What's essential? W-F-E-V:

I find that there are four things which are fundamental to life and society, and I encourage folks -- especially young people -- to grab onto these issues and hold and work them for the long-term - for many generations:
Water - Food - Energy - Voting

Water. Clean water, forever reasonably accessible, is essential; for drinking, all domestic and ecological needs, agriculture, and industry (generally in that order). Life cannot be, without access to water, which makes fresh water resources a prime target for dominant control by those who would control the populace. Already, major corporate interests are - very diligently and very quietly - succeeding in gaining control of world-wide fresh water resources.
Water supplies must remain clean, and a public commons!

Food = Agriculture
Food = Agriculture. For maybe 8,000 of the last 10,000 years, communities produced their own food - but for the last 2,000 years, industrialized agriculture, complemented by relatively cheap transportation from field to market, has largely replaced "local" food production. Major corporate interests have had notable success in gaining control of world-wide food resources. Water and energy are both key inputs to the agricultural-grocery complex - and both are on track to such corporate dominance. Just try to imagine the change in grocery prices and availability, when the cost of water and energy for agriculture and transportation quadruples or more, as they become scarce or subject to monopolistic control. Everything is interconnected and interdependent.
More local food production - thus local distribution, is essential for survival of our culture.

Energy. For the last hundred years "energy" has meant "oil & gas" - petroleum fossil fuels extracted from the ground - but it never was petroleum before that, and again won't be, in just a few generations as we hit "peak-oil". Modern life cannot operate without energy, which makes fossil fuel resources also a prime target for dominant control by those who would control the populace. Already, major corporate and political interests have had notable success in gaining control of world-wide fossil fuel resources. There are indeed other energy sources - solar, wind, nuclear and others - but all seem now to have significant limitations in either safety, quantity or cost. One of the greatest things we can do is to use less.
Conservation and efficiency, plus some research and development in energy alternatives to fossil fuels are essential.

Voting system integrity
Voting system integrity. For the last 2,000 years, what we call democracy - the power of the people - is year by year at more substantial risk. So long as the people have the ability to control their own destiny, through the majority rule of the popular vote, major community systems will be obliged to serve the people, and respond to the needs and wishes of the public. But when those same major corporate interests have control over the water, energy, food and counting of the votes of the people, I see a return to a dictatorial dominance not known for thousands of years, but which had indeed been present when an emperor controlled the water, energy, food and voice of the masses.
Critical for society is a voter-verifiable paper ballot,
human readable without an interface, and
verified with at least random audits of the paper ballots at every election.

WFEV may not be a neat acronym, but it is the key to an equitable and sustainable humanity.

Just try to imagine a society without the ready and fair availability of any one of the four!

Marian Beddill HomePage
Bellingham Washington - 2005

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(versao em portuguese)