Paula Hendricks

Author ~:~ Writer ~:~ Book Designer ~:~ Book Producer

I feel good about America today

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Yes, I know the financial markets are in a mess, here at home and all around the world.

Yes, I know China is building at least one coal fired power plant a week and already 1/3 of the pollution that reaches my city comes from China.

Yes, I know a friend of mine has defaulted on his mortgage at least 5 times and may lose his home.

Yes, I know it will be harder for me to find work I love with unemployment rising.

Yes, I know I have not saved enough and don’t have enough in my retirement account and I’m a boomer.

Yes, we are in debt up to our ears – collectively and individually – my own personal debt load is high and now I’m paying for mortgages even though I knew I couldn’t bear one myself.

Yes, it costs me more to fill my gas tank – upwards of $50 not too long ago and expecting that to rise significantly.

Yes, more and more things are out of my reach.

Yes, there are potholes in the streets, bridges collapsing and levees breaking all across America.

Yes, farm subsidies benefit food processors more than they do the farmers.

And just recently we bailed out, again, the auto industry for $25 billion and it won’t help us move into the future in a strong way – it’s about shoring up the past, again.

Yes, I see government, both parties and the bureaucracies, not doing their jobs and making life both harder and stultifying.

Yes, our health care system is a nightmare.

Yes, our food system is toxic.

We are doing this to ourselves and we are all, collectively, to blame.

On the most basic levels, our system is broken, from the inside. And we are not yet dealing with the underlying issues. Our solutions assume the old paradigms. We need to find new ones suitable to the world we now actually live in.

But, there is good news. In some places we are dealing with these underlying issues. In many places we are taking many actions that, collectively, could save us.

San Francisco has turned its Ferry Building into a village square with real food (meat without hormones and antibiotics; fruits and vegetables grown organic, locally and sustainably).

Portland is ahead of the pack on sustainability regarding urban planning

Arcadia, CA and Seattle have built waste water plants that ultimately deliver no toxic waste water back into our ecosystem.

884 U.S. mayors have signed the Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement to meet the Kyoto Protocol standards by 2012

Hybrid users are converting their cars to electric plug-ins – they aren’t waiting the years our auto industry leaders are telling us we have to wait.

California is suing the EPA to let it set higher auto emissions standards then those set by the Fed, and at least 15 other states are waiting to sign on when CA wins its lawsuit.

T. Boone Pickens, an oilman all his life, is spending millions promoting new ways into our energy future, not based on oil, fossil fuels, and sending billions of dollars to other countries every day.

Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Price for his work on climate change.

Lynn Twist writes about the soul of money and builds an alliance with an indigenous people in Peru.

Wal-Mart hired a past executive of the Sierra Club to help them go green… and save costs.

California pension fund managers are demanding more from their fund companies – they are asking hard questions of the oil companies.

At a business breakfast last week, the spokesperson from PG&E (large utility company) quoted Thomas Friedman’s new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded.

PG&E has gone to Congress to request more regulation on environmental issues.

The progressive media is building alliances to ensure the continuation of an independent media and a counter to the already cohered conservative media.

Ultra conservatives are beginning to ask basic questions and I find myself nodding along.

Progressives and liberals are learning to be proud of their beliefs.

A significant majority of America says they want change and it seems real. The natives are restless.

Slow Food Nation has become an international movement.

Most of the innovation, most of the creativity, most of the new business, most of the forward looking and forward thinking about this country and the world is arising from the grassroots.

It looks like many of our problems are being tackled from the ground up, not the top down.

We are beginning to see that there will be no fat cats if the small cats can’t buy things. It’s good business for there to be an economically strong middle class.

We have most of the tools we need to fix things:

We can refocus our health care system to prevention and away from disease – and it will save us money and make us more productive.

We can use information technology to help us save energy, guide traffic (in the air and on the ground), give consumers information that will help us be better citizens and better energy and water users.

Small towns in California (in Marin county) are building local rail systems to reduce congestion.

California is ready to pass bonds to build high-speed rail that will connect our major cities. Even in California we are looking beyond cars and trucks.

We can learn from others (here at home and abroad) how to build tidal energy systems, solar systems, restored wetlands, urban design, transportation systems, food systems, prison and legal systems.

What an exciting time! The financial chaos we are in right now has made it clear we live in a global eco system and it’s time we looked at all our systems to see how they can be updated to reflect this.

Ideas and innovations and prototypes are blooming at the bottom. There is a restlessness and bubbling everywhere – everywhere except in old industries and the federal government. People are not waiting for Washington any more. We are doing it ourselves.

This is an opportunity for growth, for greater connectedness, for revamping our economy to make money, to rebuild the middle class, and to simply live in a richly textured, vibrant world.

I can’t wait. I need to be part of this restless, scary, exciting, critical, essential revolution.


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