Hurricane Harvey flood victims are secured and safe in a flotilla of FCBs and a platoon of MRUs

(A fictional but provocative news story)

BY S. HAIL AUG. 30, 2017

HOUSTON — As nations around the world have continuously experienced, studied and analyzed the devastating effects of climate change in recent decades, especially from the relentless sea level rise, most governments slowly but surely fall in line, do the right thing and mobilize enormous resources to aggressively address climate challenges head-on. Those remedial climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience efforts have finally borne fruit today and proven to be money well spent, avoiding billions of dollars from Hurricane Harvey-related economic costs.

In the U.S., most coastal and flood-prone towns and cities (defined by the annually updated FEMA flood maps) are in different stages of drafting, reviewing and implementing the AOC (Act On Climate) infrastructure plan in accordance to the Obama-era Federal Flood Risk Management Standard that mandates infrastructure projects to be designed to survive rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change. Luckily for Houston, a climate-proof evacuation route was complete last year and is put to timely use as intended while half of the city’s roads are currently flooded.

In addition, since the U.S. has signed the Paris climate agreement in 2015, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has commissioned a permanent 15-member interagency Act On Climate (AOC) Council, headed by the Pentagon and with representatives from DHS, NOAA, EPA, FEMA, etc., to draft, put into place and annually update a comprehensive strategic plan of protecting American lives and properties from extreme climate risks. As a result, the AOC disaster relief plan was already in action before Hurricane Harvey made landfall Friday night on August 25, between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, Texas, as a Category 4 storm with winds of 130 mph.

One of the AOC adaptation strategies is to transition our fixed critical structures into mobile structures. The two potent ammunitions up their sleeves apparently are called FCB (Floating City Block) and MRU (Mobile Residential Unit). With the latest climate friendly technology including solar or renewable energy source, backup battery, grey water filtration system, energy and water efficient appliances, etc. on board, the FCBs and MRUs are meant to showcase and field-test the sustainable, self-sufficient and resilient (SSR) aspects of the criteria necessary for a successful transition into our climate uncertain future, based on the AOC Council’s last Climate Survival Report.

The FCB is a custom-retrofitted supersize 200,000-gross-registered-ton cruise ship with 4,000 beds, capable to expand to 8,000 beds, and the equivalent facilities, services and amenities to support a regular functioning town, including schools and clinics. It is designed to be a fully sustainable, self-sufficient and resilient (SSR) human settlement model for relocating a certain displaced population for the long term or accommodating the general population in the future. The advantages of FCB being mobile and buoyant are obvious and numerous. The most self-evident one is the fact that the ocean currently occupies about 70% of the Earth’s surface area and will continue to increase. Without knowing the eventual coastline and how frequently similar floods will occur, it is a safer bet to abandon the badly damaged areas sooner rather than later, and reallocate the reconstruction budget towards more climate adaptation in other less vulnerable areas.

The MRU is an updated and high-tech version of the traditional FEMA trailer, except that it is also designed for mobility (similar to a Recreational Vehicle), expandability and long-term or permanent residency. As a matter of fact, the MRU program is also the replacement of the bankrupt and defunct National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as a key component of the AOC Council’s efforts to limit the financial costs of floods on homeowners and the government. A similar NFIP premium will guarantee the insured homeowner a one-time MRU for the appropriate family size in case of a claim. Instead of encouraging rebuilding on flood-prone areas and repeated insurance claims which bankrupted the original NFIP, the insured homeowners can continue to live in their MRU on their properties and evacuate in their MRU as needed, with no further premium payments, property damages and insurance claims. Furthermore, the MRU status will also guarantee them first priority in future evacuations. Such arrangement additionally alleviates a drastic and disruptive displacement and abandonment of flood-prone communities and buys the government extra time to plan for eventual and permanent retreats.

The last AOC Council’s press release has stressed that no disaster relief plan can be effective without the full cooperation and collaboration of all citizens and personnel involved at the local, state and federal levels. To that, the Houston officials were credited with the controlled staggered evacuation process by the newly assigned priority order based on the flood risk of each residential address and the efficient setup of designated strategic command posts and staging areas with adequate emergency supplies and services in place and secured escape and re-supply routes, so that the relief process can proceed and scale up smoothly, safely and continuously out of the danger zones.

While greeting the arriving evacuees on board the FCB1, the first of its kind, Ms. Sky Howard, its Chief Operational Officer, made the following statement:

“The investments made by the U.S. government in mitigating and adapting to climate change as an insurance policy pay off today. Thanks to the prescient and meticulous AOC disaster relief plan and the up-to-date scientific modeling and prediction for such extreme climate events exacerbated by climate change, we are able to save and relocate hundreds if not thousands of people today in a timely manner and prevent billions of dollars of economic costs.

Climate change is a colossal and pervasive phenomenon that can adversely affect anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world. Our government has the responsibility and duty to provide public safety and to protect the collective interest of all citizens from calamitous harm, especially in dire situations like extreme climate disasters. Only the government is in a unique position to assemble ample human, material and financial resources, dedicated to discover and develop the best plan and technology that can tackle the climate change problems and deal with the resulting climate disasters efficiently, effectively, safely, speedily, fundamentally, ubiquitously and hopefully, permanently. We are all here today to bear witness to our government at its best.

We, as individuals, may not be able to escape the wrath of and win every battle against natural disasters, climate change related or not. But collective strength is mightier than individual strength and our government has risen to the global climate change challenge by leading this fight. Realizing that we, as a nation, are better prepared now than ever, let us all hope for the best and that Sun Tzu is correct in saying, ‘Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.’”

(Read about climate change solutions HERE)


The stock market is an institutionalized casino

The stock market is reaching record high level.  Is it really good news to our economy?  William Lazonick, Director, University of Massachusetts Center for Industrial Competitiveness, describes that the prevailing stock market ideology enriches value extractors, not value creators, in his Huffington Post article “How ‘Shareholder Value’ Is Killing Innovation” (1 August 2017).  In fact, there is concern that “The Fed is getting worried about the stock market,” according to Business Insider (5 August 2017). Truth be told, the stock market is just an institutionalized casino where profit vultures mine and store wealth for posterity and perpetuity.

Most people understand that whenever and wherever there is a for-profit business model, money has to be and will be made to be delivered and directed to a selected few.  Typically, the capital owners are on the top of the food chain and most of them are predatory, constantly on the lookout for profit.  As soon as they spot a profitable business, they zero in as investors, demand to be rewarded with their investments, soak up as much money as they can and eventually leave with their gains to prey on another target.  They claim that it is their right for their return on investment (ROI).  I call them the ‘profit vultures,’ but Mr. Lazonick refers them as ‘predatory value extractors.’

Such profit seeking for profit’s sake kind of investment concept is counterproductive to the conventional idea of devoting money plus time, effort, and energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result in the long run.  What is supposed to be a positive, healthy and mutually beneficial relationship becomes impersonal, selfish and exploitative.  Whatever is deemed as worthwhile over time becomes solely as monetary profit.  The time, effort, or energy aspects of planting seeds, breeding, nurturing, growing and harvesting in the end are completely lost in the evolution of investment, culminating in the creation of the stock market.

In the early history of investment, the purchasers of stocks, bonds and other securities were literally described as speculators.  According to some purists, they still are.  Being labeled as investors now give them certain legitimacy but the stock market is still like a big casino and speculation is rampant.  Anyone with money can buy shares of the companies listed on the stock market and sell them at any time as long as the market is open for business.  It requires minimum amount of time, effort, or energy.  As a matter of fact, the whole process can be computerized and preprogrammed, to maximize the chance of profiteering.

There is little regard to a company’s potentials other than the ROI.  Long term investment for capital expenditures like hardware, machinery, equipment, etc. or for employee wellness, training and empowerment, meant to increase productivity, may make a company profitable but take a longer time to bear fruit.  Those are hard ROI money.  Why go the hard way when there is an easy way?

Easy ROI money involves short term manipulation of various financial instruments, assets and processes, through flipping, high frequency trading, stripping companies of valuable assets to cash out by mergers and acquisitions, price fixing, loan sharking, gambling (or hedging for the financially literate), tax cheating, insider trading, cooking the books, etc.  Some may be legal and some may not and a lot of such practices are likely in the grey area, but it does not stop some investors and their financial partners from taking advantage of them.

Such financial maneuverings with the explosion of new and complex but mostly non-productive financial products created with the help of the mathematics and computer talents and wizards have enriched hedge fund managers, investment bankers, big bank CEOs, mergers and acquisitions specialists, financial instruments traders, financial advisers, portfolio managers, financial services analysts, etc.  There is even a new term, ‘financialization,’ created just to describe such phenomenon.  According to Oxfam’s annual study of inequality released in January 2016, the financial sector is a prime source of rising inequality; one in five billionaires comes from that industry.  Income inequality has become an insidious and infectious disease that rears its ugly in unexpected territories these days.

How do countries founded on democracy like the U.S. and Europe, allow such misdeeds to happen and continue?  Self-interest and greed have driven the profit overdrive to the extreme and to the mainstream, to the point where it is powerful enough to override the moral norm and sometimes the legal limit, from bending the rules and cheating to outright breaking the law.  Unless they are apprehended, the avaricious ‘profit vultures’ are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Capital owners have always been the originators of businesses and the promise of profit has always been the motivation and reward of starting new businesses.  It seems to work until recent history, but the profit mandate is increasingly giving people license to feed their insatiate appetite for greed endlessly.  Now, such profit overdrive has become so addictive and contagious that it has the potential to disrupt and upend the capitalist economic system.

How do we solve such a problem?  I propose one solution:

The Nature Order Zociety or NATORZ will swap profit mandate with universal job guarantee at living wage made possible by G.R.E.E.N.-laundering and Greenopoly, and create a circular need-based economy to anchor sustainable, self-sufficient and resilient communities.  It will serve our survival physical needs, rebuild and reinvest in socially cohesive and healthy communities, prevent the tragedy of the commons, and harness and utilize our creativity for self-actualization and purposeful lives while solving the world’s most pressing and needy problems, especially climate change.

The broken capitalist economic engine

When there are widespread economic and related financial insecurity and anxiety, the majority of the working class is too deprived, distracted, detached, disenfranchised and/or disillusioned to pay attention, and more importantly, feels too powerless to deal with important problems afflicting our society, including climate change.  Therefore, it is paramount that we relieve our collective economic stress first.

We all know that our economy is sick.  The current economic diagnosis is weak economic growth accompanied by rampant underemployment. One symptom is proliferation of non-living wage jobs, expanding the working poor population and dampening overall consumer demand.  One cause is Artificial Intelligence and robots replacing human labor.  But the major cause is massive income inequality with newly created wealth disproportionately flowing to the rich minority, exacerbating the vicious cycle of diminishing money multiplier effect.

The success of capitalism predicates on a money-churning machine, working with the four prerequisites of the economy: demand, supply, market and exchange medium (money).  Money has to be fed continuously into the capitalist economy machine to produce more money by churning over and over again so as to keep it going.  When money investment goes into the machine, it jumpstarts the exchanges between demand and supply.  The more exchanges there are in the free market, the more money will be created by the money multiplier effect.  If the newly generated money keeps going back into the machine, it can theoretically keep going and even keep growing.

However, this capitalist money-churning machine has its constraints.  Just like any machine, it has to be calibrated exactly in order to work smoothly and satisfactorily.  The previous successful run was during the Post-World War II economic boom, known as the Golden Age of Capitalism in the U.S.  When public investments from the government poured into the economy, spurring the demand and supply of everything under the sun during that time, most people got a job and a decent paycheck to go on a spending spree, thereby fueling the capitalist money-churning machine, under a stable political, social, economical and natural climate, with much lower income inequality.

Back to the present, there are multiple factors preventing the machine from working properly.  The most obvious and damaging impediment is the growing income inequality gap.  With the rich taking the majority of the money gains from the machine and stashing them away in secret offshore accounts or in investments like expensive art collections, luxury goods and services, etc that do not spread wide, it slows down the machine.  When there is less money around, demand automatically goes down and thus supply.  The less exchanges there are, the less money will be churned and created by the money multiplier effect.  Inevitably, the money-churning machine will sputter and possibly stall altogether.

Unfortunately, that is only one of many ailments that afflicts the machine.  Many ingredients are needed to match the demand and supply properly to facilitate the exchanges.  On the demand side, human physical needs are much easier to manage than human wants.  Humans need food.  We know what humans will eat and like to eat.  Therefore, we know what to supply accordingly.  But human physical needs are finite, so we turn to the infinite human wants to boost the exchanges in the machine.  Currently, humans do not need iPhones, but a lot of them want iPhones.  Therefore, Apple supplies accordingly and does well.  But nobody knows for sure what most humans want or demand next.  So the suppliers who guess right will survive and those who guess wrong will suffer and fail.  For those who fail, they are faced with a phenomenon called creative destruction, which inflicts a lot of collateral damages in the process without remediation, and therefore harms the money-churning machine.  The rate of creative destruction is higher when the economy or the money machine is slowing than when it is speeding up.

On the supply side, there are many additional challenges to overcome on top of unpredictable human wants.  Money is the first resource input for a supplier so that it can afford to start the process.  Natural resources are needed to provide materials for physical goods.  Technical resources are needed to operate machinery, equipment, technology, etc.  Human resources are needed to manage and execute the required processes.  Logistical resources are needed to bring goods to the market. Any deficiency or shortfall of the aforementioned can cause a supplier to fail and join the line of creative destruction.

Lately, multiple resource fronts have been facing headwinds.  Finite natural resources are continuously being depleted and contaminated, thereby harder and more expensive to source.  Technological advances and automation may increase productivity but replace workers and reduce their wages, thereby displacing the money flow for the money machine.  The labor force is not educated enough and skilled enough to take on newly created technical jobs, thereby is stuck being unemployed or underemployed, especially without adequate public investment in education and job training.  Logistical advances, like drone delivery, self-driving cars and trucks, online shopping and delivery, sharing economy, etc are disrupting traditional industries and speeding up the process of creative destruction.

This is only one simple snapshot out of all the challenges for the proper running of the money-churning machine, considering all the other problems under capitalism.  All the above can be considered the internal factors.  The external factors, which include the prevalent political, social, economical and natural climate, are no less daunting.  Just the increasing income inequality alone has directly and indirectly caused the destabilization of the political, social and economical norms around the world in recent years.  Of course, the elephant in the room is climate change, which poses our biggest existential threat, including the money-churning machine.

When we think about or talk about fixing the capitalist economy or its money-churning machine, there are just too many moving parts that have become harder and harder to calibrate and synchronize to work properly, especially when the plutocrats have been messing with it and sabotaging it for such a long time.  Take higher tax rate for the rich.  If they can write off most of their wealth with fancy accounting gimmicks or hide their income in secretive offshore accounts, that money cannot be taxed.  Take closing the trillion-dollar-plus infrastructure investment gap or any other major public investment projects.  The federal gas tax has not been increased since 1993 thanks to the Republican deficit hawks and whatever amount, if any, may be allocated by the government will be underwhelming to make a difference. Take universal basic income.  It will never happen in the U.S., especially with the Republican Party contingent.  Even if it does hypothetically, the U.S. budget cannot afford a significant amount and it is not a permanent or even effective solution.

Universal Basic Income (UBI) has been hailed as the remedy for income inequality and may help in the short term by injecting money into the economy quickly but does not change the long term economic calculus.  Purely from the money-churning machine viewpoint, unless the total UBI is coming from the wealth skimmed off by the rich and matches an equivalent amount, there will not be a net increase of money inflow into the machine.  Absent other structural changes, UBI is just an illusion of hope.  Besides, it will completely dismantle the work ethic.  When you pay people money without demanding them to work, there will eventually be class warfare between the workers and non-workers.  Inevitably, people with UBI will also be reluctant to sign up for the essential but menial and back-breaking jobs with low pay, e.g. farm workers, trash collectors, janitors, etc., and robots will not and cannot replace all such jobs.  The smarter, more sensible and more responsible alternative is to give everyone a job and enforce job rotation so that he/she can earn his/her livelihood and also contribute to the society with a sense of worth and purpose.

Such a holistic cure would involve re-engineering economically self-sufficient, sustainable and resilient communities anchored by local need-based and non- or low-profit economic entities that provide critical and essential goods and services, like food, water, shelter, energy, healthcare, security, transportation, communication, education, etc.  All their proceeds will be used to offer universal lifetime employment with a standard living wage to local residents who will now have economic security and will financially sustain the local economies and governments.  Such local arrangement will also have additional benefits of worldwide application and built-in resilience and protection against other external threats like climate change disruptions, etc.

The major flaw of the capitalist economy and its money-churning machine is being unsustainable.  That is why the NATORZ economy is structured differently to avoid all these problems and with built-in sustainability.  The NATORZ economic model does not rely on the money-churning machine, except initially, to wrestle and secure the resources from the existing economy to jumpstart the NATORZ economic base.  When NATORZ forgoes the want-based industries in the capitalist economy, there will be extra human, material and financial resources for its need-based industries, to make them G.R.E.E.N. (Good for the human Race, Environment, Economy and Needy), sustainable and climate change friendly, or in our word, ‘natorized.’  When NATORZ socializes all the economic costs and economic gains, there is no need to grow its economy, making it truly sustainable, self-sufficient and resilient. This leads to the birth of Natoronomics.

Natoronomics is the branch of knowledge that underpins and directs all NATORZ economic activities and goals pursued by the Nature Order Zociety and its members, by adhering to the NATORZ Doctrine, and by aiming at making all aspects of the NATORZ economy become ‘natorized,’ meaning being G.R.E.E.N. (Good for the human Race, Environment, Economy and Needy), sustainable and climate change friendly.  Natoronomics promotes the NATORZ ethos of ‘work to live’ which will replace the capitalist ethos of ‘live to work.’


Wastes, with over 8 billion metric tons of plastics and counting, will eventually choke most lives on Earth

Recent news about the grotesque amount of unnatural plastics humans have introduced into the natural world in articles such as “The Immense, Eternal Footprint Humanity Leaves on Earth: Plastics” by Tatiana Schlossberg  in the New York Times (19 July 2017) and “Scientists Have Figured Out How Much Plastic We’ve Made Since 1950” by Dominique Mosbergen in the Huffington Post (20 July 2017) is depressing enough.  Adding insult to injury, the extensive waste problem in our material-dependent linear capitalist economy with a ‘take, make, dispose’ model of production is actually even more entrenched and pernicious.

In nature on Earth, there exist vast and extensive networks of interconnected ecosystems that are self-balancing and fine-tuned to be sustainable, self-sufficient and resilient over millennia.  Together, they form this fragile web of checks and balances and create a circle of life from the beginning of the Earth that started with a single-cell organism to the present complex world of profuse and unique biodiversity, until recently.  As soon as humans come along, we proceed to interfere and disrupt the natural systems incessantly.  As of this date, we continue our unabated interventions that have caused mass extinctions of other species at an unprecedented rate, with us barely batting an eyelash. We are so blinded by our self-interests that the laws of nature seem completely irrelevant and inapplicable to us.  We ignore the truth that everything that we have on Earth is in fact a gift and it is our duty to keep on the giving before there is nothing left.

Nature shows us how to deal with waste but we do not learn from her, even though we have an expression redolent of the same theme that says “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”  Every time we generate waste that does not get recycled harmlessly back into nature, there are two kinds of cost: one as negative externality and the other as wrongful resource overdrafts.

The negative externality (also called external cost or external diseconomy) can come in the forms of health hazards, pollution, toxins, unintended consequences or useless altered materials that remain in the environment and can harm the ecosystems and the living things within.  Since we do not have a complete understanding of the full effects of our wastes, we can only witness ubiquitous dysfunctional natural systems that are out of wreck and out of control:

from cancers in humans and wildlife, the ticking time bombs of deadly nuclear and industrial wastes stored out of sight, the Great Pacific Ocean Gyre or garbage patch of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge and other debris forming a deathtrap for the marine life, the frequent and ever-expanding toxic algae blooms and red tides creating dead zones in natural bodies of water, to the ultimate climate changing fiasco from the excessive carbon emissions of our modern human society. 

The natural world has always evolved with existing finite resources with every living organism taking what it needs to survive and propagate, no more and no less.  We define each living organism’s share as its resource claim (or as ‘fair Earth share’ described by Peter Dauvergne in his 2016 book, Environmentalism of the Rich).  The act of wrongful resource overdrafts actually manifests itself in three different ways in our human economy.  Firstly, whenever we waste or throw away something that has an inherent value or use, we are taking away that resource claim from someone else or from our future generations.  Secondly, whenever we consume and leave behind waste that cannot be fully recycled harmlessly back into nature, we are rendering that resource useless permanently and destroying its repetitive future claims.  Thirdly, whenever we consume not what we need but what we want, we are knowingly hogging additional resource claim over and above what we need or our fair share.  If we multiply the problem of such wrongful resource overdrafts by the human population of 7.4 billion and counting, we can see the extraordinary magnitude of the overall harmful impact.  This kind of waste can also be considered as a manifestation of privatizing gains and socializing costs at an individual level.

The capitalist business model espouses so many different kinds of waste that it is hard to chronicle every single one.  In addition to the waste of natural resources and physical materials, there is also the concurrent waste of time, human labor, human potential, opportunities and their associated financial and social costs.  Each and every single waste is compounded by its respective unused and unrealized value or potential.  Every idle or surplus productive capacity or capability, whether it is machinery or labor, inventory or renewable energy captured but not stored, etc., can also be counted as being squandered because they depreciate while sitting around being unproductive.  With a bit waste here and a bit waste there, they all add up.

Instead of multiple suppliers, manufacturers or producers of the same products or services, there should be only one entity who will provide the best products or services with the minimal inputs or costs, as with NATORZ’s Greenopoly, thereby saving all those human, material and financial resources that would have been duplicated and wasted unnecessarily and also eliminating the creative destruction phenomenon altogether.  There already exists many simple ways to drastically minimize waste and maximize efficiency, like standardizing, sharing or renting instead of owning, replacing or producing only when broken or on demand, modular design with standardized and replaceable parts and components, etc.

Recognizing the steep and pernicious price of privatizing gains and socializing costs individually and collectively, we can redirect our behaviors and reorient our goals to first minimize waste, and then eliminate waste altogether, through NATORZ.  We also need to transform our approach toward resources, abstaining from degenerative activities and negative externality and engaging in regenerative activities and positive externality.  Non-recyclable waste in a zero-sum world is a total loss and possible harm but recyclable waste in a non-zero-sum world can regenerate and become the gift that can keep on giving.  Instead of the standard 3R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), we can do so much more by adding Repair, Recover, Repurpose, Reclaim, Retrieve, Rescue, Revert, Return, Retrofit, Reinstate, Renew and Regenerate, whenever and wherever practical and possible.  The imagination is ours.  By targeting at each source of the counterproductive and degenerative effects of the capitalist resource waste, we can create a complete circular economy while minimizing our carbon footprint and help us to conform and attune to the sustainable, self-sufficient and resilient ecosystem in nature. Waste not, want not.  How true.

Even Mark Zuckerberg can’t protect his loved ones from climate change disasters

What does our future hold, or more selfishly, what does my future hold, specifically for the millennials? I have my own dreams and ambitions about who I want to become and I know I can beholden to myself to work hard to achieve that. But the world I live in, will it continue to allow me to be the best I can be and to be who I want to be? I have no doubt and no illusion that life is full of surprises and disruptions, some good and some bad. I think of all the Syrian and African refugee children whose lives are in limbo for who-knows how long before they miss their precious childhood, to be young, hopeful and idealistic like myself, but to have their dreams and ambitions stifled, delayed, or worse, banished forever. The primary reason may be caused by human-induced conflicts. But the secondary reason may have been caused by climate change-induced droughts and hardship.

Far away from the war and conflict zones, I am living in the United States, the richest country with the most billionaires in the world. In fact, Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, derives his wealth from one of the most successful American technology companies, Microsoft. But a lot of us youngsters aspire to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, because he became a billionaire at age 23. How much cooler can that be?

So, how do I become the next Mark Zuckerberg or just someone who wants to have a normal, decent and productive life ahead of me? I can study hard, get into a good college, learn something useful that will land me a good job, possibly in the tech sector, and I should naturally get there. Right? Wrong. All the things that I have already mentioned may be within my control. However, there are many things that are beyond my control. Remember the surprises and disruptions in life, especially the nasty ones?

Climate change is definitely one of the nastiest and it is happening, right now. It is already robbing millions of people around the world the chance to lead a normal, decent and productive life. Even in our American protective cocoon, you and I, rich or poor alike, are not safe from a disruptive, tricky and undecided future, because climate change is “uniquely global, uniquely long-term, uniquely irreversible, and uniquely uncertain−certainly unique in the combination of all four” as described in the 2015 book, Climate Shock, written by Gernot Wagner and Martin Weitzman, and it is not going away by itself. You and I, as well as each individual, can choose to ignore this harsh reality and let other people deal with it, or try to join others to work out the best ways to confront and tackle it.

Say, you choose to ignore it and continue with your own life as usual, working hard and chasing your own dream, and one day in the future, you become a tech billionaire, like Mark Zuckerberg. You decide to build yourself and your family a climate-proof house, fully solar-powered, off the grid, perched on high ground and with your own water well tapping into an aquifer. You think you are all set for the potential climate disruptions. With all the money in the world, do you think you can protect you and your loved ones from the raging wildfires that are burning longer and bigger because of climate change? With all the money in the world, do you think you can protect you and your loved ones from one single insect bite that can potentially carry a debilitating if not deadly virus like Zika, which is spreading far and wide because of climate change? With all the money in the world, do you think you can protect you and your loved ones from shortages of nutritious staple food crops that are failing at an increasing rate because of climate change? With all the money in the world, do you think you can protect you and your loved ones from all the extreme climate events and their disastrous risks to life and safety in all the random places because of climate change? With all the money in the world, do you think you can devote your whole life on your own forever just to protect you and your loved ones because of climate change?

I don’t think so. We all have our own set of priorities and we get to decide how to best allocate our own resources to deal with them. As young people, unburdened by career and life’s other obligations yet, we have a lot of latitude to pick our own path forward. We should definitely keep our dreams alive, including becoming a tech billionaire, because that is what we are living for. However, the realization of our dreams is highly dependent on the stability or predictability at least, of the future within our lifetime, which has been irrevocably compromised for decades or centuries to come because of climate change.

If teenagers can spare nine hours a day consuming digital media, we can spare some time thinking about or doing something about climate change, while pursuing to become the next Mark Zuckerberg. If you do become the next Mark Zuckerberg, you may wish a portion of the collective millions of hours that people are spending on Facebook to be spent instead on dealing with the climate change problems, so that you don’t have to devote your whole life on your own forever just to protect you and your loved ones because of climate change.

I have nothing against social media or people doing stuff that they like and enjoy. In fact, technology may possibly be our saving grace after all. Again, we just have to set our priorities straight. If our house is catching fire right this very moment, our priority should be putting our safety first and allocating the time and attention to put out the fire or get out of the fire danger, instead of finding the most ferocious flames as a backdrop for our phenomenal selfie.

Our Earth has already caught on fire. Do you choose to allocate your time and attention to put out the fire or get out of the fire danger, or do you choose to diddle around with your phenomenal selfie? That is why I choose NOT to ignore climate change. That is why I choose to join others to work out the best ways to confront and tackle climate change. A disruptive, tricky and undecided future may be awaiting us, but it is not set in stone and I am not waiting to allow it to stifle, delay, or ever banish any dreams and ambitions of myself, of all other children around the world, and of the children of my entire generation. I am going to take the matters in my own hands and decide my future for myself. Please join me and make the Nature Order Zociety a reality!

Let us imagine what if…



Back story about The Nature Order Zociety

So, I published my book, The Nature Order Zociety. Now what?

I guess I can start with where I left off, the Epilogue:

Time and again, our government disappoints and fails us. Emotions are high these months after the election. Anger, despair, disappointment, disbelief, sadness, or fear may be exploding inside us and there seems to be no escape or outlet. However, it is healthy to acknowledge and process those feelings, no matter how unpleasant they are. I recommend taking a step back, pausing to seek the beauty around us and letting the wonderful things in this world to give us hope, strength and conviction.

It may be listening to your favorite playlists, engaging in your favorite pastimes, looking at beautiful people and things in your life or their pictures, going for a walk in nature, cooking your favorite recipes, watching your favorite shows, writing your journal, a song or a poem to express your feelings, talking or meeting with your loved ones and close friends, reading something that is funny, hopeful or inspiring, or anything that can put some serenity in you and give you faith in humanity, again.

After you have decompressed, the real work begins. Recognizing that all the negative energy is unproductive, we should instead channel all that energy into something productive. The fire inside your belly, don’t extinguish it. Keep it alive and use it for positive actions that will lead to positive changes that will bring about positive outcomes.

The gravity of the Trump presidency and the Republican obstructionists in control of the Congress may seem ominous, but it should scare us into action. This is a real opportunity that is forced upon us. The stark reality is telling us that we can’t wait for our government to lead anymore, especially in dealing with climate change. A Clinton presidency could have helped, but it is not enough to solve the climate problems, fast enough.

This urgency is immediate. The Earth is being scorched, literally and metaphorically. We are going to lose more and more if we wait any longer. I am thinking to myself of all the dire scenarios, not just the extreme climate disasters, but the more mundane treasures in our lives. Every morning when I drink my favorite cup of coffee, it may be the last one because climate change will take it away. Every time when I look at my favorite flowers, it may be the last time because climate change will take them away, too. Every time when I talk to my loved ones, especially the young relatives, it may be the last time because climate change will break up our social connections if not take them away, too. There is absolutely no time to spare. We have to speed up the process for positive changes to happen, on our own and by ourselves. The onus is on us.

Our country is deeply divided, but divided we cannot continue, because there is no time to waste. There has to be a way to unite, unite for the good and the well-being of the people, the entire country and the whole world. What is good for the people should be good for the entire country. What is good for the entire country should be good for the whole world. We just need to present the right solution for everyone from all sides of the divide to see and sign up on.

This book is my own humble solution and my clarion call to you. No matter how powerless you feel, you must not give up. Until I finish this book, I have been waking up on most mornings to these lyrics in my head, “We fall asleep to revolution, and wake up to another sad excuse. What a shame, how it got in our way…” from “Harsh Lights” by Nate Reuss. Whatever mantra you prefer, you are the one who has to live up to your own expectations.

This book is a fiction, a deliberate choice. The subject of climate change and its challenges facing humanity are real, grim and daunting. It requires all the imagination in this world and a leap of faith to believe that we can still stop it, reverse it and bring the world back to order, its natural order. We have to explore all possibilities to make that happen, for our own sake and for Planet Earth’s other inhabitants’ sake.

The Nature Order Zociety, as an organization, does not exist yet. But I am hopeful that it will soon, in one form or another. Meanwhile, I congratulate you on opening up your mind by reading and finishing the book. What are you thinking about right now? The next step is to: talk about it, write about it, tell others about it, recommend it, praise it, criticize it, make it better, spread the word, keep the conversation going, and do whatever you can until something concrete, positive and wonderful happens.

Please join me in the crusade to save the world.

Yours sincerely,

S. Hail