Objects appear clearer in the rear view.

employment, library, LNG, mining, rabideye, spezzacatena

nope

Seem it’s about time to document the past year, at least for myself, before it all blends into a fuzzy pink cloud.

A year of provincial and federal governments’ rubber stamping of very probably damaging projects like LNG and dirty coal transport over water, the Site C dam drowning some of the best agricultural land in Northern BC, and continuing to throw all our money, hopes and energy into the bottomless pit of oil sands, and its transportation across land and water that we consider ‘ours’ (and of course exporting this to our southern neighbour). The propaganda we pay for as taxpayers is thick on all these. Meanwhile no mind is paid to alternatives, least of all a reduction in the excesses we feel are part of being human in the richest countries at their apex.

It’s all very logical, after all. Why promote ideas that don’t pay off multinationals and give people with all levels of education and skills the feeling that, yes, they too can earn $200,000+ a year just like those in the lower echelons of the financial sectors, by working in remote camps 14-in, 7-out; fly in-fly out, extract the living daylights while the going is good. And this is the hope; never mind what it is doing to our air, land and water. But as 2014 ended, the price of oil having declined sufficiently to bring into question the ‘full speed ahead’ ethos, those always-already temporary jobs are being threatened, or at least postponed as the high cost of extraction presses down on the whole project.

Oh, and there is a federal election coming up on October; my guess is that this too will reflect how we shouldn’t wait for elections to do something, and expect nothing but contempt.

Locally, the big story this year was (drum roll) the library (of all things). I suppose that it’s a good thing that it appears that we’re all aflutter over books and learning, but it was really about was money and location, with a really positive undertow of ‘what is the function of a library in 2014?’. We are very lucky to have had a lot of really smart, talented, generous and dynamic volunteers who compiled the information on library usage while maintaining  a positive outlook during a time when it could have turned nasty, with many counsellors essentially over-ruling years of research, disregarded the thousands of taxpayer dollars spent in investigating and developing plans for one, then three, then more locations (most notably the most preferred Willingdon South location). Of course, we owe a lot to those who actually make our library work: our librarians, the Library board and the Friends of the Library.

Ultimately, a big old compromise to keep an excellently located empty lot, empty, accompanied by an amorphous 11th hour deal with local mall owners to transform an ex-furniture store behind a gas station into a public library. I know many of us (me included) went into this with clenched teeth and pinched nose, because the community needs a functional library more than a beautiful space that would have reinvigorated the actual heart of the city, providing an anchor for locally-owned small businesses in favour of enhancing a private strip mall. It is that urgent. 75% of the population voted YES to a referendum question on permitting the City to borrow up to $3.5 million, and the gods were apparently appeased. I guess that’s the nature of compromise and democracy: an urgent need made clear to the public, and a choice that makes it very difficult for any one party to vehemently oppose its advancement. I am hoping that the lack of real clarity on how the old Brick location will be updated to create a functional and beautiful, well-lit space, will not bite us in the ass.

Oh, and congratulations especially to our new and progressive non-slatey-at-all City Council members who, with Russell Brewer, may encourage the re-elected to start to think about what a post-mill town could look like (the Catalyst Paper mill workforce just shrank by 45 jobs). May the talk lead directly to the walk. I think it will.

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2014, abstract, abstract art, acrylic, canada, canvas, chance operations, collage, contemporary, contemporary art, fine art, found objects, gallery, giovanni, MFA, mixed media, paint, powell river, psychedelia, rabideye, sales, spezzacatena, wabi-sabi

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The 2013 Edible Garden Tour

edible garden tour

Many thanks to the organizers of the 5th Annual Powell River Edible Garden Tour for making this FREE (donations we happily accepted) AM/PM tour such a success yet again.

Some gardens had upwards of 220 people visiting to see what can be done with a variety of variables including experience, space, soil and light conditions and time to garden. There was really something for everyone and that doesn’t ‘just happen’. There are some very thoughtful people and loads of work behind such an event. That it was a spectacularly beautiful day did not hurt one little bit. Many thanks to the WONDERFUL gardeners/farmers who opened up their homes and gardens to the public on this special day!

This starts this year’s 50-day, 50-Mile Eat Local Challenge and by the looks of it, there is a LOT of food growing out there. Enjoy!

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Desperation is a stinky cologne (and this is a scent-free zone)

Community, employment, new economy, powell river

Enter Salesman (image: rabideye)

“Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.”
-William S. Burroughs

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
– Robert Heinlein 

This week in Powell River featured a well-though-out and accessible talk by marine biologist, Mark Biagi on the proposed plan to bring trash incinerators to Powell River on Catalyst Paper Mill lands. Biagi went into the nitty gritty of how these so-called ‘state-of-the-art’ plants turn much of what is compost-able and recyclable “trash” into toxic waste that has been shown to cause cancers and birth defects. The 100 or so people in attendance listened quietly to the speaker in awe that the City would even entertain such ideas. (check out the No Incinerator for Powell River Facebook Group). But it was also shown through the question period that while the Regional District controls solid waste (and they- according to director Colin Palmer – had no inkling of a deal between the City and Wheelabrator Technologies Inc.Urbaser  until the local news story (see the Powell River Peak article). The issue, as brought by City councillor Maggie Hathaway, is that while the Regional District has jurisdiction over what we do with our own solid waste, the City and Catalyst can grease the wheels (and maybe profit from) a business on mill lands that will incinerate trash from other communities. Great. So, in theory we can reach our Regional District’s goal of zero-waste and still have an incinerator in the middle of our city spewing the toxic filth of other people’s garbage into our faces. Section 21** (see below) was put in place in 1955 when the City consolidated . It basically (and outrageously) gives the Mill free rein on doing whatever they need to do to make the business viable. Burning other people’s trash might just be “sustainable” indeed — sustaining their coffers, or at least delaying bankruptcy. Councillors Maggie Hathaway along with Myrna Leishman stated that while Powell River City Council has tried to address the repeal of this bylaw before (it was rejected, but no one there remembered if a reason was given), she would look into this. According to Biagi, there is a lot of money to be gained by the multinational corporation that has a history of lawsuits and ‘settlements’ under its belt. Billions, in fact. They won’t give up so easily without a fight.

Which brings us to the title of this post [“Desperation is a stinky cologne (and this is a scent-free zone)] and how a pattern is forming that spells ‘open for (always outside) business’: corporations reach out to the City to sell them on a brand new idea that will bring back the heyday of  unheard-of wealth for labourers at the mill (Powell River had the highest per capita income in Canada until the 1960’s). Yrainucep’s antics , the attempt by the City and this company to remove lands from the Agricultural Land Reserve ALR to build an airport and gated community, the  Liquid Natural Gas transportation by water idea, the Enbridge proposed Northern Gateway plan to transport tar sands oil across our land, and now even a new wave of coal mining close to home.

Governments like to say that they are open to everyone, and after all ‘corporations are people too’, but this disregards the influence that these incredibly powerful multinationals have to affect policy, all toward short-term corporate gains where the next quarter-year is as far as they can see. We need to see further. When people ask ‘where are the good ideas?!’, meaning that all we have before us are these destructive ones, we need to remember that the people who bring us these obviously bad ideas to local, provincial and federal governments are very well paid to do so, and constantly. We have many great ideas here via our organizations including Transition Town, and even in our own blasted Sustainability Charter. But these won’t bring the $80,000/year wages, and they don’t have a lobby and start-up cash or access to huge loans like large corporations have; it seems overly obvious to say so, but the cards are stacked against local ingenuity and real sustainable practices. The great ideas are not publicized and many are not supported by locals because there is a mistrust in our own ability to pull these ideas off. We need micro-loans where local people invest in local projects of all kinds, especially local cooperative projects. We need to become locally resilient to the changes that are upon us already. It’s just not going to stop until we project the air of confidence it takes to keep these corporate vampires away.

 Meanwhile, our governments are all throwing lots of money, time and other resources into industry-led projects that tend to either pollute, deplete our natural resources (and fast), or both. Usually, it’s both. This smacks of desperation and the sharks are circling, always. We see it in the news every day. Of course, it’s not just a Powell River issue. We have been trained to a very high standard of living that is so incredibly and truly unsustainable (in the real sense of the word) that our addictions (to gas, sugar, etc.), sense of ownership and entitlement blind us to the point where we can’t think ahead 2 years, let alone the Iroquois concept of seven generations. We continue to pillage and plunder our resources at the expense of our children (and even our own!) health and future welfare. As someone said at the incineration information session, we need high paying jobs. But what is less talked about is what kind of jobs are ‘high-paying’: jobs that involve raping the earth, polluting our species and others, killing and controlling other people, making and selling each other garbage food/clothes/cars/computers  and … garbage itself (as well as the incineration thereof), cheating people out of their savings, gambling, extortion, lobbying governments and tweaking laws to make them fit into corporate profit plans.

It’s time to look at ourselves and decide what we can do without, and not only what we can do with the waste and destruction we leave behind by living and wanting to continue to live this way. If we want real change, we need to support each other on a micro level.


*The first part of title from this post is a quote from the  film Starship Troopers (based on the Robert Heinlein  novel)

caution: rough (but funny) language:

** 3.13 Millsite Industrial & Millsite Boundary (see page 48 in this document: https://powellriver.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentDisplay.aspx?Id=283)

Historic industrial development in Powell River is dominated by the Catalyst Paper mill,  now modernized and one  of the largest in the Province.  This industrial complex was first established in 1912, when the first paper machines turned out newsprint (see Part 1.6). In 1955, when the City of Powell River was incorporated, the owners of the Townsite and mill needed  to protect their interests from any new potentially “unfriendly” or calamitous land use regulations. Section 21 of the Powell River Incorporation  Act recognized the mill’s important role and exempted the Mill from any and all regulatory bylaws restricting operations of pulp, paper or other mill-related uses within the “Millsite”.  This unique exemption applies to all lands and waters shown within the red outline on Map 1. Catalyst Paper has designated those parcels not required for mill operations as nonstrategic or surplus including a tract of waterfront known as “the old golf course”. This land was a part of the Millsite industrial area but is now in a state of transition.  The community, particularly the residents of the Townsite, have long used this area for walking and other recreational purposes. Catalyst Paper has requested to transfer Section 21 designation from the surplus lands to Block 55.The Millsite Industrial designation as shown on Map 1 applies to lands currently subject to Section 21 of the Powell River Incorporation Act.  The Millsite Boundary outlines the 1956 effective area of the Millsite including park lands now owned by the City.

3.13.1

Millsite Industrial Objectives & Policy

(a) Given little direct City jurisdiction over the operation of the mill or Millsite, the objectives for the Millsite Industrial are limited to ensuring the ongoing viability and vitality of the mill operations as an essential element of the region’s economy.

(b) The  City will work with  Catalyst Paper and senior levels of government to facilitate the successful ongoing operation of the mill.

(c) The City supports the transfer of Section 21 provision to Block 55 subject to  Catalyst Paper meeting all Provincial and Federal applicable regulations, particularly as relates to the environment.

Drive to Work Week

Uncategorized

Gotcha.

This was an April Fool’s prank meant as a fun way to poke at the absurdity of life in our moment. It’s an obvious nod to Bike to Work Week (coming up May 28-June 3rd, 2012), where even if people participate, it still means (in theory) that they are driving the other 51 weeks of the year. Few noticed the posters and most were taken down almost immediately. So much for that.

Of course I support Bike to Work Week; it was a good idea, but ‘it should have been a start, and ended up being an end’. I am noticing much more traffic on the roads and really bad,  ‘bike lanes’ that make for dangerous biking on our few major roads here in Powell River. Yet, it’s a chicken-and-egg situation: more bikers on the roads we pay for means more demand for better paths.

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Free Willie

new economy, powell river

Welcome to Hostage Beach

Ok, so I made the decision to stop and chat with one of the “Save Willingdon Beach” folks beached there on the endless vigil to save that patch you see above (a.k.a The Old Arena Site). I do think that this amorphous group needs to be heard. Their petition of “we want a referendum” deserves an answer to the question of “why?” There’s a lot of effort and time that they are putting into this; who knows how many dogs are left unwalked, pleasure boats left unattended, houses left uncleaned and books left unread as a sacrifice to this cause. It’s heart-breaking.

Anyhow, so I asked a few questions, and while the responses are not to be seen as representative of the whole (apparently) leaderless group, and mine as not representative of any group either. I did get some more information that I figured I’d jot down as more notes to myself regarding this whole thing, because I really think it digs into the heart of this place.

The brief chat revealed some aspects of the debate that I had an inkling of at one point, but that has to do with the vision that long-time (“born and bred”) residents with strong ties to the paper mill have: a sense of their own personal and individual ownership of this spot of land they supposedly treasure, but nevertheless somehow left to moulder for the ages.

That “new” people like me are envisioning something there that is different from the trees or whatnot the de vieille souche* supposedly envisioned there, is irksome and hurtful to them. The fear of condo development is very strong here, and the fact that the library design does not include condos and would actually prevent condos from being built on the site if it is re-zoned, was met with “this is just Phase 1: they want to build a museum, a cultural centre, and maybe even City Hall here”. Unlikely, as the footprint barely accommodates a small library, once all the set-backs and zoning regulations are followed.

So, the $75,000-$100,000 and time/effort spent on the process of deciding on an appropriate location, paying people to design it, the many public consultations, etc. is money, time and effort that they are willing to forfeit; “we should have been given a referendum”.

Now, we must all pay for that bit of naughtiness, both with money and the continued pitiful lack of a proper library. You can just imagine the likelihood of going through a referendum process to have the people decide where a building should now go, how much to spend on  it, finance another round of research and site-specific design of a library at a more “central location behind the recreation complex”(that is accessible to … cars, has no social or economic benefits for locally-owned shops and is removed from view: our little shame).

It will never happen.

And that’s apparently just fine by them. ‘So be it. Who needs a library anyway? There’s the internet!’

There was a satisfied air about the whole thing; that this is the biggest petition in the history of Powell River, that “95% of the merchants on Marine are against development” of the sandy pit, and that the City ‘deserves’ to lose the money spent on the process, like it’s the money of a few people at the much-hated City Hall and not everyone’s money at a time when there is barely enough to go around. “We want to save this space for everyone” was the last straw, as I pointed to the empty gravel area and suggested that libraries are for everyone. “But not everyone uses libraries!”. Well, infinitely fewer people use that gravel patch, and for that matter, not everyone uses Willingdon Beach or the many lovely, welcoming green spaces around it. Is it public only if everyone uses it?

I was half-expecting my nose to be dragged through that kitty litter box being guarded. The emotion here is wrath. While it was  acknowledged that the City never had (and certainly doesn’t now have) the money or intention to replant that long-destroyed area that is unfit for plantlife, there has been no outcry over the use of this spot for actual parkland, until now. It’s “a pox on both your houses” time for the Save Willingdon Beach fans, and in my view, it’s still misleading and toxic.

_____________________________________________________

*Literally “old stumps”, a word I carry here from my Quebec roots where second-class citizen status was bestowed by le Parti Quebecois upon anyone not of old French stock, but the concept is used world-wide, of course.

The “Petition”

Uncategorized

I just want to reclarify that when I wrote the blog post “The Library” on Feb. 18, 2012, the petition I reprinted was sent to me (as I said) and I was not sure this was the only one circulating (as I said). It turns out that the petition that has since been the “official petition” of the group since formed calling itself “Save Willingdon Beach” is not the same as the one I had responded to. It was February 17th and what came to be the “official petition” was really not yet being circulated, I don’t think.

I’m very sorry that this has resulted in people hassling businesses (or individuals) over items in that petition that were not written by them. The petition that is being circulated apparently only reads (and I am taking this from their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Willingdon-Beach/354507044589142?ref=ts):

“We, the undersigned, DO NOT want the new library on the Willingdon Beach Site. Willingdon Beach Site referring to South Willingdon (Old Arena Site). We would also like a referendum on the new library decision.”

That said, I have personally heard many of the reasons listed in the letter I reproduced, but these do not appear on the said petition that has been circulating. When does a letter in the form of a petition transform itself into a petition, I don’t know. All I know is that they need to stop harrassing people over this red herring concocted as a smoke-screen for their reasons that I think are really weak. Many people have many different reasons for supporting or opposing the library, and we are all legally able to voice our opinions. There is no “official opinion”.

(un)Willingdon Beach

Community, powell river

The poster.

(Update related to this post here: https://rabideye.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/the-petition/)

It’s been about a month since I wrote my last post in something  like 20 minutes. Between this and the image I created (in 10 minutes; see at left), I can safely say that I  never had as much response to anything I’ve even done. Weird, and kind of sad.

It’s a community-defining moment for sure; questioning values, visions for the future of this place and ideas of democracy. No, it’s not really about the location of a library. Scratch the surface a tiny bit and repeatedly, we start to see elements of what I hope is not coming: that ‘every man for himself’ attitude that increasingly seems to rear its head when we’re asked as a community to share in imagining, paying for and supporting something that feeds into The Commons.

But, really, the lack of imagination in all this is the most alarming. Many could obviously not even allow themselves to imagine a library that would be accessible, leave enough land to walk the dog, provide shelter and seating and common meeting spaces inside and outside, the maintaining of a graffiti wall, access to public transportation, ample parking and an unobstructed view. These people question the value of a library, not just the location of one. Yes, studies so show that they make  financial sense. But more importantly, they provide information and a gathering place in a democratic way, to the masses. Without libraries, there would be no proper democracy, as the one-dollar-one-vote would be the default in a society where money=knowledge; where only if you can personally afford to buy the newspapers/pay for monthly internet charges/ buy expensive books, magazines or films, will you know what is going on around you. Democracy relies on an informed population. I mention ‘Democracy’ here not only because I believe in it, and that a lack of true democracy is what is bringing about our socio-economic collapse (see The Occupy Movement as a reaction to this voicelessness of the 99%), but also because the anti-library folks repeatedly demand that we should vote for the location of a library, and then another vote on whether to spend money on this, and maybe a third on how much. Maybe there should be a referendum on the shape of the doorknobs as well… Meanwhile their own Facebook page (“Save Willingdon Beach“, apparently with over 3,900 signatures to prevent the library from being built there, and thus from being built at all) disallows comments from those who are not part of the group. So much for free speech.

My point here is that an informed population is required to make things work if not for everyone, then for most, and for the greater good. The information is out there all over the place on the value of accessible information, for those who choose to view it: and a visit to their library would be a great start.

I feel that a functional and living library will enable our transition from a resource-based town to something more sustainable and more secure. It won’t save us by itself, but it will provide the space, knowledge and resources to enable us to save ourselves. The torrent of comments pro and con, to the Facebook event page dedicated to pursuing the dream of a library at the so-called ‘Willingdon Beach’ site (by inviting people to show up at a Council meeting on March 1st, 2012) showed the many differing opinions. With its thousands of messages/ideas, it’s an amazing collection that in a digital form can just be zapped away never to be seen again; a definite drawback to social media. Still, there is no way such an archive would have been collected any other way. And how democratic is that!

Click here to see the new library website

The new library designers have accumulated the ideas of those who bothered to attend and give their design ideas (as opposed to vocal and inconsolable protest over the misuse of public land for public use) over the last six months or so, based on the so-called ‘Willingdon Beach’ site and will present another Open House on Monday, March 26 from 3PM-9PM at the Recreation Complex (5001 Joyce Ave), where they will reveal how they have incorporated the community’s ideas on the three projects they proposed at the last public meeting on February 14th. Hope to see you there!

Poking some holes

Community, employment, new economy

Not so much the holes, but what we see through them.

If anything, the message of Occupy: ‘it’s all wrong’.

Knowing and being able to share the idea that there is something wrong is a crucial part of the process, and remains a great function of the vocal and visible Occupy movement. But while there is a perception that the system’s working too well for the top 1%, ideas on whether the system is actually even serving them well (in the long run), never mind alternatives are rather sparse.

There is a perception that Occupy represents a generational malaise (following those of Gen-X, Y, Z…) of misplaced envy and need for the good life that culturally, we can’t seem to muster up for ourselves; the feeling that there just isn’t enough to go around, abounds. And it is true, there really isn’t enough (oil, money, resources, forethought, positive action, talent, creativity and acceptance of limits) to maintain the kind of lifestyle we have been guided into thinking is normal and desirable. It’s a world where even adults don’t recognize where real food and water come from, seeing these as taxable commodities and not human rights. What does it even mean to not have everything you want, when you want it.

The word sustainability still pops into the conversation, but less than it used to; people are shying away from not only that misused word but the idea behind it; who can think about that when you don’t have a job, or decent pay, or even food on the table? We’re culturally perplexed, looking for meaning in lives inundated with garbage (or so-to-be-garbage), making it a dangerous time that the opportunistic are ready to take advantage of. And like those clowns, no need to send them in; they’re already here.

With our elected government openly colluding with private corporations (i.e. privatizing energy, water, ferries, enabling big oil and gas, mining, etc. with citizen dollars) or simply succeeding in not setting up infrastructures to enable a diversified economy with viable alternatives,  it’s time to try something totally new. That, or fall back and  finish off the job: squeeze whatever we can from the decrepit frontier-town models based on resource extraction and related service industries serving up imported not-so-goods.

This fall-back ‘option’ we’re presented with (by the same corporations that gain from this world view) as the only viable options around. We need to get ‘back on track’ to economic recovery, they say. This, of course, is an economy that’s to work this way: Boom, bust, look at the pretty colours. While it’s not really a conspiracy or a mistake, it is environmental, and Occupy has poked a few holes into that perception.

But what do we see through these holes?

My next post (in time for Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative’s Social event) will cover how the cooperative model can offer some important mind-shifting solutions.

Rear view mirror

Uncategorized

imminent crossover

2011 ended up being a charged up, go-go-go kind of year for me and for many around me. Personally, it was a year incredibly busy with the continued development of CJMP Community Radio and Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative, that developed my technical and interpersonal/managerial skills and a somewhat steadier (and busier) work situation than in the past four years. Globally, lots of social change and much-raised awareness of the challenges we have in the face of levels of unimaginable inequality (the Occupy Movement), the lack of democracy (The Arab Spring, and its repercussions throughout the world) and facing up to the lies our governments and corporations tell us (Wikileaks). In many ways, these are inter-related in a general theme of reckoning– an awakening of the masses to ‘what’s really going on’. Add to this, the  further awareness of the environmental destruction we knowingly just keep heaping onto the planet through billions of tiny actions (and several huge actions– like our lovely full-steam-ahead Tar Sands projects); these addictions that we can’t seem to wrap our head around. We’re in a strange place where we know what we do cannot be sustained and we carry on, not in a (more honest) spirit of ‘live and let die’, but this is where it leads. We put on an extra sweater in the house to reduce the heating bill, while planning our next trip to Mexico or wherever… carbon footprint/climate change be damned. We’re convinced that the time for change was yesterday.

Sometimes I think of our society as really stuck in the past, where dreams of 60’s era expansion and the hope of the return to resource extraction-based ‘prosperity’ (while stage-managing a photo-op with Miss Millennial Sustainability) can get you elected, in desperate (and embarrassing) Reagan-era style.

There is an unspoken shrugging social agreement that says “ok, we’re screwed, and everything is obviously wrong, and we keep going in the wrong direction, and so many people are so unhappy; but what else are we going to do?– we’ve invested too much to change now”. The first part of this is where the Occupy Movement is now, I think. The lament is widespread and vocalizing it horizontally— without a top-down structure, and leader-less — makes it all the more potent. The disappointment (with Obama, with corporate responsibility, with all levels of government and their corruption as they respond to corporate wealth and power and not to the people) is very real. It’s the first step but it can’t stop there; next comes the restructuring of the widespread complaint into real action beyond politics and beyond petty changes to the system to make it just a little fairer. Major structural changes are coming.

There is no doubt in my mind that 2012 will bring a lot of change, and my hope is that the people who’ve been working on the sidelines, building local communities economies where people work together to serve a common end benefit, will see a lot more people on their side. 2012 is the United Nations year of the Cooperative — a viable alternative to the pyramid schemes the planet’s ‘99%’ have suffered under for decades. The mind-shift that has begun in the realm of ideas needs to be reflected by the marketplace, where the concept of ‘value’ itself needs to explode and include instead value to the society, to the environment, and even value as an intangible benefit to the future generations alone– way beyond the dollar and instant personal gratification on a material level. This change may bring lots of residual conflicts as the 1% are revealed as sociopaths rather than our supposed role models.