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  • The big things

    What's most important to me is: preventing nuclear war and establishing an international convention against nuclear weapons; preventing global warming; maintaining ecological habitat and biodiversity; the health and wellbeing of all human beings; reducing the gap between the rich and the poor; making decisionmaking more democratic at all levels.

    However, I spend most of my time on more personal things: sleeping, eating, exercising, working, spending time with family, cooking, tidying up, fixing my bicycle, looking after my health, resting, relaxing, having fun, etc. Well, it may not be feasible to drastically reduce time spent on these things, but if I do some thinking and identify doable next actions I think I can increase somewhat the time I spend on the big things.

  • #2
    Originally posted by cwoodgold View Post
    What's most important to me is: preventing nuclear war and establishing an international convention against nuclear weapons; preventing global warming; maintaining ecological habitat and biodiversity; the health and wellbeing of all human beings; reducing the gap between the rich and the poor; making decisionmaking more democratic at all levels.
    Many of the issues you identify as most important are ones I teach in two courses, Physics and Society (for non-majors) and Energy and Environmental Physics (for science and engineering majors). I know many fine people who are convinced that their own small efforts have a significant impact, but I am fairly sure that the impact is in fact small, and sometimes the efforts seem ridiculous. For example, our campus has banned bottled water but not soda, juice, and energy drinks. That does increase the profits of the company who provides vending machines on campus, but not much else. Probably the most significant thing you can do this year is to work for the election of candidates whose views most align with yours. You have to realize that these problems are deep, serious and transnational.

    Comment


    • #3
      Money is...

      Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
      For example, our campus has banned bottled water but not soda, juice, and energy drinks. That does increase the profits of the company who provides vending machines on campus, but not much else.
      Money is the most powerful motivator for the real action.

      Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
      Probably the most significant thing you can do this year is to work for the election of candidates whose views most align with yours. You have to realize that these problems are deep, serious and transnational.
      Money is the most powerful factor influencing the election results.

      I admit - I am an avid listener to the No Agenda podcast in the morning.

      Comment


      • #4
        Go for it!

        Originally posted by cwoodgold View Post
        Well, it may not be feasible to drastically reduce time spent on these things, but if I do some thinking and identify doable next actions I think I can increase somewhat the time I spend on the big things.
        I think that you won't only increase the time you spend on these big things, ... you'll get the right stuff done on those big things. And every little bit helps.Don't forget to link up with your 'tribe' - i.e. the people who want the same thing. Numbers do work.

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        • #5
          Call Fred

          I think I've heard David say on many occasions "Create World Peace still comes down to 'Call Fred'..."!!! The big things just take a while to break down into their "doable elements," but it can be done! I applaud you for being so clear about your larger intentions!

          As others have said, identifying how you can link up your particular skills and strengths in support of your, for lack of a better word, "causes," would be a first step. You say you already spend time taking care of your health, and one of the things that's important to you is the health and wellbeing of all human beings. I would argue that, unless you are a doctor or healer of some sort (and you may be), you don't have a lot of influence over other people's health, but being a model of health yourself is a great way to contribute.

          I'd suggest creating a mind map that will allow you to see the connections between (a) what you already do as part of your lifestyle, (b) your interests, (c) people you know, (d) opportunities that may just be showing up, etc. There are probably lots of synergies that an exercise like this might uncover?

          My 2 cents...!

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          • #6
            There are some simple things that one can do in the personal sphere that do not take much effort. For example, regarding environment: conscious consumption.

            When a product has too much packaging (too much waste), abandon it in favor of a competitor with more efficient packaging. The sooner more people do that, the sooner the manufacturers will get the message.

            This being more conscious about one's consumption choices can be done without even creating a project, just maybe a couple of surf sessions and writing down a checklist of key principles.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by vic_lh View Post
              There are some simple things that one can do in the personal sphere that do not take much effort. For example, regarding environment: conscious consumption.

              When a product has too much packaging (too much waste), abandon it in favor of a competitor with more efficient packaging. The sooner more people do that, the sooner the manufacturers will get the message.
              It is often extremely difficult even for well-informed people to make correct judgements in these matters. What criteria should be used for "efficient" packaging? Weight? Volume? Environmental impact? Energy cost? Reusability?

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              • #8
                The big things, I got a few of those (incomplete list follows): curing aging, creating molecular assemblers, creating a superior artificial intelligence, Dyson sphere, technological singularity, colonizing our galaxy (for starters), becoming gods of sorts and turning dead matter everywhere into life and intelligence, reversing entropy before all stars die and eternal darkness descends.

                I don't expect my own contribution to be significant, but as long as I crank those widgets and call those Freds I'm doing something.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by cwoodgold View Post
                  What's most important to me is: preventing nuclear war and establishing an international convention against nuclear weapons; preventing global warming; maintaining ecological habitat and biodiversity; the health and wellbeing of all human beings; reducing the gap between the rich and the poor; making decisionmaking more democratic at all levels.

                  However, I spend most of my time on more personal things: sleeping, eating, exercising, working, spending time with family, cooking, tidying up, fixing my bicycle, looking after my health, resting, relaxing, having fun, etc. Well, it may not be feasible to drastically reduce time spent on these things, but if I do some thinking and identify doable next actions I think I can increase somewhat the time I spend on the big things.
                  A part of the problem with the things that you listed is that they involve millions and millions of people each making individual choices, and those people all probably have different values than you, not even mentioning all the others things that would be out of your control.

                  Saying that though, what you can do is choose one of those and work your way down the perspective levels.

                  Take "establishing an international convention against nuclear weapons" as an example.

                  To me that looks like a goal.

                  So what would you have to maintain to keep this moving forward? Maybe networking with international contacts.

                  Then you could start figuring out projects for that. and then action steps for those projects.

                  There is this great site called Gohachi.com that analyzes your social networks on linkedin, facebook, twitter, etc and can then tell you how you are connected to any person in the world through your own personal networks.

                  So you could create a list of 5 important international people who might be able to help you with this.

                  Then the action step could be to go on gohachi.com and see who in your network could introduce you to those people.


                  Just some thoughts

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by North View Post
                    The big things, I got a few of those
                    Love your list!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by North View Post
                      The big things, I got a few of those (incomplete list follows): curing aging, creating molecular assemblers, creating a superior artificial intelligence, Dyson sphere, technological singularity, colonizing our galaxy (for starters), becoming gods of sorts and turning dead matter everywhere into life and intelligence, reversing entropy before all stars die and eternal darkness descends.

                      I don't expect my own contribution to be significant, but as long as I crank those widgets and call those Freds I'm doing something.
                      Your list reads like it was taken from all the great science fiction I read growing up. Science fiction helped lead me into science, where I learned that many of these things aren't going to happen. Alas. But good luck with the widget-cranking and Fred-calling.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CJSullivan View Post
                        Love your list!
                        Thanks. The future is going to be awesome.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
                          Your list reads like it was taken from all the great science fiction I read growing up. Science fiction helped lead me into science, where I learned that many of these things aren't going to happen. Alas.
                          We shall see about that. Reversing entropy might be a bit of a challenge, but that's more of a someday/maybe anyway, for now.

                          People are discussing those things seriously though, and some of them are being worked on by some really smart people (including one who's into GTD a little, now that I think about it).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It is often extremely difficult even for well-informed people to make correct judgements in these matters. What criteria should be used for "efficient" packaging? Weight? Volume? Environmental impact? Energy cost? Reusability?
                            Now that you ask... I'm not a great expert on those matters, but some wastes are so blatant... when you purchase a box of muffins, do you really need ALL of them to have an individual wrapping? A wrapping that costs energy to make, that adds up to the price your paying, surely manufactured with dirty procedures that increase the thickness of the 'greenhouse' we are inside?

                            And besides, you eat the muffin now, but the wrapping will be hanging around for a few decades... You train yourself and you start to see all that waste around. We are taking people to the moon and we cannot make simple, easy to seal packages?

                            And, as for reusability, it's ok as a second option, but recycling also consumes energy; the best way to recycle is avoiding to generate the waste on the first place.

                            IMO, this is the kind of stuff that should be taught at schools (well, like GTD too, for that matter )

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by vic_lh View Post
                              Now that you ask... I'm not a great expert on those matters, but some wastes are so blatant... when you purchase a box of muffins, do you really need ALL of them to have an individual wrapping? A wrapping that costs energy to make, that adds up to the price your paying, surely manufactured with dirty procedures that increase the thickness of the 'greenhouse' we are inside?

                              And besides, you eat the muffin now, but the wrapping will be hanging around for a few decades... You train yourself and you start to see all that waste around. We are taking people to the moon and we cannot make simple, easy to seal packages?
                              A package of individually sealed muffins is likely optimized for shelf life, so it's really a convenience food (and not necessarily a healthy one). If you wanted a better muffin, you would buy probably buy fresh every day. But what's "better" for the environment, thin recyclable plastic-like materials or cardboard? (By the way, we aren't sending people to the moon any more, and the US cannot even put people into space now.)

                              Originally posted by vic_lh View Post
                              And, as for reusability, it's ok as a second option, but recycling also consumes energy; the best way to recycle is avoiding to generate the waste on the first place.

                              IMO, this is the kind of stuff that should be taught at schools (well, like GTD too, for that matter )
                              There is a complicated relation between energy use, environmental impact and waste- they are related, but not the same. Some schools have banned brown bag lunches, forcing students to use reusable lunch boxes made of plastic. This can be cheaper for the schools, as it reduces their waste removal costs, but it is probably not better for the environment, likely marginal on energy, and there are hygiene concerns (plastic lunch boxes harbor bacterial, and not everyone cleans them adequately). There's also the real possibility that some of the plastic materials contain endocrine disruptors which are not good for developing children.

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