Jobs Summit to Address both Jobs and Environmental Problems

10 Ways to Solve the Jobs Problem

Imagine a no-holds-barred “summit” that comes up with ideas to solve both our job and environmental problems. What might it come up with?


bicycle repair

Photo by Alex Ferguson

As the midterm political season heats up, one word on every politician’s lips is “jobs.” And for good reason. People are hurting—they can’t pay their mortgages, send their kids to college, pay their dental bills. Young people are wondering if they have a place in the work world. 

So the economic pundits cheer when car sales go up, housing starts rise, consumer confidence strengthens. But as the oily ooze in the Gulf tars yet another beach, we all sense something is terribly wrong. We can’t keep tearing up the planet to keep ourselves employed. There must be another way. 

Economics and America, Work and Inequality

There are a couple of articles in the September issue of The Progressive magazine that I think are interesting to juxtapose. One is by John de Graf and it is about how working more doesn't necessarily translate—and in fact often does not translate—into happiness. The author advocates for people to reduce the amount of hours they work, so that they have more free time to pursue other activities, and also calls for employers to reduce employee hours, rather than terminate employees. There is a stub article posted on the website here.

In another article, Ruth Conliff writes about a new book by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett titled The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger. The book talks about inequality, for example how some CEOs pay is 400 times more than what the average employee is paid in the same company, and suggests that this inequality is a root cause of disease in individuals and in society. This article is not posted to the website (unless you subscribe,) so if you're not a subscriber, I recommend checking this one out at the library.

Here's a couple excerpts:

Living in a society with massive income inequality makes people anxious, depressed, even physically sick, according to British health researchers Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.


Brain research shows that cooperation and friendship stimulate the reward centers in the brain, while the experience of social exclusion involves the same areas of the brain as physical pain.

There are other interesting articles, including one by Jim Hightower about the "jobless recovery." I mean really, how does that make sense! It seems to me that the idea that the economy is recovering is a myth.


To the Olympia Food Co-op Board of Directors

I am currently reading the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Stride Toward Freedom. The book is an account of the bus boycott of 1955-56 in Montgomery Alabama. It's a fascinating read, and I recommend it to anyone and everyone. There are some interesting parallels between the situation in the South in the 1950s and the situation today in Israel/Palestine. Some of the ideas in Dr. King's account helped me to formulate this statement to the Olympia Food Co-op Board of Directors in regard to the ongoing boycott of products from Israel:

Thank you to the Olympia Food Co-op Board of Directors for holding fast on the boycott of products from Israel.

This boycott amounts to noncooperation with injustice. The way that the government of Israel and some Israelis are treating Palestinians is unacceptable.

The decision to boycott was correct. Israel needs to change, for the good of both Palestinians and Jews.

When our government is unaccountable to the interests of human rights (and even life itself,) a courageous and principled and strong stand like this of the co-op is truly awesome and inspiring—and necessary.

Human rights are for everyone.

Thank you again for this courageous act of noncooperation!

Berd Whitlock

Some Local Officials Support Shipment of Military Hardware into and out of Community

Matt Batcheldor has an article in today's paper about Port officials desire to see renewed military shipments. Rhenda Strub and Steve Hall were also quoted in the article. I appreciated City Manager Hall's opinion that the real cost of the fall 2007 shipment went beyond financial, and includes damaged relationships, and all sorts of hurt feelings of people, on all sides of this issue.


Olympia Food Co-op Boycott of Products from Israel

This is for stories, articles, blogs, and other posts related to the Thursday 15 July 2010 decision by the Olympia Food Co-op Board of Directors to boycott products from Israel due to aggression against Palestinians by the state of Israel.

Five Percent

5% of the World's Population Consumes a Third of Its Resources and Makes Nearly Half of It's Waste. That 5% is US.
5% of the World's Population Consumes a Third of Its Resources and Makes Nearly Half of It's Waste. That 5% is US.

I saw this at the library, last February.

It's also important to note that if the rest of the world's people consumed at the same rate as people in the USA, then it would require the resources equivalent to 5 or 6 planet Earths.

Please make sure to watch this Annie Leonard video: The Story of Stuff,

Protest Reportback

Protest on Pacific Friday 30 July 2010
I went to the protest at the co-op. I was really impressed by the community. It was obvious to me how much people, on both sides of the boycott issue, care about each other, and care about the co-op.

There were some great conversations. And while tensions certainly run high, I am hopeful that differences amongst the co-op community can be reconciled and that a mutually beneficial solution can be found.

I witnessed people listening to each other, really listening to each other. And I think a lot of people gained some ground in understanding each other—which is amazing, because it was a protest.

People who are opposed to the boycott decision expressed some concerns that make a lot of sense to me. For example, the fact that the statement indicates a need to return "all occupied Arab lands." That's a very vague statement. And it could be interpreted as the destruction of the state of Israel.

Fortunately, that is not what is intended. Given the persecution that Jews have faced (and continue to face,) I, personally, support the right of Israel to exist. And I think most people who support the boycott are not trying to deny the fact that there is Anti-Jewish oppression in the world. And I also think that most people who are working in solidarity with Palestinians do not deny the right of Israel to exist.

So, perhaps the statement could be amended to acknowledge the right of the state of Israel to exist. I think there is a middle ground that everyone can agree to.

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb on Support for Olympia Food Co-op Boycott of Israeli Product

More information from Olympia BDS: Rabbi Lynn & The Olympia Food Co-op boycott. Olympia, Washington

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb is planning to visit Olympia, and is scheduled to appear at First Christian Church on Sunday the 8th of August, 7pm. Stay tuned for more information.

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