Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I welcome peak oil. I'm looking forward to the long emergency. When gas hits $10 a gallon, all those cars will finally get out of my way. As anybody who walks, bikes, or rides buses around them will tell you, "cars are obnoxious."

Cars are the leading source of air pollution, enough to change the climate. But that is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the pollution caused by cars and the infrastructure that supports them. Distillates from automotive air pollution and runoff from pavement combine to generate the greatest source of water pollution. They also generate noise pollution and light pollution, destroying the peace and quiet we all need. But the worst of it is what I call "social pollution."

A car is a deadly weapon. They kill more people than guns do. Nearly every US family has had at least one member maimed by a car. About the only species of animal that has benefited from cars is vultures, who feed on the roadkill. In sum total, cars are more horrid than wars, but we calmly accept their deadly presence in our midst. When we encase ourselves in a ton of steel and vinyl and dash about threatening each other, it has a detrimental effect upon the social order.

People on buses and trains have polite conversations. Bicyclists wave and pedestrians stop to lend a hand. Car drivers get road rage.

I've spent a decade without a car and ridden my bike across North America. The hardest thing about using a bike for transport is putting up with cars. I can't wait until those cars get out of my way. It will be so much easier to get around. It's not just the obvious risks to my life. The bright lights of automobiles in my eyes make it hard to see at night. The rules of the road are written for cars and don't fit bikes well.

I'm reminded of video that was recorded a decade ago in China. It shows the intersection of two busy streets, each jam packed with bicycles. There is no stoplight or traffic cop, yet the bikes sail through the intersection without slowing down. No collisions or problems occur. Now that is how transportation should work!

I don't think the end of cheap oil will be all that detrimental anyway. People lived well before the discovery of fossil fuels and none of the world's people waste oil at the rate Americans do. We can live without oil. Besides bicycles, we'll have sailboats. Lots of new technology, like human electric hybrid vehicles, will be useful. Even if transportation becomes a little slower, communication can continue to progress. We needn't give up mobility and interconnectedness.

Of course, we won't see as much of the oil-based plastics, short of what we can recycle. Slightly more expensive plastics can be made from vegetable oils. Perhaps the increased cost will inspire us to design products to last longer. The shift in consciousness from cheap, throw-away toward quality tools feels like welcome change to me. It feels good to contemplate a pace of life more attuned to the constraints of nature. It's like all of human society relaxing into our mother's arms.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Relatively few soldiers actually perpetrate first hand the horrors of war, the rape, torture, and wanton murder of innocents that always accompany military actions. Most of those live out their lives in self imposed hell when their consciences catch up with their behavior. Only a very few become the professional killers responsible for the continuation of terror.

Most military personnel can distance themselves from atrocities. Artillery and aircraft crews rarely look upon the innocent civilians they routinely blow up. Support services enable the killing, but don't directly engage. Some of these folks later come to terms with their consciences, but some live in denial, building false stories about rights of passage and the glory of war.

Only one step away from these are the normal civilians of the militarized state. Though they distance themselves from war, they pay the taxes and salute the military. They consume the resources over which armies struggle and provide political justification. One needn't drive a Hummer and work for Lockheed to share complicity in the crime of aggressive war. If I use any oil or pay any taxes, my hands have blood on them.

It is a challenge to live in a militarized state and maintain resistance to war. It's about voting, activism, and speaking out, but to an even greater extent, it's about everyday choices to live peaceful, sustainable lives, refusing to accept the spoils of war.

Let's support each other's efforts to truly live by our values.


The most important thing I've ever learned is how to breathe. Like everybody else, I learned subconscious breath at birth. Then I had the advantage of spending most of my developing years between five and ten thousand feet, which imparted upon me relatively large lungs. Many of the adults I spent time around were slow breathing people and as a teenager, I began to study yoga and meditation. Somewhere I picked up the ability to consciously breathe very slowly. I regularly breathe at one tenth of the rate of a normal relaxed person. And I regularly meet others who could benefit from developing this simple basic skill.

It is a challenge for me to empathize with people who grew up in violent surroundings. Oh, I wrestled with my friends and argued with my siblings, but all my life I've been surrounded by unconditional love. Never have I had to worry that I might not be loved or that a family member might injure me. I'm eternally grateful for this fortunate life, but I don't really understand the pressures experienced by those who are not so fortunate. It makes it hard for me to know how to react when they act out that tension.

Of course, like every other American family, mine has struggled to transition from the age of competition and hierarchy toward the age of collaborative networks. I've learned that I don't want anybody to do anything for me that doesn't make their life more wonderful. I know that my deepest joy comes from serving the needs of others and it is delightful when others find joy from serving my needs. It is rewarding to believe that I've influenced another in a positive direction, but that reaction cannot be won through force. Coercion, manipulation, and authoritarian behavior have proven to be completely ineffective. This understanding makes it still harder to empathize with those who feel driven to control the behavior of others.

We cannot expect the victims of violence to be the only ones who deal with the unmet needs of the perpetrators. They need to be heard, empathized with, forgiven and given room to heal. We don't want to allow them to continue to damage others, especially their own children. Violence has been passed down through enough generations. The cycle must stop here. We must heal the victims least they become the perpetrators in the next iteration. We must teach effective nonviolent tools.

So how do I react when I witness somebody trying to force somebody else? Well, if necessary to protect a weaker person, I will intervene and risk violence to myself. If I can maintain a calm and nonthreatening manner, it is easier to deescalate a tense situation. So I breathe very slowly. If all else fails, I can always focus on my breath.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

What's Alive in Your Culture?

culture |ˈkəl ch ər| |ˌkəltʃər| |ˌkʌltʃə|
1 the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively : 20th century popular culture.
• a refined understanding or appreciation of this : men of culture.
• the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group : Caribbean culture | people from many different cultures.
• [with adj. ] the attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particular social group : the emerging drug culture.
2 Biology the cultivation of bacteria, tissue cells, etc., in an artificial medium containing nutrients : the cells proliferate readily in culture.
• a preparation of cells obtained in such a way : the bacterium was isolated in two blood cultures.
• the cultivation of plants : this variety of lettuce is popular for its ease of culture.
verb [ trans. ] Biology
maintain (tissue cells, bacteria, etc.) in conditions suitable for growth.
ORIGIN Middle English (denoting a cultivated piece of land): the noun from French culture or directly from Latin cultura ‘growing, cultivation’ ; the verb from obsolete French culturer or medieval Latin culturare, both based on Latin colere ‘tend, cultivate’ (see cultivate ). In late Middle English the sense was [cultivation of the soil] and from this (early 16th cent.) arose [cultivation (of the mind, faculties, or manners)] ; sense 1 dates from the early 19th cent.

In my mind, culture is largely about entrainment, the mysterious process by which living things fall into synchronism with each other. Much of my artistic focus has been on the rhythm of music and dance, where we play with complex entrainment patterns. I've cultivated a theory that harmony could be a rapid fractal of rhythm, fantasizing about a keyboard that would automatically pulse each note at a tempo relative to its frequency. Each chord would be an interesting polyrhythm, if my initial math is right. But I digress.

Entrainment is also at the root of the other meaning of culture. Historically every village and tribe has sought to entrain other species, including microbes, to support human health. Since nature prefers symbiosis and all life dances to the same circadian rhythms, there are myriad ways to culture probiotics. Much of our energy has gone into cultured foods - yogurt, cheese, tofu, miso, sourdough, kimchi - and the list goes on. Every local culture includes cultured foods.

Cultural exchange is a way to promote human health on a broader scale. When members of distant tribes learn each other's songs and dances, when they exchange seeds and absorb symbiotic microbes, they are working toward the common good of our entire species.

Friday, February 02, 2007

My Heroes

My life has been completely consumed by the vision of a continental critical mass of bicycles converging upon DC for World Car Free Day, Sat 22 Sept. Energy for this Gandhian action is coming from all directions, convincing me that the ecosphere has a mind. Let me tell you a few stories.

Ron Toppi is the founder of Sharing Wheels, a community bike shop in Everett, WA. Determined to simplify his life and save others, this brave veteran has ridden to DC twice with Bike4Peace ( "We'd rather bike for peace than kill for oil." Ron is planning to lead another contingent across the northern route this year.

Michele Darr is a mother driven by love to heal our society. Having spent two months in Kuwait under Iraqi occupation, she is aware of the realities of war and opposed to US military activities in the region. Even with three children in diapers, Michele has been arrested three times for practicing free speech in a Senator's office. The Journey of HOPE (Healing Our People & Earth) will move down the West Coast and across the south, empowering discussions in communities along the route ( I'll be riding with Michele and family.

Brian Willson recently added another chapter to his inspiring story by leading a ride up to the Veterans for Peace conference. Brian lost his legs to the nuclear train while engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience, but that hasn't stopped him from riding a human powered vehicle. We hope to see Brian cycling in DC.

Don't wait to be led. Check the web to find out what's happening in your area. Take the initiative to organize a ride to DC from your home. Host riders coming through from elsewhere. Spread the word to everyone you know. Please tell us how you fit into this cross-continental uprising. Sustainable communities are breaking out all over!


The ecosphere is the smallest unit of life. Remove any life form from the Earth and it will be as dead as a limb chopped from the body. If we could 'lay an egg' on another planet, it might grow to a related individual, but that's not going to happen soon. We cannot live apart from our complete interdependency with all life on Earth. Individuality is a myth.

Every cell contains the genetic map to the whole ecosphere. Iteration appears to be a law of physics. Every atom is a fractal of the cosmos. You can find the universe in a grain of sand. Patterns observed on one level of iteration frequently can be observed in both micro and macro dimensions.

Differentiation and specialization of cells strengthen the whole, to the extent that balance is maintained. Sexual replication maximizes healthy diversity, as does most infection. Our ecosphere incorporates DNA as simple as a virus throughout every complex creature. Since symbiosis is selected for, evolution favors those cells which benefit the whole.

Every cell of the ecosphere constantly communicates on multiple vectors, sharing vital information in every direction. All life dances to the circadian rhythms of the sun and moon. Every event, however microscopic, has an impact upon the whole, which all life seeks to maintain.

The ecosphere functions as an integrated whole with synchronistic functionality. New ideas arise across the system in coordination. Synchronicity at the level of human communication is welcome evidence of healthy function of the greater whole.

The human species may be the Gaean nervous system. We cannot afford cancerous growth, but neither can we allow ourselves to decay in the manner of Alzheimer's. We seek to maintain the balance, which is not the same as standing still, for we are always in motion. We know healthy behavior because we are integral parts of the whole ecosphere.

Perhaps all human functions are healthful in the big picture. Maybe pulling oil to the surface and spreading it around is analogous to earthworm casings in the garden. Death is essential to life. Perhaps the eradication of whole species, probably including our own, is essential to the survival of the ecosphere. I find comfort in knowing that even simultaneous detonation of every nuclear weapon would not remove all life from Earth, though it would certainly change it. Adaptation to plutonium, a man-made element, is a massive challenge.

Science and religion are converging. Gaea, the Greek Earth Goddess, was the daughter of Chaos. Peace is chaos in service of community. Unity and diversity are correlational.

Collaborate - Culture - Conspire - Question

We are rapidly transitioning from the age of competition to the age of collaboration. This paradigm shift is necessary for the continued survival of humans on Earth. The anomalous dominant culture of competition has been enormously stressful to the relationships of humans with ourselves, each other, and the rest of life on our planet. The end of inexpensive energy from oil will trigger calamities. Humans will only survive by learning to collaborate, that is, to work together.

The ramifications of this shift in thinking will appear at many levels, from the intra-personal, through interpersonal, to cultural and global behavior patterns, virtually every type of human behavior, conscious and subconscious, will change as people realize that symbiosis is selected for. That is to say, evolution favors those who benefit others around them. To apply this biological concept to the world of business, "success comes to those who help others to succeed."

At the microscopic level, every tissue of our bodies is a colony of microbes. The vast majority of these "germs" are beneficial to each other and to our body as a whole. The web of life is more complex than the hierarchy once theorized. Because our study of microbiology began in the competitive paradigm, we've focused on identifying pathogenic microbes and eradicating them. Some have imagined that we could establish a sterile field inside the human body, but such a state would be fatal if we could establish it. We depend upon microbes to maintain the functions of our bodies. The trick is to maintain a healthy culture of symbiotic microbes in every tissue. When such healthy culture is maintained, there is no room for pathogens. Studies have shown that simple steps like eating yogurt and miso after ingesting antibiotics can benefit health. We need to learn a great deal more about probiotics, the art of maintaining symbiosis at the cellular level. If I had millions, I'd invest in the microbial study of healthy people, and the development of means to share symbiotic cultures through skin cremes, inhalers, injections, and suppositories.

There is communication between cells, whether they grew from the embryo or passed into the system as a virus, a bacteria, or a fungus from another culture. They pass chemicals and electrical impulses on a shared circadian rhythm, dancing to the pull of the moon. In a healthy body there is a conspiracy, in the oldest sense of the word. Conspire is Latin for breathe together. Every human can culture a healthy, natural conspiracy within. Our conscious job is to project these natural patterns onto our society. We must conspire to subvert the dominant culture. If we would inspire before we expire, we must conspire.

Marshall Rosenberg has done amazing work applying an understanding of collaboration to interpersonal communications. Realizing that people derive the deepest joy from meeting the needs of others, he has broken communication into four components - observations, emotions, needs, and requests. By teaching us to hear these components in others' communication efforts and to clarify them in our own, Marshall has conspired with many people toward happier lives. Applicable from the bedroom to the boardroom, everywhere people talk to each other, Nonviolent Communication holds proven potential for reforming criminals, restoring sanity, and improving culture.

More people are learning to ask astute questions and to listen empathically to the answers. The question is the highest form of communication, for it reaches into another and pulls out ideas, feelings, and opinions. A good question implies a willingness to empathize and a desire to understand. When we discuss, we grow thoughtful questions in an internal Petri dish. A well cultured question is an invitation to a conspiracy. Collaborate to culture conspiratorial questions.

When has brute force ever solved a problem without creating a greater one? In Washington State a conspiratorial project has been teaching nonviolent communication to convicted felons. Another group works with the culture of convicts to share from the inside out. These prison reform advocates have recently been reaching out to victim advocates questioning if there might be collaborative solutions. The conspiracy is based upon the successes of restorative justice in Ireland and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa.

Is the North finally following Africa's lead? Since my visit in 1991, I've said that the problems of Africa fit like puzzle pieces with the problems of America. We suffer from excess, while they have not enough. Their communities are strong, while ours have stretched and snapped. It is past time for African missionaries to come to lead us back to sensible lifestyles. In African cultures the conspiracy between nature within and nature without is alive and well. They question our culture and the dance continues to engage us all.

Teachers of organizational development and business management will recognize the applications of collaborative thinking within business cultures. Voluntary efforts toward shared goals are far preferable to attempts at control. Mediation practices have saved the courts time and money by guiding people toward mutually satisfactory solutions. Nonviolent conflict resolution has always been more productive than competition and violence. Today we are better than ever at asking astute questions and teaching these skills.

Particularly exciting are the applications of collaboration in the political arena. A growing number of governments have evolved into multiparty democracies by replacing winner-takes-all elections with proportional representation and ranked preference voting. In the old competitive system we had two parties each spending most of their energy trying to make the other look bad, convincing many of us to question all politicians as worthless. In a multiparty culture where no one party holds a majority, each has an incentive to respect all others as potential collaborators. Please read the Proposed Constitution for North America for conspiratorial principles. I suspect the changes will foment from the grassroots by questioning local governments first.

Are we on the verge of a broad recognition that war is obsolete? The invasion of Iraq by the USA was the first war to be globally protested before it even began. There is every indication that people are questioning the need for soldiers. Through Counter Recruitment, Veterans for Peace conspire with potential recruits to grow a peaceful culture. Global governmental collaboration to solve the problems of resource management in equitable and sustainable ways is a prerequisite of continued human life on Earth.

Unfortunately, it is always darkest just before the dawn. The competitive culture threatens to devastate more before we replace it with a sensible system. Secretive conspiracy spirals away from health. The threat of nuclear war is still very real, especially when theologically justified by those who seek Armageddon. Global warming and desertification are limiting the carrying capacity of the planet while population growth pushes against it. There's never enough money for education or health care, but plenty for aggressive war. As a culture of corporate greed runs our economy into the sewer, the competitive parties question who should marry. What's a concerned citizen to do?

Those who see the promise of a collaborative future must live as if such a system were already in place. We must question our lifestyle to eliminate any support of the old competitive culture. Do you give them your time or your money, as a consumer, an employee, or a taxpayer? How did the first people live in your region? How did your ancestors live? Do you eat locally grown organic food or live in a sustainably built home? Could you make a few high quality goods to barter and get around by walking and bicycling? How do you communicate your good intentions with others? A collaborative conspiracy questions culture, while conspiratorial questions culture collaboration.

Proposed Constitution of North America

Our political system is not working well. Winner-takes-all elections encourage a two-party system, where each party has incentive to make the other look bad. Besides legislative gridlock, this generates a lot of negative campaigning. With both parties generating negatives about the other, many people start believing that all politicians are worthless. This helps to explain the very low voter turnouts that are characteristic of the USA.

Much of the negative perception is based in reality. There has been a lot of corruption in our politics. A small minority of the population has had disproportionate influence, often using threat, bribery, and even election tampering to get their way. Only a vigilant, engaged populace can prevent such behavior, but systemic changes can make it less likely. Unelected bureaucrats have thrown the balance toward a powerful executive and a legislature that is often wrapped around its own processes. We rely upon tradition, rather than engaging the populace in a continual improvement of democracy. Unfortunately, it's difficult to reform political processes that are dominated by the people who benefit from their shortcomings.

In the ideal world, every individual is free to participate in government or not. Voluntary collaboration results in continual betterment of life for all without forcing anybody against their will. Of course utopia requires perfect people, so we're going to have a flawed system, but there's no reason not to continue to try to improve. To do so, we must engage as many people as possible in creating a compelling vision. That is the intent of this pamphlet.

The current system of the USA is based on the hierarchical model of feudal Europe. While the founders threw out the hereditary king, they maintained an elected head of state, who, over time has come to resemble that king too much. Now the most powerful person in the world is replaced every four or eight years, standing everything on its head. Elections are marvelous, but the concentration of power is not healthy, especially when subjected to a competitive contest.

History has been a series of accidents. Even people who thought they were doing the best thing could not foresee the long-term consequences of their actions. Too many good plans have been promoted with brutal force, which taints everything it touches. When we remember that government rules only by the consent of the governed, we realize that when people stand united for positive change, they have more power than any tyrant. To unite the diverse people who live on this continent, we must open our ears to the best ideas from every sector of the population.

Witness the patchwork of boundary lines that crisscross our continent. Many reflect nothing more than an arbitrary ruler set to a map. Yet these arbitrary rules affect real lives in profound ways. Political systems should support natural healthy human communities. We are divided enough by the constraints of our physical world without being divvied between governments like so much ransacked booty. All humans are born with the same rights, which should not be limited by place of birth. When we come together around a common vision, we can erase the accidents of the past, while embracing those traditions that still make sense, and innovating collaboratively.

This document does not pretend to be legal or formal. Such a document could only arise through an intense democratic process. Please read this as a starting point for such a process. Discuss the ideas herein, consider alternatives and determine your own ideals. Most importantly, please take the necessary steps to advance democracy in your own community. Imagine a political system that is inclusive, participatory, representative, accountable, transparent and responsive to citizens aspirations and expectations. In celebration of collaboration among diverse citizens, we anticipate this
Proposed Constitution of North America
I. The Continental Congress shall have responsibility and authority for legislation in North America. Each of the 525 Members of this unicameral body shall represent constituents' interests in a collaborative effort to best serve the needs of all while depriving the liberty of none.
A. The initial Congress shall be comprised of representatives chosen from among their members by the existing national legislatures: 363 from the USA; 122 from Mexico; and 40 from Canada. Every second year, that third of the Congress which has been in office longest shall be replaced through elections, designed by the Council to proportionally represent all significant political factions of each of the continent's bioregions. Each Member must reside within the bioregion served and may serve only one six year term. Each bioregion shall be represented by the portion of the whole number of Members of Congress equal to the portion of residents of the whole continent who reside in that bioregion, as determined by the Council.
B. As its first act and whenever called into question, Congress shall determine the delineation of the bioregions of the continent. Congress shall regulate the Continental budget, providing for equal lifetime compensation of every Member of government, not exceeding the mean average income of the citizens, and for the means to execute their charge, and giving full accounting to the people of every revenue and expense. Congress may issue currency without borrowing or taxation. Congress shall regulate inter-regional and extra-continental trade and maintain control of large corporate ventures in the interest of the people. Congress shall oversee the process of maintaining the use of limited resources at sustainable rates. By majority vote Congress may make laws as necessary to improve the general welfare, enhance security, and maintain the liberties of the people of North America, and ratify treaties negotiated by the Cabinet. Congress may by three quarter majority vote impeach any Member of the Congress, Cabinet, Court, or Council for abuse of power or criminal behavior, and may remove any Member of the Court by consensus. Upon impeachment the Member shall be suspended until the Court has resolved the matter.
C. Congress shall make no law restricting the rights, as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of any person in the world. Congress may not make an ex post facto law, nor suspend the writ of habeus corpus. Every law made by Congress shall contain a date of termination not to exceed fifty years from origination. All proceedings, deliberations and votes of Congress shall be open to public scrutiny and documented for public understanding. Each Member of Congress shall spend the majority of the time of the term physically within the bioregion served. Upon receipt of petition from at least one percent of the voters, Congress shall vote upon any proposal therein. That no proposal shall be voted upon without first being adequately discussed, cloture shall require a two thirds majority vote.
II. The Cabinet shall have responsibility and authority to execute the laws duly passed by Congress. Each of the seven members of the Cabinet will carry out agreed tasks in the manner best serving all the people of North America. Delegation of tasks among the members shall be by consensus of the entire Cabinet.
A. The initial Cabinet shall be comprised of the Presidents and Vice Presidents of the United States, Canada, and Mexico, plus the Secretary of State of the United States. Each year one member of the Cabinet shall be replaced through a continental ranked preference election, beginning with the former Secretary of State, proceeding through the former Vice Presidents and then the former Presidents of Mexico, Canada, and the United States in that order. Each Member may serve only one term of seven years.
B. The Cabinet may hire, regulate, and dismiss such employees as are necessary to execute the laws of North America. The Cabinet shall represent North America among the nations of the world, negotiating treaties subject to ratification by Congress. The Cabinet may direct the Navy and, during times of threat, the coordination of local militias.
C. Every member and employee of government within North America is bound to respect the equal right of each human to access with dignity the necessities of a healthy life. North America shall not engage in aggressive warfare nor occupy foreign lands with troops, and shall abide by all treaties which Congress has ratified. No Member or former Member of the Congress, Cabinet, Court or Council shall be hired for any task of government beyond their duty of office.
III. The Supreme Court shall have responsibility to resolve conflicts and oversee the administration of justice, seeking to prevent recurrence of crime and to provide amends for victims and, when practical, rehabilitation for offenders.
A. Members of the Court shall be appointed by consensus of the Cabinet and shall serve until resignation, death, or impeachment.
B. In response to a complaint, the Court may compel any parties to an orderly trial and delegate authority to a system of local and regional courts to assure quick quality decisions based upon review of observations from every available viewpoint and deliberation of appropriate law and precedent. The primary goal of the courts will be to satisfy the needs of all parties as much as possible within the laws passed by Congress. The Court may enforce the Constitutional limitations of Congress, Cabinet, and Council and resolve conflicts which arise among them.
C. The Court must satisfy the equal rights of accused and victims to a speedy trail by a jury of their peers following due process. No individual is granted superiority within the courts. None may be convicted except by consensus of a jury and the right to appeal may not be denied. Blame, retribution and punishment are to be avoided, but every person may be held accountable for behavior. The Court may only compel to trial Members of the Congress, Cabinet, Court, or Council who have been impeached by Congress.
IV. The Electoral Council shall have responsibility and authority to regulate elections to choose Members of Congress and the Cabinet within the guidelines of this document.
A. The Council shall be comprised of one representative chosen by each Political Party which has established itself by presenting to the Council signatures from at least one percent of the voters upon a ratifying document stating the goals of the Party.
B. The Council may direct government employees and enlist voluntary compliance among citizens to engage all residents of the continent in free and fair elections. The Council shall issue invitations to impartial observers from foreign nations to provide objective witness of their processes. Demographic census data gathered for electoral purposes may be shared with Congress and the public, without disclosure of specific private information.
C. Every decision of the Council must be made by consensus. No individual Member of the Council has authority without consent of the whole Council. Registration of residents for voting may not be used for any regulation of those residents beyond elections. The Council may not regulate the internal decision making processes of any party, nor allow any citizen greater vote than another.
V. Within two years of the ratification of this Constitution, pre-existing governments within North America shall have ceded all authority to the new governments of the Continent and the bioregions. Any remaining resources of government will distribute to the lowest practical level of common ownership.
A. When ratified by three quarters of the population of North America, this Constitution and all laws and treaties pursuant to it shall be the highest law of the continent.
B. Within three months of the ratification of this Constitution, every existing national and regional government shall submit to its constituents a detailed plan for transferal of all resources to existing local governments, to one of thirteen new bioregional governments, or to the continental government defined herein. The citizens of each bioregion are empowered to create their own government subject to popular ratification. Within two years of ratification of this constitution, every preexisting state, provincial, and national government in North America shall cease to govern.
C. Within twelve years of ratification of this Constitution and every subsequent ten years, the Electoral Council shall organize a continental election for popular confirmation of this Constitution by the adult residents of North America. Within three months of any such election failing to confirm the Constitution by at least sixty percent majority, the Council shall convene a Continental Convention to draft a new proposed constitution, which will be subject to same ratification.


Who can say when conditions in our society will be truly ripe for a proposal of this magnitude? It certainly won't happen without a lot of work. I'm happy to illuminate steps that appear to lead in the right direction, but it is up to you to decide what actions are appropriate for you.

To change the current system, we must become deeply integrated into it without allowing it to warp our ideals. We must vote, recruit and register voters, and help count votes, so we can be sure it's done fairly. We must discuss issues with politicians as well as our neighbors and friends. The goal is to realize our ideals without giving ground to the forces who promote violence and injustice. To compromise one's values for the sake of power is to lose.

We don't want the kind of systemic change that can be imposed from the top down. Democracy grows from the local level up. Please take responsibility for initiating change in your locale. The changes you institute in your city or county can make an impression on the continent, especially if they fit into a broader vision. Your testing ground could prove the viability of a concept that will eventually become the norm.

Probably the most essential change we can promote is the evolution to a multi-party democracy. Besides gridlock and negative campaigning, the two-party system is more easily controlled by elite people who wish to maintain the imbalance of power. When we decentralize party power from the grassroots, we undermine their control and make major changes, such as this constitution. So if you like some of the ideas in this pamphlet, please work to change your local governments, using tools like proportional representation and ranked preference voting.