On a visit to Barcelona last week, I learned a great deal about the City’s pioneering role in developing “the city as a commons.” I also learned that crystallizing a new commons paradigm – even in a city committed to cooperatives and open digital networks – comes with many gnarly complexities. The Barcelona city government is led by former housing[Read More…]
Post Tagged with: "Counter Solutions"
Can there be a collective search for paradigms and pathways towards a world that is sustainable, equitable and just? How can such frameworks and visions build on an existing heritage of ideas and worldviews and cultures, and on past or new grassroots practice? How can they be fundamentally different from today’s dominant economic and political system, which has brought[Read More…]
I’d been hoping to pay another visit to the Peasant’s Republic of Wessex, but red tape has been holding me up at the border so it’ll have to wait probably for another couple of weeks. Instead, I thought I’d offer a few top-of-the-head thoughts on Felicity Lawrence’s recent article about agricultural pesticide use in The Guardian – or, more specifically,[Read More…]
We are only gradually beginning to realize that global common-pool resources are assets to humankind that should be managed as commons. Wasting them would be disastrous. We are trustees of these assets and thus, trustees for future generations. We have the duty to invest so as to increase or at least maintain these assets
Buen Vivir is a proposal aimed at making visible and expressible aspects of reality that are ignored by the dominant paradigm. It is a proposal from a radical and spiritual perspective of ecology, and is logically incompatible with development and industrialization. It speaks of the possibility of living in common, for which the very concept “development” is not only insufficient but mistaken.
The truth is we don’t know. We pretend that we can continue to dodge the mass terrors like the one a generation ago, where we eluded a nuclear annihilation. It is now more often that we find asking ourselves, that for how long the Earth will last, when we have poisoned the water and soils and trampled thousands of creatures[Read More…]
The legalization of setting up a Community Radio Station came after a long and voiced revolution from various grass-root organizations, individuals and communities. Community Radio is not just something which is feeding the people’s mind with few people’s choices, interests and beliefs, its inception goes back to the logic of providing Voice to the Voiceless, Being A Tool of Development[Read More…]
Introduction With characteristic insight, the great American philosopher, John Dewey, once wrote: ‘Every generation has to accomplish democracy over again for itself.’ His point was that, at each moment in history, citizens and nations inevitably face unique challenges and problems, so we should not assume the democratic institutions and practices inherited from the past will be adequate for the conditions of[Read More…]
The current state of American politics must make us question whether any of our leaders in the Beltway can be described as “grown-ups”, i.e., fully mature and sane individuals. Between the endless war crimes, corporate corruption, lobbyists who bribe congressmen and write legislation, and the ineptitude of federal entities who are supposed to protect our health such as the FDA,[Read More…]
Cuba has come a long way since the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the loss of imports crucial for the island nation’s industrial agriculture system—such as chemical pesticides and fertilizers—left Cuba with a severe food crisis in the 1990s. Today, Cuba has become a regional leader in sustainable agricultural research. Within its practices and institutions lies a model for[Read More…]
Land and people have suffered together, as invariably they must. Under the rule of industrial economics, the land, our country, has been pillaged for the enrichment, supposedly, of those humans who have claimed the right to own or exploit it without limit. Of the land-community much has been consumed, much has been wasted, almost nothing has flourished. But this has not been inevitable. We do not have to live as if we are alone.
“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…]
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
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…
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…]
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…]
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
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.”
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…]
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…]
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.
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…]
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.
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.
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.
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…]