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Can the World’s Resources Sustain the Promise of Universal Human Rights?
by Vicky Vaughn Zeitlin, Eureka, CAlifornia August 27th 08, published by For

Solving the environmental problems facing the planet will require cooperation between nations, respect for human rights, animal rights, stewardship of all natural resources and a shift in the way we perceive power, political, factional, religious and individual. Dealing with the environmental problems facing us all will require vision, cooperation, and responsibility. The planet we live on has an unpredictable life of its own, and as a result tension between resources, populations and sustainability are a part of our existence. They won’t go away no matter how many “solutions” we devise. The pressures are great now and drastic changes in the way we approach ongoing solutions to ever changing conditions will be necessary.
Societies and cultures world wide will need to change their definitions of power and move from “power over to power with” for the health of our planet, the only one we know humans can survive on so far.

Bad things happen when there are not enough essential resources to go around. Without enough food people grow hungry and desperate. The same is true if they are deprived of water, shelter and energy to protect themselves from the elements. Some of the solutions from the past are:

Migration: Move on to unexplored territories and utilize new resources.
Technology: Improve something within the system so that you provide more of what you need with what you have.
War: Forcefully take resources from someone else
Religion: Use myth and ideology to explain and justify the distribution of resources based on who deserves and who does not deserve to survive.

Each of these responses on their own, and in combination, has worked in the past. The solutions provided mixed and impermanent results.

In the beginning migration was extremely effective. When there were very few humans on the planet migration meant dealing with climate change, following roaming herds of protein on the hoof or swimming in the water we needed to drink. As we improved our ability to survive with our brains and our hands and multiplied our numbers we no doubt began to run into others of our kind. Still there was enough space to share. If you were pushed out you moved on. After the agricultural revolution and development of cities migration became more complex. There was just too much stuff in place, so some of the people left. Eventually there were more humans and less free space, and we began bumping into each other by expanding into someone else’s space. Now, we are pretty much out of space on land. We are going to need to learn to get along, share what we have and live within reasonable limits to protect human rights.

Technology helped us expand where and how we could live. During the agricultural revolution it became possible for groups of people to settle in one place if they were willing to adapt their farming practices to their environment. In what is now the Southwestern United States “dry farming” and living in vertical pueblos that conserved productive land and offered better shelter from the elements during harsh winters made it possible for civilizations to develop that are still in place. Improvements in transportation led to expansion and contact between Europe, Africa, North and South America and Asia. The spread of New World crops like potatoes led to enormous population growth in Europe and Eurasia. Oil, gas, electricity, and chemical engineering increased farm output, created opportunities to travel faster and farther and increased our numbers again and again. Bumping into each other increased and now some people and countries seem to have everything and some have nothing. This imbalance and the lack of stability it indicates is an extreme threatens any hope for universal equality and human rights.

War supposedly occurs when all efforts to solve a problem or dispute peacefully have failed, but in the background there is usually a struggle going on where one group wants to obtain resources necessary to survive and/or another is trying to protect resources they need to survive. This is a massive oversimplification, but war is a way to keep what you have or get what you want be it land to grow food, water, oil, materials to build shelters, etc. It is a way to gain power over resources and control them worldwide for distribution the ruling government or society wishes. Rome needed grain. Egypt had grain. World War II followed a world wide depression that made access to and control of natural resources extremely attractive to Germany and Japan, both highly industrialized countries with dense populations and limited natural resources. War is the ultimate assault on human rights.

Religion has provided inspiration, justification and purpose to many individuals, cultures and government systems. Various religions have served as a means to explain the perplexing details of the universe and unequal distribution of resources. Believers are able to accept their lives as part of God’s plan and deal with deprivation, lack of access to resources and find peace in the simplicity of their lives. Some of the revealed religions have used dogma to explain why they are the chosen ones and to demonize the undeserving. In other words, religion can become a tool for those who wish to control the distribution of resources. It can serve to elevate humanity and protect human rights or it can be serve to protect the rights of members of one sect and completely ignore the rights of non-members.

What does this mean for our future and our ability to protect human rights? Until, and if we can, move away from Earth and into the universe our boundaries for expansion are limited. The unexplored oceans may prove to be sources of food, medicines and energy. Technology using renewable and sustainable sources of energy to heat our shelters and run the tools we depend on is promising, but development will not allow us to increase our energy needs without restraint as we have in the past. War may get the resources, but it creates an environment where human rights are ignored. It is imperative that we work to protect human rights and provide access to essential resources to as many people as possible, and to diminish disparities of distribution to avoid the rise of Religious Fundamentalism that excludes and demonizes non-believers.

What does this mean for our future and our ability to protect human rights? Until, and if we can, move away from Earth and into the universe our boundaries for expansion are limited. The unexplored oceans may prove to be sources of food, medicines and energy. Technology using renewable and sustainable sources of energy to heat our shelters and run the tools we depend on is promising, but development will not allow us to increase our energy needs without restraint as we have in the past. War may get the resources, but it creates an environment where human rights are ignored. It is imperative that we work to protect human rights and provide access to essential resources to as many people as possible, and to diminish disparities of distribution to avoid the rise of Religious Fundamentalism that excludes and demonizes non-believers.

The War in Iraq is a perfect example of what should not be done. By engaging in an unjustifiable war to protect access and attempt to control oil supplies for some the Republican Administration has destabilized the Middle East, increased sectarian violence in Iraq, destroyed the infrastructure that sustains the people of Iraq, destroyed the Iraqi economy creating a population of unemployed and alienated young men who are easily recruited as terrorists, wreaked havoc with international oil prices and economies, and on and on and on.

There must be changes and a shift from “power over to power with.” Without human rights no environment is friendly or sustainable, and without adequate resources for all human rights will always be threatened. The Preamble to the US Constitution defines rights for Americans, the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948 ( defines them for all. I invite you to take a look.

Best regards,

Vicki Vaughn Zeitlin

Visist our political website
focused on Democracy:

Eureka, CA, August 19th 2008 by Vicki Vaughn Zeitlin for our website on environment and progressive politic: a branch of

Dear Readers

We the People Can Protect the Environment and Our Collective Future
Without a healthy environment, clean water, agricultural land, clean air and transportation systems that use resources wisely and well, no modern society can thrive on our already over populated planet. The time to act is now, before more damage is done. It is easy to blame the person living next door, the automobile industry, big oil, Local, Federal and State Governments for the condition of planet earth, but someone else is involved. You are involved, and you can help if you are willing to participate responsibly in finding solutions and putting them into practice. Two families demonstrate their commitment to sustainability by living conscientiously, healthily, in very different environments. They are powerful and inspiring examples of applying knowledge creatively and working hard toward their goals. Advanced technologies may save us and the environment, but it will also be mandatory that we act in ways that protect and sustain our world by being aware, involved and engaged as individuals.

Path to Freedom, an urban micro-farm in Pasadena, California
started by the Dervaes family’s based on their desire to become stewards of the earth in pursuit of a sustainable lifestyle. In the words of the founder, Jules Dervaes, “This project evolved from our commitment and conviction to live a simple, self-sufficient and holistic lifestyle. It is an entire life’s journey and we have many more miles to go – the journey is by no means over! We are proving that we can attain our goal if we advance in stages whatever the circumstances.”

The micro-farm is located on a 1/5 acre, 66’ X 132’ ordinary city lot about the size of an average backyard and operates as a family business that supplies area restaurants and caterers with a variety of products. Dervaes Gardens also supports four adults who work and live full time at the site. The 6,000 pounds of over 350 varieties of organic produce grown annually provide for the family’s needs and produce income that offsets operating expenses and allows investment in appropriate technologies like solar panels, energy efficient appliances, and a biodiesel processor all designed to reduce the use of non-renewable energy sources. Dervaes Gardens has successfully reduced their electric usage by 2/3 over the years, created their own biodiesel processor from a used water heater and by using biodiesel in their Chevy Suburban they reduced vehicle air toxins by 90%. They use a solar oven for cooking on sunny days and now have an outdoor cob oven fueled by wood scraps and twigs for cooking bread, pizzas and deserts outdoors. Future projects will include installation of a grey water reclamation system, a composting toilet and a cistern to capture rain water. One of the family’s most amusing creations is a blender powered by a bicycle for making smoothies with their fresh produce.
They share this micro-farm with animals that include chickens, ducks, two rescued cats, red wiggler worms for composting, a Nigerian Dwarf Goat and a Pygmy Goat. None of the animals are eaten and they were chosen for their appropriateness and suitability for urban lifestyles. The animals’ needs are addressed with unique space saving solutions, love and attention

If the future is now, and it is, then this is a revolutionary plan for living well and simply. While many would not choose to live this way there is a lesson. It is that the earth requires us to cooperate with the environment and be willing to make responsible choices about what we eat, how we travel and what our impact will be. In the case of the Devaes family they seem to be enjoying themselves and having fun while making a contribution to the planet’s future. For most of us it will still be more fun to buy a tomato or a potato at the supermarket, we all need to find our own way to help whether we are couch potatoes or fantasize about being farmers.

Another response to sustainable living is Tule Fog Farms a 26 acre parcel in Arcata, California.
Located in a rural part of Humboldt County along California’s Northern Coast it is another idealistic and motivated solution aimed at protecting the environment based on the importance of saving resources by producing food locally. The farm is an inspired enterprise owned by Shail Pec-Crouse and her husband, Sean Armstrong. They live on the farm with their twin babies, Tule and Slate, two goats, two cows, two pigs and some sheep. There is also a brood of hens and a gaggle of geese. Pec-Crouse spends her days on the farm with her babies and she points out that, “When you have two babies in your lap it feels like someone just parked a Volvo on your thighs.” Armstrong works as a development project manager for a local builder and is an active and enthusiastic father. Together they are engaged in grass pasture based farming appropriate to the area and climate.

Pec-Crouse graduated from Humboldt State University in 2003 with a degree in biology, and not long after founded “Wild Chicks Farm” with her friend Sarah Brunner. Starting with 200 chicks they were successfully selling eggs at local farmer’s markets in the spring. Pec-Crouse realized that chickens required large quantities of feed that are not locally grown. Almost 80% of their diet, translating to 3 pounds of grain to produce one pound of chicken, must be shipped in from as far away as Asia requiring fossil fuels for transport.
She decided to choose her animals based on their ability to grow and thrive on local pasturelands.
Pec-Crouse said, “I was vegan before I started farming animals, not because I thought it was wrong to kill animals, but because I thought the way most of our food animals are raised is cruel and environmentally irresponsible.” She went on to say, “I think it is important for people to be knowledgeable about their food. More importantly, I encourage people to visit and see the animals while they are growing -- see how content they are, see them enjoying the grass and the sun and their freedom of movement.” All of the farm animals at Tule Fog Farm are chosen for their ability to live in the cool, wet climate of Northern California.

There are Kune Kunes Pigs from New Zealand and Icelandic Sheep as well as ducks and geese who survive well on a diet of grass.
This farm demonstrates the importance of finding solutions within local environments to minimize the use of energy to transport feed and food long distances. Tule Fog Farm will have meat and eggs for farmer’s markets as well as offer “farm shares” of meat. Farm shares are yet another innovative solution for providing opportunities to buy local foods economically. The process involves an annual fee which entitles consumers to a weekly delivery or pick up of locally grown and therefore seasonal produce, eggs and meat. Participation reduces transport costs and energy usage while providing small farm operations with a guaranteed market.

On a smaller scale many urban and suburban dwellers are choosing to supply some of their own food. My neighbor has some hens and a vegetable garden. My daughter’s friends in the Mission District in San Francisco also have chickens, raise vegetables and go to local farmer’s markets to shop. My daughter and friends who share studio space in Arcata have started a vegetable garden adjacent to the parking lot, and I am lucky enough to get blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes, kale and rainbow chard. In many cities and suburban areas in the United States homeowners are reducing the size of their green lawns and adding vegetables and herbs.

So you say, “This is all sort of interesting, but I’m not a farmer nor do I want to be.” There is a great deal to think about. For instance, maybe a duck or two could help eat snails in your garden, give you some eggs and be fun to watch. It is fun and challenging to come up with ideas that appeal to you or involve your existing hobbies like bicycling, gardening, hiking, cooking, etc. For instance, the rainforests of the north coast are ideal for growing mushrooms. The local college had a great class on mycology, the study of fungus, and you can learn to be confident as you pick free, beautiful and tasty mushrooms, yum, and yum! If you have brush to clear, consider a goat. The right breed can be friendly, trainable, and give you some milk for cheese if you want to work that hard. They are extremely cute and kids love them.

I won’t bore you with my suggestions because I know that by know your imagination and creativity are stimulating solutions appropriate and achievable for you and your lifestyle. Next time you are surfing the internet play around with sustainable living or green living or anything else you can come up with using your favorite search engine. It is amazing what is out there.
We the People must take care of ourselves, each other and the creatures we share this planet with in order to have a better future. We can do it. We must do it. I would love to hear your ideas and creative solutions. You are welcome to reply to this Email and share your ideas and views.

Best regards,

Vicki Vaughn Zeitlin


Electric Cars Now
By Eric Lafayette. Los Angeles, 2007/January/03rd,

THE TESLA :a car with 100% Electric power

In the field of products for a better environment, the dreams of intelligent people have become reality. For everyone but greedy, thirsty, oil addicted deniers of Global warming and Bush supporters the time has come to rejoice.

Concrete, electric cars with extremely efficient energy saving technologies are available.
Today more and more cars use Hybrid technology which is a good solution because in these late models consumption of gas is cut almost in half.

The most exiting news however is the TESLA car which is powered solely by electric energy.
The best feature of the Tesla car is its performance.
It is capable of going 134 mph and can travel 250 miles with autonomy. It is a two seater roadster, nicely designed and priced at the same price as a Porsche, $90 000. It is selling very well, and there is a long waiting list for buyers.

The brain child of two American entrepreneurs it is manufactured at the Lotus Factory in England.
None of the components in this car justify the steep price, but from a marketing point of view the price makes sense for a
performance sports car.

The Tesla with its high level performance and travel distance makes the point that the electric car is not just a dream from the long haired flower child generation of hippies anymore.
It is a fun, fast, functioning car that is a reality.
If you can make such a top of the line car you can certainly make a less powerful more affordable electric powered car.
The creator of the Tesla car Mr. Elan Musk has announced that in the near future a luxury Sedan will be produced in the $50000 price range and then the next car will be a smaller more affordable Sedan in the $30000 price range

The other very encouraging development is that almost every automobile manufacturer in the world is making electric and hybrid cars. They are currently engaged in making what is called plugged in Hybrid which means that there are more batteries and the level of efficiency of the batteries is better.
These new plugged in Hybrids will be able to be charged at home and run for an even greater number of miles on electric power only, using the gas engine less and less. A good example in this direction is the latest model of the Toyota Camry.

Piston operated internal combustion gas powered vehicles are extremely inefficient and inconvenient. So it is a most important point that we are moving away from unintelligent design and technology, the internal combustion engine, into the smart technology of electric powered and hybrid cars.
The internal combustion engine is a very old technology which uses a vertical displacement (pistons) that has to be changed into a rotary movement achieving dismally low efficiency, less than 40%. This technology is encumbered by heat, radiators, clutches, etc. Even though everyone has been happy with this technology and the invigorating noise from the exhaust
and vibrations that make you feel like a race car driver the technology is stupid.

In addition, internal combustion technology depletes the natural wealth of the planet by using oil that could be used for better purposes, and by producing carbon dioxide and other waste products it pollutes in a huge way creating a global warming and in the long term threatening the very existence of life on the planet.

Advantages of the Electric Car:

No Noise
No Pollution
Almost no wear and tear, a piston engine has more than one hundred parts, an electric engine has only one, the rotor.
If solar electricity is used no cost for driving around.
If Hybrid technology is used the cost is cut in half.
Even with batteries an electric car is lighter than a piston powered car.
80% efficiency for the engine

In short knowing that you are driving around not polluting or depleting the planet’s wealth, moving noiselessly and accelerating as fast as a Ferrari is very rewarding.
Even medium priced Hybrids have good acceleration.

All major car manufacturers are expanding their line of Hybrids. Toyota and its subsidiary Lexus are well ahead of the pack. Their models such as the Toyota Camry are efficient second generation Hybrid and well priced.
Together Lexus and Toyota have at least FIVE hybrid models.

A worrisome thought is that American car manufacturers are once again way behind the curve.
Ford has a model that uses simpler technology than Toyota and Lexus, and GM has nothing but a joke of a hybrid in the form of a truck. Chrysler US CEO is forcefully against putting Hybrid and electric cars as a priority despite the fact that his German headquarter is working very hard on it.
Some American manufacturers are hopping that the price of oil will fall again making Hybrids of little interest.
What a passel of fools.

What is sometimes misunderstood is the interdependence of the electric engine, the battery pack and the electronic software. In short, the electric engine is a very simple piece of engineering and is not the star in our electric or Hybrid vehicle. It is the battery pack that is the absolute star in an electric car and the winner among car manufacturers will be the
company that owns factories that can manufacture high efficiency, low price battery packs.
The second important aspect is to have very good software engineers that can modulate the electric flow at will.

Bottom line:
There is still a lot to do to change the minds of manufacturers and
governments around the world. Even though consumers are, as always, ready
to embrace a change that will improve the environment and make the US less
dependant on nonrenewable oil from hostile countries.

Eric Lafayette

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Bale House Wonder
Environment at hand
By Eric Lafayette. Los Angeles, 2006/December/15th,


Bale House beginning

Compressing the bales with friends

Bale House finished

At first glance it seems another ecological gimmick. It is not, it is a very smart house that has less impact on the environment than conventional houses.
How do I know that the adjective smart can be applied, I simply use my old formula;
President Bush serves as a compass that almost always points away from intelligent earth friendly ideas so I have to check what is in store in the opposite direction to find environmentally friendly projects. Bam! Here are my Bale House.
Straw bales left over from production of grains like wheat, oats and rice are 3 to 4 feet long but their main benefit is that they are a little more than one foot thick. That means that your walls are going to be at least a foot and a half thick and made of compressed hay.

It is the thickness of these walls that creates the magic.

Excellent insulation against heat and cold
Almost soundproof if good quality windows are used
What a dream it is to live in a house that has an almost constant ambient temperature meaning that only small amounts of heating and cooling are necessary for comfort.
Your heating bill with adequate roof insulation can be as little as $10 a month.
Due to the compactness of these bales you can build self loading structure, which means that the roof is supported by the walls made of bales. This is only possible on single story structures.

Another giant advantage is that you can build your Bale Home yourself with the help of some of your friends. In a nutshell, you stack the bales on the foundation on top of each other in alternating rows (running bond) to make a wall. Supportive mesh and stakes are then applied to down through the bales and from the sides. Then you fasten the mesh with rods and hooks that you push with your hand into the bales. Then by hand you apply argyle or tinted plaster to seal the bales. All of this can be done by one person, of course the more the merrier as well easier and faster.

The only part you may need help with is the building the floor and the roof and ceiling.
If you are handy, you could do the plumbing yourself. A solar water heater is a must.
Electricity is better handled by professionals.
You can build your own Bale Home yourself very inexpensively. A small 1000 square feet house would cost less than a big $50,000 SUV before electricity and plumbing.

With a supporting structure of metal (remember the Eiffel tower now a century old) or wooden post and beam you can build any structure you want and it will last at least a century. In Alabama in the southern states, the Burrit Museum built as a family mansion in 1938, is still stands proudly with walls filled with 2200 bales of straw.

In addition Bale Houses are extremely resistant to earthquakes due to the flexibility of the walls made of straw. They are also four times more resistant to fire than standard buildings.

And guess what? Bale Houses are very environmentally friendly.
There are almost no heating or cooling requirements, no pollution and renewable building materials, hay and earthen plasters..
Add solar power and forget about any elecricity bill..

What are you waiting for? Build yourself an earth friendly home with a little help from your friends, it’s cheap and it’s fun.


The walls go up and the plastering begins.
Using your friends to compress and tighten the bales.
And with a little help from some experts and friends projects can be impressive inside…

Eric Lafayette

This website is
Our other website is an historical and political website about Democracy
Our Newsletter is USA Tomorrow and will help you stay way ahead of the curve.
To subscribe send an Email with in the subject line: I want USA TOMORROW.
Email , Newsletter entirely free.




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