Part fifteen of the multi-part BLUEprint Series: How the Ocean Will Save Civilization

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Why does any central bank enable investment that is proven so destructive to the inherent value of Nature, every nation’s most precious asset?

Central banks play a key role in all finance policies and transactions in an integrated world economy. They stand apart from private capitalism and serve as stimulus and control for the implementation of policy and legislation nationally, thus internationally, in shifting forces of finance. In the United States, the Federal Reserve System was created in 1935 to “perform five general functions to promote the effective operation of the national economy, and, more generally, the public interest.”

In concept, the Federal Reserve is independent, although its managers are appointed by the Executive and confirmed by Congress. It has twelve regional Reserve Banks that are quasi-independent with local oversight aware of and sensitive to particular financial conditions and needs. It is not financed by legislative appropriation, but by interest on securities it acquires through open market operations and by depository functions such as check clearing, funds transfers, and automated clearing house operations that cover costs and thereafter transferred as surplus to the U.S. Treasury. The amounts are staggering. In 2015, net earnings paid by the system into the national treasury surpassed $97.8 billion, augmented by another $19.3 billion specifically to fund the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act,” one assumes to repair and build new the deteriorating transportation infrastructure. …


Part One of the multi-part BLUEprint Series: How the Ocean Will Save Civilization

The multi-part BLUEprint series will serve to outline a new and sustainable way forward for civilization, with the ocean leading the way. Learn more at worldoceanobservatory.org/world-ocean-radio

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Refugees seeking escape from injustice, tyranny, and life-threatening circumstance look to the ocean as a means toward security and peace. We see it throughout history; political upset or religious bias or natural disaster or pandemic, from which we all seek refuge and solace, physically and spiritually, frequently across the ocean.

The great oceanic reserve that covers 71% of Earth is by nature a diverse place where myriad species coexist in circles and cycles of nurturing and predation. On the surface, some days, the ocean may seem benign, and even on its days of tumult and upheaval, there remains a sense that out there, down there, things operate on principles of synergy and symbiosis different from that on land. There is an order to things, up and down the water column, in and about, feeding, spawning, and survival, that might appear a tranquil, however transitory, state of being when compared to the cruelty and chaos alongshore. Afraid, hopeful, we climb into our boats, with few possessions beyond our hopes and dreams, and risk passage toward opportunity, toward security, toward peace that eludes us. …


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Part fourteen of the multi-part BLUEprint Series: How the Ocean Will Save Civilization

What if we begin to understand progress as a circle instead of a line, expanding outward, growing but including everything and everyone within?

If we are to move toward transformational change, and if we have determined that the conventional institutions have failed us, then we must close our minds to the past ways and open our eyes to new ones. How can we imagine a new economy that works, measured differently by increased quality of living, equitable distribution, social and political return, security and justice?

We must learn to live better with less. Growth for growth’s sake, measured by gross domestic product, increasing consumption, and short-term investment return is no longer tenable. It certainly did not serve us during the pandemic crisis. Return to the old way of doing business is delusion. We visualize our economy as linear, lines on a graph, and the fluctuations demonstrate volatility over time of corporate and investor speculation based on profits accounted for by self-affirming return. We question only the results, never the premises, and if our strategies and hunches fail us, we turn to banks or central government to perpetuate the system through debt, inflation, bail-outs and forgiveness, and other financial tricks that excuse and redeem and sustain the false premises. What goes up might come down; what goes down will always go up; and our entire economic well-being is balanced on that tight linear that will never break. …


Part thirteen of the multi-part BLUEprint Series: How the Ocean Will Save Civilization

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How will we structure a new economy, financial investment returns and market fluctuations to a circular connection that distributes, sustains, and guarantees goods and services beyond speculation into the future?

Problems demand solutions which, in turn, demand recognition of the challenge to hand, a serious determination to seek a serious response, and courage to explore alternatives, inventions, and change. …


Part twelve of the multi-part BLUEprint Series: How the Ocean Will Save Civilization

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As we embark on our collective quest for survival and the future, we must embrace science and technology as essential tools for defining the problems, measuring their extent, imagining multiple possibilities for solution, explaining, making, and sharing these innovations and alternatives, and providing a new navigation by which to locate ourselves precisely and safely in a vastness so real and emblematic as the ocean.

If anything is certain, it has been the astonishing role that technological progress has played in the advancement of civilization worldwide. Invention has completely reshaped our world through science, the collection and application of data, the transformative capacity of computers, the acceleration of global communications, the integration of the world economy, and the invention of efficiencies and alternatives and utilities at scale that have raised the overall standard of living and quality of life for everyone on earth. Not everyone has benefited equally, to be also certain, but as population and expectation has increased exponentially over time, technology has more often than not met the challenge through the application of human energy and imagination for the benefit of all mankind. …


Part eleven of the multi-part BLUEprint Series: How the Ocean Will Save Civilization

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It is easy to call for transformative change — certainly in the abstract, with more difficulty personally within, and even more challenging to find and persuade others to join in what is by definition a fundamental risk with no assurance ahead. Many of us fixate on a single point of action, in my case it’s the ocean — a place of exchange of goods, people, and ideas, and a system for decisions and actions based on values of sustainability and equal benefit for all.

That personal realization has involved the examination of every aspect of my identity — my spiritual beliefs, my work, my sense of family, community, and service. And that is difficult enough. And when you add external matters of race, gender, class, sexuality, education, and other differentials of privilege, the challenge explodes exponentially into a full-scale self-examination of my place in the world, my responsibility and accountability beyond myself to family, friends, neighbors, and strangers. And that seems almost insurmountable. …


Part ten of the multi-part BLUEprint Series: How the Ocean Will Save Civilization

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Five steps forward that will affirm equity and justice as part of a new paradigm for a sustainable future.

What is normal when conventional behaviors have failed us? What becomes the normative foundation for equity as defined and affirmed in terms that demand necessary change? We understand that the conditions we now endure are not what will sustain us, short-term or into the future, and we are confronted with the obligation to construct a new platform based on new premises and new aspirations. …


Part nine of the multi-part BLUEprint Series: How the Ocean Will Save Civilization

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Myriad organizations, environmental groups and fervent individuals are advocating for the ocean by promoting the science and implications of climate change, launching initiatives, recommending policies, lobbying, advancing research based on the best science, and reaching out via podcast, blog, and social media platforms to amplify a message and agenda for reaction and change worldwide. Is anyone listening amidst all the noise?

Organizations, publications, environmental groups, and fervent individuals constitute a chorus of voices advocating for the ocean, amplifying a message and agenda for reaction and change worldwide. The United Nations has offered a catalogue of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); the international policy apparat and World Bank have joined in with substantive suggestions and targeted finance; a growing coalition of organizations and determined individuals are performing a cacophony of communication and exhortation for specific agendas, certain actions, and transformational change. Millions of dollars have been raised and spent. To what avail? …


Part eight of the multi-part BLUEprint Series: How the Ocean Will Save Civilization

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When we talk of equity and the ocean, we are talking about fairness, inclusion, and justice, a moral affirmation of what is true, right, and applicable for all. We have debated these ideas for a very long time; indeed, we have fought physical and ideological wars over such questions, to prove one view right, one view wrong, without middle ground. That terrain is left strewn with loss and sadness.

Can there be such a thing as justice for the ocean, as a place that serves all of us? The land is crossed with dividing lines, defining spheres of influence, nations, states and other sub-sets within. To mitigate and mediate the inherent conflict, we have amassed legal traditions and codes of behavior with best intent and sometime success. But the basic structure is one of division and separation. The idea of a commons, once a means by which to share equitably a natural resource amongst herdsmen and farmers, became a familiar tragedy by which equity was lost frequently to unfair appropriation by one over another. From this process has emerged a regress of injustice and inequity to a degree that, today, has paralyzed society in patterns of conflict, dislocation, and injustice that underlies the political and social conditions of today. …


Part seven of the multi-part BLUEprint Series: How the Ocean Will Save Civilization

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The biggest inequity is not that we deprive others of our generation of fair and just distribution of wealth and health today, but that we ignore the obvious damage to our children, a conscious legacy of denial of the best of our knowledge and experience to those who follow, an equitable, negative inheritance for millions of others tomorrow.

We tend to view the world horizontally, a wide spectrum, surround-sound panorama of life in which we participate as actor, director, producer, and audience. But there is also a secondary perspective — vertical — that looks up and out to our personal aspirations and down and in to our thoughts and fears. And finally, there is a third perspective, in time, through which we look backward into our history and forward into our future, by application of inquiry and imagination. …

About

World Ocean Observatory

Dedicated to sharing information about ocean issues: climate to trade, culture to governance. The sea connects all things. Online at WorldOceanObservatory.org.

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