The following is an excerpt from an email that I wrote to a friend.
I understand your cynicism. It’s easy to feel that way in when one looks at the actions of politicians, bankers, wall street and many corporate leaders. However, as much as I am aware of and frustrated by the above, I choose to focus on other segments of the world’s societies. As an example, The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). I was begun over twenty-five years ago by the scientists Amory and Hunter Lovins and a few others. It is a non-profit consultancy. They began by showing businesses how by saving energy and reducing waste, they could increase their bottom line. A simple concept that seems obvious but was not considered by most businesses back then. RMI is now a very large organization that is involved in many different projects. They were recently involved in the retrofit of the Empire State Building. They have been consulting with the defence department for many years. The cost of a gallon of gasoline in a battlefield situation is multiplied enormously do to the security issues while transporting it. The military have gone big time into the use of alternative energy application. A visit to the RMI website is very interesting. I receive their free newsletter. On a different tack, there is the Open Source Software movement. Thousands of programmers around the world have been working for decades to produce software that is free to use and alter. Not only do you have the well know Linux operating system but you have software such as GIMP that is an equivalent to Photoshop. There is the Libre Office Suite that is equal to MS Office and translates Office documents both ways. There are many others both large and small. Going to my home town, Byron Bay, we have a community radio station run by over one hundred volunteers with a few paid part time staff. There are more community radio stations in Australia than there are commercial radio stations. There are international organisations such as Transition Towns that promote local community based economics. In Byron Shire we have producer’s markets four times a week in a different location each time to service just 20,000 people. The markets are cooperatives.You have to produce what you sell and the other members can show up at any time to verify such. Besides the fruits and vegetables, there are coffee growers, a small vinyard, dairies producing cheeses, pork and beef, and even local seafood. Some of it is certified organic and most of it is grown that way. You can find many more examples of people helping people and doing positive things for the earth. The number of NGOs has grown immensely in the last thirty years. My own experience meeting many people in many countries from different races, religions and cultures is that the vast majority just want to live a life of security and basic comfort with friends and loved ones. I live a simple open life as much as possible while being aware that there are those amongst us who are very confused and desperate. It is amazing how people will respond to a genuine smile and a genuine “thanks” or compliment.