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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage.

Hyper-local markets provide big economic boost

Stacy Finz, San Francisco Chronicle
In 1997, only 70 people were employed at businesses on the block of 18th Street between Dolores and Guerrero streets in San Francisco. Today, when California’s unemployment rate is nearing 12 percent, there are 400 jobs.

Many in the city credit Bi-Rite Market, a specialty grocery store, with fueling the neighborhood’s economy, not just by bringing other businesses to the street but by supporting other Bay Area companies.

“Our (mission statement) is knowing the person behind the product, and having them be local makes that possible,” said Kirsten Bourne, marketing director at Bi-Rite. “Surely we sell Italian wines and French cheeses. But as much as possible we go with local.”
Model of the future

Michael Shuman – an economist, author and research director for Cutting Edge Capital, an Oakland company that specializes in innovative financing – calls a business such as Bi-Rite a “community food enterprise” and says it’s the model of the future.

So-called CFEs are locally owned, employ locals, and use mostly local goods and services.

“There’s good evidence to show that CFEs generate more jobs – two to four times the amount per dollar of sales – and generate more income and wealth for (their) communities than non-locally owned businesses, even ones that source goods from the area,” said Shuman, whose report “Community Food Enterprise: Local Success in the World Marketplace” shows how these types of businesses grow local economies while becoming more competitive globally.
(27 December 2011)

The New Metropolis:
Building a Sustainable and Healthy Bay Area in the Age of Global Warming

Torrice Productions

A two-part documentary film about America’s first suburbs and a community engagement project | Now airing on Public Television.

One of the most significant trends in American history has been the mass migration from urban centers to the suburbs. The wave of returning World War II veterans armed with their VA home loans in the 1950s fueled one of the most significant shifts in population in America. The suburbs created as part of that move were the embodiment of the American Dream.

Over the years, this continued suburban migration has resulted in much larger, less densely populated metropolitan areas, where new development occurs on the outskirts of our regions. Meanwhile, the urban core and early suburbs are left to fend for themselves.

Recently, first suburbs have been facing a range of issues once thought to afflict only urban cores: shrinking populations, abandonment, a dwindling tax base, and limited resources to maintain a good quality of life both for the people who live there and for attracting new residents. There are few or no resources to help these older suburbs rebuild themselves.

The New Metropolis is a pair of films that document some of the implications of our suburban migration. Both films illustrate how the plight of first suburbs is critical to the overall health of our metropolitan areas.

(January 2012)
I think this film was first released in 2009, but screening events are happening now. The website has many materials to help groups host screenings.

Suggested by Bay Localize (SF Bay Area) -BA

Will the Resilience Movement Help the World Cope With the Resource Crunch?

Al Bredenberg, Thomas Net
… I first encountered the idea of a “resilience movement” a year or two ago when I started paying attention to the Transition movement. Resilience is a key concept advocated by Transition founder Rob Hopkins. (See my previous article, “The Transition Movement – Preparing for a World After Peak Oil.”)

However, now I’m seeing the term “resilience” appearing in other contexts, such as in the green building movement, and even in a report from a top management-consulting firm.

Hopkins traces the idea of resilience as a societal trait back to the seminal 2006 book Resilience Thinking: Sustaining Ecosystems and People in a Changing World, by Brian Walker and David Salt. In their book, they write,

“At the heart of resilience thinking is a very simple notion — things change — and to ignore or resist this change is to increase our vulnerability and forego emerging opportunities. In so doing, we limit our options.”
(2 January 2012)

Resilience: The Next Big Word for 2012

Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit
… Watch for another word, which is hardly new, to gain traction during 2012. If that Mayan prediction that the world will end–almost end–rings true, this word will surge in use and popularity at the perfect time. And mercifully, it will not be “occupy.”

Resilience is a word that captures much of what has occurred over this past year: the Arab Spring; the anger that has boiled over into first the Tea Party and then the Occupy movements; strapped municipal budgets; and coping with an onslaught of natural and man-made disasters around the world. Whether we are talking about economic resilience, political resilience or social resilience, the R word captures what many at the grassroots are facing at a volatile time.

We watched the stoic Japanese demonstrate incredible resilience in March while the country’s federal government flailed about during the aftermath of Fukushima. Proud residents of Naples are bursting with incredible creativity as they deal with their city’s tortured battle with garbage while politicians in Italy squabble. Residents in various cities struggle to “green” their cities. In the Motor City, Detroit’s residents struggle to reinvent their city and gain green shoots of hope as its population and services crater. And yes, employees at corporations who lack the resources they need to do their jobs find ways to collaborate with other professionals within their companies and, at the same time, outside of their industries. Employees at Campbell Soup Company, Nike and even Walmart are showing resilience as they are tasked to do more with less.

Countries, such as Qatar, where the people have long been resilient before the discovery of natural resources, are preparing for an uncertain future in the event peak oil occurs. And with looming water crises that will hit people in countries of all climates and degrees of wealth, confronting a diminishing resource that we all thought was infinite will show outstanding examples of, yes, resilience.
(26 December 2012)

The Best of Permaculture Media 2011

Sophia Novack, Permaculture Media Blog
In 2011 Permaculture Media Blog published more than 1400 posts. This article is bringing you collection of 44 best webinars, documentaries, videos, eBooks and podcasts.

Chances are you missed a few gems here. So please join us on our brief journey back into time.

If you’ve ever considered getting into Permaculture, or if you’re a veteran Permaculturist who’s looking for a new skill to master, the following resources are the absolute best places for you to get started. Each of these books has the potential to introduce you to a whole new skill that you can enjoy for literally the rest of your life!

You will find here links to over 60 Free eBook previews and full eBooks!
I’m Sophia and Im studying documentary filmmaking in Prague (Czech Republic). Im for many years passionate permaculture and guerrilla gardening activist.
(January 2012)
Not quite sure of what to make of this long post on permaculture-realted topics. -BA