a living thing in the forest

In 2002, Martin Feldstein wrote an article for the National Bureau of Economic Reseach describing a plan to decrease US consumption of gasoline.  Very shortly after 9/11, the connection between oil and national security was easily made.  I love the idea of Oil Consumption Vouchers as described in Feldstein’s article.

Last winter I read The Lacuna, a novel by Barbara Kingsolver and she described how, in the 30’s We the People pulled together, embraced rationing, for the common good of our nation and the world.  Americans had a common goal.  We were united.  I was not born yet, but I know women who painted lines up the back of their legs to simulate nylon stocking seams to give the illusion that they were not out in the world bare-legged.

Oil Consumption Vouchers could be our modern Community Voyage.  Conservatives and Progressives may not agree on why we, as a country, need to decrease our dependence on fossil fuel.  National security, global warming, save the earth, save our strategic political/economic dominance, decrease the deficit.  It really does not matter why you might choose to participate.  We can each hold our opposing ideologies and achieve the same goal:  use our own oil reserves as much as possible.

OCV’s will not solve the problem, but it is a step and more importantly, it is a step we can take together.

Our government needs our help.  Our democratic system is struggling right now.  Politicians are squeezed between the need to make vast sums of money to get reelected with the lobbyists holding all the power and the fringe of their constituencies.  Tea party, Coffee party, Blue Dogs.  And the majority of us now call ourselves “independent” and wait for the radicals to elect their candidates in the primaries so that we can choose from lesser evils in the general election.  We the People need to step up for energy policy, national security, deficit reduction, planet health and take action on our own behalf.

Unfortunately, I cannot find another reference to this plan.  I have written to Dr. Feldstein asking for more current information.  His assistant says that he is traveling.  I will await his reply.  Oh, and send him this blog entry.

Are you in?


4 of 6 knitted puppets complete from Knitpicks

WordPress is a busy place.  This is my first post here.  Previous posts were on my first blog at Blogger.  Everyone was talking about WordPress.  Being late to the blog game, jump in an paddle is the only option.

Knitting helps me cope.  When times get tough, knit socks.  I have been knitting tons of socks since 2004; politically a really bad year for me.  Knitting socks keeps me in my seat when bolting seems the only reasonable option. I knit socks for one of my favorite charities, Casa Hogar de Los Angeles.  Early on, people asked me to knit socks for them.  If I put my hourly rate to a pair of socks no one could or would afford them. So, for a 25 dollar donation to Casa Hogar, my friends get a pair of socks made just for them and I get a few more hours with NPR or PBS without killing myself or others.

Socks have given way to puppets for the moment.  Grandkids are on the way.  Socks for feet that grow an inch a month are not an option.

Social Innovation

July 11, 2010

The Venus Project is too far out for me even though I love sci fi and the photos on their site reminded me that I have an issue of Asimov yet to read. I need something a little closer to now to dig my teeth into, however.

TED is a great source of information for us auditory learners. My most recent viewing was of Geoff Mulgan. “Instead of sending bailout money to doomed old industries, why not use stimulus funds to bootstrap some new, socially responsible companies — and make the world a little bit better?

Great idea. Mulgan directs the Young Foundation that has a long history of social innovation, or helping grassroots organizations help their community.

President Obama now has an Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. I tried to read through some of their blog postings but I must say… blah, blah, blah. Way too much rhetoric for me; too little action and too much talk.?

Boston is home to an action-oriented group called Root Cause. They support non-profits in the Boston area that improve their communities like develop cross-generational reading programs and art for poverty stricken communities. How is this going to pull our country away from economic disaster and our planet from ecological meltdown? Luckily there are people like the Venus project working on changing the world in a big way, while there are others who can work close to home.

The Root Cause website is full of honest-to-goodness achievements. The more local the support, it appears, the more productive the system.

Stanford has a whole department of social innovation. The internships and success stories on their blog highlight their students’ experiences in Africa and Thailand. There is such need here in the US right now, with the recession and unemployment that I am drawn to learn more about social change in my own country.