It ain’t bragging if its true

Walter Brennan on The Guns of Will Sonnett played a crusty old gun slinger with a signature line.  It ain’t bragging if its true.
Sometimes I think  about what i have done, and especially about where I have been right on policy issues, proven correct over time despite the castigation i received.
I will not take any credit for things like figuring out war is stupid and that American soldiers should not be used to police the world.  Nor for being the first Green party candidate for legislature in the US. I will not claim my actions made the difference in what happened.  I am just going to list a few issues that straddle the ecology/economy interface in which my unpopular stands were attacked by the mainstream, but my analysis has stood the test of time.
Clearcutting:  More than anyone else publicly talking about it I used the statistics to show that current (1990’s) forestry in Maine was completely unsustainable.  The paper companies tried to smear us, but they cut less wood today because the forest could not sustain the levels being cut.  And the amount of clearcutting has also greatly diminished.
Combined sewer overflows:  I wrestled quite a bit with the Narragansett Bay Commission over the design of the CSO project arguing they needed smaller scale community friendly ecological systems to deal with stormwater.  They wanted a tunnel.  At the last stakeholder meeting they came in with a modified proposal acknowledging the need for what is today called Green Infrastructure in the program.  Recently NBC called for a reconvening of the CSO stakeholders because they are realizing that they can not afford to do Phase 3 as planned and need to go to Green Infrastructure to make the program work. Sort of a different welcome ths time around as I sit as a stakeholder.
The Quonset Megaport:  If the con men trying to build the port had succeeded in getting RI to put up the money, it would have been about to open just as the Great Recession Hit.  I was also directly calling the deforestation in Indonesia a threat to RI if we worked to accommodate it.  The fight over palm oil today and its climate change and deforestation impacts makes my point well.
So here is my next stand:  Ignore my advice if it pleases you but consider my track record.   Getting the climate right is going to be MUCH more important for the health and PROSPERITY of RI Communities than getting the business climate right.  Following the business climate line and policy will lead to disaster, ecologically, economically, socially.  The things we do to build resilience and reduce carbon emissions, and the social policies around community involvement and democracy that must accompany and precede the shifts in economic activity are the way forward.

Mergansers in the Moshassuck Follow up

This morning going downtown I saw a female diving in the Moshassuck.  I was able to watch as it probed along the unevenness of the eroded wall in the river opposite the RISD dorm condos.  I watched two dives, thought I saw the bird swallow when it returned to the surface the first dive, but definitely saw it had something in its mouth, maybe 3 inches long that it had pulled from a crevice, and then swallow it when it surfaced the second time.  I am starting to see a pattern.  They hunt crevices.  They are not fast enough to swim things down in open water, the snatch in crevices where there is no where to go.  With the perfect beak for small places.  Long and very thin.   Not only brightened by the mergansers, brightened by the life that supports them in the river.



Mergansers in the Moshassuck

Often i write of Menhaden in the Moshassuck, but they are not due for a while.  But over the years late winter is often a time to see Mergansers in the Moshassuck.  Mergansers are large ducks that swim under water to catch their prey.  There are several kinds of Mergansers, but over the last few weeks there have been about 7 Common Mergansers in the river along Canal St in Providence.  Mergansers are striking birds, the males black and white with a red fish-grabbing bill.  The females have a gray body and a cinnamon head.


Seeing them consistently over a few weeks is treat enough, brightening every trip to and from downtown.  But the other day I got a special treat.  I watched one of the females diving down to the bottom and investigate rocks looking for food for a few seconds as i walked by.  You see them fly.  You see them  paddle on the surface, but rarely do you see them in the feeding zone.  You need shallow water and  an elevated perch.  Canal St fills the bill, so Mergansers join with the menhaden, eels, snapping turtles, cormorants, and blue crabs. The walk along Canal St offers a glimpse of their underwater lives that I do not get many other places.  That so much lives between the canal walls is a testament to the determination of life to pass along genes.  That I get to observe it and pass along the news is one of my joys.



Recent comments I made on nation of change

  • The Real Job Killers

    • ProsperityForRI     • a minute ago 

      We hear all the screaming about the business climate, but it is very clear that paying attention to what we need to do to adapt tothe climate changes coming, and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the overall climate crisis is much more important in the long term for creating prosperity in our communities than doing what the rich tell us to do. You cannot end poverty without healing ecosystems, you can not heal ecosystems without ending poverty. and we can not do either if the rich keep their hands on the war machine.

  • Discussion on NationofChange

    Has the Left Surrendered? The Overdue Conversation We Need

    • ProsperityForRI     • 8 minutes ago 

      Yeah I guess I am not a liberal. I am not and have never been a Democrat. I am a proud member of the Green Party and know that Barack Obama has been just as bad for the planet and my community as we predicted he would be. I did not vote for him. I voted for Cynthia MicKinney in 2008 and Jill Stein in 2012. I collected hundreds of signatures both years to get them on the ballot in RI. War is wrong. The NSA needs to be closed. The wars of the empire ought to be outlawed and the perpetrators of them ought to be tried at the Hague. Economic growth is destroying the planet, and has become uneconomic growth. it lines the pockets of the rich and impoverishes post industrial communities. Loss of biodiversity and climate change are jointly an existential crisis for civilization and we are failing. Inequality and lack of democracy are holding back communities.

      The Democrats are so beholden to the rich that they support things like TPP. I do not even talk of Republicans as it is improper to talk about those with so little contact with reality.

      And rather than disappearing, the left is alive and well, just not in the two party system that has been more than ever captured by the rich. The young are organizing co-ops, starting organic community gardens, stopping gmos, mitigating climate change, all the things the liberals and the rich do not want on the agenda.

      My focuses on ecological healing, economic justice, and democracy as the road to community prosperity. Western economies have to shrink so that those elsewhere can rise to healthy levels. We need to figure out how to shrink in ways that helps communitiesw all over the world. Food security is the future of our economy, Right now I am trying to shift public debate towards the idea It is much more important to pay attention to the climate than the business climate if we want prosperity. But I have been at this since the first earth day, and defining the left by liberals and the Democratic Party makes less sense than ever.

  • Discussion on NationofChange

    North Carolina Blames Duke Energy Corporation for Toxic Coal Ash Spill

  • Discussion on NationofChange

    What if Americans Demanded the Ouster of this Government?

    • ProsperityForRI     • 3 days ago 

      We held a little demonstration against the TPP the other day in front of the federal courthouse. 20 people, mostly old. Department of Homeland Insecurity watched us the whole time. We did get a quote into the paper saying “obviously the threats to the US must be very small or the police ridiculously overstaffed if they have the time to spend an hour with people openly advocating non violence.”

  • Discussion on NationofChange

    Apocalypses Everywhere

    • ProsperityForRI     • 3 days ago 

      I mostly agree with Chernus, and while I am sometimes described as gleefully apocalyptic, I do my work as ProsperityForRI because I think an economy based on justice and ecological healing, which means a smaller economy, will be good for my community and the people who live here.

  • Discussion on NationofChange

    President Obama Pledges $2 Billion+ for Drought-Stricken California and U.S. Climate Resilience Fund

  • Discussion on WPRI

    Protest demands end to govt. spying

    • ProsperityForRI     • 18 days ago 

      it is most clear that NSA spying is not compatible with democratic governance. Abolish the NSA and actually practice peace.

  • Discussion on NationofChange

    Weak Job Growth, but Declining Unemployment Give Mixed Picture in January

    • ProsperityForRI     • 18 days ago 

      What we are seeing is trying to follow the dictates of the business climate. what the economy really needs is to pay attention to the real climate and doing the things we ought to do to make the no carbon transition. That would bring community prosperity whereas the current system brings us nothing but inequality and environmental destruction.

  • Discussion on NationofChange

    Island In Scotland to be First 100% Self-Sustaining Place on Earth

    • ProsperityForRI     • 18 days ago 

      I doubt the island is truly sustainable, but what I like is the realization that democracy is a critical factor in creating economies that work for communities on planet Earth.

  • Discussion on NationofChange

    Why the Lousy Jobs Report Boosted Wall Street

    • ProsperityForRI     • 20 days ago 

      Growth is hallucinatory on a planet with such damaged ecosystems. Constanza, Daly, and others continually point out that we need to use less and share more, not expect more. Post industrial economies are going to grow very slowly if at all, and wages are falling, The need to pay off interest keeps them burning with uneconomic growth that costs more than it provides, especially as technology makes more of us obsolete. Food security needs to a big part of our strategy.

  • Discussion on NationofChange

    The Global Elite is Insane

    • ProsperityForRI     • 23 days ago 

      I like defining the rich as insane. i doubt it actually helps us undo the crap they offer, but it does define the problem well.

  • Discussion on NationofChange

    Land Conflict and Injustice Development in ‘New India’

    • ProsperityForRI     • a month ago 

      The displacement of the forest people is going on everywhere, and given the health of the planet, it is the stupidest thing now being done on planet earth with the possible exception of fracking.

  • Discussion on AlterNet

    12 Biggest Right-Wing Lies About America

    • ProsperityForRI     • a year ago 

      Unfortunately even the article, which shoots up the stupid republican tricks, is wrong because it expects economic growth, which is basically impossible under conditions of ecological collapse

  • Discussion on AlterNet

    Why Do Americans Keep Getting Suckered By Right-Wing Lies? | Tea Party and the Right | AlterNet

    • ProsperityForRI     • 3 years ago 

      I spend most of my efforts trying to convince the people practicing economic development in my community that their economic plans are not going to work, and that only a radically green approach will do. Every day i get a bit more traction. I call it viral marketing. I am infecting my community. We can do this, but the Democrats never will figure it out.