Memo To Nick Hanauer and other Zillionaires
From: Lynn Russell,
Liberty Union Candidate for Assistant Judge, Windham County, Vermont
While Nick Hanauer’s song of the beauties of capitalism in “Memo To Other Zillionaires” published in Politico July/August 2014, warned 1%-ers that the growing disparity of wealth could lead to a revolution by the 99%, and while Mr. Hanauer encouraged the 1% to share the wealth in order to enable the 99% more opportunities to purchase products from the 1%, thus increasing the wealth of the 1%, Mr. Hanauer’s view is skewed and narrow. Mr. Hanauer is not thinking clearly in the face of the current crisis of Global Warming and Climate Change.
Seaside villages in Africa have been destroyed as the “sea is reclaiming the land”, according to one resident. Glaciers are really melting, raising the sea level. The global southern hemisphere is impacted in a big way. The governments there are doing nothing, as is our own.
Scientists have warned the world community that carbon emissions are responsible for Global Warming and that in order for life to continue on planet earth, Global carbon emissions need to be reduced by 80% by the year 2050. That is just 35 ½ years from now. Given the slow turnings of governments, organizations and industry, the outlook is not good. Unfortunately the Nick-Hanauer-plan-for-increasing-wealth-for-the-wealthy neglects this very real and imminent threat to survival beyond the current lifetime. Accumulating wealth will not stem the rising tide.
We do congratulate Mr. Hanauer, however, on the successful raising of the minimum wage to a livable wage in Seattle, Washington, in less than one year’s time. We, therefore, challenge you, Mr. Hanauer, and the other zillionaires to put similar energy, intention, influence, and wealth into reducing Global carbon emissions by 80% by the year 2050. We know it is possible, and we believe you can do it!
Lucky for us, there is an example of community sustainability in our own back yard. Cuba models for the world a way that works. [See the free 53 minute documentary on Youtube, the “Power of Community”, by Community Solutions of Yellow Springs, Ohio.] Cuba is no longer dependent on world trade. Cuba is now an independent leader of perma-culture in the west, growing 80% organic food, with health care, housing and jobs for all. Mortality rate is about the same as here in the US.
For those who think science and scientists will save the day rather than our own need to change priorities and habits, that is mistaken thinking. We do not have time for scientists to solve all the world’s environmental challenges. Even if science found a way, unless 1%-ers are willing to share their wealth and spend it on a balanced, life-affirming and sustaining way, Earth is doomed.
It appears that Capitalism is the seed which has blossomed into a civilization of hoarders – hoarders of cash and wealth and lusting for more. The thing is, “more” is never enough. Capitalism has created wealth addicts, and addiction is never satisfied. The world has become enslaved by this addictive sick system … to our own peril. We, 99-ers, now challenge you, 1%-ers, to contradict the addiction -stop accumulating more – because it will kill us all on if you do not. Give away your wealth to ensure the sustainability of life on planet Earth. You cannot take your wealth with you; therefore, if you understand “Earn All You Can” to be referring to the plural “you”, meaning ALL PEOPLE of Earth – because we really ARE all on the same team, there is only one Earth, we are all on the Earth team – then you will have a winning perspective for sure. Any other perspective makes us all losers, even those with lots of wealth.
Native American prophecy foretold of the time when humans would have to choose between a path looking like zigzagging lightning into space ending in nothingness, ie DEATH, or a path back to balance with the earth, back to respectful and sustainable right relationships with all ecosystems as created by the Creator of All Life. The Native American view extends 7 generations into the future; a sure way of instilling the need for conscious sustainable stewardship of the Gifts of Creation and Life. Capitalism has certainly failed at stewardship and at thinking ahead. At the moment, we have one generation within which to loosen the stranglehold of greed on humanity. Will you be the hero to lead this about-face?
Can you imagine what the world will be like when the survival needs of all people are met? The innate creativity within each one will be released. People with ideas better than those of Jeff Bezos, Jeff Tauber, or Bill Gates will have the freedom to explore, express, and share those wonders on Earth. Wouldn’t that be a better world to leave your children than the earth of a suffocating atmosphere with too much carbon and poisonous toxins everywhere? An earth of die-offs and the extinct species list growing daily?
There are several things that can be done immediately.
As soon as possible, replace ALL capitalists in government, which means ALL Republicans and ALL Democrats. These two controlling parties have had enough time. Both parties ignore science and reports of environmental damage by polluting industries. Both parties put money/wealth/”economic growth” ahead of health and safety of people and the planet. This insanity must stop! Vote for anyone other than Republicans or Democrats. Any newcomer to political office cannot do any worse than current office-holders. Any newcomer, in the company of many other newcomers, has the opportunity and likelihood of doing a better job than those who have put the whole earth in peril.
In the realm of business:
1) Stop drilling for oil and gas (polluting the air, water, soil and poisoning people) We have enough for the time being, for the transition to life sustaining energy sources.
2) Stop cutting down trees, especially the rainforests (trees refresh the atmosphere, balancing carbon and oxygen for sustaining life on earth, the very balance that humans need).
3) Plant industrial hemp (sequesters carbon, cleans the air, water, rebuilds the soil; produces food, fuels, materials for building and industry, basically replaces oil dependency without negative consequences; promotes life sustainability rather than threatening life as the fossil fuel industry does) Hemp could replace oil as the cornerstone of so-called civilization. Oil companies should/could be leaders in this movement.
4) Invest in alternative energy sources and industries (some carbon fueled generators are 98% efficient, a much better investment than nuclear or electric or coal-fueled sources, smaller carbon footprint) Relatively quick to install infrastructures. Keep it local. Reduce the risk of massive outages.
5) Stop GMO industry and seed hoarding monopoly (starved people cannot work for you or purchase your goods).
6) Teach people to grow foods where they live, like planting rice in monsoon devastated areas, and in wetlands areas. Keep it local.
7) Teach people how to get clean water; drill clean water wells where needed.
8) Teach people to build housing with hemp or other local grown materials.
9) Use the Passive House standard for all new buildings, and retro-fit existing ones (ie, reduce energy needs in all buildings which now produce 48% carbon emissions of the US). [R100 roof/ceiling; R40-60 wall; R60 floor = energy costs about $100/year]
If you do not accept this challenge, if you decide to go about business as usual, you can be guaranteed your descendants will NOT have the opportunities to share in life on planet Earth as you have. They will have difficulty breathing and may not have enough food or water. Suffocating; dying of thirst or starvation? How will you feel about that? Imagine lying on your death bed knowing you could have prevented the human race and life on earth from going extinct, and you did nothing about it…