Building a world of
resilient communities.

ISIL and the Confused Energy Picture

For everyone following today’s energy developments the overall picture is confusing, to say the least.

Preserving the sources of life

The term “the commons” is typically defined as land or resources belonging to or affecting the whole of a community.

To power up or power down? That is the question

Recently I read that our challenge in the twenty-first century is to triple global energy demand “so that the world’s poorest can enjoy modern living standards, while reducing our carbon emissions from energy production to zero”.

Oil crunch and Eurozone crisis

We are three and a half years into the Eurozone crisis that kicked off in October 2009 when Greek minister of finance George Papaconstantinou made it apparent to the outside world that his country's budget was essentially a gaping hole. The recent bailout (or bail-in where depositors and creditors have to pay their share) of the Cyprus banks is just the latest chapter in this ongoing story of …

Japan as the new normal: Living in a constrained economy

I am struggling to come to terms with the possibility that Japan may economically be the “new normal”. By “new normal” I mean a situation where the economy is in recession for prolonged periods of time, seeing only fleeting periods of growth. My struggle relates to the fact that conventional wisdom would suggest that after two decades of recessionary tendencies, Japan …

Energy innovation and traditional knowledge

Many indigenous territories have tremendous wind, solar, biomass and geothermal resources, and there are varying opinions as to whether energy-related climate change mitigation activities are having a positive or negative impact on local and indigenous communities.

The roots of cooperative capitalism run deep in Japan

So what are cooperatives? They are business enterprises owned and controlled by the very members that they serve. This means that decisions made in cooperatives are usually made by balancing the pursuit of profit, and the needs and interests of members and their communities.

Are oil subsidies worth the price?

With peak oil moving closer globally and with oil prices spiking yet again (bouncing around over US$100 per barrel), subsidies become economically unsustainable. So the question becomes: at what point should a government begin to decrease an oil subsidy and how, if ever, can this be done without severely impacting the poorest?

Future of food in Japan

One concern is how import-dependent Japan might cope with the advent of the peak of oil production and a possible oil price crunch. Paul Stevens at Chatham House, one of the world’s leading think tanks, argued in 2008 that an oil crunch could occur when the oil price goes over US$200 per barrel with severe macro-economic impacts....While other reports place the peak of world oil production at …

From mountain to sea: A vision for the rebuilding of Tohoku

Why would a fisher care about the forest? The person to ask is Shigeatsu Hatakeyama, an oyster farmer from Kesennuma in Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture. We can learn a great deal from Hatakeyama. He is one of those rare types of people who can see beyond the day-to-day preoccupation of how to make a living — in his case, with an oyster farm — and instead embrace the world around them.