BLAST FROM THE PAST

Twenty years ago there was a summit in RIO de Janiero to address the global problem of the environment.  The next summit, scheduled to start in a couple weeks, will deal with what, if anything, was accomplished in the past two decades and how we can get better at protecting this planet before it’s too late.  The Nature Journal published a rather scathing report on the accomplishments of the last twenty years.  You can read their thoughts here:

http://www.nature.com/news/earth-summit-rio-report-card-1.10764

There are seven major themes for this year’s summit: green jobs, cities, energy, food, water, oceans and disasters.  The major problem still remains the same as in 1992, who’s doing what and who’s gonna pay for it.  This economic approach and measure of success is the greatest barrier to achieving our climate saving goals.  No one wants to do the dirty work and even less does anyone want to foot the bill.  Reduction of waste is much easier said than done.  Same with preventing desertification, halting species extinction, and lowering the amount of CO2 we spit out into the atmosphere every year.  The bottom line never makes room for the costly efforts needed to transition our world systems into cleaner, greener infrastructures.

MODEL FOR THE FUTURE

When we look at the dire state of the green economy and the ultimate lack of progress, it seems pretty grim and depressing.  The future is rapidly approaching and large scale efforts have not proved successful as of yet.  It does appear that the old adage by Margaret Mead, that a few thoughtful citizens really do have the power to change the world, still rings true.  At Kezar Gardens Ecology Center, our motto is just that.  Empower a small community to perform at their best when it comes to urban environmental action and preserving green jobs.  Our site is the most unique eco driven space in the city of San Francisco as it offers services that include CRV recycling, donation recycling, veggie oil collection, 50 community garden plots, innovative landscaping like vertical gardening spaces and a fountain made from recycled materials.  It also has a geo-specific native plant nursery that hosts a variety of San Francisco vegetation that once dominated the landscape here before urban sprawl took over.   It also pays a staff of ten economically challenged people living wages and health care to keep the operations running smooth.  It is a model infrastructure for communities all over the world to learn from and repeat in small and thoughtful ways.

EMPOWERMENT IN SMALL DOSES

This small scale empowerment mission has driven Eco friendly development in San Francisco since its inception in the 1970’s.  But now, those thirty some years of building social and environmental capital while integrating vulnerable populations and peoples of color into the movement, may be abruptly halted.  If the Rec and Park Commission get their wish, the most unique Ecology center in the city of San Francisco will be shut down.  This decades long empowerment of small groups of people to change the world will be stopped.  Looking back at the last twenty years and the failing efforts of institutions to actually make an impact on the environment, I’d say the little guys are the way to get something real accomplished.  Save the little guy, save the green jobs, save the planet.  Maybe that’s what they should talk about at RIO+20 this year. Maybe that’s what they should talk about at Rec and Park this year, too.

Today’s video is PSA with the staff of Kezar Gardens Ecology Center along with comments about this center by its executive director, Ed Dunn and one of its major opponents, Ted Loewenburg.