Counter Solutions

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Resilience Thinking

Resilience: the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change, so as to retain essentially the same function, structure, identity and feedbacks. The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan, published by the UK government in 2010, was a bold and powerful statement of intent for a low-carbon economy in the UK (HMG 2009). It stated that by[Read More…]

by August 6, 2016 Counter Solutions
Farm Hack: A Commons For Agricultural Innovation

Farm Hack: A Commons For Agricultural Innovation

In 2011, a community of farmers, designers, developers, engineers, architects, roboticists and open source thinkers came together in Boston, Massachusetts, to explore a simple yet radical idea – that great improvements in agriculture could be achieved by reducing barriers to knowledge exchange. They were convinced that transforming agricultural technology into a commons would result in a more adaptive, open and[Read More…]

by August 6, 2016 Counter Solutions
Photo Credit:https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/p/1/005/0aa/2dc/0f8efd6.jpg

We Are Not Born As Egoists

A woman is writing a letter, and her pen drops to the floor. She leans across the desk and tries to pick it up, but she can’t reach it. A small boy realizes that he can help her. He walks over to the pen, picks it up and hands it to the woman. This is an experiment with twenty-month-old children.[Read More…]

by August 5, 2016 Counter Solutions
CIC’s Autonomous Projects Of Collective Initiative #5: Calafou

CIC’s Autonomous Projects Of Collective Initiative #5: Calafou

One of the most interesting autonomous projects associated with the Catalan Integral Cooperative (CIC) is Calafou, the self-proclaimed “post-capitalist colony” which settled in 2011 in the ruins of an abandoned industrial village in the Catalan county of l’Anoia, about 65km away from Barcelona. The colony was set up with the participation of several CIC members with the aim of becoming[Read More…]

by August 5, 2016 Counter Solutions
Photo Credit: international.fisheries.org

Efficiency And The Commons

Efficiency is the spiritual practice of the religion of scientific management. Under its spell, we have not only privatized once abundant shared natural resources, but we have also privatized our intellectual and cultural commons Chris Corrigan questions the mantra of market efficiency, offsetting it against commoning: This morning, I’m reading this article. It’s a review of two books charting the[Read More…]

by August 4, 2016 Counter Solutions
Photo Credit: bio.miami.edu

The Economy Of Wastefulness: The Biology Of The Commons

There is an all-enclosing commons-economy which has been successful for billions of years: the biosphere. Its ecology is the terrestrial household of energy, matter, beings, relationships and meanings which contains any manmade economy and only allows for it to exist. Sunlight, oxygen, drinking water, climate, soil and energy – the products and processes of this household – also nourish the[Read More…]

by August 4, 2016 Counter Solutions
Photo by Nathan  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Nathan_Hamblen

My Rocky Road To The Commons

“The Pyrenees, they are not all that high up – their outlines are gently curved, sharp ridges few and far between, and all the peaks are rounded. It seems like music frozen in place in this high country” (Kurt Tucholsky, celebrated German journalist and author, 1927). We are standing on the Col de Peyreget, where a small sign says we[Read More…]

by August 3, 2016 Counter Solutions
Degrowth Meets Convivialism: Pathways To A Convivial Society

Degrowth Meets Convivialism: Pathways To A Convivial Society

The concept of convivialism has attracted some attention in recent years. When giving it a closer look – even superficially – it soon reveals its proximity to the degrowth concept and movement. But what exactly constitutes this proximity and where are the differences? Below I will give a short summary of what we can understand by degrowth in practical and theoretical terms. Then I will[Read More…]

by August 2, 2016 Counter Solutions
John D. Liu On Regenerative Ecology And Naturalized Economies

John D. Liu On Regenerative Ecology And Naturalized Economies

 “If we say that money comes from ecological function instead from extraction, manufacturing buying and selling, then we have a system in which all human efforts go toward restoring, protecting and preserving ecological function. That is what we need to mitigate and adapt to climate change, to ensure food security, to ensure that human civilizations survive. Our monetary system must[Read More…]

by August 1, 2016 Counter Solutions
State Power And Commoning: Transcending A Problematic Relationship

State Power And Commoning: Transcending A Problematic Relationship

What changes in state power must occur for commoning to flourish as a legal form of self-provisioning and governance? What does the success of the commons imply for the future of the state as a form of governance? My colleagues and I at the Commons Strategies Group puzzled over such questions last year and decided we needed to convene some[Read More…]

by July 30, 2016 Counter Solutions
Why “Bad Cops” Are Not The Real Issue

Why “Bad Cops” Are Not The Real Issue

I’m hoping these comments will bring some analysis to 5 seemingly innocuous but misguided words: “Not all cops are bad” and “good cops versus bad cops”. If you’re in the company of someone who says this or posts this on social media, and if you have seen and heard this as much as I have lately, then perhaps it’s time[Read More…]

by July 27, 2016 Counter Solutions
Keep It Local! The Complementary Currency Alternative

Keep It Local! The Complementary Currency Alternative

New alternative and complementary currencies are a growing worldwide trend, and many states in the US have created their own local curriencies. Our local alternative currency, the Hudson Valley Current, has members in several counties straddling the Hudson River, just above New York City. It began with just a few of us; each coming to the idea from very different places

by July 23, 2016 Counter Solutions
The Commons As The Response To The Structural Crises Of The Global System

The Commons As The Response To The Structural Crises Of The Global System

The Connecting the Dots series has convincingly shown a number of interconnected reasons why the global system is in crisis, and why there is no way out without a structural transformation of the dominant neoliberal system. In our contribution, we want to stress the key importance of what we call a “value regime,” or simply put, the rules that determine[Read More…]

by July 22, 2016 Counter Solutions
From Ecology To Education

From Ecology To Education

Politics in many ways has become a bully boy gimmick. One has to read beyond headlines and think of deeper processes and consequences. One such event was the recent cabinet reshuffle by the Modi led NDA government. What fascinates me in these events is the amount of strategies that are tactfully played out to portray a sense of sustainability within[Read More…]

by July 20, 2016 Counter Solutions
Bologna, Emilia Romagna. Photo by Tomas Kohl.

The Italian Region Where Co-ops Produce A Third Of Its GDP

Emilia Romagna, a region with nearly 4.5 million people whose capital is the medieval university city of Bologna, has one of the densest cooperative economies in the world. About two out of every three inhabitants are co-op members, together producing around 30 percent of the region’s GDP…

by July 16, 2016 Counter Solutions
What We As A People Can Do

What We As A People Can Do

  Co-Written by Richard Heinberg, David Fridley Ed. note: This is Chapter 10 of Richard Heinberg’s and David Fridley’s new book, Our Renewable Future, now available from Island Press. Post Carbon Institute’s companion website,ourrenewablefuture.org has also just been launched and contains additional content not in the book. Sound national and international climate policies are crucial: without them, it will be impossible to[Read More…]

by July 15, 2016 Counter Solutions
Another Exit Strategy?

Another Exit Strategy?

The Brexit earthquake, possibly the biggest since the 2008 financial collapse, provides another opportunity to question the economic and political structures that cause such quakes. I’ve heard only a handful of voices amidst the high-pitched cacophony of the Brexit debate that have gone beyond the the narrow and racist nationalism of the dominant ‘leave’ voices, and the free-trade nationalism of[Read More…]

by July 15, 2016 Counter Solutions
Undoing The Ideology Of Growth

Undoing The Ideology Of Growth

With climate change, resource limits, and secular stagnation, this make-believe “resolution of real contradictions” reveals itself as clearly “imaginary.” Consequently, in order to dismantle the hegemony of growth, degrowth has to develop a profound and critical understanding of the real societal contradictions, hierarchies and power dynamics shaping capitalism and transform them in new ways

by July 12, 2016 Counter Solutions
30 Ways Cities Can Prepare For Global Warming

30 Ways Cities Can Prepare For Global Warming

There’s a good reason (actually, 30 good reasons covered here, plus at least 90 others to be discussed in later issues) why no-one has been able to come up with a better term for what’s called “urban agriculture.”

by July 8, 2016 Counter Solutions
Feminist Socialism And The Commons

Feminist Socialism And The Commons

Hilary Wainwright, of the Transnational Institute and co-editor of Red Pepper magazine, made a lasting impression on the Commons Transition/P2P Foundation team with her panel presentation at the recent Commons Collaborative Economies event in Barcelona. During her presentation, Wainwright shared her insights on the hidden commons of care. “Women have been creating a Commons for a long time: the domestic[Read More…]

Community members working in the La Columna community garden, Merida, Venezuela. by Tamara Pearson

In Venezuela’s Difficult Times The Grassroots Are Stronger

It’s been three years now of food shortages, inflation, and queues in Venezuela, and the millions of people involved in community and movement organizing have been the most affected. But they’ve also defied right-wing and general expectations, and even perhaps the expectations of the Maduro government, and have become stronger and better organized as a result of the hardships. ‘We can[Read More…]

by July 7, 2016 Counter Solutions
Another Side To Food Waste

Another Side To Food Waste

The food waste debate has gone mainstream. People at every level from individual consumers to national governments are beginning to pay attention to the issues which lead to a third of food produced for human consumption being wasted every year. However, there is one side to the story that is often overlooked: the impact of food waste in the Global[Read More…]

by July 6, 2016 Counter Solutions
Equality And Sustainability: Can We Have Both?

Equality And Sustainability: Can We Have Both?

An equal level of consumption for everyone around the world at the level of today’s Cuba offers the possibility of substantially lowering human impact on the biosphere while at the same time maintaining a rather decent standard of living for all.

From Livelihoods To Deadlihoods

From Livelihoods To Deadlihoods

  In India, economic development and modernity have transformed livelihoods into deadlihoods. They are wiping out millennia-old livelihoods that were ways of life with no sharp division between work and leisure, and replacing them with dreary assembly line jobs where we wait desperately for weekends and holidays. Economic progress, we are told, is about moving from primary sector jobs to[Read More…]

by July 4, 2016 Counter Solutions
Mozambique: Looking For Food In All The Wrong Places

Mozambique: Looking For Food In All The Wrong Places

Like many of the grand schemes hatched in the wake of the 2007-2008 food price spikes, this one was a bust, by any measure. Still, ProSAVANA remains the Mozambican government’s agricultural development strategy for the region. While farmers defend their hard-won land rights, it seems they will have to look elsewhere for agricultural development.

by June 30, 2016 Counter Solutions
Beyond Development: The Commons As A New/Old Paradigm Of Human Flourishing

Beyond Development: The Commons As A New/Old Paradigm Of Human Flourishing

A proverb of the indigenous people of southwestern Colombia warns: “The word without action is empty, action without the word is blind, and action and the word outside the spirit of the community is death.” Of course, many of us are on the quest to figure out precisely the opposite — how to integrate word, action and community, and thereby create flourishing commons that can unleash cascades of creativity, aliveness and innovation. That is precisely what we need right now.

by June 30, 2016 Counter Solutions
Energy And Justice

Energy And Justice

The equity and justice questions won’t go away. From the perspective of global elites, something must be done to level the playing field and take everyone’s interests into account (whether through an overarching global framework or through piecemeal national and regional efforts), or those who feel excluded will disrupt efforts toward an orderly energy transition. From the perspective of those with far lower levels of power and wealth, there is no reason to support efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption if those efforts only preserve or exacerbate economic inequality.

by June 30, 2016 Counter Solutions
The Case For The Green State

The Case For The Green State

Critiques of the modern nation-state have been growing in recent decades, due to the abysmal failures of the capitalist, neoliberal order. In particular, conservative-libertarian arguments are tinged with isolationist and protectionist trade rhetoric, low taxes and regulations, and supply-side economics. On the other side, the mild leftism of social-democratic reforms promote endless government spending, increases in social programs and minimum[Read More…]

by June 18, 2016 Counter Solutions
This Is Where The Jobs Are!

This Is Where The Jobs Are!

Diminshing Employment opportunities There is a popular story about a journalist being taken around a modern process industry that is fully automated. The factory owner proudly announces that whole process is ‘untouched by human hands’. In the control center, the journalist finds an operator and a dog. The journo enquires, “I understand why the man is there? But what is[Read More…]

by June 18, 2016 Counter Solutions
After A Century In Decline, Black Farmers Are Back And On the Rise

After A Century In Decline, Black Farmers Are Back And On the Rise

These Black farmers don’t stop at healthy food. They’re healing trauma, instilling collective values, and changing the way their communities think about the land.

by June 18, 2016 Counter Solutions
Viva la Producción! Urban Farming In Cuba

Viva la Producción! Urban Farming In Cuba

Urban farming has gained momentum in recent years as a result of increased awareness of environmental issues and the desire to feed people living in cities sustainably. For Cuba in the 1990s, however,the shift to an urban agricultural economy was a matter of life or death. The Plaza de la Revolución is supposed to embody the spirit of revolutionary Cuba.[Read More…]

by June 18, 2016 Counter Solutions
The Radical Work Of Healing: Fania And Angela Davis On A New Kind Of Civil Rights Activism

The Radical Work Of Healing: Fania And Angela Davis On A New Kind Of Civil Rights Activism

Angela and Fania Davis. YES! Photo by Kristin Little. Angela Davis and her sister Fania Davis were working for social justice before many of today’s activists were born. From their childhood in segregated Birmingham, Alabama, where their friends were victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, to their association with the Black Panther Party and the Communist Party, to[Read More…]

by June 18, 2016 Counter Solutions
Renewable Energy

Our Renewable Future

Ed. note: This is the introduction to Richard Heinberg’s and David Fridley’s new book, Our Renewable Future, now available from Island Press. Post Carbon Institute’s companion website, ourrenewablefuture.org has also just been launched.The book is available to order and also to read on the website as a complete set of online chapters. By Richard Heinberg & David Fridley The next[Read More…]

Pathways Of Transition To Agroecological Food Systems

Pathways Of Transition To Agroecological Food Systems

A new report by leading sustainability experts has reaffirmed the case for a paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems – fundamental to which is a call for redistributing power back into the hands of those who feed the world. By Adam Parsons An alternative vision of farming and food systems has long been upheld by civil society[Read More…]

by June 17, 2016 Counter Solutions