Key concepts: Viridian action, dissidence, defection, Viridian Ranking
Attention Conservation Notice: it's about worthy actions with moral gravity.
Also includes Viridian Ranking System.
Viridian Individual Projects:
From: email@example.com^^^^^^^*** http://db.rtk.net/data/egrid.html
Richard Puchalsky writes:
"If people want to buy green electric power, they have to know which utilities
are green. So I made a Web tool that estimates personal CO2 generation, and
shows you what sources of power each electric utility uses. A more-or- less
working prototype with no graphics and a goofy name is at:
I hope Viridian volunteers will pitch in and help me improve this design."
From: firstname.lastname@example.org**** (Reid Harward) http://www.well.com/user/reid/viridian.html Reid Harward writes:
"At Tygart River Pottery, we've been making lamps from translucent porcelain
tile and backlighting them with compact fluorescents."
A correspondent, having read the Viridian Manifesto in the recent Whole Earth
Review, implores in email: "I believe you. Tell me what to do."
That's a reasonable request, and a proper topic for the one-hundredth Viridian
As Viridians, we should suit our ends to our means.
Otherwise, we are duplicating efforts better invested elsewhere. We're not a
political party, a corporation, a mass movement or a lobby, and we shouldn't
pretend that we are.
There are three basic activities we Viridians can fruitfully pursue: we can
create new concepts, we can spread ideas, and we can be a moral force by
Being small and diffuse is a tactical advantage for those three activities. We
can never expect to rule the planet by Papal decree, but we're by no means
without potential influence. Small diffuse groups get quite a lot done in the
If we Viridians successfully affect the course of events, it won't be by
lobbying, staging elections, shipping products, or passing laws. It'll be by
making a new world seem plausible, by becoming early adapters, and by the Vaclav
Havel method of publicly "living in truth."
Becoming an effective early adapter means finding new things and processes, and
making them modish. It's about cause celebres, theatricality, publicity stunts,
Creating buzz is something at which we Viridians should excel. Besides, it's
But there's more to genuine resistance than a talking-shop, just like there's
more to buzz than mere marketing. We Viridians must visibly dissent from the
system that oppresses us. This is where we achieve some moral gravity.
Nobody likes them. Their public pronunciamentos have zero credibility. Even
the warmest and cuddliest oil companies == like Royal Dutch Shell, who are
Dutch, for heaven's sake == have a public rep as suborners of governments
and reckless poisoners of the North Sea. Carbon moguls like Saddam Husseim and
Moammar Qaddafi are ritually denounced as terrorists and tyrants, but the world
still lines their pockets, because they have oil.
The system that oppresses us doesn't much care about street theater. The oil
and coal industries have legendarily bad public relations. Nobody trusts them.
The carbon industry stays alive because of its revenue stream. The standard
Green response to carbon companies has been (a) bitching about them and (b)
struggling to create bureaucracies big enough to regulate them. If we Viridians
try that, we are (a) venting rage mostly for our own satisfaction and (b)
totally out of our league.
As Viridians, we must defect. We must free ourselves from the carbon
nomenklatura, and live as public dissidents.
In 1999, publicly bitching about oil companies is like some Moscow drunk in the
Brezhnev era telling witty political jokes. Yeah, you're boosting your own
morale somewhat. But you're still chugging away at the bottle.
Stop paying them. That is the way to walk the Viridian talk.
As long as you pay them, you are a collaborator, no matter how much you
complain, or how much email you read.
They know that they're ugly. They know about black lung, strip mining, acid
rain, mercury deposition, global warming, all of that. They employ thousands of
trained, highly literate engineers; they don't need any technical hand-holding.
They justify their activities because they consider themselves irreplaceable.
In many parts of the world, it's not even remotely feasible. In many places,
the government and the carbon industries work hand in glove to deny you any
choice in the power that sustains your daily life. But that is our moral and
practical goal: step away from that belching smokestack, and build something
So a true Viridian must strive to become a living counterexample. This way of
life entails some risk and expense, and is not for everybody == at least, not
There are two ways to carry this out: the rich way, and the poor way. I'll
start with the poor way, even though I know full well that everyone on this list
has a computer.
Poor guy, you're so poor; you can't afford jazzy solar power and pricey, semi
Nobody really believes they are "rich." Even Bill Gates doesn't feel "rich;"
Bill Gates feels like a driven, legally persecuted workaholic. If that's your
own personal story, I'm simpatico, I'm with that program.
Great. Then save money. Cut your carbon consumption, and fill your own wallet
at the carbon industry's expense.
Insulate your house, assuming you're able to afford one. Weather-strip the
windows, no matter where you live.
Buy compact-fluorescent everything. Wash your clothes in cold water == heating
water soaks up more energy than almost anything you do, except long commutes.
Buy a smaller, cheaper car, and a bicycle. Better yet, move closer to your
work. Or telecommute. These are the effective anticarbon tactics, because
they are permanent things that you do once and forget about.
The crucial point is == give the carbon industry less of your money! Affecting
technological development by buying cutting-edge supergizmos may be something of
a rich guy's game. But there's no such thing as not being able to afford to
spend less of your money.
Then there's the rich guy's method, which, given that we Viridians are mostly
G-7, technically educated, literate, New Economy types, is frankly much more our
Viridian native speed. The goal here is to create and consume clean power.
Forget saving power. You are rich.
If you are a Viridian with money, then SPEND MORE MONEY and BUY CLEAN PRODUCTS
AND SERVICES. Above all, buy clean power, because that is where the technical
change is happening fastest, and where early adapters can really push the
development curve. Green power for the consumer is moving faster than anybody
expected, and we should push it hard.
Sign up for greenmountain.com, or whoever it may be in your locale. Once
you've switched over to green power, then use as much green power as you care
to. Live a loud, public life that is brilliant, refulgent, powerful, expensive
and clean. It is much more important to lavishly build the new
clean energy infrastructure, than it is to carefully conserve the old dirty one.
There are Green people around who will be shocked by this counsel of mine. They
will tell you that you should always conserve energy, even if it's clean energy.
Supposedly, there will be more clean power to go around for everyone, that way.
They'll tell you that good people should never be greedy; they should always
strive to live lightly on the earth. From their perspective, the wisest social
choice would be voluntarily joining the many millions of people around the world
who have no electrical power now, and are never going to get any. People with
that attitude are Green, but they are not Viridian Green.
Viridians will always struggle to render a bad technology obsolete, rather
than humbly adapting our lives to its inherent design failures. We're not
"rejecting" technologies, we are making firm aesthetic judgements about them and
aiming to kill them where they stand. We fully expect to outlive the carbon
industry, and to dance on its grave. So forget living outside capitalism on the
Amish goat farm. Instead, pull the money out, and put the money somewhere else.
If everybody on this list bought green energy, we could cost the carbon industry
a two-million-dollar-per- year revenue hit. That would be lovely. But laudable
as that would be, that's not our central point. Our point as a group is to
create and spread a cultural sensibility.
So at this point in time, we Viridians should be theatrically staging public
defections from the carbon regime. That is Viridian propaganda by the deed.
Viridians are not a mass movement. We Viridians don't have to worry about
what the world would be like if everybody did as we do. That's not a moral
problem for us. Because that is not going to happen; it's like expecting
everyone in the world to become a Surrealist.
Sure, once Greenhouse alarmism spreads, mainstream society will discover the
miraculous solution of investing in clean power across the board. "Shocking!
Amazing! To think it was that easy!" But by the time that happens, we
Viridians will be bored with the whole issue, been there done that. We'll doing
other things far less predictable.
So that's it. That is the Viridian beau ideal. Jump the tall electric fence
that surrounds those dirty smut merchants, and when you get on the far side, be
sure to jump up and down and wave. If you want me to tell you what to do, well,
that is what you should do. It is the Way of Our People.
There's one more small thing. I have a house with a brand-new three-kilowatt
solar unit, freshly installed on top of it. I've got my camera and scanner
ready, and in future Viridian Notes, you can expect to witness me leading the
war on carbon from the front of the battlefield. And if you think I'm crowing
now, wait till you hear me crow when I actually get this wacky gizmo to work.
And now, a long-expected Viridian tradition:
VIRIDIAN RANKING SYSTEM
The Viridian Ranking System has been hand-created with a vintage fountain pen
and fine art paper.
Scars, flaws, and imperfections add character and are an inherent part of the
THE VIRIDIAN CURIA:
O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O DEFECT FROM THE OLD, CREATE THE NEW
O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O