Everything seemingly is spinning out of control

Midwestern levees are bursting. Polar bears are adrift. Gas prices are skyrocketing. Home values are abysmal. Air fares, college tuition and health care border on unaffordable. Wars without end rage in Iraq, Afghanistan and against terrorism.

Horatio Alger, twist in your grave.

The can-do, bootstrap approach embedded in the American psyche is under assault. Eroding it is a dour powerlessness that is chipping away at the country’s sturdy conviction that destiny can be commanded with sheer courage and perseverance.

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NASA warming scientist: ‘This is the last chance’

 WASHINGTON – Exactly 20 years after warning America about global warming, a top NASA scientist said the situation has gotten so bad that the world’s only hope is drastic action.

James Hansen told Congress on Monday that the world has long passed the “dangerous level” for greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and needs to get back to 1988 levels. He said Earth’s atmosphere can only stay this loaded with man-made carbon dioxide for a couple more decades without changes such as mass extinction, ecosystem collapse and dramatic sea level rises.

We’re toast if we don’t get on a very different path,” Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute of Space Sciences who is sometimes called the godfather of global warming science, told The Associated Press. “This is the last chance.”

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Our different path….  path to freedom

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  1. Terri says:

    I think its time that public schools intertwine sustainable education into their curriculum. Teach them about the Nearings, let them use someone like you as a guide. I dont think most teenagers out there “get it”…they think everything is disposable….i was glad we just got the “green” network. That should be previewed in the schools as well as a curriculum about consumerism and the destruction of our society. Just my 2 cents…love your blog!

  2. Evelyn says:

    Public schools should not be expected of teaching everything to our kids. They are in big financial trouble everywhere. If we teach our neighbors and our kids they will teach others. When people say it takes a community to raise a child I do not think that they were referring to public school. Live by example and take time to teach others and sooner or later we all will be in the Path of Freedom.

  3. KK says:

    Yes, we are toast if this all plays out as gloomily as presicted. To conteract the paranoia, I’ve been doing what I can in my own little world, planting as many things as I can. But the weather is so kooky lately. Three days of sweltering heat, and the next day it cools off like it’s early Spring. Major crop losses are the biggest immediate worry. Some things this year are not handling the weather extremes. Other things seem to be ok. Add the huge price increases with limited oil supplies, and the recipe for disaster is not looking good.
    Do what you can, be a good nieghbor, teach others what you know about these issues, and power down your desires and your wishful thinking. Be the change is all you can do.

  4. Kory says:

    I had to reach a point of hopelessness before I realized I wasn’t helpless. People aren’t willing to change if they don’t first see a reason. Would so many people be flocking to a new more sustainable way of life were it not for all the bad stuff?

    Problems loom all around us, but there are solutions. We just need to collectively find the courage to walk away from our abusive and dependent systems, and rediscover what it means to be truly free and human.

  5. Andrea says:

    I don’t think green education in school is the answer. Schools need to get back to the 3 R’s, and parents and communities need to step in and be responsible for their own futures.

    Im expecting a huge ‘green’ backlash in the coming years. So far the answer to all our green issues have involved the average Joe spending money…buy a hybrid car, install solar panels, buy overpriced products to save the world!!!! The average Joe like myself, trying to feed and clothe 2 kids, isn’t going to go out and spend 30K on a green car in the *hopes* it will help our environment. What I will do is grow my own food, drive a 4 cylinder car, compost, recycle and unplug. I’m hoping a simple *grassroots* effort takes over where the green movement fails.

  6. lavonne says:

    Two of the most valuable classes I was required to take nearly 50 years ago were sewing and cooking, aka Home Economics. The boys had to take Shop, which involved mechanical things and woodworking.

    I didn’t appreciate these classes at the time, but now I remember them fondly whenever I use one of the skills I learned then. I think “home ec” and “shop” should again be required — for both genders — along with the 3 R’s. The sad fact is that for the most part, these skills weren’t passed down to younger generations, and now most of us are having to learn them on our own as adults.

    My son was lucky to go to a charter school based on the Waldorf curriculum, which included knitting and gardening as well as the 3 R’s. Not that he has the slightest interest in any of that stuff now that he’s 20, but at least he learned the rudiments. I’m hoping they’ll come back to him when he needs them. Should I have taught him these things at home? Of course, but I was too caught up in making a living.

    Which brings up the whole subject of the huge numbers of single parents and the at-home education their kids are losing/have lost in the past few generations. As one of the first latch-key kids of the 50s, I’ve seen both sides of that coin — ack!

  7. Andrea says:

    Lavonne, I totally agree with you about the lack of basic life skills being taught to the younger generations. I can’t even begin to tell you the things I learned at the elbows of my mom and grandma and the things I’ve managed to pick up along the way. I was stunned when a friend of mine, same age as me (in her early 30’s) told me she had no idea how to bake from scratch, put together a meatloaf, can, freeze, knit, crochet, garden etc. Stunned. Her 40K a year college degree didn’t include any practical life skills, so she’s finding being a wife and mom a bit difficult.

    Maybe one of the answers is revamping the 3R’s to include basic skills. My Home Ec experience consisted of making biscuits from a mix, and sewing shorts with no buttons (because buttons were too advanced.) It was a waste of time in my case, simply because of the knowledge I had gleaned from my ‘salt of the earth’ family. Maybe if nothing else comes of this food shortage/fuel crisis, it will be that the generations coming up will be forced to go back to the old ways of being self reliant.

  8. Janice K says:

    This video is somewhat related: it’s edutainment about consumerism and it’s effects. A good intro eye-opener for the average American

  9. Charley says:

    One thing I don’t quite understand and I hadn’t seen mentioned for a few months. How will the sea levels rise if the ice cap melts?

    The Artic and the Ross Ice Shelf made of floating ice. Ice has more volume than water, hence the 10% of the iceberg that you can see, with the other 90% underwater. If it melts, it still has the same volume.

    Or was Archimedes wrong?

  10. Judith says:

    Thanks for the link from Janice K. With the economy in turmoil, fewer of us are spending time at the mall because we need that “disposable income” to pay for gas and food and health insurance. Wow, I just linked health insurance with basic needs. In fact, my health insurance costs more than my house payment. But then I’m retired and do not have an employer paying a large part of the costs.
    My husband and I were at Lowe’s looking for bamboo stakes for our oversized tomato plants when we wandered by the refrigerator and clothes washers section. We would like to purchase a washer that takes less water and is more energy efficient, but our old one works still and the new ones cost a fortune. And we are kind of having fun putting a clothes line up, especially on these hot days. How nice not to heat the house up further!
    Barbara Boxer, one of our state Senators, sent me an e-mail reminding me of the governor’s water conservation message with links to several water conservation sites. While I was happy to receive such useful information, I e-mailed back a response to thank her and remind her that while I follow all the best information, my neighbor does not do a thing and cancels out all my good work. But I continue to be the change.

  11. Chicago Mike says:

    If you want to impart knowledge to the next generation and build better relationships with children, I have, no joke, a two step plan that ALWAYS works.

    1) Turn off all TV screens (be they TV, computers, game consoles) for a majority of the time.

    2) Do Something. Anything. (garden, walk, cook, read, call a friend, play cards, anything)

    Your kids will gain from anything you do that they witness or participate in.

  12. Carol Anne Caudle Lawrence says:

    My father, A horticulturist, and Eco Pioneer, as well, has been an amazing catalyst and influence just as your father has to you.

    I always felt like a was strange or misfitted in this world until I came across your website and read about you and your amazing family!

    I live 1.6 miles from the center of Downtown Charlotte, NC on a .333 acre property in a 1257 sf home built in 1941. I have a 70 ft x 10 ft piece of garden that I LOVE with all my heart and soil…I grow a year round garden, raise bees, can enough veggies (mostly tomatoes and their products for a family of 4, even though I am single, and work a full time job 1.8 miles from my home as a marketing director for an international architecture firm with a satelitte office in Charlotte, NC. I am in the process of building onto my shed to house 3 to 4 chickens (hens) as well but am nervous I might be getting over my head.

    I can all of my tomato products that my Dad and I share but grow on two separate properties 11 miles apart, including: tomatos, Salsa, Marinara, Tomato juice, Bloody Mary Mix, Ketchup, Soup, etc…. for my father, Ted Caudle, and myself. My dad lives ten miles down the road in Matthews, NC and has 2.15 acres and is a horticulturist. He grows a lot of the produce that we use and that I can. He delivers it to me on the way to his Garden Q and A radio show on Saturday mornings. It is on Oldies, 106.1 in Charlotte, NC. (Southern Lawn and Garden Line)

    I am a bee-keeper as well and a single women. It seems men do not understand the pioneer spirit I have, and I wonder how your sisters and yourself find like-minded people in Pascadena?

    You and your family have and will continue to inspire me. If I am in the area on business and can fid a way to come by your place, would this be OK???

    I keep telling my Dad I am going to quit my job and do this full time like he and you guys are already doing quite successfully but I can;t seem to get up the nerve yet.

    Keep up the good work. I think your new T-shirts are great and I am ordering 2 tee-shirts for my Dad and I to spread your message in the Southern US. !!!

  13. Smily says:

    All this talk about what should be required in centralized institutionalized eduction may be well meaning but it’s off the mark entirely in my opinion. Think: you’ve had these systems all along and what have they produced? You think you’re the first in thinking to “change the existing system” from the top down will renew mankind? Are you kidding?
    It will take change from an individual level, one family at a time. And anyway, if you’ve incorporated your beliefs into your daily lifestyle, then hooraayy for you and three thumbs up for the Durvais family. Why try to coerce the unwilling?

  14. In Defense of Urban Beekeeping | says:

    […] them up at night this week. “Consumerism” is also, of course, a big no-no. (To be fair, some of them oppose state coercion.) In fact, The New York Times today ran an op-ed where the author wrote, Nevertheless, there are […]

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