Ecology in Bergonia
a green revolution in practice
can't raise canaries with cats,
"Democracy can flourish only in societies free of private money.
Socialism can flourish only in societies free of dictatorship.
And only with both can environmentalism succeed in rescuing humankind."
"We stand against the worship of things, money, and progress, against frenetic activity, against waste, against mammon," trumpeted the Harmony Alliance chairman Piesha Aziron in 1982, the year her party first attained a majority in Congress. Aziron became Speaker of Congress.
"We celebrate a revolution of cabinet-makers and potters, people who earnestly pray, lazy people, hikers, people who enjoy beauty, people who want to take walks at the end of the day. This revolution opposes those who want to keep the bulldozers going day and night."
After the Harmony Alliance scored its first big electoral wins in 1976, the other parties got serious about environmentalism (co-opting the issue) and put Harmony into retreat. But in 1982 Harmony won a bare majority of Congress after a furious street campaign, and two years later Harmony expanded its majority to a comfortable margin and also won the presidency. Thus it was in 1984 that Harmony, with much fanfare, initiated a revolution they called the Greening of the country The changes were many and varied:
Air and water pollution has been drastically reduced, including campaigns to reduce all significant amounts of toxins and carcinogens. New generation scrubber technology has been fitted on all coal burning power plants, with diversion of hot gases in most plants for other technologies.
Now attention is concentrated on greenhouse gases. In recent years the Environmental Council has adopted targets to reduce diesel emissions, which have been identified as a cancer risk. California is regulating the greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, which would make it the first non-Bergonian place in the world to do so.
This means special attention to carbon dioxide emissions, mercury emissions, and contributors to acid rain.
Any individual or cooperative put out of work by environmental reforms has guaranteed work. Ranchers, for example, suffered economic displacement, as beef production fell. Workers in polluting metals industries (such as asbestos), tobacco and other "old" economics saw their work disappear. But the NDP scored big at the polls in 1988 when it proposed that any worker or worker collective put out of work as a direct result of any environmental reform be guaranteed work. Here was their rationale: "If the good of all citizens requires the end of any one citizen's work, then all citizens must compensate the one worker for his sacrifice, and they must come to his aid. Environmental reforms put thousands of coal miners and ranchers out of work, but the government directed capital investment into coal and ranching communities for the creation of cutting-edge industries. It would be as if the US government had the authority to direct new software industries to locate in Ohio steel towns and West Virginia coal towns.
In 1985 the public development banks started providing grants, loans & capital to cooperatives who had to spend money to get in compliance with new green laws. The states run this program. It almost completely defeats the argument that environmental regulation sucks up available capital for the costs of compliance.
New green enterprises need help getting off the ground. The public development banks now provide capital to new cooperatives forming to develop green technology. The PDB's well know that profitability may be deferred for years, so the loans have usually been stretched out.
Government in some cases directly sponsor the new enterprises. Moreover, the government insures a market by requiring all the ministries to adjust their procurement practices. When, for example, the government planned to purchase 240,000 new hybrid-powered vehicles in 1994 over a seven year period, the auto industry listened. When the government announced in 1987 that all future building plans must include solar elements, the solar industries celebrated.
Animal Life and Habitats
The law of conservative land use mitigates against beef production. On a calorie per acre ratio, beef is the most inefficient meat, indeed the most inefficient food production of all. Beef production is arguable the single human activity most destructive of environments. Concerns about cardiovascular disease have mitigated against beef production as well. This on a big scale has required the drastic reduction of cattle breeding. By reducing production of beef, Bergonians have improved their diets and health, and freed up much land for wilderness and other, more efficient, forms of food production.
Reduced beef consumption means increased fish production. No other food industry damages the environment as cattle-raising. But Bergonia (like many other nations) has come close to over-fishing fisheries. Since 1985 the government has aggressively protected fisheries, and the regional and national congress of fishing collectives now helps protect and monitor the catches. Fishermen work on scientific vessels, get preference for navy & coast guard spots, and work in the new generation of fish farms. Thus most of the nation's fish farms (salmon, shrimp, tilapia & catfish) are on the coasts.
Most fish farms feed the fish with meal made of fish & critters caught from the ocean, so four pounds of multiple ocean fish go to produce one pound of farm raised fish. The Bergonians have sought to develop fish food that will require smaller harvests of ocean fish. This has spurred research into the possibility of farms to produce fish-food for the fish in the fish farms, with fertilizer byproduct.
To protect whales the Bergonian navy has opposed-- and fired upon-- whalers in the unilaterally proclaimed 5,000,000 square mile North Atlantic "whale preserve" declared by Congress in 1986. In this way Bergonia gave "Save the Whales" a steely bite, and indeed-- as much to mock unengaged American environmentalists-- several ships painted "Save the Whales" on the artillery shells. The navy also assaulted big fishing operations from Norway and Japan in the North Atlantic where they have depleted fisheries. This occurred in 1987, and earned Bergonia censure by the U.N. Security Council.
This has raised new questions of military doctrine-- should the military attack the economic assets of another country that disparages Bergonia's environment? Hypothetically, if the US continues to gobble up a grossly disproportionate share of the world's petroleum, or generates enough acid rain and other air pollution to degrade Bergonia's air, does Bergonia have the right to strike at US refineries or power plants? This of course assumes the failure of diplomacy, but the US has consistently shrugged off every legitimate demand by other states to reduce its excessive consumption of natural resources. The question of war with the US became an issue in the 2004 presidential election.
Part of this huge swath of water has been designated as an "oceanic no-noise zone." In these reserves, aquatic mammals have protection protected from the sounds of supertankers, oil exploration, military sonar equipment, the engines of container ships, airguns, pingers, explosives and dredgers. For further information see: Sounding the depths - Supertankers, sonar and the rise of undersea noise, by Michael Jasny (Natural Resources Defense Council, March 1999, print version $7.50 or free online at http://www.nrdc.org/wildlife/marine/sound/sdinx.asp).
Congress has banned experiments on animals that cause suffering or death to the animal, save for those most necessary to study certain killer diseases. Here we see the results of compromise, and the issue remains volatile today. Any scientist who designs an experiment involving animals must submit his design to an animal welfare commission that weighs the value of the medical knowledge sought against the suffering. The law punishes as a felony all non-medical experimentation or testing on animals that cause suffering or death, and a few scientists and academicians have been imprisoned. In the Bergonian scheme of federalism, any state may pass its own law allowing animal experimentation that would trump the federal law
The manufacture of many brands of cosmetics and other consumer products in capitalist countries involve animal experimentation. In 1988 Congress banned the importation of all cosmetics from capitalist countries identified with animal testing. This had the incidental effect of invigorating the domestic cosmetics industry.
Animal cruelty and smuggling is now heavily criminalized. All the Bergonian states have passed laws making the possession or trading of wild animals punishable by mandatory prison sentences. The laws require mandatory jail sentences for any cruel treatment of animals. People of most other countries believe that cruelty toward a child deserves a harsher punishment than cruelty to a cat, dog or horse. However, this kind of thinking supposes that the characteristics of the victim is paramount in determining the seriousness of a crime. Bergonian criminology, however, states that the characteristics of the offender (his motives, degree of culpability, etc.) is paramount. In other words, the person who tortures an animal is likely as cruel as a person who abuses a child-- since both victims are helpless, and probably dependant on the adult. Psychological studies worldwide endorse the idea that animal cruelty by children is the most dependable predictor of the sociopathic personality. Thus harsh treatment of animal cruelty helps head off atrocities against human victims. Bergonian sensibilities (including the skepticism of Miradi) prohibit much inquiry as to the relative worth of a child and a dog.
Manufacturing & Recycling:
Manufacturers of consumer goods have eliminated superfluous product packaging. This means far less cardboard and plastic waste. Recycling becomes a burdensome effort when marketing efforts produce massive amounts of packaging. Most of what people in the USA recycle is packaging! In Bergonia monitoring groups issue estimates of the percentage of a product's cost (measured both in dollars and energy) that go into the packaging, and people regard a high percentage as indicative of a bad deal. This has been effective in getting manufacturers to reduce packaging, but the final push came from a tax imposed on the manufacturers based on this percentage.
Bergonians often have to ask for a bag when they buy something at a store. People carry canvas/hemp bags all the time.
Manufacturing goods (including packaging) out of biodegradable, recycled, and recyclable materials whenever possible.
Australian scientists have developed revolutionary packaging materials made from wheat starch that is fully biodegradable. The new materials can be used for shopping bags, to pack vegetables, in place of polystyrene trays for baked goods, and other purposes such as mulch film for farming and gardening. The wheat starch material is blended with other biodegradable materials so they will compost down fully in around 30 to 60 days. See the Food and Packaging CRC, Swinburne University, CSIRO, and the University of Queensland. For further information: http://www.csiro.au/.
Every part of the country has a waste management and recycling council. It runs whatever local landfill there is, and it oversees the collection of trash and recyclables.
Every state has a bottle law, requiring deposits on glass bottles. In most areas the requirement extends to beer and wine bottles. Recycling more crushed glass than can be used, so there is actively under consideration a law to require deposits on glass jars as well. The most effective way of using recycled glass jars is if there are local food manufacturers who need them, to avoid the costs of transporting all the jars to centralized factories. Capitalist marketing practices-- where every brand has its own unique jar and bottle shape-- would make this kind of recycling impossible. But Bergonian socialist and syndicalist practice creates more uniformity, so there are a limited number of standard bottle and jar sizes & shapes that all industries use, so these items when recycled are very fungible.
In the US construction projects of all sizes and types, from major building projects to home remodeling jobs, product surplus materials that usually gets thrown away. There are leftovers from the new materials, e.g. brick, cord, drywall, and from the old stuff removed, e.g. old windows, old cut stone pieces, mantelpieces. Every county or community maintains a construction materials recycling center where people can drop this stuff off, and carry stuff away for reuse.
Imagine if all mass transportation were so well networked and integrated that an average person could go from door to door anywhere in the country seamlessly on public transportation. This means that local taxies and bus services connect to the subway and train stations, where people can go to either the airports or directly to other cities and towns. Buses also connect vilages to towns and cities.
An integrated system: A woman in Columbie, Pasiana wants to visit her son, who has gone to work in a small town in the southern state of Serpi, 900 miles away. She can step out her front door and walk to the subway station or the local bus stop. If she is a little too weak to walk, or it is a bit too far, she can easily call a taxi. Any bus she takes connects with the local commuter train system. However she goes, she can get to the airport with no more than one or two changes. If she doesn't want to fly, she can go by rail, and get to the main train station with only one change. The trains are good and fast, and she could get an Arrow train (equivalent to the Eurostar) all the way down the Amota coast to the big city of Harler. If she flies into the Harler airport, she can catch a train from there that will take her to one of many major train stations in the city. There she can catch a train to the town where her son is staying. Once there, she can find a bus or taxi.
As for her luggage? The Bergonian equivalent of FedEx has an arrangement with the transportation services to transport a person's luggage to the person's destination, and thus in Bergonia it is often that one's luggage travels separately from the traveler. With such a system, this lady doesn't need to carry her luggage to either the train station or the airport; instead someone will have picked up her luggage at her apartment.
The government has planned for energy efficient transportation. Designing an efficient electric car (Bergonia is petroleum poor) is a top priority, and at present 17% of all cars on the road are hybrids. Another 50% of all cars, and 75% of all trucks, burn ethanol (as of 2006 40% of all Brazilian autos burn ethanol).
62% of all adults own cars. A sizeable percentage of city-dwellers spare themselves the expense and trouble of a car and instead rely completely upon mass transit. The cost of rental cars, trucks & motorcycles is held down so that people have an alternative to actually owning a car. Many professional associations & corporations collectivize rentals, achieving group discounts for members & employees, and even maintain motor pools for members. Thus the workers at a steel mill or members of the electricians guild may check out a collectively owned car for a trip to the beach.
Since 1980 the bicycle has practically become a national symbol. Every major road project now entails parallel bike paths & lanes. Bike paths everywhere weave around roads, but sometimes roadways are curved or turned to accommodate bike paths. Cycling is actively promoted by all levels of government for athleticism, diet & health, physical therapy, thrift, and recreation. Cycling delivery services (packages, pizzas, flowers) abound. Mail is some places delivered by cycling postmen. It is still rare for office workers & professionals to commute on bicycles, but blue collar people (whose looks count less on the job) often ride bikes to work. (Visit Self-Propelled City for info on commuting by cycling. Also visit the League of American Bicyclists.) Bergonia is arguably the greatest competitive cycling nation, with racing and touring teams in every city and town. Bergonia every October hosts the Tour de Isle, a race with routes as tough as the Tour de France, but with only 15 stages (with no team time trials, and no prologue). Bergonia also abounds in mountain biking.
Bergonia now refuses to accommodate automobiles. In the USA city zoning laws blatantly favor the automobile so much that any new business has no choice but to build a giant parking lot. Many US cities have for decades required new premises to have (for example) one parking place for every 300 square feet of premises space. No wonder American inner cities have been dying. Most Bergonian cities allow cars (except for select pedestrian streets), but no Bergonian city makes it easy for automobiles. In fact, there is an underlying conviction (not always rational) that if cities make their own auto traffic difficult then people will desert automobiles for mass transit. No where has this been taken to a greater extreme as Ceiolai. Parking spaces exist only at a premium. Virtually every city with a million or more people has a subway or metro rail system, tied in with a system of buses and transport vans, and in some places water taxies and water buses, and supplemented by a proliferation of taxis. Many counties containing smaller cities have their own regionalized local rail systems to accommodate day commuters (as if the Quad Cities, Iowa had a commuter train linking all the cities & towns in the region). See the World Car Free Network, advocating car-free cities. Also see Carfree Cities, a web-site that illustrates the design of an ideal city free of cars (excellent links page).
The model in the US is that everyone at least 16 years old should have their own automobile. In Bergonia the model is that people living in more concentrated communities can get about more easily on busses and subways and on foot, and that driving should be minimize. Thus fewer people own automobiles in Bergonia-- an average of about 1.2 car per household in Bergonia, far fewer than the US. A primary strategy has been to promote auto rentals and pooled ownership. People in Bergonian cities often belong to "auto coops" where they acquire rental shares in an auto pool. A cooperative garage maintains and repairs a group of vehicles for common use. Some have as few as just two or three cars and involved extended families. Others, especially the ones sponsored by big federated cooperatives (the Berg version of big corporations), might include several hundred automobiles of all types. When you need a car, you call and make your reservation. The kid sometimes will bring the car to your doorstep. This is a cheap alternative to the hassle and expense of owning a car in densely packed Bergonian cities.
In the US the basic truth about the automobile is that traffic is always getting worse, a corollary to the expanding population and the lengthening of all distances. Sprawl is bad enough, but with a rapidly expanding population sprawl becomes hideous. In Bergonia there is the real possibility that traffic will never get worse, because the population is now stable. Thus the pressure upon cities to build more highways and streets is slight, allowing the transportation authorities to concentrate their energies and public dollars on maintaining and improving the existing system. A country can do so much, and spend less, when its population is stable, and it need not keep having to capitalize expansion forever. Zoning regulations prohibit sprawl, and governments do not subsidize sprawl, as in the US. Where governments refuse to build roads, authorize utility extensions, and grant tax abatements and financing deals for huge suburban & "exurban" developments, the developers can't build them.
Efficiency in electric generation is improved by reliance on many small plants using cogeneration-- use of more than one single heat source for energy to turn the power-producing turbines. These plants make it possible to recover BTUs from and slag, gob and other coal tailings. As a result the big piles of tailings left decades ago to disfigure the countryside of coal mining regions now are new sources for BTU in cogeneration plants. Another cogeneration technique is to recover and recycle waste heat from a primary heating source (coal or gas-- but Berg is very lacking in nat. gas.) A number of small electrical generating plants are being built next to steel, aluminum and other big heat-generating plants to exploit the excess heat.
Long distance transmission of electricity is inefficient, with much loss. In order to avoid having power plants in every locality, the national electricity board is working to improve efficiency through advances in superconductivity.
The country still relies upon coal for most of its electrical generation, and is now engaging in coal gasification projects that remove much of the objectionable carbon from the coal before it is burned.
In the late 1900s Congress and state governments approved the construction of dozens of large wind-turbine "farms" around the country, as part of the nation's Greening. But wind power became controversial, because many Bergonians disliked what they saw, deciding that the large turbine towers ruin landscapes, and because of serious concerns for avian mortality. Site monitoring has confirmed major bat and sizeable bird mortality around large turbines. Since 2000 six states have decided against any more large tower projects, but in late 2005 construction continued on a dozen large-scale wind turbine projects, but it appears that no further projects are on the drawing board, save for several floating projects that can be positioned well out to sea away from people, birds and bats.
Now public policy promotes small scale wind power applications, within the control of individuals, families, communes and cities, promoting energy independence and the do-it-yourself propensities among the people. When a class, a community or a nation loses its technical aptitude and resourcefulness, it declines or becomes dependent. See Bergey, the leader in do-it-yrself wind turbines.
See a directory of wind energy resources.
At this point in time Bergonians are not enamored with hydrogen power, since it consumes plenty of primary energy consumption to produce the usable hydrogen. The Energy Council sponsors a great deal of hydrogen research, just as it sponsors a great deal of research on other still speculative energy sources, hoping for an eventual payoff.
Solar feasibly heats water in subtropical, sunny climates like Bergonia. But Bergonia also promotes solar cells for the generation of electricity.
a joint effort among Stirling Energy Systems, Boeing, and the Department of Energy to capture the sun's rays using a Stirling engine, a device first invented in the 19th century. Stirling engines are powered by the expansion of gas when it is heated inside the engine, followed by the compression of the gas when cooled. The gas never leaves the engine but moves back and forth between the hot side and the cold side, moving a piston. One way to heat the gas would be to use solar power—the goal of the project, which uses solar dishes to focus the sun's rays on the engines. (The following link plays a video of the dishes in action.) As this EE Times analysis theorizes, one day a 100-by-100-mile farm of these dishes could supply. US News & World Report, 19 Jan 05 Georgia Tech engineers at the Solar Thermal Test Facility directly produced power-grid quality electricity with a Georgia Tech/Swedish-built Stirling external combustion engine, whose pistons were driven by helium heated by intense sunlight.
the University of Toronto where researchers have developed "spray on" photovoltaic materials using nanoparticles sensitive to infrared rays. This potentially allows the creation of solar cells that can harness five times more of the sun's energy. As reported in the journal Nature Materials, the substance potentially could be applied to existing surfaces like walls or clothing. US News & Wolrd Report, 19 Jan 05
For years it has been possible to construct photovoltaic devices, but they have been too expensive to manufacture and too inefficient to produce large quantities of electricity. Generally, as of 2003, silicon-based solar cells convert no more than 15% of the rays they collect into electricity. Such cells cost 22 cents (US) per kilowatt-hour, while a coal fired plant costs just 4 cents (though without all the social costs being counted. Moreover, vested interests (yes, even in Bergonia) such as coal have frustrated funding for solar research.
But there is new promise in "thin film" solar cells, where layers of electricity producing materials are applied in layers on a glass or plastic backing. in 2004 Konarka Technologies in massachusetts coats trips of plastic film with a layer of titanium-oxide and light-absorbing dye. Cadmium telluride is another one material that produces higher wattage per square foot. The US National Renewable Energy Lab has used cadmium telluride to build a cell that converts 16.4% of sunlight into electricity. Solar cells designed for use on space satellites convert upwards to 32% of sunlight to electricity. In Jan 2006 Honda of Japan announced that it will begin mass production of a non-silicon solar cell, made of composition of copper, indium, gallium and selenium. Honda claims that this cell will require 50 per cent less energy to manufacture, and thus generate 50 per cent less CO2, compared to a conventional solar cell. Honda also claims that its cell has achieved the highest level of photoelectric transfer efficiency thus far for a thin film solar cell, almost equivalent to the conventional crystal silicon solar cell.
a 340-kilowatt PV system installed on the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, which was built for the 1996 Olympics. It produces enough electricity to provide 30 to 40 percent of the building's power needs – an amount sufficient to energize 70 average homes.
silicon cells: Work under way in UCEP also produces basic scientific advances and improvements in manufacturing technologies for silicon solar cells. Researchers are working to reduce cell-processing cost without compromising efficiency to make PV-generated electricity more competitive with other sources, Rohatgi explains. Through computer modeling, UCEP has established cost and technology roadmaps for making PV cost-effective. UCEP has produced record-breaking high-efficiency cells on various low-cost, multi-crystalline silicon materials through material-quality enhancement and technology development, he adds.
Bergonians are experimenting with combining nanotechnology and plastic electronics to build a semiconductor-polymer photovoltaic device. (U. Cal. at Berkeley is dong this too; see 29 Mar 02 issue of Science.) Polymer plastics can now be designed & built to conduct electricity. These polymers incorporate "conjugated double chemical bonds through which electrons can move." They can be constructed quite cheaply, and may have unlimited applicability for photovoltaic devices. At present photovoltaic devices are prohibitively expensive to build. Supposedly Seimans is working on a process that attaches "buckminster-fuller-like" molecules to conductive polymers to product an efficient solar cell. General Electric is adapting organic light-emitting diodes for use as light collectors in plastic solar cells.
Architects now have to design energy efficient buildings. In Bergonia's sub-tropical climate they design for passive cooling, in order to reduce demand for air conditioning, and also use excess radiant heat for heating water. Balconies, verandas and overhanging roofs protect interiors from sunlight, and most windows have shutters for mid-day use. Likewise, architects strive to reduce the amount of sunlight that rooftops and parking areas reflect back into the air, which intensify the city's heat. Bergonia has few giant American-style parking lots, which raise temperatures by reflecting vast amounts of heat back into the air.
Contractors are constructing buildings out of new composite materials that provide insulation vastly superior to traditional materials. One particularly approach involves the use of simple composite materials for walls and roofs. "Structural insulated panels," known as SIPs, can be assembled in factories much more quickly and easily than traditional housing materials. Once assembled, they can be erected easily, requiring only a few trucks to deliver them to the building site and no heavy equipment to construct a comfortable, attractive, full sized home. These SIP panels are manufactured from basic, with a core of expanded polystyrene (produced by Dow Chemical as Styrofoam) and cladding of cement boards. The expanded polystyrene insulates exceptionally well, so that homes built of SIP panels often use fifty to seventy percent less energy to heat and cool a home. When combined with more efficient air conditioners, high quality windows, and energy saving appliances, families can save hundreds to thousands of dollars, and more importantly, reduce pollution from excessive energy usage.
Re-Greening the Land See more details in Land Use.
Reforestation was one of the first environmental priorities of the revolutionary government in the late 1930s and the 1940s. Since then millions of new trees have been planted on fallow and degraded land. National and regional plans have financed efforts for counties to select and accomplish the reforestation, often with student volunteers. Planting trees protects fields and shelters rural homesteads. Planting trees prevents excessive soil runoff and erosion that results in silts streams. Trees provide cooling shade in cities, so that Bergonian cities are not heat islands. Trees give bird species necessary places for nesting, and provide food and cover for many species of wildlife. Trees have beneficial effects on air quality, not just by emitting oxygen, but by lowering air temperature and retaining particulates. See the National Arbor Day Foundation.
To make cities green and cool, the people plant trees and gardens. All new apartment buildings have garden spaces for the residents, instead of expanses of mowed grass. Mowed grass is becoming a rare sight. Trees in cities effectively reduce air temperature, which in turn reduces demand for air conditioning. Trees, hedgerows and small plots of wild growth even in cities now serve as effective barriers, e.g. to separate rail yards, superhighways, warehouses and factories from residential districts.
Environmentalists in Bergonia promote local self-sufficiency in food. Höje Taastrup, a town in Denmark with a population of 45,000, is doing this in the real world. Intensifying local food production has many benefits: (a) fresher, better produce at market, (b) reduced transportation costs means reduced prices, (c) opportunities for income diversification, e.g. part-time work, (d) keeping money in the community. Here are ways this can be done:
Agroforestry is a system of intensive land-use in which economically valuable trees are grown in association with other crops. It is applicable to almost every inhabitable part of the world, including Asia, Africa and Australia, but very much favored in Bergonia. There are trees and hardy perennial shrubs that will grow in the most unpromising terrains, including hilly or arid areas. These provide 'nurse conditions' for more tender crops, such as fruit and vegetables. The resources involved would be renewable - therefore virtually infinite - and would not pollute the environment. Trees, by attracting rain and controlling the movement of groundwater through their roots, would prevent both droughts and floods. The stabilizing effect of trees would prevent erosion and landslides.
Cities beautify their urban vistas by dismantling billboards and other unsightly signs. Cities put controls on the size and intensity of all commercial signs. Bergonian architects and psychologists have become very sensitive to the idea of a harmonized field of vision in all places where people go, a field of vision with overall beauty and harmony, and with little clutter. The goal is to eliminate the tense "capitalist field of vision," a jumble of myriad objects each designed with bright large attributes (e.g. color, shape) for the purpose of standing out, being separated from the field. The capitalist builder aims to not harmonize with the whole, to dis-harmonize, so that there is only visual cacophony. Every tall building in the capitalist urban skyline is designed to be unique, to cry out for individual attention, as do the various neon signs that proliferate in suburban sprawl, or the individual products in the supermarket isle. The net effect of the cacophonous "capitalist field of vision" is chaos, disconnectedness, choppiness-- and plain ugliness. Even the interior of many American homes (with so much junk) produce the same field. Since Bergonian psychology holds that sensory input can directly influence affect, it follows that beauty has a salutary effect on mental health, by promoting attentiveness and focus while ugliness keeps thought randomized and confused by atomizing attention. Bergonian socialists and environmentalists believe that capitalist marketers deliberately intend this effect, and want a nation of confused slaves to herd through impulse control.
Reducing unnecessary night lighting, which saves
electricity and allows people to enjoy the stars. The fear of radical
environmentalists and naturalists is that in the past century electrical lighting has
destroyed the connection between humanity and the night, which is a subtly important
connection. Most night lighting does little to improve security from crime. In
the U.S. much night lighting relates to commercialism, and in Bergonia the use of garish
lighted signs is limited-- which is not to say that in city centers colorful displays of
neon are lacking.
Measuring environmental success.
publishes the figures for per capita energy consumption as prominently as the
non-laboring rates (called "unemployment
rate" in capitalist countries) and the economic growth rate. The politicians hail reductions in these
energy figures as
proof of their ecological accomplishments. Likewise, public commissions also rate
products according to per unit consumption of energy and material.
Measuring environmental success. The government publishes the figures for per capita energy consumption as prominently as the non-laboring rates (called "unemployment rate" in capitalist countries) and the economic growth rate. The politicians hail reductions in these energy figures as proof of their ecological accomplishments. Likewise, public commissions also rate products according to per unit consumption of energy and material.
The GDP in capitalist countries is merely a measure of total
expenditure in an economy, and by itself should be taken as
indicating nothing. As an alternative method of appraising an
economy, see the
Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare. Hell NO to the
Hell NO to the WTO!
Incorporating environmentalism into trade policy. It is hypocritical for Americans to live in a clean nation and then pay third world peoples to dirty their own environments. Bergonians try to deal only with nations and firms that operate clean operations, and Bergonian firms will, as a part of the consideration, assist the foreign firms to improve their own environmental practices. Thus, Bergonians refuse to buy wood from Indonesia and beef from Brazil. The World Trade Organization does not incorporate environmental concerns into its standards for judging the trade practices of nations, and so a nation which restricts trade for environmental reasons may face WTO sanctions. So, while active in mot other international organizations, Bergonia refuses WTO membership! Likewise, Bergonia has no truck with the IMF and World Bank.
Of course many workers and technocrats have resisted the new radical environmentalism, for fear of losing their work, even as Bergonian factories continued fouling the water and air. They accused the environmentalists of not being "good socialists," playing out some of the same themes that infected Soviet communism. Likewise some environmentalists have good too far in foisting revisions on the people without careful thought or research (e.g. solar power was grossly oversold in the 1980's).
But the new values have prevailed, in part because they dovetailed with deep-seated Bergonian beliefs about (a) universal harmony, (b) the sanctity of animal life and (c) the redeeming quality of natural beauty. Bergonian greens understand that environmentalism would never have taken hold unless prevailing cultural values permitted it. Bergonian psychology has largely become a cognitive psychology of beliefs and values, postulating that actions follow values. Bergonians believe that neither individuals nor societies have to accept given values as absolutes; rather individuals and societies can consciously test, change and relearn their values. Bergonia luckily has had fewer values to change than the USA and other Western nations. In the West, non-human life and the physical universe is seen as dead and mechanical, and humanity is seen as separate from and superior to it.
This explains why environmentalism will probably fail in countries where the prevailing values are capitalist values. These values exalt the self over anyone or anything else, endorse the accumulation of things as the truest measure of self-worth, and revere the ever-growing economic enterprise as the greatest good, without any regard for whether the enterprise serves a socially useful purpose. Capitalism, an utterly materialist credo, refuses to admit that beauty, repose, or prayerful meditation are compelling values. Ultimately, Bergonians know that they easily became environmentalists because they had first discarded capitalist values.
"Greenity" or "Greenism" builds on Socialism, because Socialism and "Greenity'' both presuppose that subjects or selves are not isolated discrete entities in a mechanical universe, as Capitalism does. Instead, subjects & selves are parts of dynamic systems, i.e. larger organic wholes. Therefore, the goal of good people's lives is (or should be) to learn the nature of the "whole'' in which they find themselves, so they can bring themselves in line with its evolutionary unfolding and development.
From this viewpoint it is extremely difficult to a hierarchical class-based system that regards people as commodities to cease looking at nature as something other than "natural resources"-- commodities to be extracted and exploited.
Socialist democracy is the way of harmonizing society's parts and wholes. The ecological lifestyle is the way of harmonizing human society with nature.
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