Sunday, August 18, 2013

The History of the Premise of GrAS

THE GREEN ASSOCIATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY was originally created as an archive and forum for essays, reports and other academic writings produced as an undergraduate and Master’s candidate at Northern Arizona University from 1997 through 2002. Upon graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Political Science major and a minor in Research and Statistics, the University offered me a full tuition waiver to the school’s first Graduate Level Liberal Studies program in the environmental sciences, entitled “Visions of Good and Sustainable Societies”.
When I began the Masters program in 1999, medical insurance and health care availability and cost containment were primary concerns among voters. In addition, the regulations surrounding addiction treatment were outdated and did not reflect current science or practice. There was also a call for parity in the insurance industry for mental health and psychiatric treatment, including addiction recovery. The millennial national election brought the issues to the forefront of the campaign, as a topic of conversation among candidates about how to fix the health care system, and a topic of contention on addiction treatment and punishment.
In researching my thesis, I became involved with an advocacy group that was supporting new guideline regulations for outpatient opiate addiction recovery. Authored by Senators Hatch (R-UT), Biden (D-DE) and Levin (D-MI), the bill failed to make it out of committee in 2000. The Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA 2000) was passed the next year with much celebration , and a renewed hope for further changes to the harsh drug control policies of the United States.
Also nearly one year after elections, the Al-Qaida attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 changed the course of the Country’s agenda, and the election defining issues and political promises became moot points to be argued again at a later date.
Under the warrant that a “good and sustainable society” cannot exist without “good and sustainable people” and supported by the issues of inadequate addiction treatment and ineffective and punitive drug legislation, I hypothesized that the vision of a good and sustainable society included better access to health care, specifically addiction treatment, and significant changes in the U.S. drug laws including an end to the failed “War on Drugs”.

This is posted as static text at

Saturday, August 17, 2013

How does a society agree that a law is unjust? Some thoughts and ideas…

In a civil society, we take rules and laws for granted; they must exist in order to prevent anarchy, conduct business, and progress the state of humankind with civility. We also associate “laws” with the “government”, and the enforcement of those laws rests in a power that resides above us.

But what happens when the laws no longer represent the consensus?

What of laws that do not reflect the current social mores and tolerances of the times?

What recourse is available to the proletariat when those in power enforce rules that disenfranchise one or more classes of society?

How does a civil society agree that a law is unjust?

 Sarah Iozzio writes:
For me, the definition of an unjust law is a law that perpetrates more harm than it prevents. Getting society to agree to this definition would take more people waking up an(d) becoming aware of that harm rather than believing the propaganda of what that law is supposedly accomplishing.
Sarah’s first step is to create a definition. I also agree, as it seems reasonable to me that reasonable people would then find a reasonable argument compelling.

While publicly elected legislatures create most laws, they are administered and enforced through Executive administrations, and upheld by the court systems at both Federal and State levels.  This three tiered system of checks and balances is designed to prevent abuses, yet it is also slow and cumbersome, fraught with politics and plunders.

So even if we can get people to agree, can we get change?

In order to get people to agree that a law is unjust and therefore should be changed, the mindset that created the law in the first place must be denounced:  People will have to admit that they were wrong. Changing minds can be a difficult row.

I hope this has sparked some ideas of your own on what it takes to change a law that is unjust. The “Law” could be a local ordinance that limits the parking on your street, a State regulation that prevents a fair hearing in child custody, or a Federal policy of criminalizing cannabis. It doesn’t matter if it is at the local level or if it is a Federal issue, if the law is contrary to the social beliefs of the voters, how do we convince those whom we’ve elected to change their minds and champion our causes?

I appreciate your comments and ideas.  You may post them here, or on Facebook at or


k rojas