Blog: Hannah Miller
In some ways, media is like food. Food turns into your body, but books, songs, tweets turn into your mind. If you look at the kinds of media Americans consume now, they bear quite a resemblance to products that come from big ag: industrial, barely nutritious, certainly not fostering any connection to people or place.
By some measures, radio is the most consolidated form of modern media, with the bulk of stations being owned by only five giant behemoths, pouring a diet of thin Campbell’s Soup into the massive distribution system that returns ad revenue.
Good news, readers. There’s never been a better time to earn extra cash in your spare time. The traditional job market may be sinking, but the number of easy-to-use money-earning Internet platforms is on the rise. These platforms are exploding because they work. They enable ordinary people to become Internet entrepreneurs instantly, without a computer science degree from Stanford or a venture funding.
Rural electricity and telephone coops are one of the great sharing success stories in American history - largely due to coordination by the federal government. In 1934, only 11% of farmers had electricity compared to 90% in Europe. Private electric companies refused to serve many rural customers or price gouged them when they did. The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was formed in 1935 to fix the problem by providing technical assistance and loans to electric cooperatives. Less than 20 years later, practically all farms had power due largely to electric coops.
Most of us are used to work the way it has been since the first factories: one person, hired to perform specific tasks, with little say as to what's going on in the rest of the company.
Dean Clark loved being a cabdriver in San Francisco. The tall, laconic ex-Marine would drive night shifts after teaching fulltime as a special ed teacher, and even kept it up while running for city supervisor.
But today, he swears by SideCar. Still active in the United Taxi Workers union and an advocate for cabdrivers, he has "switched over," driving several hours a day for the rideshare service that has already shaken up transportation in this city and across the country.
The sharing economy was not yet a topic at the Rio+20 Earth Summit, but was everywhere as a theme or a tool, from talk of the “the commons” and co-ops to talk of new technologies that reduce consumption. Most of the emergence came in side events at the RioCentro or the People’s Summit, but the needle was moved in United Nations official policy, as well.
The Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development is an instantly assembled city of 50,000 of the most environmentally attuned members of our species. It is clumped by institutional affiliation, political inflection, age, and profession, strewn about the vastness of the jungle mountain mega-city of Rio de Janeiro and, apparently, managed with the same techniques that the United Nations uses for refugee camps. This is not entirely inappropriate, because all environmentalists are refugees.