Friday, June 22, 2007

The Money Fix

The jig is up! If you've ever wanted to understand the world money system--then check out the new documentary, The Money Fix . A film by Alan Rosenblith, he interviews experts like Hazel Henderson, Riane Eisler, Lynne Twist and a host of others who show you how the banking system works and within that, the production of money. If you've ever wondered why it seems on one level we just keep making more and more money but on another level there never seems to be enough to go around, The Money Fix will take what appears to be an oxymoron and show you what's really going on. When you see this--you'll understand what a 'fix we're in' :)

That's the first part of the movie. The second part focuses in on possible solutions and most specifically it chronicles a group in Hood River, OR that created a local currency called RiverHOURS. Yes, local money is legal (Ithaca, NY was one of the first areas to do this--it was as a result of a huge recession in their area--local money allowed their local economy to keep functioning). RiverHOURS are accepted by local merchants for a wide variety of services and products. The Gorge Grown Farmers' Market accepts RiverHOURS for food purchases.

Local currency is a wonderful way to really connect to your community, buy local products and services and then also know that the money stays in your area. This is a huge contrast to how most 'federal dollars' work. For instance when you go to Wal-Mart and purchase clothing--most all of that money leaves the area--it heads back to Wal-Mart's corporate offices, it is used to pay invoices to places like China or India and then the leftover is used however Wal-Mart decides. Compare this with purchasing local. Imagine your neighbor making you a new shirt--you pay her with RiverHOURS and then she takes that money and pays for food at the Farmers' Market. The farmer takes the RiverHOURS and pays his employee and his employee takes his RiverHOURS and buys music lessons for his daughter from a local musician. This money keeps circulating to benefit local community members as compared to when we buy from big box stores. Once that money leaves the area--it won't be seen by any local person again! Local currency is one way to solve "the money fix"!

As you know Life Puzzle is all about confronting the fact that our culture does not teach us much of what we need to truly know if we are going to be able to make proactive, conscious choices about the way we live our lives. It is fairly simple to say that 99% of people simply do not understand their financial responsibility area and as a result, they are at the mercy of a system designed to benefit only a few. Watching The Money Fix might just end that confusion forever!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Dairy the new oil? Every piece impacts the whole

A headline in the local paper's business section shouts "Is Dairy the new oil?" Essentially the article discussed the fact that as corn now shifts into being utilized for ethanol fuel production--mostly for use in our cars, it is being diverted from feed for cows that produce milk and other dairy products like cheese. The result? Prices on dairy and cheese are predicted to go up 30% in the next few months as the cost of their production now skyrockets.

As I read this I wondered how many people really made the connection of how our addiction to oil is now overflowing into other vital areas of our lives? Rising gas prices have put large crimps into many people's budgets--and now it would appear that this will impact at the grocery store too as dairy and most likely other food prices go up in response to production costs increasing as 'corn' goes into the gas tank instead of our stomachs! What worries me is that it is our children who generally consume milk and cheese in greater quantities than adults--and as milk prices head towards $4.00 a gallon, will families have to cut back and thus, nutritionally our children will lose?

As with the individual Life Puzzle--every piece impacts the whole--the same is true in the much larger "Community Life Puzzle". Change one piece and everything else changes. Individually--the foods we eat power our bodies and mind--eat better quality, we end up with healthier bodies, able to manage our feelings and thinking which leads to being more proactive etc.

That may be quite easy to see, but often we don't make the same connections within the larger Community Life Puzzle. Especially when it comes to an issue like oil. We all want lower oil prices but we see this as a stand alone issue. But its not! It impacts so many other pieces of the community--now it is impacting feed prices which impact costs for meat and dairy--and likely all foods as costs for shipping go up too. This impacts our children's nutrition as families have to cut back on milk when it hits $4.00 a gallon. This could have long term impact on their health--strong bone formation is needed in the calcium and Vitamin D found in milk and it has to happen in these crucial developmental years. This will impact the medical system 30 years forward as knees and hips need to be replaced earlier than one would've expected. Cheap oil also means we continue to drive too much which impacts air quality, increases road production to address all the cars on the road! Thus the environment suffers as the community of plants and animals lose habitat to pavement. Well, you get my drift--every piece impacts the whole!