Dear Slow Money Friend:
I was watching the news this morning over my coffee and listening to a brief (VERY brief) mention of Quaker lobbying on Capitol Hill for peace initiatives in the Middle East, to which the commentator immediately offered the following knee-jerk, supposedly un-trumpable retort:
“But what about ISIS? Isn’t military response to ISIS completely justifiable and needed?”
There was also—and stick with me, here, as we move from terrorism in the desert of Iraq (Or is it Syria? Or is it some other geopolitical non-neighborhood that existed before the region was carved up by Western powers after World War I?) to the cornfields of Northern Ohio—a piece on last evening’s PBS News Hour about the toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie.
The PBS story featured a conventional corn farmer talking about the need to increase production to feed the world’s growing population, hence the need for fertilizer. . .but, not to worry. . .he’s using drones to help him apply his fertilizer more efficiently, so there’s hope that this will reduce run-off into Lake Erie.
Not that it would come as any surprise that farmers in northern Ohio are resistant to the possibility of federal regulation of fertilizer application. But, sure, even after all these years, it is still a bit shocking to me that a news organization working more in the public interest than commercial networks would fail even to MENTION longer term, structural fixes to agriculture. . .words like sustainable, organic, local, diversified, or even, heaven forefend, the world “soil”. . . .were as far away from that news story as Iraq is from something that was once called the Fertile Crescent.
So, what am I driving at? I’m driving at you driving, flying, training and otherwise getting yourself to Louisville in November for the upcoming Slow Money gathering. Really? That’s a bit of a stretch, isn’t it? What’s the connection?
Here’s the deal.
In response to the violence and institutional dysfunction and ecological degradation and uncertainty and fear of the day, we have only two choices, if we boil it all down:
- We can blame, bomb, drone, attack, argue, vilify, deny, lobby, scare, tax, legislate, regulate, investigate, prosecute and protest; or,
- We can invest.
I have written a pamphlet, which you are going to receive soon, that lays out, in a few dozen pages, the general case for conscientious investing as a means to achieve not only health, but also peace.
But in light of the two news stories, mentioned above, I couldn’t wait.
Let’s lift our voices up in Louisville! We’ll have a few of our “popes” on hand to help us (sure, in the name of diversity and healthy non-denominational skepticism and faith, both, our popes, with a small “p”, can be many and varied, even female) and many, many “heroic grunts,” to use the words of one of Wes Jackson’s neighbors, describing farmers, but, to my thinking, also describing small food entrepreneurs more generally, as well as the individuals who invest in them.
Blaming, bombing, droning, attacking, arguing, vilifying, denying, lobbying, scaring, taxing, legislating, regulating, investigating, prosecuting and protesting may be satisfying in the short term. But only investing can deliver the long-term results that have a shot at giving staying power to the “happiness” in “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Happiness that comes from blaming, bombing, droning, attacking, arguing, vilifying, denying, lobbying, scaring, taxing, legislating, regulating, investigating, prosecuting and protesting is short-lived and fragile, a bit too much like the non-satiety that comes from empty calories. You want real nutrition? Health? Lasting happiness? You have to invest.
(And, for the record, please note: I’m not suggesting this is an Either/Or choice. We are, to be sure, and for better or worse, in All Of The Above mode, but the one that is most precious, and in shortest supply, is investing.)
Excuse me for echoing, as many have and many will, those prescient, funny, poignant words from the movie Network: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more!” (By the way, if you’ve never seen it, PLEASE DO check out these two and a half minutes from that movie—arguably the best, most entertaining two and half minutes ever filmed about global finance, the economy and nature.)
Let’s get a little riled up, sure, but then, quickly, appropriately, sustainably, slowly, let’s sit down together, break bread, plant seeds and otherwise conspire about how to spend less of our time blaming, bombing, droning, attacking, arguing, vilifying, denying, lobbying, scaring, taxing, legislating, regulating, investigating, prosecuting and protesting. . .and more time. . .
Starting with food. Starting with the soil. Starting with investing ourselves in a collective, conscientious, entrepreneurial, neighborly, heartening, peace-loving and vital public conversation.
JOIN US IN LOUISVILLE!
And one last thing.
Clearly this is not a proper invitation to an event. This is personal sharing, heart to heart, in the knowledge that so many of us are hungry for the opposite of sound bites and for real ways to engage.
See this invitation for more information about the Louisville event if you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you.