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Alien Invaders and the Ethic of the Earth

Alien Invaders and the Ethic of the Earth

Imagine this rather typical SF scenario: alien invaders arrive on Earth. They are vastly superior in intelligence, technology, and most importantly, ethics. They quickly perceive that Earthlings are a dire mortal threat to the Earth’s biosphere. They reason that they must take decisive action soon, or else the Earth will meet its biological death. What are they to do? First,[Read More…]

The Choice Is Ours: Extinction or Rebellion?

The Choice Is Ours: Extinction or Rebellion?

Due to capitalism’s rapaciousness, our species is hurtling towards ecocide at a frightening pace. In the early twentieth century, tens of millions died under the Stalinist regime. We blame these deaths on the wickedness of socialism. Later, in Germany, around 6 million Jews were systematically murdered in gas chambers. We blame these deaths on the ills of fascism. At the[Read More…]

 Thinking Outside the Grid

 Thinking Outside the Grid

Thirty years ago, a friend of mine published a book called 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save The Earth. It described the huge environmental benefits that would result if everyone made some simple adjustments to their way of life. Six hundred thousand gallons of gas could be saved every day, for example, if every commuter car carried just one[Read More…]

Gordon Dam, Southwest National Park, Tasmania, Australia (2008). Creator: JJ Harrison. Via Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gordon_Dam.jpg

Dammed Good Question about the Green New Deal

Hydroelectric power from dams might be the thorniest question that proponents of the Green New Deal (GND) have to grapple with. Providing more energy than solar and wind combined, dams could well become the backup for energy if it proves impossible to get off of fossil fuels fast enough. An August 2019 forum on the GND included representatives from the Sunrise Movement, Renew[Read More…]

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The Great Depression and the Climate Crisis, New Deals Then and Now

The Great Depression and the Climate Crisis, New Deals Then and Now

“We are in a new era to which I do not belong,” ex-President Calvin Coolidge confided to a close friend on a cold December day in 1932 when the country and the world were already in the depths of the Great Depression. A few weeks later, he punctuated that melancholic thought by dying. Coolidge was right. Within months of his death, President[Read More…]

Extinction Rebellion Sweeps the World

Extinction Rebellion Sweeps the World

Extinction Rebellion, XRest. October 31, 2018,has become a powerful force across the globe, almost overnight!!! It is the fastest-growing environmental movement ever. As such, it is only too obvious that “people get it” when it comes to climate change/global warming because they’re jumping aboard like swarms of locusts. In fact, XR’s truthful exposure of the climate crisis/global warming is single-handedly[Read More…]

Understanding Why the Green New Deal Won’t Really Work

Understanding Why the Green New Deal Won’t Really Work

The reasons why the Green New Deal won’t really work are fairly subtle. A person really has to look into the details to see what goes wrong. In this post, I try to explain at least a few of the issues involved. [1] None of the new renewables can easily be relied upon to produce enough energy in winter.  The[Read More…]

Green Party Debates Green New Deal

Green Party Debates Green New Deal

Despite the furor over the Green New Deal (GND), many of its supporters have no idea of the wide variety of views on it, especially within the Green Party (GP), where it originated in the US.  From June through August, 2019 Missouri Greens held public discussions contrasting at least three distinct GP views to those from the Democratic Party (DP).[Read More…]

Gauri Lankesh’s Martyrdom In Global Context

Gauri Lankesh’s Martyrdom In Global Context

We lost Gauri Lankesh to terrorism on 5th September 2017. This terrorism has a context. In this article  I’ll be trying to put Gauri’s martyrdom into global context. When I started Countercurrents.org in 2002, the CO2 level in atmosphere was 370 ppm (parts per million). 17 years later now it is at 420 ppm. Recently scientists released a data that[Read More…]

Lives In Ecology – A new freely downloadable book by John Avery

Lives In Ecology – A new freely downloadable book by John Avery

I would like to announce the publication of a book, which reviews the lives and thoughts of some of the women and men who have addressed the crucial problems of ecology and sustainability that we are currently facing. I have tried to let them speak to us in their own words. The book may be freely downloaded and circulated from[Read More…]

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Extinction Rebellion: What is it?

Extinction Rebellion: What is it?

  The climate crisis is turning average law-abiding people into raging law-breaking eco rebels, by boatloads. Extinction Rebellion (ER) is at the forefront, demanding that governments declare climate emergencies and take urgent action. In that regard, ER, which started in the UK, says government must reduce carbon emissions to Net Zero by 2025, or else! Social chaos will spring loose[Read More…]

False Hopes for a Green New Deal

False Hopes for a Green New Deal

The Green New Deal pivots on a central lie of continued growth, promising this growth and employment whilst pretending it can magic away the environmental and humanitarian consequences. The result of this is that on all three counts – infinite growth, reliance on fossil fuels, and colonial resource extraction – the Green New Deal is unable to challenge the prevailing[Read More…]

Notes on Gaian Theology: Is the Goddess a Superorganism?

Notes on Gaian Theology: Is the Goddess a Superorganism?

The beauty of the Gaian theology is that, unlike for ordinary theology, you don’t have to rely only on second-hand reports about the subject of your studies. Gaia exists, and you can perceive Her all around us. Then, the question is: what or who is She? As you know, the modern idea of Gaia as a denizen of the Earth’s ecosphere[Read More…]

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A sign for Transition Linlithgow in Scotland, part of the Transition Towns initiative. (Photo: John Lord/flickr/cc)

Two Arguments for Localism

Argument 1: Localism is inevitable. Globalization was made possible by long-distance transport, communications, and capital flows. It fits with widespread assumptions about progress and economic growth leading to a better future. But there are good reasons to think that our current bout of globalization is actually a brief, fragile, and highly problematic phase of human history. Societies seem to pass[Read More…]

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Photo by George M. Groutas

Resist Locally, Renew Globally

Resistance to corporate rule at the policy level will need to be coupled with the generation of alternatives from below, to fill the gaps left by the departing old system. The Promise and Pitfalls of Localism The fact that the language of localism is being increasingly co-opted by authoritarians around the world is itself a sign of localism’s appeal. Left[Read More…]

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Global collapse has begun, but this doesn’t mean we have to give up hope

Global collapse has begun, but this doesn’t mean we have to give up hope

David B. Lauterwasser writes: Very few people today think that our global civilization is on the brink of collapse. Most of the news consist of disturbing stories on increasingly overwhelming issues that, plainly spoken, seem impossible to solve. And yet, no one even recognizes that it is collapse that’s started to unfold all around us. Only the fewest today think that[Read More…]

From the Royal to the Prophetic to the Apocalyptic: The Case for a Saving Remnant

From the Royal to the Prophetic to the Apocalyptic: The Case for a Saving Remnant

A version of this essay was presented at the “Is the Future of Agriculture Perennial?” conference, Lund University, Sweden, May 8, 2019. The royal, prophetic, and apocalyptic traditions in the Hebrew and Christian bibles provide a compelling framework for understanding progressive intellectual and political work today, as we face the task not only of struggling to create a just and sustainable world[Read More…]

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Jobs, the Environment, and a Planet in Crisis 

Jobs, the Environment, and a Planet in Crisis 

When it comes to heat, extreme weather, wildfires, and melting glaciers, the planet is now in what the media increasingly refers to as “record” territory, as climate change’s momentum outpaces predictions. In such a situation, in a country whose president and administration seem hell-bent on doing everything they conceivably can to make matters worse, the Green New Deal (GND) seems to offer at[Read More…]

The 9% lie: industrial food and climate change

The 9% lie: industrial food and climate change

The Climate Emergency is finally getting the attention of the media and the U.S. (and world) body politic, as well as a growing number of politicians, activists and even U.S. farmers. This great awakening has arrived just in time, given the record-breaking temperatures, violent weather, crop failures and massive waves of forced migration that are quickly becoming the norm. Global scientists[Read More…]

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The Root Cause of Human Population Growth

The Root Cause of Human Population Growth

Homo sapiens is a creature of the earth. Understand that food is the tap root of life for the human species. There may be other factors that help sustain human life, but food is the ‘tap root’ for the growth of absolute human population numbers, just as is the case with other species of earth. Our problem is a biological[Read More…]

“Flygskam”, or flight shame is a movement which have gained enough buzz in Sweden to make people stay on the ground and be shameful of air travel. Flygskam encourages people to take train over plane to lower carbon emissions.

‘Flight Shame’ has Swedes stay on the ground

Commercial flights currently make up around 2.5% of global carbon emissions which is certain to be increased with increase in volume of air travel. According to European Environment Agency, an average plane trip emits 285 grams of carbon dioxide, while similar train journey would emit only 14 grams. Therefore, taking a train over plane do save the environment. The movement[Read More…]

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Local is Our Future

Local is Our Future

[The following is an excerpt from the first chapter of Helena Norberg-Hodge’s new book Local is Our Future: Steps to an Economics of Happiness, published by Local Futures in July 2019.] For our species to have a future, it must be local. The good news is that the path to such a future is already being forged. Away from the screens[Read More…]

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Appeal to #StandTogetherNow for a Just, Peaceful and Sustainable World

Appeal to #StandTogetherNow for a Just, Peaceful and Sustainable World

Action For Sustainable Development (Action4SD), a global civil society platform working on the Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change, has issued an appeal in New York to #StandTogetherNow to for a Just, Peaceful and Sustainable World. This is released when the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on the Agenda 2030 is going on in New York. Sign here:https://action4sd.org/sign-the-statement/ In 2015[Read More…]

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Demise of Totnes Pound won’t Stop this English Town Pushing Back Against Austerity

Demise of Totnes Pound won’t Stop this English Town Pushing Back Against Austerity

Walking down the high street of a place described as one of the UK’s most ethical towns, the first thing you notice is the absence of national chain stores and fast food outlets. Instead, you find a diverse mix of independent shops selling organic food, clothes, art, antiques and furniture, as well as cafes and restaurants and an abundance of charity[Read More…]

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Solarisation of Agriculture is the need of the hour

Solarisation of Agriculture is the need of the hour

Undoubtedly, agriculture is a power intensive sector. Farmers predominantly rely on diesel and electric pumps for irrigation. However, the scale of use of diesel and electric pumps in the sector contribute to severe environmental problems. Diesel pumps depend on exploitation of fossil fuel resources, increase fuel cost for farmers and emit toxic fumes that pollute the environment and affect human[Read More…]

Economics 101 and Ecological Collapse

Economics 101 and Ecological Collapse

“The collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.” – David Attenborough Today’s economics, especially Economics 101, is a major source of humankind’s denial of the possibility of the calamity of all calamities, which our economy is engineering. Annually, millions of students around the world are forced to study textbooks that indoctrinate[Read More…]

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The confirmation comes soon after a report from the U.K. Met Office in June warned that the planet was well on its way toward that grim milestone. (Photo: Kevin Gill/flickr/cc)

A Green Global Party?

Following the lead of the late Ulrich Beck in works such as Risk Society and Power in the Modern Age the time has now come to ask ourselves whether or not the Green party is already or is about to become a global political party. First a little background in theory. Beck was, of course, famous for introducing the idea[Read More…]

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The Bacteria as Guru

The Bacteria as Guru

Ever since the ‘germ theory of disease’ was propounded by Louis Pasteur two hundred years ago, the world has understood bacteria as the cause of numerous infections, many of them deadly. The insight led to the advent of antibiotics, hailed as ‘magic bullets’ for their ability to treat infectious diseases effectively, and it was believed pathogenic bacteria had been conquered[Read More…]

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A Clarifying Note on the Magnitude of Earth Crisis

A Clarifying Note on the Magnitude of Earth Crisis

Much of my creative work these days (and indeed for decades before) is to address the mounting and sometimes engulfing Earth Crisis within which we are all entangled; which threatens us daily and overshadows the future. Earth Crisis is not only Climate Change, although climate change is a major component of Earth Crisis.  Other components of the ongoing global condition[Read More…]

Regenerating Gaia: Imagine a Peaceful Rebellion that Regrows Nature

Regenerating Gaia: Imagine a Peaceful Rebellion that Regrows Nature

Gaia – the living global ecological system – is collapsing and dying as human industrial growth overruns natural ecosystems and climate. Yet the biosphere can regenerate, as it has done before, given the time and space, free from human burning and cutting. As the twin emergencies of climate and ecosystem loss threaten the end of being, I join in calls[Read More…]

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Abhorrence For Wastefulness And Exhortation For Moderation In The Qur’an

Abhorrence For Wastefulness And Exhortation For Moderation In The Qur’an

The non-enviro approach of mainstream politico milieu  and unbridled profiteering agenda of economic agencies of the world have brought the world on the brink of irreversible ecological damages, to a stage where we beg  for basics such as clean air, potable water, pure soil, healthy sun light. Bigger panic though is that the climate breakdown issue is being sidelined, because, [Read More…]

The Disintegrated Mind: The Greatest Threat to Human Survival on Earth

The Disintegrated Mind: The Greatest Threat to Human Survival on Earth

Like many people who have struggled to understand why human beings are driving the sixth mass extinction event in Earth’s history, which now threatens imminent human extinction as well, over many decades I have explored the research and efforts of a great many activists and scholars to secure this understanding. However, with many competing ideas from the fields of politics,[Read More…]

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Hummingbirds are among the 88 species included in a new study which shows that the warming of the planet has thrown off the timing of relationships between predators and prey as well as plant-eaters and pollinators. (Photo: Jen Goellnitz/Flickr/cc)

We can survive and live well if we fully cooperate with the planet and its life

Capitalism successes are based on economic growth, attain and sustained by burning fossil fuels. The key one for nearly a century is oil, it’s involved in all our activities, and it’s what sustains world societies, also its gradually changing our benign planet to an unliveable one. Its due to two factors one been the emission of carbon dioxide, which keeps[Read More…]

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Rene Wadlow – The Day of Mother Earth: Living in Harmony with Nature

Rene Wadlow – The Day of Mother Earth: Living in Harmony with Nature

International Mother Earth Day on 22 April each year was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2009.  Its aim is to promote living in harmony with Nature and to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations.  The concept of living in harmony with Nature was seen by the U.N.[Read More…]

What a Waste

What a Waste

Our modern industrial economy traces a straight line from resource extraction to manufacturing to sales to waste disposal. Since Earth has finite resources and limited ability to absorb pollution, the straight-line economy is unsustainable; it is designed for eventual failure. Why not make the economy circular, with waste from one process feeding into other production processes, thus dramatically reducing the need[Read More…]

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Photo by: Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - Cows, CC BY-SA 2.0

Taking Baby Steps to Solve the World’s Greatest Crises

Efforts to live more sustainably have been popularized by individuals, leaders, and corporations across the globe. While reports seem to indicate that people are more socially aware, the widespread popularization of the term ‘sustainability’ falsely leads us to believe that we are doing much more than we actually are. In reality, we are on a path of pseudo-sustainability. Most of[Read More…]

JARED RODRIGUEZ / TRUTHOUT

A Green New Deal Must Not Be Tied to Economic Growth

The Green New Deal bill is an audacious 10-year mobilization plan to move the U.S. to a zero-carbon economy. Bold and ambitious interventions like it are necessary, in the U.S. and elsewhere, if we are to unsettle the current complacency with climate breakdown. Academics like economist Robert Pollin, who kept alive the idea of a Green New Deal in the past years and[Read More…]

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 I love the Green New Deal but …

 I love the Green New Deal but …

Ever since out first ancestor lit a fire, humans have been pumping CO2 into the atmosphere.  Add to that the first herder because ruminants are another large emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG). Some people want to declare a national emergency and ban fossil fuels within ten years.  How?   I am for it and all ready to go.  But please[Read More…]

Re-Inhabiting Planet Earth

Re-Inhabiting Planet Earth

“I believe that for a moment I thought the explosion might set fire to the atmosphere and thus finish the Earth, even though I knew that this was not possible.” These words of Manhattan Project physicist Emilio Segre, quoted by Richard Rhodes in his book The Making of the Atomic Bomb, refer to the Trinity blast on July 16, 1945, at Alamogordo,[Read More…]

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Saving Japan’s seed heritage from “free trade”

Saving Japan’s seed heritage from “free trade”

I recently had the opportunity to interview Masahiko Yamada, formerly Japan´s Minister of Agriculture and now one of the country´s foremost food sovereignty activists. We met at an international Economics of Happiness Conference in Prato, Italy, where Yamada delivered a keynote speech about the birth of a new citizens’ movement to protect Japan´s food-crop heritage from corporate take-over. Keen to learn more,[Read More…]

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How We, the People, Can Save the Planet

How We, the People, Can Save the Planet

Co-Written by Gary Null and Richard Gale The recent release of the proposed Green New Deal is a template, an outline identifying some of the most crucial issues facing the nation regarding climate change and a wish list of measures to address those issues. It contains a variety of inspired agenda items, many of which have been voiced by the[Read More…]

Tosepan: Resistance and Renewal in Mexico

Tosepan: Resistance and Renewal in Mexico

Since the mid-1980s, Mexico has been a poster child for globalization. Through free trade treaties and structural adjustment policies imposed by international financial institutions, the country has been “liberalized” – opened up to unfettered corporate investment and imports  –  to an extent matched by few other countries. Though the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is the most well-known trade treaty[Read More…]

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Saving The Future

Saving The Future

Only immediate climate action can save the future. If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon. Here is a recent statement by Jakob von Uexküll, founder of the World Future Council: “Today we are heading for unprecedented dangers and conflicts, up to and including the[Read More…]

Degrowth And Transformation: A Reflection

Degrowth And Transformation: A Reflection

This article is part of a series on degrowth.info discussing strategy in the degrowth movement. The introduction to the series and an ongoing list of contributions can be found here. In a previous piece in this blog series, Joe Herbert and colleagues pointed out the “how to move towards a degrowth society” gap in degrowth discourse. As I have also come[Read More…]

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That Green Growth at the Heart of the Green New Deal? It’s Malignant

That Green Growth at the Heart of the Green New Deal? It’s Malignant

A burgeoning save-the-climate effort called the Green New Deal, explains Vox’s David Roberts, “has thrust climate change into the national conversation, put House Democrats on notice, and created an intense and escalating bandwagon effect. … everyone involved in green politics is talking about the GND. … But WTF is it?” Roberts goes on to give a good summary, but no[Read More…]

Sooner or Later, We Have to Stop Economic Growth — and We’ll Be Better for it

Sooner or Later, We Have to Stop Economic Growth — and We’ll Be Better for it

Both the U.S. economy and the global economy have expanded dramatically in the past century, as have life expectancies and material progress. Economists raised in this period of plenty assume that growth is good, necessary even, and should continue forever and ever without end, amen. Growth delivers jobs, returns on investment and higher tax revenues. What’s not to like? We’ve[Read More…]

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Negative Zero Sum Game

Negative Zero Sum Game

Many citizens throughout the world have concluded that our Capital Market system is an ecological Negative Zero Sum game driving human civilization toward an “end of time” apocalypse of horrific proportions. XXXXXXXXX With the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution that followed, the economic theory of Adam Smith relating to efficiency of an open and free capital market distribution of goods[Read More…]

The Commons, the State and the Public: A Latin American Perspective

The Commons, the State and the Public: A Latin American Perspective

An interview with Daniel Chavez. What are the commons and what is their political, social and economic relevance? In recent years, many researchers and social activists from very different countries, like myself, have rediscovered the notion of the commons as a key idea to deepen social and environmental justice and democratise both politics and the economy. This reappropriation has meant[Read More…]

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Degrowth: A Call for Radical Abundance

Degrowth: A Call for Radical Abundance

When orthodox economists first encounter the idea of degrowth, they often jump to the conclusion that the objective is to reduce GDP.  And because they see GDP as equivalent to social wealth, this makes them very upset. Nothing could be further from the truth. I reject the fetishization of GDP as an objective in the existing economy, so it would[Read More…]

What are the commons and what is their political, social and economic relevance?

What are the commons and what is their political, social and economic relevance?

An interview with Daniel Chavez Daniel Chavez / Photo credit Patricia Alfaro In recent years, many researchers and social activists from very different countries, like myself, have rediscovered the notion of the commons as a key idea to deepen social and environmental justice and democratise both politics and the economy. This reappropriation has meant questioning the vanguardist and hierarchical visions,[Read More…]

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Groomed to Consume

Groomed to Consume

With Christmas coming up, household consumption will soon hit its yearly peak in many countries. Despite homely pictures of tranquility on mass-produced greeting cards, Christmas is more about frenzied shopping and overspending than peace on earth or quality time with family and friends. As with so much of our lives, the holidays have been hijacked by the idea that satisfaction,[Read More…]

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Jeff Biggers writes that he "created the Climate Narrative Project out of a sense of failure," after he spent "years—decades, really—investigating and chronicling the devastation of the coal industry on communities, miners, and the environment, as well as its impact on carbon emissions." (Photo: Jeff Biggers)

Climate Storytellers Inspire Roadmap to Action

Earlier this year, taking a front row seat at a church in Gary, Indiana, I watched as a young rapper, local food leader, and an arts educator beguiled a standing-room-only audience with a theatrical envisioning of their city in the year 2030. To the side of the stage, jazz legend Billy Foster and his trio added a lively soundtrack to[Read More…]

How Circular is the Circular Economy?

How Circular is the Circular Economy?

The circular economy has become, for many governments, institutions, companies, and environmental organizations, one of the main components of a plan to lower carbon emissions. In the circular economy, resources would be continually re-used, meaning that there would be no more mining activity or waste production. The stress is on recycling, made possible by designing products so that they can[Read More…]

File source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jacques_Ellul_(cropped).jpg

Jacques Ellul: A Prophet for Our Tech-Saturated Times

By now you have probably read about the so-called “tech backlash.” Facebook and other social media have undermined what’s left of the illusion of democracy, while smartphones damage young brains and erode the nature of discourse in the family. Meanwhile computers and other gadgets have diminished our attention spans along with our ever-failing connection to reality. The Foundation for Responsible[Read More…]

Photo by George M. Groutas

Unlike a Globalized Food System, Local Food Won’t Destroy the Environment

If you’re seeking some good news during these troubled times, look at the ecologically sound ways of producing food that have percolated up from the grassroots in recent years. Small farmers, environmentalists, academic researchers and food and farming activists have given us agroecology, holistic resource management, permaculture, regenerative agriculture and other methods that can alleviate or perhaps even eliminate the global food system’s worst impacts:[Read More…]

Degrowth as a Concrete Utopia

Degrowth as a Concrete Utopia

 Credit: Flickr/Eli Duke. CC BY 2.0. The emergence of interest in degrowth can be traced back to the 1st International Degrowth Conference organized in Paris in 2008. At this conference, degrowth was defined as a “voluntary transition towards a just, participatory, and ecologically sustainable society,” so challenging the dogma of economic growth. Another five international conferences were organized between 2010 and[Read More…]

Who is Safe from Amazon? Worldwide Store Closings

Who is Safe from Amazon? Worldwide Store Closings

Amazon has reached the far corners of the earth… and the highest elevations.  Delivery men venture 11,562 feet up in the Himalayas to leave a package.  While the company may serve a useful purpose in remote regions, its phenomenal growth also reveals that no town is immune from its less desirable consequences.  The online retailer’s omnipresence has been all too apparent in[Read More…]

Confessions of a Nonconformist Consumer

Confessions of a Nonconformist Consumer

The vast array of consumer products available in the modern markets, needs of a large mass of compulsive buyers that merry-go-round in a spending spree. The great engine that produced the consumer goods, was born with the industrial revolution of the 19th-century. The industrial revolution and the phenomenon of mass consumption were preceded by the feudal age household economics and[Read More…]

The Secret of Eternal Growth? It’s Wishful Thinking

The Secret of Eternal Growth? It’s Wishful Thinking

I want to believe in eternal economic growth. Given what humanity is facing with climate change and other consequences of our collective consumption, it must be awfully comforting to have faith in a cornucopian future where no one ever goes wanting. Especially if all we have to do is more of the same, sticking to capitalism’s exploitative playbook. I used[Read More…]

Neocornucopianism and the Steady State: Part I

Neocornucopianism and the Steady State: Part I

Perhaps the main reason people reject the need for a steady state economy is some form of cornucopianism, the belief that technological progress will overcome all ecological and physical limits, allowing endless economic growth into the indefinite future. Cornucopianism has several flavors, and I will describe three: mainstream economics, eco-modernism, and singularity theory. Mainstream Economics Fuels Cornucopian Ideas First, let’s[Read More…]

Humans Do Not Have Any Special Rights

Humans Do Not Have Any Special Rights

This is a speech I prepared to deliver at the Solidarity Media Awards This award was bestowed upon Countercurrents.org and me for the courageous interventions in human rights and citizen’s rights. Let me make it very clear, I do not have any such claims. I’m doing whatever little I can in my limited capacity for humanity and other species on[Read More…]

Photo: James Emery/flickr/cc

Why I Have Hope in the Face of Human Extinction

When I ask an audience, “Who believes we are on a path to self-extinction?” nearly every hand goes up. It’s a sign of a growing awareness that humanity is on a path to self-imposed environmental and social collapse. For me, that awareness is a source of hope. I recently discovered an even deeper source of hope on a trip to South[Read More…]

A Not-So-Nobel Prize for Growth Economists

A Not-So-Nobel Prize for Growth Economists

William Nordhaus shaping vulnerable minds in his Yale classroom – Oct. 8, 2018.  (Photo credit: Yale/ ©Mara Lavitt) How ironic for the Washington Post to opine “Earth may have no tomorrow” and, two pages later, offer up the mini-bios of William Nordhaus and Paul Romer, described as Nobel Prize winners. Without more rigorous news coverage, few indeed will know that Nordhaus and Romer are[Read More…]

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"We can’t prevent the suffering and dying of wild life, and the Earth herself, when confronted by the unleashed forces of fire and water, but we can include them in our assessment of the cost. We might even grieve for them. Their losses are indeed ours, and if we do not see them or their importance to our lives, if we continue to either ignore and/or dominate all other life on this planet, it won’t be long till we join them." (Photo: Flickr/ChrisA1995/cc)

Initiation into a Living Planet

Most people have passed through some kind of initiation in life. By that, I mean a crisis that defies what you knew and what you were. From the rubble of the ensuing collapse, a new self is born into a new world. Societies can also pass through an initiation. That is what climate change poses to the present global civilization.[Read More…]

A global people’s bailout for the coming crash

A global people’s bailout for the coming crash

Image credit: eyewashdesgin: A. Golden, flickr creative commons When the global financial crisis resurfaces, we the people will have to fill the vacuum in political leadership. It will call for a monumental mobilisation of citizens from below, focused on a single and unifying demand for a people’s bailout across the world. A full decade since the great crash of 2008, many[Read More…]

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The Poison Beer of GDP

The Poison Beer of GDP

Disaggregating reported GDP growth to reveal the differences in growth by income class, as per the Schumer-Heinrich Bill, is a good idea. After all, telling us, say, that average income grew by 4% is not nearly as informative as telling us that the richest ten percent received the entire growth increment while the bottom ten percent suffered a decline in[Read More…]

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The researchers say 82 percent of "core ecological processes" on land and sea have been affected by climate change in a way that has not been expected "for decades." (Photo: Lwp Kommunikáció/flickr/cc)

The Earth is the Common Home of All Inhabitants

The first vast work of “worldwide” occupation and predation of the Earth and its inhabitants was that begun in the sixteenth century by a number of European states (Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, England and France). After the First World War, new actors – no less conquerors and predators than the former (in particular, the United States, Soviet Union, Japan and[Read More…]

Seven Ways to Build the Solidarity Economy

Seven Ways to Build the Solidarity Economy

The solidarity economy is a global movement to build a post-capitalist world that puts people and planet front and center, rather than the pursuit of blind growth and profit maximization. It isn’t a blueprint but a framework that includes a broad range of economic practices that align with its values: solidarity, participatory democracy, equity in every dimension including race, class[Read More…]

Beyond Human series. Collage of human, geometric and natural forms on the subject of inner reality, mental health, imagination, mysticism, thinking and dreaming.

Systems Thinking and How It Can Help Build a Sustainable World

In Brief Humanity stands at a precipice.  Overpopulation, resource scarcities, degraded ecosystem functioning from pollution and biodiversity loss, and anthropogenic climate change are damaging the life-supporting capacity of the planet.  Diminishing returns on fossil fuel energy investments, combined with their dwindling availability and environmental harm, threaten industrial civilization.  Many people recognize the need to transition to sustainable, resilient ways of[Read More…]

Localization: a strategic alternative to globalized authoritarianism

Localization: a strategic alternative to globalized authoritarianism

In this piece, Helena Norberg-Hodge describes how economic globalization and corporate deregulation have contributed to the rise of authoritarian political leaders in the 21st century, and how rebuilding stronger, more diversified, self-reliant local economies can restore democracy and help us better meet our basic human needs. For those who care about peace, equality and the future of the planet, the[Read More…]

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The Varieties of Hope

The Varieties of Hope

The depth of our dilemma is suggested by a remarkable essaypublished in New York magazine by David Wallace-Wells, “The Uninhabitable Earth,” which upset a lot of climate scientists and some activists by laying out some of the worst-case future scenarios that climate science forecasts unless our activism is visionary enough to bring about some of the better ones.  The hard truth seemed to upset[Read More…]

Reclaiming the UN’s radical vision of global economic justice

Reclaiming the UN’s radical vision of global economic justice

What are the political implications of meeting the established human right for everyone to enjoy an adequate standard of living? In short, it necessitates a redistribution of wealth and resources on an unprecedented scale, which is why activists should resurrect the United Nations’ radical vision for achieving Article 25.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is one of the most[Read More…]

The Climate Justice Movement Splits from Environmentalists

The Climate Justice Movement Splits from Environmentalists

  The science behind climate change is well known: an overabundance of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, raising the average global temperature and causing widespread melting of glaciers and ice shelves that could raise sea level by one meter (a conservative estimate) to three meters (likely by the end of this century if we continue business as usual). The lack[Read More…]

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Survival

We have little time to save our children. Life is facing extinction within the near future. In the last session we all stated our major concerns and what needs to be prioritised to improve our lives. We were given statistics that showed there’s both improvement on many vital measures and some worries. So it looks as if we are managing.[Read More…]

Toward a Sustainable Wellbeing Economy

Toward a Sustainable Wellbeing Economy

Our current economic systems have become addicted to “growth at all costs”, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) [i]. They assume that GDP growth is synonymous with increasing wellbeing and prosperity.  However this approach has led to growing inequality, an escalating climate crisis, and the depletion of natural and social capital.  We are no longer generating genuine progress[ii]. Our approach[Read More…]

Where Are We Going?

Where Are We Going?

Nate Hagens gave this talk on Earth Day on April 23, 2018 at The Land Institute, Salina, Kansas. What follows is an essay loosely related to the talk. The Human Predicament Around 11,000 years ago, as the last ice age ended, our ancestors – in no fewer than 5 locations around the world – took advantage of the new conditions[Read More…]

 I Want to Ride My Bicycle: Smart Cities and the Danish Concept of ‘Hygge’

 I Want to Ride My Bicycle: Smart Cities and the Danish Concept of ‘Hygge’

Indian cities are in crisis. Spend any length of time in a large city there and you will notice the overcrowding, the power and water shortages and, during monsoon, the streets that transform into stinking, litter-strewn rivers. At times, these cities can be almost unbearable to live in. Little wonder then that the concept of ‘smart cities’ is taking hold among[Read More…]

Addressing the Systemic Challenge at the Heart of Escalating Inequality and Environmental Destruction

Addressing the Systemic Challenge at the Heart of Escalating Inequality and Environmental Destruction

Ted Howard’s remarks to the Environmental Funders Network in Cambridge, England, on February 2nd, 2018. These prepared remarks have been lightly edited for publication. Good afternoon. I want to begin by thanking the conference organizers for extending an invitation to address you during your important annual deliberations. I come before you today not as an expert on environmental matters, but[Read More…]

We don’t have any time left

We don’t have any time left

Our planet is radically changing and this requires a radical rethink by all of us. It requires an economic, social and environmental revolution. Each day we delay bold climate action, sea levels continue to rise, forests continue to burn in record-breaking heat and the fossil fuel industry continues to put profits ahead of human health and safety. We need to[Read More…]

Five Revolutions: How Bacteria Created the Biosphere and caused the First Climate Crisis

Five Revolutions: How Bacteria Created the Biosphere and caused the First Climate Crisis

Metabolic Rifts Today. Beginning a new series by Ian Angus, on how contemporary science illuminates and extends metabolic rift theory in the 21st century. In the 1860s, Karl Marx wrote that capitalism “produces conditions that provoke an irreparable rift in the interdependent process of social metabolism, a metabolism prescribed by the natural laws of life itself.”[1] By preventing the return of essential[Read More…]

Beyond Sustainability? — We are Living in the Century of Regeneration

Beyond Sustainability? — We are Living in the Century of Regeneration

Valuing Ecosystem Function higher than material things is the paradigm shift that determines whether we understand the meaning of our lives and survive or whether we remain ignorant and selfish and destroy our own habitat trying to gain more wealth or more power. If we reach this level of understanding, not only can everyone live on the Earth but the[Read More…]

Making The Case For A 100% Death Tax

Making The Case For A 100% Death Tax

We are living at the cusp of a sixth planetary extinction, possibly with the totality of the Permian Triassic. The primary culprits are the fossil fuel and related extractive industries. This essay will offer a solution by making the case for a transnational 100% Death Tax; the purpose being to demonetize ownership and control over these industries. XXXXX Our generation[Read More…]

One View of the Future

Which Way Will The World Wend: Toward One Giant, Sprawling Hong Kong……Or?

What will the world’s sprawl of human beings look like in every major urban world centre in the next ten, fifty or one hundred years? Whichever way the world will wend, it all has something to do with that mythical search for the so-called Good Life. But how is humanity’s never-ending ethereal search for the so-called ‘Good Life’ now most[Read More…]

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Cracks in the Wall of Capitalism: The Zapatistas and the Struggle to Decolonize Science

Cracks in the Wall of Capitalism: The Zapatistas and the Struggle to Decolonize Science

Zapatista women taking notes at ConCiencias. Photo credit: David Meek Below images of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, and a many-headed hydra consuming humanity, sit two groups. To the right, facing a stage, are approximately 200 delegates of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), seated as a homogenous block. Wearing black ski masks, they furiously take notes. To the left, 300[Read More…]

Receiving a check, one of many for the year from organizations, for $42,000 USD

A Realistic Way To Start A Food Bank!

    My girlfriend Janet Ward started a food bank with a few thousand dollars from a religious leader and a small walk-in closet. Now that very same food bank puts out more than a million meals a year. This is more than a $million US dollars a year worth of food for people who would otherwise starve or partially[Read More…]

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Ode to America

    “My own little world Is what I deserve ‘Cause I am the only child there is. A king of it all The belle of the ball I promise I’ve always been like this. Forever the first My bubble can’t burst It’s almost like only I exist. Where everything’s mine If I can keep my mouth shut tight, tight,[Read More…]

The Madness Of Unchecked Growth: A Conspiratorial World View – Part II

The Madness Of Unchecked Growth: A Conspiratorial World View – Part II

  The White Man’s High-Rises, Like Deadly Noxious Weeds, Grow Everywhere in the New World Photo: Peter Rae This Canadian writer has been married to a lovely ‘Sydney Girl’ now for some forty years and, lo, though having mostly lived those years with her abroad in Canada and the United States, has nevertheless endeavoured to return to his common-law relationship[Read More…]

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Towards A BuenVivir Transition

Many thanks to Pablo Solón for his insightful essay on this important alternative to the catastrophic juggernaut of industrial modernity. Having spent so much of my life interacting and working with a land-based, indigenous society in a mountainous region very distant from the Andes—Ladakh, in the Trans-Himalaya—I was struck by how the philosophy of Vivir Bien, or BuenVivir as it is[Read More…]

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The White Man’s High-Rises Growing Everywhere in the New World Like Deadly Noxious Weeds
Photo: Peter Rae

The Madness Of Unchecked Growth: A Conspiratorial World View

The White European conspiratorial model of constant, unbridled growth and expansion, vigorously exported and aggressively promoted throughout the New World, is a form of sheer madness: mentally, culturally and spiritually. It knows no allegiance to any one country, people or way of life other than to growth and expansion for their own sake and the aggrandizement of but a few.[Read More…]

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Globalization’s Deadly Footprint

Globalization’s Deadly Footprint

That pollution is bad for our health will come as a surprise to no one. That pollution kills at least 9 million people every year might. This is 16 percent of all deaths worldwide – 3 times more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, and 15 times more than all wars and other forms of violence. Air pollution alone is[Read More…]

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The Venezuelan “Petro” – Towards A New World Reserve Currency?

The Venezuelan “Petro” – Towards A New World Reserve Currency?

As this article goes to print, Globovision TV quotes Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announcing the launch of a new cryptocurrency, the “Petro Oro”. It will be backed by precious metals. The launch of the new cryptomoney is scheduled for the next week. No details of the new offering are available at this point. “I do not want to rush things,[Read More…]

Prominent Experts, Activists Call For Improving Public Transport

Prominent Experts, Activists Call For Improving Public Transport

  This luxury 24 storey high rise building represents an assault on the heart of Mumbai. This is in Mahim geographically the heart of the metropolis as Mahim connects the island city with the suburbs. The skyscraper is an eyesore amidst low-rise housing but more than that it has come up on the bus depot of the BEST Undertaking .[Read More…]

Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East

Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East

In Rojava, a region in Syria also known as North Kurdistan, a groundbreaking experiment in communal living, social justice, and ecological vitality is taking place. Devastated by civil war, Syria is a place where a cessation of hostilities often seems like the most that can be hoped for. But Rojava has set its sights much higher. What started as a[Read More…]

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Technology And Its Discontents

Technology And Its Discontents

Tucked within the pages of the January issue of the ‘Agriview’, a monthly farm publication published by the State of Vermont, was a short survey from the Department of Public Service (DPS). Described as an aid to the Department in drafting their “Ten Year Telecom Plan”, the survey contains eight questions, the first seven of which are simple multiple-choice queries[Read More…]

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Empowering The Powerless: Here’s How To End Energy Poverty

Empowering The Powerless: Here’s How To End Energy Poverty

Millions of people die prematurely of indoor pollution and other consequences of energy poverty. But there is a way to empower the powerless: with renewable energy microgrids and decentralized technologies. “Power to the people,” the activists chanted in the 1960s. The revolutionaries of yesteryear never dreamed of the scientific and technological innovations that could light up distant shelters and communities in the[Read More…]

Democrats, Donald Trump, And The Dark Underbelly of Economic Growth

Democrats, Donald Trump, And The Dark Underbelly of Economic Growth

Democrats are stunned by Donald Trump’s lack of culpability for racist rhetoric, Twitter tantrums, and international insults. They shouldn’t be. They’re the party of “It’s the Economy Stupid.” They should know that if a president inspires a bull market, creates a few jobs, and grows the GDP, he can “stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody” without[Read More…]

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Photo by George M. Groutas

Yes We Can – Feed 9 Billion With Organic Agriculture

It is possible to feed more than 9 billion people with organic production methods with a small increase in the required crop acreage and with decreased greenhouse gas emission. But this assumes considerable reduction in food wastage and in the quantities of feed grown to animals. That is the conclusion in the paper Strategies for feeding the world more sustainably with[Read More…]

 Spiritually Taking Care Of Our Common Home

 Spiritually Taking Care Of Our Common Home

  “Glory be to God for dappled things” — Gerard Manley Hopkins, Pied Beauty “The big conversation we need within government has still not begun.” George Monbiot responding to UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s new environmental proposal, very much echoing the essential message embedded in Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’… which focuses on Care for Our Common Home. The punchline to this piece —[Read More…]

Farming For A Small Planet

Farming For A Small Planet

People yearn for alternatives to industrial agriculture, but they are worried. They see large-scale operations relying on corporate-supplied chemical inputs as the only high-productivity farming model. Another approach might be kinder to the environment and less risky for consumers, but, they assume, it would not be up to the task of providing all the food needed by our still-growing global[Read More…]

Dedicated To Shrinking The Carbon Footprint

Dedicated To Shrinking The Carbon Footprint

I’ll be the first to admit that I have lived high on the hog for parts of my life. I have traveled to Europe and the Caribbean numerous times each. I was on a huge cruise ship coming back to the USA from France when I was a child. I’ve flown back and forth across the USA for work and[Read More…]

The City Taking The Commons To Heart

The City Taking The Commons To Heart

The Belgian city of Ghent plays host to a broad range of projects and initiatives around the commons. But it has yet to adopt a model which really places a commons-focused approach and logic at the core of its institutions and processes. Recent work undertaken by experts on the commons provides a roadmap for the city to re-imagine and reconfigure[Read More…]

Unearthing The Capitalocene: Towards A Reparations Ecology

Unearthing The Capitalocene: Towards A Reparations Ecology

Co-Written by Jason W. Moore & Raj Patel Settled agriculture, cities, nation-states, information technology and every other facet of the modern world have unfolded within a long era of climatic good fortune. Those days are gone. Sea levels are rising; climate is becoming less stable; average temperatures are increasing. Civilization emerged in a geological era known as the Holocene. Some[Read More…]

The Fight For A New Economy

The Fight For A New Economy

Each day, we can see new evidence that the economy fails to serve people or planet. Stewart Wallis, former executive director of the New Economics Foundation, speaks with Tellus Senior Fellow Allen White about how to galvanize action for a new economy. You began your career in business but have since become a strong advocate of a new economic paradigm. What shaped this[Read More…]

According to the Ecological Footprint Network, humans currently consume at a rate 1.7 times what Earth’s generative capacity can sustain—and the gap is growing. (Photo by Lee Scott on Unsplash.)

How To Restore Our Relationship To Earth

To have a viable human future on this overstressed planet, it is essential that we build a solidarity economy that seeks material sufficiency and spiritual abundance for all in balance with a living Earth. We must join in common cause to build local relationships of caring and equitable sharing across the lines of race, religion, and class. Strong and healthy[Read More…]

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Socialism or Barbarism: The Urgency of EcoSocialism In The Age of Global Warming

Socialism or Barbarism: The Urgency of EcoSocialism In The Age of Global Warming

  59% of Indians, or 781,261,099 men and women in India, are of working age, that is to say, over the age of 20. India has 394600000 acres of cultivable land and 196250791 acres of forests, a total of 590850791 acres of land where man and animals may stay and live. India thus has a labour availability, that is to[Read More…]

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What Will It Really Take to Avoid Collapse?

What Will It Really Take to Avoid Collapse?

Fifteen thousand scientists have issued a dire warning to humanity about impending collapse but virtually no-one takes notice. Ultimately, our global systems, which are designed for perpetual growth, need to be fundamentally restructured to avoid the worst-case outcome. For a moment, the most important news in the entire world flashed across the media like a shooting star in the night[Read More…]

10 Amazing Social Movement Struggles In 2017 That Give Us Reason To Hope

10 Amazing Social Movement Struggles In 2017 That Give Us Reason To Hope

The bad news streaming through our media in 2017 has been relentless. However it doesn’t tell the full story. Beyond the headlines, there have countless amazing social movement struggles in different regions of the world that deserve to be celebrated. Here are ten stories showing that people power works: 1. El Salvador bans mining In a classic David and Goliath[Read More…]

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The Great Unraveling: Using Science And Philosophy To Decode Modernity

“Forty percent of the United States drains into the Mississippi. It’s agriculture. It’s golf courses. It’s domestic runoff from our lawns and roads. Ultimately, where does it go? Downstream into the Gulf.” —Sylvia Earle Our civilization is headed for a downfall, to be sure, in part due to the massive gulf between our hopes for the future and the omnipresent[Read More…]

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Let’s Unite And Demonstrate The True Meaning Of Christmas

Let’s Unite And Demonstrate The True Meaning Of Christmas

  The holiday period provides us with a unique opportunity to express the new awareness that must inform a less commercialised and sharing-oriented world. Rather than spending all our time partaking in conspicuous consumption, why don’t we commemorate Christmas by organising massive gatherings for helping the poor and healing the environment? At this time of year, our overconsuming lifestyles in[Read More…]

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Limits To Economic Growth

Limits To Economic Growth

These are notes from a short lecture given at Nottingham University on 28th November 2017. Click on the images to enlarge them. 1 Production Increase During the 17th and 18th centuries the rise of mercantile power, colonialism and a slave economy was associated with the development of the idea that “improvement” meant production growth and was an indicator of a[Read More…]

In Defense of Degrowth

In Defense of Degrowth

  The economist Branko Milanovic recently wrote a blog post titled “The illusion of degrowth in a poor and unequal world.”  He penned it, he says, following a conversation he had with a proponent of degrowth. As it turns out, that proponent was me. First, let me say that I have a lot of respect for Milanovic’s work on inequality. [Read More…]

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Participatory Development: A Partnership For Banishing Poverty

Participatory Development: A Partnership For Banishing Poverty

  Any sensible government must learn to unleash the energy of its people and get them to perform instead of trying to get a bureaucracy to perform ―Verghese Kurien, I Too Had a Dream Tackling poverty requires an approach that must start with the people themselves and encourages the initiative, creativity and drive from below. The strategy must be at the[Read More…]

Bitcoin Has An Energy Problem That Solar Power Can’t Fix

Bitcoin Has An Energy Problem That Solar Power Can’t Fix

  Bitcoin mining – the mechanism of creating Bitcoins and approving transactions on the blockchain – consumes prodigious amounts of electricity due to the use of a ‘Proof of Work’ cryptographic algorithm. While some Bitcoin is mined using clean energy (hydropower and geothermal energy, mainly) most Bitcoin is mined using coal, because coal power is both ubiquitous and cheap. Unfortunately,[Read More…]

Bitcoin, Blockchain, And Local Currencies

Bitcoin, Blockchain, And Local Currencies

The Seven Social Sins of the World: Wealth without work Pleasure without conscience Knowledge without character Commerce without morality Science without humanity Worship without sacrifice Politics without principle — given by Mohandas Gandhi to his grandson Arun shortly before his assassination BITCOIN AND BLOCKCHAIN The world is on fire lately with the exponential growth of Bitcoin and other electronic cryptocurrencies. While[Read More…]

Giving Hope To Youngsters

Giving Hope To Youngsters

The present-day education reformers believe that schools are broken and market solutions are the only remedy. Many of them embrace disruptive innovations, primarily through online learning. There is a strong belief that real breakthroughs can come only through the transformative power of technology or the invisible hand of the market. However, findings suggest that this strategy has not lived up[Read More…]

Photo by George M. Groutas

What Does “Organic” Mean?

by Francis Thicke, with an introduction by Steven Gorelick The organic food movement suffered a major setback recently, when the US National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) voted in favor of allowing hydroponically-grown products to receive the “organic” label. This decision should not have come as a surprise to those who have watched the organic movement steadily taken over by big[Read More…]

The Tyranny Of The Development Lexicon

The Tyranny Of The Development Lexicon

  When ideas fail, words come in very handy.  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe We live in an age when noisy posturing too often substitutes for reasoned debate and brash opinion trumps hard fact. The thread of the argument often disappears in a blizzard of gee-whiz statistics, acronyms, and catch phrases in interviews with eminent folks of all kinds. Yet the[Read More…]

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Commons In The Political Mainstream?

The Labour Party in the UK, which has a good chance of taking political power at the next election, has been involved in a process of policy development which involves taking up ideas from the commons movement and is focused around the revival of and protection of commons. In one week I have now been to three public events commemorating[Read More…]

Averting The Apocalypse: Lessons From Costa Rica

Averting The Apocalypse: Lessons From Costa Rica

Earlier this summer, a paper published in the journal Nature captured headlines with a rather bleak forecast. Our chances of keeping global warming below the 2C danger threshold are very, very small: only about 5%. The reason, according to the paper’s authors, is that the cuts we’re making to greenhouse gas emissions are being cancelled out by economic growth. In the coming[Read More…]

Local currencies: The wasted opportunities

Local currencies: The wasted opportunities

Within alternative movements there is much interest in introducing local currencies and they have been central elements in many Transition Towns and other initiatives.  Unfortunately I think most of these have been quite misguided, failing to grasp the power a local currency can have, and not likely to make a significant contribution to goals such as town sustainability and resilience.[Read More…]

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Production Manager Nannette Bowie, founder, Pam Howland, worker/owner Leishla Lugo, and worker/owner Shaniqua Dobbins (left to right) representing Old Window Workshop at a worksite in Springfield MA on October 6, 2017.

Capitalism Is Not the Only Choice

Since the breakup of the Soviet bloc and China’s turn toward free markets, many economists have pronounced an “end of history,” where capitalism reigns supreme as the ultimate form of economy. Perhaps “there is no alternative” to a globalized neoliberal economy, as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher often said. Indeed, free markets in which individuals compete to get what[Read More…]

IEA Predicts Rise of Cheap Renewables And China’s Move Away From Coal

IEA Predicts Rise of Cheap Renewables And China’s Move Away From Coal

The global energy system is in a state of flux. Renewables are experiencing rapid deployment and steep pricefalls. A growing portion of global energy is provided by electricity. There’s a slow, but apparently inexorable move away from coal in China. And there’s a surge in natural gas and oil production in the US. These are just some of the insights[Read More…]

Saving Our Planet With Reciprocal Altruism

Saving Our Planet With Reciprocal Altruism

 “The only choice left to us is to decide how much worse we are willing to let things get. We still have time to save, or restore, a large part of the gentle and benevolent environment that has made our lives possible. We can’t, however, do it easily. We can’t do it at all without at the same time making[Read More…]

The English City With Its Own Cryptocurrency: Q&A With The Founders Of HullCoin

The English City With Its Own Cryptocurrency: Q&A With The Founders Of HullCoin

The staff at the nonprofit organization HullCoin has done something very unusual in the city of Hull in northeast United Kingdom. They’ve launched their own local cryptocurrency — programmed on top of Bitcoin to be issued by nonprofits and social institutions — as a way of combating financial exclusion and other problems that are at the root of poverty. Residents of Hull can earn[Read More…]

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A police officer stands guard in front of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) head office in Mumbai April 17, 2012. The Reserve Bank of India cut interest rates on Tuesday for the first time in three years by an unexpectedly sharp 50 basis points to give a boost to flagging economic growth but warned that there is limited scope for further rate cuts. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash (INDIA - Tags: BUSINESS)

1 Minute Read: The Role of Money in the Age of the Sixth Biodiversity Extinction and Global Warming

  The difference between debt and sovereign money is that debt has to be paid back, with interest, but sovereign money does not, though it can be taxed out of circulation by the local government if we have minted too much of it. 60 central banks got together recently to discuss the algorithms for creating and managing a sovereign electronic[Read More…]

Women Hold The Key To The Battle Against Poverty

Women Hold The Key To The Battle Against Poverty

(International Day for the Eradication of Poverty –17 October 2017) This year marks the 25th anniversary of the declaration by the United Nations of 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. We have still a long way to go for making this world poverty free .One of the key strategies for eliminating poverty is focusing on women   and girls. Achieving gender[Read More…]

Revolution, Not Reform: Moral Courage, Redefining Progress, And The Myth of Social Democracy

Revolution, Not Reform: Moral Courage, Redefining Progress, And The Myth of Social Democracy

  “Revolution in society must begin with the inner, psychological revolution of the individual. Most of us want to see a radical transformation of the social structure…however radical that social revolution may be its nature is static if there is no inward revolution, no psychological transformation…However much and however wisely legislation may be promulgated, society is always in the process[Read More…]

We Need To Re-Educate Ourselves To Survive And Live Life At Its Best

We Need To Re-Educate Ourselves To Survive And Live Life At Its Best

We presently are using whatever we can, with little to no concerns for our children’s future, as they, on present trend have little prospect and less to no chance that their offspring will be able to survive. Yet the continuation of life is life’s primary concern. But not in civilisation, with the new socioeconomic system of global capitalism, education primary[Read More…]

Puerto Rico Is Our Future

Puerto Rico Is Our Future

News reports tell of the devastation left by a direct hit from Category 4 Hurricane Maria. Puerto Ricans already coping with damage from Hurricane Irma, which grazed the island just days before, were slammed with an even stronger storm on September 20, bringing more than a foot of rain and maximum sustained winds of at least 140 miles per hour.[Read More…]

How The State Can Create Its Own Money For Disaster Risk Reduction

How The State Can Create Its Own Money For Disaster Risk Reduction

   “Rajya ke khajane par aapda-prabhaviton ka pehla haq hai…” Nitish is quoted as saying on the title page of the government of Bihar’s roadmap for disaster risk reduction 2015-2030.Considering 73% of Bihar is annually subject to floods, that is practically everybody. In the roadmap it says that a resilient village programme will be initiated in partnership with Panchayats and[Read More…]

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The History And Evolution Of The Commons

The History And Evolution Of The Commons

Is it possible to historicize the commons, to describe the evolution of the commons over time? This is our first draft and preliminary attempt to do so. To do this we must of course define the commons. We generally agree with the definition that was given by David Bollier and others and which derives from the work of Elinor Ostrom[Read More…]

AgriCrisis: A South Perspective

AgriCrisis: A South Perspective

Glocorpital Global corporate capital has its ever stronger clutches on all economic sectors all over the world.  As a precursor it forces such sectors into ‘modification’ so that it could take full control of them. The modifications are: exposing & subjecting them into rigid science & technology, research, standardization, sector subjugation, colossal product transformation (massive value addition), and giant marketization.[Read More…]

Concerning Contention And Positive Affiliations

Concerning Contention And Positive Affiliations

Since time immemorial, individuals have banded together into groups (tribes, prides, flocks, clans, companies, towns, religious congregations, nations, etc.) to serve the mutual aims of members. For the most part, they cooperate together, although in a hierarchical system with an organized “pecking order,” so as to compete against other groups similarly formed into collective units. Apparently, such a pattern has[Read More…]

Beyond state capitalism: The commons economy in our lifetimes

Beyond state capitalism: The commons economy in our lifetimes

In considering the essential problem of how to produce and distribute material wealth, virtually all of the great economists in Western history have ignored the significance of the commons—the shared resources of nature and society that people inherit, create and utilize. Despite sharp differences in concept and ideology, economic thinkers from Smith, Ricardo, and Marx to Keynes, Hayek, Mises and Schumpeter[Read More…]

Dutch Collective Broodfonds Provides Gift-Based Health Insurance for Freelancers

Dutch Collective Broodfonds Provides Gift-Based Health Insurance for Freelancers

Freelance workers are known to be intrepid by nature. But perhaps the bravest — and most vulnerable — among them are those who don’t have anyone to rely on for financial help, in case they become disabled or too ill to work. That problem appears to have been addressed in the Netherlands, thanks to a trio that came up with the[Read More…]

30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions is from industrial agriculture, including deforestation to support livestock.

Photo by Schon & Probst/Getty Images.

How To Feed Ourselves In A Time Of Climate Crisis

Changing the food system is the most important thing humans can do to fix our broken carbon cycles. Meanwhile, food security is all about adaptation when you’re dealing with crazy weather and shifting growing zones. How can a world of 7 billion—and growing—feed itself? Here are 13 of the best ideas for a just and sustainable food system.

Barcelona’s Decidim: An Open-Source Platform for Participatory Democracy Projects

Barcelona’s Decidim: An Open-Source Platform for Participatory Democracy Projects

The word Decidim translated from Catalan means we decide, and it’s the name of Barcelona’s digital infrastructure for participatory democracy. One part functional database and one part political statement, organizers say Decidim is key to a broad digital transformation that is taking place in Barcelona — its institutions, markets, and economy. Organized by the Barcelona City Council, Barcelona’s citizens participate in a new digital[Read More…]

"Might we, by willful choice, transition from Earth exploiters to Earth healers?" (Photo: Bart/flickr/cc)

For The Love Of Earth

On July 9, New York magazine published “The Uninhabitable Earth,” a worst-case climate change scenario suggesting that our current human course may produce an unlivable future for Earth. A burst of media commentary and controversy followed, and it quickly became the most-read article in the magazine’s history. I’m often struck in conversations with friends and colleagues by the number who feel that[Read More…]

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Natural Rights In The Age Of Domination

Natural Rights In The Age Of Domination

The theory that individual rights were inherited and endowed by nature as an inalienable right is a big assumption. In this scheme, preferential divine rights were extracted from natural law. The argument goes that in a state of nature we are not social creatures but rather co-exist in disorder and anarchy, therefore we must identify a natural right where the[Read More…]

Capitalism And Its Discontents: What Are We Living For?

Capitalism And Its Discontents: What Are We Living For?

“Whoever is not prepared to talk about capitalism should also remain silent about fascism?” -Max Horkheimer, from the essay “The Jews and Europe”, December 1939 Aren’t we all tired of capitalism? Haven’t most of us gotten sick of the drudgery, the monotony, the exploitation, sucking up to our bosses and management who pretend to care about the average worker? The[Read More…]

Artist Rendering of High-Rise, High-Density Capilano Road & Marine Drive Village Centre on the North Shore

Nimby’s Vs Yimby’s Over Endless Development And Over Population

Everywhere along the shores of Planet Earth, endless development and the pressures of over-population continue to escalate a pitched battle among the people: It’s the Nimby’s versus the Yimby’s. So much so that this tale about what is happening on the North Shore of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada could be called The Battle of North Shore, Planet Earth. “Here’s[Read More…]

 Three Prejudices, One Viable Solution

 Three Prejudices, One Viable Solution

  “History has not ended, and the need to understand its main features is as great as ever. Certainly, academics must stop teaching the Trivial Pursuit version of History.” — Chris Harman One prejudice we all have to face up to is the idea that the key features of successive societies and human history have been a result of an[Read More…]

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Jeff Bezos, Global Elites And Revolution

Jeff Bezos, Global Elites And Revolution

The morning papers bring me the news that Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world. Actually he overtook Bill Gates for a few hours on Thursday as the richest person on earth as the Amazon share prices rose. Bill Gates regained his position as the richest person later in the day. So what the[Read More…]

Biological Annihilation On Earth Accelerating

Biological Annihilation On Earth Accelerating

  Human beings are now waging war against life itself as we continue to destroy not just individual lives, local populations and entire species in vast numbers but also destroy the ecological systems that make life on Earth possible. By doing this we are now accelerating the sixth mass extinction event in Earth’s history and virtually eliminating any prospect of[Read More…]

Photo by dok1

Our Obsolescent Economy

A friend of mine from India tells a story about driving an old Volkswagen beetle from California to Virginia during his first year in the United States. In a freak ice storm in Texas he skidded off the road, leaving his car with a cracked windshield and badly dented doors and fenders. When he reached Virginia he took the car[Read More…]

 Can We Stop Feeling Quite So Helpless And Hopeless In A World On The Skids? 

 Can We Stop Feeling Quite So Helpless And Hopeless In A World On The Skids? 

In the wake of Donald Trump’s inauguration, George Orwell’s 1984 soaredonto bestseller lists, as did Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which also hit TV screens in a storm of publicity.  Zombies, fascists, and predators of every sort are now stalking the American imagination in ever-greater numbers and no wonder, given that guy in the Oval Office. Certainly, 2017 is already offering[Read More…]

Photo by pasa47

From Growth To Degrowth: A Brief History

The notion of economic growth as a regular, ongoing, self-sustained process no longer holds up to critical analysis. Even during what’s been called “The Glorious Thirty” – the years between the end of World War II and the 1974 oil crisis – growth occurred almost solely in industrialized countries and involved a minority of the world population; it was built[Read More…]

YES! Illustration by Jennifer Luxton.

How We Can Transition To A “Bottom Up” Economy

Resistance to the Trump administration’s attacks on immigrants, climate change policy, and economic fairness has been fierce. But alongside these efforts—from flooding representatives’ phone lines to packing town hall meetings to marching in protest—it’s also important to begin the work of building alternatives to the systems that underlie the exploitation of people and planet. The understandable focus on Trump—with his[Read More…]

Towards A New Development Paradigm

Towards A New Development Paradigm

Concerning new paradigm of development, we already had discussion in 2013 on this topic. Further in 2015, a detailed and well researched paper has been written on this by PJ James and also articles have been written on this by KN Ramachandran and others. We need not rehash the same articles in this paper for study. What we intend to[Read More…]

Note To The Debate On People’s Development Paradigm

Note To The Debate On People’s Development Paradigm

Conceptualization of the Term the term development having many synonyms such as growth, evolution, expansion, enlargement, spread, progress, maturing, event, outcome, occurrence, phenomenon, happening, improvement and so on with shifting nuances depending on the contexts in which it is used came in to frequent use in political discussion with the origin and development of capitalism since the mid- eighteenth century.[Read More…]

Complementary Digital Currencies May Be On Their Way In India

Complementary Digital Currencies May Be On Their Way In India

  The Government of India has decided to set up a committee to report back within six month with recommendations on how to regulate digital currencies. Digital currencies are cropping up on the internet to address some fundamental short comings of capitalism and world trade. Whilst some might want to allow only Rupee in India and reform the Reserve Bank[Read More…]

Revisiting Capitalism

Revisiting Capitalism

  Capitalism is dead. Period. It can no longer serve humanity without destroying the world. As an economic system it is essentially bankrupt. All the lies and all the shoring up of the lies are not going to make a difference to the truth: pursuit of the path of Capitalism means doom not only for the poor of the world,[Read More…]

Degrowth: The Case For A New Economic Paradigm

Degrowth: The Case For A New Economic Paradigm

In the 1970s, the emphasis was on resource limits. The French term décroissance (later translated into English as degrowth) was used for the first time by French intellectual André Gorz. In his book Ecology and Freedom, published in 1977, he wrote that “lack of realism consists in imagining that economic growth can still bring about increased human welfare, and indeed that[Read More…]

How One City In Spain Launched A Local Currency

How One City In Spain Launched A Local Currency

During her 2015 campaign, Barcelona’s mayor Ada Colau promoted the idea of launching a local currency in her city. Colau viewed a local currency as a way of defending independent businesses and residents from rapidly-rising rents and benefits that are disproportionately reaped by corporate chains instead of local stores. Though the community currency failed to materialize in Barcelona, the city immediately[Read More…]

Climate: Limits And Opportunities For The New Economies

Climate: Limits And Opportunities For The New Economies

In a previous post titled Information, Energy and Human development, I concluded saying that we don’t know what will happen to our society if the planet will be overheated. I don’t have the answer, and maybe I will never have it, but I have surely been gaining new insights on what has been the influence of the climate on the[Read More…]

Thinking About The Brain Thinking About Changing The World

Thinking About The Brain Thinking About Changing The World

     Albert Einstein said, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking, it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”  Changing our thinking requires an understanding of how our brains work.  Scientific research has led to the discovery that our thinking brain is strongly influenced by our primitive emotional brain, known as the limbic system,[Read More…]

Reform Of The Financial System: Money Without Debt or Interest

Reform Of The Financial System: Money Without Debt or Interest

The current financial system cannot provide sufficient funds now to reduce unemployment or to alleviate the suffering of the 800 million across the world who are in poverty, close to starvation. The only remedy is for governments to provide debt free money without charging interest. This will not be easy. Governments will want to provide infrastructure. Roads, Transport, Hospitals, Schools[Read More…]

Photo by mysterykatt123

How Do You Degrow An Economy, Without Causing Chaos?

‘Houston, we have a problem’. On the one hand, there is growing acceptance among environmentally conscious people that rich nations and affluent regions of the global economy must dramatically reduce overall resource and energy consumption levels – that is, undergo a process of ‘degrowth’ – if humanity is to bring about a sustainable world order. On the other hand, we[Read More…]

The Future Is A Pluriverse

The Future Is A Pluriverse

Some believe that the commons are incompatible with commodity markets. Others claim that markets and commons may form mutually beneficial relations with each other. What are your own views on this issue? I think it is entirely possible for markets and commons to “play nicely together,” but only if commoners can have “value sovereignty” over their resources and community governance. [Read More…]

Why A Just And Sustainable Economy Looks Like A Doughnut

Why A Just And Sustainable Economy Looks Like A Doughnut

I see a lot of books presuming to explain what’s wrong with the economy and what to do about it. Rarely do I come across one with the consistent new paradigm frame, historical depth, practical sensibility, systemic analysis, and readability of Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth. Especially unique and valuable is her carefully reasoned, illustrated, and documented debunking of the[Read More…]

Go Electric, Young Man! The Story of the Electric Fiat "500"

Go Electric, Young Man! The Story of the Electric Fiat “500”

Some ten years ago, myself and my friend Pietro Cambi had the weird idea of “retrofitting” Pietro’s old Fiat 500, turning it into an electric car. To understand why we embarked in such a task, you have to consider that we were (and are) both “peak oilers”; but also we were (and are) both Italian and the Fiat 500 is[Read More…]

Nine Key Political Propositions For Building The Commons

Nine Key Political Propositions For Building The Commons

The following piece is extracted from a series of reviews on Common: An Essay on Revolution in the 21st Century, a book by Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval, from which Martin O’Shaughnessy summarizes the authors´ nine political propositions: In an earlier post (here), I summed up Dardot and Laval’s position on how we should think the common. What I want to do[Read More…]

It’s Time To Reawaken The Spirit of Occupy For The Starving Millions

It’s Time To Reawaken The Spirit of Occupy For The Starving Millions

The world is now facing an unprecedented emergency of hunger and famine, with a record number of people requiring life-saving food and medical assistance in 2017. Since the start of this year, the largest humanitarian crisis since the end of the second world war has continued to unfold, while the international community has failed to take urgent commensurate action. The[Read More…]

New Mantras For India’s Development

New Mantras For India’s Development

  A decade or two ago, many in India’s development community acted with the best of intentions, but without the best of evidence. If households lack clean water—help build wells ; if people suffer ill health—set up health services; if the poor lack capital to start businesses, give them credit. But the actual reality is not simple, it is very[Read More…]

Regardless Of Lifestyles We’re Too Numerous To Be Sustainable

Regardless Of Lifestyles We’re Too Numerous To Be Sustainable

To survive and live well we must reduce our population back to 2 billion as it was 80 years ago. Why did we allow our world population to keep growing to an unsustainable 7.4 billion, and passing on to our children the task of feeding and managing 9 billion people on a planet of degrading soils, acidifying and rising oceans[Read More…]

A Revolution of Values

A Revolution of Values

Angela Merkel, in her congratulatory message to Donald Trump after his election victory, struck a reminder of the values connecting Germany and America: “democracy, freedom and respect for the law and the dignity of man.” Merkel alluded to the so-called Wertegemeinschaft, or community of values, that many politicians and citizens of Western countries frequently invoke. The term not only implies[Read More…]

Is Pope Francis the World’s Most Powerful Advocate for Climate Stability?

Is Pope Francis the World’s Most Powerful Advocate for Climate Stability?

  Maybe not now. But that’s what he could well become. Pope Francis’ Encyclical “On Care for Our Common Home” recognizes the incredible damage being done to climate change and biodiversity. Few realize how strong his beliefs are and the unused power of persuasion he has. Here’s 10 ways that power could be used. 1. Francis could call for a[Read More…]

Our Common Oceans And Seas

Our Common Oceans And Seas

The United Nations is currently preparing a world conference 5-7 June 2017 devoted to the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal N° 14: Conserve and sustainable use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the U.N. are invited to submit recommendations for the governmental working group which is meeting 24 to 27 April[Read More…]

Life in a ‘Degrowth’ Economy, And Why You Might Actually Enjoy It

Life in a ‘Degrowth’ Economy, And Why You Might Actually Enjoy It

What does genuine economic progress look like? The orthodox answer is that a bigger economy is always better, but this idea is increasingly strained by the knowledge that, on a finite planet, the economy can’t grow for ever. But what is a steady-state economy? Why it is it desirable or necessary? And what would it be like to live in?[Read More…]

Ambedkar, Nationalism And The Emerging Crises In India

Ambedkar, Nationalism And The Emerging Crises In India

Today is Ambedkar Jayanti. It would be appropriate to take a re-look at Ambedkar’s idea of nationalism in the face of virulent Hindutva nationalism in India and also on the global context

Seven Things That Need To Happen To Keep Global Temperature Rise Below 2C

Seven Things That Need To Happen To Keep Global Temperature Rise Below 2C

In late 2015, the world agreed to limit the global temperature rise to “well below 2C”. Ever since the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change, scientists, think tanks and policymakers have been scrambling to define exactly what meeting this temperature limit will mean in policy and investment terms. A new report released this week by the International Energy[Read More…]

North-South Perspepctives On Istanbul Principles And Agenda 2030 For Sustainable Development

North-South Perspepctives On Istanbul Principles And Agenda 2030 For Sustainable Development

  (CNS): The eight Istanbul Principles, adopted in 2010 by over two hundred civil society organisations (CSOs) from 82 countries, constitute a statement of common values and approaches to guide CSOs’ work. Seven years down the line, civil society has made strides in improving their effectiveness and accountability. However, progress in realizing Istanbul Principles in CSO practice, depends largely on[Read More…]

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Trump Trauma

Trump Trauma

While we mourn the tragedy that fear, prejudice and ignorance “trumped” in this election, now is the time to go deeper and broader with our work. There is a growing recognition that the scary situation we find ourselves in today has deep roots. To better understand what happened – and why – we need to broaden our horizons. If we[Read More…]

Photo by elwynn1130 / iStock.

The Superrich Have Profited From A Broken System—And Their Money Alone Won’t Fix It

Congratulations, you won—you are the last and richest person on Earth. In the security of your sunless underground bunker, you will be the last to die in a dying Earth’s paroxysm of fire and flood. In a recent column for YES! Magazine, Chuck Collins, “born on third base” social activist and commentator, has a message for the superrich who are[Read More…]

Will The Poor Always Be With Us?

Will The Poor Always Be With Us?

It’s a familiar story. On his final journey toward Jerusalem, Jesus stops in Bethany to eat at the home of Simon, a leper. A woman enters with an alabaster jar of expensive ointment; she breaks the jar and pours the ointment on his head. Her gesture invokes the fury of some of those present. The ointment was worth a year’s[Read More…]

The confirmation comes soon after a report from the U.K. Met Office in June warned that the planet was well on its way toward that grim milestone. (Photo: Kevin Gill/flickr/cc)

Apollo-Earth: A Wake Up Call In Our Race against Time

Let’s hear the alarm that our climate system is sounding, loud and clear. Let’s prove that we are rational beings (as Aristotle, possibly the greatest philosopher of Ancient Greece, famously claimed). Rationality today doesn’t mean exploring options for colonizing another planet, it means an unprecedented journey into our own survival on planet Earth: Apollo-Earth.

Learning From The past: A New Protocol For Agricultural Education And Research In India

Learning From The past: A New Protocol For Agricultural Education And Research In India

Agriculture in our country today is in a profound crisis. Wherever we look we see the evidence of this: static or falling crop yields, crop failures due to too little or too much rainfall, rampant diseases and pests and wild animal attacks, loss of crop and domestic animal biodiversity, soil erosion, deforestation, falling water tables, water-logging and soil salinisation, chemical[Read More…]

Disengage From The Spectacle

Disengage From The Spectacle

Behold today’s edition of Empire’s End—the biggest, best-ever 24/7 reality TV show! It’s been decades in preparation, with a budget in the trillions, a cast of billions! Its hero-villain is far more colorful and pathetic than Tony Soprano or Walter White. One day he and his team of oddball supporting characters appear to be winning bigly; the next, they’re crashing[Read More…]

Re-imagining Value: Insights From The Care Economy, Commons, Cyberspace And Nature

Re-imagining Value: Insights From The Care Economy, Commons, Cyberspace And Nature

What is “value” and how shall we protect it?  It’s a simple question for which we don’t have a satisfactory answer. For conventional economists and politicians, the answer is simple:  value is essentially the same as price. Value results when private property and “free markets” condense countless individual preferences and purchases into a single, neutral representation of value:  price.  That[Read More…]

Interview With John Scales Avery, One Of The Greatest Living Intellectuals On Earth

Interview With John Scales Avery, One Of The Greatest Living Intellectuals On Earth

I’m at the home of one of the greatest living intellectuals on earth. In the cold, windy Copenhagen weather as we ring the bell John Scales Avery opens the door and welcomes me and my friend John Graversgaard warmly into his home. He serves us coffee and we talk. I’m stunned by his humility and breadth of knowledge. John Avery[Read More…]

10 Years of Transition Network: The Early Days

10 Years of Transition Network: The Early Days

As Transition Network turns 10, Rob Hopkins looks back to when it all began… This month represents the 10th anniversary of the founding of Transition Network.  That’s Transition Network the organisation you understand, not the network of Transition groups which the organisation was set up to support.  We thought that as we begin this anniversary month, it might be good[Read More…]

The Sharing Economy: It Takes More Than A Smartphone

The Sharing Economy: It Takes More Than A Smartphone

I ran into my friend Rick the other day in a small town near our homes in northern Vermont. He was just coming out of the bookstore, holding a pink plastic bag that, I would soon learn, contained a dozen eggs from his flock of free range hens. After a bit of small talk, Rick asked, “you don’t by any[Read More…]

 Initiating a Global Citizens Movement for the Great Transition

 Initiating a Global Citizens Movement for the Great Transition

A new publication by The Great Transition Initiative provides an inspiring vision of a more equal, vibrant and sustainable civilisation. From STWR’s perspective, all that it lacks is a sufficient focus on the critical needs of the very poorest citizens—which could ultimately forge the global solidarity needed to bring that new world into being. ‘Journey to Earthland’ is a recently[Read More…]

An Economy of Meaning – or Bust

An Economy of Meaning – or Bust

It’s not often that a scientist gets to use the words love, creativity, and wisdom in a paper, especially when writing about economics. Perhaps that’s because economics, the dismal science, is obsessed with dismal systems – make that abysmal systems, relative to need. To be clear, I’m not speaking of the specific policies of the US, the EU, China, the[Read More…]

What Permaculture Can Teach Us About Commons

What Permaculture Can Teach Us About Commons

As a developed set of social practices, techniques and ethical norms, permaculture has a lot to say to the world of the commons.  This is immediately clear from reading the twelve design principles of permaculture that David Holmgren enumerated in his 2002 book Permaculture: Principles and Practices Beyond Sustainability.  It mentions such principles as “catch and store energy,” “apply self-regulation[Read More…]

Value In The Commons Economy

Value In The Commons Economy

What is at the heart of the problems erupting worldwide? Is anything good emerging from these multiple crises? Can a new system grow from within the old one? Is it already here, visible and thriving? These questions are addressed by Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Niaros in this report, Value in the Commons Economy, co-published by Heinrich Böll Foundation and the[Read More…]

YES! Illustration by Eleanor Shakespeare.

Science Doesn’t Have To Be Elitist—We Can Take It Back

After he moved to London in his early 20s, Luke Howard became obsessed with the weather. Howard had a day job running a pharmacy business in the 1790s and early 1800s, but he spent a lot of his spare time staring at the sky. He collected a set of makeshift weather instruments—glass thermometers; a hygrometer (to measure moisture in the[Read More…]

Sunrise on the Cannonball River and the Oceti Sakowin camp, Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Photo by Thane Maxwell.

A Hard-Nosed Optimism

In last week’s essay I used the phrase “hard-nosed optimism” to describe the attitude needed now as “an alternative to the lies of divisive bullies who take advantage of the elites’ failures in order to promote their own patently greedy interests.” This is the optimism Antonio Gramsci probably had in mind when he coined the memorable phrase, “Pessimism of the[Read More…]

FoodCycle Prevents Food Waste And Builds Community, One Meal At A Time

FoodCycle Prevents Food Waste And Builds Community, One Meal At A Time

One-third of all food produced worldwide is wasted, according to the United Nations. The U.K. is no exception, with 15 million tons squandered each year. But while a proliferation of food waste apps hope to combat the problem through technology, FoodCycle is tackling it by serving up hot meals to those who need it — along with providing a place[Read More…]

Photo by Tony Hirtenstein

Civilization Falls: A New Culture Emerges

  The human species cannot exist in perpetuity on the earth unless it lives in biological balance with the life around it. Running a net deficit drawdown of the earth’s fertility will not work. Is it not strange that children can understand this statement but world leaders cannot? Ten thousand years in the past, the earth existed in a condition[Read More…]

A Money System For The People – If We Want It

A Money System For The People – If We Want It

Money creation, like alchemy, is shrouded in ambiguous language and yields eternal wealth! For most of history these secrets have been used to empower sovereigns to spend money without the painful business of taxing or borrowing. Those foolish enough to try to grasp it with their rational minds are befuddled by unexpected politics, propaganda and paradoxes. In modern times this[Read More…]

Photo by Teknorat

Changing Hearts And Opening Minds—It Happens When We Listen

One after another, the executive orders roll down from the top office of the land—orders that dismantle health coverage and launch the building of a wall while demolishing efforts at climate protection and access to birth control. And then a new set—excluding from the United States desperate refugee families from seven Muslim countries. That was just in week one. Each[Read More…]

United Against Programmed Obsolescence

United Against Programmed Obsolescence

In Argentina, people with damaged or broken items meet to repair them at the Repair Club. You can find them on Saturday afternoons, in a park, plaza or workshop, involved in what looks like a strange choreography: they’re not buying or selling, eating or dancing. Instead, they’re repairing things. Clothes, home appliances, toys, books, bicycles: even the most hopeless items[Read More…]

The Ecology Movement Is Not A Social Movement — A Response To John Foran’s Article On The How-Question

The Ecology Movement Is Not A Social Movement — A Response To John Foran’s Article On The How-Question

John Foran has issued a wake-up call, a “call to arms”, and addressed it to colleagues and comrades:1 I feel spoken to. Not only because of its subject, but also because I am both a colleague and a comrade of Foran. I have namely been both studying and writing about social movements as well as actively participating since the 1950s[Read More…]

Reaching Trump Supporters With The Promise Of Vision

Reaching Trump Supporters With The Promise Of Vision

If these were ordinary times, progressives might get away with casual images of our political opponents. Those who disagree “lack information,” or “remain prejudiced,” or are “gripped by an emotion like hate.” Reassured, we can return to informational outreach or protests or confrontations and hope that makes a difference. These, however, are not ordinary times. I further expect more instability[Read More…]

How Do I Know Good Can Overcome Ignorance, Spite And Hate? Because I’ve Seen it

How Do I Know Good Can Overcome Ignorance, Spite And Hate? Because I’ve Seen it

I want to share a story with you today that I’ve not shared before on this blog.  I was moved by something I saw on Twitter to the effect that the future will not remember Trump, but the future will remember the remarkable things done by those mobilising to oppose him.  It really resonated with me.  I wanted to share[Read More…]

10 Ways Vancouver Created A Greener, More Efficient Transportation System

10 Ways Vancouver Created A Greener, More Efficient Transportation System

In 2012, the city of Vancouver in Canada’s British Columbia province set a lofty transportation goal — for people to make more than 50 percent of their trips in the city by foot, bicycle, and public transit by 2020. In 2015, the city had already met its target. As the short video by Streetfilms below shows, the city accomplished this through a multi-modal approach by making sustainable[Read More…]

US consumprtion effects on threats to biodiversity

Reducing Consumption And Local Exchange Better Than “Sustainable Consumption”

While it is clear that global trade play a major role as a driver of destruction of biodiversity there is no way “consumers” in the US or other developed economies can be expected to take responsibility for the effect on biodiversity of their consumption. It is a tall order even for the companies trading or the retailers selling the products.[Read More…]

De-[Constructing] Growth: Decoupling Profits From Unsustainable Production

De-[Constructing] Growth: Decoupling Profits From Unsustainable Production

Degrowth has been described as a “movement” rather than an ideology1, and as such it presents several variations. For some of its proponents, degrowth is a proxy for sustainable consumption, and to a lesser extent production2. A second group of degrowth advocates are those for whom an emerging discussion of “sufficiency” as a societal norm is taking shape, as a[Read More…]

Photo by John Vetterli

Today’s Terminal Social Malady

The state of the planet The hope of the fifties as soured to the despair of this century. Why is rarely asked. But more important and difficult, is to feel hopeful again, to see a better life ahead that’s peaceful, calm, and joyous, but presently the future looks not only foreboding but hopeless for many if not most of the[Read More…]

Can Commons Thinking Drive A New Health System?

Can Commons Thinking Drive A New Health System?

Cat Johnson: What would it take to move from planetary imbalance into a state of sustained health and healing? In a recent report, Jamie Harvie, Executive Director of the Institute for a Sustainable Future and founder of the Commons Health Network, argues that we need a new health system, one based on a “profound appreciation of the complexity and interconnectedness of life across[Read More…]

Regenerative Agriculture: Our Best Shot At Cooling The Planet?

Regenerative Agriculture: Our Best Shot At Cooling The Planet?

It’s getting hot out there. For a stretch of 16 months running through August 2016, new global temperature records were set every month.[1] Ice cover in the Arctic sea hit a new low this past summer, at 525,000 square miles less than normal.[2] And apparently we’re not doing much to stop it: according to Professor Kevin Anderson, one of Britain’s[Read More…]

By Willy Stöwer, died on 31st May 1931 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

3 Ways To Recognize An Emergency In 2017

Let’s say you were strolling down the street when you spied a small child who had drifted away from his family. As motor vehicles streamed by at illegal speeds, the lad was getting perilously close to the curb. What would you do? Conjure up a potentially viral tweet Fastidiously apply for a permit to stage a rescue Become the change[Read More…]

Tribalism, Nationalism And Fascism

Tribalism, Nationalism And Fascism

Fascism appeals directly to the lowest human emotions. Fascism calls up the devils of tribalism and nationalism. Therefore it is fundamentally antisocial and destructive. At the same time, the low, emotional appeal of fascism has led to its political success

Photo by John Vetterli

Positive Thinking In A Dark Age

I recall a Buddhist parable involving a stick that appears from a distance to be a snake, causing fear to rise in the perceiver. As the perception shifts upon closer examination, the fear subsides and the relieved hiker continues down the path. Understanding and awareness have a lot to do with how we feel and how we act. As hosts[Read More…]

All Money Should Be Used For Public Good

All Money Should Be Used For Public Good

Interview with Christian Felber Author and activist on issues of social justice, democracy and economics. Initiator of the projects “Economy for the Common Good” and “Bank for the Common Good”. Co-founder of the Austrian branch of Attac. His most recent book is “Geld. Die neuen Spielregeln”. Christian Felber: I would do the same thing that we propose to do in[Read More…]

Photo by whiteson / iStock.

How To Face A Trump Presidency: Resist, Reconnect, Renew

It’s the solstice, the darkest time of year in the Northern Hemisphere. I awaken in the dark and check for news about Standing Rock and about the Trump transition team. It’s almost an epic pairing: the Native Americans, withstanding water cannons and pepper spray, camped out in below-zero blizzards, holding as sacred the water, land, and well-being of the children—and[Read More…]

Growthism: Part 2

Growthism: Part 2

One of the notable features of Growthism is the way it takes growth to be entirely normal and, at the same time, understands it as the very recent triumph of humanity over the awful conditions it faced for the first two hundred thousand years of its existence as a species.  According to the groundbreaking, if also flawed, work of Angus[Read More…]

Bringing Back Science Into The Fold Of Humanism

Bringing Back Science Into The Fold Of Humanism

Yesterday, I was invited to give a talk at a public meeting on the usual themes: climate change, resources, pollution, and the like. This time, a question I received from the audience caused me a small enlightenment that I am describing here as I remember it (h/t Lorenzo Citti for having organized this interesting meeting)  Thanks for this question –[Read More…]

Is Being “Punk as F*ck” Really Where It’s At?

Is Being “Punk as F*ck” Really Where It’s At?

Sam Bliss (author of the wonderfully-named blog ‘The Bliss Point‘) and Aaron Vansintjan recently wrote a blog called Degrowth is Punk as F*ck which defended the term “degrowth” as “a little middle finger to the establishment” and urged the reader to “take your positivity and shove it”. It’s a fiery and passionate defence of degrowth, and contains much, in its[Read More…]

Degrowth Is Punk as F*ck

Degrowth Is Punk as F*ck

“Very serious people often tell us that the word “degrowth” is too negative. People like happy, positive, nice things. Sure, the economy is systematically destroying life on earth. But nobody wants to degrow it. Instead, these critics prefer words like “post-growth,” “a-growth,” “re-growth”, even the mythical “green growth.” They want to create a circular economy, a green economy, a new[Read More…]

Lake Winnipeg Water Walk. Katherine Morrisseau-Sinclair, an Indigenous woman who, inspired by Grandmother Josephine Mandamin, started the Lake Winnipeg Water Walk.

Water Song: Indigenous Women And Water

Co-Written by Kate Cave, Shianne McKay In Brief Water is life and needs to be respected. For the Indigenous people in Canada, there is a reciprocal and unique relationship with water. In particular, Indigenous women share a sacred connection to the spirit of water through their role as child bearers, and have particular responsibilities to protect and nurture water. The[Read More…]

Growthism

Growthism

A week or so ago, it hardly matters when, I heard an NPR business update announce that economists were predicting “a healthy holiday shopping season.”  Such reports are a near-daily happening, and their words of praise, sometimes warning, have come to be accepted with little  question, for they are more mesmerizing than thought-provoking, a spellbound drumbeat which keeps the rhythm[Read More…]

From Oil Age To Soil Age

From Oil Age To Soil Age

The Design Museum in London opens at its new home this week with, as its centrepiece, an exhibition called Fear and Love curated by Justin McGuirk. I contributed the following text to the book. Why we need a new story In 1971 a geologist called Earl Cook evaluated the amount of energy ‘captured from the environment’ in different economic systems.[Read More…]

Suggestion For Addressing Climate Change And Other Forms Of Environmental Destruction

Suggestion For Addressing Climate Change And Other Forms Of Environmental Destruction

During the Apollo 13 space flight in 1970, US astronaut Jack Swigert spoke to the command center in Houston, Texas, indicating a “slight problem” for the three astronauts—actually their lives were in jeopardy—and although changed somewhat for a movie, it is used here as an understated response to a severe situation.  It is argued here, likewise, that we face a[Read More…]

Abdul Kareem - The Man Who Planted a Forest

Climate Change: India Can And Must Go It Alone

Quite some years ago, and as he described in a talk to the Club of Rome in 2011, David Wasdell had concluded along with John Schellnhuber, – and taking Hansen’s and other people’s work into account -,  that 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is where we are at today, has irreversibly committed the biosphere[Read More…]

'Trump’s ascendancy probably represents not a victory for localism or even populism,' writes Heinber, 'but merely a co-optation of legitimate popular frustrations by a corporatist huckster who intends to lead his merry band of cronies and sycophants in looting what’s left of America’s natural and cultural resources.' (Photo credit: EtiAmmos/Shutterstock.com)

Localism In The Age Of Trump

2016 will be remembered as the year Donald Trump—a wealthy, narcissistic political novice with a strong authoritarian bent—was elected president of the United States after campaigning against economic globalization. The events are fresh enough in many people’s minds that feelings are still raw and the implications are both unclear and, for many, terrifying. For those who have spent years, in[Read More…]

The Climate Crisis And Economic Policy Choices

The Climate Crisis And Economic Policy Choices

A major issue in climate economics is whether it is possible to halt the growth in carbon emissions and to achieve, instead, a rapid reduction. It concludes that carbon emissions will never fall at a sufficient rate in a growth economy. Unfortunately, the EU operates a climate policy framework, the EU Emissions Trading System, that was designed by BP and[Read More…]

"While there may be a tendency to be complacent about the recurring record temperatures, with each month come more climate-related consequences that cannot be ignored, and they make for big news stories," writes Astrid Caldas of the Union of Concerned Scientists. (Photo: Francesco Bonito Oliva/flickr/cc)

 This Is The Most Dangerous Time For Our Planet

As a theoretical physicist based in Cambridge, I have lived my life in an extraordinarily privileged bubble. Cambridge is an unusual town, centered around one of the world’s great universities. Within that town, the scientific community which I became part of in my twenties is even more rarefied. And within that scientific community, the small group of international theoretical physicists[Read More…]

The Great Deceleration

The Great Deceleration

In 2015, a major study of 24 indicators of human activity and environmental decline titled ‘The Great Acceleration’ concluded that, “The last 60 years have without doubt seen the most profound transformation of the human relationship with the natural world in the history of humankind”.[1] We have all seen aspects of these trends, but to look at the study’s 24[Read More…]

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Barcelona’s Brave Struggle To Advance The Commons

Barcelona’s Brave Struggle To Advance The Commons

On a visit to Barcelona last week, I learned a great deal about the City’s pioneering role in developing “the city as a commons.”  I also learned that crystallizing a new commons paradigm – even in a city committed to cooperatives and open digital networks – comes with many gnarly complexities. The Barcelona city government is led by former housing[Read More…]

After Brexit And Trump: Don’t Demonise; Localise!

After Brexit And Trump: Don’t Demonise; Localise!

Co-Written by Helena Norberg-Hodge and Rupert Read The election of Donald Trump was a rude awakening from which many people in the US have still not recovered. Their shock is similar to that felt by UK progressives, Greens, and those on the Left following the Brexit referendum. In both cases, the visceral reaction was heightened by the barely-disguised racist and[Read More…]

Prejudice, Ignorance And Granfalloons – Society In The Trump Era

Prejudice, Ignorance And Granfalloons – Society In The Trump Era

“It is a gross prejudice to think that the future will always know more than the past. Every generation is born totally ignorant, and just as we are only one failed harvest away from starvation, we are also only one failed generational transfer of knowledge away from darkest ignorance. Although it is true that today many people know many things[Read More…]

Rebuilding Karachi, One Issue At A Time

Rebuilding Karachi, One Issue At A Time

A nascent group in Karachi rises to take control of their city; raising their voice through protest, community projects and action. “It was Good Friday and I had some spare time that evening. I was toying with the idea of creating a Facebook group to tackle community issues. I strongly felt that unless we the citizens applied pressure on the[Read More…]

Anything But Disruptive: Blockchain, Capital And A Case Of Fourth Industrial Age Enclosure

Anything But Disruptive: Blockchain, Capital And A Case Of Fourth Industrial Age Enclosure

A critical turn is needed in discussions of blockchain — the tech that underpins the virtual currency bitcoin – especially with respect to it as a phenomenon of the so-called fourth industrial age.1 Many have been swept-up in (if not duped by) the swell of excitement around a technological architecture which appeared, at first sight, to puncture the power and[Read More…]

Jay Forrester: The Man Who Saw The Future

Jay Forrester: The Man Who Saw The Future

Jay Wright Forrester (1918-2016) may have been the source of inspiration for Hari Seldon, a fictional character in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. In Asimov’s novels, Seldon develops “pyschohistoric equations” that allow him to predict the impending collapse of the Galactic Empire. In the real world, Forrester developed “system dynamics equations” that allowed him to predict the impending collapse of the[Read More…]

A Moment That Illuminates Our Structural Challenges

A Moment That Illuminates Our Structural Challenges

At least we have some clarity.  The mystifications and rationalizations are evaporating.  If nothing else, the election of Donald Trump illuminates many of the deep structural problems that we need to face squarely. While most post-election commentary is focused on Trump and the political realignment in Washington, I think the bigger stories are the tectonic shifts in the neoliberal political[Read More…]

Lean Logic: A Dictionary For The Future

Lean Logic: A Dictionary For The Future

What follows are some excerpts from the late David Fleming’s ‘Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It’ (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2016). The excerpts have been chosen by the book’s editor, Shaun Chamberlin. Extensive references are given in the dictionary itself, but are omitted here. LOCALISATION. Localisation stands, at best, at the limits of practical possibility,[Read More…]

Not Markets Alone But Creativity And Innovation For Development

Not Markets Alone But Creativity And Innovation For Development

  As human beings, we are naturally social and creative. The inherent curiosity that drives us to innovate is ultimately a testament to the creative impetus that resides within all of us. And the richness and flexibility of human behavior, including our capacity for cooperation and adaptation, further allow us to envisage and create a world that far outstrips the[Read More…]

 The Search For Radical Alternatives: Key Elements And Principles

 The Search For Radical Alternatives: Key Elements And Principles

  Can there be a collective search for paradigms and pathways towards a world that is sustainable, equitable and just? How can such frameworks and visions build on an existing heritage of ideas and worldviews and cultures, and on past or new grassroots practice? How can they be fundamentally different from today’s dominant economic and political system, which has brought[Read More…]

Global Biosphere Collapse, The End Of Being, Upon Us

Global Biosphere Collapse, The End Of Being, Upon Us

Miraculous nature is being murdered. Everywhere we look inequitable over-consumption is devastating the natural ecosystems that sustain a living Earth. Together we yield to ecological truth – personally embracing a global ecology ethic, and demanding others do so as well – or we all needlessly die at each others’ throats as the global ecological system collapses and being ends. The[Read More…]

"Web of Life" By Max D. Standley http://www.maxdstandley.com/paintings/web_of_life.html

Microbes Of The World, Unite!

Note: This article is based on a lecture delivered at a conference of the People’s Health Movement in Cochabamba, Bolivia on 24 September 2016. Dear Friends, I am privileged to be here to talk to all of you from the health and environmental movements from all over Latin America. First of all, as someone coming from India I would like[Read More…]

Photo by Sharada Prasad

We Need An Agroecological Revolution—So Why Are Governments Investing In Agribusiness?

Agriculture is under pressure to perform on this World Food Day. As governments pay lip service to combatting climate change in the Paris Agreement, few of them are taking the real action necessary to reduce emissions. While just this month Hurricane Matthew, almost certainly made worse by climate change, battered Haiti and El Nino related drought is wreaking farming across[Read More…]

Crowdsourcing The Food Commons Transition: De-Commodifying Food One Movement At A Time

Crowdsourcing The Food Commons Transition: De-Commodifying Food One Movement At A Time

In the 2011 dystopian film In Time, Justin Timberlake works literally to earn his living, as the monthly currency is additional time for living. Billionaires can live for thousands of years, practically becoming immortals, while poor people struggle to survive every day, many of them failing in that endeavour. This science fiction film resembles painstakingly our real world, although instead[Read More…]

The System Of Rice Intensification And Its International Community Of Practice

The System Of Rice Intensification And Its International Community Of Practice

When the rainy season came early to the highlands of Madagascar in 1983, the rice seedlings in the nursery were still too young for transplanting, and French Jesuit priest Henri de Laulanié had to make a decision: either to wait another two to four weeks to transplant (which would obviously result in a lower yield due to delayed planting) or[Read More…]

The Elephant In The Room Is Capitalism. Maybe.

The Elephant In The Room Is Capitalism. Maybe.

I’d been hoping to pay another visit to the Peasant’s Republic of Wessex, but red tape has been holding me up at the border so it’ll have to wait probably for another couple of weeks. Instead, I thought I’d offer a few top-of-the-head thoughts on Felicity Lawrence’s recent article about agricultural pesticide use in The Guardian – or, more specifically,[Read More…]

Women Protect Common Forest Rights in Rajasthan

Women Protect Common Forest Rights in Rajasthan

Nichlagarh, an adivasi village in the forest region of Southern Rajasthan, is caught between the bureaucratic regime of the Forestry Department (FD) of India and progressive legislation that claims to restore the traditional rights of commoners. While the state has its own ideas about how villagers should manage their forest commons and their lives, the women of this adivasi community have stepped forward as the knowledge keepers, managers of the forests and champions of democratic representation to protect the right to common.

The Resilience Of An Indigenous Ethiopian Commons

The Resilience Of An Indigenous Ethiopian Commons

Ethiopia is home to one of the oldest, most effective conservation management systems in sub-Saharan Africa, the Menz-Guassa Community Conservation Area, an 11,100-hectare region that is home to a rich endowment of grasslands, plants and rare animals such as the Ethiopian wolf, gelada and Abyssinian hare. The history of the indigenous land tenure system known as Atsme Irist 1 reveals a[Read More…]

Saving The Planet, American Style — A Critical Review, And Some Thoughts And Ideas

Saving The Planet, American Style — A Critical Review, And Some Thoughts And Ideas

Planet Earth, our habitat, is in dire straits And our world is suffering from various crises, conflicts and problems. There is hardly any sign that something is seriously being done to solve these problems. Some Americans – not government officials, not corporate big-wigs, but civil society activists – have now come forward to save the earth and, along with it,[Read More…]

The Role Of Memory And Identity In The Obştea Forest Commons Of Romania

The Role Of Memory And Identity In The Obştea Forest Commons Of Romania

In the Vrancea Mountains of Romania, the Eastern Carpathians, people in dozens of villages have used community-based institutions known as obştea to manage forest commons since the sixteenth century.1 The original sense of the word, coming from Slavonic, is “togetherness,” and it underlines the participatory essence of the institution. The traditions of obştea are so deeply rooted among Vrâncean villagers[Read More…]

The Fallacy Of Economic Growth

The Fallacy Of Economic Growth

We are being told that we need still more economic growth in order to overcome the present multi-layer crises. Actually we have been hearing this for quite some time now. Both right and left, capitalist and socialist governments, offer their theories about how we need more production and consumption, in order for our societies to progress and overcome the present[Read More…]

The Failure Of Land Privitization: On The Need For New Development Policies

The Failure Of Land Privitization: On The Need For New Development Policies

As soon as we start speaking about “globalization,” we inevitably associate it with the excessive financial markets that are disconnected from the real economy. There is less public awareness of another type of globalization that also involves the forced unification of institutions all over the world: the institution of private property and privatization strategies. The driving forces behind this development[Read More…]

Transforming Global Resources Into Commons

Transforming Global Resources Into Commons

The greatest problem of our time is that for centuries we have been steadily weaned away from treating our common resources responsibly and carefully so that they can either regenerate or be repaired or replaced after use. Until the Middle Ages local resources such as pastures, woods and fishing waters were really handled that way. But since the 16th century,[Read More…]

The Atmosphere As A Global Commons

The Atmosphere As A Global Commons

We are only gradually beginning to realize that global common-pool resources are assets to humankind that should be managed as commons. Wasting them would be disastrous. We are trustees of these assets and thus, trustees for future generations. We have the duty to invest so as to increase or at least maintain these assets

Ideas For Change: Making Meaning Out Of Economic And Institutional Diversity

Ideas For Change: Making Meaning Out Of Economic And Institutional Diversity

The ideas and theories of Elinor Ostrom, one of the world’s leading economic scholars studying the way people in communities cooperate (or don’t), have inspired their own collective action hub. It includes students and scholars of many disciplines as well as people actively involved in managing community water use, organizing fishing industries, delivering urban services, and operating coop­eratives. This “hub”[Read More…]

The Common Heritage Of Mankind: A Bold Doctrine Kept Within Strict Boundaries

The Common Heritage Of Mankind: A Bold Doctrine Kept Within Strict Boundaries

The “common heritage of mankind” is an ethical concept and a general concept of international law. It establishes that some localities belong to all humanity and that their resources are available for everyone’s use and benefit, taking into account future generations and the needs of developing countries. It is intended to achieve aspects of the sustainable development of common spaces[Read More…]

Green Governance: Ecological Survival, Human Rights And The Commons

Green Governance: Ecological Survival, Human Rights And The Commons

If the human species is going to overcome the many interconnected ecological catastrophes now confronting us, this moment in history requires that we entertain some bold modifications of our legal structures and political culture. We must find the means to introduce new ideas for effective and just environmental protection – locally, nationally, regionally, globally, and points in between

Agroecology As A Tool For Liberation: Transforming Industrial Agribusiness In El Salvador

Agroecology As A Tool For Liberation: Transforming Industrial Agribusiness In El Salvador

An interview with Miguel Ramirez, National Coordinator of the Organic Agriculture Movement of El Salvador We say that every square meter of land that is worked with agro-ecology is a liberated square meter. We see it as a tool to transform farmers’ social and economic conditions. We see it as a tool of liberation from the unsustainable capitalist agricultural model[Read More…]

Peer-To-Peer Economy And New Civilization Centered Around The Sustenance Of The Commons

Peer-To-Peer Economy And New Civilization Centered Around The Sustenance Of The Commons

The “peer to peer” and commons-oriented vision for a new type of civilization and economic system starts from an analysis of what is fundamentally wrong with the current economic system. Rather than put forward a utopian ideal, the P2P vision is based on generalizing the already emerging forms of peer production, peer governance, and peer property