Sunday, December 28, 2014

Adbusters: Ten Jobs For Out Of Work Environmentalists … by gimleteye

So Politifact rates the Lie of the Year in 2014: Exaggerations about Ebola. Interesting. If you live in Sierra Leone and you met the Tampa Bay Times staff who wrote this, you might be tempted to drown him or her in a sewage ditch. But we don't have sewage ditches here (unless you count, Big Sugar's runoff into the Everglades) and we don't have Ebola.

Those of us living on borrowed time (we are all living on borrowed time) and have the interest or time to ponder might consider the Tampa Bay Times counting its chickens before the eggs hatched.

I'm not going sermonize on Ebola or anything else. I woke up cranky this morning at 3:30 in the morning, the way one worry leads to another, then the next and next. As one gets older, it's harder to stop the hamster wheel whirring.

But as we approach the end of 2014, there are lots of questions aren't there?

I would not be tempted to call Ebola, "the lie of the year". It doesn't do service to all the little and big lies, we pass along the way to New Year's Eve. We do spend a lot of time and energy at Eye On Miami on these. For example, the notion that Jeb Bush is a "moderate", or, the climate change isn't real -- a position embraced by Senator Marco Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott. Or that we can keep putting sand on beaches, indefinitely, to keep our beach-oriented, coastal tourism afloat.

I recall, about thirty years ago now, the first time I was called a "Chicken Little" for warning about the demise of fisheries I had loved so much starting in the early 1970s. I was shocked. How do you measure the risk of losing what sustains us against the short-term thinking that robs us of options for the future?

The reason people react so viscerally to Ebola or bird flu (that hasn't manifested yet as a global threat) is that we are surrounded by slow moving catastrophes we choose to ignore. Why? Do we ignore them, because we can afford to or because it holds no profit to us personally or fails to impact our day-to-day lives?

The question rests. As for Ebola being "the lie of the year"? Emphatically, no.

I just came across the following from Adbusters. The story is nearly a year old, but it does resonate all the way from Vancouver, BC where Adbusters is based to Miami, Florida: the low lying state where Florida Power and Light wants to build two new nuclear reactors in wetlands.

Top 10 jobs for out-of-work Environmentalists
How to survive the ecologically disrupted century to come.
Erik Assadourian 03 February 2014

Now that the nonprofit environmental sector has for the most part gone bust—it was, after all, supported primarily by surplus wealth held by rich individuals and foundations (much of which vanished as the Ponzi-esque global stock market crashed)—many of us “professional” environmentalists are now looking for work. Might I suggest considering the following jobs, as they all have significant growth potential in the years ahead:

10) Uber Driver

Very few people will be able to afford a car any longer. Public transportation will shrink as other government services do. Getting around will become increasingly difficult. Shuttling people around in a car, small truck or bus would provide a guaranteed income. It’s a tried and true method in many developing countries already.

9) Teacher

No downside here—teaching is a respectable career in good and bad times. Of course, public schools will probably become even more chronically underfunded, so teaching may become an informal sector job. The job may pay in barter—housing, food, doctor and dentistry services—but you’ll probably get by. And you might even be able to center the curriculum around ecological values.

8) Doula or Midwife

In boom times or bust, people get pregnant. But fewer people will have health insurance, so they will choose to deliver their baby at home. Not a bad development overall, considering the social and environmental costs of the current birth industry—from America’s 31 percent caesarean-section rate to continuing overuse of formula. Both jobs are relatively secure but do require some training.

7) Small-scale Farmer

Not just crops in your front lawn or in the abandoned parking lot on your street, but raising small livestock—rabbits, chickens, guinea pigs and, most importantly, bugs. Shepherding thousands of crickets or mealworms to exchange with your neighbors will provide a good form of barter currency. This isn’t an easy life, especially in a climate-disrupted future, but will be an important part of a robust economic foundation for any family.

6) Artisan

In the post-consumer era, gone are the days of buying a new T-shirt or chair for $5 at the local Walmart. Most people will be back to wearing clothes until they’re just fabric, and making chairs out of scavenged milk crates. Local artisans will once again make things their neighbors need. The life of the artisan will be pretty secure, since you’ll only be making stuff your community really needs; and satisfying too—as you create something beautiful with your own hands. E. F. Schumacher would be proud.

5) Trash Miner

Long hours going through a mix of food waste, baby and pet crap, toxic household chemical residues, and the occasional valuable scrap of metal–it’s not easy or even all that safe. But you’ll be cleaning up decimated landfill sites and providing higher quality materials than are left in most remaining mines, making this both a green and well-paid job.

4) Death Midwife

As systems breakdown, more people are going to die. And few will be able to afford today’s “traditional” funeral that costs consumers an average of $10,000. More people will choose to bury their loved ones at home without any of the toxic trappings—casket, embalming fluid, plastic vault, and so on. Being a trained Death Midwife to help families cope, and to navigate the legal hurdles of burying their loved ones naturally, will be a rewarding and useful career path.

3) Urban Forager

You ain’t gonna get rich collecting pounds of acorns, black walnuts and dandelion greens, but no matter how bad it gets you’ll have an inside track on surviving. Most people don’t know how to process acorns to make them edible. While they are queuing up to buy the few loaves of bread available at the supermarket, you’ll be making acorn flour pancakes and feeling comfortably full on meal that is higher in nutrients.

2) Eco-preacher

Foundations may no longer be issuing grants but donations to church communities continue in good times and bad—as these institutions provide community security and emotional support. If the environmental movement were to evolve to focus more on building local fellowship, providing basic social services—daycare, economic aid, free clinics, garden plots—and use these efforts to spread an ecological philosophy, perhaps they’d find the resources necessary to continue their essential work, and more importantly, over the course of the ecological transition help spread a new eco-centric culture that could help provide a more sustainable model for life on a hot planet.

1) Political Revolutionary

You might have considered this when you had a comfortable salary to support the efforts, but when you had that comfortable salary, the risks probably didn’t seem worth it. Now that Earth’s systems are rapidly unraveling and a corrupt nexus of corporations and governments continue to dig out fossil fuels from a warming Earth, perhaps it’s time to consider more radical strategies. Maybe join up with a few other jobless friends, squat in an empty house in Detroit, write a manifesto, and build a new political party while doing a bit of urban farming? Or even better, run for office and try to recapture the political system for the 99%. It's not an easy lifestyle but it may pay off in the long-run.

Erik Assadourian is a Senior Fellow at Worldwatch Institute.


Anonymous said...

In a post apocalyptic South Florida a lone blogger sits and types at her keyboard while the rising water just outside lapping at the steps.... Long gone are the neighbors who surrounded her, gone to higher ground in the cooler air of the Smokey mountains.....

Happy new year...I think...

Anonymous said...

I think Miami finally broke you. The negative thought spiral is typical of those with a conscience who live here and try to make it better. But the futility of it - the corruption absurdity idiocy make it impossible. Small gains usually involve temporarily stopping something bad. But bad things keep popping up thanks to lobbyists and the politicians who love them. Look at today's Herald story on Beckham and the lament on why oh why the poor man hasn't gotten to pillage our public land and money for his profit driven ventures. I DON'T CARE. But the Herald does apparently. So sad it has come to this in Miamj.

Anonymous said...

Miami-Dade needs more than one major newspaper.

Anonymous said...

I don't think your assessment of the Politifact story is a fair characterization. It doesn't say that 'Ebola' is the lie of the year - it's the exaggerations about it that are.
It also says that the exaggerations "distorted the debate about a serious public health issue."
These are the type of discussions that I see you trying to have here at EOM, serious ones without all the hype and nonsense.
We should be concerned with Ebola and treat it as serious problem, and be dealing with it. But Politifact is right, when members of Congress talk about terrorists sneaking over the Mexican border with it, all that does is cause panic and doesn't help work towards solving the problem.