Of the approximate 200 countries in the world, the Green Party has organized in approximately one half – PDF.
Ed. Note: In the first part of the eOS proposal (Green Horizon, Fall/Winter 2013 # 28), Steven Schmidt presented a vision of the developing worldwide social internet landscape and how Greens, both Greens within Green political parties, and greens in the larger green movement can ‘step up’ and utilize the ‘tools and tool kit’ that are ideal for reaching, engaging and organizing to achieve Green/green values and goals via ‘best practices’ distributed and shared over the world wide web. This followup continues Schmidt’s proposal, looking at challenges and opportunities, and further examining the existing GreenPolicy360 platform, which he has suggested could be extended and brought to all connected corners of the globe. Green best practices take individual, coordinated actions and form a multiplier effect when done in concert. A Green strategy of action to “join local actions together into a rippling, powerful global wave.”
By Steven Schmidt
The Green Party is unique among political formations in its international reach and standing with a deeply embedded green set of values and ideas. Although Green capabilities are limited in traditional political terms, Green resources are unique in capacity to form alliances across a shared political spectrum, from conservative to liberal, green values advocating quality of life, conserving resources, well-being of communities, clean air and water, healthy children, good education, peace, social justice, sustainable prosperity.
Greens are a contrast to the current world of money and politics, the products of political barter, quid pro quo results that are shortsighted, expedient and narrow in their interest.
Greens argue for the concept of “subsidiarity”, politics that works best when done at the appropriate level, local ‘grassroots’ politics is the better process if local decision- making is possible but for larger issues, coordinated politics and action is necessary. The times demand Greens to face the larger questions that cut across political boundaries, local politics. Security issues that cannot be defined in traditional terms within conventional mindsets must shift toward new definitions of security, national security, regional and global security. If the polar ice cap, northern and southern glaciers melt, all shorelines will be affected as sea levels rise.
As climate change impacts hit, weather patterns shift, and droughts take their toll, decertification will follow, water tables will fall, aquifers will dry up and agricultural crisis will ensue. Hunger, disease, regional dissension, natural disasters and devastation, biodiversity loss will be endemic. Even the atmosphere and oceans are threatened. No one is immune and a green voice needs to be heard loudly, widely, consequentially.
In the field of economics, we speak of ‘eco-nomics’, we’ve introduced ‘true cost pricing’ in our analyses and writing, we have focused on the term ‘externalities’ as those costs to society, to health, well-being and quality of life resulting from pollution, degrading of environments resulting from industrial production. We look at costs that are hidden or subsidized or long term – ‘blowback’ costs, lost ‘opportunity costs’, military budgets, trillions spent, wasted on war, the costs to families, victims, veterans and the loss of war, all of us, paying the price over decades.
Is there any chance to change the larger dynamic of politics-as-usual, apart from changes at the margins, issue by issue incrementally? The green movement clearly believes so. The question is how, how do we go about change without becoming cynical, frustrated, fatalistic even? How do we maintain a Green spirit, our connections, hope and belief in better possible outcomes?
I believe that Greens are in the initial phases of a time when larger change is possible and the Greens and the hundreds of millions who think of themselves as “green”, environmentalist in effect, of all shades and colors, those who care for the world, a better life, clean air, water, and sustainable practices can effect change at every level, local to global, national to international.
An eOS toolkit can be utilized by ‘netizens’ who take the new interactive tool kit and employ these tools for change.
Green opportunities are myriad. The current Internet has hundreds of millions of nodes. There is more computing power in a simple smartphone than the operating computer in the Apollo spaceship that took astronauts to the moon (and sent back to us the “Earthrise” photo that has been called “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken.” Using the tools we have access to, Greens are capable of changing the world in ways that were never available before. Each of us can connect over borders, within borders, across borders in common causes, in ways where a few years ago change wasn’t possible or envisioned.
Social networks are enabling popular causes throughout many regions, whether the ‘green revolution’ in Iran or ‘democracy awakening movements’ in the Mideast, mobile exchanges in Africa and actions across to South America, Latin America, North America, Japan, China, the Southeast, Australia, the Near East up to Russia and across Europe. No part of the globe is off limits to the web today or in the near future as the wireless connectivity spreads country by country. Social media platforms connect billions of earth netizens.
Now with connectivity and the world wide web, with mobile phones available among the poorest economically, and smart- phones with best-in-class applications, with mobile internet devices, PCs and tablets, networked systems and with high speed media imminently rolling out what is the responsibility of green advocates? It certainly isn’t neo-Luddite retreat. Remember that the counter-culture movement, especially in California, gave rise to the Internet.
The current world of communications is a challenge to us in the best sense of the word, a democratic challenge, an opportunity to deliver green best practices and, to use a green metaphor, to sow the seeds of green values, ideas, and change agent politics.
An eOS would be an operating system designed as a diverse, multi-dimensioned network. The eOS platform could enable global work on behalf of the earth. The eOS will offer solutions, practical solutions to be shared, to achieve healthy living and quality of life in our global community and each of our local communities. We will, individually and together, speak up and say, worldwide, environmental, social, political problems will not overwhelm us, we will take action…If not the greens, who will speak for the planet, for breathable air, available, drinkable water, no ozone holes, no nuclear catastrophes. Greens around the globe as green netizens engaging in local action together in coordinated appropriate action can say yes to a healthy and secure future for all.
THE CHALLENGE OF PRIVACY OVER THE WEB
Existing networks and social networking sites provide access for connecting, organizing, and messaging. The upside is their ubiquity. For the most part they are free to use. The downside is their ubiquity and related costs that come with their use.
Government surveillance of Internet communications is growing in intrusiveness. Those who engage in politics can expect, at some time, to be the subject of government intelligence operations. As Greens believe in and practice non-violence as a key value, one would assume Greens would not often be the subject of government agency actions. This would be assuming too much.
In the real world, governments as a matter of course go too far. The history is there to consider, the multibillions spent on intel agencies is a fact. Provocateurs ply their trade, extremists exist, bad actors act. The world is a complex theater to sort out and the use of the Internet will be problematic as greens get caught up in what is being called in the U.S. ‘incidental’ or ‘metadata’ spying. Often direct action work against polluters can bring undue but to-be-expected surveillance and attention. Even lobbying,rallying, peaceful actions can come under suspicion and attack by opponents and this can be foreseen as greens look to effectively use the Internet. It can be said that the more effective green politics becomes, the more targeted greens will become.
Some wise discretion is called for going forward and greens in their diverse approaches can be expected to rise to the occasion. Beyond public ‘tapped’ platforms like Facebook, Google, et al., mobile phone communications, etc., the array of greens in their multiple, diverse ways will undoubtedly use more secure communications when they choose, server-to-server connections if appropriate. Some activists will look to solutions like Meshnet, Tor, Ghostery, etc . Others will worry not and carry on.
However the Internet is utilized, there are potential privacy issues that no doubt will be taken into consideration as a matter of course. The web is a powerful tool for organizing, even when governments attempt to limit it, monitor its use, or otherwise attempt to stop effective communication and organizing.
THE eOS OPPORTUNITY
Within the digital, interactive world the arena of database marketing has become the go-to sector. Parallel to government interest in data collection and analyses of vast troves of data on individuals, patterns and contexts, the private sector has been for years advancing data collection. The marketing industry is booming with data services, tracking personal information on individuals, companies, sectors, identified categories in an effort to target and direct one-to-one marketing campaigns, interactive marketing, event marketing, promotional marketing, all of which build on data bases of private data gleaned from the web and online behaviors.
Successful digital platforms in the business world are highly valued and successful case studies and best practices drive decisions in the field of business intelligence (BI). The non-profit world needs to learn from the for profit world.
Take, for example, the model of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. For several years now, the work of ALEC has been opened to public scrutiny. Bill Moyers recently featured ALEC as the vanguard of a multi-state, corporate- funded political agenda. ALEC uses a platform, a database platform, and case studies, model legislation their sponsors choose to be ‘shared.’
The result of the ALEC database approach has been a profoundly successful series of legislative initiatives throughout the U.S. Many of their legislative bills are in opposition to positions advocated by the Green Party and, for that matter, many political independents, liberals and conservatives. But they should be seen for what they have accomplished. The ALEC approach is smart, they put together a coordinated network of model bills and via their dbase platform they make them and accompanying information available to all the state, and other, legislative bodies in the U.S. They identify supporters, and manage these database lists, as their legislative supporters carry the agenda of bills state-by-state. The legislation is arranged by subject and the template bills can be quickly amended for each state/jurisdiction. The result has been a coordinated national campaign of laws, on message and in concert. It’s worked.
The online green network that we are looking at here is, in a limited sense, a version of what ALEC does. The point is – database networking can be powerful. When we add in the language of Wikimedia/MediaWiki to make a platform democratic and affordable, scalable and global, we are looking at a challenge project that could be worth the time, energy and effort. Potentially, the current model of www.GreenPolicy360.net can be employed as a phase one foundation for eOS. In an agile development structure, a GreenPolicy360/eOS envisions a future of networked development and expansion over time.
A robust GP360 platform can be scaled up, for example, with semantic mediawiki, with extensions, maps, added data and information, graphics, charts, threads, e-vids, news and coordinated campaigns. As you can see on review, the current GlobalPolicy360 platform has expanded with maps of successful green practices in a number of countries/regions and this can continue to be extended nation- by-nation to build a database of global green best practices that is shareable and easily ‘sent around’ to achieve green goals with climate change work at the top of green work-to-do.
An interactive platform is set up to enable uploading/downloading of new green best practices, initiatives, projects, proposals and passed legislation, as well as related organizing information. For example, a coordinated campaign at the city level might be to plant trees. We can provide a kit of information to neighborhood groups including planning docs, city regs and applications, how-to guides, watering info and online resources with maps, PDFs, and messaging/blogs for neighbor-to-neighbor communication.
MediaWiki tools, augmented with additional design, apps, plug-ins, graphic user interface, metrics and social media, offer much potential. A coordinating group can provide guidance and expertise, invitations sent out to tech savvy greens especially to develop new apps, an evolving user interface (UI), content management system (CMS), an effective front-end ‘uploader’ to make it simpler and user-friendly. The mapping can expand to include multiple capabilities. Resources can be added, for example, the domain Greentill.com was obtained in July 2013 for GreenPolicy360’s potential fundraising (apropos ‘tilling’ the soil.) Riseup resources and other crowdfunding sites can be utilized as needed, for example Fundraise, CauseVox, Fundly and Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or Crowdrise.
The range of Green opportunities to grow a rich garden of global green best practices is ripe via the web, a bandwidth, a palette of tools. It is multi-frequency, multi-shaded, multi- dimensioned. It is the best of diversity in practice (that cannot be easily tracked or blocked.)
It can begin small and be scaled- up. It can be a grid that’s multiple points, a multi-node grouping, a powerful distribution sharing system. It can be a platform for delivering content ‘how you want it, when you want it, anyway you want it.’Recent innovations make it possible to format content so that an eOS platform can deliver messaging reaching across the globe to billions of linked Internet devices – wherever you are, there we can be – connected, together…
Welcome to eOS, a new green world.
Potential eOS strategic connections
- Bill McKibben (former adviser at the Green Institute) 350.org
- Lawrence Lessig and Internet activism 11
- Open Source/Open Data movement – Online/Web Resources
- GreenLinks – Local/Global List
- “Spreadable Media” – shareable social networking to promote open-ended participation across multiple Internet channels by users/participants/readers… sharing is a key to opening doors in a networked culture… spreadable media content can have a rippling effect, a dynamic physics of exponential growth — individual decisions can combine to become a powerful wave 12
- Link up with appropriate how-to/makers technology, e.g. Appropedia (association pending with GreenPolicy360) 13
- Launch a Water campaign offering practical clean water and water saving solutions
- Expand with the Permaculture community which is worldwide, offering practical, sustainable eco-solutions – add to the database, develop a “Little Green Online Book” with the best of alternative ag, add Permadesign and Harvest the Rain data 14
- Add David Suzuki and Natural Capital movement 15
- Add the Bioneers and Resilient communities as associates (noting international strategic plan) 7
- Add CELDF/Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund empowerment tools 16
- Hire social media agency, bring on board press/media distribution
- Tie-in with educational institutions
- Link to Riseup.net – Develop GreenTill.com
RESOURCES / LINKS [continued from Part 1]
11. Lawrence Lessig – “Reinvent”
12. Spreadable Media… realizing the potential of a participatory culture to increase democratic citizenship
14. Permaculture, international/Mollison manual
15. Natural Capital
16. CELDF ‘Hometown Democracy’ – ‘HomeRule’ – Community rights
More eOS references
Global human population / 7 billion – 2012… 11 billion by 2100
Internet statistics – population / 2.4 billion users – 2012;
Mobile subscriptions / 6 billion – 2012;
Social Media – over 2 billion users – 2012
Project Meshnet — Exaflop — one quintillion operations a second… next goal will be zettaflop and yottaflop… beyond yottaflop, names have not yet been invented
Crowdfunding – Crowdfunding sites
The (Counter)Culture That Gave Birth to the Personal Computer