By Niko Georgiades, P2P Foundation
Tools born from the internet, applied across autonomous networks and movements seeking alternatives to capitalism, are providing the infrastructure of alternative societies. In the last of our specials on community currencies and alternative economies, we showcase FairCoop, a self-organized and self-managed global cooperative created through the internet outside the domain of the nation-state.
By Bart Hawkins Kreps, An Outside Chance
Don’t expect a whole lot of taste when you sit down to a plateful of commodities. That might be a fitting but unintended lesson for foodies who work through the new book by Eric Holt-Giménez. A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism will reward a careful reader with lots of insights – but it won’t do much for the taste buds. While A Foodie’s Guide is lacking in recipes or menu ideas, it shines in helping us to understand the struggles of the men and women who work in the farms and packing plants.
By Kevin Stark, Shareable
SMart is a social enterprise founded in 1998 in Belgium. The project's aim is to simplify the careers of freelancers in cities across Europe where SMart operates. These days, there are many freelancer services — cooperatives, coworking spaces, unions — but at the time of its inception, SMart officials were focused on one subsection of this workforce: artists.
By Nick Hunt, Dark Mountain Project
From February to December 2017, the grounds of Compton Verney Art Gallery hosted a collaborative artwork by Alex Hartley and Tom James (who published part of his Future Manual here two years ago). Inspired by the utopian communities of the 1960s, the Clearing is a geodesic dome constructed from reclaimed materials on the shore of a lake, and occupied year-round by a succession of ‘caretakers’ – an evolving experiment in reskilling and living off grid, ‘a reconstruction of the future as it might be.’
By Dominique Krayenbuhl, Myriapode
In summary, we have on the one hand, scientists insisting that the biosphere is being gravely disrupted by our excesses; on the other hand economists telling us that if growth stops, the economy collapses. So what is the civically minded citizen to make out of this?
By Olaf Weber, Truzaar Dordi, Vasundhara Saravade, The Conversation
Recently, a number of institutional investors, including Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec in Canada and Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, announced their intent to reduce their exposure in investments linked to fossil fuels. The announcements show that investors withdraw their funds to either mitigate financial risks or for ethical reasons. But the question remains whether divestment and divestment announcements have a financial impact on the share price of fossil fuel companies.
By Steven French, Resilience.org
The thin edge of the wedge has arrived in Whitemore, Tasmania. Got a letter in the mail the other day from the international seed company, Bejo, asking me not to save my own vegetable seeds – specifically beetroot and silver beet. What the shit? Bejo say that they are growing beetroots for seed somewhere in Tasmania – they say not where.
By Ugo Bardi, Cassandra's legacy
The idea of the energy transition ("energiewende" in German) originated in the 1980s and gained legislative support in Germany in 2010. The idea is good and also technically feasible. But it requires sacrifices and, at present, sacrifices are politically unthinkable since most people don't realize how critical the situation really is. What we are doing for the transition seems to be is too little and too late.
By Chris Smaje, Small Farm Future
As I’ve mentioned, I recently visited Nicaragua as part of a research project on ‘Transitions to agro-ecological food systems’ that I’ve been involved with, conducted by the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. The research involved working with agro-ecological farmers in the UK, Senegal and Nicaragua, and the trip brought together some of the farmers and researchers from each country. In this post, I thought I’d offer a few informal reflections on the research, and the Nicaragua trip.
By Tom Whipple, ASPO - USA
In the wake of the OPEC decision to extend the production freeze, the oil markets were relatively quiet last week. Prices fell early in the week after the EIA reported a 6.78-million-barrel increase in the US gasoline inventory, but climbed later in the week on reports of near-record Chinese oil imports for November of more than 9 million b/d and concerns about the embassy-in-Jerusalem situation.
By Nathanael Johnson, Grist
For years, environmental justice advocates have been saying that it’s time to shift the focus of the environmental movement from beautiful landscapes and big animals to the people choking on black carbon or poisoned by lead in their water. Now, some of those people who grew up in dumping grounds have come into power and are shaping politics on the world stage. And when California sent a delegation to the U.N. climate conference in Bonn a few weeks ago, it was packed with members of the movement, including state Senator Ricardo Lara.
By Gerardo Torres, Open Democracy
In 2011, TIME magazine mentioned the sharing economy as one of the top 10 ideas that were going to change the world. According to the magazine, the main benefit of the sharing economy is social: "In a time when families are scattered and we do not necessarily know the people in our communities, sharing things – even with strangers that we just met online – allows us to establish meaningful connections".
By Trebor Scholz, Platform Cooperativism
The platform cooperativism movement intervenes at a moment of social crisis in the United States when ninety-four percent of jobs created over the past decade were not in the employment category. In 2016, over twelve million workers have made money on labor platforms. Much of that work is invisible with laborers often exploited, tucked away between algorithms. And over the long-term, as more labor markets shift to the Internet, it also matters that ownership of cloud services and social hangouts on the Internet is highly concentrated.
By Francis Thicke, Local Futures
There are two important things that I have learned during my five years on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). First, I learned that the NOSB review process for materials petitioned for inclusion on the National List is quite rigorous, with Technical Reviews of petitioned materials and careful scrutiny by both NOSB subcommittees and the full board. The second thing I learned, over time, is that industry has an outsized and growing influence on USDA – and on the NOSB (including through NOSB appointments) – compared to the influence of organic farmers, who started this organic farming movement.
By Todd Miller, Tom Dispatch
Talking with those farmers in the Tenosique train yard felt, in a way, like a scene from a sequel to the movie The Road in which a father and son walk across a post-apocalyptic North America devastated by an unknown cataclysm. In reality, though, I was just in a typical border zone of the Anthropocene,
By Rob Hopkins, Rob Hopkins blog
While the media is full of the story of the declaration of independence of Catalonia and the subsequent response by the Spanish national government, what is not being told so much is the very real, and remarkable, story of the municipalist approach that has risen there, and elsewhere in Spain.
By Marilyn Hagle, caucus99percent
NOW the Path Forward is an educational website based on Moodle (http://moodle.org). It's purpose is to grow solutions under an open source umbrella and use the educational tools such as wikis for collaboration. In this scenario, the teachers are actually teacher/moderators and the students are student/collaborators. Do not think of the courses in a traditional sense, but rather as work space. Participants can contribute at any level they prefer. Lurking is allowed.
By Feidhlim Harty, Permaculture Association
If we want to create sustainable, healthy systems to support us, we cannot rely on such a fickle friend as fossil energy for electricity generation to keep our sewage treatment systems running smoothly. Quite apart from the increasing potential for power cuts in a changing world, when conventional sewage infrastructure “runs smoothly” it is still heavily reliant on the constant use of electricity to convert biomass and nutrients into somewhat less polluting effluent before disposing to our rivers and coastal waters. Clearly in a world desperately in need of solutions that work, this needs to change.
By Sarah van Gelder, YES! magazine
Steinke's advice for others who want to make a difference: “Show up, speak up, and make your case repeatedly. Without advocates, nothing happens. Elected officials don’t want to rock the boat, but if you rock it, they will be receptive.” And, if Steinke’s experience is any indication, the deeper sense of community and commitment that results could be oxygen for local revolution.
By Mark Hand, Climate Progress
Ferocious wildfires are raging across Southern California, destroying hundreds of homes adorned with holiday decorations and forcing thousands of residents to flee. With high winds expected to continue, forecasters are warning that dangerous fires could endanger the region for days. California is susceptible to fires year-round, but the worst of the wildfires aren’t supposed to occur this late into the year.
By Joel Stronberg, Civil Notion
Today’s part continues the discussion highlighting the nominating and confirmation process for federal judges and justices of the Supreme Court. The process has become more one-sided in recent years. Today’s article also introduces readers to some of the (mostly white) men Trump has appointed and the principal group behind their nominations.
By Tessa Tricks, Sustainable Food Trust
This past spring, I joined 41 others in the project #OurField, co-invest in a crop. Together with a farmer, we decided what to grow, how to grow it and what we would do with the crop. #OurField is a co-operative grains movement seeking to shift our relationship with food and its production, and working to make the food system a fairer place for farmers.
By Chris Nelder, The Energy Transition Show
Amid all the unavoidable uncertainty in modeling warming and the effects of our actions, what do we really know about how much warming we might see in the future? If it turned out that our carbon budget is larger than we used to think it was, would that change our policy direction? And which policy paths should we advocate?
By Anya Grenier, The Climate Mobilization blog
On Tuesday December 5, thanks to the efforts of TCM organizers, the County Council of Montgomery County, Maryland unanimously passed a resolution declaring climate emergency -- making it the first county in the nation to do so. The County also moved its emissions reductions goal up from 80% in 2050 to 100% by 2035, and is newly greatly emphasizing the need for developing and scaling the county’s capacity for carbon drawdown.
By Ian Angus, Climate and Capitalism
How serious is the loss of species globally? Are material cycles in an ecosystem with few species changed? In order to find this out, the “Jena Experiment” was established in 2002, one of the largest biodiversity experiments worldwide.
By Niko Georgiades, P2P Foundation
In the second of our three part series on alternative economies and community currencies, we spotlight Kenya’s Sarafu-Credit. Community currencies are types of complimentary currencies shared within a community that are utilized as a means of countering inequality, class, debt, accumulation, and exclusion.
By David MacLeod, Integral Permaculture
I suggest we join Morin and Pogany in renouncing the irrational exuberance that expects irresistible progress and economic growth extending to infinity. To break out of this cognitive prison habit may be very challenging indeed. However, at some point there will be no choice. It’s time to stop digging that hole that we think is taking us up the mountain
By Gunnar Rundgren, Garden Earth
For each person on the planet, about 1500 kcal of plants is used daily to feed animals. In return we get just some 500 kcal per capita per day in the form of animal foodstuffs. The 1000 kcal that is “lost” in this transformation would be enough to feed another 3 billion people. Isn’t it a no-brainer that we rather should eat plants than animals? One could think so. But the reality is a bit more complicated than that.
By Chris Moore-Backman, YES! magazine
I turned my gaze from the smoke and looked again at the book in my lap, Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution, by climate scientist Peter Kalmus. The page I had been reading would eventually lead to here: “Few people respond to facts… While intellect certainly plays a role, it’s a rather small one. Our dire ecological crisis calls us to go deeper.”
By Susan Peterson Gateley
French philosopher Jean Vanier once wrote “Love is not to do things for people. It is not to tell people what to do. It is to reveal.” That is the goal of both the video as well as this work. To show the lake's beauty, gifts, our thoughtless use of it, and to reveal an alternate way and possible new relationship with our water.
By Jason Hickel, Jason Hickel blog
Branko Milanovic has written 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.
By Eric Holthaus, Grist
If you’re like me, you’ve probably been ignoring the bitcoin phenomenon for years — because it seemed too complex, far-fetched, or maybe even too libertarian. But if you have any interest in a future where the world moves beyond fossil fuels, you and I should both start paying attention now.
By Mark Kernan, Open Democracy
I thought of Jung’s pre-World War One visions when I read of the stirring of the sleeping ice giants of East Antarctica earlier this year. According to recent research, one of those glaciers—the Totten (larger than the state of California)—is moving slowly towards the Southern Ocean as a result of global warming, with the potential to raise sea levels by 3.5 metres in future decades.
By Joel Stronberg, Civil Notion
This begins a new series of commentaries on the impact the Trump presidency and the current Republican Congressional majorities are having on federal climate change policies. The emphasis of the series is not on executive branch actions to revise and rescind existing environmental regulations nor on Congressional efforts to amend or to abolish current climate-related laws—although these actions will be discussed.
By Shareable Staff, Shareable
Around the globe, seed lending libraries have been sprouting up in public libraries. The seed libraries function very much like regular libraries, except instead of books, you check out seeds and bring them back once you've harvested them. These programs aim to improve access to seeds and preserve seeds for future generations. Seed libraries are just one way people can share seeds.
By Brian Frederick, Food Tank
A new report from the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) discusses the results of the 2017 National Young Farmer Survey. The number of American farmers is decreasing and their average age is increasing, as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This survey examines the needs and challenges of young farmers to determine how to encourage a new generation of farmers.
By Saral Sarkar, Saral Sarkar blog
In his article, Richard Smith calls upon his readers to "change the conversation". He asks, "What are your thoughts?" He says, if we don't "come up with a viable alternative, our goose is cooked." I fully agree. So I join the conversation, in order to improve it.
By Joe Brewer, Medium
I often get pushback when making the argument that research in cultural evolutionary studies can be applied to real-world social problems at community scales. What I find fascinating is that the concerns brought forth — that there are unintended consequences, it might be perceived as manipulative or unethical, or simply that we don’t know enough about how to do it — all exemplify an incredible blind spot about how much applied cultural evolution ALREADY EXISTS as mature practices with decade-long track records of success.
By Brian Davey, Feasta
Guy Standing’s The Corruption of Capitalism (Biteback Publishing 2017) is a powerful attack on rentier capitalism and, very explicitly, a call to revolt. It is very informative and the detailed factual descriptions that Standing puts before his readers are intended to make them angry. He succeeded with me and probably will with most readers.
By Bart Hawkins Kreps, An Outside Chance
The gradual climb in oil prices in recent weeks has revived hopes that US shale oil producers will return to profitability, while also renewing fevered dreams of the US becoming a fossil fuel superpower once again. Helen Thompson looks at the same shale oil revolution and draws strikingly different conclusions, both about the future of the oil economy and about the effects on US relations with OPEC, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.
By Jody Tishmack, Anima/Soul
I wonder if the process of learning and discovering with our senses isn’t really what makes us human, what makes our life worthwhile. Perhaps this is how as humans we evolved our ‘big’ brains, our specialized neural networks. Maybe in exploring the word with our senses and trying to make sense of it all, we developed language in order to tell stories, we developed writing in order to keep records, and in the process we advanced our social group from tribes into culture and from culture into civilizations.
By Zeke Hausfather, Carbon Brief
Over the past three years, global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels have remained relatively flat. However, early estimates from the Global Carbon Project (GCP) using preliminary data suggest that this is likely to change in 2017 with global emissions set to grow by around 2%, albeit with some uncertainties.