Archive for September, 2009

New interview!

Peter Brown was interviewed yesterday on the second hour of The Marc Steiner Show (a radio program in Baltimore), and the podcast of the program is now available.

“We think that there is huge evidence that our economic system is in wrong relationship with the planet, and we are dismembering the life support systems of this planet. This economic system is being held together by band-aids and string, by the Fed and by Secretary Geithner and the current administration, and we think it’s time for a very thorough rethink of the future of life on Earth.”

To everything, a season

The gardening season is drawing inexorably to a close. Frost warnings in the Townships mean my tomatoes are probably almost done, and it’s time to start picking crabapples for jelly and cheering on my pumpkins in the likely-vain hope that they’ll be big enough for jack-o-lanterns in a month. So for today’s post, here’s a roundup of some gardening links I thought were particularly in the spirit of the Moral Economy Project.

Why Gardening Will Help End the Recession: Mike Lieberman at Focus Organic talks about how urban gardening is worth more than its dollar value.

Lure of the Urban Veggie Garden: On a more industrial scale, Wally Satzewich rents yard space from urban Saskatechewanians for intensive small-plot farming.

National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement Could Harm Local, Family-scale and Organic Growers: On a less positive note, an article at Cornucopia discusses how a proposed marketing agreement in the US could drive up costs for small farmers without actually improving food safety.

Let’s Outgrow the Lawn: An opinion piece by Eva Reimer about the wasteful nature of suburban landscaping.

Ten Things You Can Do To Start a Community Garden: From Rebecca Hart at The Nation, the title says it all.

Finally, Battle Zone’s Lethal Harvest: From Titus Peachey at the Philadelphia Inquirer, a Mennonite activist urges Obama to protect gardeners worldwide by signing cluster bomb treaty.

CURB

Not gonna deny, I was pretty skeptical about Twitter when I was first told to start using it for the Moral Economy Project. These days, though, it’s one of my main sources for daily items of interest.

Today’s nifty tidbit is from The Alternative Consumer. The new green acronym: CURB.

C – conserve – waste less water, energy, time and materials.

U – unplug – go off-grid: walk, bike, hike and get out in nature.

R – reuse – bags, food containers, clothes, paper. You get the idea.

B – believe – all the small changes made by individuals can make a giant difference.

I like it.

Symposium videos, part one!

That’s right – the videos from the May 15-16 Montreal symposium are now ready to go! Here’s the first bunch – bear with me here, this is going to be a bit of a long post. More videos to follow shortly!

Stuart Myiow gives the “words that come before all else”:

Geoff Garver introduces the symposium:

Peter G. Brown summarizes what’s wrong with the world today:

The Governance panel:

Which takes us to the lunch break, I think? More videos to follow!

Update: Sorry, didn’t realize there was another one for the Governance panel:

Charity in truth

Today I’m pointing you folks to an excellent summary of Pope Benedict’s Encyclical Charity in Truth (Caritas In Veritate), by John Hart, a Professor of Christian Ethics at Boston University. While we find parts of the encyclical problematic, there’s no question that this is an important document which agrees in many particulars with our own concerns. In particular, the calls for subsidiarity, inter-generational justice, a better relationship between humanity and the rest of the natural environment, and the consideration of peace as an environmental concern are all ideas which we wholeheartedly support. The Quaker Institute for the Future wants to find common ground to work with people of all faiths, in solidarity for a flourishing Earth.


In the Encyclical Benedict recalls some traditional Catholic ecological/eco-justice themes and phrasing. As has been customary in Church documents, the twofold thrust is care for creation/compassion for the poor (people, peoples, nations). The major issues are protection of the planet and provision for the poor. There is a customary omission of serious consideration of population issues in terms of strains on natural goods (“resources”) by continuously expanding populations, and consequent diminished availability of goods for the poor. Benedict does rightly reiterate, in this author’s assessment, the strain on the availability of natural goods, on members of the extended biotic community. He notes especially the strain on Earth’s integrity and well being, of consumerism, greed, and political manipulation of poor nations by powerful nations, ordinarily in the interests of the wealthiest and most politically powerful segments of the dominant nations. Dangers and benefits of globalization are stated, as are issues of war and peace, migration, the rights of labor (including the right to form unions), and abuses of wealth, the market, and economic structures. He calls for intergenerational responsibility to future generations, as well as for compassion and concern for people who are suffering now. There is a strong commitment to promoting the common good versus individual aggrandizement.

For the full text of the summary, please visit the Forum On Religion and Ecology.