Un-Un-Cat — Episode 28. The N in HUMAN; and what that means for America
The N in HUMAN, Needs met. And what that means for Americans.
When President Green was campaigning, she learned that ‘Needs met, no questions asked’, resulted in a ton of questions. She listened to those questions and from day one in the White House, she shortened the N in HUMAN to Needs met., full stop.
When the people asked, “what are needs?”. The reply was as short as physically possible. The right to clean air, water, food, and shelter needed to survive. “Don’t overthink it!” she would say waving both paws wide. “Let’s solve it together.”
‘Housing as a right’, was solving the lion’s share of the need for shelter. Dear reader, if you haven’t already done so, please read. Episode 24, Housing as a right, the H in HUMAN.
One of President Green’s biggest triumphs in her first term as POTUS was passing a very “tight” law, for Housing as a Right. Every American citizen over the age of 18, and emancipated minors over the age of 15 are granted the right, through legal purchase and contract, to claim one primary residence as their home. Each individual’s claimed primary residence can never be evicted or foreclosed because of financial reasons. The people’s individual need for shelter outranks any lending institutions claim of property title. And the need for shelter for every American individual is valued over corporate lender’s profit. And if a homeowner decides to sell, a claimed primary residence can never be valued at less than zero. Even if the home is completely destroyed by acts of a natural disaster; flooding, fire, storm winds or earthquakes, etc.. The space where that home formerly stood, holds a market value of zero debt owed by the American who lost their home.
As was President Green’s way of approaching work that needed to happen, she spoke with her actions. Starting from the foundation up she wrote this law into the home loans for the New Green Loans owned by the district of every county in the US. The same county-owned credit unions that owned the mortgages, and wrote the monthly $1,000 UBI checks.
The monthly UBI was going a long way towards meeting the wealth gap that had caused 80% of Americans to carry debt. The majority of working folks living pay-check to pay-check now had a little buffer. And those who didn’t need the cash used it to pay taxes, donated it to charity, or environmental non-profits. What’s most important to understand, is that a lot of money was moving around, stimulating the economy, instead of being hoarded, stagnant in corporate tax-shelters and off-shore bank accounts.
The $1,000 dollars per adult American UBI also replaced a significant wedge of what the fiscally conservatives called “entitlement-programs”, and the gap where needs were not met was where the N in HUMAN really picked up.
Government “red-tape” and qualifying for programs are both expensive and in many cases, like disability, and supplemental nutrition assistance programs, counterproductive leaving many children hungry or surviving on junk-food of little nutritional value for a growing body and mind.
The American people are proud and hardworking, the reason they are in debt is because they are employed at below subsistence wages forcing them to buy groceries, pay utility bills, and insurance premiums on credit cards. The quickest way to remove this subsistence-catch-22 where the poorest people are charged the most interest; is for the county-owned credit unions to take over the peoples’ debt and offer everyone a line of credit for shopping and bills. Because “plastic” has been sifting through everyone’s purchases already it was easy for all the groceries bought on a zero-interest credit card by someone who was formerly on “food stamps’’ or disability to be subsidized. The same for water, the electric bill, phone, internet and essential items like clothing, and cleaning supplies. Instead of facing the danger of turning off people’s electricity and water, or the hassle of choosing what grocery items to put back at the store register, all purchases were digitally sorted and a portion of necessary expenses covered automatically at the bank each month.
For the money spent above previous program levels, it wasn’t a hand-out, it was a loan. Low, fixed interest was charged for purchases like candy, alcohol, cigarettes, and games. People knew with a quick glance at their monthly statement, what they were paying interest on and what was held in the zero-interest portion of their itemized line of credit. The total cost of public relief programs decreased. And most American’s watched their personal debt slowly disappear.
Because the debt of the poor who were struggling to get by was now carried by each local district, instead of by giant national corporate banks, it was personal.
The fear that “the-eye-in-the-sky” or “big brother” is watching you like a science fiction evil controlling government, is never something a free democratic nation strives to be.
But, sometimes doing the math on sorted credit statements suggests possible dementia or related mental health issues. Individuals who made patterns of erratic or excessive purchases stood out from the norm without anyone invading their homes.
Mental health professionals were notified to introduce themselves in the local forums when individuals with problems were identified.
Social workers intervening only in extreme cases where hoarding was an obvious danger to people’s health. Even the mentally ill know when they are falling. When given the option to keep falling, or offered a safety net, most will reach out.
The long term results were good. Very good socially and environmentally. And effects started to be measurable by the first year of the program. Eventually completely reforming our backwards consumer-culture where only the wealthy or dangerous criminals (after it’s too late) have access to professional care for mental health. For example, people with bipolar depression or Alzheimer’s often deviate from normal shopping habits. Catching these health issues months or years before they might have been noticed by our nuclear-family society, stopped the cycle of gen-Xers and millennials inheriting nothing from their often too distant family. Assets depleted by debt and the hoarder’s pile of junk trustees’ have to pay to dispose of became a thing of the past.
The abstraction of people as numbers, now local, by districts taking care of their own. Like Chief Seattle’s somewhat mythical letter, speaking about the argument of who owns the air and the water. Civic responsibility falls apart if a banker or a politician only has their hands on the numbers. If the air the bankers breathe and the water all the people in a county share, then regulating polluters becomes a district class action.
Bad drinking water is not just a problem in Flint Michigan as too many Americans know by first-person suffering resulting from polluted water caused by industry, deteriorating water processing facilities, and sometimes complete lack of water filtering and testing infrastructure.
As the military worked across the US installing the new internet, engineers were with them designing a plan to upgrade the quality of drinking water, everywhere. So much labor was required to get the job done in an efficient manner, i.e. as much as is physically possible in one four-year presidential term, that President Green established a new branch of military service to work as a trained support team for the National Guard. The Green Army.
The Green Army wore purple. They were deployed to official Green-infrastructure-experimental-neighborhoods. The neighborhoods were in every region of the US. Upcycling abandoned houses, derelict industrial complexes, vacant mini-malls, and small-town dumps. The Green Army’s war was climate change. The front lines were to replace all infrastructure that was dependent on fossil fuel and nuclear power with passive design and renewable energy. The long term plan to win the war was to remove all buildings from the grid; from skyscrapers to outhouse restrooms in public parks.
Production of electricity makes up 25% of greenhouse gasses, 50 to 70% of electricity produced is wasted pushing it long distances. If homes and businesses starting with those farthest from power generation were strategically generating their own heating/cooling energy used directly, and only used electricity for electronics, so that rural communities were self-sufficient then they could reduce the power generated by power plants.
The opposite was true for water. Rural towns often stay small because they are off the “beaten path”. Everything costs more, because everything, including all that is required to test a rural water source, and process it if it is found to be unsafe to drink, has to travel farther to get there, especially in big states that process oil like Texas. Don’t mess with Texas, one of the fastest-growing populations in the US has some of the worst drinking water.
So the Green Army deployed testing water and finding the origins of contaminants in the soil and air. And because they were in the trenches working on power and water at the same time, they started in the outskirts and worked towards larger, more populated areas.
They replaced the entire grid for rural one post-office hamlets with smart grids. Towns that used to have a road and parking down the center now had people gathering squares and green space from storefront to storefront. Every other road, on the back of stores and in alleys was converted to accommodate loading docks for electric trolley cargo and charging stations. Bike paths and sidewalks for people-powered traffic only, lead to parking structures. All roofs converted to greenhouses, solar panels, NSRC (Night Sky Radiant Cooling) or green roof parks. All to clear the air people need to breathe.
Plans were made for future electric shuttles to get to public transportation hubs, which would eventually, someday, lead to train stations, where fast trains would replace highways. But, replacing the entire highway system in the US was going to take much longer than one presidential term.
Why not just sell everyone a plug-in electric vehicle and keep basically the same infrastructure? Because there isn’t enough lithium on Earth to extract from mines or oceans to physically do this. And we need the oceans for life on this planet to survive.
Another important factor to take into consideration when designing how to maintain the comforts of our contemporary lifestyle is that solar-panels and wind-turbines make their own new kind of environmental destruction. Not talking about wind-mills killing a few birds, I’m talking about the kind of “side-effect” caused by the boom of the refrigerator.
Pause a minute to realize the environmental impact of modern refrigeration. Ancient refrigeration was natural. An icehouse where weather created the ice by either seasonal winter cold via a lake or a mountain ice-cap or via NSRC. Night-sky-radiant-cooling in the desert, like for example in Egypt. In all instances, ice was collected and kept in an insulated space.
Then after a refrigeration system exploded in a hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1929, killing over a hundred people, Thomas Midgely Jr. concocted a solution, dichlorodifluoromethane, a chlorofluorocarbon, or CFC, commercially known as freon. CFCs were used in aerosols as well as refrigerators. Because freon-12 damages the ozone layer, it was banned in 1994. R-134a (tetrafluoroethane) is the 1990s upgrade for newer refrigerators. Even more environmentally friendly is R-600a or isobutane. Unfortunately, this leads us back full circle to the exploding refrigerator, again. Refrigeration saves lives and has improved health and sanitation, we need it, but we can do better to protect our climate, air, water, and land.
To protect their home environment is why Lee the Dog-person built a modular ice-box system in the cellar in U.G.’s house back in Idaho, using a contemporary version of ancient night sky radiant cooling panels. Just like the solar panels he designed to specifically collect heat or light. The refrigerator cellar was cooled by the cold of space directly circulating saltwater, heavy on the minerals to keep it from freezing and growing mold or algae.
It was a passive people-powered revolution and a new green economy. Everyone working together to postpone the Apocalypse with copy-left building designs like Lee’s night-sky-radiant-cooling modular-cellar-ice-boxes and NSRC air conditioning, grey-water systems, greenhouses everywhere, reverse osmosis water filtration, used dual fuel sorted garbage to produce electricity and activated carbon, and new post-industrial age cements made from garbage that is not recyclable. And a lot more,…
President Green was proud of the work done across America by the county banks and The Green Army doing a lot of the work that needed to be done for the N in HUMAN.