Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

When Looking For a Carbon Net Zero Entity, Community, or Enterprise, The Best Clue that they’re Genuine — Is that They Appear to be Doing Nothing

Because it was “Doing Something” that got us all into our current existential crisis.

By Dr. James P. McVey, NOAA Sea Grant Program —, Public Domain,

Think about the island of Ninguna — off the coast of Somewhere.

Never heard of them?

That’s because every day, the people there work in their garden, repair their huts, and collect coconuts. They sing and dance at night, then sleep. In the morning some swim out and collect clams. And . . . well, that’s about it!

They can’t claim to be Net Zero. They’ve never even heard the term. Which makes them high-probability to be exactly the sort of environmentally neutral (or better) community that nobody’s ever heard of.

Is this making any sense? Especially from an American born scientist of German heritage and trained in all the sciences by NASA, yet now residing in Panama with thoughts of creating true carbon dioxide and refrigerant-free eco-villages? Well, we did land on the Moon seven years after I got my ‘training.’ Not that that was carbon neutral. But it was a dream that came true. A solar ecovillage? Easy-Peasy.

The indigenous people of Panama, whatever that means for a country overrun by foreigners during its formative years, are living in a paradise that would change very little, except in the big cities, if it were to become carbon neutral. Everybody here already lives in the distant past, and that’s a long story, but let’s just say that whatever work is planned for today, it’ll be done with an ancient machete. Westerners will never understand this Latin country!

I’ve tried to explain the exploitation and the ways of America to my Panamanian friends. They just stare at me with a cloud of question marks floating above their heads. So when you stop hearing about what’s happening in Panama, if you ever started, rest assured that we’re on our way toward a sustainable existence. To really understand you’d need to move here. I did, that’s for sure. I’ll never leave.




Living in rural Panamá — non-extractive, non-capitalistic. Expat USA. Scientist, writer, researcher, teacher. STEM mentor +languages.

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Fred Ermlich

Fred Ermlich

Living in rural Panamá — non-extractive, non-capitalistic. Expat USA. Scientist, writer, researcher, teacher. STEM mentor +languages.

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