Mar 22, 2008

When I Win the Lottery

I said it before, I'm tryin' to get to grad school in London next year and the costs are very high. Right now I'm considering all of my options, including not going and playing the lottery!

Like a lot of workers, I love to daydream about what I'd do if I won the lottery. It's basically a litany of all the folks with whom I'd share the money. Oh, and a fantasy about how I'd finally have decent medical care to deal with of all those sports related injuries I've been accumulating through my twenties.

As a Compactor, thinking about winning the lottery gets a bit complicated. And I bet that if I won the lottery, that being a Compactor might get more challenging, though with ample money I might find it easier. Or maybe I'd just be tempted as hell by being able to afford anything I want.

But say I had $2 million dollars to share.
I'd give my folks money to start an environmentally friendly business out in their town, Taylorsville, Georgia. (Yes, slammed by tornadoes last week.) Then my dad wouldn't have to commute to work and he and my mom could spend more time together. But if they want to take a road trip, they'd be riding in the hybrids or veggie oil, or electric cars that I'd buy them. Maybe they could start a native plant nursery, a conservation minded farm supply shop, organic produce stand or restaurant, whatever. It'd be nice to see my dad have his own business since he's worked for the same company since he was 16. And nice to see my mom work 1 job instead of two, that lady's somethin' else.

In scholastic sympathy, I'd pay off my sister's college loans, and her husband's. And I'd get them into an apartment where they can have a dog! And I'd drop some other cash on them, along with a contract stating that they won't use my money for buying a car (they live in the city) or stupid shit from Bed, Bath, and Bey0nd.

I'd pay off Blake's loans. Blake's been my best friend for ten years and my roommate for eight. He'd also get the lump sum, something of a thank you for putting up with my shit for all these years. And again, a no car, no crap contract.

Those five people are going to take up a lot of that (non-existent) money. But I'd help some other friends and family. Like paying off my aunt Sharon's school debt and helping my former employers to bolster and further eco-proof their business.

I'd outfit some of my favorite collectives, orgs, and posses with money for environmentally friendly printing options! Organizing kills trees! (and not organizing kills loads of trees). I'd also fund some projects of friends. It would be so nice to help other folks do the awesome work that they want to contribute. Along the same lines, I'd throw a huge chunk of money at habitat restoration for SF parks.

And I'd use the rest to go to school this fall.

Exciting right? It's fun to pretend for a second that we can all be rich. Of course, the chances of me actually winning is slimmer than most lottery odds because I don't play. Maybe I should take a tip from the fundraising work that I did for the actions: Pass the hat over and over and over and over. And put a paypal button on the blog! hee hee.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

Mar 10, 2008

Compact the War: End It

The war turns five years old next week, and wow has it been an ecological and humanitarian nightmare. Straight up: War is not a Compact friendly endeavor. Bombs are not realistically recyclable. Cycles of destruction and reconstruction are not sustainable. Plundering a fragile desert ecosystem, such as the Tigris and Euphrates valley, one of the oldest havens of human life on the planet, is shameful and repellent.

But Americans know this and the overwhelming majority wants to end the war. According to data from the U.S. OMB, our government has spent over $2.8 trillion on the military since 2003. In California we're closing over 40 state parks because we have a massive budget shortfall. In San Francisco our parks are severely understaffed because of a hiring freeze imposed because of budget woes. We need climate change solutions now if we wish to protect the breadth of biodiversity currently gracing Earth.

What would you do with 2.8 trillion dollars?

With the war celebrating its fifth bloody birthday, what will those of us who oppose it do to stop it? Actions are cropping up all over the country and you still have time to plug in if you'd like. You might be able to find something local here.

In San Francisco, I'll be supporting actions organized by Direct Action to Stop the War. When I say that I support these actions, I am not suggesting that people break the law. I only encourage you to exercise your First Amendment rights to their fullest extent.

On Saturday, March 15th, there is a rally, march, and direct action planned at the Chevr0n refinery in Richmond, California. Chevr0n refines about 1 million barrels of Iraqi oil each month in Richmond. Chevr0n has also pushed for the privatization of the Iraqi people's oil, in no small part by pushing the Iraq Oil (Theft) Law. The refinery is an environmental justice catastrophe for the people of Richmond and the Bay Area. With spoils of the Iraq War, Chevr0n is trying to expand and retool its Richmond refinery to allow the processing of dirtier crude oil. Richmond residents are fed up. This is an action about communities, climate change, and war.

On Wednesday March 19th, the 5th anniversary of the Iraq War, there will be a decentralized day of action in downtown San Francisco. On March 20th of 2003, we took to the streets of San Francisco to express our rage as Baghdad burned under the fires of Operation Shock and Awe. On March 19th we will take our frustrations to the corporate profiteers and responsible government agencies that allow this war to continue. We will confront the companies receiving fat contracts at the expense of our parks, schools, and health care. It's also time to remind complicit government officials that they defy the will of the people in allowing the continuation of death and destruction in Iraq.

Direct Action to Stop the War
(DASW) is a decentralized, unaffiliated network of Bay Area affinity groups and individuals. DASW is calling for nonviolent direct action and asking that individuals and affinity groups respect the tone of the various actions that will take place on March 19th.

Mar 5, 2008

Toronto Star Article

I did a very pleasant interview w/ Catherine Porter of the Toronto Star. Here's the article from last weekend. And here's her blog, The Green Life, which you should check out!

She was so great to talk to, and very patient w/ the dropped calls as I was on windy Bernal Hill. It's nice coverage of the Compact and they did an online challenge to the readers to try the Compact for a week.