How to Boil a Frog

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Free Goodie Release 12/14/08 - Solstice Edition

[NOTE: We'll now be posting the FrogLetters that we send out to those on our email list. If you'd like to receive these as they come out, sign up!]

Hi all,

For the heathens, anarchists and amphibians around our household, solstice time is one of joy, knowing that the rebirth of the sun is coming up, the days will lengthen, and the flies will return to the pond. But for the last couple of thousand years or so, we’ve also known that rebirths don’t come from dancing around a tree in your birthday suit – they come from the actions we take. The winter solstice of civilization isn’t something we can take for granted, and this week’s goodies are offered in that spirit.

Our mini-interview of the week is the third and final installment of Mat Stein, and it’s also a 3 parter, wherein Mat runs through his 12 Steps for creating a sustainable future. These 12 Steps are included in his book “When Technology Fails”, which is in our Essential Book section. But also keep an eye out for Mat’s upcoming book “Making Shift Happen”. A real solstice thinker! Check out the 3-part interviews at http://www.howtoboilafrog.com/#video!

Next up is our Essential Book o’ the Week, the classic “Fast Food Nation”. (Thanks to Friend o’ the Frog Herb Barbolet for reminding us about this one!) If you haven’t read it, it’s funny, informative, and shocking enough to get you to rethink those nuggets. See the used-book links at http://www.howtoboilafrog.com/#books!

We’ve got two related Essential Articles this time around. You may have noticed that global warming is back in the news a bit lately – remember that? Well, as the scientists in the US start to take off the muzzles they’ve been wearing for the last 8 years, new developments are starting to leak out, and the biggest one is probably this: the scientists are scared (that part isn’t new) and they’re starting to talk about it (that part is). All the warnings about “We have 10 years to do XYZ” were made more than 10 years ago. The deadlines are past. The money we were going to use for our techno-fixes evaporated with our 401k’s. And of course we’ve got other problems, like peak oil, acidifying oceans, imminent food and water shortages, proliferating “So You Think You Can…” TV shows, and so on.

So it's time to give up our fantasies about how it isn’t serious or it’ll go away by itself, and look at our real options. How do we personally plan to deal with the future we're actually going to have? Will your job still be there in this new and different world? Where will your food come from? How will your chosen community change? Will you need to move, or will others be moving to where you are? And most importantly: what can you do to be of service, now, to make sure that the future is as good as we can still make it for those who are already here, and the babies who are coming later?

Start reading with “Too late? Why scientists say we should expect the worst” by David Adam, then move on to…

“Beyond the Point of No Return” – by How to Boil a Frog patron saint Ross Gelbspan.

Both are in our Articles section at http://www.howtoboilafrog.com/#articles.

And for a visual to go with that, check out who’s putting out the most CO2 in our new Essential Visual, the Carbon Atlas, at http://www.howtoboilafrog.com/#visuals.

After that, of course you’ll need some laughs, so our Essential Movie o’ the Week is “War, Inc.”, now out on DVD. In essence this is John Cusack’s satirical version of Naomi Klein’s "The Shock Doctrine", romping through the ways that the US maintains GDP growth by blowing up other countries, and then re-building them. It even mentions how the companies involved in re-building, er, Turiqistan, have vertically integrated into providing long-term medical care for the soldiers who lose limbs defending the bottom line! Er, freedom! Check it out at http://www.howtoboilafrog.com/#movies.

Our Essential Funny Web Short focuses on a tragic psychological malady now afflicting people world-wide – it’s “Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are”, courtesy of The Onion. Click your way to a cure at http://www.howtoboilafrog.com/#webshorts.

Your psyche revitalized, it’s now time to move on to solutions, and – surprise! – the solutions aren’t big, long-term, expensive and risky projects like shooting soot into the troposphere, building thousands of nuclear power plants, or paying Zaphod Beeblebrox to tow us slightly farther from the sun. The real solutions are local. (Which doesn’t mean they can’t be sexy – trying growing a veggie garden in the nude!) For an inspiring example of a group that’s getting it together at the local level, and making friends while they do it, check out our Essential Link, “City Repair”, at http://www.howtoboilafrog.com/#links.

And don’t forget the HTBAF Action o’ the Week: Write to the leaders of your respective country and urge them to re-focus whatever infrastructure project they’re planning away from roads and towards the building of urban agriculture. We could be growing food in every lawn, park and rooftop in our cities, eating fresh food, cutting oil use and global warming - what's not to love? Thanks to FOF Dianne Lafontaine for the idea!

See you in 2009!

Jon & all his friends at http://www.howtoboilafrog.com/

PS: HTBAF won the People's Choice Award in Friends of the Earth 1 Minute Film Contest – check out our awesomeness at http://www.foe.co.uk/oneminute/awards_and_prizes.html!



















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