Monday, November 13, 2006

What Now? Sustainability and Flanners!

Yesterday a group of democrats, including Coleen Rowley and Sen. Becky Lourey, gathered at the Black Dog Cafe in Saint Paul to talk about the next steps, the lessons learned, to raise a little money to pay down campaign debts and start building a think tank, a campaign war chest, and a game plan for the next contest.

Another similar event is planned by the MN DFL Progressive Caucus on Tuesday, Nov 21 at 6pm. Called "Peace for Senate in ’08", more information is listed on the Progressive Caucus' calendar.

I thought I had written something somewhere about legislative priorities that I thought progressives in our area should lobby for. I can't figure out where that went - if that was an e-mail, a post, a note to myself, a dream. So I am re-writing it:

One thing I am going to put at that top of that list is preventing either the development of or the introduction of transgenetic wild rice, i.e. the planting or breeding of wild rice that incorporates genes from other organisms, anywhere in Minnesota. This important for maintaining the culture and the health of the aboriginal people of Northern Minnesota, but it is also important for protecting our lakes and waterways, their ecology and biodiversity, from the introduction of a strain of wild rice that could become a 'super weed' or genes that could cause the decline of the wild populations of the plant, its predators and symbionts, etc.

Another thing that has to be on that list is the end of the production of Depleted Uranium munitions anywhere in this state, and an end to the production of cluster munitions as well. The DU munitions ban should come hand-in-hand with a reappraisal of nuclear power and nuclear medicine in the state. I am really impressed with the need for this after seeing a presentation on C-SPAN's book TV last night, by Helen Caldicott

We have to invest in biofuels research that is designed for export to the developing world, to replace the nuclear power aspirations of India, Indonesia, etc.

A modest amount of money invested in investigating biodiesel from Jatropha and rubberseed oil production in India and Indonesia could eventually offset the growth in diesel fuel consumption in these areas, and the use of food grade oil (palm oil) in biodiesel. Lets not turn foodstuffs in to fuel, when we can start making fuels from unused bioproducts of plantations: wood gas, charcoal, non-edible but oily tree seeds, etc.

Also, there is a need to incorporate native plant diversity, to diversify cash crops, to inventory plant biodiversity in Aceh and other parts of Sumatra being deforested to meet our needs for coffee, for rubber, for paper.

When we think about rubber and binding atmospheric carbon, we should consider the production of one ingredient in making tires, etc: carbon black. There are good ways to to do this, and worse ways... some methods of producing carbon black release huge amounts of atmospheric carbon.

Other appropriate technology transfer that would be appropriate in the international rubber industry are less toxic means of compounding rubber. Some formes of latex sensitivity are a result of allergy to compounding materials other than rubber. Lead is historically important componding ingredient, but we should consider all of the modern ingredients, their environmental impacts, etc.

What does connectivity mean in peace and war, in terrorism and decolonialization? Some people are going to keep arguing about it, hyping it and their new defense policy wonk buzzword. I am just going to keep practising the bits of connectivity that I know, and I hope that the notes I make about my participation in the flanners contest help people who are new to this medium (blogging and/or the web) do a more effective job of getting traffic and attention for their best ideas. Or amplifying the best ideas they come across on the internet, by voting for them with relevance-signifying hyperlinks.

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