Sunday, July 27, 2008

Switch to Wind Energy?

Make Your Own Windmill - Create Your Own Energy and Save Money by Cory Sanders

I am going to come right out at say this, I hate paying my power bill every month. Finally I got sick of paying for energy that I do not think should cost as much as it does and decided to do something about it. Obviously I still need power at my house, but I thought that there has to be a better way!

Boy was I right about that. In my research while looking for a way to reduce my power bill I came across something unique. I discovered a plan that explains how to make your own windmill and create your own energy.

The website that I learned of this plan from talked about reducing your electricity bill by 80% or more. This number intrigued me and I was immediately thinking about what I would do with the money I would save. Then it hit me, I thought, "I don't know how to build anything, let alone a windmill!"

I decided to check out the make your own windmill kit and I was very pleased to say the least.

I encourage all of you to make your own windmill for several reasons. The first of these is because of the money you will save. In this financially uptight economy, every penny counts for most of us. It can take a lot of pressure off your budget to eliminate your power bill.

The second reason is because of how good this renewable energy source is for the environment. You will not only be saving money, but you will be doing your part to help the well being of our planet.

In closing, you can easily make your own windmill and make your own power from home. Trust me, once you start saving money, your neighbors will start noticing and even following in your footsteps.

Want to reduce your power bill by 80% or more?

Learn how to Make Your Own Windmill and make your own electricity.

My website, explores how to make your own energy while helping the environment and saving yourself money.

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Switch to Solar Power?

Residential Solar Power Basics by Michael Bloch

Many people are a little wary of hooking up a residential solar power system; much of the hesitation due to the jargon involved which can get a little confusing. Terms like "photovoltaic cells", "solar cells" pop up - what's the difference? Then there's batteries to consider; or is there?

Setting up residential solar power probably isn't as complex as you think - and you may not even need batteries!

Solar vs. Photovoltaic cells

Lets take a look at these terms. What exactly is a photovoltaic cell and a solar cell - is there any difference? No, these terms describe exactly the same thing!

"Photovoltaic" simply means converting light into electricity (photo = light, voltaic = electricity). A photovoltaic cell, also known as PV cell, is just a more technical term for a solar cell. A solar cell is made of a positive and a negative wafer of silicon placed under a special type of glass that's resistant to variations in temperature and a degree of flexing. When a solar cell is exposed to sunlight, this stimulates electron activity. In a solar panel, there are usually around 36 photovoltaic cells (called an array) connected by wires that capture these electrons - then when connected to a circuit, a DC electrical current is created. This current is routed through wiring from the panel of solar cells into either a solar regulator (charge controller), which regulates charge to the batteries, or sent directly into a power inverter that converts the current from DC to AC - ready for use in the home.

That's it - residential solar power systems are quite simple and have no moving parts, so they are durable and require little maintenance! Many solar power systems set up in the 1970's are still working well today! So now when someone starts rambling on about photovoltaic cells at a party, you can nod sagely and fully understand what they are referring to.

Batteries or not?

As mentioned, in some systems batteries aren't required if the type of setup you have installed is what's known as "grid connect". All this means is that electricity generated by the solar cells isn't stored in your home and you are still connected to a mains supply.

If the electricity generated by the solar/photovoltaic cells is not immediately required by your appliances or surplus electricity is being produced, it's routed back into the mains supply grid. If you're not producing enough for your needs; the deficit is just drawn from the grid - it's a seamless process that doesn't require your intervention.By the way, your electricity utility doesn't get that surplus electricity you generate for free; it's metered and usually will appear as a credit on your next bill - this is called "net metering". In some countries, the surplus electricity generated by a grid connect residential solar power system is worth more than the market rate, so some people actually get paid by their electricity utility! This is called a feed-in tariff system.

One of the very few drawbacks of grid connect residential solar power is when there's a blackout, you'll be in the same boat as your neighbors. During a blackout, the inverter will switch off to avoid damage to your equipment and to prevent electricity back feeding into the mains supply.

If you absolutely need 24/7 reliable power, then a battery backup system is something to consider. Batteries are also often a very economical option for those people living in remote areas where getting connected to mains supply is difficult. In fact a battery based residential solar power setup, known as a SAPS (Stand Alone Power System) or off grid system can often be far cheaper; particularly since so many governments are now offering rebates on stand alone residential solar power equipment.

What type of batteries?

Some people try using car batteries for solar power storage - but this is at best a short term solution. Car batteries simply aren't designed for constant draw and deep discharge over very long periods. Deep cycle batteries are the best choice as these have been specifically developed for constant charging and recharging over a period of years.

There are several deep cycle battery types - flooded, gel and AGM batteries. The latter two are probably the best choice as the electrolyte (acid) in these batteries is immobilized. Gel batteries have silica added and AGM batteries have glass mats inserted between the lead plates to achieve this. This immobilized acid means the batteries are safer to use as there's no spills or off-gassing (gases from batteries are highly flammable) and increases their serviceable life.

Ask an expert and save a bundle

If you're planning on investing in a residential solar power setup for your home; before you start forking out cash on solar cell panels, deep cycle batteries and bits, it really pays to talk to an expert in the field about your particular needs. They can recommend the right equipment to suit your requirements and will know what residential renewable energy rebates you can take advantage of. A brief consultation with a residential solar power expert can save you a lot of headaches and literally thousands of dollars!

Michael Bloch is a consultant for Energy Matters Australia - a green energy equipment company offering a wide range of discounted solar panels, deep cycle batteries, wind turbines and associated accessories for residential, businesses and schools. The Energy Matters site contains a wide range of resources; including a solar system builder tool, renewable energy rebates information and free advice on off grid and grid connect solar and wind power systems.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Opinion: The Oil Crisis

Gas Crisis 35 Years Later - No Difference - Who Remembers Gas Crisis of 1973 by Jerry Sacca

The plans for the first gas crisis started in August of 1973 as the Arab Nations would prepare for war with Israel. On October 17, 1973 the OAPEC (Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries) who were the Arab members of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) announced they would no longer ship oil to countries that supported Israel, like the United States. Around this time OPEC members agreed to use their power over the world and become the world price setting instrument to raise the prices of oil throughout the world. OPEC cut production of oil and placed an embargo on all deliveries of crude oil to the Western world, including the United States and the Netherlands.

Not many Americans really understood what was happening to our economy as most thought that the oil companies were U.S. owned, very few people realized then that we no longer were a super power of oil production but rather a crude oil whore that sold out long ago. Little did we know this was the beginning of the end of an important segment in the American lifestyle as we knew of in the past. This would be the start of a major change in the U.S. automobile market and ripple through our economy to affect all Americans in ways that could not be imagined. This opened America's front door to a new wave of imported vehicles and left the U.S. auto manufacturers watching the compact cars drive by their showrooms as they could not change their traditional ways of production fast enough to produce higher MPG vehicles. The new generation of auto buyers who were part of the baby boomer generation got pleasure from going against the U.S. establishment and purchased foreign autos and mocked America along the way, what they didn't understand was that they were putting their brothers & fathers and eventually themselves in the unemployment line contributing to the loss of many American jobs. Needless to say we faced a recession that was a start of things to come for many years ahead.

Gas Crisis of 2005-2008....

If you can remember the date of about August 23, 2005 on a typical summer day the headline news reports were warning of a large tropical storm approaching the Gulf of Mexico. This tropical storm would strengthen to be named - Hurricane Katrina, and on August 29th Katrina would slam the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding coastal areas. After the hurricane was over there would be some damage to offshore oil drilling rigs in the Gulf. The oil companies who owned these rigs would blame Hurricane Katrina and Mother Nature for the next record setting $$$price increase of oil products in our history. After all a gouging price increase was long overdue for the oil companies and this was the perfect time to make windfall profits as they did in the 70's and this storm would give an opportunity to test how much the American economy could bear.

If you remember the first news reports during Katrina reported that oil production suffered slightly and these oil stations produced only 8-10% of our demand and at that time prices and supply was of no concern. Well within a few days after the storms passed, the oil companies kept raising the percentage of our dependence on these couple of damaged rigs. When said and done the companies claimed that these drilling rigs were producing 25% or more of our oil demand and the U.S. needed every drop of that oil and we would face a serious shortage immediately until new sources were found and repairs were made. As in 1973, the owners of the oil companies would prove again to us who really owns the oil world and they would take down the American economy by raising prices until a recession would cripple us again.

Here's what happened - Oil prices were relatively below $25/barrel in September 2003. Many small events would raise the prices gradually to reach over $60/barrel by August 11,2005, exceed $75 in the summer of 2006, fall to between $50 and $60/barrel in the early part of 2007, drastically rise, reaching $92/barrel by October 2007 and $99/barrel for December. On February 19, 2008, oil prices hit an all-time peak at $100.10 per barrel. So here we go again on a ride for survival on the oil barons cruise boat waiting to be dropped off deep in the ocean wherever or whenever they choose. We will pay for the increase in oil prices in every product and service we purchase and in our own daily travel expenses. So you ask are we being raped? Of course, and there is nothing we can do about it until our nation realizes that oil is a has been fuel and the supply will continue to drain down and prices will increase. We have been in this gas crisis for over 35 years, and we kept closing our eyes to not see reality. The rest of the world laughs at the U.S. when we cry about gasoline prices, because they are also being raped for the price of gas.

America loves those big gas-guzzling pickup trucks & SUV's and here we go again as in the 1970's blaming car manufacturers about why they haven't done something about more fuel efficient vehicles. It would be embarrassing for an American to own a Hummer with an electric engine. And all of the imports manufacturers have joined in with fuel thirsty suv's and pickups. Any American who wanted a car that could get at least 30 miles per gallon could have done so in the last two decades. But year after year, according to U.S. automotive sales histories, those cars were at the bottom of the market regardless of whether they came from Japan, the United States or Europe. Remember, OPEC will not come to the rescue. Wars & U.S. Military action on the soil of oil producing countries will not solve the problem. The only solution is to lower our use and dependence of oil fuels because they are depleting faster than can be harvested. No amount of money or drilling fields can solve the problem, only alternative fuel is the answer and we are becoming the prime targets for paying the high costs of exploration of new fuel substitutes. And I am sure we (Americans) can find the means and methods to develop new fuels before our fellow auto importers do, and I am sure we will sell out again to a foreign manufacturers.

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Opinion: Cotton and Tobacco Lead to Environmental Degradation

Two of the Deadliest Crops by Melvin Polatnick

The Cotton and Tobacco farms in the United States total over ten million deadly acres. They are responsible for killing more people than most major diseases including AIDS or Cancer. Each acre of Cotton consumes over five thousand dollars of oil based fertilizers and insecticides yearly. The water resources around Cotton farms have kerosene like odors that kills not only fish but the people that use it. Planes fly overhead spraying the crops in order to make the Cotton leaves fall off so it can be easily harvested. Some call that defoliant Agent Orange. Cotton farms in the United States have always been causing the nation problems. The Southern Cotton trade with England was the cause of the Civil War. The South imported inexpensive machinery in exchange for Cotton and the North went to war to stop the trade. Cotton is a labor intensive crop and farmers used slaves to bag it. Now Cotton is picked by oil guzzling Harvesters. The average Cotton farm is over one thousand acres and is owned by large corporations or millionaire farmers. They are heavily subsidized by the government and supportive tariffs.

Tobacco is farmed in over 500,000 acres in the United States. It is not a food and serves no purpose except to be smoked. Tobacco is estimated to have killed over a billion smokers since people started using it. Poppy growers are hunted down and jailed but the smoke from opium is not as toxic as tobacco. Tobacco is infinitely more deadly. Nobody has yet suggested that we outlaw tobacco farming. The reason is obvious. Billions are being made in the cigarette business and the industry is deeply involved in Washington for protection. They have silenced all opposition including the Church who has been the voice of compassion on every issue except tobacco farming. It is widely known that tobacco kills but everywhere you look there are cigarette butts that litter the streets. The media is full of stories about murders and deaths from AIDS but not one story about the millions that die of smoke related lung disease each year. Something does not make sense.

The most compassionate thing for Congress would be to outlaw Cotton and Tobacco farming in the United States. Most of the Cotton products we now use are imported, that means we don't need domestically grown Cotton. It would be good news to Asian farmers who would prosper if America got out of the cotton growing business. Let them grow the cotton and poison their own rivers and streams. We would be importing their affordable Cotton based products at a big savings. Millions of acres of farming land will be available in America by outlawing these two deadly crops. Those open acres can be used for farming Wheat, Corn, or Rice. It would make food more plentiful and less expensive. If there was ever any need for a positive change it has to be for a nation finally free of those two poisonous crops.


Retired and single recluse

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Opinion: Environmental Degradation

Are We Green? Do We Recycle? Will We Outlast the Dinosaurs? by David Rosenak

For most people, "Being Green" is a matter of throwing the pop can in the recycle bin. Not a bad thing to do, but can that to fix the planet?

We ridicule the dinosaurs by referring to anything obsolete as a "dinosaur". However, the dinosaurs were able to rule the earth for 165 MILLION YEARS. Civilized humans have been on Planet Earth for only 10 THOUSAND YEARS, and we are well on our way toward destroying it. If we do not destroy the planet in some other manner sooner, we shall surely destroy it through overpopulation. We are burning up precious and irreplaceable resources, polluting the land, the water, and the air we breathe, and causing climate changes with likely disastrous consequences. We are chopping down the primordial forests and driving other species to extinction. Already the prices of oil, gasoline, and food are soaring; civil wars are being fought over scarce sources of fresh water. We can not solve any of these global problems without solving the population problem.

United States and World human populations doubled during my grandfather's generation, doubled again during my lifetime, and will continue to double and redouble until some generation has the gumption to do something about it. From the current 6 billion people on the face of the planet to 12 billion, 24 billion, 48 billion in the next couple hundred years. Though you and I will be dead then, in terms of geological time, a couple hundred years is a blink. Can we really be that irresponsible?

Now we have developed the ability to eliminate most of the hideous diseases that have plagued mankind throughout the millennia, killing off children and young adults, and reducing population. At the same time, we have also developed the ability to avoid giving birth to mass quantities of children, and we don't even have to give up sex! But with our learning to survive comes the responsibility to control our desires for unrestrained reproduction. How can anyone profess a love for children, and yet doom them to live on an overcrowded overpopulated world, with its resources depleted and its atmosphere fouled?

In the United States, we continue to grow our population both through an excessive birth rate, and also by allowing our population to balloon by taking the overflow population from other parts of the world. The United States must become the proponent to the World for eliminating world population growth. Over time, the excess people born in one part of the world will end up in another. This is a world problem, and must be solved by the people of the world working on it together. And as the world leader, it falls upon the United States to spearhead a worldwide movement to eliminate the spiraling growth of human population.

To date, this is a topic utterly ignored by every politician in every office in the United States!

To take a stand on this issue will require some real backbone. It is a policy that will be reviled by most all religious groups. This seems surprising in that one would think that people devoted to God's works would certainly not want to destroy His planet. It is a basic tenet of nearly all religions: "Go Forth and Multiply". Religious leaders, particularly, should have the maturity to put aside slavery to tradition and work for the benefit of all mankind, for the benefit of the generations to follow, and for the benefit of God's Planet Earth.

Before we can preach population control to the world, we must adopt an internal policy to teach responsible parenting. This needs to become a top priority national goal. No, not a Draconian plot where you would need permission from Government to have children, and that the sound of children laughing would never again be heard throughout the land. To have a stable population, we do need to give birth to and to raise to maturity an average of two children for every two adults. Many people have no children, or only one. Tragically, in spite of our tremendous gains in medical technology, some of our children still do not survive to maturity. So those who have the desire and ability to care for more could certainly have three or four. That's a bunch. It takes a lot of love, a lot of devotion, a lot of determination, and a lot of hard work to be good parents to three or four children.

Obviously, the first place to start with reducing birth rates is to adopt a policy of doing all possible to prevent unwanted pregnancies and unwanted births. We need to make family planning and sex education a part of the curriculum at the ages where young people are first grappling with puberty. Before they reach the age where they begin sexual experimentation, young people must be taught that having children is not only the most rewarding experience they will ever undertake, it is also the most awesome responsibility they will ever assume. We need to abandon a welfare system that has made child bearing a life choice for bored young teenage girls, a means of escaping a dreary life and setting up housekeeping at public expense.

It will be more difficult to get cooperation from other parts of the world, especially from countries where a culture of producing large numbers of progeny is deeply ingrained. The United States must use whatever tools we have to engender the cooperation of the other nations of the Earth to join us in what is clearly the most vital requirement to preserve the planet Earth and the quality of life for its future human and non-human inhabitants. One of those tools, of course, would be that for any nation that refuses to adopt a "zero population growth" policy, the quota for their people to immigrate to the United States would become zero. The United States must become the champion for this cause, and educate, cajole, and coerce the world to participate. Unfortunately, actual U.S. policy has been the opposite.

If we are able to eliminate population growth, there will be some real and serious side affects. Our economy is based on having continual expansion and, an ever-growing number of young people to support a growing population of old people. Learning how to cope without this growing population will be a real challenge. But if we do not face that challenge now, do we really want to pass this task on to our children and our children's children, when the number of humans on Earth is even greater, and the task is even more daunting?

Read more about this topic and 25 chapters on other thought provoking topics in the highly acclaimed poignant and witty new book "RUNNING AMOK - OUR GRANDCHILDREN WILL CURSE US" by Dave Rosenak. Check out the web site . Whether you think the book will start a revolution, or whether you think the author should stick all of his stinking opinions back where the sun don't shine, you won't be bored!

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Opinion: Problems with Corporate Leaders

Too Many Overpaid CEOs Are Really Smooth Operators Who Produce Little by Ed Bagley

When you understand that the average CEO in America makes 400 times what the average worker makes, you could get upset. When you have an environment where chief executive officers of companies can rack up a pitiful financial performance and still continue to rake in millions in compensation for being essentially incompetent, it is even more upsetting. What are we to do?

Now imagine if you were a stockholder of that same company as well as an average American worker. Many employees do put a part of their 401k retirement investment funds into stocks of the company they work for, or another company. Now imagine that you are an Enron employee. Go ahead, get really upset.

If you worked for Enron you would already know what I am about to share with you.

Enron was an American energy company before its bankruptcy in late 2001. Enron claimed to be one of the world's leading electricity, natural gas, pulp and paper, and communications companies, claiming revenues of $111 billion in 2000.

Using the words "claimed" and "claiming" in the prior sentence was not an accident. Enron was about to explode. Enron executives had fooled a lot of investors. Even the prestigious business magazine Fortune named Enron "America's Most Innovative Company" for 6 consecutive years. By the end of 2001 it was clear that Enron's financial condition was sustained substantially by an institutionalized, systematic and creatively planned accounting fraud.

On a broader scale, it became fashionable in corporate America to "cook" the books in an attempt to raise stock prices to fuel exorbitant payouts for executives who were purposefully lying, cheating and stealing from customers and investors (stockholders).

This practice continues in corporate America today on a hopefully much lesser scale by those who have not already been caught.

Imagine again an environment today where chief executive officers of companies who appear to be operating legally can rack up a pitiful financial performance and still continue to rake in millions of compensation for being essentially incompetent on the job.

In June of this year the Associated Press released an article identifying the 10 highest-paid CEOs for 2007 at Standard & Poor's 500 companies. The total pay figures were rounded and were based on the AP's compensation formula, which added up salary, perks, bonuses, above-market interest on pay set aside for later, and company estimates for the value of stock options and stock awards on the day they were granted last year.

Here are the 10 best-paid chief executives for 2007:

1) John Thain of Merrill Lynch - $83+ million

2) Leslie Moonves of CBS - $67+ million

3) Richard Adkerson of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold - $65+ million

4) Bob Simpson of XTO Energy - $56+ million

5) Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs Group - $53+ million

6) Kenneth Chenault of American Express - $51+ million

7) Eugene Isenberg of Nabors Industries - $44+ million

8) John Mack of Morgan Stanley - $41+ million

9) Glenn Murphy of Gap - $39+ million

10) Ray Irani of Occidental Petroleum - $34+ million

And you thought Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees made a lot of money at $27.5 million a year! Make no mistake, business rules and it is not even close.

So let's look at John Thain and his $83.1 million in compensation from Merrill Lynch for 2007. After all, 83.1 million is approximately $1.6 million a WEEK in compensation, or more than $300,000 a DAY for a 5-day work week.

If I were a Merrill Lynch stockholder (and I am not), I would be looking at the 2007 financial statement, which shows Merrill Lynch with a net loss from continuing operations of $8.6 billion (that is billions, not millions). Merrill Lynch had net earnings of $7.1 billion in 2006, so that is a difference of $15.7 billion in one year on the wrong side of the ledger.

Well, I am sure that Mr. Thain has a smooth answer for his performance, whatever it is. I hardly think his answer merited $83.1 million in compensation for going backwards.

If Thain's $83.1 million in annual compensation sounds really high to you, let me introduce you to Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone Group LP, who received $400 million in compensation in 2006. Since there are at least 365 days in a year, that averages out to more than $1 million a DAY in compensation. Yes, some folks make a lot more than others.

Another glaring example is Bob Nardelli, who apparently did not even make the top 10 best-paid executives for 2007. He nonetheless was given a $210 million exit package (in plain language I think that means fired) by Home Depot.

Nardelli was considered a superstar CEO when Home Depot hired him 6 years earlier. All Nardelli managed to do in his 6 years was watch the company stock languish and lose market share to Lowe's. Yeah, that Nardelli is really a top executive.

"There are certain instances where pay is so excessive and the breach of trust that the board has with shareholders is so terribly broken, it's an outrage," said Rich Ferlauto of the government labor union AFSCME. Well said, Rich.

And so here we are in 2008: The subprime mortgage debacle driven by the greed and avarice by corporate executives has our economy in a free fall-Bear Stearns (a major investment banker and securities and trading brokerage firm) and IndyMac (a bank) have collapsed, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are in serious trouble, dozens of other banks and financial institutions are on thin ice, gas prices have skyrocketed out of sight, and food costs are rising faster than a flooding river.

Is all of this the fault of Thain and Nardelli? Of course not. Thain and Nardelli are simply examples of CEOs that are overpaid and underachieved greedy executives.

It may in fact be the failed system of many corporate CEOs and a lack of government regulation that led to America's current slide into an official recession. If it is, big-time executives and politicians have some major amends to make. After all, they get big salaries and perks to run the show, we are just the workers who suffer from their greed and lack of judgment and incompetence.

Read my articles on last year's football season, including:

"Famous Quotes by Vince Lombardi During Football's Annual Bowl Season"

Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley

"Famous Quotes by Knute Rockne During Football's Annual Bowl Season"

"Famous Quotes by Lou Holtz During Football's Annual Bowl Season"

"How to Predict When Teams Are Overrated and Due for an Unexpected Loss"

"The Sagarin Ratings: What They Are, How to Read Them and What to Do With Them"

and my 14 consecutive weekly wrap-up articles on the 2007 College Football Season as well as wrap-up articles on all 32 College Bowl Games.

Find my Internet Articles at:

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World Environment Day

World Environment Day 2008 - Kick the Habit Towards a Low Carbon Economy by Dorothy M Smith

World Environment Day, which is commemorated each year on June 5th, is one of the most significant mode through which the United Nations stimulates the global awareness of the environment. It is by this way that the United Nations attract political attention and enhances action to shape a better global environment. Each year the World Environment Day is celebrated in recognition of unique theme. Norway was honored to host International World Environment Day 2007 celebrations in recognition of the theme -- 'Melting Ice - The Hot Topic'. Over a hundred nations across the globe celebrates the World Environment Day with highly relevant theme each year.

The slogan for World Environment Day 2008 is 'Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy'. With an understanding of the fact that the change in climatic condition is gradually becoming one of the most defining issue of the age, UNEP is requesting the nations, companies and communities to put special focus on the greenhouse gas emissions and to put spare thought over how to reduce them. The World Environment Day 2008 is going to highlight resources and focuses on promoting low carbon economies with a view to shape a better and healthier future. Promoting a low carbon economy involves steps towards improved energy efficiency, alternative energy sources, forest conservation and eco-friendly consumption. The chief international celebration of the World Environment Day 2008 is going to be held in New Zealand.

The Heads of State, Prime Ministers and Ministers of Environment deliver statements and commit themselves to care for this only green planet of the universe. Serious pledges establish sound and non-transitory governmental policies related to environmental management and economic planning. bicycle parades, tree planting , recycling campaigns, clean-up campaigns, street rallies, school level essay and poster competitions etc. are organized all over the world on June 5th to celebrate the World Environment Day.

Here are some information on World Environment Day for the last ten years regarding where the WED celebration was held at and what were the respective themes each year:

Places of celebration:

World Environment Day 2007 - Tromsø, Norway
World Environment Day 2006 - Algiers, Algeria
World Environment Day 2005 - San Francisco, U.S.
World Environment Day 2004 - Barcelona, Spain
World Environment Day 2003 - Beirut, Lebanon
World Environment Day 2002 - Shenzhen, People's Republic of China
World Environment Day 2001 - Torino, Italy and Havana, Cuba
World Environment Day 2000 - Adelaide, Australia
World Environment Day 1999 - Tokyo, Japan
World Environment Day 1998 - Moscow, Russian Federation

Themes of celebration:

World Environment Day 2007 - Melting Ice - a Hot Topic?
World Environment Day 2006 - Deserts and Desertification - Don't Desert Drylands!
World Environment Day 2005 - Green Cities - Plan for the Planet!
World Environment Day 2004 - Wanted! Seas and Oceans - Dead or Alive?
World Environment Day 2003 - Water - Two Billion People are Dying for It!
World Environment Day 2002 - Give Earth a Chance
World Environment Day 2001 - Connect with the World Wide Web of Life
World Environment Day 2000 - The Environment Millennium - Time to Act
World Environment Day 1999 - Our Earth - Our Future - Just Save It!
World Environment Day 1998 - For Life on Earth - Save Our Seas

Dorothy Smith, the author of this article, writes about the events & special occasions. Want to know more about world environment day or world environment day ecards? Celebrate world environment day 2008 by sending free ecards and check some other resources.

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Using Salvaged Building Materials

Salvage Building Materials by Thomas Morva

One of the most recent innovations in the construction industry is the development of the "Green building," which is the process of building structures that use environment-friendly building materials and building methods. Among the criterion that a building must meet to be considered "green" is that the house should be built using environment-friendly building materials. This is because building materials play a major role in making a structure environment-friendly. As seen in the past, using building materials such as asbestos or those that release toxins can have a detrimental effect, not only to the builders and future occupants, but to the environment as well. However, environment-friendly materials are not only limited to those that do not release toxins or pollution -- recycled materials are also considered to be environment-friendly.

One very good example of recycled or salvaged building material is steel. This is because steel is 66 percent recyclable, and can be derived from scrap metal, including old automobiles, machines and old steel buildings. This means that using steel does not require mining because it can be derived from recycled metals. In addition, precious resources such as trees are also preserved if steel is used to build structures instead of wood. Apart from being good for the environment, using steel also has other advantages. Steel is stronger and able to withstand extreme weather conditions, and it is cheaper than most building materials. It is also fire resistant, resistant to termites, rotting and cracks.

More and more people are becoming aware of environmental issues and new environment-friendly innovations are being developed. The development of alternative building materials used to build structures like homes is an example.

Building Materials provides detailed information on Building Materials, Building Material Manufacturers, Recycled Building Materials, Deck Building Materials and more. Building Materials is affiliated with Home Buildings.

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Alternative Building Materials

Alternative Building Materials by Thomas Morva

In recent times, more and more people are becoming aware of environmental issues. This is because environmental issues have become the topic of many debates, especially in government where laws are being made that aim to protect the environment. In addition to this, people are also becoming more aware of environmental issues when they see the effects of environmental degradation that includes extreme weather conditions as a result of global warming. As a result, people are beginning to modify the way they do things in order to preserve the environment. This includes how people are building their homes. There are alternative environment-friendly ways of building homes that involves using environment-friendly materials and methods.

The general term that is used to describe structures or buildings that use environment friendly materials and methods is "Green Building." To be considered a "Green Building" a structure has to meet a number of criteria. The materials used in have to be environment-friendly such as recycled steel. The builder needs to know the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of a building material or if it contains pollutants that could damage the environment.

Other criteria are that the building process cannot cause pollution or toxin release into the environment, and it should not be harmful to the health of the builders and future occupants of the home.

Nowadays, more people are becoming aware of environmental issues and how it affects their lives. As a result, people have modified how they do things including how they are building their homes. They are using alternative building materials that are environment-friendly. This not only protects the builders and the future occupants of the house but also the natural environment.

Building Materials provides detailed information on Building Materials, Building Material Manufacturers, Recycled Building Materials, Deck Building Materials and more. Building Materials is affiliated with Home Buildings.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

7 Alternative Models

7 Cool Companies by Gar Alperovitz and Steve Dubb & Ted Howard

The Best Alternatives to Corporate Power

Restraining corporate power requires changing the way we think about business. This means changing who owns, controls, and benefits from it. Profits, for instance, can flow to workers, consumers, or the community — not just to outside investors. And these businesses succeed!

Examples from outside the United States include worker-cooperatives in Argentina; Grameen Bank of Bangladesh (which, with its founder, Muhammad Yunus, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize); and the Mondragón cooperative in northern Spain, which employs over 75,000. In the United States over 120 million co-op and credit union members form the beginning point of a growing continuum of ownership forms that controls trillions of dollars in assets. The range is vast: from small worker- and community-owned firms to state pension funds, many of which are flexing their ownership muscle to force changes in corporate policy and target investment to meet public needs. What follows are seven of the best current models.

Employee Ownership

W. L. Gore

Newark, Delaware and 45 locations worldwide
Founded: 1958
Employees: 7,500
Annual Revenue: $1.84 billion

Employee ownership and a highly egalitarian workplace culture make W.L. Gore very different from your typical corporation. A worker may be a team leader on one project and follow others on another. Compensation is not determined by “the boss,” but is tied to your contribution and decided by a committee, like many law firms. The firm regularly ranks on Fortune's “Best Companies to Work For” list.

Gore is best known for its Gore-Tex fabrics, but also is an industry leader in other areas. Gore's heart patches and synthetic blood vessels have been implanted in more than 7.5 million patients.
When Gore was founded, there were fewer than 300 employee-owned businesses in the United States. Now workers own a growing share of nearly 10,000 American businesses. All told, 10.5 million employee-owners own $675 billion in business assets. This ownership stake is financed by workers' pension contributions through Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). Workers do not “run” most ESOPs, but federal law gives them control over “major decisions” such as merger or dissolution, which leads ESOPs to keep jobs and capital anchored in home communities. Many ESOPs, like Gore, informally give workers considerable say. ESOPs also financially benefit their employee owners. The average value of an ESOP retirement account now exceeds $64,000, far greater than most people's 401(k) holdings.

Social Enterprises

Pioneer Human Services

Seattle, Washington
Founded: 1963
Employees: 1,000
Annual Revenue: $60 million

We tend to think of nonprofits and businesses as opposites, but Pioneer Human Services shows that the mission orientation of nonprofits can blend with the financial savvy of business with impressive results.

Pioneer, which offers drug- and alcohol-free housing, employment, job training, counseling, and education to recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, finances 99 percent of its budget through fees for services and earnings generated in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of products. Businesses include retail cafés, sheet metal fabrication, aerospace precision machining (it's a contractor for Boeing), wholesale food distribution, and contract packaging.

Not only do these enterprises stabilize funding for Pioneer's social services, the businesses themselves are central to Pioneer's mission of helping “people on the margins of society” stay out of prison and off the streets. Its businesses enable Pioneer to give jobs to more than 700 men and women drawn from the ex-offender, homeless, and drug-recovery populations that it serves. Pioneer forms part of a growing “social enterprise” trend. Using IRS data, a National Center for Charitable Statistics researcher estimated that, in 2001, U.S. human service sector nonprofit commercial income totaled $41.6 billion.

Creative Cooperatives

Weaver Street Market, a worker- and consumer-owned co-op, produces its own artisan breads, each loaf shaped by hand. Baker Emily Buehler, right, also teaches breadmaking classes at the co-op.

Weaver Street Market

Carrboro, North Carolina
Founded: 1988
Worker-owners: 92
Consumer-owners: 9,794
Annual Sales: $20 million

Weaver Street Market is a food co-op that combines employee and consumer membership, with each group electing representatives to its board. The co-op has expanded greatly in recent years, adding a second storefront and a restaurant, with a third storefront in development.

Weaver Street illustrates a growing trend in the emerging community economy — businesses that meet a triple bottom line of economic, social equity, and environmental returns. Almost half the food it sells is produced locally, and it has invested in a local chicken-producing co-op. It estimates that 50 cents on every dollar spent at the co-op remains in the community versus 15 cents at chain stores.

The co-op hosts an average of four community events a week and has formed its own community foundation. Weaver Street fuels its truck with bio-diesel fuel from the Piedmont Biofuels co-op and purchases 10 percent of its electricity from green energy sources. It also recycles 15 types of waste.

Weaver Street is just one of the nation's estimated 21,840 co-ops and credit unions. Credit unions alone have over $700 billion in assets. Nationwide, co-ops in 2005 generated $273 billion in revenue and employed more than 600,000.

Community Development

ONE DC helps residents strategize to fight a development plan that would displace poor people in the historic Anacostia neighborhood.

Washington, DC

Employees: 8
Housing Units Organized: 1,000+
Annual Revenue: $750,000

Spun off last year as an independent group after nine years of work in Washington, DC's Shaw neighborhood, Organizing Neighborhood Equity DC — or “ONE DC” — builds community equity and wealth through developing neighborhood businesses, including a worker-run temp agency, a bike repair shop, an ice cream store franchise, and an African-American heritage tour company.

ONE DC combines these efforts with community organizing, focused in three areas: affordable housing, living-wage jobs, and community control over development. When a developer wanted to build a mixed-use facility above a local public transit stop, ONE DC helped residents leverage their political power and negotiate a “community benefits agreement” mandating that at least 25 percent of housing units would be affordable and 15 percent of the retail space would be set aside for local business. ONE DC also helps tenants buy their own buildings by taking advantage of a city law that gives renters the first right to purchase their apartments if the landlord chooses to sell. Executive Director Dominic Moulden proudly boasts that his small group has organized “1,000 units of subsidized housing in a gentrifying area.”

ONE DC is just one example of the nation's 4,600 community development corporations (CDCs), nonprofit, neighborhood-based groups that play a key role in giving residents a voice in community planning and development in virtually every city. A 2005 survey found that nationwide CDCs help create 75,000 jobs per year.

Community Land Trusts

Champlain Housing Trust

Burlington, Vermont
In operation since: 1984
Members: 5,000+
Annual Revenue: $5.9 million

Formed in October 2006 from the merger of two Vermont community land trusts that date back to 1984, Champlain Housing Trust is the largest community land trust in the country, providing affordable housing for 2,100 households. “Even though we work throughout [a] large region, we are still community-based,” CEO Brenda Torpy says. “One-third of our volunteer Board of Directors are residents in our housing, and the Board also has representation from four municipalities and someone with a regional housing perspective.”

A study of Burlington land trust's first two decades found that 61.9 percent of residents who sold their land trust home, after an average residency of six years, were able to “step up” to traditional homeownership. Meanwhile the equity gain the trust retains enables it to continue providing affordable housing to future generations.

These findings are important. The revival of inner-city neighborhoods often displaces long-time residents, leading to widespread gentrification. Community land trusts are nonprofits that hold land in trust and prevent gentrification by keeping land off the market. Instead, the trust sells houses using a restricted deed while retaining title to the land. This lowers prices, allowing lower-income residents to purchase the homes; in turn, the homeowner signs a deed agreeing to restrict the resale price and share the equity gain with the trust to preserve affordability for future buyers.

Large-scale community land trusts, drawing upon the lessons from Burlington and 150 others across the nation, are now being developed in cities ranging from Chicago, Illinois to Irvine, California. In Irvine, the city plans to develop 9,700 units of land trust housing by 2025.

Cutting Edge Ownership

Market Creek Plaza's ties to its community can be seen in its portrait wall, which honors local residents who have made significant contributions to this San Diego neighborhood.

Market Creek Plaza
San Diego, California

Initial Public Offering: 2006
Number of Investors: 416
Project value: $23.5 million

Market Creek Plaza's ties to its community can be seen in its portrait wall, which honors local residents who have made significant contributions to this San Diego neighborhood.

We usually hear the term “initial public offering” in connection with Silicon Valley, but in San Diego, community leaders came up with a new twist on the IPO concept: a local, community-based public offering linked to a new model of individual and community ownership.

The community is the diverse working-class Diamond neighborhood in southeast San Diego. With the support of the Jacobs Family Foundation, the community raised philanthropic and government funding to develop a commercial and cultural complex, anchored by a shopping center. A key element was the community public offering, which provided community residents and employees an exclusive opportunity to buy shares (valued at $200 and capped at $10,000) for a total 20 percent ownership stake in the project. As one community owner noted, “That we own stock, and that we have an opportunity to make a difference in what type of business goes in the community [is unbelievable]. We have some say-so in the community environment.”

The new Neighborhood Unity Foundation also has a 20 percent ownership share that provides it with a sustainable source of funding for its community wealth-building efforts. The Jacobs Family Foundation, which retains 60 percent ownership, intends to turn over its share to community owners by 2018. Ultimately, area residents will own 50 percent of the project and the neighborhood foundation the other 50 percent, retaining the profits generated to benefit the community rather than outside investors.

Public Pensions


Based in Sacramento, California
Founded: 1932
Plan Participants: about 1.5 million
Assets: $244 billion

Public pension funds in the United States hold approximately $3 trillion in assets. California's Public Employees' Retirement System, better known as CalPERS, is showing that these assets can be managed for community benefit. CalPERS is the largest public pension fund in the nation, giving it significant leverage to challenge corporate practices.

And CalPERS uses its leverage, especially to push for limits on executive compensation and severance payments. For instance, it acted as sole lead plaintiff in a federal court lawsuit against UnitedHealth Group over its executive stock-option practices. It has also supported shareholder resolutions to require information disclosure, greater corporate attention to environmental cleanup, and better human rights practices in developing nations.

CalPERS' direct investment activity has been equally impressive. As of 2004, CalPERS dedicated 11 percent of its fund to in-state investments. Roughly 2 percent is targeted specifically for investments in California's low-income communities through organizations like Pacific Community Ventures (PCV), a group that identifies businesses in low-income communities that are likely to generate high-wage jobs. A typical example is Niman Ranch, an Oakland-based natural meat product distributor. With pension fund support, Niman now does about $50 million a year in business and employs 110 formerly low-income workers at an average wage of $14 an hour.

Gar Alperovitz, Steve Dubb, and Ted Howard are leaders of the Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland. Gar Alperovitz's recent book, America Beyond Capitalism, is now available in paperback. For additional examples of alternative corporate models, see their website at

The Changing Face of Latin America

Democracy Rising by Nadia Martinez

Grassroots movements change the face of power.

As the people of Latin America build democracies from the bottom up, the symbols of power are changing. What used to be emblems of poverty and oppression — indigenous clothing and speech, the labels “campesino” and “landless worker” — are increasingly the symbols of new power. As people-powered movements drive the region toward social justice and equality, these symbols speak, not of elite authority limited to a few, but of power broadly shared.

The symbolism was especially rich last year in Cochabamba, Bolivia, when the new minister of justice made her entrance at an international activists' summit. Casimira Rodríguez, a former domestic worker, wore the thick, black braids and pollera, a long, multilayered skirt, of an Aymara indigenous woman. As she made her way through the throng, Rodríguez further distinguished herself from a typical law-enforcement chief by passing out handfuls of coca leaves.
Throughout the region, marginalized people are rising up, challenging the system that has kept them poor, and pursuing a new course. In country after country, people are selecting leaders who strongly reject the Washington-led “neoliberal” policies of restricted government spending on social programs, privatization of public services such as education and water, and opening up borders to foreign corporations.

Of course, there are exceptions, most notably Mexico, where conservative Felipe Calderón claimed power after a bruising battle over disputed election results. But the growing backlash has driven old-guard presidents out of power in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Bolivia. And, while there are sharp differences among the new leaders, there is no question that what put all of them in power was a growing outcry against economic injustice. Over 40 percent of the region still lives in poverty, and the gap between rich and poor is the widest in the world.

No longer willing to accept perpetual poverty, Latin America's poor are redefining their societies and, in the process, redefining democracy. They are organizing large segments of society into strong, dynamic social movements with enough power to drive national politics. The challenge, of course, is to hold their new leaders accountable, to maintain the strength of the grassroots democratic power, and to go beyond symbolism to make real change.

Bolivia's Indigenous President

In Bolivia, where indigenous people are the majority, there are already some concrete signs of progress. Evo Morales, the country's first indigenous president, took office in 2006 with the strongest mandate of any Bolivian leader. Catapulted onto the national political stage by his struggles as a union leader defending the rights of coca growers, Morales came to power on the heels of massive popular uprisings that ousted three presidents in as many years.

Despite sitting on the region's second largest natural gas reserves, Bolivia is South America's poorest country. In tandem with a wave of privatizations that swept Latin America in the 1990s, the oil and gas industry in Bolivia was opened for business to foreign oil companies, which garnered 82 percent of the profits, while leaving a scant 18 percent for Bolivia's coffers. Shortly after taking office, the Morales government set out to rewrite contracts with private companies. Negotiators increased the country's share of the profits to 50-80 percent by renegotiating contracts with 10 different companies, which will yield billions in additional revenue for the government to sustain its new social agenda.

Spurred by his experience as a coca grower, Morales has introduced new policies that challenge the U.S. approach to the “drug war.” Coca, the base ingredient of cocaine, has special ancestral significance for Bolivia's indigenous people and in its raw form is widely used to treat maladies such as stomach upset, altitude sickness, and stress, in addition to being a part of many Bolivians' daily routine. Under pressure from the U.S. government, previous Bolivian administrations tried coca eradication. Kathryn Ledebur of the Andean Information Network in Bolivia, says that “local farmers who planted coca as a means of subsistence would often face violent confrontations with the military and security forces who were mandated to destroy their crops, which in essence devastated their only means of livelihood.”

The Morales government has developed a farmer-friendly program that allows small farmers to grow small amounts of coca for domestic consumption, while also implementing a zero-cocaine policy that includes interdiction and anti-money laundering efforts to prevent drug trafficking.

In Brazil, a Metalworker is President

The political shift in Brazil is also steeped in powerful symbolism. When Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, a metalworker with an elementary education, rode a wave of popular support to the presidency in 2002, it inspired working-class people around the world. He was re-elected with a comfortable 60 percent of the vote in October 2006. Although his first term was tainted by corruption scandals and accusations from many on Brazil's left that he acquiesced too much to the demands by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for strict fiscal policies, he fulfilled some of his campaign pledges to the poor who form his political base.

According to the Center for Economic Policy Research, some 11 million families have benefited from the “bolsa família” — a monthly cash payment made to poor families in exchange for ensuring that their children stay in school. Signaling more pro-poor policies to come, one of the first acts of Lula's second term was announcing an 8.6 percent rise in the minimum wage.

Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution

President Hugo Chávez is best known in the United States for his overblown rhetoric against President Bush. But in Latin America, the Venezuelan president is fond of conjuring up the symbolism of Simón Bolívar, the “liberator” of South America from Spanish rule, who dreamed of uniting the region in a strong bloc. And while it has garnered little attention here, Chávez has used oil windfalls to advance Bolívar's dream. Venezuela has purchased big chunks of Argentina and Ecuador's debts to the IMF, for example, and sold discounted oil to several of its neighbors and even to poor communities in the United States. And Venezuela has signed trade pacts with several countries that include novel bartering arrangements, such as agricultural products in exchange for doctors and other technical personnel. Chávez has devised a regional trade plan to counter the Bush-favored Free Trade Area of the Americas. The Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America (ALBA, for its Spanish acronym) aims to benefit the poor and the environment, and to advance trade among countries within the region.

In January, Venezuela and Argentina took another step towards breaking the region's dependence on such neoliberal institutions as the World Bank, IMF, and Inter-American Development Bank, which have conditioned lending on “free market” policy reforms and harsh austerity measures. They pledged more than $1 billion to jump-start a new “Bank of the South.” Bolivia and Ecuador have since signed on.

Within Venezuela, Chávez has made impressive progress in boosting literacy levels and providing health and other services to the poor. He has teamed up with Cuba in cosponsoring a program called Operation Miracle to provide free eye surgery to poor residents from Venezuela, Panama, Jamaica, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and a growing list of other countries. The Venezuelan government is also investing heavily in creating a model of local economic development through cooperatives.

On the other hand, Chávez's fossil-fuel-based development plans — including a proposed gas pipeline from Venezuela to Argentina — are hardly visionary. As currently planned, the 5,000-mile pipeline will traverse areas of extreme ecological and cultural sensitivity. Several possible routes are being evaluated, but all run through the Amazon. Environmental and indigenous rights groups throughout Latin America have voiced opposition to the behemoth project, and have asked the Venezuelan government to halt all plans until they can be publicly debated.

Social Movements Redefine Democracy

Some of the most hopeful democratic advances in Latin America are not the result of official policies, but of social movements harnessing their own power. The thousands of poor peasants who make up the Landless Workers Movement (MST) in Brazil have claimed the right to settle on and farm close to 7 million hectares, or 43,000 square miles, of unused land — a territory a little larger than the state of Ohio. For millions of people who are largely outside of the mainstream economic system, access to land is of paramount importance, as they depend on it for subsistence.

Miguel Carter, of the Oxford-based Centre for Brazilian Studies, explains that groups like the MST contribute to the democratic process in important ways. “By improving the material conditions and cultural resources of its members” he says, “the landless movement has fortified the social foundations for democracy in Brazil.”

Indigenous movements, too, have gained ground. In the Amazonian region of Ecuador, after witnessing multinational oil companies for decades cut through the jungles of their ancestral lands in search of petroleum, indigenous women put their bodies on the line against the armed soldiers sent to escort oil workers. Known for fierce resistance to oil exploitation on their lands, the remote community of Sarayacu has so far succeeded in keeping the oil companies out.
Throughout Latin America, scores of indigenous peoples have demonstrated that marginalized populations can organize and mobilize effectively enough to topple governments — as they have done in Ecuador and Bolivia — despite their lack of material resources and political power.

A new characteristic of Latin American politics is greater collaboration among countries with the goal of breaking dependence on the North. In the past, countries were largely in competition for U.S. markets and development aid. Now they increasingly focus on complementing the strengths and weaknesses of one another, and seeking common solutions to their shared problems.

One example is the newly formed South American Community of Nations (CSN, in Spanish), an attempt by the 12 countries of South America to create an “area that is integrated politically, socially, economically, environmentally, and in infrastructure.” Because the initiative is new, it is unclear whether it will simply become a trading bloc that improves the region's competitive position in international markets, as is the case with the Southern Common Market (Mercosur). Alternatively, it could establish minimum social and environmental standards and the infrastructure not only to link to international markets but also to trade within Latin America.

Similarly, in a radical departure from a traditional market-based approach, the Morales government has developed a “People's Trade Agreement,” an innovative economic alternative based on principles of fair trade, labor, and environmental protections, and active state intervention in the economy to promote development.

Although still in an embryonic stage, “it is unique,” says Jason Tockman of the Bolivia Solidarity Network. “It has both a strong resonance with the alternative visions for social, economic and political integration proposed by the region's social movements, and the weight of state authority.”

The response to President Bush's visit to five Latin American countries in March is yet another sign that Latin Americans are choosing their own path, independent of the United States and its political and economic interests. Along Bush's route, thousands of people in the streets carrying colorful signs and “Bush Out” banners sent a clear message: people's movements are alive and well in Latin America, and they aren't falling for the White House's attempt to repackage the same unpopular U.S. policies under the guise of poverty alleviation.

At the same time, Chávez was able to gather and rouse into a fervor an estimated 40,000 people at an anti-Bush rally in Argentina, where he announced that Bush was a “political cadaver” — alluding to the president's increased irrelevance in Latin America.

After two centuries of the United States treating Latin America as if it were its backyard, organized popular movements across Latin America are changing the dynamics of the hemisphere. By electing more popular governments in eight countries and by organizing tens of millions of people, they have put up strong resistance to the U.S. agenda of corporate-led globalization, and they have created real alternatives on the ground. These efforts, combined with the Venezuela-led effort for alternative regional integration, not only provide the strongest counter-weight to the U.S. agenda anywhere in the world, but also offer multiple paths towards a better future for millions of people in the Americas.

Nadia Martinez was born and raised in Panama. She co-directs the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network at the Institute for Policy Studies ( in Washington, D.C. Her focus is on Latin America, where she works with environmental, development, human rights, and indigenous organizations.

Social Capitalism?

Is Social Capitalism the Right Approach? by Gavin Berkey

Social capitalism, humanitarian capitalism, and common-good capitalism are all descriptors of the same principle - applying business principles to benefit many facets of society. This article contrasts more traditional methods of dealing with long-standing social issues with new, emerging models that seems to be gaining popularity, and actually achieving results.

First, let us assume we want to address the issue of childhood malnutrition.

In traditional models, using the "world hunger" issue, charities solicit donations from caring consumers and organizations to purchase basic staples such as grain that then gets distributed to starving children around the world who are at risk of premature death. The charity enlists volunteers to solicit the donations, but incurs costs for shipping and distribution, and any overhead associated with administering the operation. Some of the donations must go to cover their costs. And while people feel good about helping, when economic times get tough, donations drop as donors become cash strapped.

Employing a social capitalism model, a more nutritious food line is developed by an organization that pays "distributors" to sell the meals for donation or consumption, to the same caring donors, but in this case, they can leverage their efforts by offering an incentive to the donors to assist in the process, with the end goal of being to help more dying children by increasing meal distribution.

Some might say it is not right to profit from poor, impoverished people, or from doing what is just common sense. But, how long have these problems existed using traditional methods? What real, tangible progress has been made over the past few decades? Should it be considered corrupt to make a good living when the focus is on benefiting mankind?

Think about how much we pay professional athletes, cable or satellite operators or gourmet coffee makers, just to satisfy our urges? Is it not better to pay for results that make a meaningful difference?

Social capitalism is a growing trend. When done right, many people can become more prosperous. It is certainly worth considering the possibilities of using the social capitalism model, or the consequences of doing what we've always done, and getting the same results we've always gotten.

Gavin Berkey is a Successful Entrepreneur, Author and Success Coach. Mr. Berkey runs multiple home-based businesses in the largest and fastest growing industries in the world, including one in the emerging "common good capitalism" arena. He helps individuals assess business ownership options, and provides Coaching and Consulting to those interested in pursuing their dreams. Mr. Berkey can be reached at 877-463-6811, via email at or

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