Brown Politicians vs. Green People

Posted by on Jun 22, 2012

If I read nothing but mainstream media and congressional voting records I’d start buying guns… then my friends send me articles and videos filled with possibilities and it brings me back to into positive territory.  More on that in a bit.

Harriet Shugarman has a fabulous write up on why we should all be in Washington talking to our representatives on June 22. Getting our representatives on board with common sense is difficult as we found out this week. It’s also why we have to keep raising our voices.

First the bad news…

This week after visiting Republican Representative Ed Royce’s office to deliver 200+ names on a petition to overturn the Supreme Court Citizens United decision (that made corporations people), I witnessed everything that is wrong with our political system. It was a blend of  non-present “representation” , uninformed staffers, and trained PR buffers with canned responses.

First the receptionist at the office didn’t know how to answer the simple question, “Is Ed Royce here”?  Flustered she brought in his proxy — Ryan — from behind the wall. Ryan the buffer did his job of saying ‘nothing’ with conviction and politely promised to turn over the names to Ed. It was a study in futility.

Republican Ed Royce’s cost per vote in the prior election was  $40 MORE per vote than the Democrat running which was under $2 per vote.  Money can and does buy elections. When you hit people over the head a bunch of times with the same message, they’ll buy anything — bottled water that’s free from their tap or a candidate who doesn’t support their values. Thanks to unlimited money, we have an absent representative that no longer represents us.

Californian’s want clean air, water, safe food… why doesn’t Ed, or any Republican?

Ed’s positive voting record on eco issues is a meager 6% .  The majority of Californian citizens want clean air, water, food… but not Ed. I have to ask, who is he representing? Certainly not his constituents. These are the same eco-things that EVERY big box business is trying to incorporate into the doctrines and every major city  as well. Apparently Ed’s not representing them, either.  Again, who is he representing?

Even if you don’t believe in Climate Change, surely you believe in pollution change and would want to clean things up. Not Ed. He votes NO on everything that could improve our conditions. See the chart below.  Even my more conservative neighbors want to breathe clean air.

The sad part is that this isn’t just an Ed problem, if you go to the chart and pull back, you’ll see that EVERY Republican is against cleaning up the mess.

Meanwhile the world is filling up with inspiring Green people with solutions.

Professor Marcela Ovila

While  presenting the petitions, I received a call telling me that LATTC Teacher of the year, Professor Marcela Oliva was to be interviewed by Univision.  She teaches community college students about synergistic and sustainable human-build environments. Professor Oliva, who is also an architect and a speaker at an upcoming conference hosted by While Ed is voting NO, Marcela is teaching the next generation how to build cities in a more sustainable way. The Univision interview is in Spanish. Her program reaches a full range of urban LA kids.

These urban kids have helped assemble the nation’s largest repository of Geo Spatial information on buildings. The e7 studio hires many of Professor Oliva’s students. For more information on how the entire LA Community College District with over 200,000 students are turning green, go here. It would be nice if our policy makers were more in line with our teaching institutions.

Cuba, the first Sustainable Nation (thanks to the US embargo)

Roberto Perez Rivero, Permaculturist

The final stop that night was to hear Cuban native,  Roberto Perez Rivero speak on “The Power of Community, How Cuba Survived Peak Oil”  (Thanks to Nina Burokas for the tip)  The Urban Land Institute sponsored the event, at the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive center.
Prior to the presentation I spoke with ULI Executive Director Phyllis Alzamora. She gave me the short version of OC’s future and why cities in Orange County need to be more  synergistic in their planning, i.e. 2 million more people are expected to live here in the next 10 years.

Phyllis Alzamora, OC Ex Dir. ULI

Imagine what would happen if LA and Orange counties had to feed 12 million without the help of imported food. Cuba now successfully feeds 11 million people with very limited fuel oil.

Ironically, even though the USA isn’t on solid speaking terms with Cuba, Roberto shared their agricultural successes. It was a big eye-opener for me who was schooled to think that Cuba was a bad place filled with bad people.

Roberto told us that they went “organic” not because it was healthier, but because  petroleum-based fertilizers were no longer available. They had to relearn the old ways to farm and in doing so have created a garden community island wide. Today, Cuba has one of the highest longevity rates in the world and one of the lowest infant mortality rates.

Not everyone is a farmer of acres, mini gardens thrive everywhere and15% of the food needed by a city is grown INSIDE the city on balconies, rooftops, side yards…

Other major initiatives included a national strategy for environmental education; a national program of environment and development; projects for food production via sustainable methods and biotechnological and sustainable animal food, as well as a national scientific technical program for mountain zones and a national energy sources development program. Each of these program are composed of smaller projects and initiatives, involving local communities, People’s Power bodies, universities, schools and mass organisations.

Read more:

Good Vibrations (thanks Anna)

If you are feeling less than positive, put down the news, grab a cup of coffee and savor this treat. I guarantee you’ll want to work with your neighbor even if they live on the other side of the world. Then get thee to Washington! 


Hat tip for the values poster to

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