Ma’ikwe Schaub Ludwig is the Executive Director of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, the pioneering sustainability educator who heads up Ecovillage Education US, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Fellowship for Intentional Community. She believes strongly that sustainability is possible, assuming we can learn to cooperate, share and assess what really makes us happy, rather than staying bought in to the material excess culture we’ve been raised in.
Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada / 16 October 2016
October 16 – 22 is Co-op Week in Canada. A time to celebrate and to reflect on the many advantages our co-ops and mutuals bring to our lives as members, as well as to the Canadian economy.
This Co-op Week, CMC joins a global campaign of co-operators from 15 countries (and counting) who are asking “what if” our co-op advantages were well understood by all people, and available to more people? What if… those who know what a successful co-operative can do to improve people’s lives shared the news and dispelled the misperceptions about co-operation? It’s a message of hope for economic progress and working together. Please add your voice.
Common Dreams / Richard Heinberg / 20 September 2016
When it comes to forecasting the future, count me among the pessimists. I’m convinced that the consequences of decades of obsession with maintaining business-as-usual will be catastrophic. And those consequences could be upon us sooner than even some of my fellow pessimists assume.
Yet I’m not about to let this pessimism (or is it realism?) get in the way of doing what can still be done in households and communities to avert utter doom. And, while decades of failure in imagination and investment have foreclosed a host of options, I think there are still some feasible alternatives to business-as-usual that would actually provide significant improvements in most people’s daily experience of life.
The gap is where the action is. All else—whether fantasy or nightmare—is a distraction.
Friends of Public Services / Dru Jay / 13 September 2016
With a lockout of 50,000 postal workers appearing imminent, Friends of Public Services’ Director Dru Jay hit the road to spread the word about the postal workers’ bold proposals. Our goal was to bring together environmentalists, social movements, labour movement folks and postal workers to talk about how we can put the tremendous publicly-owned infrastructure of Canada Post to work towards addressing the climate crisis and improving quality of life for everyone in Canada.
In a total of 18 cities, we held local discussions featuring CUPW Local members and activists. We invited the public to imagine unlocking the transformative power of the post office.
Hundreds attended, and thousands heard about the tour and subsequent actions through media coverage.
It’s time we learned to embrace inefficiency. That may sound like heresy in a time when we are told that we must increase our competitiveness to become leaner, to increase productivity, to become more efficient to compete in the global marketplace. But it’s time we stop to reflect on how we use the term “efficient” and the consequences of this goal on the future employment prospects of millions of Canadians, and on the environment.
The burgeoning urban and near-urban agriculture trend in North America and around the world exemplifies how many small-scale, entrepreneurial businesses are inherently inefficient in how much labour they use. But this is something we should encourage and recognize as important for both economies and societies. When we talk about efficiency, we are usually talking about producing the most product or service for the least input or cost, including labour cost. But this definition of efficiency is counterproductive for job creation and for the environment.
Years ago, the great Austrian economist Leopold Kohr argued that overwhelming evidence from science, culture and biology all pointed to one unending truth: things improve with an unending process of division.
The breakdown ensured that nothing ever got too big for its own britches or too unmanageable or unaccountable. Small things simply worked best.
Kohr pegged part of the problem with bigness as “the law of diminishing sensitivity.” The bigger a government or market or corporation got, the less sensitive it became to matters of the neighbourhood.
In the end bigness, just like any empire, concentrated power and delivered misery, corruption and waste.
And that’s the problem today with the European Union, big corporations, large governments and a long parade of big trade pacts.
The Transition Towns movement aims toward veering away from excessive consumption – to deal with the conjoined problems of peak oil and climate change – but also in the belief that we may create an essentially more contented society, through building strong and resilient local communities. We will get to know our neighbours better, because we shall all need one another in the time to come.