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by Mark Goldes, CEO (Updated August 12,2008)

The Brooklyn Bridge

...the most completely satisfying structure of any kind... Lewis Mumford

A monument to man's ingenuity and creativity, this world famous steel suspension bridge connects Brooklyn and Manhattan. It was built between 1867 and 1883.

Inspired by the extraordinary film, Mindwalk, Bridgewalk is intended to provide constructive alternatives that offer hope of preventing the looming Global Warming apocalypse.

The Manhattan Project was the incubator for nuclear weapons – Bridgewalk is a path to what might be called The Brooklyn Energy Project, the other side of the bridge. It is intended to open and accelerate new paths, as well as provide new perspectives, toward averting catastrophe and creating a more peaceful and prosperous planet.

The Manhattan Project was secret, centralized in a few locations, and run by the government. Calls for a new Apollo type energy development project depend on awaiting approval of a massive new government program. The Brooklyn Energy Project is open, decentralized, world-wide, and encourages the support of private, innovative, entrepreneurial development.

Dr. James Hansen testified on June 23rd, 2008 that: “A wide gap has developed between what is understood about global warming by the relevant scientific community and what is known by policymakers and the public. …Frank assessment of scientific data yields conclusions that are shocking to the body politic. …I can assert that these conclusions have a certainty exceeding 99 percent.

…We have used up all slack in the schedule for actions needed to defuse the global warming time bomb. …(Action is needed now) …Otherwise it will become impractical to constrain atmospheric carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas produced in burning fossil fuels, to a level that prevents the climate system from passing tipping points that lead to disastrous climate changes that spiral dynamically out of humanity's control.

Changes needed to preserve creation, the planet on which civilization developed, are clear. But the changes have been blocked by special interests, focused on short-term profits, who hold sway in Washington and other capitals.

(Hansen argues) that a path yielding energy independence and a healthier environment is, barely, still possible. It requires a transformative change of direction in Washington in the next year.”

World Health Organization statistics show that human-induced climate change is already responsible for at least five million cases of illness and as many as 150,000 deaths each year.

Even worse, life on earth is threatened with extinction by a little publicized lurking disaster – the release of huge quantities of methane trapped in the Arctic tundra. Twice before, 55 million and 251 million years ago, naturally occurring methane “burps”, possibly resulting from volcanic eruptions, almost wiped out life on our planet. If humanity continues to emit carbon as a result of the burning of fossil fuels, we are in serious danger of triggering this irreversible event by the middle of the current century.

Geologist John Atcheson has pointed out that a temperature rise of 11 degrees Fahrenheit, substantially less than the upper figure predicted by computer models from the burning of fossil fuels, could launch this runaway effect. Earlier data suggested this could occur by 2050. However, the reality is likely even worse, as the arctic regions are showing the greatest temperature increases from greenhouse gas emissions. Burning fossil fuels each year spews into the atmosphere the equivalent of almost 17,000 volcanoes the size of the presently active one in Hawaii. This catastrophic time bomb is more likely to explode with every passing year.

It is even more of a problem than water shortages, widespread hunger and disease, melting arctic ice, the predicted flooding of major cities such as New York, London, Tokyo and Miami and the increase in destructive hurricanes.

The question is no longer is climate change actually happening? But, what do we do about it? We urgently need to cut our carbon dioxide emissions to the point where the environmental scales start tipping back - away from catastrophe. Avoiding further devastation may require a 90% cut in CO2 emissions well before 2030. Our response needs to be immediate, and decisive.  

The urgent need is an emergency changeover, within a decade, to widespread use of new sources of energy that eliminate the need for fossil fuels. That goal is now in sight. Several firms, including our own affiliate, Magnetic Power Inc. (MPI), are pioneering revolutionary, inexpensive, renewable, energy conversion technology that can yield cost-effective, mass-produced, alternatives in the immediate future.  Our own breakthrough technologies, can turn future cars into power plants when suitably parked, and thereby help to eliminate the need to build new coal burning and nuclear power plants.

Ironically, this new threat may serve to gradually cause terrorism to subside. It is a classic axiom of political science that a people will unite against an external enemy. Since everyone on earth is threatened by continuing to burn fossil fuels, it is conceivable that the people of this shrinking planet will begin to find common ground in a manner previously thought to be unimaginable.

If we define toil as work not freely chosen, no matter how seemingly simple, all work we choose, no matter how difficult, falls under the psychological category of play. Another goal of Bridgewalk is to encourage efforts to reduce the time people spend -- at work they have not chosen -- to twenty hours each week. The money earned during the remaining half of the nominal forty hour week will need to be replaced with diversified investment income, ideally derived from investments that reflect high ethical standards.

We can think of a twenty hour week as five four hour days. Alternatively, as a thought experiment, examine the possibility of two ten hour days – with five days each week to employ and enjoy as you wish. Some of the positive implications are obvious. One small example would be a dramatic reduction in commute traffic.

Many, if not most, people are trapped by mortgage payments, car payments, etc., in jobs they do not love. There is a simple test: Would they continue to do the same work without pay?

Only a few fortunate individuals have the freedom to learn who they are, and more important, who they might become, given the time for both spiritual reflection and inner growth, as well as genuine opportunities to prosper and contribute to the greater material good of mankind; not just in a narrow financial sense. Such truly free citizens would also help to insure an ongoing, enlightened, political discourse, not easily manipulated.

The late Robert Edmonds, an iconoclastic economist, argued that excess wealth concentration is the root cause of inflation and recession, thus broadening the ownership of wealth may not simply be an ethical concern, but an economic necessity. He designed incentives that could create what he termed “overfull” employment, without inflation, accompanied by expanded ownership opportunities, such as those initiated by the late Louis Kelso and the Council for Economic and Social Justice, which can produce substantial second incomes. As a consequence the toil component of the work week would gradually diminish.

This program of accelerated evolution would initiate the most genuinely free society in human history.

Aikido is about leverage. Aikido is the most subtle of the martial arts. It turns the energy of an opponent in such a way that small efforts encourage enormous effects. When the Greek mathematician Archimedes first defined the principle of leverage 23 centuries ago, he said, “Give me a place to stand, and I will move the Earth.” Aikido is an attitude that can leverage social, economic and political movement. The Brooklyn Energy Project will enlist concerned allies and apply the principle of Aikido to catalyze the urgently needed changes.

A dashboard style scorecard might be developed to provide a daily, widely diffused, set of indicators to monitor worldwide progress toward Project goals, such as the daily progress toward reduction in the use of fossil fuels. The intention is to make this scorecard as commonplace as the reporting of stock exchange averages. Following a film or television or internet video introduction, four quarterly annual celebrations, at the solstices and equinoxes, could be encouraged on television and the internet. Each of these quarterly events will have maximum impact if it launches a television/internet series. These are intended to publicize practical new energy solutions, with a very personal, emotional, touch, well laced with humor. For example, one series might be called: Improbable Innovations Incorporated. It would chronicle the human stories of those, such as Nikola Tesla, whose work produces profound, constructive, change.

The combination, of celebrations and follow-on programs, constitutes an informal curriculum - in the free university that the planet has become. The objective is widespread understanding of the process of learning how to learn, and the distinction between wisdom and mere knowledge. In this way it should prove possible to rapidly accelerate the changeover to non-fossil fuels, encourage charity and justice, and help to heal the many wounds that threaten the world. The discussion of these possibilities by a handful of individuals, during their bridge walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn, can constitute the heart of a film, or series of television or internet videos.

Mark Goldes is founder and Chairman of Magnetic Power Inc. in Sebastopol, California. Earlier, he founded SunWind Ltd. and began the non-profit Aesop Institute. He previously was CEO of The Aesop Company, a financial and economic consulting firm. Once a student of Electrical Engineering, he earned BA and MA degrees at San Francisco State University, and later served two years on active duty with the USAF, culminating as a Senior Director of the Berlin Corridor control radar in Germany. Afterwards, from 1956 thru 1958, he was a Fellow in the Graduate Program in the History of Ideas, at Brandeis University. In 1960, he founded Emerson College of the Monterey Peninsula, and later initiated the free university movement, which spread to at least 600 locations worldwide. The intent was to illuminate the fact that the planet has become a universal university.

BRIDGEWALK to THE BROOKLYN ENERGY PROJECT is being born at the non-profit Aesop Institute. Magnetic Power Inc. was created as a commercial affiliate.         

For more information, contact Mark Goldes, CEO     (707) 829-9391


© 2008    Magnetic Power Inc.  All rights reserved.                      

Published on: 2006-05-19 (3913 reads)

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