The 16th Annual Buy Nothing Day Winter Coat Exchange

Friday November 23, 2012

If you have a coat to give, please drop it off.
 If you need a coat, please pick one up.
 

 

Rhode Island sites and their specific activities and times

 

Providence  State House Lawn  brick patio across from the mall

Collection and give away   November 23 10 AM to 2 PM

Rain location  Gloria Dei Lutheran Church  15 Hayes Street  Providence

Contacts Greg Gerritt: 331-0529; gerritt@mindspring.com;

Phil Edmonds: 461-3683; philwhistle@gmail.com


Pawtucket –  175 Main St   Blackstone Valley Visitors Center

Coats accepted at the visitors center and many other locations in Pawtucket  all through November during business hours.

Collection at November Winters Farmers Markets Wednesday evening and Saturday morning at Hope Artiste Village

Coats given away Friday  Nov. 23  10AM  -2PM

Contact  Arthur Pitt 724-8915; kingarthur02940@yahoo.com   http://www.neighborhoodlink.com/NAP-_Neighborhood_Alliance_of_Pawtucket/home

Newport – St Paul’s Church United Methodist Church

12 West Marlborough St.

Coats collected and given away Friday November 23 10 AM to Noon  Coats Collected Sunday mornings  in November at the church.

Contact Maggie Bulmer 849-3537.

Wakefield St. Francis Church, 114 High Street,
Coats collected and given away 10AM to Noon

Contact Tom Abbott 364-0778

East Providence  Breed Hall  610 Waterman Ave

(EP Senior Center Complex)  Coats collected and given away Friday November 23  9 Am to 1 PM  Coats collected throughout November at various locations in East Providence and Seekonk including the Newman YMCA.

Contact  David or Lisa Spencer  401-965-9099    Dspencer@atlanticpaper.com

 

 

Bristol Elks Lodge  1 Constitution St

Coats Collected throughout November  Coats given away Friday November 23  10 AM – 2 PM

Contact Connie Ganley  mcganley@comcast.net  508-837-0467

 

YMCA of Greater Providence

2012 Winter Coat Exchange Drop-Off/Pick-Up Sites

 

Drop-Off Collection    November 1 – 22

Pick Up     November 23              10:00 a.m. – 2 p.m.

 

 

Cranston YMCA                    Kent County YMCA

1225 Park Avenue           900 Centerville Road

Cranston, RI 02910        Warwick RI 02886

401-943-0444                 401-828-0130

 

West Bay Family YMCA

7540 Post Road

North Kingstown RI 02852

401-295-6501

 

Drop Off coats at the Y November 1 – 22 to be distributed at other sites on November 23

 

East Side/Mt Hope YMCA                   YMCA of Greater Providence Association Office              Providence Youth Services

438 Hope Street                                  371 Pine Street

Providence, RI 02906                            Providence, RI 02903

401-521-0155                                     401-456-0604

 

Drop off locations, with coats distributed at other Coat Exchange sites

Newman YMCA                                South County YMCA

472 Taunton Avenue                             165 Broad Rock Road

Seekonk, MA 02771                               Peacedale RI

508-336-7103                                        401-783-3900

 

 

 

Questions for candidates answered

There is good evidence that the US economy is coming to the end of growth.  For most Americans incomes have been dropping for 30 years, and all the recent growth periods were simply economic bubbles, with housing being the final one that tipped the applecart big time.  But we still need prosperous communities.  What is your plan for full employment in Rhode Island as the size of the monetary economy diminishes, and how will you keep a full suite of governmental services, something more critical for managing such dangerous transitions?

There are probably no good political answers for this, especially given the American predilection to only elect people who tell us good news.  We are among the most good times craving people in the world, and therefore very prone to a swinging gate in politics, with neither party able to effectively govern when things go wrong.  Our parties are poor at middle ground, but even weaker at realizing something other than the deficit has gone over the edge.

Manifest Destiny continues to define our approach to economics, and especially our view of the ecology/economy interface.  While we have many conservationists there is continuing pressure to allow more and more resources to be used up faster and faster on the grounds that it produces a few jobs, but mostly because it makes a few fortunes.   Everything is about outsourcing  because those with fortunes no longer want to pay decent wages, so if it is not outsourced to a low wage high pollution place, the workers have been outsourced by machines.

The first thing to understand is that given the state of the world wages in the US will continue to come down, moving towards the global mean.  The speed at which the wages sink is directly correlated with the state of  inequality in America.  If the rules continue to be skewed so that 1% of the population receives 93% of the new wealth, wages will drop very fast.  If we adopt a strong policy of use less, share more, un-American in every way, but critical in the age of climate change and extinctions,  the economy lands much better for most of us.

Another part of use less, share more is interest rates, and the use of credit.  Clearly capitalism could not have evolved without the  extensive use of credit.  It is a major change from what came before, in that it demands a constantly growing economy in order for debts to be repaid.  The immediate result, often the first result since forests and wood products are the building block (literally) of all civilizations, (because of wood’s versatility and properties, and because it can be appropriated as a free good by killing and displacing the the people who live in it) Is to cut down all of the forest.  To this day everywhere economies are seeking to grow swiftly forest people are being displaced to cemeteries if they resist, or shanty towns and slums if they do not.   Cultures often crash after the forest is gone because they lose their soil and water.

Given this incredible reliance on forests (try imagining your community without wood products or the flood control that forests do) One would think that the first rule of keeping communities healthy would be do not cut the forest faster than it grows.  This would mean that loans for businesses that work in the wood and wood using industries can not be expected to pay more than about 2% interest if they are to leave healthier forests than they found via management and wood removals.  In other words a 2% return on investment is all that is proper in places like New England given that in a very good year a New England forest will increase in woody biomass by about 3% and our depleted forests need rebuilding

Fisheries and other animal based systems can stand higher harvest rates, but soils and  substrates build even slower than forest biomass, turning farming and fishing into soil and ocean bottom mining rather than sustainable activities if they are harvesting too much.  Farming must become about building soil if it is to feed 9 billion of us each year.  That says 2% loans, 2% return on investment is all that can be produced while healing the ecosystems.

Another factor to consider is that using fossil fuels to work the land constantly displaces people while contributing to greenhouse gas emissions that threaten the food supply and forest health.  I often say, only a bit in jest, that there is enough oil on the planet to destroy all of the forest.   People can work the land much more lightly than machines, and are able to build soil much more effectively without large machines.  Or cut more selectively or fish less intensively.  A factory trawler tries to catch everything.  Catching with rod reel or similar technologies leaves fish behind to breed.  And takes more people rather than investments in technology.

Which gets us back to how are we going to create more jobs as the economy shrinks.  We are going to have more farmers, fishers, and forest workers using less technology and paying a lot more attention to the health of the ecosystem they are working in.

Yes, I am aware of the idea that working the land will never pay the wages that a modern economy pays, but the reality is that planet Earth can not pay them either, so we have an plan that fits the reality of a diminished capacity on planet earth.

As to how we maintain government services under such dire circumstances, we need to figure out what our communities really need.  And the first thing we do NOT need is the war machine.  Start by reducing military spending by 10% each year.  Take half of that and spend it on education for people of all ages,  research, development and implementation of clean energy and working the land and oceans properly, and rebuilding infrastructure for the 21st century.  This then allows us to massively shrink the prison industrial complex, again diverting the money to maternal and child health, good food for all, and healthy housing.  Finally, tax the rich, tax speculative investments, tax carbon emissions, and take sufficient royalties for the community for the use of the commons and for patenting things developed from living things to support critical services including preparing our lowest income communities for climate change by building up their resilience.

 

What role does economic inequality play in the overall health of the economy?

Evidence is pouring in that the more inequality in an economy the less well it functions.  Too many stick points for markets to work efficiently, too poor a distribution of resources, which creates a need for additional services, either health and education or police and prisons.  With a higher percentage of our population in poverty, prison, and ill than almost any other industrialized nation, clearly we have chosen poorly by increasing inequality.  Often writers on the topic such as Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz think that if we can reduce inequality we can get the economy growing again.  I disagree, the economy is not going to grow, but clearly reducing inequality will make the economy function much better.

 

All politicians know a bit of math, and if I said to you that a community was spending 135% of its income each year, you would likely be looking at a community with a massive debt problem.   Now consider the Earth.  People are using 135% of the biological productivity of the planet each year.  And just as towns, families, businesses hemorrhage money if expenses are 135% of income, the Earth is losing forests, soils, fisheries, wildlife, clean water at a rate that is only partially covered up by the vastness of the Earth, and shows up every day in the lives of people with less to eat and the loss of the resource base that feeds them and their families.    It is likely that we shall be unable to maintain community prosperity if the resource base is too degraded, so what is your plan to return the health of the ecosystem, in other words reduce the amount people are using until it is below the carrying capacity and the systems can be rebuilt, and how does it fit in with your plan to balance the budget, since ecological disasters will overwhelm any budget you create that harms ecosystems and does not account for the need to heal them in your fiscal expenditures.


While politicians are apoplectic about the budget deficit, they seem almost completely undeterred by the ecological deficit our economy is running.  Unfortunately ecological deficits are more likely to cause collapse than budget deficits.  Politicians have gotten so used to be bailed out and supported by the huge storehouse of planet Earth that they forget how much conditions have changed in the last 65 years.    Population has tripled and the amount of stuff used per person has increased even more,so our ecological footprint has skyrocketed beyond all reason or ability of the Earth to stay healthy.

Politicians always assume a growing economy will help them balance the budget, but in our case the more we try to grow, the further behind we fall.  Therefore the only things that will balance the budget are spending less on things that harm us and taxing the things that harm us and the rich at higher rates.  Prime places to reduce spending include the police/prison industrial complex, payments to insurance companies (which can be replaced by a less expensive health care system based on prevention)  and subsidies to industries that increase inequality in the economy.  Taxes on the income of the wealthy, capital gains, and speculation should all be increased. Taxes on carbon should be implemented,

An essay on the spirit of Buy Nothing Day 2012

Every year  write an essay on the spirit of the Buy Nothing Day Winter Coat Exchange and how to heal the economy, ecosystem, and communities of Rhode Island using the principles of use less, share more.  Often I dedicate the essay to those trying to end poverty, war, or planetary destruction, or in jest dedicate it to those making things much worse in the community.  Last year I dedicated the essay to Occupy Providence and their brethren around the world challenging the power of Wall ST.  i was going to dedicate this year’s essay to Curt Schilling, 38 Studios, and their enablers in Rhode Island for squandering $100 million of our money on violent video games, but today as I was preparing to write I saw an article on how the Rhode Island Foundation was going to put $1 million into a fund that would be used to help grow the Rhode Island economy.  https://prosperityforri.com/38-studios-and-economic-development-in-rhode-island-2/  is an essay I wrote this past summer which tells you how much I think a growth fund will work, which is essentially not at all.
People are already using 135% of the biological productivity of the planet each year, which means that every year the global forest disappears, fisheries are diminished, and our soil washes to the bottom of the sea, carrying its nitrogen fertilizer load and thereby creating huge dead zones in the ocean. We need to get well below 100% if life on earth is to continue.  And if you look at the American economy the only thing that passes for growth are the economic bubbles  and the pumped up funny money that the 1% pay themselves.  Over the last 30 years 93% of all growth in income in the US has gone to 1% of the population.  Everyone except the 1% and the next few percents behind them has gotten poorer.  Economic Growth no longer is real and every time I turn around I see another article about why it is no longer a useful concept.
The Rhode Island Foundation therefore joins a long line of rogues in suggesting that we ought to grow our way out of our misery.  Whether by another tax cut for the millionaires, a call to drill baby drill, more wars for oil, or the growth fund of the Rhode Island Foundation, the thrashing around in the name of growth benefits the 1% and kills the rest of us and the planet.  Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz recently pointed out how poorly economies do as they become more unequal.  Robert Gordon of the National Bureau of Economic Research recently published a paper on the end of growth, with rising inequality being one of the bigger factors leading to the demise of growth.  Yesterday I received an article from the New Economics Foundation on how economic growth has no role in alleviating poverty, it just makes inequality worse.
If the Rhode Island Foundation wanted to do something useful for the RI economy it would call for an end to tax breaks for the rich, which do nothing but make the economy more unequal. Then   stop the bubble economies, reregulate the banks and investment markets, and do more to protect and heal ecosystems.  The Rhode island Foundation does many wonderful things, supports many worthy causes, but it continues to view the world through the lens of the 1% and therefore is sort of clueless about what economic growth really means on this finite planet and what the thrashing around in search of ever more growth does to our communities.
Given the state of the world, and the state of Rhode Island, on November 23 I will be out on the State House Lawn collecting and distributing winter coats. The generosity of Rhode Islanders will salve my soul, while the poverty we see among those lined up to get coats will drive me to work harder to alleviate the twin ills of poverty and ecological collapse.  Volunteer or donate to the 16th Annual Buy Nothing Day Winter Coat Exchange.  There will be more sites around the state than ever before with the Greater Providence YMCA opening their facilities to the collection and distribution of winter coats in November.  We can not solve the problems of the world in a day, especially if we do not address the root causes.  But using less and sharing more on November 23 is a good thing to do along the road to a better Rhode island.   Hope to see you.

Jill Stein for president

Neither of the candidates of the two largest political parties in the US, nor the largest parties in general, have anything to offer us on how to solve and salve the ills  of our time.  The only thing they can do any longer is debate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.  There is nothing in economics these days that seriously suggests that tax breaks for the wealthy will do anything to improve the economy of the United States, nor any reasonable doctrine that says killing more people in Asia with drones will make us safer or contributes to a better energy policy.
To me only one candidate for president actually grasps the nature of the catastrophe that has befallen the people of the US, a catastrophe brought about by the rich and powerful driving America into the ground.  Only Green Party candidate Jill Stein among presidential candidates, with her Green New Deal, offers the rebuilding of our communities and the shrinking of our military, especially a withdrawal from violent foreign entanglements, as a path forward.  Putting mitigating and reversing global warming as a priority of her administration, as well as having the wealthiest Americans carry more weight for fixing the problems they have caused, including the housing crisis, the Stein plan naturally leads to economic changes that put resources in the hands of our communities with local production for local needs, rather than maintaining military might to prevent Asians from managing their own resources.  Anyone pretending that the deficit can be reduced without taxing the rich more and closing the vast majority of US military bases over seas is deluding themselves.  Jill  gets it.
So get out and vote for a candidate who really stands for the way the 99% want to solve the problems.  Vote Jill Stein, Green Party Candidate for Presiden

western civilization

A response to an article by Calebo Jacob

 

I am less and less enamored with the idea that western civilization has something special to offer humanity.  I support reading great literature, have read a good sprinkling of it, but the perspective of the civilization that has driven the global ecosystem off the cliff with its greed and demand for more does not uniquely hold wisdom that automatically is useful to salvaging the cascading disasters on planet earth.  Many other cultures hold wisdom that the west ought to learn from equally.  Western imperialism is a fact on the ground, but that does not make it a good thing for the mind.

Questions for candidates

I came up with the first question for the SNA candidates forum.

There is good evidence that the US economy is coming to the end of growth.  For most Americans incomes have been dropping for 30 years, and all the growth periods were simply economic bubbles, with housing being the final one that tipped the applecart big time.  But we still need prosperous communities.  What is your plan for full employment in Rhode Island as the size of the monetary economy diminishes, and how will you keep a full suite of governmental services, something more critical for managing such dangerous transitions?

 

Then when i started to post here I realized it would be fund to think of a few more.  So here goes.

 

What role does economic inequality play in the overall health of the economy?

 

All politicians know a bit of math, and if I said to you that a community was spending 135% of its income each year, you would likely be looking at a community with a massive debt problem.   Now consider the Earth.  People are using 135% of the biological productivity of the planet each year.  And just as towns, families, businesses hemorrhage money if expenses are 135% of income, the Earth is losing forests, soils, fisheries, wildlife, clean water at a rate that is only partially covered by the vastness of the Earth, and shows up every day in the lives of people with less to eat and the loss of the resource base that feeds them and their families.    It is likely that we shall be unable to maintain community prosperity if the resource base is too degraded, so what is your plan to return the health of the ecosystem, in other words reduce the amount people are using until it is below the carrying capacity and the systems can be rebuilt, and how does it fit in with your plan to balance the budget, since ecological disasters will overwhelm any budget you create that harms ecosystems and does not account for the need to heal them in your fiscal expenditures.