Green Growth Or No Growth

11. January 2015 Green Growth 0
We face serious environmental and economic challenges. People are looking for answers in a green economic future. Can the Earth support an ever-growing economy? Can we shift to ‘green growth’ for a healthier environment and economy? What would it look like? Four of the world’s top economic experts debate one of the critical questions of our time. CBC Radio’s Paul Kennedy, host of Ideas, moderated a live debate at the University of Ottawa on January 20th, 2011. Participants include four globally prominent economic experts: Peter Victor Author of Managing Without Growth: Slower By Design, Not Disaster, professor (and former Dean) at York University, and former Assistant Deputy Minister in the Ontario government. Tim Jackson Economics commissioner with the UK Sustainable Development Commission, professor at the University of Surrey (UK), and author of Prosperity without Growth – economics for a finite planet. Richard Lipsey one of Canada’s pre-eminent economists, professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University, and author of Economic Transformations: General Purpose Technologies and Long Term Economic Growth. Paul Ekins Author of Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability: The Prospects for Green Growth, professor at University College London, and Director of the UK Green Fiscal Commission.…

Egypt Was Unsustainable And Is Now Collapsing

09. January 2015 Egypt 0
The revolution in Egypt will probably repeat itself in a half dozen other countries in the near future. And while the usual suspects will be blamed (ruthless leaders, corrupt politicians, social media, people’s desire for freedom), the true cause of these revolts will be due to an unsustainable economy based on excessive debt that produced a lack of jobs, and massive food and energy inflation. The case of Egypt should be studied well because it will repeat itself everywhere – not just in the 3rd world – until countries come back into balance and find a sustainable way to live. Source: OpEdNews.com No wonder then that the chief fear of Western intelligence agencies and corporate risk consultants is not that mass resistance might fail to generate vibrant and viable democracies, but simply the prospect of a regional “contagion” that could destabilize “Saudi oil fields.” Such conventional analyses, of course, entirely miss the point: The American Empire, and the global political economy it has spawned, is unravelling — not because of some far-flung external danger, but under the weight of its own internal contradictions. It is unsustainable  — already in overshoot of the earth’s natural systems, exhausting its own resource base, alienating the vast majority of the human and planetary population. The solution in Tunisia, in Egypt, in the entire Middle East, and beyond, does not lay merely in aspirations for democracy. Hope can only spring from a fundamental re-evaluation of the entire structure of our civilization in its current form. If we do not use the opportunities presented by these crises to push for fundamental structural change, then the “contagion” will engulf us all. …

Living Without Money For 13 Years

08. January 2015 Money 0
A profound and inspiring article…I’m sure the federal reserve banking system, which lends us our own money and charges us interest for the privilege, would NOT agree! Source: Times Online Heidemarie Schwermer, a middle-aged secondary school teacher just emerging from a difficult marriage, moved with her two children from the village of Lueneburg to the city of Dortmund, in the Ruhr area of Germany… “I began to realise that I lived with so many things I didn’t need. So I decided that I wouldn’t buy anything without giving something away. That’s how it started. Then I began to really think about what I needed, clothes for example, and noticed that I could easily get by with what I could hang on ten coathangers. Everything else I gave away. I had so much stuff in the house that was superfluous. Getting rid of it was a relief.” … Ideally, Schwermer would like to lead by example and give other people courage to change their attitudes towards money and how they live in and contribute to society. The pressure to buy and to own, she feels, has intensified in recent years. Consumerism is essentially about “an attempt to fill an empty space inside. And that emptiness, and the fear of loss, is manipulated by the media or big companies.” There is a fear, she says, that in not buying or owning an individual will fall out of society. The irony, she claims, is that material goods can never plug a spiritual hole and shopping and hoarding are more likely to isolate people than bring contentment.Does she intend to start a revolution? “No, I think of myself as planting the seed,” she says. “Perhaps people come away from my lectures or seeing me being interviewed and decide to spend a little less. Others might start meditating. The point is that my living without money is to allow for the possibility of another kind of society. I want people to ask themselves, ‘What do I need? How do I really want to live?’ Every person needs to ask themselves who they really are and where they belong. That means getting to grips with oneself.” Does she really think that she can convert other people to her life philosophy? “Yes, that’s our future. One day we will all live without money, because we don’t need it and because it is only a burden. We’re the way we are because it’s how the system allows us to be. We can buy everything we want but we need so much less than we realise. If you think that the capitalist system we live in now is the only system, well that’s just ridiculous.” “We are going to run out of oil in ten years. We don’t have infinite resources. That just isn’t sustainable.” Is her own itinerant lifestyle sustainable? She thinks so.…

The Credit Commons

07. January 2015 Money 0
If cash becomes scarce and the wheels of commerce come to a grinding halt again, the idea of  “mutual credit clearing” will be critical. In the meantime, banning interest charged on money is a worthy goal which would instantly make the economy more sustainable. Source: Reality Sandwich We need to learn to play a different game. We need to organize an entirely new structure of money, banking, and finance, one that is interest-free, decentralized, and controlled, not by banks or central governments, but by businesses and individuals that associate and organize themselves into cashless trading networks. This is a way to reclaim “the credit commons” from monopoly control and create healthy community economies. … This approach is no pie-in-the-sky pipe dream, it is proven and well established. Known as mutual credit clearing, it is a process that is used by scores of commercial “barter” companies around the world to provide cashless trading for their business members. In this process, the things you sell pay for the things you buy without using money as an intermediate exchange medium. It’s as simple as that. According to the International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA), a major trade association for the industry, “IRTA Member companies using the “Modern Trade and Barter” process, made it possible for over 400,000 companies World Wide to utilize their excess business capacities and underperforming assets, to earn an estimated $12 billion dollars in previously lost and wasted revenues.“ Perhaps the best example of a credit clearing exchange that has been successful over a long period of time is the WIR Economic Circle Cooperative. Founded in Switzerland as a self-help organization in 1934 in the midst of the Great Depression, WIR provided a means for its business members to trade with one another despite the shortage of official money in circulation. Over three quarters of a century, in good time and bad, WIR has continued to thrive. Its more than 60,000 members throughout Switzerland trade about $2 billion worth of goods and services annually. Yes, it is possible to transcend the dysfunctional money and banking system and to take back our power from bankers and politicians who use it to abuse and exploit us. We do it, not by petitioning politicians who are already bought and paid for by an ever more powerful elite group, but by using the power that is already ours to use the resources we have to support each other’s productivity and to give credit where credit is due. …

Green Your Alley Forum

06. January 2015 Green Growth 0
Do you wish you had more green space in your neighborhood? Are you motivated and willing to improve the quality of life in your alley? Join us! The Éco-quartier NDG is launching our first forum on green alleys in NDG. Greening projects can only come to life thanks to the will and participation of alley-way users and owners, while encouraging a vibrant community. Learn how to engage in this exciting movement and share your vision for your alley! Bring your neighbours!!…

The Dark Side Of Green Energy

02. January 2015 Green Growth 0
This is a cautionary tale from Iceland for anyone in the Eastern townships considering opening up their land to natural gas “fracking”. Although I am sure many Quebecers have similar tales to tell about Hydro power. Source: dreamland.is How much unspoiled nature should we preserve and what do we sacrifice for clean, renewable energy? Dreamland gradually turns into a disturbing picture of corporate power taking over small communities. Dreamland is a film about a nation standing at cross-roads. Leading up to the country’s greatest economic crisis, the government started the largest mega project in the history of Iceland, to build the biggest dam in Europe to provide Alcoa cheap electricity for an aluminum smelter in the rugged east fjords of Iceland. Today Iceland is left holding a huge dept and an uncertain future. In Dreamland a nation with abundance of choices gradually becomes caught up in a plan to turn its wilderness and beautiful nature into a massive system of hydro-electric and geothermal power plants with dams and reservoirs. Clean energy brings in polluting industry and international corporations. It’s the dark side of green energy. …

Holographic Power Structures

01. January 2015 Holographic 0
The existing power structure on Earth is like a pyramid. All information and secrets are kept by few at the top of the pyramid who then distribute the information downward through the pyramid. Economically, this is known as the “trickle-down” system of the rich giving jobs to the poor. In governments, the military and corporations, we have chief executives who make decisions which trickle down the organizational chain of command. When you want to defeat an organization in battle, it is said that you need to “cut off the head” and then the body will die. All these are examples of the current pyramidal power structure that is the matrix lattice which controls our lives. It forces us to pay rent for shelter, spend money for food and water, and have a job that often leaves our souls wanting more. Pyramid schemeAnother disadvantage of pyramid systems is that they are inherently unsustainable. Take for example the “pyramid schemes” seen in chain-mail, multi-level marketing (MLM) and Ponzi schemes (Bernie Madoff). Sooner or later, they all collapse leaving most participants wondering how they could be so foolish. Historically, I think we’re in a similar point where we are waking up and realizing that our society is one big pyramid scheme that is collapsing upon us. We need a  new model, a new system of organizing ourselves that leads to sustainable prosperity. Holographic Power Structures Holographic power structures refer to systems of organization that distribute power equally across all members. This is not done for ideological or idealistic reasons, but for the practical reason that it is more sustainable and stable. The Holographic power structure is a new paradigm where vital information is not controlled by a few at the top of the pyramid. Information is distributed equally amongst members, like a holographic image where every pixel contains all the information for the entire picture. It is also like the open-source software movement where the entire code base is shared openly to everyone. Nothing is secret, no one is an executive controlling the movement. The Open source movement is also inspiring new ideas about money which is one of the primary mechanisms of the pyramidal power structure. By reforming the way money works from a pyramidal to a holographic paradigm, we may be on the way towards vast, meaningful, sustainable changes in our lives. Source: BetterMeans and the Open Enterprise model The Open Enterprise is a new organizational design. Unlike organizations using traditional management structures, Open Enterprises replace the command and control hierarchy with a meritocracy based on collaboration and open participation. Organizations that adopt this new organizational structure can make decisions faster and respond quicker to their markets. They look more like living dynamic networks, and less like pyramids. People working in these organizations will have (and feel) more ownership. They’re more engaged in their work, and have the freedom to work on what they want, when they want to. Most importantly this model enables people to once again bring their full humanity – values, beliefs and passions – to the workplace, removing disconnect between organizational and personal values. See also: Global Guerrillas Basically, what this metacurrency project is about (at least my intent) is to find a way to rapidly build successful open source ventures (and over time: build an open source economy).  These open source ventures: generate incomes for the participants ($$, yen, Gold, Euros, food, etc.), automate the allocation of rewards based on contribution, and don’t require a corporate hierarchy/bureaucracy to  manage them (which ultimately dooms every corporation to stagnation/death/inefficiency). The short term objective of the project is to build a social network enabled Internet venture, using metacurrencies, that proves the concept.…