Which species are we?

Saturday evening, I took my daughter, a recent graduate of the Sustainable Occupations program at Quail Springs, to the benefit for that program at the Marjorie Luke Theater, featuring Van Jones.

He opened with this simple question, suggesting that in this century, humans will decide or demonstrate whether we are locusts, or honey bees. Will we ravage the earth leaving it barren or will we organize and socialize into a contribution to the systems that have provided the platform upon which we have succeeded to this point?

Jones articulates an optimistic compassionate and pragmatic course that focuses on what he calls the “fourth quadrant”. On the continuum of problems/solutions he adds a vertical rich/poor axis, and there on the lower right are the solutions to both our biochemical issues and our economic ones. Only through addressing the employment and nutritional (among others) aspects of this quadrant can we actually expect to succeed in the broader problems of the other three quadrants. So in bringing fresh produce to the urban poor, whether by shifting farmer’s markets there or urban farming, can we have any probability of addressing the issues that challenge the polar bear or the asthmatic. It’s right there on the quadrant chart, believe me.

Other interesting Jones observations- we have a generation of veterans, traumatized by their experience, who are coming home to no jobs, no homes, and no hope. Each month, according to the Army Times last year. 18 veterans commit suicide. There are 950 attempts each month.

Jones presentation was titled, “The Next American Economy”. As he articulates it, it generates independence and freedom at the personal, community and national levels, leveraging markets. Jones says that despite what might be said about him, or more accurately his past, he loves markets.”I would like to see a free market”, in particular in energy. He points out that the petroleum industry receives three multibillion dollar subsidies ( direct, military and tax credits) while the sustainable alternative energy producers fight to get even millions.

So are you a locust, extracting value, excreting toxins, or a honey bee, building, nourishing and enabling the reproduction of the beauty and sweetness all around you?

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