Social, Economic, Enviromental Responsibility

Category: Inspiration

Stanford Researchers Developing Rocket-Powered Sewage Treatment System | Popular Science

Stanford Researchers Developing Rocket-Powered Sewage Treatment System | Popular Science.

A hot jet of gas would be an incredible source of energy, and easy to exploit.

Let’s see if this one stays only as a research experiment


I am again helping at Camp Willson, and thoroughly enjoying myself! But I realized something today: when I mention the “outdoors” there’s an assumption that I mean the current perception of “outdoors.” The one that involves $1500 mountain bikes, $200 hiking shoes, and the latest in high tech outdoor gear.

No. I simply mean outside.

This week, my footwear consist of canvas boat shoes, sport sandals, and flip flops. If I wasn’t forced to wear sport sandals; I’d be wearing the flip flops.

My best memories of camping, involve my parents camper and cheap pup tents. Nothing crazy.

When I say go outside, just go outside.

It will do you a world of good. But let me put it this way: Being outside gives you an excuse to be tan. And not that lame, slightly effeminate “laying out” crap either.

It’s Hot!

So hot in fact that I can’t even finish a full post. Enjoy this little bit though:

Oh yes, that is Will Smith!

Recycled Clothing Art by Guerra De La Paz

Recycled Clothing Art by Guerra De La Paz.

Most of the time, when you start talking about “recycled art” it ends up looking like a pile of junk with a ridiculous price tag, and an ostentatious explanation:

“this is supposed to represent the struggle that all men must go thr…”

Stop right there, cheese eating surrender monkey!

Being a conservationist, it’s refreshing to see when recycled and art come together to create something that looks beautiful!


Beautiful Houses: Cliff House in Kerala, India | Abduzeedo | Graphic Design Inspiration and Photoshop Tutorials

Beautiful Houses: Cliff House in Kerala, India | Abduzeedo | Graphic Design Inspiration and Photoshop Tutorials.

How Much Space Do You Need, Really?

330 square feet of space, 24 configurations. It’s not for everybody, but it should get you thinking about maximizing the  space in your own home or apartment.

It also raises a larger question: When did size start to matter?

For guys, it was probably junior high. We never really got over that locker room competition.

Gary Chang looked at his space, and then maximized it to it’s fullest potential. Imagine a home where every single room is used to its maximum potential. Or a car, or a freeway, or anything else in our lives.

I believe part of the reason people like the iPhone is because it offers so much in such a small package. People don’t like the SmartCar because it offers almost nothing and costs too much.

Celebrate Our “Independence”… Ignore Our Lack of Freedom

234 years ago, a group of men and women declared their independence from a tyrant. Citing the inability to exercise God given freedoms, taxation without representation, unlawful and unjust practices, and more egregious acts against humanity: our Forefathers set out the create a more perfect Union.

A government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Where fear and tyranny had no home, where all men were created equal and given the same opportunity to make something of themselves. A land where a person was judged on the content of his heart; a brick layer and a business man had the same voice, the same rights, and the same duty under the law.

On July 4th, 1776, the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence; and set forth on a course of action that would change the world as we know it.

It is with sadness that I declare the grand experiment of the United States to be a failure in the modern world.

Justice, honor, decency, freedom, equality: These are only words used to gather votes. They mean nothing anymore. We live under a new tyrant. The tyrant of unchecked greed and avarice and selfishness.

We are reduced to nothing more than a number in a formula and judged according to that. We bear the burden of the wicked and their greed. They continue to get richer, while we continue to be laid off. To be left stricken and destitute in the streets.

“Main Street” is an image used to stir hearts and minds but it is not defended from those who would seek to rape it. To pillage it, to subdue it and enslave its people.

Those elected to govern us, to make the right and just decisions, to check the evil of wicked men: Have been seduced by power and abandoned their posts in pursuit of personal gain.

We have been quietly ensnared and enslaved, and forced into a feudal state. The very situation that our ancestors sought to leave.They left everything, their homes, their lives, their countries: to seek a life where a man can make of himself what he will.

That no longer happens. We are promised freedom, and given slavery. Like the child who wants bread, but is given a stone.

We are owned in every way save name, to a select few. Companies whose reckless behavior cost millions their jobs, and thousands of families their homes. Yet they sit next to our leaders, receiving only a stern warning, a slap on the wrist, and billions of our dollars to continue to act as they see fit.

Our shores are polluted. Our air is polluted! The beauty of our land is bulldozed under for the pursuit of profit. Jobs are moved overseas in the pursuit of profit. Whole communities are left with nothing. And the citizens of this nation are trapped under mountains of debt they can never hope to escape from. And the laws which are supposed to protect us, have been twisted, warped, and ignored outright, until they have no teeth, no strength. Or worse, our leaders are legally bribed to strike those laws from the books, to keep us under oppression. When their power is derived from us!

Make no mistake: we are not free. Not in any sense of the word.

This is not justice! When the authors of our current woes, those who engineered this economic disaster are allowed to walk free? Is this the land of the Free? Is this what so many fought and died for?

What course of action will we now take? Will we bow our heads and bend our knees to tyranny? It matters not the form of tyranny, nor its benevolence, a tyrant is a tyrant! Will we sit quietly like sheep? Like children?

Or will we stand against reckless greed, against tyranny, against the evil that seeks to reduce men and women to less than what they are?

Our ancestors fought and died on the fields of revolution. Our forebears fought brother against brother for freedom from slavery. Our great-grandfathers crossed the ocean to stop tyranny from advancing across Europe. Our grandfathers died in foreign lands on both sides of the globe to stop evil. They marched hand in hand with those who peacefully demanded freedom. Our parents demanded peace and justice, and that the wall of fear and oppression be torn down; so that brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers might once again be united.

From Yorktown, to Antietam. From Versailles to Normandy to Iwo Jima. From Birmingham to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Our families fought for what was right.

What will we do now?

YouTube – The Knife “Heartbeats” Sony Commercial

Go out and create something beautiful today.

Retrofitting Suburbia

YouTube – Ellen Dunham-Jones: Retrofitting suburbia.

Interesting video, and for once it appears that suburbia isn’t the villain. Ms. Dunham-Jones highlights the opportunities available to suburban communities to redevelop and retrofit themselves to become more sustainable, and nicer looking.

While watching this video I remembered that many city neighborhoods were pre-runners to suburbs, and they came into existence because of: trolleys!


We talk about redeveloping our urban spaces and our suburbs, but what about our neighborhoods?

Our whole building system needs to be reworked. Let’s change zoning laws to allow better integration of businesses and commercial enterprises. Many people don’t walk to work because they can’t!

Mass transit isn’t used because there is no real added benefit. Many times it’s more of a hassle, more inefficient and more inconvenient to take the bus, then it is to drive a car.

Psychologists lament the loss of real community (even Men’s Health talks about it), and one of the reasons I believe this has happened is the lack of “third spaces.” There is no neighborhood diner, coffee shop, bar, or grocery store anymore. Not really.

Applebee’s, Meijers, and others attempt it. But a person still has to drive 30 minutes to get there. I can’t walk out of my house and in a reasonable amount of time walk to a restaurant or grocery store.

Let’s re-design our communities in a more intelligent way!

With A Vengence

I survived my week at camp. Barely. All that playing, swimming, and severe lack of sleep took its toll.

But I had a great time, was very lucky to have a cabin full of well behaved children, and worked with a great staff. I even got tan!

During the week, I had a realization: Our current tax system actually inhibits sustainability.

A quick google search on the average business tax rate reveals that it’s anywhere from 13% for single owner, small businesses (ala the SBA) up to 40% for large corporations. According to the OCED the corporate tax rate for 2010 was roughly 20%.

This means that anywhere from a tenth to a full fifth of a company’s gross income is eaten up in taxes. Meaning that profit margins are that much smaller. This actually discourages the adoption of sustainable methods due to their higher initial costs. High taxes plus higher initial cost means even smaller profit margins. Small profit margins encourage higher prices. Which pushes sustainable made items out of reach for most consumers.

Up next, income tax. From personal experience, a full 20% of my income is eaten up in taxes and deductions. Federal, state, and local taxes add up to shrink my take home pay. Smaller paychecks encourage the purchase of cheaper products. Cheaper products are less likely to be sustainable made. If an individual is living paycheck to paycheck, they can’t save money to make a sustainable purchase.

What needs to happen is this:

Lower corporate tax rates. This will immediately increase profit margins, meaning that companies have no excuse to adopt sustainable practices. At that point, it’s a comparable option, and is the smart decision to make as far as publicity and reputation are concerned.

Combined with that, those companies that don’t adopt sustainable practices should face higher taxes. This creates a favorable environment for businesses to adopt sustainable models.

Secondly, eliminate the income tax. Individuals need to know exactly how much money they take home. Currently $24,000 a year, isn’t actually $24,000 a year. It depends on location, and could be anywhere from $20,000 to $17,000.

In lieu of income tax, I propose better state sales taxes, and a federal tax rate. Sales tax is easy to understand and estimate, and is fairly simple to enforce. Meaning that revenue generated from a sales tax is fairly guaranteed. It also is a cost visited solely on the consumer. That encourages a smarter consumer.  And by increasing the actually amount taken home each pay period,  consumers can afford to purchase sustainable made products.

What I envision is this: We redistribute the tax rate. The net change is zero, but by reworking everything, we actually could encourage better purchasing habits.

This is of course combined with smarter government. It’s incredibly easy to start a government program; it’s impossible to end one. While we rework our tax system, we also need to audit our government agencies, and eliminate as much waste as possible.

There you go: A simple way to encourage smarter purchasing habits and better government. All just by changing how we tax our citizens.

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