socialize the healing. /LET THEM EAT BITCOIN.
By Severine v. T. Fleming, Greenhorns Director
Labor, youth, curiosity, sweat.
In a society obsessed with mechanisms and scalability, are we forgeting the critical agency of our incoming generation to drive forward the needed solutions?
As these trillions pour out.. it is our once-in-a-lifetime chance to pay forward the cash of an extractive era. To make reparations, to those who would inherit a living earth. Pay us to restore the land. What I loved so much about the NOFA report is that it spoke about motivations, preferences, knowledge transmissions.
It talked about the humans doing the work.
A growing of skill and foresight. Learning from our elders.
It is not a solution if it doesn’t involve, and value WORK. We are a big-brained, clever ecosystem managers. We need to manage ecosystems, not just datasets, memes, protests and representational art-works. We risk becoming the bibliographers of our own extinction. The evolutionary momentum of the human species gives us the right to participate in our own survival, just like every other animal. And participating doesn’t mean only VOTING, doesn’t mean only SHOPPING, doesn’t mean OPINIONS. Participating means interacting with land. It means access to land. It means access to the work of healing our earth. It means safety in that work. It means food .
What work exactly? The work of planting back hedgerows, urban forests, riparian strips, roadside vegetative buffers, prairie strips, cover crops. The work of re-claiming a functioning agro-ecosystem. The work of protecting school-yards from dust. The work of preparing for and cleaning up from fire. The work of mulching !! This is work in our working lands, it is hand-work, it is hard work, and it is work that we all need done.
It is not a solution if it doesn’t involve, and value WORK.
It is not a solution if it exploits those whose bodies our whole society needs most for the work they can do.
It is not a solution unless the plan includes paying a fair wage.
Unless it includes training and teaching
Unless it includes a logic of reparation, restoration.
And that logic is the best hope for our belief in this social democracy. The logic that is kind towards the future, that logic can bind us together so that we can hold on.
The logic of environmental justice, the logic of water-infiltration, the logic of diversity. The logic of tending. The logic of accumulating leaf litter buzzed over by intact insect ecologies.
In policy circles there is a focus on mechanisms, agronomy, the soil/ carbon outcomes. The monetary incentives, the payments to landowners, the voting or non-voting USDA designated ‘owners’. Owners of a conquest that made a dustbowl. Owners of a carving out. We are all owners, none of us are owners.
We are in debt to a dying planet.
Unless we create an active, welcoming, facilitated social and economic path for young people into the work of land-healing, organic farming, cattle-moving, tree-plating, swale-building, pasture-seeding. We are all doomed. In Africa, in South America, in North America, everywhere. Land is a gift.
Everywhere you look the land is cold, wet, churned, crushed. Everywhere you look the land is desiccated, blowing, gullied and slack. Everywhere you look the land cannot meet the expectations of humanity no matter what chemistry, no matter what artificial intelligence. Only life can make life.
In Taiwan this year 5% of the land is laid fallow to prioritize the use of irrigation water for making micro-chips. For export to the world. In country after country the best land is used to grow crops for export. To remove rainforests for soybeans. To remove kelp forests for cattle feed. To remove prairie grasses for corn. To export, to over-produce, to waste, to poison.
I challenge us all, and myself included, to type less and plant more. Lest we become ‘elite bibliographers’ click clacking away on our computers, sucking our commodities through the global supply chain, sucking up any possibility for another world by consecrating the commercial fakery with life-force.
We are the living earth. The living earth deserves our life force.
The young people are angry for a reason.
Sharing is the only way.
Socialize the healing.
Revive the CCC, make college free.
Healthcare, housing, good fair wage
You’ll see, plenty of us will show up to help.
We want to help. We want to work.
Socialize the healing.
Protect us, give us a place to act out our hope
Give us a way to participate in our own survival.
Socialize the healing.
I send this white paper to find out which other organizations would like to roll up their sleeves and contribute to the thinking and strategic planning for how and where and in what order such work could be achieved:
CIVILIAN CLIMATE (LAND) CORPS
CONTEXT & VISION
On January 27, 2021 President Biden signed the Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which included a directive (Sec 215) for the Secretary of the Interior, in collaboration with the Secretary of Agriculture and the heads of other relevant agencies, to develop a strategy for creating a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative. The Initiative would “mobilize the next generation of conservation and resilience workers and maximize the creation of accessible training opportunities and good jobs,” and “conserve and restore public lands and waters, bolster community resilience, increase reforestation, increase carbon sequestration in the agricultural sector, protect biodiversity, improve access to recreation, and address the changing climate.”
As described above, this initiative would strategically address multiple needs of the American people. However, we believe that this moment — as we aim to “build back better” from the devastating effects of the pandemic — provides an opportunity to be even bolder. We propose that the Biden Administration expand its vision from a Civilian Climate Corps to a Civilian Land Corps, in order to simultaneously address a number of the President’s top priorities, including:
- tackling the climate crisis and other environmental challenges;
- - providing economic and educational opportunities to young people (including free college tuition and/or debt relief);
- - revitalizing rural economies;
- reducing unemployment and incentivizing higher wages (by reducing the number of young people competing in the jobs market); transforming the American agricultural system towards regeneration, sustainability, resilience, and justice; increasing the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans; and, critically, building social cohesion across America’s rural-urban cultural divide and fostering a sense of shared civic engagement.
- All eligible, interested 18–25 year olds would be enrolled in a year of national community and environmental service, for which they would receive a salary/stipend; vocational training and environmental education; free healthcare; and free tuition at public colleges/universities and/or debt forgiveness. Even if 3.5M young people (roughly the number of high school graduates each year) were to enroll in the CLC, the total cost of the program would still be less than $250B. While much of the value of the program, in terms of social and environmental benefits, are difficult to calculate, just the avoided costs of climate-related natural disasters would easily offset the costs of the program.
WHAT IS AT STAKE
Across the US, our rural and agricultural landscapes face unprecedented climate challenges, drought, flood, increased storms and a decline in soil health. Meanwhile, communities in these same rural areas suffer disproportionate food insecurity, job loss and fallout from the economic disparity and decline of main streets and small businesses, particularly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a time marked by polarity, paralysis, and unemployment, meaningful mobilization for ecological repair and constructive work on the land could help protect our hometowns and home regions for the climate changes ahead.
WHAT WE KNOW
Whether young or old, documented or un-documented, owners or non-owners, all of us depend on this land. We all need functioning, resilient working landscapes, clean air and water, and nutritious food. Investing in the health of our landscapes thus serves all. Land-based work has been a place of entry in this country, for both immigrants and young people. As we seek to provide much needed employment and opportunity, work on and with the land, in rural and urban settings alike, can provide broad social, economic, and environmental benefits.
INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
We believe that the federal government has a great role to play in creating thousands of great jobs in land and community healing. Among other co-benefits, this proposed vision for a Civilian Land Corps represents a sizable and meaningful re-investment in rural America, where such support has tremendous potential to mobilize young people and encourage social entry into rural areas with more affordable housing. Such investment offers increased vitality, economic diversification, greater food security, environmental justice, carbon sequestration, and other climate benefits. Mapping and projections are needed, but at the end of the day, REAL, physical human work on the ground is needed to help these places prepare for and buffer the present and future consequences of climate change.
We want our young people to feel pride of place and confidence in the future, to be ready to strive and innovate. We can inspire them by re-investing in ecological resilience, in beauty, on public lands, on private lands, even on civic lands in towns and cities. Imagine a nation where vibrant parks and urban forests produce shade and food for communities, where highway roadsides are beautifully vegetated, where rivers and waterways have healthy forested edges and well maintained trails and trail-heads, where soil and wind erosion from intensive agricultural operations is buffered by large scale hedgerows of native plants, protecting nearby residents from dust and poisons. Imagine a nation that employs its best ecological thinkers, scientists, landscape architects, technologists and conservationists in mapping the points of intervention with a program aimed at enhancin our “green infrastructure,” affirming the reality that a healthy, functioning ecological system is our best homeland security.
A SAFER FUTURE FOR ALL
Our working landscapes are imperiled by the changing climate, but also by a long history of short- term thinking in the caretaking of these productive ecosystems. Shared physical, outdoor work can help prepare our landscapes for what is here and what is coming. In the process, a new generation of land stewards will spend serious time with diverse co-workers, experiencing the pride of transformation and regrowth. We feel that we can build back better by finding common ground in
Civilian Land Corps: Vision Statement 2
the “Common Ground” of our shared ecology.
NOT JUST A SERVICE PROGRAM, A JUST PROGRAM
Like Americorps or LandCare Australia and in the tradition of the CCC Civilian Conservation Corps of the New Deal era, the aim of the Civilian Land Corps is to create dignified work, vocational training, professional development. For a nation that has often relied (and exploited) indigenous peoples, migrants, enslaved people, new immigrants, prison inmates and guest workers to do the work of building railroads, harvesting crops, planting forests and construction. Justice is well served by a prominent and patriotic program that communicates clearly the gravity of our situation as well as offering a coherent plan of action. Dignity and purpose of working for our shared health- a Land Corps that offers real vocational training, large scale ecological restoration outcomes, along with a living wage and social entry into rural areas.