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Aruba: Future World
Aruba is an island nation without freshwater or native fossil fuels. It has a population of slightly over 100,000 and more than 1 million tourist visitors every year who come for the sun, Caribbean waters, and exceptional white sand beaches. They expect potable water and electricity, amenities that most of us take completely for granted.
This attention from tourists from around the world has required the small island member of the Netherlands group to develop creative ways to face its lack of water and standard sources of energy. In doing so it now finds itself with the opportunity to set an example for the entire world.
My time there was extremely full, exciting, and inspirational. I met with the Prime Minister, the Governor (who represents the King of the Netherlands) and members of the cabinet, administrative staff members in various offices of government, bankers, investment bankers, faculty, students and administrators at the University of Aruba, gave a couple of major speeches and was interviewed by the media. I found the people of Aruba to be exceedingly intelligent, openhearted, and willing to listen to ideas that might frighten those in countries like my own, the United States.
I spent an afternoon with the managers and workers being shown around a state of the art reverse osmosis water purification plant that is five times more fuel-efficient than the previous one which, when it was built, was also state of the art. I sat in the control room of the nation’s electricity producing company and saw that 30% of the capacity was being produced by wind machines, which is impressive.
During meetings with the various people mentioned above, we discussed the way Aruba can take these innovative approaches for water purification and energy production to new levels. This country has the opportunity to send its experts out to the world and help others deal with the incredible challenges that face the entire planet.
Turn on any faucet in Aruba and out flows the Champagne of water, the purest best-tasting water I’ve ever had. I tell the Arubans that they need to take their expertise to Miami, New York, Chicago, LA, Paris, London, and just about every other major city where the water insults the taste buds. In addition to taste, of course there is a huge need throughout countries like China and India and those in Latin America and Africa where there are horrible droughts, unhealthy water sources, and the collapsing glaciers are causing major rivers to dry up.
A Dream for Aruba
One night I presented a speech to the people of this country, and in that speech I described a dream I have for Aruba:
The streets, parking lots and rooftops are painted white which saves a great deal of energy, as compared to ones that are black. The cars are electric. The water purification plant and electric facilities include beautiful parks for children (as well as adults) who come to play and learn about the technologies involved – a sort of modern, practical version of Epcot. Aruba’s experts are traveling the world to help others solve the problems associated with declining water and fossil fuel resources – fuels that are also destroying our atmosphere.
This is a dream that can become reality quickly. It only requires a mindset from people who are already open-minded and receptive to innovative approaches to solving their problems. I take great hope in what I see in Aruba. I have witnessed similar innovative approaches to solving a variety of problems in many other smaller countries – Iceland, Ecuador, Panama, Romania, and Croatia, to name a few.
The big countries, like the United States, Russia, China, and the European Union nations have failed us. Their approach to global economics has resulted in disaster for most of the world. It is time for change! It is time to move from the Death to a Life Economy, as I’ve said so many times in my writings and speeches.
Aruba is an example of a country that is taking a leadership role down the path of the Life Economy. My hat is off to the people of Aruba.
Breaking Bad Habits: Cuba, Afghanistan, and Iran
Weekend workshop near Philadelphia: “Shapeshifting the Story” with John Perkins and Charles Eisenstein is coming soon! Details below.
Being in Guatemala now, a month ago in Peru, and looking at spending a good portion of 2015 traveling again – in Latin America and the Caribbean, then on to Europe and Asia (My Schedule) – and with all the recent tragedies involving terrorists, I’m focused once again on the US’s role in global economics and politics.
I’ve talked often in these pages about this era of change and revolution that we’ve entered. I see many examples of this, and lately one of the more important is in the evolution of our relationships with nations that have been our enemies or at least where we have interacted violently. Significantly, Cuba, Afghanistan, and Iran will view us differently in the future, though in what way depends on each step that we take now. President Obama pointed out that to continue with a policy that hasn’t worked for 50 years and expect it to work in the future is not the path of wisdom. I agree.
President Obama recently announced that our relationship with Cuba will finally change after half a century; exactly what “normal” will look like in the future is not yet determined, but if we want to create a peaceful, prosperous future we need to become good neighbors instead of acting like bullies. We need to empower other nations instead of threatening their autonomy and hurting their economies. Cuba has long been a nation at odds with us, but by opening our doors to its people we can help them move forward in peace. We can create an ally instead of maintaining an enemy.
Hopefully we will carry the lessons we’ve learned in Cuba to the other side of the Atlantic. Our policy in the Middle East reflects one that we tried in Vietnam to no avail. Why do we expect it to work in one place when it didn’t work in others? Have we learned nothing from our history and past actions?
Officially, the US military is preparing to withdraw from the campaign in Afghanistan that began October, 2001. But is that what is really happening? Questions are being raised on all sides. The thousands of US troops who are still on the ground there are nominally serving as support for the Afghan military as that military assumes more responsibility.
However, Washington continues to send in mercenaries known euphemistically as “private contractors.” And at the same time we oppose the UN decision to offer increasing legitimacy to Palestine. When will we learn that violence begets violence and solutions lie in helping desperate people improve their lives? As we wake up, we must encourage our leaders to wake up, also. The answers we give for these questions will help guide the whole world into the future; we must take responsibility for that.
Iran and the US have not been aligned diplomatically for three decades. In the wake of nuclear peace talks with Iranian officials, President Obama has said that re-opening the US embassy in Tehran is not on the agenda, but is also not impossible in the future. The suggestion, however vague, of renewed good relations with a nation in the Middle East is in line with the changing face of US foreign policy that I support – if it can be kept free from the corruption of the corporatocracy.
Being the world’s police has not won the US any affection among the nations we’ve invaded (“protected.”) The only people these foreign policies favor are those who are already powerful: the wealthy elite of the US and other nations, as well as giant multi-national corporations. Furthermore, it is one of the reasons that increasing numbers of nations are turning to China for technical and financial assistance instead of to the World Bank and its affiliates. It is time we recognized that we need to apply democratic principles to our own policies, rather than enforcing draconian military methods. Let’s take care of our own dysfunctions before daring to correct other nations.
Western colonialism and corporate greed over the years have contributed heavily to the turmoil in the Middle East and elsewhere. However, instead of acknowledging the facts, the West has a habit of using military and financial power to get its way. It is time for the US to break these habits and to lead other nations by example instead of by might. Through my travels around the world, I have seen the people waking up to this realization and taking power back into their hands, where it should have been all along.
Terrorism and violence in all forms are cancers that must be healed. It is important to recognize that our past and recent acts of retribution and attempted persuasion through military might have done the opposite of healing. Although it is tempting to feel discouraged as we enter 2015, there are many signs that We the People are determined to change. Let us focus on reducing tensions, stopping the tendency to respond with hatred and violence, and instead taking the positive actions of helping desperate people around this planet live better lives.
February 20-22, 2015: Shapeshifting the Story with Charles Eisenstein
Date: Friday-Sunday, Feb. 20-22, 2015
Topic: “Shapeshifting the Story”
Location: Pendle Hill – Philadelphia
Information and Tickets: http://www.johnperkins.org/dreamchange-workshop-with-charles-eisenstein/
Year in Review: Latin America in 2014
I just returned from a magical trip with a special group of people to amazing Peru. Our group experienced sacred sites and ceremonies with the Q’ero and other Quechua elders and shamans. Now I look forward to facilitating another group as we visit the sacred sites and great Mayan teachers of Guatemala beginning very soon, January 16 (to join visit: http://www.johnperkins.org/a-journey-to-the-lands-of-the-maya-guatemala/).
This year much of my time and energy has been spent in Latin America. I have talked about events in various countries and ways in which people are waking up. With the closing of the year, let’s look at some of these stories and see how they have developed.
Chevron and Big Oil
Big Oil (Chevron, Shell, BP, etc) have long been seen as an enemy of the Amazon, as purveyors of contamination, poverty, and disease. (Blog Post: “Big Oil, Romania, and the Amazon”.) Oil is a tool for bringing a country into economic submission, as I learned during my time as Chief Economist at a major international consulting firm (“economic hit man.”) Ecuador is not the only country to have issues with Big Oil; dependence on fossil fuels has led countries all over the world to economic disaster and civil unrest.
There has often been violence between the multinational companies and the indigenous people who have had their lives brutally impacted by the oil industry. Just in the last few weeks, a brave Ecuadorian Shuar leader, José Isidro Tendetza Antún, was found dead, tortured, and buried in suspicious circumstances mere days before he was scheduled to travel to Lima, Peru for climate talks. He had been a leader in the struggle to rein in mining and oil companies that threaten so much of his native Ecuador.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has sometimes been praised and sometimes castigated for his stance on the Amazon rainforest, most recently exploiting the natural resources of the region by signing permits for oil drilling in one of the most bio diverse regions on the planet. On the other hand, he has also made statements opposing Chevron in the nearly twenty year saga of Ecuadorian villagers against the oil giant over the clean-up of contaminated areas.
Though the Ecuadorian villagers have won against Chevron with the help of a legal team lead by Steven Donziger and Pablo Fajardo, the Big Oil company is refusing to keep its promise to abide by the judgment of Ecuador’s courts. In typical Corporatocracy fashion, Chevron is not under the regulation of a single government and therefore refuses to respect any. Its executives are threatening not only the lives of the indigenous people of the Amazon, but people all over the world, from Canada to Romania to Myanmar to India. Other governments in those regions continue to do business with Chevron, despite clear evidence that the environment and the people suffer greatly.
Monsanto and “Free-Trade”
Another multinational corporation that is threatening the health of the land and the people of Latin America and most of the rest of the world is Monsanto. (Blog Post: “A Latin American Awakening and Monsanto”.) In Latin American countries, free-trade agreements have paved the way for the Corporatocracy to gain control and have sent thousands of children across the border into the US in desperation.
Throughout history since the Industrial Revolution, the move to take agriculture away from small farmers and give the power and profits to big companies has resulted in poverty and destruction. Not only do these agreements render it impossible for small farmers to make a living from their seeds and produce, but they have also introduced incredibly dangerous chemicals and pesticides into once-pristine environments.
Earlier this year we saw some Latin American governments seek to stand firm for the interests of their people against major privatization of agriculture. The fight is far from over. Groups of citizens have organized to demand that their rights, interests, and cultural values be protected by their leaders and that the corporations abide by new standards and laws.
However, as powerful as these big corporations are, the people who are waking up are more powerful. There is much that we can learn from our southern neighbors in how to harness our power to make our leaders work for change. (Blog Post: “Lessons on Capitalism from an Unlikely Source”.)
One striking example of leaders listening to their people is the 20 x 20 Initiative: 8 Latin American nations joining forces to fight global warming. Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru are coming together for this agreement to protect forests and fertile land.
We can do our part to help and support this awakening by calling and emailing our leaders and elected officials and demanding that they work against free-trade agreements such as CAFTA-DR and the proposed TPP. We can vote with our dollars by buying local and small-farm-grown produce and products instead of shopping at big box stores and retailers. Our market power can be made even stronger by sending emails to the Big Business executives telling them we will boycott their companies until they too support local businesses and farmers and provide their employees with higher wages, health care, and retirement pensions. We can join or organize consumer movements to strengthen our messages.
Let’s make 2015 the year we focus our intentions and our dreams on changing the world for a better future through taking positive actions and by educating those around us.
• January 16-23, 2015: Journey to the Lands of the Maya: Guatemala
Limited space available for a few special people! http://www.johnperkins.org/a-journey-to-the-lands-of-the-maya-guatemala/
• January 24th – 31st, 2015: Annual Omega workshop in Costa Rica
Topic: “A Revolution in Consciousness Personal & Global Transformation”
Information and Tickets: http://www.eomega.org/visit-us/omega-costa-rica/schedule/week-4/
• February 4th-6th, 2015: Talks on global economy and shapeshifting
Location: University of Aruba
More information coming soon
• February 12-13, 2015: Peace Symposium, BAHAMAS TALK AND WORKSHOP
Topic: Yoga for Peace: Changing the World from the Inside Out
• February 20-22, 2015: Shapeshifting the Story with Charles Eisenstein
Topic: “Shapeshifting the Story”
Information and Tickets: http://dreamchange.org/upcoming-workshops/
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