What is there to say, as fires ravage the western U.S. and the Amazon, massive floods are devastating parts of South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa, and the world just endured the hottest September on record. There really is only one word to state at this moment, especially applicable to those of us in the United States: VOTE. Vote as if the planet and all inhabitants depend upon this, because they do. Think of our “little blue dot” as you cast your ballot.
Beyond elections, bear in mind that the decisions we make and the actions we take impact all beings on Earth. Something the great environmental activist Wangari Maathai knew well:
Transition Earth - Writers’ Corner
There is a fair amount of talk about green these days, especially the Green New Deal. But do you know about green hydrogen? Geoffrey Holland, our contributing writer, who has authored a book called The Hydrogen Age, has a new article out on the promise of this energy source. We suspect we’ll be hearing more about it in the near future, so here’s a good chance to get more familiar with it.
In “Green Hydrogren – Nature’s Energy Commodity,” Geoff writes that “Life does not exist without hydrogen. It is the ultimate fuel for the biosphere we all depend on. In this early part of the 21st century, more and more, we are embracing nature’s model, and learning how hydrogen can serve the burgeoning energy needs of human society in a way that is life-affirming and sustainable.”
He goes on to note that, “Green hydrogen is a big part of nature’s elegant reality. Think about what that means…limitless, pollution-free energy. It’s already here…clean, inexhaustible, inspired by nature.”
Field Update - Maasai Harmonial Development and Sustainability
In the last year, a Maasai group called Maasai Online Media started a WhatsApp forum, after first having created content for Facebook depicting Maasai culture and social issues.
The number of members has grown over the year and covers a large area in Tanzania. Recently they started talking about early marriage and teen pregnancy and how it seemed to be a serious problem in many places. Even though those girls had started secondary school, many had to drop out due to early pregnancy.
By the miracle of technology and online chat, solutions were conceived and plans made to solve this problem. They have already started finding women who were teen mother dropouts and who want to use their experience to counsel primary and secondary school girls. Now they are looking for some training, which they may find from Maasai Harmonial Development & Sustainability's health educator.
Thanks to WhatsApp and growing literacy, the Maasai are on the road to solving their own problems.
Pictured above is Grace, our health educator (center, wearing glasses), after teaching the secondary girls and boys how to avoid early pregnancy and about family planning.
Let's Talk Population
Last month we briefly talked about the push for economic growth, and part and parcel of that is population growth. Promoting alternatives to this narrative is imperative if we are going to affect real, lasting change. We don’t have to return to being hunters and gatherers, but changing consumption patterns and ceasing the plundering of the Earth’s resources is needed, along with having a sustainable and healthy population.
One person who has worked for many decades on localization and alternative economic systems is Helena Norberg-Hodge, founder of Local Futures. She was recently featured in The New York Times for her efforts. The story doesn’t address population, but it touches upon her ways of thinking that can help us live within planetary means, and overcome the economic growth and population growth mantras we hear all the time.
Helena would like to move past GDP as an economic indicator; instead, she would like the world to have an “economics of happiness,” where the cost of environmental damage is included for products shipped over long distances; where intangible benefits like community are more deeply valued in policy.
Video of the Month
We highly recommend watching David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet. It has been described as this: At once a terrifying condemnation of the human destruction and decline of biodiversity on our planet, but also a hopeful and inspirational manifesto for the steps that can still be taken to mitigate the crisis, the documentary should be considered mandatory viewing.
We would add, it should be mandatory viewing for everyone on the planet, young and old. Here is the trailer (documentary available on Netflix):