capitalism and cannibalism. "Green" corporations whose legal mandate still remains limited to accumulating profits will make a mess of the planet as surely as all those that have come before.

7. ASSURE SOCIAL DEMOCRACY: Universal hand-counted (recycled) paper ballots and curbs on the power of money to sway elections are the essence of global democracy, as is the demand for social justice. Until all humans are assured the basics of life - food, shelter, clothing, health care, education - democracy and freedom are shallow illusions.

8. EMPOWER WOMEN/CONTROL POPULATION: Where enfranchised, educated, fairly paid and in control of their own bodies, the natural union of women with Mother Earth brings us the children She wishes to support. On a healthy planet, birth rates find their natural level when all children are loved and wanted, which is where Solartopia starts.

This list follows the form of Buddhism's Four Noble Truths and Eight-Fold Path to Enlightenment. But all religions at their core call for universal harmony between people and the planet.
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And that's where we must go. We can only get there through step one, by banning war. For all the disappointments of the past few decades, dating to the turning point in March, 1965, when Lyndon Johnson escalated the War in Vietnam, we now do have a chance to reverse momentum. We live in an empire whose time is ending. The American Century is over in terms of conquest and hyper-prosperity. The Bush Depression and Obama Wilt are the ultimate symptoms.

But this is still a diverse and worthy nation. We are blessed with incredible diversity, which is a great strength, and with the greatest legal document ever written, the Bill of Rights. We also have the technological ability to feed, clothe, house and educate everyone on this planet. The ingredients for a true Solartopia are all there. It's now our moment to open that first glimmer of reality into making it happen...

Thanks so much, Joan, for allowing me to spout off like this, and to all of you reading this, for your time and attention. No Nukes/No More Stolen Elections/for Solartopia...

Thank you, Harvey, for giving us your take on this new administration and the precarious position we are in, on so many fronts. Your eight green steps are worthy of serious consideration and effort. You're a potent role model for those concerned citizens who aren't willing to roll over and surrender just yet.


Harvey's website bio, speaking engagements, books and more

Solartopia website specifically dedicated to Harvey's environmental vision

Part one of my interview with Harvey

Part two of my interview with Harvey


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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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