A Nation of Active Citizens

Below you will find an opinion piece written by Cletus Springer, one of the regions outstanding thinkers.
 
Cletus is from St. Lucia, his point on ‘A Nation of Active Citizens’ is relevant to all Small Island Developing States, in fact, if is applicable to all democratic states, countries and territories.
 
As a resident of the Cayman Islands I find his words totally on course for us to use as a guide for the intelligent development and growth of this rapidly changing British Colony.
 
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Towards a Nation of Active Citizens: 
 
As we move towards the 40th anniversary of Saint Lucia’s Independence, I would like to posit that the single biggest challenge that our young county must address is how to build a nation of Active Citizens. 
 
I was inspired to put forward this imperative for our collective reflection, following my own musings on two separate FB posts by 2 dear friends over the past month. The first of these documented Barbara’s disappointment over WASCO’s non-response to a report she’d made about a damaged mains near her home. The second was a post by Jerry George who reported that a significant hazard to passers-by on a city street, that had earlier been highlighted by Mark Hennecart, had been addressed. 
 
While these civic-minded actions by Barbara and Mark had different outcomes in terms of the immediacy of response, they nonetheless provide potent examples of the importance of active citizenship. 
 
A long time ago, when was a Form 1 student at St. Mary’s College, my Civics teacher, Emsco Remy (Dr.) tutored us on the difference between “active” and “passive” citizens. As I recall, the former is one who fulfills his/rights and responsibilities and takes an active role in bettering his/her  community/country. The latter is one who really couldn’t give a damn (as Daddy-CIS) would say. 
 
It is my contention that the majority of our people are passive citizens. And we need to figure out why this is the case, so that we can set about addressing the problem. 
 
We need to do this sooner, rather than later, otherwise, we will most certainly find ourselves in a persistent state of underdevelopment,(with inter alia, unsolved crimes, because witnesses are unwilling to come forward; recurrent epidemics of vector-borne diseases and episodes of flooding due to indiscriminate waste disposal; road fatalities due to wanton disregard of traffic laws; low levels of educational achievement because our students and teachers are unwilling to fulfill their responsibilities to themselves; and low productivity because workers and employers alike, ignore their responsibilities – one to give a fair day’s work and the other to give a fair day’s pay). 
 
I can think of no better time for such a discussion to take place than NOW. And it needs to take place at all levels, and in every nook and cranny of our country.

On Ecological Amnesia

 

The destruction of the buffalo resulted from a campaign of biological terrorism unparalleled in the history of the Americas. The policy of the federal government of the United States was explicit: exterminate the buffalo and destroy the commissary of the great cultures of the plains. Over 100 million bison were slaughtered. A decade after Native resistance collapsed, the general who orchestrated the campaign advised Congress to mint a commemorative medal with a dead buffalo on one side, a dead “Indian” on the other. 

It takes a world to maintain a biosphere.

As I thought of this history, standing in that tall-grass prairie, what disturbed me most was the ease with which we have removed ourselves from this ecological tragedy. Today, the good and decent people of Iowa live contentedly in a landscape of cornfields claustrophobic in its monotony. Read More

Anthropogenic Climate Change: The Size of Our Solutions Does Not Match the Size of Our Problems

Thoughtless hyper-industrialization, renegade waste of energy and resources for profits combined with an oligarchic political system have yielded the perfect storm, wherein the systems responsible for creating the problems are never challenged. 

While the engines that created the conditions for climate breakdown continue unabated, the same engines prohibit any decent evaluation of the core problems and possible solutions. 

The private media is virtually silent on the emergency. Schools continue to thump the theology of markets and indefinite ‘growth,’ while industry continues to propel corporate expansion for higher profits, producing greater waste and pollution. Read More

Britain Has Never Faced Up to the Shame of Empire

Nearly half of Brits think we should be proud of our colonial heritage.

Ministers have had a tough time working out who Britain’s new trading partners will be after it leaves the EU. At one point it was reported that the British government was hoping to reach out to countries that were once part of the British Empire. The idea is that, now the blood has dried and the dust from the cannonballs settled, the nations of the Commonwealth will be only too happy to jump into a vigorous new age of trade with their former colonial master. Some civil servants doubted this, dubbing the government’s plans “Empire 2.0”.

These imperial crimes – and many more – are either not known or glossed over, lost in the tide of colonial nostalgia and the fog of ignorance.

On the same morning these plans for a colonialism reboot were announced, I spoke to Shashi Tharoor, an Indian MP and the author of a new book, Inglorious Empire. The book details the enormous economic damage done to India by the Empire, takes apart the hypocritical notion that some of what the British did in India was for “the good of India”, and calls for an end to the monumental ignorance surrounding the subject.

Tharoor laughs when I ask him about Empire 2.0: “Well, Empire 1.0 was a bad idea, to put it mildly. Why would you want a second version?” And yet, to listen to several leading members of the British government and to the fantasies of Britain’s great importance conjured up during the Brexit campaign, a second version of the empire is exactly what a lot of people want.

It’s understandable, in a way. Once upon a time, the sun never set on the lands Britain controlled. Those nostalgic for empire still dream of having the union flag ironed by a Nigerian servant, or getting an Indian boy to make them a nice, cool G&T. Read More 

The One Reason America Can’t Police the World Anymore: Washington Is Broke

Even if America once felt wealthy enough to squander its financial resources in such pursuits, those days have ended. Washington is effectively bankrupt, with massive unfunded liabilities. Its fiscal future will only worsen as Baby Boomers continue to retire.

The annual budget battle is at its peak and Washington continues to flaunt its remarkable dysfunction. This fiscal irresponsibility affects more than domestic programs. In the coming years, it is likely to drive U.S. foreign and military policy.

Terrorists abound but mostly result from maladroit U.S. policies that create enemies and make other people’s conflicts America’s own.

The U.S. government has no more important duty than defending the nation. However, providing for the “common defense,” as the Constitution puts it, is remarkably easy. America has vast oceans east and west and peaceful neighbors to the north and south.

Today only Russia, with an arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles, could launch a serious attack on America. However, Moscow has no incentive to do so, since the result would be devastating retaliation. China’s military is expanding but directed at preventing Washington from dominating the People’s Republic of China at home and in its neighborhood. http://bit.ly/2rVWZFp

If the Left Was Right, Why is the Right Winning?

How Narcissism Left the Left Irrelevant and Impotent

Once upon a time, the left was concerned with with transforming the life of the average person, for the better, often radically so. It was devoted to really, significantly, genuinely changing the world, society, it’s structures and institutions — the material reality of human lives, in other words. Where did that left go? The old left built a new world — no, really. In Europe and Britain and Canada, it gave everyone, for the first time in human history, healthcare, childcare, retirement, incomes, and so on.

The old left built a new world — no, really. In Europe and Britain and Canada, it gave everyone, for the first time in human history, healthcare, childcare, retirement, incomes, and so on.  http://bit.ly/2CvUIXH 

 

 

Why I Am Afraid Of Global Cooling

In the run-up to the publication of his next book, Charles Eisenstien states; I’ve been monitoring sources across the spectrum of opinion on climate change. The other day I happened upon this piece, which describes recent measurements of ice mass and ice extent gains in the Arctic, Antarctic, and Greenland, along with cool surface and tropospheric temperatures. My heart sank. This is what I’ve been worried about for several years now as I’ve seen cracks spread in the global warming consensus.

Why on earth would I be concerned about global cooling? Given the dangers of global warming, one would think that signs of a cooling trend would be welcome news. Phew! Ecological catastrophe averted! Now we can go back to business as normal.

This is precisely my concern. Business as normal is ruining the planet – regardless of whether the climate is warming or cooling.

The Story of Separation says: What happens to nature need not affect ourselves. I subscribe to a story which says the contrary: that self and other, human and nature, inner and outer, are not really separate. That everything that happens to the world happens, in some manner, to ourselves as well. That with every extinction, something dies in us. That with loss of biodiversity comes cultural and spiritual poverty. That environmental pollution inevitably coincides with the spread of moral, mental, physical, social, and spiritual poisons. https://charleseisenstein.org/essays/why-i-am-afraid-of-global-cooling/