Hip Hop Lives on Earth

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(Originally published Feb. 28, 2013) I just started taking some formal classes that might be informative to share with you from time to time. If I come across any relevant information that concerns the everyday life of a Hiphoppa, I will be sure to drop a new post. One of the classes, is on Environmental Science. This class explores the relationship between people and their environment. Although it doesn’t get acknowledged much in rap music of today, we all happen to share a perfect little blueish globe, somewhere in the arm of the Milky Way galaxy. This little place is the only place that we know of where Hip Hop exists. It is the place in which we cultivate and preserve our elements for future generations. In the Gospel of Hip Hop by KRSONE, you will notice that wherever you see the ‘World’ referred to, it is written as ‘World’ with a capital ‘W’. Before the book was published in its current form, I asked KRS about that. He said that “If we capitalize ‘G’ for ‘God’ when write that, why shouldn’t we have the same amount of respect for the ‘World’ that we all live and breath and die on?” I just shook my head in agreement, then continued to eat my baked pineapple-salmon and rice and was like, “True indeed.”

If we want to consider Hip Hop for future generations, at some point we have to consider the Earth, the place we live. This week’s environmental science lesson was about sustainability, which is a simple yet important concept to think about just a little bit more each week…

Sustainability as defined by Environmental Science (11 ed. R.Wright/D. Boorse) is the ability of a societal system to continue indefinitely without depleting material or energy resources. It is based on the notion that the natural world or ecological systems, replenish themselves according to the cycles of nature at a balanced rate. As some plants and animals die, others are born to take their place, in order to eventually become new consumers of resources and then finally, nutrients for the environment themselves. Sustainability is the process of maintaining a society within the structure of the natural world that does not upset the natural balance. A society will be able to continue on in perpetuity, without running out of resources, if it is sustainable.

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Sustainable development is the progress important to human well-being that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (World Commission on Environmental Development, Our Common Future, 1987) Instead of just existing in balanced harmony with nature as some “primitive” cultures have done for thousands of years, societal development implies progress. Progress is the continuing process of creating new methods to satisfy human needs. This progress can cause harm to the environment like pollution, or can overuse a naturally occurring commodity like trees beyond the environments ability to replenish them for further use. Sustainable development seeks to use methods that allow a society to grow while still maintaining the balance. Sustainable yields are one way to harvest natural resources only to the point that the numbers can be regenerated naturally. Hunting and fishing seasons are an example of maintaining sustainable yields. Hunting and fishing legally, allows populations to grow to a certain size before they are harvested for our use.

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A sustainable society is one in which the principles of sustainable development are used. This type of society utilizes natural resources without diminishing the chance of future societies to use them as well. There are several ways to transition to a sustainable society. Population numbers can be shifted from ever-increasing to stable. Economies can be managed or regulated to include considerations for economic capital of an ecosystem, rather than it being based solely on growth and increased production. The methods of technology used to enhance society can be less caustic to the natural environment. Society can transition to methods that cause less pollution. Communities can adjust from ones centered on personal excess to ones which consider the access and use of resources in a more equitable way. Lastly, a less car-dominated society that contributes to high carbon dioxide levels can be achieved by building more functional living spaces. These societies may use more mass transportation or vehicles which depend less on carbon-based fuels.

In my state of New Jersey, the public utility company, Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) has a program that has added a number of solar panels to telephone poles in my area over the past few years. An article from their website states “The PSE&G Solar 4 All™ program will add 80 megawatts (MW) of solar electric generation capacity to the PSE&G electrical system by early 2013.   That is enough solar energy to power about 13,000 average size New Jersey homes each year.”( http://www.pseg.com/family/pseandg/solar4all/index.jsp) This project is one of the methods our society can use to find ways to offset our use of non-renewable sources of energy. All sustainable ecosystems use the Sun as their source of energy. Our society finding ways to utilize this renewable source can only benefit us in the future.

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Kurt Nice

Kurt Nice aka Kurtiss Jackson is a behind the scenes pioneer in the Hip Hop Kulture, creating the first nationally distributed video mix tape series, Shades of Hip Hop, in the late 1990s. Since touring the country with the Stop the Violence Movement and the Temple of Hip Hop as KRS-ONE’s National Marketing Director, Kurt Nice has been a constant commentator on conscious Hip Hop and its relevance to the new rap music of today, through radio and cable appearances. contact Kurt at info@hiphoplives.net

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