We live in a time where there is no history to guide us through giving ourselves the best chance to be fulfilled individually, as a family, country, and world. Instead, it requires us to contemplate, inquire, communicate, and brainstorm both inside ourselves and with those close to us to support ourselves.
Past generations in the Western world have generally been focused on themselves, their family, and their country. This has been natural as we weren’t living in a world that was threatened in so many tangible and realistic ways, including but not limited to global warming, terrorism, the threat to democracy, the scale of global tyranny, increased corruption, nuclear war, and global pandemics.
This naturally creates brand new questions
• What does it mean to live a life that will protect our children, ourselves, and the planet that we depend on?
• What’s the potential for each of us to survive?
In the olden days, this would have seemed like unnecessary philosophical questions. It likely would have been seen as simply idealistic notions that give greater attention to the whole world.
However, today it is a matter of what is the best chance for the greatest part of humanity possible to survive. These questions are no longer philosophical, spiritual, or debatable as the dangers are looming in front of us with democracy insurrections, nations being in jeopardy of being overthrown, fires, floods, droughts, and an earth that is drying and overheating.
This affects how we need to educate and raise our kids when considering the professions they choose, how we want to spend our time, conversations with friends, and being involved in the political direction that will bring the greatest possible safety and sanity. We will need to contemplate what really matters in how we spend our time and, if we have any wealth, how we use it.
It’s a good time for a self-assessment. Ask yourself:
- How much have you been seriously questioning and letting in the fact that all of these dangers are real?
- Have you taken the time to question in this context what it means to make each of your life choices?
- How could you enhance both the quality of your present life and your chances for survival?
- Have you seen yourself in a pattern of following prior habitual ways of thinking, feeling and acting that you have been taught and feeling helpless about what to do?
It is important to recognize it’s never too late to reach out to others that are engaged and to engage yourself in this kind of life-changing questioning, new actions, communications, and reviewing economic priorities.
Hundreds and thousands of organizations and individuals are deeply devoted to change that you can very likely be supportive of and be part of the solution. If you don’t have anything local, you can always search for something like, “What organizations are dealing with global warming?”
You could substitute that for anything that’s your particular passion — organizations involved in saving democracy, regenerative agriculture, reducing and eliminating homelessness and poverty, or those dedicated to clean energy. Or even major organizations and companies who try to do good with financial planning and impact investing — it’s an endless list of people and organizations you could join or support.
It doesn’t matter where you live, as the world is accessible to all of us now. It is important not to look at your situation from past norms or priorities, dominated by economic security, safety, or pleasure.
Exploring The Global Bridge Foundation’s Work
We can recognize that the bad news— we all are truly being threatened, and the good news is that all of us can have a life of meaning if we find ways to actively care enough. For those struggling with survival, dignity is there to make the best efforts and focus on the next steps. It’s also helpful to avoid losing our energy by complaining or withdrawing. One of the best alternatives is to find as many allies as possible. It is both timely and essential that this alliance be based on supporting the common survival of everyone.
The critical essence is to be inclusive and not isolate as a separate group or identification. There are many different groups and ways to contribute our energy. Below are examples of what The Global Bridge Foundation is currently focusing on.
The United Nations has declared 2021-2030 the Decade of Eco-System Restoration, and we collaborate with John Liu, one of its founders and current advisors. We are closely involved with John and are connected to both the programs and the media, exposing this work to the world. This involves taking large areas of the earth that have been left as infertile dirt and converting it into soil through a variety of time-tested means. This not only allows for healthy food to be grown but is also the only method of actually pulling carbon down from the atmosphere. So, in addition to reducing carbon output, we are also supporting the means to reduce what is already in the atmosphere.
In conjunction with several other foundations, the Global Bridge Foundation has created a combination of projects that address multiple needs in our country and the world.
This combines homelessness reform, low-income housing, regenerative agriculture, and the building of community.
We have successfully created an alliance with The People Concern (the largest Permanent Supportive Housing Program in Los Angeles). We are in the midst of defining the criteria to approve a comprehensive program outside of Palmdale in Los Angeles County, where we will have approximately 150 carefully selected homeless individuals who will be trained to do regenerative agriculture.
The plan has been in the due-diligence phase for a year and a half, and the county has indicated it will allow 48 less than 1000 s.f. houses and program centers to train, educate, give counseling support, and allow for recreation for the community. We have a comprehensive team of modular housing developers, funders, engineers, expediters, and more to support these endeavors.
It would be the first community of its type in the United States to combine regenerative agriculture, low-income housing, homelessness, and clean energy at scale. The most inspiring part is that once the approval occurs, it will be relatively easy for it to be a model program throughout California and the rest of the state and country. An exemption for farmworker housing allows for residential buildings in agricultural zoning. Regenerative agriculture only requires 1/3 of the water, so it is a perfect fit for the arid area we are proposing and the entire San Joaquin Valley.
Shared housing and low-income housing
We are also funding a grant to generate funding for Share Housing, the most innovative low-cost alternative that we have found inside the city. They use existing housing stock and, so far, have had to acquire long-term rentals. We are applying for the funding just made available through a variety of sources including Governor Newsom ($2 Billion) — funds designed for innovative programs for development, housing, and comprehensive programming.
We are also working on providing a grant and applying for funding for a 5 million dollar fund from the USDA for low-income workers to be housed and trained to do both reforestation, farming medicines in the forest, ecosystem restoration, and regenerative agriculture.
We have found that it has hit a local and national nerve in terms of receptivity to combine housing and working in the area of regenerative agriculture in particular. It has been thrilling to see doors opening in Los Angeles County and The Department of Agriculture, with teams of foundations practicing regenerative agriculture and an increased education that has started to happen even in the political world.
The same is true for low-income housing, where there have been 300 10-bedroom, 6-bath units built in the last two years that allow for rents to be significantly reduced. All of these units haven’t been used for this purpose but indicate the potential for other programs to be formed and have a practical method to be a major part of the housing solution. There is every indication that this number will double in the next few years in a row that will provide tens of thousands of true low-income rents. This may be an understatement as this is already within the realm of what we know and not considering what we don’t know.
This can be done in various ways and doesn’t have to be the model we have chosen. The key is that low-income housing can be done for about 1/10th of the cost and can scale large enough for the poorest people in the country to be provided with very low-cost housing. This can be tied to doing the maximum work they are capable of. They can be trained in plenty of options to create products that the country and the world need.
In our example with regenerative agriculture, we are focusing on the healthiest food, but it could be clean energy, cleaning up dirty water, ocean, plastics, etc. What is missing is the clarity and practicality of combining housing, work opportunities that create benefits, and, ultimately, counseling as needed, in low-cost methods through schools and training centers and medical care.
If you are in a position or know of anyone that is economically wanting to invest in this kind of building structure, please do get in touch with The Global Bridge Foundation here. We’ll be more than happy to facilitate the links and connections for this.
It is easy to envision why sensible investors with reasonable protection for themselves and their children and caring for the planet would like to invest in properties in lower-rent areas. They would be able to get a decent return on their money, have a good chance of the value of the building going up through time, and make a difference in the world.
We are making strong efforts to support this move and hope you’ll be a part of it if you or someone you know wants to be.
Caring for others with what you have
We also have received calls from several people who own second homes that want us to liaise with homeless programs. They’re willing to vacate their houses, to open the door for individuals that can pay a lower rent enough to be only mildly profitable or break even. This growing goodwill and the shared frustration of Los Angelinos and beyond is creating a generosity of some seeking alternative solutions to develop housing.
California has made it state law to provide up to four units on any property that is R-1 zoning as long as there is a big enough yard to fulfill setback requirements. This is not only great news for those looking for lower rent options but is also an opportunity for those who want to help the homelessness problem in Los Angeles.
This allows people’s second homes to be used by homeless programs, and they still get a return and can partially do good with reduced rents. This is a viable way for those with extra property who want to contribute to reducing homelessness. It’s also a great way to contribute to the world with varying degrees of generosity.
It is so essential that all of us identify with the challenges of the world, whether we have extra resources or not. Our attitudes and actions hopefully reflect the reality and understanding that we could have been born into any situation, country, or family, and a lot of our individual fate is determined by luck and by birth.
The more we identify with being a world citizen, the more chance our world has to truly create more equal rights and opportunities. So many of us believe that we fully determine our own fate, but it appears obvious that this is a dangerous half-truth that keeps a rationalization going that the haves deserve to be rich and the poor aren’t working hard enough.
Yes, developing good work ethics and determination is a major factor in succeeding, but so is where we are born, our connections, and getting or losing a break. The question is how much we are doing the best we can for ourselves and how much we are considering those less fortunate.
This isn’t meant as a guilt trip but as an inquiry that is vital that we all do as human beings. It is clear that this is not how most of us have been raised, and it is almost as clear that the times require us not to repeat patterns. We cannot continue being consumed by the need for security and just caring for those close to us.
This is a remarkably deep challenge for almost all of us that have extra resources as it has been conditioned into us for thousands of years that we need to take care of ourselves and those close to us. We have received clear warnings about threats such as global warming, the pandemic, floods, fires, and the dangers of corruption taking over the majority of countries and the world. This will require the masses that care about our future to find each other and work together more and more.
Whether large or small, I believe that we all need to think for ourselves and face the challenge of our time, “How long are we going to continue with the age-old but outdated psychology of ‘taking care of ourselves’?”
“What is the balance between taking care of ourselves and taking care of others? How much are we divided by the view that our families represent the ‘us’ and the vast majority of others are them?”
“Is it really taking care of our kids when the planet that we are dependent on and the country in which we live are so endangered?”
This is not meant as an intellectual question as much as a question seeking our own wisdom. If it remains in the intellect, we will simply follow our ancestors’ repeating patterns of creating and fostering a world of “us and them” and bring it into the nuclear and global warming age. We couldn’t be given better warnings that many of us will die except for them to be more catastrophic, which seems inevitable unless we wake up with our awareness, intentions, and actions.
On the inspiring and hopeful side, it seems clear that a very large contingent of people, organizations, foundations, and groups are finding each other who all want to do what is needed to support the survival of everyone. Unfortunately, this is not what we’re seeing on the news very often, and it’s critical that this inspiring international movement is recognized so it can keep growing to the maximum scale.
In my 55 years of being an adult who has cared about the world, I have never seen a time when so many people are seeking like-minded people to do works that will help with regenerative agriculture, clean energy, working with low-income housing, police reform, immigration reform and a balance of opportunities for those that don’t have them.
This is a time of great purpose for those that see where we are and take the time to contemplate how we/you can take the small, medium, or large steps to do our part. This is an inspiration, not a guilt induction. It is the sweetest spot that I have found or known of inside ourselves to want to give because it feels the most rewarding and fulfilling.
Each of us has a chance to find that place inside, and it requires going beyond our conditioning to find and act on values that make great sense, and that will fulfill our hearts and inspire us in daily life.