word cloud created at wordie.com

My word cloud created at http://www.wordle.net

Yesterday Stephanie Condon posted her thoughts on the political blog, CBS News Political Hotsheet comparing the words in President Obama’s speech on national security which focused on the closing of the Guantanamo prison with those of Dick Cheney’s speech on the same day. In a picture there are a thousand words. That is literally true in the word clouds created from each speech.

It is not difficult to tell I am fond of word clouds. (see previous post) So I went to http://www.wordle.net and had a go at it myself. I have been writing a business plan recently and after going on and on for 15 pages, I wonder if my word cloud may not say it better?


Sufficient: of a quantity that can fulfill a need or requirement but without being abundant; “sufficient food“. [WordNet – Princeton University]

AS I EXPLORE the concept of sustainability I find myself wondering what does it mean to live within sufficient means? Sufficiency is an elusive concept. We talk a great deal about moving towards carbon neutrality, of setting cap and trade emission standards, and reducing the ecological footprint of industries, but these concepts demand very complex calculations of human behavior and our use of natural resources and energy consumption. It requires a sophisticated understanding  to even guess at what is sufficient to fulfill everyone’s basic needs.

Sufficiency requires determining what constitutes a fair share. When I answer the questions put to me on the carbon footprint calculators that pepper the Internet, it is clear that just by living in the Untied States, I consume more than my fair share. In other words, there is no way that the world’s population can live as I do. To be fair, or to share the resources of the planet equitably, we need to clarify the idea of what is sufficient.

I am committed to reduce, reuse and recycle but the global solutions we seek must go further. It means Americans will have to go way beyond what is comfortable and easy and learn to accept a much deeper cut into our idea of sufficient. As painful as the current global crisis is now to so many, it is bound to get even more difficult. This is a balancing act, and part of the healing necessary to shed the excessive consumption in our way of living. It is the price we pay for a more equitable world.

In thinking about the move toward sufficiency I share the ideas of two courageous women who help me appreciate the challenges that lay ahead and accept the bold changes necessary to weather these trying times.

THE STORY OF STUFF with Annie Leonard
Sponsored by Tides Foundation & Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production and Consumption

PAYBACK: Debt the Shadow Side of Wealth, by Margaret Atwood

The Chalice and the BladeI drove to across town to the far side of San Francisco recently for the opportunity to speak with one of the most exciting activists writing today.

In a crowded bookstore tucked away in Building C at Fort Mason I met Dr. Riane Eisler, a scholar, author, activist and founder of the Center for Partnership Studies (CPS). On this evening, I joined several dozen other people interested in CPS, who had gathered to learn more about partnership and other objectives of this visionary organization.

Riane Eisler is the author of the international bestseller, The Chalice and The Blade. In this ground-breaking book she describes a way of life based on equality, nonviolence, and harmony with nature. The Partnership Way is explored in each of her books with revolutionary ideas making their way into art, politics, business, personal relationships, education and public policy. Most recently in, The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics she charts a new course for economics and social policy that seeks to correct the flawed systems that misallocate our human and natural resources.

For two decades Dr Eisler’s research has explored the most fundamental questions about human society and our true nature as caring human beings. Why are we so violent? Has it always been this way? What perpetuates the pain and violence we see even in our most intimate relations? How can this be stopped? How can we avoid the mass extinction that is made ever more possible and perhaps inevitable with today’s advanced technology?

She admits her quest for cultural transformation is deeply rooted in her experience as a small child. Riane Eisler fled Europe with her family in 1938 on Crystal Night, the date terrorism exploded across Germany ushering in a madness that gripped the world. Nearly losing her life to Nazi violence has driven her to a passionate search for the answers that her caring heart knew existed. She had to discover the antidote to the holocaust.

Find out how you can join the partnership movement and create a new future on this planet that celebrates pleasure instead of pain, equality and creativity instead of domination and oppression. Help ensure the stories our children tell their children will be different. Read. Act. Donate.

Don’t you want to be one? I do. What if someone like me with no political party involvement (in recent decades at least) could be invited to be a super delegate? I really want to be invited to a party, any party with adults, actually, will do. It doesn’t have to be a political party. I want to attend a party where I can have my way. Or have my say. Perhaps that is the same thing. A party with other super delegates. That is the best part. A big orgy of super people. Saying and doing and voting. It’d be just super. Whirling around Denver on a mountain high of some sort. Healing the Democratic party. Having our way, paving the way to November. Dancing and singing, knowing we are going to make a better (super) future for America.

How crazy is that? No more dancing in the streets, unless you are talking about rioting in the streets. This Hillary-Obama story is sometimes just too sad for me. The tragedy of a contest of “others” both worthy, both necessary, both some how flawed in great and small ways but one is destined to carry the day.

When I am a super delegate, I will stir these two up into a partnership model. Neither one without the other. A new legacy of Democratic leadership; one of inclusion. Of looking at our desire for the federal government to be recast in a new image. Expanding the democracy of the founding fathers beyond their dreams, where mothers and non-whites belong.

A cripled citizenry needs attention. We must reduce the numbers who are hungry in order to gain their attention. Educate and feed a nation to ensure a democracy

There is so much to do. We all have to be super people to even hope at making a dent. We best get cracking. Obama, Hillary, speak to the citizens, the women, the mothers, the ones who care for a living, say how you will listen, say how you will hear and raise the priorities of the nurturers. End the war, and govern by leadership or govern by crisis, either way we have to preserve the planet.