New Year Revolutions

I am finally getting my theme for 2006 sorted out and in doing this I have read the previous New Years Messages that I have wrote and thought that I will try to organize this better.

This message below is for 2005 and the theme is that the internet can bring grass roots DIY technology to people - this is technology that can really help us - but it is not mainstreamed by the "authorities". So, solaroof and Dr. Chan's Integrated Farming And Waste Managment Systems will bring about the change that they should because people will access the knowledge directly through the internet.

Dear George,

I am very inspired by your work as an innovator and that you have, through years of persistent effort, gained the support of many of the small island developing states (SIDS) - and some of them have actually implemented your ecologically correct designs. Never the less you are saying that there is not nearly enough recognition of your ecological methods. You ask, how do we reach the professional practitioners and the people themselves who are in the mainstream and are overwhelmed by problems but are largely unaware of the errors of their way of life? And you assert, with a justified sense of anger, that the situation is perpetuated by a trait of stubborn stupidity.

However it is not really stupidity, because in spite of acting wrongly, it is a fact that many are concerned and are doing the best they can to work intelligently with the knowledge and training that they have received from "authoritative sources". For myself I can say that in my personal life I live in that same mainstream reality and for the most part I admit that my lifestyle is part of the problem even though I teach methods for alternative lifestyles. Not every person is positioned to take practical steps to build an Eco Living lifestyle - but together we have all the gifts and capacities and some have the situation where they can take action. This is the advantage of a collaborative community - the experience of one is shared across the community and gradually personal lifestyle change will become more accessible to everyone.

At this critical time we must be universally open and accessible - building a global family - a world where we are powerfully connected to each other. This used to be a utopian vision but now it is potentially a mainstream reality ; due to the vastly improved communication and collaboration systems of the internet - we can actually give birth to a global awareness. This means that we can reach past barriers that previously inhibited understanding. Our communication is not restricted to formal "channels" any more - we can reach out directly to speak our dreams and visions to the world. The internet is something of a leveler; a space where we are are all just persons looking for knowledge and to connect with ideas and people that are important to us.

In the past there was a dilemma of whether it would be most productive to work "from the inside" or to be a rebel and force revolutionary change on society or try to exert an evolutionary influence on people from "the outside". Those on the "fringe" often had no effective way to speak to the mainstream and could feel very isolated and perhaps angry when it would seem that years of sacrifice would never influence "the system". Nor was there enough knowledge of what these pioneers were actually doing and why the efforts they made would be important. The "command and control" social and economic structures also tended to place communication barriers between the mainstream and the disruptive information and knowledge found on the cutting edge. Now this censoring of information is impossible because we are all able to publish our thoughts and our results to the world - and the stuff that is important will "bubble to the top" because each person has a network and messages of significance to our collective awareness are now multiplied throughout multitudes of networks so that any voice that resonates with truth can be heard. This is a new manifestation of human intelligence, collective consciousness and unity of spirit at a time when we urgently need to find global solutions.

Days gone by I worked in isolation and faced rejection by "the system" and lack of any response from the formal "channels" of communication that society and the gate keepers who protect the status quo. I was told that I would only get ahead by "protecting" my knowledge and positioning myself to seek leverage and status within the system through patents and by cultivating strong competitive traits. Success would go to the independent, ego driven and strongest - that is the paradigm of "the system"; it is designed to resist change by isolating and incapacitating individuals - especially those most likely to be the source of "disruptive" technical and social innovations. I was conditioned to keep my inventions to myself and disclose only on terms that would advance my personal gain and power. But, since the new millennium I have chosen to operate on the Open Source paradigm - and five years later I am beginning to see a big change.

We all need a greater realization of the power of the tool that is now in our hands - this tool that can provide so many benefits. We who are using ICT might be standing so close to this development that it is difficult to see the bigger picture - and to appreciate, not the details, but the larger opportunities that are now available for those on the fringes. The big change is that there is no longer any difficulty for a vast number of mainstream people to learn about our work and discover the most disruptive and change bringing innovations. Thus we pioneers are no longer invisible - we have all the exposure that could be hoped for. Suddenly the challenges are very different and we must adapt and become the example and living proof of the capacity of people to change. The question is: will our example stand up to such instant investigation. Those that only talk the talk but cannot deliver on what they say will not hold attention for long. But those who have achieved authentic but unrecognized success will become popular and their innovations, no mater how disruptive will be moved to the mainstream - certainly not without some difficulties and challenges - but I feel that progress will become more certain and rapid. Grass roots solutions with Do It Yourself? know how will diffuse quickly across the globe.

Once we begin to understand these new realities then we can also work in ways that will maximize the results and potential for benefits to be transmitted more directly and effectively to those in greatest need. The challenge is no longer to be heard, but to have something to say, or more importantly, something to show. And the burning issue for those pioneering this new paradigm for change is to change our own attitudes about cooperation versus competition and to not only show results but share the know how - this is the Open Source ethic. The power of the internet collaboration will be released fully when we subdue the role of ego and empower collaboration by "working openly" and disclosing fully and transparently how everyone can duplicate what we are doing. This way of working will build the new "Gift Economy" and we must place our confidence such new patterns of living and new economic mechanisms will emerge for sustainable livelihoods. In an Open Source community where scarcity is no longer the mechanism used to value most physical resources - and where our time becomes the most valuable of resources - there is no doubt that the new economic paradigm will disrupt "the status quo".

Thus the rebels and radicals no long need to carry the banner of protest "against the system" nor should we cultivate anger against the mainstream - this is because we have no more excuses that we are not being heard. Our only problem is the question of whether our words, our lifestyle and our "success" with the innovations that we champion are powerful enough to attract the attention and the enthusiastic response of people everywhere. We do not need everyone, all at once to understand, support and adopt the changes that we propose and demonstrate. Since we can reach millions it is realistic to expect that within a short time hundreds and then thousands of the mainstream, who desire a better world will give the solutions a try. Broad success will then assure that the innovations will spread like a virus from person to person and group to group. With the strong networks that we can now form and rapidly extend, there is no doubt that grass roots innovations, no mater how "disruptive" they could be will become available without any possibility of the power of the status quo to impede or resist.

Therefore I do not need to argue or contend with any experts or gatekeepers of the system. If one can say that even the environmental and renewable energy communities have become conservative and resistant to new innovations (sometimes their own worst enemy) then this is not really a problem. These authoritative figures will be seen to be ineffective and the mainstream will find them uninteresting and self important and will by pass them because they now have the ability to connect directly with those on the fringes who are manifesting real change; who are demonstrating exciting and authentic new lifestyles. The real solutions will be found by the multitudes of individuals who are sincerely looking for answers to their concerns and among these there will be great numbers that cannot resist the challenge to "be the change". So, if we go forward with confidence in our work we can expect to see a radical departure from the limitations of the past century. We should forget about feelings of frustration and anger and avoid contention because it is simply a waste of valuable time and resources. Instead we must concentrate on welcoming new members into our global communities and supporting their local initiatives.

If this is the result that you have been hoping for; if you feel that the times are especially critical and that it is urgent to find ways to transform our world into a sustainable, peaceful and secure place for everyone then I recommend to you to put even more energy into networking among your friends and communities and to be one of the "eyes and ears" of our collective conciousness. When you see something that speaks to you of truth and reflects the dreams that you have for the future of your children - then spread the news - get excited and get involved. Grass Roots action is the effective way to change the big and threatening trends that we see in the world. We each need to find solutions that are appropriate to our situation and use them to leap frog the problems. The answers are already out there - believe me - there is no need to wait for breakthroughs and the hollow promises of government, big business, universities and so called leaders and authorities - just find and put into practice solutions that have already been proven by pioneering individuals - many of whom have been implementing the solutions to our problems for the past couple of decades.

Together we can BUILD a sustainable future - Rick (aka Solaroofguy

Comments are very welcome! Link to your New Year Revolution from this page - speak your dreams here!

Dr.George Chan wrote:

Dear Jeff, JAN 11, 2005

Further to my earlier message, I would like to add some comments on the "stupidity of present development' in the small island developing states(SIDS) before I go to my meeting today.

Appropriately it will be on waste management, and the comments from you, Van and Rick have inspired me to explain my definition of stupidity:

FOOD -- the SIDS have to import petroleum products, chemical fertilizers, and NOW even seeds (not GM yet, thank the Lord) to grow and process foods that are not traditional. Why do we have to change our diets, which were healthy and nutritious to produce 100-yar old people?

My alternative is that we produce our energy, fertilizer, feed, etc by enhancing ALL natural processes to produce all the livestock, fish, cereals, fruits and vegetables we need, with maximum yield at lowest costs. I think it's stupid to do otherwise.

WATER -- The SIDS use river or lake water, which is impounded in costly reservoirs and need costly treatment plants copied from cold countries, with added imported chlorine, to remove the possible pollution.

My alternative is to use the natural groundwater reservoir (aquifer)where the water is protected naturally, build a simple gallery to collect adequate water in a protected sump, and pipe the safe water to the consumers, without adding anything. For obvious reasons, I think it is stupid to do otherwise.

WASTEWATER -- The SIDS have expensive treatment plants for the human sewage, with high operational costs to treat the sewage partially, and then dump the effluent into bodies of water and eventually to the sea. The costs are so prohibitive to treat livestock wastes that nothing is done even in USA and Europe, as they are left to rot on site or spread raw on fields, with the surplus finding its way to contaminate water supplies, as it is now done inthe whole state of Texas.

My alternative is to treat ALL wastes TOTALLY in anaerobic digesters first because they are the most efficient above 20 degrees Celcius, which is common in ALL SIDS, followed by cheaper shallow basins and deep ponds to make use of our ot sun and other natural resources, most abundant in th SIDS. I recover the bioas energy and all the useful nutrients as means of production, again having the highest productivity at lowest costs. Again, I feel that doing otherwise is stupid.

So I am talking about our basic needs, which we can obtain by utilizing our own natural resources. I have nothing to do with other developers, except to remind them that they can do anything they want provided they do not take more than their fair share, and that they respect the rights of others, including the protection of the environment, the climate, and other common things that God has provided for everybody . . .

Jeff, I know what I am going to talk about today. Thanks again for the inspiration! Maybe I should find another word for stupidity, and I will try to get the help of the audience today.