A Better World is Possible-- Precautionary Action to Take Back America from the Dinosaurs
Yes, a better world really is possible. And the people who are making it happen are here in this room today.
What's it going to take to win? 5 Steps to success 1. Know why we're doing what we're doing
2. Understand our adversaries and undermine their base of support
3. Rebuild the economy on a sustainable basis, creating millions of "green collar" jobs
4. To accomplish this, we can continue to build a powerful multi-racial, multi-ethnic, movement for change
5. But to succeed, we will need to make decisions in a new way: Precautionary Action
Point #1: Let's be clear why we are doing this work
We should all have a little rap explaining to our brother-in-law, our pastor, our co-worker... ** what's wrong ** why it matters ** what needs to be done about it.
So here’s my rap Cancers are increasing in children
Among adults, one out of every 2 men and 4 out every 10 women will get cancer some time during their lives
50% of men will get cancer sometime during their lives, and 40% of women
There is an asthma epidemic among our children
There is an epidemic of attention deficits and hyperactivity among our children
There is an epidemic of diabetes in the U.S, especially among young people
Global warming is upon us, creating more, and more intense, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, and floods
Family farms have been destroyed, replaced by corporate agriculture
Wages have stagnated since 1970
The gap between the super-rich and everyone else has grown enormously in the last 30 years, and this has damaged our democracy. Money talks and money votes.
The U.S. today is controlled by Big Money Two percent of Americans own 50% of everything. These are the "corporate elite."
In 2004, Congress and the President spent a total of $3.9 billion getting elected. You don't raise that kind of money from bake sales. The corporate elite provides the bulk of those funds.
There are 535 legislators in Washington, but there are 35,000 lobbyists That’s 65 lobbyists for every member of Congress
Lobbyists use every trick in the book, including legal bribery (campaign contributions) to buy votes. And they succeed.
The corporate elite and their lobbyists decide the Big Questions, such as ** What kind of public education system will we have? ** What topics are suitable for public debate?
The corporate elite decide ** Will we have war or peace? ** Will we move to renewable energy? ** Who can run for office?
Point #2: We need to undermine their base of support
Don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with being wealthy. Most of us would love to be wealthy. But in a democracy, wealth is not supposed to translate directly into political power.
It’s supposed to be one person, one vote NOT one dollar, one vote
We need to ELIMINATE private money from our elections
This would give ordinary people a fair chance of getting elected and it would ELIMINATE the money power of the lobbyists in Washington
This is the reform that would make all other reforms possible
Point #3: Rebuild the economy The world is awash in good new ideas
** green chemistry ** green building ** new urban designs and re-designs ** new forms of transportation ** renewable energy ** new kinds of sustainable production
** cradle-to-cradle design ** zero waste manufacturing
Many of these advances promise to create large numbers of jobs, rebuilding the decaying infrastructure of the nation (bridges, water supply systems, air traffic control, electrical grids, power plants, production systems and so on).
Making our cities energy-efficient and developing new, green technologies could make America a world industrial leader again
But we can't get to those good new ideas without major investment by the public sector
Public investment has always been the basis of innovation and progress in the U.S.
** railroads ** airlines ** the petroleum-based economy ** the interstate highway system (and state roads)
** microprocessors ** the internet ** pharmaceutical products ** most medical advances All results of public investment
What is standing in the way? Dinosaur corporations, profiting handsomely from old, wasteful and destructive ways of doing business
** coal ** mining ** oil ** nuclear power ** petro-chemicals ** pharmaceuticals
More dinosaurs… ** automobile companies ** corporate agriculture ** the garbage industry
These industries are committed to an old formula for succeeding in business, which worked for a long time: haste + waste = profit
It is the commitment to wasteful ways that gives us long-lived radioactive residues, sewage sludge dumped onto farmland, and incinerators that, once built, must be fed waste for 50 years.
And it is these same industries that are standing in the way, preventing the world from entering the new age of sustainable production.
And this is why local work against waste is crucially important – these dinosaurs must be exposed and opposed so that the new world of sustainable production can be born
So long as cheap, dirty waste disposal is available, the new technologies will remain on the shelf Cheap waste disposal is a taxpayer subsidy that allows dirty, harmful, dinosaur industries to survive.
Landfills, incinerators, sewage sludge put on the land, radioactive waste put into landfills or put into the recycling stream -- these are all part of the same problem
Point #4: We need to continue to build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-issue movement for change Some of our friends seem to have forgotten the basic truth about social change: Social change always requires a FIGHT for JUSTICE.