Why We Protest

I was in New York last week for a wedding and took the time to visit the Statue of Liberty  and Ellis Island for the first time. At the base of the Statue reads a quote, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Unless we find out that the election really was rigged by Russian hackers or Wikileaks,  we will all be using the words, “President Trump” for the next four years. Let me make one thing clear, most of the protesters know this. We know that the election will not be overturned but WE WILL show the world that not all Americans agree with it!

We protest because the next president of the United States WILL NOT be a bragadier of sexual assault. That IS NOT OK. That IS NOT acceptable!

We protest because making fun of people with disabilities IS NOT OK!

We protest because we stand up for the 11 million parents, kids, brothers, cousins, and friends who are within the boundaries of this country “illegally” who are working three jobs to put their kids through school just like everybody else. They WILL NOT be rounded up and deported and separated from their families. They deserve a path to citizenship because they work hard and play by the rules. Americans should believe in bridges not walls.

We protest for the more than 3 million Muslims living in this country peacefully and the millions more who are trying to flee for their lives from the war-torn region in which they live. Any time throughout history a single religion has been singed out … well, lets just say it never ends well.

We protest because climate change is real, it is happening, and WE NEED to rise to the challenge. If we don’t the consequences are nothing less than the destruction of civilization as we know it. No, that is not an exaggeration.

We protest because we WILL NOT stand for all the many other blatant racist, sexist, illegal and backwards things this person named Donald Trump has said and DONE.

We protest the lies that were told.

We protest because we believe America ALREADY IS great!

And above all, When we put all these things together, we protest because we are unbearably sad that the United States of America is no longer that Beacon on the Hill. That shining light of hope for a better world and more perfect union. We protest because the gears of democracy are failing us.

Now we protest. For the next four years we will protest. We will protest in every way we can. We are and will continue to be and grow in all the undercurrents of society. We protest on every level until it bubbles up and busts out the top of a mountain of truth, clarity, and justice.

Europe Highlights

Ok. So, I learned it’s not so easy making videos and writing articles on a regular basis especially while on holiday and especially when there are so many places to go, things to see, learn, experience. I really wanted to make last Autumn’s trip meaningful in not just a selfish travelers way. But after the year Stef and I had just

Strawberry Fields Forever

before the trip, we realized very quickly that it was necessary to take that moment out of our lives to decompress and just see a part of the world we had never seen.

Having said all that, there are some really great 180 Forward nuggets that came out of the trip! Stef and I visited eight countries, slept in 32 different beds, and tackled the museum and cafe scene like it was our job.

Sometimes we as Americans, and especially the eco-minded types like ourselves, tend to look across the pond and see a panacea of environmental hope. There is plenty to back up this claim. For example, E.U. GMO laws, 50% of produce grown in Austria is Organic, Germany is a major world leader in solar, not to mention the vastly superior public transportation system.

However, for all you ‘Europe is the panacea of environmental hope’ folks, I’ll just have you know, the U.S. puts on a pretty good showing too. We were the first nation to create National Parks, the fist nation to have an Environmental Protection Agency, and over the past few years the U.S. has quietly, and not so quietly, grown both a $40+ billion dollar Organic Food industry and a Renewable Energy industry which produced 13.44% of all U.S. domestic energy last year (hey, it’s on a growth trend).

Mont Blanc still has a glacier!
Mont Blanc still has a glacier!

Here’s the reality on the ground in the old country, we saw about the same amount of natural food stores as in the U.S., Meat production and consumption was on par, both have a changing energy industry, and an increasingly eco-educated populous. Yes, both also have industrial and establishment resistance to change, but isn’t that how history books are written.

Change and Resistance!
Persistence!

It’s no secret that at least part of the reason so many modern environmentalist see Europe as this panacea mentioned above is because the political winds in the Americas have blown so far in the other direction. Being a conservationist in the U.S. means you harbor such a taint in the mainstream that you are obviously a communist, socialist, faggot, or so hyper-intellectual that you are on the fringe of extremism. All the while, those in Europe have caught up to us and often surpassed us legally and even have legitimate Green Parties in many countries.

Having been many places across the globe, I am convinced that if the human community is going to continue to build upon these ecologically conscious advances, it’s going to come, at least in large part, from the U.S. We must do this. The ball is rolling in the right direction. Is it too late? I don’t know. Who cares. It’s never too late!

 

Check out this Living Wall we saw at the World’s Fair in Milano, Italy

Welcome to 180 forward

180 forward is a plea.   A hope.   A blog.   An experiment.   An outlet. And hopefully, a Movement

A Disillusioned Environmentalist Searches for Hope

Lets face it, we are in some deep deep trouble.  A changing climate alone will lead to floods, fires, more intense storms, resource shortages, famine, refugee crisis’, and the breaking down of social structures across the globe.  The toxification and denudation of our entire planet may render the Earth virtually uninhabitable soon.  We are losing species at a pace unmatched for hundreds of thousands of years while cancer rates skyrocket in those species which survive (including humans).

But still, the train keeps rolling along down those devastating tracks.  And we keep rolling along with it because that’s just the way life is right?  Wrong.  We have choices.  Humans are not a single minded ant colony fixed on growth and destruction.  We have the capacity to think deeply. Too question.

Or are we that ant colony bent on our own destruction because, collectively at least, we don’t know any other way.  Maybe that train has just become too big and powerful to turn around.  It’s certainly hard to find hope.  It’s hard not to be cynical.  It is, however, unhealthy to be cynical.  It’s no way to live your life.  So we search for hope.

Searching 180 degrees Forward

The concept is simple: We cannot go back. Only forward. But we must do so with a new ecological paradigm. An ecological paradigm which places our global worldview as integrated with the natural world. We are not separate from the ecology which surrounds us. We are part of it in every way and must act like it or, lets face it, we might not be here much longer.

There are ripples. Pockets of people moving forward. Forward on a deep level.  Doing more than just recycling their bottles, buying 7th Generation cloths wash, and doing yoga (although these things are an important part of the equation).  There are people who are doing everything they can to live in ecological harmony with their surroundings.  I want to find these people. Learn their story.  How are they doing it?  Is it scaleable?  Are they happy?

180 Forward begins in Europe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As this needs to be a global movement, why not start with a long planned and dreamt about trip to the ‘old country’.   We will begin autumn of 2015 seeking out people, communities, businesses, organizations, and even governments who are moving our world in a direction 180 degrees Forward.

Hop on Board

The search may take the form of videos, pictures, written musings, guest writers… whatever happens, happens.  I would love for 180 forward to expand to include anyone who wants a voice. Please contribute. Write an article and send it to me.  I’ll post it. Send me videos, music, pictures. Or just comment on what’s here. So, if you like this concept, hop on board.

matt@180forward.com

 

A Movement