Why Build a Better World?

RePosted from JohnBrianShannon.com
by John Brian Shannon

Imagine for a moment the unforeseen has occurred, and lying in the middle of the road is your body covered by a white sheet.

Yes, you got hit by a bus only minutes ago. And now, body-less for the first time in your existence, your spirit is hearing the words of the ‘keepers of spirits’ as you watch the paramedics put your body into the Ambulance.

They tell you that you’ll sleep for 20-years and then be awoken in time to be born in the normal manner, but to a different set of parents, exactly 20-years from today. Happy Birth Day!

Oh, and, this part is important. You won’t have any of your present memories, you may be born anywhere in the world, you may be a different ethnicity or gender, you may be born within any socio-economic group — and your parent or parents might be the poorest on that particular continent or the richest, or anywhere in between. All these variables and more will be matters of chance.

For now, let’s assume that the above paradigm is true.

But what if you died and came back tomorrow?

‘Well’ you say, ‘It depends where I was born, and how highly my parents rank in that country.’

If you came back tomorrow; There’s only a 1 percent chance that you’d be a brand new member of the 1 percent. Did you know that the 1 percent manage to exist on more than $1179. per day, per person? How do they manage it?

Some 29 percent of the people alive today live between $10. and $1178. per day, per person.

And there’s a 71 percent chance that you’d be born into a family that lives on less than $10. per day, per person. That’s our world in 2016.

Know your annual income?
Find out which percent group you belong to on this interactive CNN chart

You found your goat! Image courtesy of Mongolia on Pinterest.

You found your goat! Image courtesy of Mongolia on Pinterest.

Today, you’re more likely to be born into poverty, maybe living on the desolate Mongolian steppes.

Hey! In your previous life you always liked goats and always wanted to pet one. Now you can be a goat-herder for the next 64 years! Which is the average life expectancy of Mongolian males who live in yurts (tents) on the edge of the Gobi Desert.

Or be reborn as one of the Roma, the poverty-stricken people who roam Europe in sight of sumptuous luxury every day, but never able to experience it.

Or maybe you’re born into a Muslim family trapped in present-day Syria. Better start studying that Koran as soon as you learn to read, I hear they don’t tolerate slackers there.

On the bright side, you have a 29 percent chance of being born into a family that exists on anything between $10. per day, per person and $1178. per day, per person. You rock!

Just remember that you won’t get to choose any of this, nor prepare for it in advance. It’ll be completely random. Nor will you have any memories of your previous life.

What if you came back 20-years from today?

One wonders what kind of world will exist 20-years from now. Hopefully, you’ll be one of the people who used your time wisely in this decade to help create a better future for all humanity — not only for yourself and your immediate family — but for people who are being born on every continent, at every economic strata.

If you knew today that you were going to be reborn in 20-years with a family and country chosen for you at random, what would you do today to help create a better future for all humanity?

In 2016, 7.4 billion people live on this planet and 1 percent of the world’s population own more than 50 percent of the world’s total wealth.

But in 2035, 8.8 billion people will live on this planet; And if present trends continue, the 1 percent will own more than 80 percent of the world’s total wealth.

Leaving only 20 percent of the world’s total wealth to be distributed between the remaining 8.7 billion in 2035.

If you expect to be alive in 2035, let’s hope you’ve used your time wisely in this decade to help create a better future for all humanity.

Share of the world's total wealth for the Top 1 percent and the Bottom 99 percent. Image courtesy of OXFAM.

Share of the world’s total wealth for the Top 1 percent and the Bottom 99 percent. Image courtesy of OXFAM.

Europe: The EU’s Immigration Conundrum

Reposted from JohnBrianShannon.com

by John Brian Shannon

Recent reports about immigration in Europe suggest a real macroeconomic benefit to welcoming millions of refugees and economic migrants into the country

And that’s true. Even poverty-stricken refugees consume goods and services.

If we look at the German example; One million Middle Eastern refugees have been accepted into Germany since 2010 and all of them eat food, pay rent, pay electricity bills, take the bus, buy clothing, go to movies — and in many other ways add revenue to the economy.

If each of those million refugees spend 10 euros per day (equal to their daily food spending) that’s 10 million euros per day. Totalled, their monthly food spend equals 300 million euros in Germany alone.

If we extrapolate the German example further, we see that almost everything in Germany has a sales tax attached to it, and for those that have become employed, they’re paying income tax on their earnings.

Therefore, Germany is earning nearly 1 billion euros per day from their 1 million refugees

Of course, there are the high costs of accepting refugees and some may remain on social welfare programmes for as long as 2 years. German taxpayers pay for that. But after the 2-year mark, it’s all good.

No wonder Chancellor Merkel looks at immigration with such optimism. From an economic standpoint Merkel is 100% right; It really is the best thing for Germany. A brilliant but domestically unpopular policy by one of the greatest Chancellors in German history.

And let’s also recognize that this latest wave of immigrants is additional to the existing German immigrant pool — the first wave of which began in the 1970’s, and that generation are now a cohort of decent, hardworking, and family-oriented people. A benefit to the German economy almost every day since they arrived.

It’s not all Apple strudel and yodeling in Germany, however

Crime is much higher due to those massive levels of immigration. In Germany, girls can’t even attend a women’s music festival without a high probability of being molested by immigrant men. And the same holds true throughout Europe, especially in Sweden (of all places) and in Greece.

So what’s the point? Gain more in taxes so that women must hide in their homes?

That’s a bad deal for half the population, the female half.

Thus far, the lack of leadership on what is expected of new arrivals to Europe is astonishing and breathtaking all at once.

Refugees and economic immigrants from Day 1 of their arrival in Europe, should’ve been handed water bottles and pamphlets (written in their language) describing the rules of European culture, the rights of the person in EU society, the culture of respect for law and order — and not a gloss-over job but a poignant list of laws and societal norms that must be adhered to while travelling or living in Europe.

And printed in bold letters front and back of the pamphlets:

“It’s not your *right* to emigrate to our countries, it’s a *privilege* therefore consider yourselves guests while in our countries.”

Would you allow a guest to your home to wear muddy boots and to walk all over your expensive carpets and furniture? Obviously not.

Then neither should you allow your guests to molest your girls, rob subway passengers, and engage in rioting and looting.

Nor should we allow immigrants (or anyone) to defile EU culture — culture being the mass of our thoughts, brought into the light.

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” — Mahatma Gandhi

It’s a very human thing to help people experiencing hardship and fleeing from countries due to conflict or famine there. The fact that we still do this (although not as well as in prior decades) gives hope for humanity.

But it’s been bungled up til now in the EU and it needs to be fixed. ASAP.

Finally, refugees should be given a temporary landed immigrant card (a photo ID) that allows them to stay in the EU for up to 4 years

After that; ‘It’s time to go back home and rebuild your country, with the skills, money and experiences you’ve acquired during your time in the West.’

European countries should now, even at this late stage, attempt to:

1) Educate refugees/economic migrants about European legal and cultural standards, from Day 1 of their arrival.
2) Continue to provide the normal social benefit for each adult, until they find a job.
3) Continue to provide safe housing until reasonable accommodation can be found.
4) Continue to monitor those people to make sure they are finding services, housing, jobs, and are not being targeted by Middle Eastern ‘mafia’ types within their own community.
5) Provide a free airline ticket at the 4-year mark to allow them to return to their home country. If they don’t want to return to Syria (for example) they could exchange their ticket for another of similar value (to Cairo, for example)
6) By accepting and paying for the living expenses of refugees and economic migrants (where they don’t have their own funds) for four years, and by educating them to Western norms, and by helping them to find safe shelter and jobs, etc. it’s truly a privilege for those people to be in Europe, and they should conduct themselves accordingly.
7) If not, they should be deported as soon as they are convicted of any crime (and obviously, their 4-year pass cancelled)

Every day, we teach others how to treat us

If we teach others that it’s acceptable to walk into our homes wearing their muddy boots and to walk all over the carpets and furniture, we deserve everything that we get from those people.

If we (gently) teach them about the rules of our house and provide the support they need, we are teaching them that we’re their benefactors and that we’re people to be respected.

Thus far, we’ve been teaching the refugees the wrong things, and they’ve responded in kind. (Input = Output)

It’s a failure of vision and it’s a failure of leadership. And the experiment with mass immigration flows from the Middle East will end in the failure of some EU member nations.

We’ve already seen blowback from this mishandled affair via the Swiss voting in a 2014 referendum to leave the EU, and Brexit in 2016, with surely more exits to follow.

It’s a problem that won’t go away until EU leaders address the fundamental problems of mass migration, problems which (in the absence of proper guidance) begin on Day 1 of a refugee’s arrival.

Related Articles:

Bonus Graphic: A Snapshot of the European Migrant Crisis in 2015

Europe immigration crisis
Reports suggest there are many macroeconomic benefits to welcoming millions of refugees to the EU. It’s not all Apple strudel and yodeling, however.

Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa)Own work, using data and information from these web sites: Eurostat dataset migr_asyappctzm (direct download) Eurostat dataset tps00001 (direct download) FRONTEX Migratory Routes Map This base map by alexrk  | CC BY-SA 2.0

Study: Last Gasoline Car to Sell by 2035

The Last Gasoline Car Will Be Sold in 2035 – Replaced by Electric Vehicles in Order to Meet Climate Goals

A new study says the last gasoline powered car will be sold in 2035. However, gasoline cars will remain in service perhaps until the year 2100.

Last gasoline car to be sold by 2035, will be replaced by Electric Vehicles. Mercedes Benz Electric concept car, the Der F 015 Luxury in Motion auf dem Ars Electronica Festival in Linz F 015 Luxury in Motion at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Germany. File photo. Image courtesy of Mercedes Benz.
Last gasoline car to be sold by 2035 — to be replaced by Electric Vehicles. Mercedes Benz Electric concept car, the Der F 015 Luxury in Motion on display at the Electronica Festival in Linz, Germany. Image courtesy of Mercedes Benz.

Excerpt: Transportation is responsible for 26 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emission and a new study has found that in order to reach global warming goals – set by world leaders last year – the last gasoline car would have to be sold by 2035… Continue reading Study: Last Gasoline Car to Sell by 2035

Renewable Energy covers 100% of new demand in China

China covered all its new energy demand with renewable energy in 2015 – and there was still plenty left to spare

China is drawing evermore power from renewable energy. Greenpeace says the country's growth in wind and solar energy exceeded new electricity demand. Ningxia Wind Farm in northern China
China is drawing evermore power from renewable energy. Greenpeace says the country’s growth in wind and solar energy exceeded new electricity demand. Ningxia Wind Farm in northern China. Image credit Lang Rover Our Planet / Flickr

China installed half of the world’s new solar and wind capacity last year.

But the Chinese aren’t just beefing up their renewable capacity, they’re also cutting down on coal. The new clean energy power plants along with a shift away from heavy industry, mean that coal use in China has dropped over the last three years… Continue reading Renewable Energy covers 100% of new demand in China

Gongyuyan China: Villages reap benefits of ecological planning

Gongyuyan China – Villages reap benefits of ecological planning

Gongyuyan China The Gongyuyan scenic spot offers spectacular views including a stone forest and the Shenlong waterfall in Tianshi township, Xianju county.
Gongyuyan China. The Gongyuyan scenic spot offers spectacular views including a stone forest and the Shenlong waterfall in Tianshi township, Xianju county. Image courtesy of China Daily

“The government of Xianju, Zhejiang province, recognizes environmental protection requires more than pure policy-it’s also a battle for hearts and minds.

That said, none of these are mutually exclusive. Rather, the county has demonstrated they are symbiotic.

Upon realizing the underdeveloped county’s progress depends on ecotourism and organic farming, authorities set out to build consensus that green is the way to go.

“There were debates about why we should seek green development-and how,” says Xianju’s policy research department director Zhu Huwei.

“Now, people from the bottom to the top agree on this path. Our goals, strategies and practices are all based on this concept. People have already started to see the financial benefits.

“People used to believe economic development and ecological protection were inherently at odds. But they don’t need to be.”

The county’s GDP has grown rapidly over the past years, during which time tourism has doubled.

“Many other places developed fast but had to turn around later to deal with pollution,” Zhu says.

“We’ve been figuring out how to use our ecological advantages to develop rapidly over the past decade.”

This has led to the rise of a grassroots “ecological culture”, he says. Volunteer groups clear trash in rivers, valleys and mountains.

Zhejiang province recently designated the county as a pilot zone for the standardization of green practices because of its track record.

“We’re setting standards-what’s a green school, what’s a green hospital, what’s a green office,” Xianju’s Party chief Lin Hong explains.

“Sustainable development goes beyond government and business operations to include residents’ daily lives. For instance, do people shop with plastic or cloth bags?”

Lin also advocates the reduction of food waste and donations of secondhand items.

The government has introduced a “1-3-5” recommendation in which, one day a week, people walk to work if their jobs are closer than 3 kilometers and bike if they’re within 5 km.

Zhu says he rides rather than drives.

Public institutions and private enterprises are encouraged to agree to a “green convention” about behaviors they voluntarily assume.

Offices are encouraged to go paperless and print on both sides if physical copies are necessary. Workers are expected to turn off the lights and airconditioning when they, say, leave for lunch.

A system similar to the green convention offers guidelines for ordinary people.

Danzhu township has issued 10 suggestions for residents, including sorting trash, repurposing old items and refraining from littering.

“There isn’t a tradition of sorting garbage in villages,” publicity officer Zheng Yi says.

“We want to change mentalities.”

Teams inspect homes to see if they’re in compliance. Those who are receive small gifts, such as towels, detergent and thermoses. Households who separate kitchen waste and recyclable items earn 1 yuan (15 cents) a day after 30 days.

But it is more of an ethical than a material concern, Zheng explains. “If people’s morality is enriched, they’re more likely to engage in green behavior,” he says.

Villages also form women’s and Party volunteer teams to promote green behaviors.

A peculiar park in Xiachenzhu village bears testimony to the ethos. Four walls constructed with materials recycled from collapsed farmhouses stand in a field previously occupied by tombs, pigpens and a manure pit.

“We let the weeds grow so villagers appreciate nature,” Zheng says.

But while there are no punishments for violating the guidelines, Xianju has also introduced punishable environmental ordinances.

Villagers organize patrols of up to five people to monitor behaviors along waterways and in forests.

Fines ranging from 500 to 10,000 yuan are issued for illegal fishing, dumping trash, camping and fires along Xiachenzhu’s Weiqiang River, for instance.

It’s a question of guidelines versus red lines. “It’s a gradual process,” Lin explains.

“Interestingly, villagers have done a better job than urban residents. Although people in the city typically have more education … Supervision isn’t enough. We need to do more.” —  Xianju sets an example for clean growth — by ERIK NILSSON (China Daily)

When President Xi Jinping was serving in Zhejiang province 11 years ago, he said: “Lucid water and lush mountains are invaluable assets.” He was suggesting that a green environment would help people become wealthy. That statement has been turning into a reality in recent years in Xianju county, in southeast Zhejiang, as the county’s efforts… Continue reading Gongyuyan China: Villages reap benefits of ecological planning