Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Great Turning

All is not lost. US global warming emissions are headed lower in the near future, and much lower if strong implementation of the EPA guidelines is in effect, thanks to environmental regulations now in place.

While the current session of Congress has seen attempts by the big corporations and special interests to water down the EPA, there is a growing resistance to this attempt to erode the standards that address climate change. The anti-environment votes taken by the House include 20 votes to block actions to address climate change. These include votes to deny that climate change is occurring; to block EPA from regulating carbon emissions from power plants and oil refineries; to block EPA from regulating carbon emissions from motor vehicles, which also reduces oil imports; and even to eliminate requirements that large sources disclose the level of their carbon emissions.

But there is a counterrevolution brewing. An example of the framework proposed for corporate responsibility in the realm of equitable economies is laid out by the New Economy Working Group. It envisions an economy in which life is the defining value and power resides in people and communities. It contrasts with the popular New Economy 1.0 fantasy of a magical high-tech economy liberated from environmental reality and devoted to the growth of phantom wealth financial assets, the current state of affairs driving the corporate effort to roll back EPA standards.

Its main proponent, David Korten, has established a forum for dialogue on moving the world's economy forward into a truly sustainable business model. His proposal for changing the existing economic model calls for building a money/banking/finance system of local financial institutions that are transparent, accountable, rooted in community and dedicated to funding activities that build community wealth and meet community needs. The proposed system will look quite similar to the one that existed in the United States before the wave of financial deregulation that began in the 1960s.

Since the basis for the old industries has proven so destructive to our social and environmental well-being, it's necessary to move ahead with a new model that regenerates our resources even as it provides the growth potential that businesses require to be profitable. We're running out of "earth" to consume, so we're at the turning point of managing our resources and developing ways to restore natural processes, by creating new economic models that work for the benefit of all of us, not just a small few at the top who can't see into a future that works for the next generation.