Mother Pelican
A Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability

Vol. 14, No. 7, July 2018
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
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Cultural Evolution ~ From Patriarchy to Partnership

"We are no longer in a state of growth. We are in a state of excess. We are living in a society of excrescence." — Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007)

Time for Remedial Kindergarten, by Keith Zeff

Reflections and Chronicles From the End of Time: Living Past Petroleum Man, by Carlos Cuellar Brown

Remember What the Climate War Is About, by Joel B. Stronberg

Work in a World without Growth, by Riccardo Mastini

The High Price of Gender Inequality, by Kristalina Georgieva and Marie-Claude Bibeau

The Charlevoix G7 Summit Communique, by G7 Information Centre

Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2018: From World Development Indicators, by World Development Bank

Our Energy Problem Is a Quantity Problem, by Gail Tverberg

Will EROI be the Primary Determinant of Our Economic Future? The View of the Natural Scientist versus the Economist, by Charles Hall

The Silver Gun Hypothesis: New Model for a Sustainable Carbon Economy, by Delton Chen

Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss, by Edwin Dobb and Peter Koch

Butchery of the Planet, by George Monbiot

The Future of Agriculture, by Thomas Frey

Building a Cooperative Economy, by Oliver Sylvester-Bradley

Plato's Dream and Our Modern Nightmare, by Kurt Cobb

Global Governance ~ A Plan for the Nations ~ Step One, by Arnold J. Byron

Global Governance ~ A Plan for the Nations ~ Step Two, by Arnold J. Byron

Global Governance ~ A Plan for the Nations ~ Step Three, by Arnold J. Byron

Tracking the Battles for Environmental Justice: Here are the World's Top 10, by Julie Snorek

Breaking the Chains of Delusion ~ Technological Progress Mythologies and the Pitfalls of Digitalization, by Fabian Scheidler

Charisma, Ecology, and Social Collapse: A Simulation Experiment, by Connor Wood and Richard Sosis

Advancing Human Development: Theory and Practice, by Frances Stewart and Emma Samman

How to Build a New World in the Shell of the Old, by Mason Herson-Ford, Aaron Vansintjan, Jason Geils, and Katie Horvath

Making Culture for the Change in the Making: Psychological Underpinnings of the Shift to an Egalitarian Society, by Katarzyna Gajewska

From Fake News to Civil Dialogue

Time for Remedial Kindergarten

Keith Zeff

Originally published by
Fifty Year Perspective, 3 June 2018


You probably remember this. Thirty years ago, Robert Fulghum published a book titled All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. It has sold 17 million copies in 103 countries and has been translated into 31 languages. Must have struck a chord.

“How to live, what to do, how to be,” Fulghum found in a few kindergarten lessons:

  • Share everything
  • Play fair
  • Don’t hit people
  • Put things back where you found them
  • Clean up your own mess
  • Don’t take things that aren’t yours
  • Say you’re sorry when you hurt someone
  • Wash your hands before you eat
  • When you go out into the world, hold hands and stick together

Fulghum observes that schooling is mandatory in order for us to be taught “the fundamentals on which civilization rests. These are first explained in language a small child understands.” As he says, telling a child that “violence is counterproductive to the constructive interaction of persons and societies” may not be understood, but “Don’t hit people” teaches the rule for the child to live by.

Fulghum’s rules go beyond relations between individuals to apply to basic sanitation, ecology, equality, government and politics. The rules guide our verbal communication – how we speak to others. Civil discourse is an antidote to divisiveness, an antidote that is sorely needed. What kindergarten teacher, or parent for that matter, would allow the coarseness of words and thoughts expressed in public communication today.

Political correctness today receives a bad rap. So be it. Not everyone agrees on how to refer to Native Americans or how many genders there are. Just stay out of that conversation. But political correctness should not be confused with civil discourse. It is not a stretch to assert that lack of civility contributes to divisiveness and even hatred: eventually effective communication disappears completely. No progress toward addressing grievances will occur without communication. Name-calling is not going to resolve race relations. Nor is bullying going to tame an unruly neighbor, let alone eradicate nuclear weapons.

So, remember your kindergarten teacher and the simple life lessons learned there and from parents. Observe them and teach them to your children and grandchildren so they know that much of what they hear and see today is not acceptable behavior.


My name is Keith Zeff. I have enjoyed two careers, first as a city planner for eighteen years, and later as a commercial real estate researcher for twenty-seven years. My education includes undergraduate degrees in architecture and a graduate degree in political science.

City planning is a unique field. It requires knowledge in a wide variety of disciplines. Without being an expert in any, the city planner is tasked with integrating the work of educators, traffic and transportation engineers, law enforcement, architects and landscape architects, attorneys, and specialists in the fields of medical care, employment, local government, recreation, building codes, solid waste disposal, geology, water supply, and more.

Less obvious is the breadth of knowledge required in analyzing commercial real estate trends. Everything from LEED certification of office buildings to the size of container ships passing through the Panama Canal enters into discussions of price, demand, supply, and location of commercial retail, industrial, and office buildings.

From one of my first jobs, I have maintained an interest in exploring what the future may hold. My non-profession-related reading has been on and around this topic for over a decade. I approach the subject with the same mindset of a city planner. All these global issues are interrelated, and it is important to consider what consequences might occur as a result of current decisions – and not only in the near term, but especially in the long-term. Unfortunately, neither business nor government decision-makers are prone to this approach. Stock values, quarterly profit and loss reports, and election cycles are more likely to dominate decision-making processes.

Fifty Year Perspective is designed to address the longer-term concerns. The perspective of 50 years was chosen to respond to those in business, government, and private life who may have said: “I am doing this for my children and grandchildren.” Two generations – fifty years.

Baby boomers enjoyed many benefits made possible by the sacrifices of previous generations. Should we not dedicate ourselves to do the same for future generations? Make this personal: If you were told that you and your children and grandchildren face life-threatening danger within the next five months, would you work to avoid that fate? What about in five years? What about in five decades? The complexity of global systems necessitates taking a long-term perspective, with every important decision made by local governments, national governments, international institutions, and businesses. Make sure the decision is sustainable – for the environment, economy, energy, geopolitics, social structure, food, water, and more.


"The future is greater than all the past."

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)


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