Blind man and his armless friend plant forest in China

May each of us add more than we take in our own lifetime.

Overcoming their physical challenges, an armless man and his blind best friend take action in preserving their environment by planting a forest of more than 10,000 trees in rural China. Like a classic fable, this inspirational story goes beyond pollution, climate control and Mother Nature; it’s an epic story that proves anyone and everyone can make a real difference in the world. Here is a direct video link.

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Danielle on The Financial Survival Network

Danielle was a guest on The Financial Survival Network with Kerry Lutz, talking about recent developments in the world economy and markets.  You can listen to an audio clip of the segment here.

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Farm to table food: cheaper, fresher, sustainable, smarter

More horizontal farm to table distribution cuts out big-food (big-carbon) conglomerates, and bank transaction fees, to bring crazy-cheap, fresher fruits and veggies, directly to households from producers who earn more and can afford to cultivate sustainable biodiversity in their crop rotation.  No brainer.  It’s not that the world cannot feed its population, its that we cannot do it using the dominant big-food (big waste) business models.  See:  Why fruits and veggies are so crazy cheap in Chinatown:

China marketRather than contracting with large, industrial farms, it turns out, Chinatown’s wholesalers often buy from small, family farms specializing in Asian vegetables, including backyard “home gardens” in south Florida, and oxen-plowed plots in central Honduras.

Ms. Imbruce knows shoppers often equate low prices with exploitation, but that isn’t what she saw on the more than 75 farms she visited. The farmers, she said, were pleased to be growing for the Chinatown wholesalers because they could cultivate an array of crops, leading to economic and agronomic stability.

“Some said it was the best situation they’d had in a long time,” she said.

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Western policies driving crush of migrants

Excellent article and reminder on what the US can learn from Brexit: immigration will continue to overwhelm western borders and economies unless and until we look at how to help improve living conditions in the nations people are fleeing. Hint: the west has caused a lot of the current imbalances through destructive environmental and foreign policies.  The most effective antidote is to arrest the environmental strain we are causing while investing in access to education and clean water in the countries people are fleeing, so they don’t have to leave home.  See Brexit is a symptom of globalization’s deeper ills:

The rich countries really do need border controls. The potential flow of migrants in search of peace, jobs, and generous social benefits will otherwise be overwhelming. Yet the pressures on migration will be unstoppable unless the source regions are themselves peaceful and economically viable. The United States should ask itself why its near-neighborhood is so violent, war torn, poor, and financially strapped (including the recent bankruptcy of Puerto Rico). And then it should look in the mirror, heaven forbid, to remember how US policies have contributed to these awful outcomes.

The United States has been the magnet for narcotics trafficking; the overwhelming supplier of small arms throughout Central America and the Caribbean; the hub of regional organized crime; the author of countless CIA-led coups against democratic governments (too many to list here), often to protect US corporate interests; and the leading contributor to human-induced climate change that now creates environmental refugees. Through it all, the US political elite has been generally uncaring of the consequences.

Europe’s circumstances are trickier. Europe faces immigration pressures from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. According to the UN basic forecast, Africa’s population will soar from 228 million in 1950 and 1.19 billion in 2015 to an astounding 4.39 billion in 2100, compared with 646 million in all of Europe in 2100 (including Russia and Ukraine). These demographic pressures are gravely exacerbated by wars, mainly US-led, in the Middle East and Africa, putting millions of displaced people on the move, with many crossing the Mediterranean into Europe.

Yet here, too, there are practical solutions. Africa’s astounding demographic surge, for example, would be decisively eased by a simple, humane, decent, and wise policy to ensure that every African child has the realistic prospect of at least a secondary-school education. The result would be a dramatic voluntary reduction of the sky-high fertility rate. Yet funding expanded access to education in poor countries requires that the US and Europe shift funds from wars and armaments to girls’ education.

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Mervyn King on Brexit lessons for political elites

Former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King talks about the need for the ‘political elite’ to reconnect with citizens following the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union.  Here is a direct video link.

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Majority votes and the urge to cherry pick democracy

As self-serving status quo pundits spew more hyperbolic nonsense about the ‘catastrophic’ costs of Brexit, why the yes vote should not be implemented, why the majority did not really understand what they were voting for, or how the margin of yes was too small to be accepted (anyone remember the Bush/Gore tie in 2000 that took the Supreme Court to break?) we should reflect on history and understand just how destructive and sinister such assertions truly are. Majority votes are not to be respected only when they go in favor of the ruling powers, sorry.  The Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi offers a must-read historical reminder on these matters, see The Reaction to Brexit is the reason Brexit happened:

Democracy appears to have become so denuded and corrupted in America that a generation of people has grown up without any faith in its principles.

What’s particularly concerning about the reaction both to Brexit and to the rise of Trump is the way these episodes are framed as requiring exceptions to the usual democratic rule. They’re called threats so monstrous that we must abrogate the democratic process to combat them.

Forget Plato, Athens, Sparta and Rome. More recent history tells us that the descent into despotism always starts in this exact same way. There is always an emergency that requires a temporary suspension of democracy.

To his credit, outgoing UK Prime Minister David Cameron reaffirmed his respect for the democratic process in the UK Parliament after Brexit here is direct video link.

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