An image of America from outer space.

Solving Climate Change

The clock is ticking... We need to act NOW.

We'll immediately declare a climate emergency & take rapid action to address climate change.

There is no planet B.

Protecting Our Environment

Strategies to achieve a carbon neutral society: a review

The increasing global industrialization and over-exploitation of fossil fuels has induced the release of greenhouse gases, leading to an increase in global temperature and causing environmental issues. There is therefore an urgent necessity to reach net-zero carbon emissions. Only 4.5% of countries have achieved carbon neutrality, and most countries are still planning to do so by 2050–2070. Moreover, synergies between different countries have hampered synergies between adaptation and mitigation policies, as well as their co-benefits. Here, we present a strategy to reach a carbon neutral economy by examining the outcome goals of the 26th summit of the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26).
Indeed, by COP 28 we saw host countries' head of oil production appointed to lead the conference. Human greed is a powerful enemy, and should not to be underestimated...

Alliance of World Scientists: Climate Feedback Loops Project

There are many amplifying global warming feedback loops that significantly increase the warming due to greenhouse gas emissions. However, not all of these feedbacks are fully accounted for in current climate models. Thus, potential mitigation pathways based on these models could be overly optimistic and fail to sufficiently limit temperatures. A targeted expansion of research is needed to incorporate biologically-based feedbacks into Earth system models to guide climate policy objectives. Concurrently, policymakers must implement plans to minimize risks by greatly accelerating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. [Paper & Supplement]
Feedback loops and tipping points increase the urgency with which we must act to prevent Sea Level Rise (SLR), however we cannot allow racists and supremacists to use haste as an excuse for structural racism, redlining, and/or otherwise compromising the equality and integrity of climate change solutions or any other legislation that is meant to help everyone, universally.

By working with the Department of Interior, we can take the appropriate action to preserve and maintain our forests, counteract illegal logging, and revitalize the lungs of our nation.

Carbon sequestration and biodiversity co-benefits of preserving forests in the western United States

Forest carbon sequestration via forest preservation can be a viable climate change mitigation strategy. Here, we identify forests in the western conterminous United States with high potential carbon sequestration and low vulnerability to future drought and fire, as simulated using the Community Land Model and two high carbon emission scenario (RCP 8.5) climate models. High-productivity, low-vulnerability forests have the potential to sequester up to 5,450 Tg CO2 equivalent (1,485 Tg C) by 2099, which is up to 20% of the global mitigation potential previously identified for all temperate and boreal forests, or up to ~6 yr of current regional fossil fuel emissions. Additionally, these forests currently have high above- and belowground carbon density, high tree species richness, and a high proportion of critical habitat for endangered vertebrate species, indicating a strong potential to support biodiversity into the future and promote ecosystem resilience to climate change. We stress that some forest lands have low carbon sequestration potential but high biodiversity, underscoring the need to consider multiple criteria when designing a land preservation portfolio. Our work demonstrates how process models and ecological criteria can be used to prioritize landscape preservation for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and preserving biodiversity in a rapidly changing climate.
Based on the science, and the climate clock, we have to go Carbon Negative by 2030: Several other countries have movements towards this cause because the science is undeniable. We aim to join them and build an international coalition, as it's imperative that humanity take action to avoid imminent irreversible tipping points, such as the Ice Caps Melting, Collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), and loss of the World's Rainforests such as the Amazon and Congo Basin.

Quantifying Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Human Deaths to Guide Energy Policy

When attempting to quantify future harms caused by carbon emissions and to set appropriate energy policies, it has been argued that the most important metric is the number of human deaths caused by climate change. Several studies have attempted to overcome the uncertainties associated with such forecasting. In this article, approaches to estimating future human death tolls from climate change relevant at any scale or location are compared and synthesized, and implications for energy policy are considered. Several studies are consistent with the “1000-ton rule,” according to which a future person is killed every time 1000 tons of fossil carbon are burned (order-of-magnitude estimate). If warming reaches or exceeds 2 °C this century, mainly richer humans will be responsible for killing roughly 1 billion mainly poorer humans through anthropogenic global warming, which is comparable with involuntary or negligent manslaughter. On this basis, relatively aggressive energy policies are summarized that would enable immediate and substantive decreases in carbon emissions. The limitations to such calculations are outlined and future work is recommended to accelerate the decarbonization of the global economy while minimizing the number of sacrificed human lives.

~ Joshua M. Pearce and Richard Parncutt, The Future of Energy Policy
It's absolutely imperative that we sunset all fossil fuel use, curb all emissions by 2030, and begin sequestration on the 10-gigaton/year scale.

Each 1000 tons of emissions kills 1 human. Annual CO2 emissions worldwide from 1940 to 2022 show that pre-fossil fuels we had on average ~5B metric tons of CO2. Starting from 1946, we increased in emissions by ~500M or .5B each year, all the way to present times. According to Scientific American, our planetary carbon budget is 2.89 Trillion tons of CO2 and humans have already emitted 2.48 Trillion Tons. The United States already exceeded it's carbon budget by 346 Billion Tons, and we only have 411 Gigatons (411 Billion tons) of CO2 left globally as a planet. Keeping in mind the US population of about 332M people, and knowing that 1000 tons of CO2 kills one person, let's do some quick math:

346B tons of CO2 emitted ÷ 1 kiloton of CO2 per person = 346M people will die.

We have exceeded our carbon budgets so irresponsibly that it endangers our next generation and future population.

Fortunately, the majority of global emissions are addressed by sun-setting fossil fuels, plus land use protections and reforestation aid packages can help us conserve rainforests that are crucial for sequestration and biodiversity. However, reforestation is not enough to address the crisis, by several orders of magnitude. Thus our Green New Deal Act will also require massive investment in proven carbon sequestration. An example of large scale immediate carbon sequestration technology is BECCS, which is discussed here on Engineering with Rosie.



Each kiloton of CO2 that we sequester saves a life.

Building Affordable Housing

The number of Affordable Housing Units (AHUs) was limited during Nixon's Presidency. The NY Times reported on Feb 4, 1973, that "The decision of the Nixon Administration to place a temporary hold on all new Federal commitments of housing subsidies has generated much controversy."

Modern analysis (Jan 16, 2023) of this policy by Professor Nicholas Bloom, combined with all of our other insights over the past 50 years, shows that programs like Housing First are highly effective.

We should lift these restrictions, reform housing policy, and fund HUD.

Professor Bloom's piece, entitled "The Fiftieth Anniversary of Nixon's Housing Moratorium (1973): The Road to Tent Cities" opens with sound, common-sense reasoning:

American cities would be very different today if we had millions more public and publicly subsidized housing units. There would be many fewer homeless camps, less eviction, and reductions in rent-burdened families. Drug addiction, eviction, and deinstitutionalization would be moderated if there was enough low-cost housing for promising initiatives like Housing First.

So why don't we have nearly enough low-cost urban housing?
Increasing the number of affordable housing units not only helps resolve community issues but can also help us fight climate change, because we can mandate the use of carbon sequestering materials for all new construction.

Homelessness has surged in America 11% within the last year. An August 13, 2023 headline of the WSJ reads: "More Americans Are Ending Up Homeless—at a Record Rate. High housing costs and evictions push more people from homes, advocates say."

According to the January 2022 PIT Count, 582,462 people were experiencing homelessness across America. This amounts to roughly 18 out of every 10,000 people. The vast majority (72 percent) were individual adults, but a notable share (28 percent) were people living in families with children...
-- EndHomelessness.org
CBS reported that "Homelessness rates have been climbing nationally by about 6% every year since 2017." Furthermore, it was found that "organizations that count homeless people have seen increases in the number of unsheltered individuals compared with 2022," according to the Wall Street Journal.

With more AHUs around, we can scale up programs like Housing First. Housing First works. It's proven. However it isn't one size fit all.
Studies have found that Housing First results in greater improvements in housing outcomes for homeless adults in North America. Housing First may lead to greater reductions in inpatient and emergency health care services but may have limited effects on clinical and social outcomes. Although supportive services are typically provided as part of the Housing First model, services are voluntary and can vary greatly between clients. Homeless adults who need Housing First also may need crucial health care and social services to help them live meaningful, sustainable, and productive lives. The debate about Housing First needs to be furthered through research to identify who benefits most from Housing First, what services are needed in addition to Housing First, and which housing models can serve as effective alternatives to the Housing First model when appropriate or necessary.
To prevent anyone from falling thru the cracks, we must also fund social services and social workers, shelters, and more. Together, we can end homelessness, once and for all.

Carbon sequestration is needed to solve climate change, and by requiring use of carbon negative building materials like rapid timber, bamboo, hemp, etc, for all new construction, we can ensure that any new Affordable Housing Unit (AHU) is carbon negative -- sequestering more carbon than it produces throughout it's whole lifetime existence.

The ARPA-E HESTIA Program on Carbon Negative Building Materials has worked with the University of Washington and University of California - Davis and could be expanded...

Prospects for carbon-neutral housing: the influence of greater wood use on the carbon footprint of a single-family residence

This paper examines the energy and carbon balance of two residential house alternatives; a typical wood frame home using more conventional materials (brick cladding, vinyl windows, asphalt shingles, and fibreglass insulation) and a similar wood frame house that also maximizes wood use throughout (cedar shingles and siding, wood windows, and cellulose insulation) in place of the more typical materials used – a wood-intensive house. Carbon emission and fossil fuel consumption balances were established for the two homes based on the cumulative total of three subsystems: (1) forest harvesting and regeneration; (2) cradle-to-gate product manufacturing, construction, and replacement effects over a 100-year service life; and (3) end-of-life effects – landfilling with methane capture and combustion or recovery of biomass for energy production.

The net carbon balance of the wood-intensive house showed a complete offset of the manufacturing emissions by the credit given to the system for forest re-growth. Including landfill methane emissions, the wood-intensive life cycle yielded 20 tons of CO2e emissions compared to 72 tons for the typical house. The wood-intensive home's life cycle also consumed only 45% of the fossil fuels used in the typical house.
Designers should move towards using carbon negative materials, as they enables innovative, ecofriendly solutions that sequester rather than emit.

Towards carbon-neutral construction materials: Carbonation of cement-based materials and the future perspective

Carbonation seems to have the largest potential to reduce concrete-related emissions of CO2 of any current technology and offers the potential of carbon negative concretes, thereby harnessing the potential of the cement industry and turning it into the world's greatest carbon sink rather than its largest CO2 emitter.
Carbon Neutral and Carbon Negative building materials MUST be adopted as the standard for all new building codes nationwide.

Examples of Carbon Negative Building Materials

  • Recycled metals: Processes involved in producing metals are very carbon intensive. But taking their entire life cycle performance can cut their total energy use. That’s because repeated use of recycled metals doesn’t affect their properties.
  • Low-carbon bricks: Using 40% fly ash – fine glass powder made primarily of iron, silica, and alumina – helps cut embodied carbon in conventional bricks. It’s a byproduct of burning coal for electricity generation. The use of this low carbon building material has been since 2009.
  • Green tiles: What makes tiles green is the use of ceramics from ~50% recycled glass and other minerals. The waste glass turned into tiles are then used in internal and external flooring and cladding. The sparkling glass components add more aesthetic quality to the tiles.
  • Structural timber: Wood is made of ~50% carbon by dry weight. Considering the embodied carbon and the stored carbon in wood, many timber building materials are carbon negative. Thanks to its carbon negative properties, timber is making a great comeback as a popular construction material. Unlike concrete and metal made from carbon-intensive fossil fuels, timber is a renewable material that helps remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
  • Hempcrete: Another carbon negative construction material is hempcrete. It’s a composite of hemp fibers and is a glue-like binder. Hemp can suck up twice as much carbon as a typical forest, and regrows much faster.
  • Green or carbon negative concrete: Byproducts of industrial processes and recycled materials used to replace raw materials to make traditional concrete. For example, fly ash and granulated blast-furnace slag are substituted for carbon intensive cement. Likewise, washed copper slag can be used in place of aggregate or sand. Using recycled granite from demolished debris also helps reduce emissions of concrete.

Setting The Energy Standard

By establishing a federally backed and honored Energy Standard, we can remove some of the loss in value and instability in the US Dollar that occurred when we left the Gold Standard and went to Fiat (monopoly) money. Our money is no longer backed by gold, but simply because we agree as a society to work for it and use it. Our dollars earned by labor were intensely devalued. Gold went from $35 an ounce to $800. Anyone who had dollars and not gold bars found their wealth earned by labor was substantially devalued.

We can use energy, instead of gold, as a highly fungible means of storing and transferring value, as everyone and nearly everything uses energy. We need a decentralized co-generation grid framework, that allows people to monetize energy generation technology. People can sell the excess energy that they don't use, back to the grid, to people traveling trying to charge their car, whoever, whatever.

Energy Coin: A peer to peer distributed energy generation, transfer, and transaction system

Using a proof of energy blockchain, a purely peer-to-peer version of metered electricity would allow direct payments or transfers of energy to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. Using a cryptographically secured energy meter, if one has an electric vehicle and solar or other renewable electric generation tools, as well as a grid connection, we can simply say charge X kilowatt hours to their energy storage/battery balance—the logical equivalent of a bitcoin wallet. I.e., if an EV driver were to move far from home they could simply charge at a friend’s place and the grid would transfer the energy based on a cryptographically secured transaction. People can also add value to earn energy for services rendered, and directly trade or value objects based on the amount of energy required. Since E=mc^2 we can incentivize energy to mass and mass to energy conversion efficiency. This would also incentivize overall energy efficiency, since cost will directly correspond to energy output.
As a distributed web3 technology, it would bring back American innovation in an intelligent way, encouraging development of energy farms, renewable energy generation, and community generator projects. Access to a digitally accessible finance system helps to develop green and renewable energy resources. It guarantees an easily accessible energy market, where anyone can buy land and set up solar panels, wind turbines, tidal generators, geothermal projects, or any other new inventions that may arise.

Renewable Power Costs Rise, Just Not as Much as Fossil Fuels: Costs to build and run new solar and wind facilities are still cheaper than gas or coal plants, BNEF survey finds.

Bloomberg's David R Baker reports that "It’s costing more these days to build and run solar farms and wind turbines, but they’re still cheaper than power plants that rely on fossil fuels."

The costs of renewable plants are rising after years of declines due to soaring prices for materials, shipping and labor, according to a BloombergNEF report. But costs for coal and natural gas-fired plants are increasing even faster as global energy prices surge following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As a result, new onshore wind and solar projects cost roughly 40% less than coal or gas plants built from scratch—and the gap is widening.
Due to renewables being the most cost effective AND eco-friendly solution, those who seek to "mine" energy will end up building huge solar farms, tidal farms, etc, creating incentive and an ROI for private enterprise investing in renewable energy generation.

The advent of a distributed co-generation grid should help relieve existing energy loads, and all the energy sold back to the grid has to be stored somewhere. Energy storage is paramount to enabling a successful transition. This also forms the backbone of the Energy Banking industry. Grids would optimize energy transfers between local energy banks to lower the amount of transmission loss. The banks would invest in new superconductor technologies and other ways of minimizing transmission loss because it would lower their costs.

It's imperative that we stay laser focused on renewables.

Role of green finance in improving energy efficiency and renewable energy development

Deploying green energy is, directly and indirectly, related to energy- and environment-related sustainable development goals (SDGs). This study uses the stochastic impact by regression on the population, affluence, and technology (STIRPAT) model to examine the relationship between CO2 emissions, energy efficiency, green energy index (GEI), and green finance in the top ten economies that support green finance. The results show that green bonds are a suitable method to promote green energy projects and reduce CO2 emissions significantly. At the same time, there is no causal linkage between these variables in the short term. Therefore, to achieve sustainable economic growth for environmental issues, governments should implement supportive policies with a long-term approach to boost private participation in the investment of green energy projects. This policy may be applicable during and in the post the COVID-19 era when green projects have more difficulties accessing finance.
Further reading of the paper reveals:
Based on the coefficients, it can be shown that population, GDP per capita, and energy intensity cause CO2 emissions per capita in these countries. However, there is no causal linkage between issued green bonds and CO2 emissions per capita and GEI and CO2 emissions per capita. Additionally, there is a bidirectional causal relationship between the issued green bonds and the GEI in the short term. Furthermore, a bidirectional relationship between issued green bonds and GDP per capita is found in the short term, which would be interesting for policymakers in these countries. Any support from green finance tools may increase GDP per capita, a significant aspect of social welfare in a country.
Financing and economic alignment with green initiatives, handled responsibly, can lower the cost of energy while making it widely available, vastly increasing quality of life. The fact that "1% increase in the GEI based on green energy consumption can decrease CO2 emissions by approximately 0.92% in the long term," indicates we should invest in longterm GEI at scale to see the most effective returns.

Enhancing financing for the research, development and demonstration of climate technologies

Based on the urgency of addressing climate change and RD&D (research, development, and deployment) financing trends, the paper notes the importance of RD&D financing for climate technologies, in addition to enhancing enabling environments and building capacity for deploying climate technologies. Governments may accelerate efforts to meet climate challenges by increasing public expenditure for climate technology RD&D. Indeed, in recent years some countries have pledged to significantly increase their clean energy R&D budgets. The paper notes that to stimulate private RD&D spending for climate technologies, governments can provide a clear policy signal of a long-term national commitment to reduce greenhouse gases and build resilience to climate change and support enabling environments that accelerate private investment.
Leveraging this support, our green infrastructure bills should encourage diversification, such as backing hydrogen-electric charging stations -- much like how one finds gas or diesel at a gas station today, the rest station of tomorrow along with respective supply chains and supporting industry, should support both hydrogen of various grades as well as electric vehicles with various voltages, giving America the flexibility and options it needs to be it's best, greenest, self.

It's crucial that we maintain focus on research and development support such that we continuously improve our efficiency and standard of living.

Examples of Renewable Energy Technologies:

Fighting for Justice

Our society needs to heal.

We need much more than a political revolution; we also need a moral, cultural, and spiritual revolution -- an awakening to the dignity and value of each and every one of us, no matter who we are, where we came from, or what we've done... It is this revolutionary spirit -- a revolutionary love for all people and for life itself -- that will ultimately determine our collective fate.

~ Michelle Alexander
Our mission is to build an inclusive society. It's our responsibility...

Revolutionary Love: A Political Manifesto to Heal and Transform the World

We earthlings need to build a fundamental change of consciousness in ourselves and in every party of our national and global society, in order to achieve the economic and political changes necessary to prevent the destruction of the life support system of Earth; to end global and domestic poverty and wealth inequality; to defeat racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of xenophobia; to protect human rights; to achieve social, economic, and environmental justice; and to achieve lasting global peace. This new consciousness is possible, and can emerge through embracing revolutionary love, the struggle for the caring society, and a new bottom line in all our economic, political, legal, educational, and cultural institutions. This manifesto is written to show you how this can happen and how you can help make it possible.

Liberal and progressive movements need to move beyond a focus on economic entitlements and political rights to embrace a new discourse of love, kindness, generosity, and awe. This is not some New Agey "smile and be nice" formula or a "let's get into self-transformation before we change society" kind of thinking. I am calling for both our American and global societies to embrace a new bottom line so that every economic, political, societal, and cultural institution is considered efficient, rational, and/or productive -- not according to the old bottom line of how much these institutions maximize money, power, or ego, but rather how much they maximize love and generosity, kindness, and forgiveness, ethical and environmentally sustainable behavior, social and economic justice. This new bottom line seeks to enhance our capacity to transcend a narrow utilitarian or instrumental way of viewing human beings and nature, so that we respond to other people as embodiments of the sacred instead of thinking of them primarily in terms of how much they can serve our interests, and also so that we respond to nature not solely as a resource for human needs but rather through awe, wonder, and radical amazement as the beauty and grandeur of this universe.

~ Rabbi Michael Lerner
It is with revolutionary love, kindness, generosity and awe, that we must build anti-racism and anti-oppression systems for all civilization. We must issue reparations generously, with love and kindness, in order to achieve restitution, healing, and reintegration. Furthermore, we must teach the truth about history in our schools, because those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat the mistakes of times past.

The Case for Reparations

Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.

~ Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Editor’s note: On February 1, 2023, the College Board announced its finalized curriculum for an AP African American Studies course. It has removed work—present in the pilot program—by writers such as bell hooks, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, the author of this article.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic

Here's Ta-Nehisi Coates speaking at West Point in 2017:



***

Intersectionality: No discrimination based on race, age, gender, sexuality, religion, iq, wealth, origin, ethnicity, language, etc.

Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term "intersectionality" in her landbreaking paper. It introduced the idea of discrimination being multi-dimensional, offering critique to single dimensional analyses of the time and of the language of many antidiscrimination laws and policies that still affect us today.

Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics

...it sets forth a problematic consequence of the tendency to treat race and gender as mutually exclusive categories of experience and analysis. In this talk, I want to examine how this tendency is perpetuated by a single-axis framework that is dominant in antidiscrimination law and that is also reflected in feminist theory and antiracist politics. I will center Black women in this analysis in order to contrast the multidimensionality of Black women's experience with the single-axis analysis that distorts these experiences. Not only will this juxtaposition reveal how Black women are theoretically erased, it will also illustrate how this framework imports its own theoretical limitations that undermine efforts to broaden feminist and antiracist analyses.

Kimberlé Crenshaw, University of Chicago

It's important that we not merely enact antidiscrimination policies in name, but take the time to craft policy and enforce it, to avoid pitfalls and limitations that result in encroachment upon our freedoms and ultimately, injustice.

Our antidiscrimination efforts shall be thorough and fully universal, exemplifying what it means to be inclusive.

We must stand against apartheid, anti-semitism, any and all forms of oppression.

Historically, examples of apartheid can be found in South African -- Apartheid, Antebellum South -- Jim Crow, and even modern day Israeli -- Apartheid.

Furthermore we cannot fall into anti-semitism, and otherism. We cannot judge and punish one for the sins of another. Hurt people, hurt people. We must learn from the horrors and heal from the traumas of past history, ensuring they never occur again, to anyone, anywhere.

Thru these efforts, we'll focus on building an equitable, egalitarian society. For example, addressing racism in health care saves lives. We can do the same across all aspects of society, applying best practices throughout industry, with good governance.

Toward an equitable society: building a culture of antiracism in health care

Racism is a root cause underlying widespread disparities in social, economic, and health outcomes, including the ability to stay alive. Yet, the insidious and pervasive nature of racism, along with the uncomfortable recognition that some groups benefit from how society is currently organized, make it a challenging and complex problem. Health care is not immune. Health care systems wield enormous power and often play an oversized role in the local economies where they reside. For these reasons, addressing racism in all its forms — interpersonal, institutional, and structural — from within health care is critically important to creating an equitable society.

The Journal of Clinical Investigation

Accelerating the transition to equitable, sustainable, and livable cities: Toward post-fossil carbon societies

Rapid urbanization brought many environmental issues, leading to an urgent need on urban environmental governance. This special issue aims to focus on such a topic so that cities can accelerate their transition to equitable, sustainable, and livable Cities. Twenty-six papers were selected in this special issue, with different foci on different topics in different cities. These papers can be categorized into the following: reviews, policy orientations, metric and indicators, consumer behaviors and lifestyles, innovative designs and implementations, and tools. These papers discuss various topics related with urban environmental governance and can provide valuable insights to those city managers so that they can improve their environmental governance and move their cities toward post-fossil carbon societies. By summarizing the key contributions of these papers, an integrated framework on effective urban environmental governance is proposed so that cities can increase their resources efficiency, reduce overall waste production, and respond global climate change.

Journal of Cleaner Production | Paper

In order to achieve economic parity, as well as growth, we must focus on inclusion in the workplace.

Diversity And Inclusion Is A Must To Make Innovation Work For All

Many studies have also described the benefits of a diverse workforce. The commonly painted picture is that a diverse workforce improves creativity, complex problem solving and innovation thanks to a collection of different views. Yet the foreign-born workers I have studied often feel excluded. I learnt when I was a communications adviser about the potential that diversity can offer, and the lost opportunities caused by work cultures that don’t recognize this. In the knowledge economy, success depends on bringing in diverse perspectives and making use of them.

It’s easy to see how diversity is connected to innovation. After all, innovation is a social process whereby a problem is solved in a new and creative way, and it often happens when different ways of thinking collide. Research has suggested, however, that although diversity does bring new perspectives and ideas, it’s not always plain sailing. It takes effort to create a culture in which people feel they will be taken seriously if they suggest a new way of doing things. If that doesn’t happen, it can lead to a less-than-harmonious workplace where people feel ostracized and pigeon-holed.

~ Marte C. W. Solheim, Nature
As we have seen, it doesn't matter how many scientists and innovators of all backgrounds that we have, if their counsel and expertise is not heeded. Climate Scientists warned us for decades. Exxon knew. It's important that we have leadership that listens. Teams work best when coaches prioritize and listen to player feedback.

Organizations and Collectives work best when leaders listen:

The Power of Listening at Work

Listening is associated with and a likely cause of desired organizational outcomes in numerous areas, including job performance, leadership, quality of relationships (e.g., trust), job knowledge, job attitudes, and well-being.

Avraham N. Kluger & Guy Itzchakov, Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior
Countries work best when leaders listen.


Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in an activity.

It's referenced several times in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

Indeed, consent culture goes beyond sex and applies to everyday interactions - from sharing a photo of someone online, to asking before doing something that will directly impact, affect, or involve, another person.

With respect to societal norms there's no need to be prudish we just don't want people being pressured into doing things they don't want to do. From No Means No to Only Yes Means Yes: The Rational Results of an Affirmative Consent Standard in Rape Law.

In business, contracts and clauses may change.

...consent is about communication. And it should happen every time for every type of activity. Consenting to one activity, one time, does not mean someone gives consent for other activities or for the same activity on other occasions.

RAINN
This idea translates everywhere, to all aspects of life. Furthermore, the idea of enthusiastic consent means people need to opt-in of their own volition. This should apply to all contracts and agreements.

When considering right to repair and ownership rights, we ultimately find a common thread of rent seeking for products (subscriptions are for services).

Late Stage Capitalism is encouraging excessive rent-seeking behaviors.

We should encourage home ownership (a cornerstone of responsible financial management), and instead of charging rent on dilapidated properties, former landlords can actually add value to the economy by running a home maintenance service.

At all levels of society, companies seek to "monetize" everything -- to the point that people don't own their own cars, phones, household goods, electronics, farm equipment, or even home.

We have to fight back and maintain the rights of ownership and buying something, otherwise greed and "fiduciary duty" will drive corporate policy to make every object and product a permanent lease or subscription payment.

Every product owner should have the unequivocal right to repair their items or choose the independent repair facility that suits their needs.

You bought it, you should own it. Period. You should have the right to use it, modify it, and repair it wherever, whenever, and however you want.

Repair.org
This impacts all of us, from coast to coast and everywhere in between.

Farmers should have the right to fix their own tractors.

Multinational farm equipment manufacturers like John Deere are imposing severe restrictions on who can repair the products they sell.

Prevented from fixing their own tractors, farmers are often forced into long equipment transports and wait-times for repairs. This can result in losses of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential yields.

Manufacturers are also crushing independent repair shops and critically harming once-vibrant rural economies by forbidding everyone except a few authorized dealers from accessing necessary diagnostic tools.

Restoring the right to repair will help us reclaim the spirit of self-sufficiency and innovation in rural America. It’s an exciting time to join the Right to Repair movement, which has gained momentum at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in Congress, and in state houses across the country.

Farm Action
Right to repair is a popular and widely supported measure and policy -- indeed many know the story of how Louis Rossmann started a gofundme to get right to repair legislation passed. However Kathy Hochul's amendments to the bill watered down many of the key provisions included in bill in favor of Big Tech Lobbyists, compromising the integrity of those who fought for the effort so valiantly.

Right to repair will help build the circular economy that we need to help meet our sustainability, self reliance, economic independence, and climate change goals.

We would support the right to repair, issue appropriate executive orders if necessary, and support legislative efforts as well as jurisprudence to that effect.


Your mind, body, and soul belong to you. Your energy, biological energy signatures, and biometrics, all belong to you as well.

Your Genome Belongs To You

Your genome should belong to you, but it doesn’t always. Right now, for all intents and purposes, it belongs to the service or research institution that produces your sequence data. They may store your genomic information, and interpret it for you, but they have no obligation to provide you with the raw data in a form you can share with others.

That will change only if we collectively insist on it, and if we make sure that genome sequencing services adhere to standards and formats that will make our right to our genomic data meaningful. Genome data need to be interoperable. We need a button to push, or a place to mark “X” on the form we fill out when submitting our samples to be sequenced, and a way to download the information so that we get the results back in a form we can share. It makes sense to have strong privacy protections for those who store and use our data, but it makes no sense that we don’t get direct access to it ourselves, so we can choose what to do with it.

If we don’t move quickly to establish the principle of a consumer’s right to access their genomic information, our nation’s business model for providing services will soon resemble that of Germany. If we act now to recognize a right of access to our genomic data, the emergent services can easily accommodate it as they grow; yet failure to establish such practices from the get-go will mean we do not have access to our own genomic data. The policy debate will focus on the institutions that have the data. Power and choice should remain in the hands of the people the data came from and should belong to, not the institutions that store and control it.

Sharon Terry and Robert Cook-Deegan, Health Affairs Forefront
Similarly so, your data belongs to you and you alone. Your data is the result of your existence, and it's inseparable from you.

We need to own our data as a human right—and be compensated for it

AT A LUNCH at the World Economic Forum five years ago, guests were asked to predict what people would care about around 2019. My mind raced through thoughts about identity and data. When the host, Marc Benioff, the founder and chairman of Salesforce, turned to me, I stated: “idatity”. Identity and data are increasingly intertwined. The term I coined that day evokes the need for people to be more aware of how they safeguard and share their information.

Personal data needs to be regarded as a human right, just as access to water is a human right. The ability for people to own and control their data should be considered a central human value. The data itself should be treated like property and people should be fairly compensated for it.

will.i.am, The Economist
Furthermore, consider the voices of activists, as well as the UN, on formulation and enforcement of digital human rights (updated):

How should IT work? Defending human rights in the age of digitalization

Formulation and enforcement of digital human rights

70 years ago, on 10 December 1948, the UN General Assembly in Paris adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The digital revolution was then still a long way off. A resolution of the General Assembly of 18 December 2014 stated that human rights also apply online and that privacy must also be protected in the digital sphere. In addition, we consider that an explicit recognition of several digital fundamental rights as human rights by the UN General Assembly is required in order to give them a correspondingly high priority. We are convinced that the following points should be taken into account:
  1. The right to privacy, the right to informational self-determination and the equal right of participation in media information and communication are recognized as human rights.
  2. Any personal observation of an individual, their behavior, social contacts, use of the media or communication without their explicit consent shall be regarded as an unlawful interference with their private life in accordance with Article 12 and their freedom of expression and information in accordance with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Everyone has the right to legal protection against such surveillance, interference or impairment. When exercising the state’s responsibility to protect, narrow constitutional limits must be observed. Unjustified mass surveillance is impermissible.
  3. Everyone has the right to the protection of their personal data. The confidentiality and integrity of all relevant information technology systems must be ensured.
  4. Everyone has the right to determine for themselves the collection, use, analysis, storage, correction and deletion of personal data relating to them, unless this conflicts with civic obligations. The obligatory collection of personal data by state authorities must be limited to an essential minimum. Everyone has the right to receive information about all data and information relating to them in a reasonable time and format.
  5. Everyone has the right to protect their data, information and communication against the knowledge of third parties by choosing suitable means, in particular with regard to public authorities.
  6. Everyone has the right to know which algorithms, procedures, controls or criteria have become effective in automated assessments or decisions concerning them and to have them verified by a human being. Automated decisions and artificial intelligence must be taken responsibility for by natural or legal persons. They must not violate human rights or discriminate people for exercising their fundamental freedoms.
  7. Everyone has the same right to non-discriminatory access to information and communication services. Access to the Internet must be a fundamental component of public services without restriction, even in times of political unrest. Network neutrality must be guaranteed.
  8. Participation in public elections and votes and the exercise of other fundamental rights must not be tied to the use of digital media.
Digital Human Rights Blog

Bodily self autonomy is core to legal protection of all these rights.

Bodily autonomy: A fundamental right

Bodily autonomy means my body is for me; my body is my own. It’s about power, and it’s about agency. It’s about choice, and it’s about dignity.

Bodily autonomy is the foundation for gender equality, and above all, it’s a fundamental right.

Keynote by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem, Sixty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
The topic of bodily autonomy leads us to consider abortion rights, and how the recent Dobbs decision overturned Roe V Wade and impacts all privacy law and precedent.

Privacy: Pre- and Post-Dobbs

The United States Supreme Court has interpreted the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to include a fundamental right to familial privacy. The exact contours of that right were developed by the Court from 1923 until 2015. In 2022, with its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the Supreme Court abruptly changed course and held that the right to terminate a pregnancy is no longer part of the right to privacy previously recognized by the Court. This essay seeks to place Dobbs in the context of the Court’s family privacy cases in an effort to understand the Court’s reasoning and the impact the decision may have in the future.

Rona Kaufman Kitchen, Duquesne University Law Review, Vol. 61, No. 1, 2023

What the end of Roe v. Wade means for reproductive rights and privacy

On June 24 (2022), the Supreme Court released a decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, upholding the constitutionality of a 2018 Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The court also ruled 5-4 to overturn Roe v. Wade, a 1973 decision that protects pregnant people’s right to privacy without excessive government restriction.

CU Boulder Today spoke with Jennifer Hendricks, a professor at the University of Colorado Law School, to understand her interpretation of the rulings.

What does this decision mean?
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health overturns Roe v. Wade, eliminates the constitutional right to abortion, abolishes pregnant women’s right to privacy and allows states to make abortion a crime at any point during a pregnancy. It also opens the door to prosecuting women for accidental harm to a fetus during pregnancy, such as if a woman drinks alcohol or gets in a car accident.

In addition, opponents of abortion rights have long claimed, falsely, that many methods of contraception are equivalent to abortion. We can expect to see prosecutors and legislatures applying their abortion bans to the pill, Plan B, IUDs and other long-acting, reversible contraceptives (LARCs). The Dobbs decision adopts a legal standard that will require courts to defer to the views of state legislatures, not scientists, on whether contraceptives are really abortion, which means bans and criminalization of those contraceptives will be upheld.

Nicole Mueksch, CU Boulder Today
It's also important to maintain separation of church/temple/mosque and state -- there are various religious outlooks on when life or conception begins so to legislate or ban access constitutes discrimination in religion as well in medicine. We cannot impose our own religious or personal beliefs upon others, nor legislate religion. The importance of judicial confirmations cannot be stressed enough -- justices claimed to consider Roe V Wade as settled precedent and case law when first asked, however they went on to overturn it once appointed.

Addressing Unconstitutional Mass Surveillance:

Decoding 702: What is Section 702?

Why can the U.S. government collect my emails?

Under authority ostensibly granted by something called Section 702, the U.S. government routinely collects and searches the online communications of innocent Americans without a warrant through what are commonly called “upstream” and “PRISM” (now called “downstream”) surveillance.

Section 702 is a surveillance authority passed as part of the FISA Amendments Act in 2008. That law amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.

Section 702 is supposed to do exactly what its name promises: collection of foreign intelligence from non-Americans located outside the United States. As the law is written, the intelligence community cannot use Section 702 programs to target Americans, who are protected by the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. But the law gives the intelligence community space to target foreign intelligence in ways that inherently and intentionally sweep in Americans’ communications.

Currently, Congress has to renew Section 702 every few years. It was last renewed in 2018 and is set to expire at the end of 2023.

The bill that was most recently passed, S. 139, endorses nearly all warrantless searches of databases containing Americans’ communications collected under Section 702. It allows for the restarting of “about” collection, an invasive type of surveillance that the NSA ended in 2017 after being criticized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for privacy violations. And it includes a six-year sunset, delaying Congress’ best opportunity to debate the limits NSA surveillance.

The Congressional failure in 2018 redoubles our commitment to seek justice through the courts and through the development and spread of technology that protects our privacy and security.

EFF.org
Together we can achieve the sunsetting of Section 702, and as President, could guarantee Veto of any renewal of 702... With the executive branch in our hands, we can rescind Executive Order 12333.

Executive Order 123333

Executive Order (EO) 12333 is the foundational authority by which NSA collects, retains, analyzes, and disseminates foreign signals intelligence information. The principal application of this authority is the collection of communications by foreign persons that occur wholly outside the United States.

EO 123333 Full Text, NSA.gov
Curbing Unconstitutional Privacy Violations, such as PRISM, Boundless Informant, warrantless surveillance, and extending the same privacy protections we have for paper to digital means are top priorities for our administration.

We should have the same expectation of privacy, whether we use ink or bits.

Privacy is a basic human right, and one that has been especially denied to oppressed communities.

Surveillance is a fact of life, so make privacy a human right

The Economist: In our age of authoritarianism and AI, what fills you with dread that human dignity and rights may suffer—or fills you with confidence that these values will be preserved?

Mr Cappello: I’ll go with dread. I dread that Americans born in the 21st century will grow ignorant of the fact that they enjoy considerably less privacy than their parents and grandparents did at their age—that a certain instinct is being lost as the years march on. I dread that our national conversation about privacy will be hijacked by conspiracy-theorists who speak in zero-sum terms. Or by political operatives so caught up in red-team/blue-team squabbles that they’ll use the issue as cannon fire instead of approaching it with the sense of balance and nuance that it deserves.

More than any of that, however, I dread that our civilisation is growing numb. That as our expectations of privacy plummet, Americans will increasingly shrug their shoulders and mutter knowingly to each other that privacy is dead. Those people make it a lot harder for the rest of us.

But don’t get me wrong: lately I’ve been more hopeful than fearful. The marketplace finally seems to be recognising privacy as something that consumers are willing to pay for. Apple’s new iPhone ad campaign, for example, is centered entirely around privacy. The more privacy and the profit-motive entwine, the less reliant our society is on just legal remedies.

The Economist
While it's easy to agree with the thesis of having privacy as a human right, we must remember that we cannot rely on profit motive alignment alone either -- indeed the profit motive is what led to surveillance capitalism's creation in the first place. We need market leadership from entrepreneurs, as well as regulation from elected officials to fully address this...

Surveillance Capitalism

Surveillance capitalism hinges on the appropriation and commercialisation of personal data for profit-making. This chapter spotlights three cases connected to surveillance capitalism: data appropriation, monetisation of health data and the unfair commercial practice when “free” isn’t “free”. It discusses related ethical concerns of power inequality, privacy and data protection, and lack of transparency and explainability. The chapter identifies responses to address concerns about surveillance capitalism and discusses three key responses put forward in policy and academic literature and advocated for their impact and implementation potential in the current socio-economic system: antitrust regulation, data sharing and access, and strengthening of data ownership claims of consumers/individuals. A combination of active, working governance measures is required to stem the growth and ill-effects of surveillance capitalism and protect democracy.

Bernd Carsten Stahl, Doris Schroeder & Rowena Rodrigues, Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

Privacy and Data Rights are especially important for curbing AI abuse, and are required for protecting our Intellectual Property and creativity, especially as most everything is now stored as data. The replacement for paper should have the same legal protections as paper. A patentable blueprint should have the same protections and privacy whether it was drawn on a computer with CAD or at a drafting table.

From Amadieu Diallo, to Sandra Bland, to George Floyd, to Breona Taylor, to Elijah Mclain, to Tyree Nichols and countless others:

Say Their Names

Wherever you are, please take a moment of silence to remember the fallen.




Right now, cities pay out from taxpayer dollars when police misconduct is found. Officers should have individual liability for their actions, under the law, just like anyone else. In this way, police are accountable, and rule of law is upheld.


***

Furthermore, we should wholeheartedly endorse and support national measures such as Congresswoman Ayanna Presley and Senator Ed Markey's bill towards Ending Qualified Immunity.

The Ending Qualified Immunity Act

Background

Across the country, police brutality remains a crisis disproportionately harming Black and brown communities. Law enforcement officers continue to avoid legal accountability when they break the law, and are shielded from it by the doctrine of qualified immunity. Congress granted individuals the right to sue state and local officials who violate their rights in the “Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871,” now found under Section 1983. However, since 1967 the Supreme Court has issued several decisions undermining the law by inventing the qualified immunity doctrine, rendering police officers {immune} from being sued for misconduct, negligence, or abuse—a unique protection that no other profession holds. Courts repeatedly shield law enforcement officials from accountability, for even the most egregious conduct, as long as there was no previous case that “clearly establish” the conduct was unlawful. This broad interpretation of this doctrine has allowed police to violate constitutional rights with impunity, providing officers immunity for everything from unlawful traffic stops to brutality and murder. Qualified immunity undermines the constitutional rights of every person in this country. It’s past time to end qualified immunity.

Recent Qualified Immunity Cases
  • In 2021, the 6th Circuit held that a police officer who shot into a moving car in a restaurant drive-thru and killed the unarmed driver was protected with immunity.1
  • In 2020, the 5th Circuit held that a correctional officer was entitled to qualified immunity after spraying a person in custody in the face with a chemical agent without provocation.2
  • In 2018, the 9th Circuit ruled that a police officer pointing a loaded gun at an unarmed man who remained seated and calm while being watched by another officer was “not objectively reasonable” but that both offers were entitled to immunity, because “the law was not clearly established at the time.”3
  • In 2017, the 11th Circuit ruled that it was an unconstitutional use of excessive force to throw a flashbang into a room with two sleeping people that the officer had not inspected first and although one person was badly burned, the court found the officer was still entitled to immunity.4
The Ending Qualified Immunity Act
The legislation codifies that the qualified immunity doctrine is not grounds for defense for violations of the law. Specifically, this bill would:
  • Amend Section 1983 to explicitly state that the qualified immunity doctrine invented by the Supreme Court does not provide officials that brutalize or otherwise violate civil rights with defense or immunity from liability for their actions.
  • Clarify Congress’ original intent for Section 1983 and note the history and necessity of this protection.



  1. U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs challenge to police qualified immunity defense, Reuters, Oct. 11, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/legal/us-supreme-court-rebuffs-challenge-policequalified-immunity-defense-2022-10-11/
  2. Fifth Circuit Upholds Qualified Immunity for Guard Pepper-spraying Prisoner Without Provocation, PRISON LEGAL NEWS, Apr. 2, 2020, https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2020/apr/2/fifth-circuit-upholds-qualified-immunity-guard-pepper-spraying-prisoner-without-provocation/
  3. Ibid
  4. A Legal Doctrine That Protects Cops In Court Is Getting Fresh Attention As Videos Surface Showing Police Violence, BUZZFEED NEWS, June 2, 2020, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetillman/qualified-immunity-police-brutality-protests-george-floyd

Bill Summary
Any riders or efforts to otherwise compromise the protections of this bill will be met with immediate and swift veto action.

When it comes to ethical oversight, a key area for judicial branch oversight is in requiring Supreme Court Disclosures. We can strengthen the Courthouse Ethics and Transparency Act. While the recently passed act has more stringent disclosure requirements, it has no "teeth" or enforcement mechanism.

Why it's unlikely ethics rules on Supreme Court gift disclosures will work

On why Lubet doubts Thomas will comply with disclosure rules.

Well, there's no enforcement mechanism. And in the past, the justices have adhered to them when they wanted to and not when they didn't. Justice Thomas says he'll follow the new interpretation. I don't really doubt him about that, but it's all very contingent because Chief Justice [John] Roberts and before him, Chief Justice [William] Rehnquist, have both declined to say that the rules were validly applicable to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Destinee Adams, NPR
Nobody is above the law.

Civilian Oversight of Policing
Governance, Democracy And Human Rights

O'rawe and Moore explain that a fundamental objective of policing in democratic societies is:
to protect and defend the rights of all, to ensure equality before the law, and to do this by having as a primary goal the maintenance of the rule of law.
This constitutional principle is the ideal. In practice, police often choose to ignore the rule of law and behave in a manner which suggests that it does not and should not apply to them. Their non-compliance is considered by some to be a type of "perk" that goes with the job. However the reality is that when police ignore laws which are designed to protect citizens' human rights they become criminals masquerading as law enforcement officials. As Crawshaw points out, their actions do not reduce criminality, rather they add to it.

Police in democratic societies often defend their illegal behaviour by asserting that adherence to principles such as due process and the rule of law hinder rather than enhance their effectiveness as law enforcers. However, they have not presented any persuasive evidence to support this claim, and until they do, police cannot expect citizens to trade hard won civil rights for a supposed, but not proved, reduction in crime. It is interesting and telling to note that police arrested and charged with a criminal offense are not prepared to relinquish their right to due process and the rule of law. It seems that when circumstances affect an officer's freedoms, police understand and appreciate only too well the importance of having democratic safeguards.

Civilian Oversight of Policing: Governance, Democracy and Human Rights. (2000)
Intelligence oversight is another variable in the equation that we must consider. Due to extreme abuse of Executive Order 12333, (aforementioned with section 702 abuses), the order would be revoked and a new order would be placed to maintain and expand the Intelligence Oversight Program while curbing abusive practices and unconstitutional violations of liberty and privacy.

The Department of Defense Intelligence Oversight Program

Purpose
Enable DoD intelligence personnel to carry out their legitimate functions effectively while protecting the constitutional rights and privacy of U.S. Persons.



U.S. Person Defined
  • U.S. citizens
  • Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR)
  • Certain unincorporated associations
  • Corporations incorporated in the U.S.
The United States Department of Defense Basic Intelligence Oversight Course
As seen in our own DoD literature, these programs are intended to protect the constitutional rights and privacy of U.S. Persons, however we have seen a lack of executive, judicial, or congressional oversight, to call questionable intelligence activities into check. If our checks and balances fail, then we as a society lose out on our constitutionally guaranteed liberties.

Protecting our Children

America needs common sense gun reforms.

How To Stop Shootings and Gun Violence in Schools: A Plan to Keep Students Safe

In partnership with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA)—two of the largest education-related member organizations collectively representing millions of teachers, school personnel, and administrators—Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund (Everytown) is working to ensure our approach to safer schools is driven by evidence, expertise, and care.

Key recommendations of this report are as follows:
  • Enact and Enforce Secure Firearm Storage Laws
  • Pass Extreme Risk Laws
  • Raise the Age to Purchase Semi-automatic Firearms
  • Require Background Checks on All Gun Sales
  • Foster a Safe and Trusting School Climate
  • Build a Culture of Secure Gun Storage
  • Create Evidence-Based Crisis Assessment/Prevention Programs in Schools
  • Implement Expert-Endorsed School Security Upgrades: Entry Control and Locks
  • Initiate Trauma-Informed Emergency Planning
  • Avoid Practices That Can Cause Harm and Traumatize Students
Background checks and gun safety class requirements should be instituted, as well as requiring proof of locked storage for the firearm, such that no child or unauthorized person can access the firearm, prior to purchase of the firearm, similar to how one is required to have insurance for a vehicle before taking delivery.

Schools should be gun free zones, and enforcement of these laws should be better implemented. Any attempts to repeal the Federal Gun-Free School Zones Act would be met with veto, and support would be expressed for National Weapon-Free School Zones with effective implementations, as well as judicial appointees who understand that a "well-regulated militia" is within purview and jurisdiction of federal law.

Our kids need the freedom to play, go out, and be safe.

Whether it's pollution in the air or vending machines full of soda and not a single sugar-free option, unfunded school lunches, or simply a lack of parks and recreation space, safe communities require a healthy environment for kids to grow up in.

What is the Right to a Healthy Environment?

All people have the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. As human rights and the environment are interdependent, a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is necessary for the full enjoyment of a wide range of human rights, such as the rights to life, health, food, water and sanitation and development, among others.

At the same time, the enjoyment of all human rights, including the rights to information, participation and access to justice, is of great importance to the protection of the environment.

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Indeed, the right to a healthy environment is already included in several state constitutions -- specifically, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. In Held v. State of Montana, the plaintiffs alleged that they were harmed by the state’s energy and environmental policies that encouraged the use of fossil fuels, thereby increasing greenhouse gas emissions and worsening climate change. The court found merit in plaintiffs’ argument, under the provision of the state constitution that declares that “all persons … have certain inalienable rights. They include the right to a clean and healthful environment.”

Furthermore, New Yorkers recently passed their own Green Amendment, and many other communities are following suit:

ARTICLE I SECTION 19

[Environmental rights] §19. Environmental rights. Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment. (Added by vote of the people November 2, 2021.)

Green Amendments in 2023: States Continue Efforts to Make a Healthy Environment a Legal Right

Communities across the United States are facing worsening and intersecting environmental threats. As a result, more states are expanding efforts in 2023 to make a healthy environment a constitutional right. Currently, three states – Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania – have established constitutional rights to a healthy environment via Green Amendments, but at least nine more states are considering bills in 2023.

National Caucus of Environmental Legislators
Indeed, every state should have a right to a healthy environment.

Furthermore, health is impacted not just by the air or environment, but by the food we eat and the way we live. Mental health especially comes from how we as individuals and as a society treat each other. All of these aspects of a healthy human experience are impacted by access to space and resources.

School Meals | Healthy Schools

Research shows that students who participate in the school meal programs consume more whole grains, milk, fruits, and vegetables during meal times and have better overall diet quality, than nonparticipants.

Centers for Disease control and Prevention
It's common sense wisdom that we should fund a national school lunch program:

Benefits of School Lunch

School Lunch Participation:

Reduces Food Insecurity
  • According to one estimate using national data, receiving free or reduced-price school lunches reduces food insecurity by at least 3.8 percent.
  • Among a sample of low-income children entering kindergarten, receiving a free or reduced-price school lunch reduces the probability of household food insecurity at school entry, whereas paying full price for school lunch is associated with a higher probability of household food insecurity.
  • Rates of food insecurity among children are higher in the summer — a time when many do not have access to the good nutrition provided by the school meal programs available during the academic year.
Improves Dietary Intake
  • Children participating in school meals are less likely to have nutrient inadequacies and are more likely to consume fruit, vegetables, and milk at breakfast and lunch.
  • Low-income students who eat both school breakfast and lunch have significantly better overall diet quality than low-income students who do not eat school meals.
  • The new school meal nutrition standards are having a positive impact on student food selection and consumption, especially for fruits and vegetables.
  • Packed lunches brought from home by pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students have more calories, fat, saturated fat, and sugar than school lunches, and less protein, fiber, vitamin A, and calcium, according to a study conducted after implementation of the new school meal nutrition standards.
  • Few packed lunches and snacks brought from home meet National School Lunch Program standards.
Positively Impacts Health and Obesity Rates
  • Participation in federally-funded child care nutrition or school meals provided in child care, preschool, school, or summer settings is associated with a significantly lower body mass index (BMI) among young, low-income children. These findings lead researchers to conclude that “subsidized meals at school or day care are beneficial for children’s weight status, and we argue that expanding access to subsidized meals may be the most effective tool to use in combating obesity in poor children.”
  • Based on national data, economists estimate that the receipt of a free or reduced-price school lunch reduces obesity rates by at least 17 percent.
  • Receiving free or reduced-price school lunches reduces poor health by at least 29 percent based on estimates using national data.
Meeting Children’s Nutritional Needs Leads to a Better Learning Environment
  • Behavioral, emotional, and mental health, and academic problems are more prevalent among children and adolescents struggling with hunger.
  • Children and adolescents experiencing hunger have lower math scores and poorer grades.
  • Children experiencing hunger are more likely to be hyperactive, absent, and tardy, in addition to having behavioral and attention problems more often than other children.
  • Teens experiencing hunger are more likely to have been suspended from school and have difficulty getting along with other children.
  • Children with hunger are more likely to have repeated a grade, received special education services, or received mental health counseling, than low-income children who do not experience hunger.
Food Research & Action Center

As part of our initiative to deliver a healthy environment, we must invest in green spaces and parks, as they provide maximal benefits and upside at minimal cost.

If we had a medicine that delivered as many benefits as parks, we would all be taking it. Parks deliver cardiovascular benefits, fight loneliness, combat osteoporosis, counter stress anxiety, and more. And they do those things without adverse side effects and at minimal costs.

Dr. Howard Frumkin, Senior Vice President at Trust for Public Land & Former Dean of the University of Washington School of Public Health
Healthy environments help everyone, and we must act cohesively to counter discrimination and other legacy problems that have led to Racial Disparities in Access to Public Green Space, or what the Center for American Progress refers to as "The Nature Gap". It was reported pre-pandemic in The Guardian that "Millions of Americans lack access to quality parks" and the CDC recognizes parks, recreation, and green spaces as hallmarks of a healthy environment.

In the words of Dr. James Bell III
If the research tells us that having access to green spaces benefits people by improving their physical and mental health, then the opposite must also be true — the absence of green spaces diminishes opportunities for good health.

Healing the Nation

Universal Healthcare programs are essential to healing our nation. Single Payer healthcare save Trillions of dollars over the long term (nearly 450 Billion per year based on 2017 numbers, even more now with 2023 numbers).

Just like corporate buyers or business owners buy in bulk to negotiate wholesale pricing and discounts, we too can do the same with medical supplies. It's the smart and fiscally responsible thing to do.

Improving the prognosis of health care in the USA

Although health care expenditure per capita is higher in the USA than in any other country, more than 37 million Americans do not have health insurance, and 41 million more have inadequate access to care. Efforts are ongoing to repeal the Affordable Care Act which would exacerbate health-care inequities. By contrast, a universal system, such as that proposed in the Medicare for All Act, has the potential to transform the availability and efficiency of American health-care services. Taking into account both the costs of coverage expansion and the savings that would be achieved through the Medicare for All Act, we calculate that a single-payer, universal health-care system is likely to lead to a 13% savings in national health-care expenditure, equivalent to more than US$450 billion annually (based on the value of the US$ in 2017). The entire system could be funded with less financial outlay than is incurred by employers and households paying for health-care premiums combined with existing government allocations. This shift to single-payer health care would provide the greatest relief to lower-income households. Furthermore, we estimate that ensuring health-care access for all Americans would save more than 68,000 lives and 1.73 million life-years every year compared with the status quo.

Prof Alison P Galvani Alyssa S Parpia, Eric M Foster, Burton H Singer, Meagan C Fitzpatrick, The Lancet

Not only does universal health care save money, it saves lives.

Study: More Than 335,000 Lives Could Have Been Saved During Pandemic if U.S. Had Universal Health Care

In the United States, death rates from COVID-19 are higher than in any other high-income country—and our fragmented and inefficient health system may be largely to blame, Yale researchers say in a new study.

If the U.S. had had a single-payer universal health care system in 2020, nearly 212,000 American lives would have been saved that year, according to a new study. In addition, the country would have saved $105 billion in COVID-19 hospitalization expenses alone.

The research team further calculated that in a non-pandemic year, some $438 billion would be saved by single-payer universal health care, like Medicare for All.

The results make a powerful case for health care reform, according to lead author Alison Galvani, Ph.D.

“Americans are needlessly losing lives and money,” said Galvani, director of Yale’s Center for Infectious Disease Modeling and Analysis and an endowed chair in the Department of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) at the Yale School of Public Health. “Medicare for All would be both an economic stimulus and life-saving transformation of our health care system.”

Yale School of Public Health

Glaring discrepancies in how we as a society define healthcare must also be addressed: we must remove all loopholes and integrate dental and vision care into the overall healthcare schema.

Integration of oral health into primary health care: A systematic review

Integration of oral health into primary health care holds the key to affordable and accessible health care as oral health is still a neglected component in many countries. This review aims to determine integration of oral health into primary health care and provide an evidence-based synthesis on a primary oral healthcare approach. Searches were conducted in various databases like Biomed Central, MEDLINE, Cochrane databases, NCBI (PubMed), Sci-Hub, Google Scholar, and WHO sites. The studies included in this review are according to the following eligibility criteria: the articles in English language, the articles published from January 2000 to October 2018, and only m full text article. The search yielded 500 articles. After removal of duplicates: 410 articles screened based on title and abstract, 100 full text articles were assessed for eligibility, and 30 full text articles were included. This review showed evidence how oral health is related to general health: focused on common risk factor approach and bidirectional relationship. There are various ways of integration, such as interprofessional education, interprofessional collaborative practice, closed-loop referral process, and various public and private partnerships, and at the same time, there are a lot of barriers in integration. Thus, the primary oral health care needs to be developed as an integral part of primary health care. Consequently, there is a need to increase finance, health care workforce, government support, and public–private partnership to achieve the goal of affordable and accessible health care, i.e. health for all.

Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care

Community Health Centers: A Model for Integrating Eye Care Services with the Practice of Primary Care Medicine

Optometry is desperately needed to combat the increasing rate of avoidable visual impairment that goes undiagnosed largely owing to the lack of integration of eye care services with primary care medicine. Government leaders are actively discussing substantive changes to health care legislation that will impact optometrists and their patients. The importance of a regular eye examination for disease prevention has long been undervalued in the setting of primary care. Consequently, many serious and potentially treatable ocular and systemic diseases go undiagnosed. Despite clear indicators that vision impairment increases the risk of morbidity and mortality from chronic systemic disease and decreases quality of life, vision health remains among the greatest unmet health care needs in the United States. To improve vision care services for all Americans, we must focus our attention on two central themes. First, we must educate the public, health care professionals, and policymakers on the importance of routine eye care as a preventive measure in the setting of primary care. Next, we need to recognize that optometrists, through their geographic distribution and advanced training, are in a strategic position to deliver integrated, comprehensive, cost-effective eye care services for individuals most in need. In this perspective, we discuss a model for integrating optometric services with the practice of primary care medicine to facilitate early detection of both eye and systemic disease while reducing serious and preventable health-related consequences.

Optometry and Vision Science

Prevention is better than cure

By focusing on public health, we can stop any future pandemics from happening in the first place.

Prior Administrations gutted our regulatory bodies, environmental protections, and even the CDC which ultimately allowed the pandemic to wreak as much havoc as it did.

Plus, a robust healthcare system is a good way to counter any bioterrorism or bioweapon attack.

Should our nation ever be subject to another pandemic, face the specter of zoonautic disease outbreak, or even attack by a bioweapon, a weaponized virus, or any form of bioterrorism, we would need a robust, trusted, Universal Health Care system to defend our lives.

Funding community owned hospitals and clinics is a major priority for increasing the robustness of America's Healthcare system.

Non-operating revenue is an important source of funding for rural hospitals, especially those that are government-owned

Purpose
Non-operating revenue (NOR), derived from investments, contributions, government appropriations, and medical space rentals, can contribute to financial stability of hospitals by offsetting operating losses and improving profitability. NOR might benefit rural hospitals that often face intense financial pressures. However, little is known about how much rural hospitals rely on NOR and if certain organizational characteristics are associated with differences in NOR.

Methods
Healthcare Cost Report Information System data from 2011 to 2019 were used to analyze sources of revenue among Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and Rural Prospective Payment System (R-PPS) hospitals through descriptive statistics and regression models. Reliance on NOR was measured by the percentage of total revenue from non-operating sources.

Findings
Results indicate that both CAHs and R-PPS hospitals rely on NOR; however, CAHs have a higher percentage of total revenue derived from non-operating sources (3.2%) as compared to R-PPS hospitals (1.9%) (p < 0.001). Government-owned hospitals have significantly higher reliance on NOR than other ownership types. System affiliation also influences reliance on NOR. Lastly, results suggest that NOR may play a role in improving overall profit margins.

Conclusions
As rural hospitals disproportionately face challenges related to declining profitability and the risk for closure, they may rely on NOR to continue to strengthen financial performance and provide health care to their communities. However, NOR is not guaranteed, and reliance on NOR further reiterates the value of stable, adequate reimbursement to guard against fluctuations in NOR.

Ariana Pitcher, Ruoyu Zhang BS, Susie Gurzenda MS, George Pink, Kristin Reiter, The Journal of Rural Health
Indeed we find a correlation between hospital financial performance and quality and safety of patient care. We should especially fund community serving doctors and nurses.

Correlation between hospital finances and quality and safety of patient care

Background
Hospitals under financial pressure may struggle to maintain quality and patient safety and have worse patient outcomes relative to well-resourced hospitals. Poor predictive validity may explain why previous studies on the association between finances and quality/safety have been equivocal. This manuscript employs principal component analysis to produce robust measures of both financial status and quality/safety of care, to assess our a priori hypothesis: hospital financial performance is associated with the provision of quality care, as measured by quality and safety processes, patient outcomes, and patient centered care.

Methods
This 2014 cross-sectional study investigated hospital financial condition and hospital quality and safety at acute care hospitals. The hospital financial data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) cost report were used to develop a composite financial performance score using principal component analysis. Hospital quality and patient safety were measured with a composite quality/safety performance score derived from principal component analysis, utilizing a range of established quality and safety indicators including: risk-standardized inpatient mortality, 30-day mortality, 30-day readmissions for select conditions, patient safety indicators from inpatient admissions, process of care chart reviews, CMS value-based purchasing total performance score and patient experience of care surveys. The correlation between the composite financial performance score and the composite quality/safety performance score was calculated using linear regression adjusting for hospital characteristics.

Results
Among the 108 New York State acute care facilities for which data were available, there is a clear relationship between hospital financial performance and hospital quality/safety performance score (standardized correlation coefficient 0.34, p<0.001). The composite financial performance score is also positively associated with the CMS Value Based Purchasing Total Performance Score (standardized correlation coefficient 0.277, p = 0.002); while it is negatively associated with 30 day readmission for all outcomes (standardized correlation coefficient -0.236, p = 0.013), 30-day readmission for congestive heart failure (standardized correlation coefficient -0.23, p = 0.018), 30 day readmission for pneumonia (standardized correlation coefficient -0.209, p = 0.033), and a decrease in 30-day mortality for acute myocardial infarction (standardized correlation coefficient -0.211, p = 0.027). Used alone, operating margin and total margin are poor predictors of quality and safety outcomes.

Conclusions
Strong financial performance is associated with improved patient reported experience of care, the strongest component distinguishing quality and safety. These findings suggest that financially stable hospitals are better able to maintain highly reliable systems and provide ongoing resources for quality improvement.

Dean D. Akinleye, Louise-Anne McNutt, Victoria Lazariu, Colleen C. McLaughlin, PLOS ONE

Medical staff shortages are not a new problem in America. According to a 2018 report by the Association of American Medical Colleges, there will be a shortage of anywhere from 42,600 to 121,300 doctors by 2030. Since 2006 we have seen Shortages of Medical Personnel at Community Health Centers.

As costs for education, tuition, and even just general living costs rapidly inflate, the problem gets worse. The average cost of medical school is around $220,000. Even going to a state school locally, costs easily balloon to near $300,000 of debt once all expenses and interest are added in. That's a whole mortgage and greedy hospital owners and insurance companies don't want to pay.

Cohesive healthcare policy requires us to fund community medical centers AND their staff.

How free medical school tuition can change the physician workforce

NYU School of Medicine’s tuition-free initiative is the most ambitious plan out there, but it isn’t the only school offering the chance at reduced debt. Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine, which will begin accepting applications for its first class in June, is offering free school during the program’s first five years of existence.

While these types of debt-reduction opportunities are not the norm, programs like NYU’s do offer a glimpse at the numerous benefits at tuition-free medical school. What are those benefits?

A more diverse physician workforce. This was one of the main reasons why NYU School of Medicine officials moved to free tuition, and the school is already seeing positive developments.

Since the announcement, applications at NYU School of Medicine rose about 50 percent, seeing an increase of almost 3,000. Applications from individuals belonging to an underrepresent minority group were up more than 100 percent.

“A key driver was to remove a financial disincentive that dissuades people from pursuing a path in medicine, and the thought of graduating from a [medical] private school with $300,000 in debt can serve as a disincentive,” Dr. Rivera said.

Taking the debt factor out of life choices. A 2014 Medical Education Online study of 3,032 medical students, “Medical student debt and major life choices other than specialty,” indicated that life milestones can take a hit as a result of loan obligations. The study found that students with more student-loan debt were likelier to delay marriage, home ownership and having children. The higher-debt students also were less likely to have plans to practice in underserved areas.

Alleviating debt could make it more possible for trainees to approach those life milestones on their own schedules.

NYU School of Medicine students will still have to pay for living expenses during their training. Dr. Rivera said projections are that the average NYU medical student entering last fall will graduate with a debt of about $80,000—a drop of more than 50 percent from the graduating class of 2018.

Freedom of specialty choice. While debt does not seem to be the strongest predictor of specialty choice, it does have an impact on the career paths some medical students follow.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges’ 2018 Medical School Graduation Questionnaire, about one-fifth of medical students consider their student debt to be an either a strong or moderate influence on the specialty they elected to pursue. Medical students electing to follow more lucrative career trajectories could potentially increase the shortage in necessary primary care and research-oriented specialties.

Dr. Rivera saw anecdotal evidence for the impact of the free-tuition plan on day one.

After the ceremony when the announcement was made, “there were a lot of cameras crews outside and one of the camera crews asked a student how this is going to impact him,” Dr. Rivera said. The medical student “said he had always been interested in pursuing a career as a physician scientist, and that having this tuition-free education made that much more possible to do.”

American Medical Association
Tuition free medical school means a guaranteed pipeline of skilled doctors will always be available, reducing the shortage of doctors, and empowers medical professionals, as they don't have that second mortgage to pay! This increases the resilience of our society, and brings an abundance of healthcare.

Most criticisms of tuition free medical school attack the NYU program on the basis that it won't fix all of America. By extending national and state tuition scholarship programs to medical school and primary care physicians, we can maximize impact and really nip the looming physician shortage crisis in the bud.

Educating the Nation

Free Public College: People who never got to finish would also be included, unlike the NYS Excelsior Scholarship.

FREE PUBLIC COLLEGE

The "Free Public College" movement has been growing since President Obama first suggested supplemental federal funding for community colleges in his 2015 State of the Union Address. Since then, there have been a variety of federal proposals introduced in Congress to provide institutional aid to all public colleges, state-level free public college programs have been proliferating, and "free public college" has become a popular progressive campaign promise.

The Biden-Harris campaign included “free public college” as one of its policy planks for Beyond High School, and is expected to submit proposals to reflect these ideas as part of the Biden Administration's budget.

During the 116th Congress, the House Education and Labor Committee introduced the College Affordability Act, which includes “America’s College Promise,” a federal-state partnership for tuition waivers at public community colleges. Additionally, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the College for All Act, which would provide free public two- and four-year tuition for families making less than $125,000. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee did not release comprehensive Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization legislation during the 116th Congress. With Democrats in control of the House and Senate for the 117th Congress, action on an HEA reauthorization that includes some form of “free college” is expected.

NAICU supports the Partnership for Affordability and Student Success (PASS) Act, introduced by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), which expands the existing federal-state partnership to increase state need-based grant aid.

At the state level, free public two-year or community college tuition is also gaining traction as several states have enacted or proposed legislation. New York enacted free public four-year tuition in 2017, and a few other states are considering similar initiatives. However, “free four-year” has not had the momentum of “free two-year” in the states.

A key concern with these programs is that they do not target resources to low-income students. Private, nonprofit colleges, public four-year, and public two-year colleges all have about the same percentage of Pell Grant students in their enrollments. All colleges serve a public mission, even if the independent sector does not get additional state support. The federal higher education investment must remain focused on low-income students, wherever they chose to attend.

National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
According to the Brookings Institute, public support and evidence all indicate that free college is a good idea. Thus to address the shortcomings and failures of prior administrations to deliver on this matter, the following solution is proposed:

For all new students, the First Bachelors degree will be free. For anyone who already got a degree, they can get another one for free -- allowing people to learn a new trade or go back to school and major in something new. Finally current students at the time of implementation can have retroactive disbursements applied to their degree in progress. This makes it fair for everyone.

A Smarter America is a more resilient America. It exalts our humanity and uplifts our civilization in all metrics, especially in providing socioeconomic benefit.

Why Is Education Considered an Economic Good?

Education tends to raise productivity and creativity, as well as stimulate entrepreneurship and technological breakthroughs. All of these factors lead to greater output and economic growth.

Investopedia
With fully accessible tuition free college and major investments in our education system, we will see more startups, more businesses, more co-ops, more ideas, more research, and more development...

With the rapid pace of growth and technological advance, people need to be able to go back to school and learn something new. This allows people to learn new skills and take on new roles as society and market needs shift. Older workers can upskill and learn new things -- for example old tool and die casting and manufacturing might want to learn about CNCs or 3d Printing.

Upskilling and reskilling would allow coal miners to learn renewable energy tech or perhaps get an MBA and open the restaurant they've always wanted to, make the first generation of hot rod shops for electric cars, or perhaps even make graphene from coal using CVD to help out with the chip shortage if they like science class -- whatever it may be.

There are countless examples of how we can enhance the skillsets of workers in dying industries to meet new market demand, which increases the quality of life for everyone involved.

We should fund schools and teachers, directly.

Teachers do one of the most valuable jobs in society: teaching and raising the next generation.

In our current economic climate, this means increasing teacher salaries to 100k minimum after 5 yrs tenure.

Teachers in the US face low pay relative to their level of education

Most public K-12 teachers hold a master’s degree, but their median pay is nearly $20,000 lower than the median worker with an advanced degree.

Teachers in the US are paid less than the average full-time worker, are underpaid for their level of education, and have experienced real wage declines for the past decade.

While real median earnings for full-time workers increased by 2.6% from 2010 to 2019, median earnings for teachers declined by 4.4% for high school teachers and 8.4% for elementary and middle school teachers.

In 2018, teachers from over 300 school districts participated in a teacher strike movement called #RedforEd to call for higher wages. In 2022, teachers went on strikes for higher wages and better teaching conditions in many states, including in California, Minnesota, and Washington. Despite these advocacy movements, teachers continue to see comparably low wages across the country.

How much are teachers paid?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average public teacher salary in 2021 was $65,090. This figure was lower than the 2021 average pay of all full-time, year-round workers, $75,203.



USA Facts
Furthermore no teacher should ever have to buy school supplies ever again. THIS IS AMERICA. Let's fund our schools, stock them up with supplies and fund school lunch.

Underpaid And Undersupplied: The Hidden Costs Of Teaching In America

Teachers are doing one of the most important and demanding jobs in our society and one of the most important for our nation’s future. They should not be asked to do so for lower wages and at higher personal costs than their peers who choose other careers. If we want to make the profession attractive to the smart, dedicated people it needs and meaningfully address chronic shortages, then it should not be on teachers to ensure their classrooms have pens, markers, staples, paper, and other essential supplies that their students need in order to learn.

Linda Darling-Hammond, Forbes

Bringing Peace to the World


Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

America, as a society, declared it's independence based upon the idea that we are all created equal, and that each of us have a right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. This idea was so revolutionary that we eventually became a symbol for liberty around the world, coming to be regarded as a safe haven for all who seek freedom.

When people came to Ellis Island they saw Lady Liberty greeting them, holding the lamp of her torch up high.

As a nation of immigrants, we learned that to come to America is to come to the Golden Door -- that America is where we shall find liberty and justice for all.

Our legend throughout the world, our symbology, is that of a champion of human rights.

America welcomes the tired, the poor, the homeless and wretched. We are the land of equal opportunity, a society where anyone can become the best they could possibly be.

We, as a society have to preserve that vision, and uphold it's promise to everyone.

Human Rights For All

When we say the pledge of Allegiance, we say we are "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." The pledge doesn't specify only certain people, or only one group, or only people of a certain religion or skin tone or gender, etc. It says ALL. It is incumbent upon us to support ALL human rights. This means ALL humans, without exception.

Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more.

United Nations
Even among the founding fathers these ideals were shared:
Among them was the idea that all people are created equal, whether European, Native American, or African American, and that these people have fundamental rights, such as liberty, free speech, freedom of religion, due process of law, and freedom of assembly. America's revolutionaries openly discussed these concepts.

Library of Congress

What do we stand for as a nation?

Unfortunately, the aforementioned Library of Congress quote continues, to say

Many Americans agreed with them but some found that the ideology was far more acceptable in the abstract than in practice.
We cannot have freedom only in the abstract. Countless violations of humans rights occur around the world.

We, as a society, must ensure that we uphold the promise and ideals of America, FOR ALL PEOPLE, in a way that stands the test of time.

Seeking asylum is a human right.

The right to seek asylum was incorporated into international law following the atrocities of World War II. Congress adopted key provisions of the Geneva Refugee Convention (including the international definition of a refugee) into U.S. immigration law when it passed the Refugee Act of 1980.

International Rescue Committee
Let's consider the Refugee Act:

Refugee Act of 1980

In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, the need for a change in American policy concerning refugees became apparent as hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese and Cambodians fled political chaos and physical danger in their homelands. Between 1975 and 1979, some 300,000 of these refugees were able to come to the United States through Presidential action, as the law at the time restricted refugee admissions. Seeing this, many members of Congress wanted to establish a more regular system of immigration and resettlement that would establish a clear and flexible policy.

Passed unanimously by the Senate in late 1979 and signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in early 1980, the Refugee Act of 1980 amended the earlier Immigration and Nationality Act and the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act. It raised the annual ceiling for refugees from 17,400 to 50,000, created a process for reviewing and adjusting the refugee ceiling to meet emergencies, and required annual consultation between Congress and the President.

The Act also changed the definition of “refugee” to a person with a “well-founded fear of persecution,” a standard established by United Nations conventions and protocols. It also funded a new Office of U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs and an Office of Refugee Resettlement and built on already existing public-private partnerships that helped refugees settle and adjust to life in their new country.

National Archives Foundation
We should expand the Refugee Act of 1980, to remove the ceiling on refugees, and fund asylum infrastructure such that those seeking the promise of Liberty and Justice For All receive it with due process in a timely manner.

We cannot bar people from seeking asylum at our shores or land, and any delay longer than a month is inhumane and unacceptable, especially in the high tech age that we live in today. It is recommended that we plan for staffing and capacity such that we have an average asylum wait time of one week, allowing for at longest, one month. Non asylum immigration cases should be resolved within 6 months at maximum. Acts of war and violence can rapidly disrupt and take lives, increasing the urgency with which we must act.

Diplomacy is golden.

Which Works Best: Force or Diplomacy?

Bottom line: it is worth remembering that America's greatest foreign policy successes were mostly the result of skillful diplomacy...

Stephen M. Walt, Professor of International Relations at Harvard University, columnist at Foreign Policy
Diplomatic relations are how we build common ground and find alignment with other nations such that we can promote general human welfare. We cannot lapse into tone-deaf foreign policy, dominance seeking, or Kissingerism. It is imperative that we maintain a position of the highest moral ground both domestically and internationally.

Whether it's with our local police, or on the international stage, America has to focus on de-escalating conflicts.

Conflict resolution is a way for two or more parties to find a peaceful solution to a disagreement among them. The disagreement may be personal, financial, political, or emotional. When a dispute arises, often the best course of action is negotiation to resolve the disagreement.

The Community Tool Box, Center for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas.
When war breaks out and civilians on both sides are killed we should exert humanitarian leadership, and call for an immediate ceasefire.

We should celebrate the legacy of our peacemakers, and reprise our role as the world's strongest nation to broker peace deals that are just, such that they achieve a lasting peace via the presence of justice, and not merely an absence of tension.

To maintain justice and lasting peace requires one to keep their commitment. Even marriages fail when partners break their vows.

Unfortunately, our nation has a long history of broken treaties with our native people.

While we have issued reparations for various reasons, there are staggering, glaring omissions left unaddressed due to the fact that we as a nation have not held our word.

Indeed,

I would rather be accused of breaking precedents than breaking promises.

President John F. Kennedy
Let us consider our nations' conduct and prior track record when it has come to keeping our promises:

Broken Treaties With Native American Tribes: Timeline

Between the Revolutionary War and the aftermath of the Civil War, over the course of almost a century, the United States and Native American nations signed some 368 treaties that would define their relationship for centuries to come.

The treaties keyed off the fundamental idea that each tribal group was an independent nation, with their own right to self-determination and self-rule. But as white settlers began moving onto Native American lands, this idea came into conflict with the relentless pace of westward expansion—resulting in many broken promises on the part of the U.S. government.

Sarah Pruitt, History, A&E Television Networks

The Trail of Broken Treaties

Inspired by the Civil Rights Movement at home and the Third World Movements abroad, newly empowered and organized Native Americans embarked on a new campaign for Native American Rights in 1972. Called the Trail of Broken Treaties, the demonstration brought caravans of Native American activists from the West Coast to Washington, D.C. to demand redress for years of failed and destructive federal Indian policies. Although the campaign was ultimately overshadowed by the activists’ week-long occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) building and the negative press that resulted, the activists themselves remained steadfast in their objectives. These objectives were outlined in a Twenty-Point Position Paper that established an agenda for the Native American rights struggle in the years to come.

The Struggle For Soverignty: American Indian Activism In The Nation's Capital, National Park Service

Broken Treaties: An Oral History Tracing Oregon’s Native Population

The “Discovery” Of The West

...the pioneer mandate to settle the West can be traced back to 1493.

In the year after Christopher Columbus claimed the Americas for the Queen of Spain, Pope Alexander VI wrote the rules on the proper way to “discover” new land. His “Doctrine of Discovery” would guide Europe’s colonization of new territories around the world. And the ideas would echo in the occupation of land and subjugation of native people for hundreds of years.

“By the authority of God … We appoint you lords over them with full and free power, authority and jurisdiction of every kind.”

In 1806, Lewis and Clark's “Voyage of Discovery" asserted America’s presence in Indian country in the American West. And the U.S. Supreme Court later invoked the Doctrine of Discovery for the acquisition of that Indian land.

"The United States Constitution recognizes [tribes] as sovereign governments. But part of the Doctrine of Discovery claims the newly arrived United States or European country has an overriding sovereignty over the sovereignty of the indigenous groups, tribes, nations."
Robert J. Miller, Law Professor (Arizona State University), Tribal Judge and Author

In time, that policy would take on a new name: Manifest Destiny.

Eric Cain, John Rosman, Oregon Public Broadcasting

Treaties Matter: Broken Promises

In negotiations with Native nations, American officials promised that Indian reservations would always belong to the tribes, and that treaty payments and provisions would be delivered in full and on time. Dakota and Ojibwe people were promised everlasting possession of their reservation lands. However, time would show that these promises were not to be honored.

Treaties Matter

In 1868, Two Nations Made a Treaty, the U.S. Broke It and Plains Indian Tribes are Still Seeking Justice

The pages of American history are littered with broken treaties. Some of the earliest are still being contested today. The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 remains at the center of a land dispute that brings into question the very meaning of international agreements and who has the right to adjudicate them when they break down.

In 1868, the United States entered into the treaty with a collective of Native American bands historically known as the Sioux (Dakota, Lakota and Nakota) and Arapaho. The treaty established the Great Sioux Reservation, a large swath of lands west of the Missouri River. It also designated the Black Hills as “unceded Indian Territory” for the exclusive use of native peoples. But when gold was found in the Black Hills, the United States reneged on the agreement, redrawing the boundaries of the treaty, and confining the Sioux people—traditionally nomadic hunters—to a farming lifestyle on the reservation. It was a blatant abrogation that has been at the center of legal debate ever since.

Kimbra Cutlip, Smithsonian Magazine

Indian Treaties and the Removal Act of 1830

Through a combination of coerced treaties and the contravention of treaties and judicial determination, the United States Government succeeded in paving the way for the westward expansion and the incorporation of new territories as part of the United States.

Office of the Historian, Foreign Service Institute, US Department of State

The act of breaking one's word -- of making promises and not keeping them -- is problematic at all levels of society and humanity, whether it be in a relationship betwixt people or nations.

Reparations are but one of many promises we have made as a nation and failed to uphold. Furthermore, the timeline of reparations reveals the history of a nation fraught with racism, discrimination, and injustice.

The Thorny History of Reparations in the United States

In the 20th century, the country issued reparations for Japanese American internment, Native land seizures, massacres and police brutality. Will slavery be next?

Erin Blakemore, History, A&E Television Networks

An Historical Timeline of Reparations Payments Made From 1773 through 2023 by the United States Government, States, Cities, Religious Institutions, Universities, Corporations, and Communities

Reparations Payments Made in the United States by the Federal Government, States, Cities, Religious Institutions, Universities, and Corporations

1700-1899
1773: The first case involving the rights of enslaved people in Essex County, Massachusetts, was tried in the Court of Common Pleas. Richard Greenleaf was charged with "trespass for inslaving [sic] the plaintiff", Caesar Hendrick. He was found liable for £18 in damages and costs. (History Happenings: Oct. 2, 2020. (2020, October 2). Daily News of Newburyport, The (MA). Access World News.)

1781: Anthony (Tony) and Cuba had been enslaved by John Vassall until John fled for England. When the master's estate was confiscated, Tony petitioned the Massachusetts legislature seeking title to the plot of land on which he had been enslaved for over 40 years. They were evicted from the land but the legislature awarded them an annual pension of £12 from the sale of the estate. (Though dwelling in a land of freedom. (2018). National Park Service.)

1783: Belinda Sutton (also Royal or Royall) was born in modern-day Ghana in 1713, and sold into slavery as a child to Isaac Royall in Massachusetts. After 50 years of enslavement she was made a freedwoman when Royall fled to Nova Scotia. Sutton petitioned the commonwealth of Massachusetts for a pension. In 1783 she was awarded a pension of 15 pounds, 12 shillings, to be paid from the estate of Isaac Royall. (We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates, p. 176 in the chapter "The Case for Reparations", 2017.)

1863: Over four days In July mobs of white New Yorkers terrorized Black people by roaming the streets from City Hall to Gramercy Park to past 40th Street, setting fire to buildings and killing people. The overall death toll is estimated at between over 100 and over 1,000. Immediately after the riots, the white merchants of New York ("Report of the Merchants' Committee for the Relief of the Colored People Suffering from the Late Riots in the City of New York", 1863 booklet) combined forces to raise money to care for the injured, repair the damaged property, and support the legal and employment needs of the community's Black people. The shopkeepers raised over $40,000, equivalent to $825,000 in 2021. ("The Real Story of the 'Draft Riots'" by Elizabeth Mitchell, The New York Times, February 18, 2021.)

1865: On January 12, in the midst of the Civil War, General William T. Sherman and U.S. secretary of war Edwin M. Stanton met with 20 Black leaders in Savannah Georgia. Four days later, General Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 15 stating that Black people would receive an army mule and not more than forty acres on coastal plains of South Carolina and Georgia. By June, roughly 40,000 Blacks had settled on four hundred thousand acres of land before Confederate landowners, aided by the new Johnson administration, started taking back "their" land. (Secondary source: How To Be An Antiracist (2019) by Ibram X. Kendi, p.174; primary sources cited by Kendi: See The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1895-37-41); "Sherman's Special Field Orders, No.15", in The Empire State of the South: Georgia History in Documents and Essays, ed. Christopher C. Meyers (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2008, 174).)

1866: Southern Homestead Act: "Ex-slaves were given 6 months to purchase land at reasonable rates without competition from white southerners and northern investors. But, owing to their destitution, few ex-slaves were able to take advantage of the program. The largest number that did were located in Florida, numbering little more than 3,000… The program failed."

1878: In 1853, Henrietta Wood was a free black woman living and laboring as a domestic worker in Cincinnati when she was lured across the Ohio River and into the slave state of Kentucky by a white man named Zebulon Ward. Ward sold her to slave traders, who took her to Texas, where she remained enslaved through the Civil War. Wood eventually returned to Cincinnati, and in 1870 sued Ward for $20,000 in damages and lost wages. In 1878, an all-white jury decided in Wood's favor, with Ward ordered to pay $2,500 (approximately $68,000 in 2023), perhaps the largest sum ever awarded by a court in the United States in restitution for slavery. ("The Ex-Slave Who Sued, and Won" by W. Caleb McDaniel, The New York Times, September 5, 2019.)

1900-1949
1924: With the Pueblo Lands Act of 1924, Congress authorized the establishment of the Pueblo Lands Board to adjudicate land title disputes, along with a payment of $1,300,000 to the Pueblo for the land they lost (although the Pueblo disputed the amount). (A History of the Indians in the United States by Angie Debo (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1984, p. 335).)

1927: The Shoshones were paid over $6 million for land illegally seized from them (although it was only half the appraised value of the land). (Race, Racism, and Reparations by J. Angelo Corlett, 2003, Cornell University Press, p. 170.)

1934: Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act which authorized $2 million a year in appropriations for the acquisition of land for Indians (except for the state of Oklahoma and the territory of Alaska until 1936). Congress made appropriations until 1941. In total $5.5 million was appropriated for 400,000 acres of land, and further legislation added 875,000 acres to reservations. One million acres of grazing land and nearly one million acres intended for homesteading were returned to the tribes. (A History of the Indians in the United States by Angie Debo (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1984, pp. 228-341).)

1944: As Attorney General of California, Earl Warren sued the federal government in the Court of Claims on behalf of California's Native Americans after failure to ratify solemn treaties with various tribes. The plaintiffs were eventually awarded $17 million, although after “costs” deducted by the federal government, the amount was whittled to $5 million. (“Short Overview of California Indian History” by Edward D. Castillo, State of California Native American Heritage Commission, n.d.; see also Indians of California by Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1966.)

1946: Congress created the Indian Claims Commission to hear fraud and treaty violation claims against the United States government. The Commission was adjourned in 1978 with all pending cases transferred to the United States Court of Claims. By this time the Commission had adjudicated 546 claims and awarded more than $818 million in judgments. (A History of the Indians in the United States by Angie Debo (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1984, p. 346).

1950-1969
1950: The Navajo-Hopi Rehabilitation Act was passed, authorizing an appropriation of $88,570,000 over 10 years for a program benefiting the Navajo and Hopi, including soil conservation, education, business and industry development on reservation, and assistance in finding employment off-reservation. (A History of the Indians in the United States by Angie Debo (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1984, p. 348).)

1956: The Pawnees were awarded more than $1 million in a suit brought before the Indian Claims Commission for land taken from them in Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri. (Race, Racism, and Reparations by J. Angelo Corlett, 2003, Cornell University Press, p. 170.)

1962: Georgia restored many Cherokee landmarks, a newspaper plant, and other buildings in New Echota. It also repealed its repressive anti-Native American laws of 1830. (Race, Racism, and Reparations by J. Angelo Corlett, 2003, Cornell University Press, p. 170.)

1968: In the United States Court of Claims case Tlingit and Haida Indians of Alaska v. United States, the plaintiff tribes won a judgment of $7.5 million as just compensation for land taken by the United States government between 1891 and 1925. (A History of the Indians in the United States by Angie Debo (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1984, p. 399).)

1969: The Black Manifesto was launched in Detroit as one of the first calls for reparations in the modern era. Penned by James Forman, former SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) organizer, and released at the National Black Economic Development Conference, the manifesto demanded $500 million in reparations from predominantly White religious institutions for their role in perpetuating slavery. About $215,000 (other sources say $500,000) was raised from the Episcopalian and Methodist churches through rancorous deliberations that ultimately tore the coalition apart. The money was used to establish organizations such as a black-owned band, television networks, and the Black Economic Research Center. ("Black and Blue Chicago Finds a New Way to Heal" by Yana Kunichoff and Sarah Macaraeg, YES Magazine, Spring 2017; From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century by William A. Darity, Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen (Chapel Hill, NC: UNC Press, 2020, pp. 14-15).

1970-1989
1970: Richard Nixon signed into law House Resolution 471 restoring Blue Lake and surrounding area to the Taos Pueblo (New Mexico). The land had been taken by presidential order in 1906. (A History of the Indians in the United States by Angie Debo (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1984, p. 422); see also "Taos Pueblo celebrates 40th anniversary of Blue Lake's return" by Matthew van Buren, Santa Fe New Mexican, September 18, 2010.)

The payments from 1971-1988 are taken from the booklet Black Reparations Now! 40 Acres, $50 Dollars, and a Mule, + Interest by Dorothy Benton-Lewis; and borrowed from N’COBRA (National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America).

1971: Around $1 billion + 44 million acres of land: Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

1974: A $10 million out-of-court settlement was reached between the U.S. government and Tuskegee victims, black men who had been unwitting subjects of a study of untreated syphilis, and who did not receive available treatments. (“The Tuskegee Timeline”, CDC, updated March 2, 2020.)

1980: $81 million: Klamaths of Oregon. ("Spending Spree" by Dylan Darling, Herald and News (Klamath Falls, OR), June 21, 2005.)

1980: $105 million: Sioux of South Dakota for seizure of their land. (United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, 448 U.S. 371 (1980).)

1985: $12.3 million: Seminoles of Florida. (see Racial Justice in America: A Reference Handbook by David B. Mustard, 2002, ABC-CLIO, p. 81.)

1985: $31 million: Chippewas of Wisconsin. (see Racial Justice in America: A Reference Handbook by David B. Mustard, 2002, ABC-CLIO, p. 81.)

1986: $32 million per 1836 Treaty: Ottawas of Michigan. (see Racial Justice in America: A Reference Handbook by David B. Mustard, 2002, ABC-CLIO, p. 81.)

1988: Civil Liberties Act of 1988: President Ronald Reagan signed a bill providing $1.2 billion ($20,000 a person) and an apology to each of the approximately 60,000 living Japanese-Americans who had been interned during World War II. Additionally, $12,000 and an apology were given to 450 Unangans (Aleuts) for internment during WWII, and a $6.4 million trust fund was created for their communities. ("U.S. pays restitution; apologizes to Unangan (Aleut) for WWII Internment," National Library of Medicine.)

1989*: Congressman John Conyers, D-Michigan, introduced bill H.R. 3745, which aimed to create the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. The bill was introduced "[to] address the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes." (Preamble)

Congressional actions

1990-2009
The reparations payments marked with † are taken from "How Chicago Became the First City to Make Reparations to Victims of Police Violence" by Yana Kunichoff and Sarah Macaraeg, YES Magazine, Spring 2017; and Long Overdue: The Politics of Racial Reparations: From 40 Acres to Atonement and Beyond by Charles P. Henry, 2007, NYU Press.

1993*,**: U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution acknowledging and apologizing to Native Hawaiians the illegal United States–aided overthrow of the sovereign Hawaiian nation.

1994: The state of Florida approved $2.1 million for the living survivors of a 1923 racial pogrom that resulted in multiple deaths and the decimation of the Black community in the town of Rosewood. ("Rosewood Massacre: A Harrowing Tale of Racism and the Road toward Reparations" by Jessica Glenza, The Guardian, January 3, 2016.)

1995†**: The Southern Baptists apologized to African American church members for the denomination’s endorsement of slavery.

1997†**: President Bill Clinton apologized to the survivors of the U.S. government–sponsored syphilis tests in Tuskegee, Alabama.

1998†: President Clinton signed into law the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Study Site Act, which officially acknowledges an 1864 attack by seven hundred U.S. soldiers on a peaceful Cheyenne village located in the territory of Colorado. Hundreds, largely women and children, were killed. The act calls for the establishment of a federally funded Historic Site at Sand Creek, which was established in 2007.

1999†: A class action lawsuit by black farmers against the United States Department of Agriculture was settled by a consent decree, leading to nearly $1 billion in payments to plaintiffs. The lawsuit alleged systematic racial discrimination in the allocation of farm loans from 1981 to 1996. A further $1.2 billion was appropriated by Congress for the second part of the settlement. (The Pigford Cases, Congressional Research Service, May 29, 2013; see also Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil by Susan Neiman (New York: Macmillan, 2019).)

2001†: The Oklahoma legislature passed and Governor Keating signed a bill to pay reparations for the destruction of the Greenwood, Oklahoma, community in 1921 in the form of low-income student scholarships in Tulsa; an economic development authority for Greenwood; a memorial; and the awarding of medals to the 118 known living survivors of the destruction of Greenwood.

2002: Parties in the case of Ayres v. Fordice, a lawsuit first brought in 1975, agree on a settlement of $503 million. The lawsuit alleged that the state of Mississippi had systematically underfunded or otherwise neglected its Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as compared with other post-secondary institutions, and essentially creating a system of segregation based on race. The settlement money would be used for improving academic programs and for capital investments.(Harris, A. (2021). Thirteen years a remedy, thirty years a fight, two centuries a struggle. In The state must provide: Why America’s colleges have always been unequal—And how to set them right (pp. 163–196). New York: Ecco.)

2002**: Governor Mark Warner of Virginia issued a formal apology for the state’s decision to forcibly sterilize more than 8,000 of its residents. ("Va. Apologizes to the Victims of Sterilizations" by William Branigin, Washington Post, May 3, 2002.)

2004**: The faculty senate at the University of Alabama passed a resolution apologizing for its early faculty members' involvement in slavery prior to the Civil War. (Harris, L. M. (2020, January 29). Higher education’s reckoning with slavery. AAUP.)

2005†***: The U.S. Senate approved, by voice vote, S.R. 39, which called for the lawmakers to apologize to lynching victims, survivors, and their descendants, several whom were watching from the gallery.

2005: Virginia, five decades after ignoring Prince Edward County and other locales that shut down their public schools in support of segregation, is making a rare effort to confront its racist past, in effect apologizing and offering reparations in the form of scholarships. With a $1 million donation from the billionaire media investor John Kluge and a matching amount from the state, Virginia is providing up to $5,500 to any state resident who was denied a proper education when public schools shut down. So far, more than 80 students have been approved for the scholarships and the numbers are expected to rise. Several thousand are potentially eligible. (“A New Hope For Dreams Suspended By Segregation”, The New York Times, July 31, 2005 by Michael Janofsky.)

2005: Banking corporation JPMorgan Chase issues an apology for their historical ties to the slave trade. The corporation set up a $5 million scholarship fund for black students to attend college. The scholarship program, called Smart Start Louisiana, was likened to reparations by several commentators, including Rev. Jesse Jackson. ("JPMorgan: Predecessors linked to slavery", January 21, 2005, Associated Press; "JP Morgan Chase Creates 'Smart Start Louisiana'", Howard University News Service.)

2007-2008**: State legislatures in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Alabama, New Jersey, and Florida passed measures apologizing for slavery and segregation. (From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century by William A. Darity, Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen (Chapel Hill, NC: UNC Press, 2020, p. 24).)

2008/2009†*,**: U.S. House Resolution 194 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 26 made a formal apology to the African American community for "centuries of brutal dehumanization and injustices." Plus, there was an admission that "African Americans continue to suffer from the complex interplay between slavery and Jim Crow long after both systems were formally abolished through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity."

* Congressional actions
** apologies from government institutions and other organizations

2010-2019
The reparations payments marked with † are taken from "How Chicago Became the First City to Make Reparations to Victims of Police Violence" by Yana Kunichoff and Sarah Macaraeg, YES Magazine, Spring 2017; and Long Overdue: The Politics of Racial Reparations: From 40 Acres to Atonement and Beyond by Charles P. Henry, 2007, NYU Press.

2014: The state of North Carolina set aside $10 million for reparations payments to living survivors of the state’s eugenics program, which forcibly sterilized approximately 7,600 people. ("North Carolina Set To Compensate Forced Sterilization Victims" by Scott Neuman, NPR, July 25, 2013; "Families of NC Eugenics Victims No Longer Alive Still Have Shot at Compensation" by Anne Blythe, News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), March 17, 2017.)

2015†: The City of Chicago signed into law an ordinance granting cash payments, free college education, and a range of social services to 57 living survivors of police torture (Burge Reparations). Explicitly defined as reparations, which totaled $5.5 million, the ordinance includes a formal apology from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a mandate to teach the broader public about the torture through a memorial and public school curriculum.

2016†: Georgetown University has acknowledged that the school has profited from the sale of slaves and has "reconciled" by naming two buildings after African Americans and offer preferred admission to any descendants of slaves who worked at the university.

2016: The state of Virginia, one of more than 30 other states that practiced forced sterilizations, followed North Carolina’s lead and has since 2016 been awarding $25,000 to each survivor. ("Virginia Votes Compensation for Victims of its Eugenic Sterilization Program" by Jaydee Hanson, Center for Genetics and Society, March 5, 2015.)

2016: The U.S. government reached a settlement of $492 million with 17 Native American tribes to resolve lawsuits alleging the federal government mismanaged tribal land, resources, and money. (“U.S. Government To Pay $492 Million To 17 American Indian Tribes” by Rebecca Hersher, NPR, September 27, 2016.)

2018: The Supreme Court, in a 4-4 deadlock, let stand a lower court's order to the state of Washington to make billions of dollars worth of repairs to roads, where the state had built culverts below road channels and structures in a way that prevented salmon from swimming through and reaching their spawning grounds, that had damaged the state’s salmon habitats and contributed to population loss. The case involved the Stevens Treaties, a series of agreements in 1854-55, in which tribes in Washington State gave up millions of acres of land in exchange for "the right to take fish." Implicit in the treaties, courts would later rule, was a guarantee that there would be enough fish for the tribes to harvest. Destroying the habitat reduces the population and thus violates these treaties. This decision directly affects the Swinomish Tribe. ("A Victory For A Tribe That’s Lost Its Salmon" by John Eligon, The New York Times, June 12, 2018.)

2019*: Senator Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, introduced bill S. 1083 (H.R. 40 Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act) in the Senate that would provide for a commission to study and report on the impact of slavery and discrimination against Black Americans and deliver a verdict on different proposals for reparations. The bill "is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy, and implicit racial bias in our country. It will bring together the best minds to study the issue and propose solutions that will finally begin to right the economic scales of past harms and make sure we are a country where all dignity and humanity is affirmed." (Press release, April 8, 2019.)

2019***: "Students at Georgetown University voted to increase their tuition to benefit descendants of the 272 enslaved Africans that the Jesuits who ran the school sold nearly two centuries ago to secure its future." In a nonbinding student-led referendum, "the undergraduate student body voted to add a new fee of $27.20 per student per semester to their tuition bill, with the proceeds devoted to supporting education and health care programs in Louisiana and Maryland, where many of the 4,000 known living descendants of the 272 enslaved people now reside." ("Georgetown Students Agree to Create Reparations Fund" by Adeel Hassan, The New York Times, April 12, 2019.)

2019: Catholic nuns of the Society of the Sacred Heart introduced a scholarship fund to benefit African-American students at their school in Louisiana, along with a memorial to the 150 enslaved persons who labored to build the schools. (Swarns, R. L. (2019, August 2). The nuns who bought and sold human beings. The New York Times; Jones, T. L. (2018, March 11). Society of the Sacred Heart hopes for understanding, reconciliation as it delves into its history of slave ownership. The Advocate.)

2019: The Virginia Theological Seminary has earmarked $1.7 million to pay reparations to descendants of African Americans who were enslaved to work on their campus. The first payments of $2,100, to 15 recipients, were distributed in February 2021. ("Virginia Theological Seminary, With Deep Roots in Slavery, Sets Aside $1.7 Million to Pay Reparations" by Dara Sharif, The Root, September 10, 2019; Wright, W. (2021, May 31). Seminary built on slavery and Jim Crow labor has begun paying reparations. The New York Times.)

2019: Princeton Theological Seminary announced a $27 million commitment for various initiatives to recognize how it benefited from black slavery. This is the largest monetary commitment by an educational institution. ("WWJD: Princeton Theological Seminary Announces $27 Million Reparations Plan" by Anne Branigin, The Root, October 24, 2019.)

2019: Georgetown University announced that it would raise about $400,000 a year to benefit descendants of the 272 enslaved people who were sold to aid the college 200 years ago, and the funds will be used to support community projects. While students would be involved in the initiative, they would not be required to pay extra fees; the money would be raised through voluntary donations from alumni, faculty, students, and philanthropists. ("Descendants of 272 Slaves Offered Aid By Georgetown" by Rachel Swarns, The New York Times, October 30, 2019.)

2019: A convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New York voted to allocate $1.1 million to initiate a reparations program. (Episcopal Diocese of New York. (2019, November 10). Diocesan Convention votes $1.1 million towards reparations, passes 1860 anti-slavery resolutions.)

2019: The City Council of Evanston, Illinois, voted to allocate the first $10 million in tax revenue from the sale of recreational marijuana (which became legal in the state on January 1, 2020) to fund reparations initiatives that address the gaps in wealth and opportunity of black residents. "This week's City Council vote appears to have made Evanston the first municipal government in the nation to create and fund its own reparations program." Note: While Chicago created a program to compensate victims of police torture (see above), the reparations were not primarily race-based. (“Future Weed Revenue Will Fund Evanston’s New Reparations Program” by Jonah Meadows, Patch, November 27, 2019; Associated Press. (2021, March 23). Evanston, Illinois, becomes first U.S. city to pay reparations to Black residents. NBC News.)

* Congressional actions
** apologies from government institutions and other organizations
*** first college students to vote to financially support reparations

2020-present
2020: The Episcopal Diocese of Texas (whose first bishop, Alexander Gregg, was a slave holder) pledged $13 million for a racial justice project. (Downen, R. (2020, February 13). Texas Episcopalians pledge $13M to 'repair and commence racial healing'. Houston Chronicle.)

2020**: The University of Mississippi has apologized to dozens of African Americans who were arrested in 1970 for protesting racial inequality and Confederate imagery on campus. (“Ole Miss Apologizes to Black Protesters Arrested in 1970”, Associated Press, February 26, 2020.)

2020: The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston reached an agreement with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office to implement policies and procedures, and a $500,000 fund, to address diversity issues. The agreement follows an incident of racial discrimination towards black students visiting the museum in May 2019. ("AG's Office and Museum of Fine Arts Reach Historic Agreement to Support Diversity and Inclusivity", MFA Press Release, May 5, 2020.)

2020: The town of Asheville, North Carolina, voted to give reparations to its black residents, in the form of a public apology and investing in black communities. ("A Liberal North Carolina Town Has Unanimously Voted to Give its Black Residents Reparations" by Anne Branigin. The Root, July 15, 2020.)

2020: At the recommendation of the Racial Equity Task Force, Durham, N.C., city officials passed a resolution calling for the federal government to grant reparations to the descents of Black slaves. (Branigin, A. (2020, October 6). Durham, Washington, D.C., become latest cities to call for reparations for black residents. The Root.)

2020: The "Fund for Reparations Now" was established to raise $150,000 for the descendants of the Elaine, Arkansas massacre in which at least 200 African Americans were killed. The fund is a collaborate effort amongst the Elaine Legacy Center, the National African American Reparations Commission, and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference. As of December 2020, $50,000 has been contributed to the fund. (National groups honor pledge to descendants of Elaine, Arkansas massacre. (December 15, 2020).)

2021: Memorial Episcopal Church in Baltimore created a fund to spend $100,000 per year over the next five years, for community organizations to do "justice-centered work" to address historical racial inequalities. The church had been founded by slave owners in the 1860s. (Pitts, J. M. (2021, January 29). Episcopal church established by Baltimore slave owners creates $500,000 reparations fund. Baltimore Sun.)

2021: The Jesuit Conference of Priests pledged to raise $100 million for the descendants of enslaved people. This pledge is the largest monetary effort of the Roman Catholic Church to atone for its role in slavery. $15 million has already been deposited into a trust as of March 2021. (Swarns, R. L. (2021, March 15). Catholic order pledges $100 million to atone for slave labor and sales. The New York Times.)

2021*: The Maryland legislature passes a bill (PDF) subsequent to the settlement of the lawsuit The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education, et al. v. Maryland Higher Education Commission, et al., which alleged that the state failed to sufficiently desegregate its colleges and universities. The legislation provides for $577 million over 10 years to be used for various programs benefitting the state's Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). (Douglas-Gabriel, D., & Wiggins, O. (2021, March 24). Hogan signs off on $577 million for Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The Washington Post.)

2021**: The commissioners of the county of Athens-Clarke, Georgia, pass a proclamation to extend an apology for an act in the 1960s whereby the Linnentown community of Black families was appropriated and destroyed to build dormitories for students of the University of Georgia. Two weeks later the commissioners voted in favor of a resolution to erect a memorial on the site, create a center to study slavery, and set aside funding for reparatory projects (based on the amount of intergenerational wealth lost due to the destruction of the Linnentown community). (Cohen, R. M. (2021, April 9). Inside the winning fight for reparations in Athens, Georgia. The Intercept.)

2021*: A Congressional House committee voted to recommend the advancement of bill H.R. 40 (Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act), which would provide for the creation of a commission to study slavery reparations. The bill was introduced by Sheila Jackson Lee, D-TX, and co-sponsored by 184 other House Democrats. (Fandos, N. (2021, April 14). House panel advances bill to study reparations in historic vote. The New York Times.)

2021: The town council of Amherst, Massachusetts voted to establish a reparations fund that will begin with a $210,000 special appropriation and accept contributions from local organizations. The town also approved the establishment of the African Heritage Reparations Assembly to develop the reparations plan. (Merzbach, S. (2021, June 23). Amherst council establishes reparations fund. Daily Hampshire Gazette.)

2021: The California legislature enacted a law requesting $7.5 million of the budget be put towards providing reparations to survivors of the state's former eugenics law, by which over 20,000 institutionalized women were forcibly sterilized. (California passes landmark law to provide reparations to survivors of state-sponsored forced sterilization. (2021, July 13). Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund.)

2021: The city council of Louisville, Kentucky, passed a resolution to express support of the U.S. House of Representatives' Bill 40 (Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act), which would provide for the creation of a federal commission to study slavery reparations. (Grady, D. (2021, September 24). Louisville Council votes to support federal reparations study. LEO Weekly.)

2021: St. Petersburg, Florida, city council approved the creation of a reparations program and the implementation of an equity officer in response to a study that identified structural racism in the state. The program will establish affordable housing, educational opportunities, and other means of economic development that would contribute to an equal environment for Black residents. (Wright, C. (2021, December). St. Petersburg City Council approves 'reparations' to address structural racism. Tampa Bay Times.)

2022: Evanston, Illinois began paying reparations to Black residents under their Restorative Housing Program (see entry above in 2019). The 16 residents were chosen at random and receive $25,000 each for housing assistance. (Mogos, A. (2022, January 22). Evanston selects first residents to receive housing benefits in reparations plan. WTTW News.)

2022: Harvard University published a report (Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery) detailing how the institution benefitted from the enslavement of Black people in the United States. The university has also pledged $100 million for a fund to continue researching its ties to slavery, and for programs of reconciliation and redress. (Hartocollis, A. (2022, April 26). Harvard details its ties to slavery and its plans for redress. The New York Times.)

2022: The Jersey City, New Jersey council passed a resolution supporting New Jersey state bill S386/A938 to establish a reparations task force in New Jersey. (Nelson, L. (2022, May 11). Jersey City passes resolution endorsing NJ reparations task force legislation. New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.)

2022: The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts voted to create a reparations fund to address "our legacy of wealth accumulated through the enslaved labor of Africans and Afro-Caribbeans." The pool will consist of $3 million to create investment income, as well as further annual funding with a goal of $11.1 million. The Diocese has also created a Reparations Toolkit. (Sukraw, T. J. (2022, November 16). Massachusetts diocese creates reparations fund with $11.1 million goal. Episcopal News Service.)

2022: Providence, Rhode Island mayor Jorge Elorza signed a $10 million budget for the Providence Municipal Reparations program, with funds coming from the American Rescue Plan. Black and Native American residents qualify automatically, and White residents may also apply as the funding decisions must be race-neutral. (Felton, E. (2022, November 30). Providence offers reparations to address racism. White people can apply. Washington Post.)

2022: The city council of Easthampton, Massachusetts unanimously passed a resolution to support Congressional bill H.R. 40, which proposes to create a commission to study reparations for African Americans. (Thurlow, E. (2022, December 11). Easthampton backs federal bill to examine slavery, discrimination from 1619-present. Daily Hampshire Gazette.)

2022: Arlington Community Church in Kensington, California, a predominantly white congregation of the United Church of Christ, established the Black Wealth Builders Fund to offer zero-interest loans to Black residents for a down payment on purchasing their first home. The fund is intended to rectify lower levels of ownership among Black residents due to historical redlining (mortgage discrimination). (Nguyen, F. (2022, December 23). A California church attempts reparations for historic redlining of Black homebuyers. Religion News Service.)

2023: In 1924, land owned by the Bruce family in Manhattan Beach, California, was seized via eminent domain by the city, who wanted to build a park there. The Bruce family had already faced harassment from white residents, and the Ku Klux Klan had attempted to burn down the resort that sat on the property. In July 2022 the land was returned to the family's descendants, who then sold it back to Los Angeles County for $20 million. (Ardrey, T. (2023, January 4). A Black California family is selling the land stolen from their ancestors back to LA County for $20 million. Insider.)

Reparations Initiatives in Progress

2020: The city council of Burlington, Vermont, voted in a resolution to create a task force to study possible reparations for the state's involvement in the slave trade. A Racial Justice Fund was created to fund the work of the task force. This resolution follows the Resolution Relating to Racial Justice Through Economic and Criminal Justice (PDF) which was passed in June. (Press Release. "Burlington City Council votes unanimously to pass a historical reparations resolution to study reparations for Vermont’s role in chattel slavery" (2020, August 11). VTDigger.)

2020: California enacts a new law to create a task force to determine how the state could provide reparations to Black Americans and who would be eligible. (Linly, Z. (2020, October 1). California passes bill to consider slavery reparations. The Root.)

2021: The Northampton (MA) Reparations Committee (NRC) began meeting in March 2021. In the fall of 2022, the NRC began circulating a reparations petition asking the Northampton City Council to (1) Investigate the historical and current effects of enslavement and racism against Black people in Northampton; and (2) Make recommendations for reparative actions in Northampton as a response to issues apparent in housing, employment, policing, schools, healthcare, and transportation. The NRC also called upon the City Council to make a formal apology to the past and present residents of Northampton for the historic harm that has occurred and the current harm and to fund the Commission's research and publish its findings. In February 2023, a resolution to take action will be presented to the City Council.

2022: The city council of Boston, Massachusetts, voted to create a task force to study slavery and its contribution to wealth and other inequality in the region. (Casey, M. (2022, December 14). Boston City Council votes to study reparations for Black Bostonians. Boston.Com.)

2022: The city council of High Point, North Carolina, established the One High Point Commission by a 5-4 vote. The commission is charged with studying the history of racial injustice in the city and the city and recommending reparative actions. (Tumultuous year for reparations board. (2022, December 27). High Point Enterprise.)

2023: The City of St. Paul, Minnesota, created the St. Paul Recovery Act Community Reparations Commission to research possibilities for reparations to descendants of enslaved Africans. (McGee, N. A. (2023, January 5). Minnesota city creates committee to give reparations to descendants of enslaved Africans. The Root.)

2023: The city of Detroit, Michigan, has assembled a group of citizens to lead a task force to recommend how to address systemic discrimination against the Black community, such as housing and economic development. The initiative was passed by 80% of voters in Detroit to create the Committee of the Reparations Taskforce in November 2021. (Aguilar, L. (2023, February 24). Detroit reparations movement takes step forward. The Detroit News.)

2023: San Francisco, California's government-appointed African American Reparations Advisory Committee recommended that the city's Black residents be paid $5 million each in reparations for historical public policies that reflected the intent of chattel slavery. The committee chair stated that the program "could represent a significant enough investment in families to put them on this path to economic well-being, growth and vitality that chattel slavery and all the policies that flowed from it destroyed." (Felton, E. (2023, February 28). San Francisco debates reparations: $5 million each for Black residents? Washington Post.)

Reparations paid by other countries

Some illustrative examples:
The payments from 1952-1990 are taken from the booklet Black Reparations Now! 40 Acres, $50 Dollars, and a Mule, + Interest by Dorothy Benton-Lewis.

1952: Germany: $822 million to Holocaust survivors: German Jewish Settlement. ("West Germany Signs 822 Million Dollar Reparations Pacts with Israel Govt. and Jewish Material Claims," JTA Daily News Bulletin, September 11, 1952.)

1984: Argentine President Raúl Alfonsín created the Comisión Nacional sobre la Desaparición de Personas (National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons) to investigate the whereabouts of desaparecidos ("the disappeared") who were abducted or killed by the military during the previous dictatorship. The Commission issued a report (Nunca Más) that led to prosecution of those involved, reparations paid to families of victims in the form of pensions, and new standards implemented to provide accountability for human rights violations. (The Handbook of Reparations by Paulo de Greiff (Oxford: OUP, 2006).)

1988: Canada: 250,000 sq. miles of land: First Nations and Inuit. ("Canada to Give Indigenous People An Arctic Area the Size of Texas" by John F. Burns, The New York Times, September 6, 1988.)

1988: Canada: $230 million: Japanese Canadians. ("Ottawa Will Pay Compensation To Uprooted Japanese-Canadians" by John F. Burns, The New York Times, September 23, 1988.)

1990: Austria: $25 million: Holocaust Survivors. ("Austria to Pay $25 Million More in Support of Holocaust Survivors" by Reinhard Engel, JTA Daily News Bulletin, February 13, 1990.)

2014: France: More than 700 claims have been filed under an agreement between U.S. and France in which French officials have agreed to pay out $60 million for the deportations carried out by SNCF, France’s railway system. In exchange, the U.S. government agreed to ask courts to dismiss any lawsuits against SNCF or the French government. ("U.S. Begins Paying Out Reparations from France to Holocaust Survivors and Their Heirs" by Katherine Shaver, Washington Post, September 15, 2016.)

2015: Japan: $8.3 million to provide old-age care to Korean "Comfort Women" survivors plus a new apology. ("Japan and South Korea Settle Dispute Over Wartime 'Comfort Women'" by Choe Sang-hung, The New York Times, December 28, 2015.)

2016: France: The State Department has paid or approved 90 claims for a total of $11 million in reparations by France to former WWII prisoners who were carried to Nazi Death Camps in French trains—the first French reparations paid to Holocaust survivors in the U.S. ("U.S. Begins Paying Out Reparations from France to Holocaust Survivors and Their Heirs" by Katherine Shaver, Washington Post, September 15, 2016.)

Allen J. Davis, Ed.D. University of Massachusetts Amherst
As seen in the above timeline:

The United States pays reparations every day—just not to Black America

Farmers. Fishermen. People who’ve lost bank accounts or pensions. People who’ve had a bad reaction to a COVID vaccine. People who’ve had a reaction to any other vaccine. Indigenous people. Veterans. Descendants of veterans. People who get hurt on the job. People who built nuclear bombs. People exposed to pesticides. Coal miners who get black lung disease. People who lose paychecks or homes from floods, droughts, or other natural disasters. People who are impacted by trade agreements.

That’s a long list. But it's still a fraction of the many people and groups who receive compensation either from or through the government for the harms they have suffered. Every day, someone somewhere in America is being compensated under the concept of what is known as restorative justice, a type of justice that instead of meting out punishment to a wrongdoer, seeks to make the victims or their families whole—or at least repair them as much as possible. Restorative justice is also known as reparative justice, or, in the context of the experience of Black Americans from the first slave ships in the 1600s through to today, simply reparations.

But unlike those other, everyday reparations, Black reparations are seen by many as a highly charged political third rail, so last year Harvard Kennedy School faculty members Cornell William Brooks and Linda Bilmes launched a research project to see if they could change the conversation. What they found is a situation that is, to put it mildly, perverse.

Linda Bilmes, Cornell William Brooks, Harvard Kennedy School
Reparations have a strong and well defined precedent in America at all levels of government and society. Thus, it is paramount that we heed the recommendations of California's Reparations Task Force.

The task force's full report is 1080 pages long, and it took quite some time to read all of it, however it's findings are undeniable -- we as a nation must atone for these horrific actions and make sure such a thing never happens again, for all humanity.

To ignore such will deepen the divide in our nation, and only increase the pain of future generations.

The first step in healing is to admit there is a problem, and then to seek to make amends.

Know better, do better.

In order to right past wrongs we must be aware of them. We have to be aware of what was wrong, why it was wrong, and learn how to avoid repeating that mistake.

Not only should we issue reparations to hold our word and right past wrongs, we should pursue restorative justice instead of merely penal justice, such that our society heals.

Restorative Justice

The goal of restorative justice is to bring together those most affected by the criminal act—the offender, the victim, and community members—in a nonadversarial process to encourage offender accountability and meet the needs of the victims to repair the harms resulting from the crime (Bergseth and Bouffard 2007).

OJJDP
Community based approaches to justice are better suited to achieving the civil society we all deserve to live in.

What is Restorative Justice?

Restorative Justice is a victim-centered, community-based approach for responding to crime. It focuses on the harm that was caused and what needs to happen to make things better. The goal is to build understanding, encourage accountability, and provide an opportunity for healing.

In restorative justice, the main questions are:
  • Who was harmed?
  • What are their needs?
  • Whose obligations are these?

Three Pillars of Restorative Justice

* The following diagram and excerpts are pulled and/or adapted from Howard Zehr’s The Little Book of Restorative Justice *
This is an arch with three pillars to represent the three pillars of restorative justice. The three pillars of restorative justice are harms & needs, obligations, and engagement.

Pillar One: Harms and Needs

Restorative Justice understands crime as harm done to people and communities. For restorative justice, then, justice begins with a concern for victims and their needs. It seeks to repair the harm as much as possible.

While our first concern must be the harm experienced by victims, the focus on harm implies that we also need to be concerned about harm experienced by the community and the responsible party.

Pillar Two: Obligations

Restorative Justice holds that harm results in obligations. Those who have caused harm have an obligation to comprehend the consequences of their behavior and repair the harm caused. The community has an obligation to respond to harm being done within the community.

Pillar Three: Engagement

Restorative Justice promotes participation. Restorative Justice understands that crime always has “stakeholders” or primary parties affected by crime: the victim, the community, and the responsible party. These stakeholders should be involved in deciding what justice requires. Volunteers act as the voice of the community.

Criminal vs. Restorative Justice

Restorative justice is very different from the traditional criminal justice perspective. Why is this important? Because no crime exists in a vacuum. There are always people affected, even if there is no identifiable victim. It is important to note, that while the philosophies differ, the Restorative Justice Panel process is still a function of and embedded in the traditional criminal justice system.

Consider the comparisons between criminal justice and restorative justice:

Criminal JusticeRestorative Justice
Principles
– Crime is a violation of the law and the state
– Violations create guilt
– Justice requires the state to determine blame (guilt) and impose pain (punishment)
– Crime is a violation of people and relationships
– Violations create obligations
– Justice involved victims, offenders, and community members in an effort to make things as right as possible
Central Focus
– Offenders “getting what they deserve”
– Punishment
– Victim needs
– Accountability
Questions
– What laws have been broken?
– Who did it?
– What do they deserve?
– Who has been hurt?
– What are their needs?
– Whose obligations are these?

This table has been adapted from Howard Zehr’s “The Little Book of Restorative Justice“

Hartford Community Restorative Justice Center
We can't just throw people in jail or focus on punishment without making the people who were hurt or suffered damages, whole.

Reckoning with Past Wrongs: A Normative Framework

How should a society deal with past evils? In his paper, David Crocker develops a normative framework with which a society can reckon with past wrongs. He aims to show that there are crucial moral aspects in reckoning with the past and to clarify, criticise, revise, apply and diffuse eight moral norms. There is not a recipe for all but rather a framework for exploration to decide what is most important to accomplish and what the morally best ways to do so are.

Many nations and some international bodies today are deciding what, if anything, they should do about past violations of internationally recognised human rights. Crocker has formulated eight goals that have emerged from worldwide moral deliberation on transitional justice (TJ) and may serve as a useful framework when particular societies deliberate about what they are trying to achieve and how.

A general framework shaped by lessons from a variety of contexts can encourage each society reckoning with an evil past to realise as many as possible of the goals that international dialogue agrees are morally urgent:
  • Without reasonably complete truth, none of the other goals of TJ are likely to be realised.
  • Ethically defensible treatment of past wrongs requires that individuals and groups responsible for past crimes are held accountable and receive appropriate sanctions or punishment.
  • The rule of law is critical for any society dealing with an evil past.
  • One way of reckoning with past wrongs is by “righting” them – by restoring victims to something approaching their status quo ante (via compensation, restitution or reparation).
  • An emerging democracy fails to make a sustainable transition unless it identifies the causes of past abuses and takes steps to reform the law and basic institutions.
  • In particular circumstances, the achievement of one or more goals would itself be a means to the realisation of the one or more of the others.
A society reckoning with past wrongs, sometimes in co-operation with international institutions should: consider what lessons it might learn from other societies; examine its’ own capabilities and limitations; set clear objectives for its efforts. And take into account that:
  • There is no single set of policies that will be ethically defensible and practically feasible – sometimes the best that can be done is to approximate one or more goals initially or postpone them until conditions improve.
  • Strategies implemented solely under pressure and without proper attention to relevant ethical questions are likely to be ad hoc, ineffective, inconsistent and unstable.
  • Different local conditions have a crucial bearing on the best that can be done in particular contexts.

David Crocker, Ethics & International Affairs Volume 13, (Fulltext)

As we've discussed reparations in the domestic context quite thoroughly, international reparations are important not only for diplomacy, but in maintaining high ethical standards for humanity and how our government interacts with the international community. This is how we can take steps towards making amends for prior injustices, in a restorative justice context, on the world stage. It means taking action to address America's racist and interventionist legacy, as well as empire seeking, which impacts us both at home and abroad.

Settler colonialism and the elimination of the native

The question of genocide is never far from discussions of settler colonialism. Land is life—or, at least, land is necessary for life. Thus contests for land can be—indeed, often are—contests for life. Yet this is not to say that settler colonialism is simply a form of genocide. In some settler-colonial sites (one thinks, for instance, of Fiji), native society was able to accommodate—though hardly unscathed—the invaders and the transformative socioeconomic system that they introduced. Even in sites of wholesale expropriation such as Australia or North America, settler colonialism's genocidal outcomes have not manifested evenly across time or space. Native Title in Australia or Indian sovereignty in the US may have deleterious features, but these are hardly equivalent to the impact of frontier homicide. Moreover, there can be genocide in the absence of settler colonialism. The best known of all genocides was internal to Europe, while genocides that have been perpetrated in, for example, Armenia, Cambodia, Rwanda or (one fears) Darfur do not seem to be assignable to settler colonialism. In this article, I shall begin to explore, in comparative fashion, the relationship between genocide and the settler-colonial tendency that I term the logic of elimination. I contend that, though the two have converged—which is to say, the settler-colonial logic of elimination has manifested as genocidal—they should be distinguished. Settler colonialism is inherently eliminatory but not invariably genocidal.

Patrick Wolfe, Journal of Genocide Research
Righting past wrongs also means taking action on Settler Colonialism and coming to understand Critical Race Theory as a society, to see it reflected in policy and leadership -- not merely wearing a kente cloth or giving us another empty gesture of a holiday or street naming. (see The Key Writings That Formed The Movement)

It means passing the Equal Rights Amendment.
It means passing the Abolition Amendment.

Decades, if not centuries, of unjust policy, and a lack of executive action to support reform, have culminated into modern day horrors of statecraft. A most pressing example of such modern era manifestations includes the "uteri snatchers" found in American concentration camps, euphemised as a "migrant detention center," and run by inherently problematic, for-profit prison groups:

Unrepeatable Harms: Forced Sterilization at ICE Detention Centers

In September 2020, news broke that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) performed forced sterilizations on detained migrant women at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Ocilla, Georgia. The forced sterilizations arose within the context of the Trump Administration’s harsh anti-migrant policies and the United States’ sordid history of forcibly sterilizing minority groups. This Article will examine how forced sterilizations against migrants are part of a broader systematic medical crisis in immigration detention centers including, a lack of consent to treatment, accessibility to treatments, and, at times, death. However, by performing forced sterilizations on detained migrant women, the United States is violating its obligations under the Convention Against Torture and the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (known as the Nelson Mandela Rules).

Davis, Sabrina (2022) "Unrepeatable Harms: Forced Sterilization at ICE Detention Centers," Human Rights Brief: Vol. 25: Iss. 2, Article 15.
As if that wasn't enough, the aforementioned article states:
The Biden Administration has ordered ICE to stop detaining migrants at the ICDC while the federal investigation is pending. The Administration has also denounced poor treatment of migrants and has claimed it is working to uphold their fundamental human rights. However, the number of migrants in detention has continued to grow under President Biden. Additionally, despite President Biden’s executive order banning new private prison contracts, the amount of money private prisons make from holding detained migrants continued to grow. Despite President Biden’s promises and the promises of his Administration, there has been no movement to eliminate the practice of private prisons holding detained migrants, and no federal action has been taken to enjoin ICE or ICE personnel from committing similar acts or reform ICE policies.
and ultimately concludes:
With regard to reparations, the United States should federally take action to ensure that these atrocities never occur again. Given the severity of the human rights violations, the United States must conduct a thorough and independent investigation into forced sterilizations at ICE detention facilities to ensure its compliance with international law. At minimum, the United States should adopt the existing federal standard of consent at detention centers. Further, the United States should commit to ending both forced and coerced sterilizations, regardless of the nationality, immigration status, race, or sexuality of its potential victims.
Considering prior and current executive branch oversight has not been exercised adequately, at all, what-so-ever, it is our responsibility to pursue new leadership that will.

Acknowledgements

Unfortunately a full list of acknowledgements would be even longer than the timeline of reparations. Since we as a society now know better, it is incumbent upon us to do better. We can use executive policy to support permanent reforms that address these abuses, as well as any other foreseeable concerns.

Considering the history of settler colonialism in America, as well as broken treaties, systemic injustices, and now climate change struggles tied to improper land stewardship and lack of native wisdom, it behooves us as a society to take action.

Indigenous Rights

What is the problem?

There are 476 million Indigenous People around the world spread across more than 90 countries. They belong to more than 5,000 different Indigenous Peoples and speak thousands of languages. The vast majority of Indigenous People live in Asia.

Although they have different customs and cultures, Indigenous People face the same harsh realities: eviction from their ancestral lands, being denied the opportunity to express their culture, sexual violence, and physical attacks and treatment as second-class citizens. Globally, Indigenous Peoples suffer higher rates of landlessness, malnutrition and internal displacement than any other group.

In the United States, for example, the steady and deliberate degradation of tribal sovereignty by the United States federal government has exacerbated the epidemic of sexual violence against Indigenous women in the USA. The government’s failure to respect, protect, and fulfill Indigenous women’s rights has led to the high rates of sexual violence.

Amnesty International’s role in fighting for Indigenous rights is to amplify the voices of Indigenous advocates, provide high-quality research that can be used to support arguments for greater protection of Indigenous Peoples and to apply added pressure on governments to respect the human rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Why is it an issue?

Many Indigenous Peoples have been uprooted from their land due to discriminatory policies or armed conflict. Indigenous land rights activists face violence and even murder when they seek to defend their lands.

Human rights abuses related to their land rights and culture have prompted growing numbers of people to leave their traditional lands for towns and cities. Cut off from resources and traditions vital to their welfare and survival, many Indigenous Peoples face even greater marginalization, poverty, disease and violence – and sometimes, extinction as a people.

Indigenous Peoples have a special relationship with the land on which they have lived for generations, sometimes for tens of thousands of years. They possess crucial knowledge about how to manage natural resources sustainably and act as guardians or custodians of the land for the next generation. Losing their land can mean a loss of identity. Peaceful efforts by Indigenous Peoples to maintain their cultural identity or exercise control over their traditional lands, which are often rich in resources and biodiversity, have led to accusations of treason or terrorism.

Amnesty International USA
Indigenous peoples have suffered discrimination and injustice at the hands of the United States since the country’s founding, however civil rights discussions oft overlook these longstanding injustices. According to the ACLU, "Indigenous communities are among the most impoverished in the nation, and the stigma of past discrimination regularly rears its head in the spheres of public health, education, and juvenile justice." Furthermore, the ACLU was recently instrumental in helping to protect the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), and using it to build legal challenges against discriminatory practices throughout the nation. We should support and expand these ICWA protections to uphold our promises to the Indigenous people. Finally we should recognize and call native indigenous tribes by their actual names, instead of the "indian" misnomer, moving forward.

LANDBACK

LANDBACK is a movement that has existed for generations with a long legacy of organizing and sacrifice to get Indigenous Lands back into Indigenous hands. Currently, there are LANDBACK battles being fought all across Turtle Island, to the north and the South.

As NDN Collective, we are stepping into this legacy with the launch of a LANDBACK Campaign as a mechanism to connect, coordinate, resource and amplify this movement and the communities that are fighting for LANDBACK. The closure of Mount Rushmore, return of that land and all public lands in the Black Hills, South Dakota is our cornerstone battle, from which we will build out this campaign. Not only does Mount Rushmore sit in the heart of the sacred Black Hills, but it is an international symbol of white supremacy and colonization. To truly dismantle white supremacy and systems of oppression, we have to go back to the roots. Which, for us, is putting Indigenous Lands back in Indigenous hands.

In addition, LANDBACK is more than just a campaign. It is a political framework that allows us to deepen our relationships across the field of organizing movements working towards true collective liberation. It allows us to envision a world where Black, Indigenous & POC liberation co-exists. It is our political, organizing and narrative framework from which we do the work.

NDN Collective, Landback.org
Natives in charge of land management lead to better outcomes.

Collective property rights lead to secondary forest growth in the Brazilian Amazon

Forest restoration has become a popular instrument in the climate change toolkit. Indeed, secondary forests are a highly productive source of carbon uptake and can be an important tool to reduce biodiversity loss. Countries across the globe have committed to the restoration of millions of hectares. However, not every tree standing is equal. Externally led plantation efforts have been shown to sometimes be problematic for the climate, local environments, and local communities. Here, we show that collective property rights provide a policy solution not only for human rights and conservation but also for successful forest restoration. Future restoration efforts should target projects driven by local stakeholders, promoting regrowth of natural forests and allowing ecosystem restoration while improving livelihoods of local communities.

Kathryn Baragwanath, Ella Bayi & Nilesh Shinde, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
A review of the data shows that Indigenous territories that are empowered with Indigenous legal control have the highest rates of secondary forest recovery. Baragwanath, Bayi, and Shinde, highlight collective property rights as a significant factor in growth, allowing local stakeholders to make decisions about how their land is used. Not only is returning land stewardship to native hands our ethical obligation, it also helps us in the fight against climate change and grants us powerful allyship.

Finally, it is crucial to restore the right of native and nomadic indigenous people to move around their native continent.

Indigenous mobility traditions, colonialism, and the anthropocene

The anthropocene is often discussed as an era of ‘new’ environmental changes that require unprecedented forms of societal adaptation, one example being climate-induced resettlement. Yet discussions of the anthropocene can also be better contextualized in terms of their featuring certain phenomena as ‘new’ that are really much more longstanding phenomena. For example, many Indigenous peoples have ancient traditions of environmental ‘mobility.’ This essay reviews some of the history of Indigenous philosophies, especially Anishinaabe, of mobility, migration, and resettlement. Often these philosophies focus on fluid and transformative relationships as constituting the fabric of resilient societies. Indigenous traditions of mobility are critically relevant for climate justice. They put into relief how colonial power can operate as a containment strategy that works to curtail mobility. In this way, looking at Indigenous mobility in the anthropocene involves unraveling layers of colonialism where containment has been widely imposed. This claim can be used to signal some of the dangers of centering the causal role of climate change in certain cases societal movement. To further support our claims, the essay concludes with a brief analysis of some of the literature and testimonies on resettlement in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.

Kyle Whyte, Jared L Talley & Julia D. Gibson, Mobilities Volume 14
This study is corroborated by the findings of Amazonian Routes, a book by Heather F. Roller which "shows that mobile people remained attached to their home communities and committed to the preservation of their lands and assets. This argument still matters today, and not just to scholars, as rural communities in the Brazilian Amazon find themselves threatened by powerful outsiders who argue that their mobility invalidates their claims to territory."

Investing in our future

Combined with investments in Affordable Housing, Schools, and Healthcare, we will focus on:

Delivering the Green New Deal

House Resolution 109: Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal.

116th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. RES. 109



IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 7, 2019

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez (for herself, Mr. Hastings, Ms. Tlaib, Mr. Serrano, Mrs. Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, Mr. Vargas, Mr. Espaillat, Mr. Lynch, Ms. Velázquez, Mr. Blumenauer, Mr. Brendan F. Boyle of Pennsylvania, Mr. Castro of Texas, Ms. Clarke of New York, Ms. Jayapal, Mr. Khanna, Mr. Ted Lieu of California, Ms. Pressley, Mr. Welch, Mr. Engel, Mr. Neguse, Mr. Nadler, Mr. McGovern, Mr. Pocan, Mr. Takano, Ms. Norton, Mr. Raskin, Mr. Connolly, Mr. Lowenthal, Ms. Matsui, Mr. Thompson of California, Mr. Levin of California, Ms. Pingree, Mr. Quigley, Mr. Huffman, Mrs. Watson Coleman, Mr. García of Illinois, Mr. Higgins of New York, Ms. Haaland, Ms. Meng, Mr. Carbajal, Mr. Cicilline, Mr. Cohen, Ms. Clark of Massachusetts, Ms. Judy Chu of California, Ms. Mucarsel-Powell, Mr. Moulton, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. Meeks, Mr. Sablan, Ms. Lee of California, Ms. Bonamici, Mr. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, Ms. Schakowsky, Ms. DeLauro, Mr. Levin of Michigan, Ms. McCollum, Mr. DeSaulnier, Mr. Courtney, Mr. Larson of Connecticut, Ms. Escobar, Mr. Schiff, Mr. Keating, Mr. DeFazio, Ms. Eshoo, Mrs. Trahan, Mr. Gomez, Mr. Kennedy, and Ms. Waters) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on Science, Space, and Technology, Education and Labor, Transportation and Infrastructure, Agriculture, Natural Resources, Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, the Judiciary, Ways and Means, and Oversight and Reform, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


Resolution

Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal

Whereas the October 2018 report entitled "Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 ºC" by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the November 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment report found that—
  1. human activity is the dominant cause of observed climate change over the past century;
  2. a changing climate is causing sea levels to rise and an increase in wildfires, severe storms, droughts, and other extreme weather events that threaten human life, healthy communities, and critical infrastructure;
  3. global warming at or above 2 degrees Celsius beyond preindustrialized levels will cause—
    1. mass migration from the regions most affected by climate change;
    2. more than $500,000,000,000 in lost annual economic output in the United States by the year 2100;
    3. wildfires that, by 2050, will annually burn at least twice as much forest area in the western United States than was typically burned by wildfires in the years preceding 2019;
    4. a loss of more than 99 percent of all coral reefs on Earth;
    5. more than 350,000,000 more people to be exposed globally to deadly heat stress by 2050; and
    6. a risk of damage to $1,000,000,000,000 of public infrastructure and coastal real estate in the United States; and
  4. global temperatures must be kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrialized levels to avoid the most severe impacts of a changing climate, which will require—
    1. global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from human sources of 40 to 60 percent from 2010 levels by 2030; and
    2. net-zero global emissions by 2050;
Whereas, because the United States has historically been responsible for a disproportionate amount of greenhouse gas emissions, having emitted 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions through 2014, and has a high technological capacity, the United States must take a leading role in reducing emissions through economic transformation;

Whereas the United States is currently experiencing several related crises, with—
  1. life expectancy declining while basic needs, such as clean air, clean water, healthy food, and adequate health care, housing, transportation, and education, are inaccessible to a significant portion of the United States population;
  2. a 4-decade trend of wage stagnation, deindustrialization, and antilabor policies that has led to—
    1. hourly wages overall stagnating since the 1970s despite increased worker productivity;
    2. the third-worst level of socioeconomic mobility in the developed world before the Great Recession;
    3. the erosion of the earning and bargaining power of workers in the United States; and
    4. inadequate resources for public sector workers to confront the challenges of climate change at local, State, and Federal levels; and
  3. the greatest income inequality since the 1920s, with—
    1. the top 1 percent of earners accruing 91 percent of gains in the first few years of economic recovery after the Great Recession;
    2. a large racial wealth divide amounting to a difference of 20 times more wealth between the average white family and the average black family; and
    3. a gender earnings gap that results in women earning approximately 80 percent as much as men, at the median;
Whereas climate change, pollution, and environmental destruction have exacerbated systemic racial, regional, social, environmental, and economic injustices (referred to in this preamble as "systemic injustices") by disproportionately affecting indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this preamble as "frontline and vulnerable communities");

Whereas, climate change constitutes a direct threat to the national security of the United States—
  1. by impacting the economic, environmental, and social stability of countries and communities around the world; and
  2. by acting as a threat multiplier;
Whereas the Federal Government-led mobilizations during World War II and the New Deal created the greatest middle class that the United States has ever seen, but many members of frontline and vulnerable communities were excluded from many of the economic and societal benefits of those mobilizations; and

Whereas the House of Representatives recognizes that a new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal era is a historic opportunity—
  1. to create millions of good, high-wage jobs in the United States;
  2. to provide unprecedented levels of prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States; and
  3. to counteract systemic injustices: Now, therefore, be it
That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that—
  1. it is the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal—
    1. to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers;
    2. to create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States;
    3. to invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century;
    4. to secure for all people of the United States for generations to come—
      1. clean air and water;
      2. climate and community resiliency;
      3. healthy food;
      4. access to nature; and
      5. a sustainable environment; and
    5. to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this resolution as "frontline and vulnerable communities");
  2. the goals described in subparagraphs (A) through (E) of paragraph (1) (referred to in this resolution as the "Green New Deal goals") should be accomplished through a 10-year national mobilization (referred to in this resolution as the "Green New Deal mobilization") that will require the following goals and projects—
    1. building resiliency against climate change-related disasters, such as extreme weather, including by leveraging funding and providing investments for community-defined projects and strategies;
    2. repairing and upgrading the infrastructure in the United States, including—
      1. by eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible;
      2. by guaranteeing universal access to clean water;
      3. by reducing the risks posed by climate impacts; and
      4. by ensuring that any infrastructure bill considered by Congress addresses climate change;
    3. meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources, including—
      1. by dramatically expanding and upgrading renewable power sources; and
      2. by deploying new capacity;
    4. building or upgrading to energy-efficient, distributed, and "smart" power grids, and ensuring affordable access to electricity;
    5. upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification;
    6. spurring massive growth in clean manufacturing in the United States and removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and industry as much as is technologically feasible, including by expanding renewable energy manufacturing and investing in existing manufacturing and industry;
    7. working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible, including—
      1. by supporting family farming;
      2. by investing in sustainable farming and land use practices that increase soil health; and
      3. by building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food;
    8. overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in—
      1. zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing;
      2. clean, affordable, and accessible public transit; and
      3. high-speed rail;
    9. mitigating and managing the long-term adverse health, economic, and other effects of pollution and climate change, including by providing funding for community-defined projects and strategies;
    10. removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and reducing pollution by restoring natural ecosystems through proven low-tech solutions that increase soil carbon storage, such as land preservation and afforestation;
    11. restoring and protecting threatened, endangered, and fragile ecosystems through locally appropriate and science-based projects that enhance biodiversity and support climate resiliency;
    12. cleaning up existing hazardous waste and abandoned sites, ensuring economic development and sustainability on those sites;
    13. identifying other emission and pollution sources and creating solutions to remove them; and
    14. promoting the international exchange of technology, expertise, products, funding, and services, with the aim of making the United States the international leader on climate action, and to help other countries achieve a Green New Deal;
  3. a Green New Deal must be developed through transparent and inclusive consultation, collaboration, and partnership with frontline and vulnerable communities, labor unions, worker cooperatives, civil society groups, academia, and businesses; and
  4. to achieve the Green New Deal goals and mobilization, a Green New Deal will require the following goals and projects—
    1. providing and leveraging, in a way that ensures that the public receives appropriate ownership stakes and returns on investment, adequate capital (including through community grants, public banks, and other public financing), technical expertise, supporting policies, and other forms of assistance to communities, organizations, Federal, State, and local government agencies, and businesses working on the Green New Deal mobilization;
    2. ensuring that the Federal Government takes into account the complete environmental and social costs and impacts of emissions through—
      1. existing laws;
      2. new policies and programs; and
      3. ensuring that frontline and vulnerable communities shall not be adversely affected;
    3. providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States, with a focus on frontline and vulnerable communities, so that all people of the United States may be full and equal participants in the Green New Deal mobilization;
    4. making public investments in the research and development of new clean and renewable energy technologies and industries;
    5. directing investments to spur economic development, deepen and diversify industry and business in local and regional economies, and build wealth and community ownership, while prioritizing high-quality job creation and economic, social, and environmental benefits in frontline and vulnerable communities, and deindustrialized communities, that may otherwise struggle with the transition away from greenhouse gas intensive industries;
    6. ensuring the use of democratic and participatory processes that are inclusive of and led by frontline and vulnerable communities and workers to plan, implement, and administer the Green New Deal mobilization at the local level;
    7. ensuring that the Green New Deal mobilization creates high-quality union jobs that pay prevailing wages, hires local workers, offers training and advancement opportunities, and guarantees wage and benefit parity for workers affected by the transition;
    8. guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States;
    9. strengthening and protecting the right of all workers to organize, unionize, and collectively bargain free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment;
    10. strengthening and enforcing labor, workplace health and safety, antidiscrimination, and wage and hour standards across all employers, industries, and sectors;
    11. enacting and enforcing trade rules, procurement standards, and border adjustments with strong labor and environmental protections—
      1. to stop the transfer of jobs and pollution overseas; and
      2. to grow domestic manufacturing in the United States;
    12. ensuring that public lands, waters, and oceans are protected and that eminent domain is not abused;
    13. obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous peoples for all decisions that affect indigenous peoples and their traditional territories, honoring all treaties and agreements with indigenous peoples, and protecting and enforcing the sovereignty and land rights of indigenous peoples;
    14. ensuring a commercial environment where every businessperson is free from unfair competition and domination by domestic or international monopolies; and
    15. providing all people of the United States with—
      1. high-quality health care;
      2. affordable, safe, and adequate housing;
      3. economic security; and
      4. clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and access to nature.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Senator Ed Markey, House of Representatives, Senate
Considering the Climate Clock and most recent IPCC data, as well as feedback loops that were not figured into past projections that have already accelerated climate change and glacial melting, we would need to strike introductory section 4A (paragraph 1 section 4 line item A), update the subsequent item to reflect net-zero global emissions by 2030 just to stay on track, and add a new B line item (since the old A was struck) to require carbon sequestration on the gigaton scale, ramping up to at least 10 gigatons per year within 8 years, that is maintained until we have balanced our carbon budget, which may be on the order of 40 to 60 years depending on ramp up speed, technological advancement, and the landscape of global emissions.

(1 gigaton = 1 billion tons) Thus, 346 billion tons / 10 billion tons per year = 34.6 years.

Preparing for the possibility that other countries may exceed their budgets, and recognizing that we as humanity are all on the same planet, America should exert leadership that can even make up for any insufficiencies from other nations.

The Green New Deal contains many of the infrastructure provisions we need to address current problems and issues, however further expansion to integrate sequestration measures and affordable housing development should be considered and pushed in alignment with earlier aforementioned solutions such as the Energy Standard.

The Energy Standard provides an economic incentive for distributed co-generation grids, aka micro-grids, which add to the resilience of our national grids and public infrastructure.

In addition to weatherization programs, we should offer infrastructure development grants to help achieve widespread compliance for Net-Zero Global Emissions by 2030.

Cyber-Infrastructure

While we typically think of infrastructure as buildings, our modern world is increasingly dependent on networked or electronic infrastructure.

Many systems are completely digitalized, while others are dependent on old technology that nobody can support or update anymore. Thus another priority is shoring up our cyberdefense: stopping of infrastructure hacks has become a crucial part of protecting American infrastructure.

FEDERAL CYBERSECURITY: AMERICA’S DATA STILL AT RISK

In June 2019, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (Subcommittee) issued a bipartisan report titled: Federal Cybersecurity: America’s Data at Risk (the 2019 Report). That report highlighted systemic failures of eight key Federal agencies to comply with Federal cybersecurity standards identified by agencies’ inspectors general. The 2019 Report documented how none of these eight agencies met basic cybersecurity standards and protocols, including properly protecting Americans’ personally identifiable information (PII); maintaining a list of the equipment and programs on agency networks; and promptly installing security patches to remediate vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit. The 2019 Report also highlighted that all eight agencies were operating legacy computer systems, which are costly to maintain and difficult to secure. Based on those findings, the Subcommittee determined that these eight Federal agencies were failing to protect the sensitive data they stored and maintained.

This report revisits those same eight agencies two years later. What this report finds is stark. Inspectors general identified many of the same issues that have plagued Federal agencies for more than a decade. Seven agencies made minimal improvements, and only DHS managed to employ an effective cybersecurity regime for 2020. As such, this report finds that these seven Federal agencies still have not met the basic cybersecurity standards necessary to protect America’s sensitive data.

US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, (mirror)
Furthermore, the US government has been encouraging surveillance capitalism, by purchasing data on Americans with little to no oversight. According to a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Senior Advisory Group Panel on Commercially Available Information (CAI), such data “can reveal sensitive and intimate information about the personal attributes, private behavior, social connections, and speech of U.S. persons and non-U.S. persons, and "be misused to pry into private lives, ruin reputations, and cause emotional distress and threaten the safety of individuals. Even subject to appropriate controls, CAI can increase the power of the government’s ability to peer into private lives to levels that may exceed our constitutional traditions or other social expectations."

Not only does this compromise the integrity of our electronic and informational systems infrastructure, it reveals PII that hackers use to exploit our cyber infrastructure at large. In response, we should require every federal agency, contractor, and even subcontractor, to pass a yearly cyber-audit. To assist in compliance and make this practical, we should maintain and provide a secure open source operating system image that meets the requirements of said audit and is available to any U.S. person.

Looking towards the future, it makes sense that we should invest in quantum and photonic technologies to make our civilization more advanced and resilient. Photonic technologies are more resilient to EMP, EMI, and other electronic or RF jamming attacks, and technologies such as Quantum Computing and a Quantum Internet offer a way to protect our informational infrastructure, preserve privacy & data rights, and strengthen our economy. Crucially, a Quantum Internet would restore a reasonable expectation of privacy for all communications.

Quantum Internet—Applications, Functionalities, Enabling Technologies, Challenges, and Research Directions

The advanced notebooks, mobile phones, and Internet applications in today’s world that we use are all entrenched in classical communication bits of zeros and ones. Classical Internet has laid its foundation originating from the amalgamation of mathematics and Claude Shannon’s theory of information. However, today’s Internet technology is a playground for eavesdroppers. This poses a serious challenge to various applications that rely on classical Internet technology, and it has motivated the researchers to switch to new technologies that are fundamentally more secure. By exploring the quantum effects, researchers paved the way into quantum networks that provide security, privacy, and range of capabilities such as quantum computation, communication, and metrology. The realization of Quantum Internet (QI) requires quantum communication between various remote nodes through quantum channels guarded by quantum cryptographic protocols. Such networks rely upon quantum bits (qubits) that can simultaneously take the value of zeros and ones. Due to the extraordinary properties of qubits such as superposition, entanglement, and teleportation, it gives an edge to quantum networks over traditional networks in many ways. At the same time, transmitting qubits over long distances is a formidable task and extensive research is going on satellite-based quantum communication, which will deliver breakthroughs for physically realizing QI in near future. In this paper, QI functionalities, technologies, applications and open challenges have been extensively surveyed to help readers gain a basic understanding of the infrastructure required for the development of the global QI.

Amoldeep Singh, Kapal Dev, Harun Siljak, Hem Dutt Joshi, Maurizio Magarini, IEEE
We should expand the NATIONAL QUANTUM INITIATIVE and establish protocols and infrastructure for a secure national quantum network, much like how ARPANET and CERN formed the foundation of the internet and World Wide Web as we know it today.

With the recent state of war, and focus on a need for self sustainability as well as encouraging of all planting for carbon sequestration, increased local food production is a way to not only grow carbon sequestering plants, but also produce an abundance of food. Furthermore, the war in Ukraine threatens wheat production, globally, and we need to scale up local production.

Farm to Table: A Movement for Local and Organic Food

The farm to table movement has been growing for years, and since its beginning, people have wondered if it's simply a passing fad or a new mainstay in the restaurant industry. Years later, farm to table is still going strong, so we can safely assume that it's here to stay. Because of its incredible growth and popularity, it's important that restaurant owners understand what the farm to table movement is, its history, and the pros and cons of opening a farm to table establishment.

What Is Farm to Table?

Farm to table, also known as farm to fork, can be defined as a social movement where restaurants source their ingredients from local farms, usually through direct acquisition from a farmer. Most traditional restaurants get their produce from other parts of the country or around the world. These ingredients need to be shipped long distances, and as a result, they are usually picked before they are ripe to lengthen their lifespan, or they are frozen to prevent spoiling. All of this results in food that is bland and less nutritious.

On the other hand, farm to fork restaurants get their food from local farms, so the food is picked at peak freshness and is bursting with flavors and vitamins. Because the produce is usually very flavorful, many farm to table operations don't dress their food up with complex sauces and overpowering flavors, instead preferring to let the freshness and flavor of the food speak for itself.

History of Farm to Table

The roots of the farm to fork trend stretch back to the 1960s and 70s when Americans became increasingly dissatisfied with processed foods that they found bland. One of the first farm to table restaurants that opened up was Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California in 1971. Chez Panisse was opened by Chef Alice Waters, who wanted to use produce from local organic farms because it was more flavorful and fresh than produce used by other restaurants.

Chez Panisse became very successful, and the farm to table movement began to grow steadily during the late decades of the 20th century. But, the movement didn't explode in popularity until the 2000s when farm to table places started to open up in cities like Boulder, Colorado and Seattle, Washington. Nowadays, you can find farm to fork restaurants in cities all across the country.

Pros and Cons of Farm to Table

The farm to fork movement has come a long way since Alice Waters first opened Chez Panisse. It's now one of the fastest growing food trends in the U.S., but it has its downsides as well. Here we'll break down the pros and cons of farm to fork and it's impact on the restaurant industry.

Pros of Farm to Table:

The farm to table movement has had a huge impact on the foodservice industry and how restaurants source and prepare their food. Here are some of the main benefits of farm to fork:
  • Farm to fork helps to boost the local economy and support local farmers. Because farm to table restaurants deal directly with the farmer, you can be sure that the money spent is going directly to helping farmers grow their businesses and fuel the local economy.
  • Both the restaurant and farmer benefit from farm to table. The restaurant gets delicious and fresh produce, and the farmer gets recognition for their hard work as well as guaranteed business. Additionally, farm to fork restaurants that have a close relationship with one particular farm can usually request that they plant certain foods.
  • Serving farm to table food at your restaurant is an excellent way to make local and organic food more available to your community.
  • Farm to fork is an extremely popular trend, and associating your restaurant with the trend can help bring in customers and create excitement about your menu.
  • It can help the environment. The produce doesn't have to be shipped long distances, meaning less time on a truck and fewer greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere.

Cons of Farm to Table:

The farm to fork movement isn't perfect, and in recent years, people have grown increasingly skeptical of establishments that claim to serve farm to table food. So before you decide to open a farm to table restaurant, here are some things to think about:
  • If you're planning on opening a farm to fork restaurant, you'll have to constantly change your menu. As the seasons change, different foods will be available in farms, and you'll have to adapt to what produce is available and fresh.
  • In the past, some restaurants have taken advantage of the buzzword for their own gain by claiming to be farm to table without actually using local ingredients. Since then, there has been more skepticism about the authenticity of restaurants that claim to be farm to table.
  • One of the many reasons that restaurants lie about serving farm to table is the high cost. It is very expensive to run a local and organic farm while competing with mega farms, and as a result, their produce costs a premium. Cows, pigs, and fish are especially expensive to raise, so you're going to pay a large sum for authentic farm to fork meat and seafood.
  • To make a profit, many farm to fork operations have to offer their food at a higher price to cover the high cost of the produce. While this may not be an issue in larger cities like New York City and Los Angeles, the price may put off customers in suburban or rural settings.
Farm to table started out as an offshoot of the hippie movement on the West Coast in the 1960s and 70s, but it has since grown into a worldwide phenomenon that doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. And while some restaurants have abused the farm to table name for their own gain, many restaurateurs are using farm to table to give credit to hardworking farmers and bring fresh and delicious food to the general population.

Richard Traylor
The farm to table movement gives us healthier and tastier food, however it can introduce higher costs if we don't support individual and small farmers and provide appropriate support and development.

We have to push back on toxic corporate agro-farming practices, gmo seed profiteering in which companies like Monsanto Bayer force farmers to re-purchase seeds -- reducing biodiversity, and even use antitrust to even the playing field for smaller individual farmers and co-operatives. Such action can lead us toward a more affordable Farm to Table value chain (See this Excellent Kid Friendly explanation of the Farm to Fork Journey), mitigating nearly all cons from local food production.

Finally by shifting away from monocropping towards rotation and a wider gamut of crops to cover what we actually eat, we can avoid another dust bowl, and preserve biodiversity.

Rural Development

In order to maintain affordable food, encourage health, and build economic sustainability, we have to invest in rural community development.

The assessment of rural development: Identification of an applicable set of indicators through a Delphi approach

Rural development (RD) can be defined as the set of actions aimed at promoting the modernization of rural areas, generating new employment opportunities, the sustainability of agricultural holdings, the efficiency of resource management and the preservation of ecosystems (UPA, 2016).

The concept of RD arises in response to the limitations of rural areas and in an attempt to offset them. The origin of this imbalance between urban and rural areas can be explained, among other reasons, by the traditional concentration of production factors with low opportunity costs (land and labor) in rural areas, unlike what has happened in the cities.

This situation was exacerbated from the second half of the twentieth century with the abandonment of subsistence farming economies and the growth of the service economy. However, there have also been intense migration movements towards industrial and urban centers in search of better paid jobs. All of this has generated processes of depopulation and ageing that have added even more difficulties to these areas (Abreu et al., 2019).

In fact, the imbalance in the level of development of rural and non-rural areas has become increasingly pronounced, as reflected for example in indicators such as the higher risk of poverty or social exclusion (23.9% in rural areas versus 21% in urban areas), the level of education (most of the European Union (EU) rural regions present levels of tertiary educational attainment below 40% while in the most urbanized regions this figure amounts up to 60–80%), or the lower level of digital skills in among adults (49% having basic or above basic skills in rural areas versus 63% for those living in cities) (Eurostat, 2019).

However, neither the economic structure nor the distribution of the labor force by economic sector is currently so different between urban and rural areas -although the weight of the agricultural sector is still clearly higher in rural areas- (Abreu, 2014). Nevertheless, rural areas still face limitations such as poorer access to services (health, water treatment, transport) and technology (e.g. broadband internet), which may hamper their development and endanger their persistence.

In this context, RD and RD policies as tools to materialize and achieve such development have become increasingly relevant in the face of growing challenges such as climate change, in which rural areas and the maintenance of activity in them can play an outstanding role.

This ongoing identification of agrarian with rural has meant that the implementation of RD policies has traditionally been linked to agricultural policies. In line with this, the focus of these policies has been on agriculture and agrifood activities, which is logical given the contribution of agrifood to both the economy and employment in rural areas (Abreu et al., 2019). In the EU, RD makes up the “second pillar” of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and is based on multiannual national or regional EU-funded programmes, to which local contributions must be added in different percentages, depending on the levels of development of the various regions of the European Union.

In some countries (Portugal, for example) without strong national policies, the rural policy is basically structured according to the EU's CAP and without a direct relationship with the Cohesion Policy. This means that a territory classified as rural is the target of both RD policies (CAP) and regional development policies (Cohesion Policy). Those policies pursue objectives and support initiatives that often overlap and create loopholes due to the lack of a clear identification of the distribution of institutional responsibilities (Ferrão, 2014).

However, due to the decreasing divergence of rural and urban areas discussed above, this approach to RD policies is no longer valid. The dependence on agriculture, even with its lower profitability as an economic activity and its offer of lower quality jobs, is increasingly seen as an opportunity because of its greater resilience in crisis situations. But obviously many problems remain to be addressed by diverse, adapted and adaptable RD policies to respond to current and potential future challenges.

I. Abreu, F.J. Mesias, Journal of Rural Studies
We see that rural development can be accurately measured and tracked. In doing so we can use these indicators to track the impact of supporting projects, investments and community based initiatives to achieve transformative social innovation for sustainable rural development.

Supporting rural entrepreneurship

Rather than attempting an overview of every public program that may have an impact, directly or indirectly, on entrepreneurship, this paper focuses on three main themes. The first is that entrepreneurship needs to be given greater recognition as a means to revitalize rural America. The second theme is that the policy approach most likely to yield results is investment in high-quality intermediaries. The premise is that policies to promote rural entrepreneurship have to address two economic realities: limited opportunities to achieve economies of scale, and the need to identify and exploit comparative advantage. The third theme is that there is already much innovation in the field, which needs to be harnessed and brought to scale. Throughout the paper, there is an emphasis on entrepreneurship as an approach to tackle deeprooted economic problems in low-income communities and distressed regions within rural America.

Brian Dabson, University of Missouri

Investing in rural development sustains communities, bolsters local economies, and helps rural Americans thrive.

Roughly 60 million Americans live in rural counties, accounting for nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population. In these rural communities, small businesses (including farms) are essential parts of both the economy and the social structure. In fact, over half of all new jobs created in deeply rural areas come from small business ventures, and most rural areas are dependent on agriculture as a large sector that drives their local economy.

Starting and maintaining small businesses is far from easy, however, particularly in rural areas that may lack access to fundamental resources and infrastructure. Rural economic development programs can help these communities go beyond surviving and start thriving.

For years, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has been a leader in advancing programs and policies that invest in the future of rural America. Recently, our advocacy resulted in a 2018 Farm Bill that made significant investments in value-added agriculture enterprise development in rural America. Value-added agriculture connects producers with new customers and market opportunities by helping them to diversify their product offerings and increase profits. Given the booming growth of interest in local/regional products, value-added programs and trainings are investments that have immense potential to lift up entire food-producing communities and regions across the country.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Recognizing the need to invest in rural entrepreneurship, infrastructure, and development, we should support and expand renewable energy initiatives, such as the NREL Agrivoltaics program, that aid in the development of rural commerce, secondary and ancillary industries, as well as agricultural materials processing.

Agriculture and Infrastructure: What’s the Connection?

Agriculture is an important part of a local community; in that it contributes to our food supply and provides economic as well as environmental impacts. For agricultural operations to function and continue, they require support systems and facilities (infrastructure), to remain viable. This infrastructure in some cases can be specific to agriculture, and in others used by the public as well.

What is infrastructure in the context of agriculture? Infrastructure includes the farms, markets, and businesses that support the farms within a given area. For example, in a region that grows corn and field crops, the infrastructure would include the farm and farm family, their employees, the equipment dealer(s), and the grain elevator(s) to name a few.

Without the farm and farm family, there would be no need for the employees of that farm. The equipment dealer(s) would not have anyone to sell equipment to, and the business would close, impacting the owner and employees. The elevator(s) would have no grain to store and ship, and this may even affect a railroad line that services more businesses in the immediate area. The closing of the elevator(s) also impacts the owner and employees.

In addition to the various components of infrastructure that are directly tied to agriculture, there are also those that are utilized jointly by all the residents and businesses in the community. These include items such as transportation systems, communication systems, and educational institutions.

A key issue regarding infrastructure is that there are numerous decision makers that directly or indirectly determine its location, availability, and capacity. When elected and appointed officials plan, design, regulate and construct a community's infrastructure system, they do so considering not only the individuals or businesses that need and use it, but the common good of the community as a whole. For the agricultural community, it's vital that they understand the infrastructure components that impact them, who the applicable decision makers are, and then convey their needs to those decision makers. In many cases, this will include local municipal officials and board members. In others, it can involve state and federal officials and agencies.

Neal Fogle, Lynn Kime, Penn State Extension
Federal USDA microloans and grants should be authorized specifically for Renewable Energy installations, with grants specifically earmarked for rural energy systems transitions and microloans setup to increase access for ancillary renewable development projects.

Renewable energy for sustainable rural development: Synergies and mismatches

Energy transition is increasingly regarded as a promising opportunity for the economic development of rural areas. This possibility is associated with the siting and (co-)ownership of decentralized (small-scale) renewable energy facilities. The underlying productive link, however, has been taken for granted, rather than conceptually and practically cultivated. Thus, while renewable energy-based rural development has been stated as a desired by-product of energy transitions, its potential has remained largely unfulfilled. This review aims to illuminate the ambiguous interplay between renewable energy and rural development in the context of the current trajectories of the energy transition. In doing so, we first examine different ways renewable energy may contribute to rural development and explore how the synergetic conflation of renewable energy and rural development has played out in Denmark and Scotland, as two countries that have forged ahead with renewable energy in rural areas. Second, we draw on the different experiences in the two countries to critically discuss policy-related mismatches that hamper a more efficient contribution of renewable energy to rural development, and sketch out some thoughts about the need to bring rural matters and rural communities into the discussion if the synergies between energy transition and rural development are to be taken seriously.

Laura Tolnov Clausen, David Rudolph, Energy Policy

Agrovoltaics: Step towards sustainable energy-food combination

The global growth of renewable energy has been given importance targeting global energy needs while replacing fossil fuels. Large areas of land have been a major hurdle to this global target. Keeping in view the concern of the growing population and threats to food security, APV, which is a synergistic combination of photovoltaics and crop cultivation is being advocated. APV can lead to decentralized off-grid electrification of rural agricultural areas along with providing economic benefit to farming activities.

Bioresource Technology Reports
Agrivoltaics offer dual use on land used for solar energy development. This solution is highly promising as it helps increase renewable energy supply. According to the US Department of Agriculture, agrivoltaics make it possible to envision—and chart a path toward—a future where solar provides 40% of the nation’s electricity. An abundance of low cost energy will make rural areas ripe for economic growth, increase the standard of living for farmers and farm workers and increase the resilience of the complete value chain, from production, to transport, to finally making it onto your plate.



***

Settling Shared Uncertainties: Local Partnerships Between Producers and Consumers

Should we associate the recent succession of food crises, occurring on a large scale, and the emergence of alternative systems linking producers and consumers on a local scale? Are alternative systems an attempt to set up new forms of insurance against global food uncertainties? These uncertainties result from the metabolic nature of food production and consumption, and therefore concern both producers and consumers. On the basis of three case studies of a system of long-term subscription to a weekly box of fruits and vegetables, this paper will investigate whether these schemes address both producers' and consumers' uncertainties. This common settling of shared uncertainties relies on a re-framing of the transaction: it includes a series of transactions and not only one, the scheme is conceived at the level of a certain number of consumers, and supposes a specific definition of both systems of production and distribution. This definition assumes the irregularity of the agricultural production and products. In the most involving schemes, this definition is negotiated by producers and consumers, who also identify which acceptable uncertainties are necessary to reduce unacceptable uncertainties.

Claire Lamine, Sociologia Ruralis
This study found that local partnerships between Producers and Consumers reduced uncertainty for both parties.
The three box schemes investigated here have shown how the reduction and trans-formation of uncertainty can be operationalised through a system that takes the irregularities of production into account. The producer obtains guarantees of a mainly quantitative nature through sales and income. The consumer obtains guarantees of a more qualitative nature concerning production practices, freshness and origin.
Similar demand-responsive systems can and should be implemented into other industries as well, provided we bring back local production of the things we consume.

The loss of local manufacturing capability has weakened our nation in countless ways:

The Transformation of Manufacturing and the Decline in US Employment

Using data from a variety of sources, this paper comprehensively documents the dramatic changes in the manufacturing sector and the large decline in employment rates and hours worked among prime-age Americans since 2000. We use cross-region variation to explore the link between declining manufacturing employment and labor market outcomes. We find that manufacturing decline in a local area in the 2000s had large and persistent negative effects on local employment rates, hours worked, and wages. We also show that declining local manufacturing employment is related to rising local opioid use and deaths. These results suggest that some of the recent opioid epidemic is driven by demand factors in addition to increased opioid supply. We conclude the paper with a discussion of potential mediating factors associated with declining manufacturing labor demand, including public and private transfer receipt, sectoral switching, and interregion mobility. We conclude that the decline in manufacturing employment was a substantial cause of the decline in employment rates during the 2000s, particularly for less educated prime-age workers. Given the trends in both capital and skill deepening within this sector, we further conclude that many policies currently being discussed to promote the manufacturing sector will have only a modest labor market impact for less educated individuals.

Kerwin Kofi Charles, Erik Hurst, Mariel Schwartz, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
This has led to negative impacts throughout our communities, and leads to huge mountains of garbage that not even our trade partners can recycle, accelerated plastics use, and a general loss in the ability to recycle. It has weakened our ability to complete the circle and led to a loss of expertise in key areas for engineering, design, and manufacturing. We don't even make products in America anymore and the term product has been dissonantly co-opted to refer to a software as a service in recent technology companies (Privacy & Data Rights means that our data is no longer the product, so all they have left is software as a service, or software as a one time purchased product.) While digital goods production is rising in America, physical, hard and soft goods have declined... During the pandemic we became acutely aware of how we are completely dependent on external supply chains -- which reduces our independence and freedom. This fragility was documented in several studies but also serves as an opportunity for us to reconsider how, what, and where we manufacture, and makes the case for decentralized production of core goods that sustain human civilization.

Case Studies

The convergence of digital commons with local manufacturing from a degrowth perspective: Two illustrative cases

The emerging discussion about the sustainability potential of distributed production is the starting point for this paper. The focus is on the “design global, manufacture local” model. This model builds on the conjunction of the digital commons of knowledge and design with desktop and benchtop manufacturing technologies (from three-dimensional printers and laser cutters to low-tech tools and crafts). Two case studies are presented to illustrate three interlocked practices of this model for degrowth. It is argued that a “design global, manufacture local” model, as exemplified by these case studies, seems to arise in a significantly different political economy from that of the conventional industrial model of mass production. “Design global, manufacture local” may be seen as a platform to bridge digital and knowledge commons with existing physical infrastructures and degrowth communities, in order to achieve distributed modes of collaborative production.

Vasilis Kostakis, Kostas Latoufis, Minas Liarokapis, Michel Bauwens, Journal of Cleaner Production

Industry 4.0 and capability development in manufacturing subsidiaries

...digital transformation of manufacturing activities will open up unprecedented upgrading opportunities for local manufacturing subsidiaries. The attraction of advanced production activities will prompt not only new waves of technology inflow through foreign investors' AMT transfers, but will also intensify the local accumulation of technological capabilities.

Andrea Szalavetz, Technological Forecasting and Social Change
Decentralized manufacturing can be implemented sustainably and does not have any hurdles that cannot be overcome.

Moveable factories: How to enable sustainable widespread manufacturing by local people in regions without manufacturing skills and infrastructure

Moveable factories enable high performance manufacturing. They carry their own power generation and are built to cover rough terrain. Hence, they have potential to enable more widespread modern manufacturing. In this paper, findings are reported from a study addressing two research questions. First, what goods should be produced by local people in regions without manufacturing skills and infrastructure? Second, how can lack of manufacturing skills and infrastructure be overcome? The study comprised literature review, semi-structured interviews, and structured questionnaire. Research participants are from Horn of Africa and from West Africa. All the goods that research participants considered to have potential for profitable production can be made with types of moveable factories that are available. Lack of local skills can be overcome through application of task design using proven techniques. In addition, techniques for designing capable production processes are applicable to moveable production. Established techniques for optimizing mix of production facilities, locations, and routes are also applicable. The robust mobility of moveable factories, and application of proven techniques, reduces the need for manufacturing infrastructure. Moveable factories are relevant to literature and debate concerning re-shoring/on-shoring/right-shoring/best-shoring manufacturing, sustainable manufacturing, advanced manufacturing, and distributed manufacturing. The relevance of moveable factories to these topics is analysed in terms of Resource-Based Theory, Knowledge-Based View, and Transaction Cost Economics.

Stephen Fox, Technology in Society

Makerspaces

The Maker Movement and Urban Economic Development

Problem, research strategy, and findings: The maker movement is placing small-scale manufacturing development on mayoral agendas across the United States and promises to reinvigorate production economies in central cities. To make effective policy, planners need more knowledge about the entrepreneurs at the center of this phenomenon. Here we present a qualitative investigation of urban maker economies. We draw on semistructured interviews with firms and supportive organizations in Chicago (IL), New York City (NY), and Portland (OR). A limitation of our approach stems from the unavailability of population parameters; we cannot confirm that our sample reflects the universe of maker enterprises. We find that makers draw on ecosystems comprising mainly for-profit firms. The public and nonprofit sectors are important in areas where markets do not provide the resources that fledgling makers require. We find 3 distinct types of maker enterprise: micromakers, global innovators, and emerging place-based manufacturers. Each makes a different contribution to local and regional economic development.

Takeaway for practice: Planners can maximize the potential of the maker movement by distinguishing among the 3 types of maker firms. Practitioners focused on employment creation should prioritize emerging place-based manufacturers, helping them build supply chain connections and ensuring that they have affordable space into which to expand. Artisanal micromakers also generate economic benefits, as do global innovators focused on product design and prototyping. But emerging place-based manufacturers have the highest potential for employment creation, both directly and via the business growth they stimulate.

Laura Wolf-Powers, Marc Doussard, Greg Schrock, Charles Heying, Max Eisenburger, Stephen Marotta, Journal of the American Planning Association

Modernizing small manufacturers in Japan: The role of local public technology centers

Japan's hundreds of thousands of small manufacturing enterprises not only provide high-quality inputs to large Japanese companies, but also are becoming innovators and growth generators in their own right. In addition to help from larger customers, small Japanese companies can call upon an array of public support mechanisms, including about 170 local Kohsetsushi examination and technology centers which provide research, testing, training, and guidance for firms with under 300 employees. With their intensive geographical coverage, broad range of technical services, and nominal fees, these centers offer small Japanese firms a readily available and effective source of assistance to improve their manufacturing operations, technology, and products. After reviewing the changing context for small manufacturers in Japan, the article examines the role of local Kohsetsushi centers in small firm modernization. This article considers the history, organization, and services of the Kohsetsushi system, explores the operation of five case study centers, and discusses how small Japanese firms benefit from Kohsetsushi services. Finally, there is an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the Kohsetsushi system.

Philip Shapira, Technology in Society

Global Value Chains: Linking Local Producers from Developing Countries to International Markets

This important volume presents seven case studies of global value chains alongside two theoretical chapters concerning these chains. The contributors explore a wide range of issues relevant to value chains: the impact of global value chains on local upgrading strategies, the role of governance structures shaping global value chains, the role of buyers in creating, monitoring and enforcing commodity specifications and of international standards in shaping the patterns of chain governance. They also consider the role of donors, governmental organisations, and civil society in influencing value chains and the importance of partnerships as mechanisms for value chain upgrading. This carefully researched work is essential reading to scholars and students of the rapidly changing global economic order.

Amsterdam University Press

Solutions

Sustainability in Manufacturing through Distributed Manufacturing Systems (DMS)

A growing number of manufacturing companies are working on the implementation of sustainable manufacturing and business processes. The objective of sustainable manufacturing initiatives is the creation of products by means of energy-efficient and resource-saving manufacturing systems. Furthermore, customer satisfaction will be achieved in future not only through the creation of products, but also through socially and environmentally responsible as well as economically efficient concepts of manufacturing avoiding negative effects for society. Distributed manufacturing systems (DMS) are currently discussed in science as a possible approach for the realization of sustainable manufacturing. Decentralized networks of adaptable and flexible mini-factories are not only helpful to reduce emissions through reduction of transports, but also serve for the growth and development of regional economic cycles. This paper gives an overview of trends towards DMS as well as reasons and arguments why Distributed Manufacturing Systems are appropriate concepts for more sustainable manufacturing.

Erwin Rauch, Matthias Dallinger, Patrick Dallasega, Dominik T. Matt, Procedia CIRP
The aforementioned paper further concludes that
The DMS concept plays a major role for enabling sustainability in order to produce products at the place of consumption through the use of small but efficient and highly adaptable as well as customer oriented manufacturing units.

Efficiency

Energy policies for increased industrial energy efficiency: Evaluation of a local energy programme for manufacturing SMEs

The most extensive action targeting the adoption of energy efficiency measures in small- and medium-sized manufacturing industries in Sweden over the past 15 years was project Highland. This paper presents an evaluation of the first part of this local industrial energy programme, which shows an adoption rate of more than 40% when both measures that have already been implemented and measures that are planned to be implemented are included. A comparison between this programme and another major ongoing programme for the Swedish energy-intensive industry indicates that the approach used in project Highland aimed at small- and medium-sized industries is an effective way to increase energy efficiency in the Swedish industry. The major barriers to energy efficiency among the firms were related to the low priority of the energy efficiency issue.

Patrik Thollander, Maria Danestig, Patrik Rohdin, Energy Policy
Investing in workers:

Evaluating small firm performance in local context: A case study of manufacturers in Columbus, Ohio

This research approaches corporate restructuring from a place-based perspective, departing from firm or industry-specific analysis and focusing instead on the performance and problems of a local economy. The study systematizes data from a survey of small manufacturing firms in Columbus, Ohio, offering a methodology that can be used for comparative analyses of sectors within or among communities.

We link the performance of firms and local context using a sampling strategy that represents local industry mix. We recognize the multidimensional character of performance and employ several indicators, stated in both static and dynamic terms. We use these indicators to identify patterns of firm performance, relative to both national and local standards. Discriminant analyses reveal variables that account for differences among groups of firms, identified by level of performance, industry, and mode of labor-management relations.

Results indicate that small manufacturers in Columbus are relatively uncompetitive. The few high performing firms are investing more in labor than in capital, but most firms are investing more in capital than labor. These findings are consistent with American corporate tradition that deemphasizes workers. Effective restructuring entails more than technical change, which enables competitiveness but does not itself engender it.

Nancy Ettlinger, Michelle Tufford, Small Business Economics

Local Manufacturing makes our nation's economy stronger, circular, and more efficient. It makes our lands cleaner due to less pollution and more recycling, and lowers the cost of living. A resurgence in domestic, shared manufacturing, public makerspaces, human ingenuity, and even AI production that is owned by the people and general public, could eventually help us adapt to a post AI world that is rapidly approaching.

Shared ownership of the means of production means that we all benefit. Of course that requires that we have a means of production, and that it's owned by the people, for the people. That is why focus and emphasis is placed on decentralized, distributed production -- it lowers transport and delivery times, reduces waste, and preserves a place for engineers, techs, and production workers to add value to our society.

Finally, America's tactical advantage in the last world war was Rosie the Riveter. Our peoples' ingenuity, and our scientific research, backed by people fighting for human rights and an egalitarian society made America what it is today. Rosie represented a feminist iconography where women entered the workforce, and were seen as equal to men in being able to support the wartime effort if not from the battlefield, then in industry as leaders where men typically used to operate. We've subsequently extended women entry into the armed forces as well, which is important in acknowledging that a woman can be equal to a man in any way -- any human can serve. We had the ability to produce ships, aircraft, and much more, because of this egalitarian society that fully acknowledged, and maximized it's ability to leverage the human potential in each citizen. This teaches us that we should invest in each person in our nation being able to achieve their maximum potential. A visa will be worth even more because America is just such an amazing place, anyone who comes here has a chance of reaching their maximum potential. This makes our economy stronger and attracts stronger citizens: We want the smartest and strongest to migrate here. We want to provide asylum to everyone -- to welcome the downtrodden, people who fled poverty and war stricken areas. These are the strongest people in the world. They made it thru hell to get here. Let's give'em heaven.


Achieving livable wages and financial stability requires us to support workers right's all the time, not just when it's politically convenient... We'll stand with rail workers instead of shutting their strike down, in addition to any and all other industries. We'll champion their rights to unionize and engage in collective bargaining. We support the 4 day workweek, and institutionalizing federal minimum wage laws that include interest rate, inflation, and cost of living adjustments.

Strengthening NLRB Protections

THE EXCLUDED WORKERS: THE NLRA, FARM LABORERS, AND A LINEAGE OF EXPLOITATION

On July 5th, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). With this stroke of a pen, the history of the United States’ labor movement was radically transformed. The general goal of the NLRA was to guarantee employees the “right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid and protection.” This goal was—and to this day remains—a noble one, for collective bargaining has been instrumental in many historic leaps in workers’ rights and benefits. While the history of private sector employment in the United States is filled with examples of rampant exploitation and disturbing working conditions, many, but not all, sectors have been able to achieve some semblance of dignity in the workplace. Such achievements include higher pay, improved working conditions, anti-child labor policies, and are—at least in part—due to the ability to collectively organize one’s workplace. Dauntingly, however, the benefits and protections provided within the NLRA do not extend to all individuals who sell their labor for an income.

Despite acknowledging the importance of such federal labor protections, Congress explicitly excluded all agricultural laborers from the NLRA’s definition of “employee.” Because agricultural laborers are excluded from the definition of employee, they are excluded from the protections afforded to nearly every other working person falling under the NRLA’s jurisdiction. Agricultural work, like many job sectors, has a dark history of horrendous working conditions, pay, and treatment of laborers. Unlike many of the jobs covered under the NLRA, however, many of these same issues are still faced by the contemporary agricultural laborer. This was not on accident, or without intention. Instead, and as this Note will demonstrate, agricultural workers were excluded from the protections conferred in the NLRA because farm owners and investors—primarily in the South—sought to perpetuate the exploitation of Black and poor laborers.

Drake Journal of Agricultural Law
All employees should have the same protections of the law, regardless of industry, nor shall there be discrimination on any basis with regards to any employee's right to collective bargaining. Any obstructions of justice will be met with swift and immediate action by our administration.

Livable Wages

American's buying power has significantly decreased. While some wages may be up today, ALL costs of living have inflated higher than wages have. The federal minimum wage still remains at it's measly 2009 value: $7.25. A basic time-value of money calculation indicates that $7.25 in 2009 is worth $10.40 today in 2023. Thus, federal minimum wage workers are only earning ~69% of their 2009 earnings when we look at actual buying power.

To add insult to injury, average housing costs went from about $274,000 in 2009 to $513,000 in 2023. Not only do people earn less buying power per hour of labor worked, the actual cost of goods and homes has risen.

According to the Social Security Average Wage Index, the average wage per worker in 2009 was $39,054.62 and in 2022 was $61,220.07.

The cost of a home in 2023 is 87% higher than it's 2009 level, but wages are only 56% higher than 2009 levels, leading to a 31% deficit.

Considering the dire inequality of our society, and the dynamic nature of costs of living in various regions of America, it makes sense to change the minimum to a livable wage, for all people (regardless of disability status or impairment), from a hardcoded number to a dynamic value, calculated by a formula that's codified into law: The 40x rule in real estate requires renters to have an annual income that is greater than or equal to 40x the monthly rent. Based on this, we should calculate the minimum wage based on an annual wage/salary that is 40x the monthly rent cost of anywhere within a 30 minute commute via public transit. As public transportation technology gets faster and more efficient, the 30 minute commute zone will get larger. Otherwise one can't afford to start a business or live near their job. Workers working from home should, at minimum, be paid 40x the average rent in whatever county they live.

Financial Stability

Fiscal responsibility is key to maintaining socioeconomic justice. This requires financial stability for everyone who participates in our economy. We have fought long and hard for the opportunity to be included in the economy, to overcome discrimination and inequality. It is paramount that we organize our society such that we shift from a fragile extractive system to a resilient, growth oriented system where all humans share access to the earth and means of production.

Financial stability is difficult to define and even more difficult to measure. Strictly speaking, a financial system can be characterised as stable in the absence of excessive volatility, stress or crises. This narrow definition is relatively simple to formulate, but fails to capture the positive contribution of a well-functioning financial system to overall economic performance. Indeed, broader definitions of financial stability encompass the smooth functioning of a complex nexus of relationships among financial markets, infrastructures and institutions operating within the given legal, fiscal and accounting frameworks. Such definitions are more abstract but are more inclusive of the macro-economic dimension of financial stability and interactions between the financial and real sectors. From this perspective, financial stability can be defined as “a condition in which the financial system – comprising financial intermediaries, markets and market infrastructure – is capable of withstanding shocks and the unravelling of financial imbalances, thereby mitigating the likelihood of disruptions in the financial intermediation process which are severe enough to significantly impair the allocation of savings to profitable investment opportunities” (ECB (2007)).

Gadanecz, Blaise and Jayaram, Kaushik, (2009), Measures of financial stability - a review, p. 365-380 in Settlements, Bank for International eds., Proceedings of the IFC Conference on , vol. 31, Bank for International Settlements.
Growth based economies are more financially stable, building equity where there was once extractive inequality. Equitable wealth outcomes create a resilient and larger economy.

Family Wealth as an Engine for Macroeconomic Growth

We conclude with two broad recommendations. First, policymakers seeking to boost macroeconomic growth, and, in particular, to create inclusive macroeconomic growth, should view steps to increase wealth broadly as important levers. Building family wealth is not only important for economic mobility at the individual level but also an investment in the future of the American economy. Second, the standards by which we gauge whether macroeconomic growth is inclusive should focus not only on whether income gains are broadly shared but also on whether there is a strengthening of family finances across the population. Given the channels through which wealth can foster growth, doing so will help to cultivate sustained inclusive growth.

Karen Dynan, Abigail Wozniak
Karen Dynan is a professor of the practice in the Department of Economics at Harvard University. She served as assistant secretary for economic policy and chief economist at the U.S. Department of the Treasury from 2014 to 2017, leading analysis of economic conditions and development of policies to address the nation’s economic challenges. Abigail Wozniak is a labor economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, where she serves as director of the Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute. Dr. Wozniak has also served as a faculty research fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research and a senior economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
Another example of extractive vs growth economics is aptly described by William Lazonick, who wrote, in 2014, words that still ring true today:

Profits Without Prosperity

While the top 0.1% of income recipients—which include most of the highest-ranking corporate executives—reap almost all the income gains, good jobs keep disappearing, and new employment opportunities tend to be insecure and underpaid. Corporate profitability is not translating into widespread economic prosperity.

The allocation of corporate profits to stock buybacks deserves much of the blame. Consider the 449 companies in the S&P 500 index that were publicly listed from 2003 through 2012. During that period those companies used 54% of their earnings—a total of $2.4 trillion—to buy back their own stock, almost all through purchases on the open market. Dividends absorbed an additional 37% of their earnings. That left very little for investments in productive capabilities or higher incomes for employees.

The buyback wave has gotten so big, in fact, that even shareholders—the presumed beneficiaries of all this corporate largesse—are getting worried. “It concerns us that, in the wake of the financial crisis, many companies have shied away from investing in the future growth of their companies,” Laurence Fink, the chairman and CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, wrote in an open letter to corporate America in March. “Too many companies have cut capital expenditure and even increased debt to boost dividends and increase share buybacks.”

Why are such massive resources being devoted to stock repurchases? Corporate executives give several reasons, which I will discuss later. But none of them has close to the explanatory power of this simple truth: Stock-based instruments make up the majority of their pay, and in the short term buybacks drive up stock prices. In 2012 the 500 highest-paid executives named in proxy statements of U.S. public companies received, on average, $30.3 million each; 42% of their compensation came from stock options and 41% from stock awards. By increasing the demand for a company’s shares, open-market buybacks automatically lift its stock price, even if only temporarily, and can enable the company to hit quarterly earnings per share (EPS) targets.

As a result, the very people we rely on to make investments in the productive capabilities that will increase our shared prosperity are instead devoting most of their companies’ profits to uses that will increase their own prosperity—with unsurprising results. Even when adjusted for inflation, the compensation of top U.S. executives has doubled or tripled since the first half of the 1990s, when it was already widely viewed as excessive. Meanwhile, overall U.S. economic performance has faltered.

If the U.S. is to achieve growth that distributes income equitably and provides stable employment, government and business leaders must take steps to bring both stock buybacks and executive pay under control. The nation’s economic health depends on it.

From Value Creation to Value Extraction

For three decades I’ve been studying how the resource allocation decisions of major U.S. corporations influence the relationship between value creation and value extraction, and how that relationship affects the U.S. economy. From the end of World War II until the late 1970s, a retain-and-reinvest approach to resource allocation prevailed at major U.S. corporations. They retained earnings and reinvested them in increasing their capabilities, first and foremost in the employees who helped make firms more competitive. They provided workers with higher incomes and greater job security, thus contributing to equitable, stable economic growth—what I call “sustainable prosperity.”

This pattern began to break down in the late 1970s, giving way to a downsize-and-distribute regime of reducing costs and then distributing the freed-up cash to financial interests, particularly shareholders. By favoring value extraction over value creation, this approach has contributed to employment instability and income inequality.

William Lazonick, Harvard Business Review