Guest Speaker: Kendall Christiansen
Hear from an expert in the waste industry about the current intricacies of handling materials, products and end-of-life discards.
Kendall Christiansen Bio:
Having collected (and delivered) newspapers as a kid, and worked as a school and church janitor in his teens, Kendall Christiansen became addicted to garbage when he served as founding Assistant Director of NYC’s recycling system in 1989. He developed a public affairs consulting practice in the field – chairing NYC’s Citywide Recycling Advisory Board, working locally with several companies, and nationally and in Canada for a major client – attending hundreds of national, state/provincial and regional conferences. In 2016 he refocused on helping NYC’s commercial waste and recycling industry to survive and transform into a 21st century industry. Kendall has Midwestern roots, and lived @ Prospect Park since 1980 – and with his wife and family in Lefferts Manor for 31 years. Active on the board of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and other nonprofits, he’s chaired New York Congregational Community Services/Nursing Center for more than 25 years.
Long-time Brooklyn Society For Ethical Culture members share their legacies in ethical practices and what it means to live an ethical life. They will discuss the roads they have traveled and the challenges they overcame. They will also, share stories of finding BSEC, what keeps them coming back and their vision for the society for the next generation.
Socialism, as a word, use to be a general turn-off in American conversations. However, 2019 has brought certain realities into clear focus: rapacious greed and increased ecological danger cannot be ignored. Moreover, social ineptitude and moral disregard for the general welfare of the people is plainly unacceptable by those in public office, in high or low status, in local or national leadership. Working Americans, particularly, are caught in a vortex of economic pressures carrying the weight of various levels of taxation, medical and other costs with little, if any, relief. Poverty is growing and deepening. The needs of the aged are often completely disregarded. These concerns are not just a urban issues. These problems affect every tier of American society, rural and urban. The only exceptions are to be found in the upper 20% which as a class controls about 90% of America’s wealth.
America is actually in competition with the so-called “Third-World.” America is no longer First World material and we did this to ourselves — or rather our legislative leaders did session after session, generation after generation. Instead of going forward, economically we have climbed our way back to the 1920s, the Guilded Age. Our laws, apparently, were not strong enough to prevent the avariciousness of capitalism which, in addition, to growing and segregating the wealth derived has ruthlessly destroyed and continues to destroy nature’s ecology here and in other parts of the world.
Maybe it is time for all of us to stop following blindly the capitalist model. It’s not going to change! “Today blind relentless economic growth structured into capitalism is destroying the ecological foundations of human society.” In earlier centuries, “socialist thought emphasized building up the productive forces in order to eliminate poverty.” What was wrong with that? Lifting poverty would, in fact, lift the entire social structure of our society and eliminate many of our persistent problems. In our current century, ecosocialism must balance issues and determine not how to produce more, but how to produce enough and distribute those yields to meet the basic needs of all of us within ecological limits.
Howie Hawkins is a retired Teamster from Syracuse, New York. He has been active in movements for civil rights, peace, unions, and the environment since the late 1960s when became committed to independent working-class politics for a democratic, socialist, and ecological society. He was a co-founder of the US Green Party in 1984. In 2010, he was the first US candidate to campaign for a Green New Deal when he ran his first of three campaigns for New York governor.