Transition Brockville archive

Tag : Economic disruption (125)

Transition meets Degrowth on a Caribbean island

earthbook.tv / 01 February 2017

Naresh Giangrande, co-founder of the Transition Movement, in conversation with Richard Swift, author of “SOS Alternatives to Capitalism” and an editor of the New Internationalist magazine. Brought together in the Caribbean island of Dominica, with Earthbooktv’s Jessica Canham and Timothy Speaks Fishleigh at the Earthbook retreat centre in the mountains of Dominica.

Alternative investment options in the cleantech space

Corporate Knights / Jason Visscher / 11 January 2017

Canadians who want to invest in environmental solutions and clean technologies (cleantech) – the sector of companies that minimizes the impacts of non-renewable resource use – have several options. Some of these are available to retail investors wary of choosing individual stocks or volatile passive funds characterized by hype and cynicism.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

WEF: Climate change is the world’s biggest risk

Climate Central / Brian Kahn / 12 January 2017

The rise of the machines isn’t the biggest threat to humanity. It’s climate change, extreme weather and other environmental factors.

The World Economic Forum surveyed 750 experts on what the most likely and impactful risks facing humanity are in 2017. In a report released Thursday, they ranked extreme weather as the most likely risk and the second-most impactful, trailing only the use of weapons of mass destruction. Climate change is responsible for driving an increase in the likelihood and intensity of extreme weather events, notably heat waves.

Failing to adapt to or mitigate climate change and a host of other climate-connected risks including water and food crises and involuntary migration also rank in the top 10.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

2017 – A sea of exponentials

Peak Prosperity / Chris Martenson / 31 December 2016

“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” ~ Al Bartlett

Perhaps the most vexing challenge remains how to more effectively communicate the various predicaments and problems we face.

It’s not having more numbers, or more data, that’s for sure. If numbers and data worked then we’d have taken a very different path sometime back in the 1950’s.

As Admiral Hyman Rickover said in a speech to a group of doctors in 1957:

“I think no further elaboration is needed to demonstrate the significance of energy resources for our own future. Our civilization rests upon a technological base which requires enormous quantities of fossil fuels. What assurance do we then have that our energy needs will continue to be supplied by fossil fuels: The answer is – in the long run – none.

The earth is finite. Fossil fuels are not renewable. In this respect our energy base differs from that of all earlier civilizations. They could have maintained their energy supply by careful cultivation. We cannot.

Fuel that has been burned is gone forever. Fuel is even more evanescent than metals. Metals, too, are non-renewable resources threatened with ultimate extinction, but something can be salvaged from scrap. Fuel leaves no scrap and there is nothing man can do to rebuild exhausted fossil fuel reserves. They were created by solar energy 500 million years ago and took eons to grow to their present volume.

In the face of the basic fact that fossil fuel reserves are finite, the exact length of time these reserves will last is important in only one respect: the longer they last, the more time do we have, to invent ways of living off renewable or substitute energy sources and to adjust our economy to the vast changes which we can expect from such a shift. Fossil fuels resemble capital in the bank.

A prudent and responsible parent will use his capital sparingly in order to pass on to his children as much as possible of his inheritance. A selfish and irresponsible parent will squander it in riotous living and care not one whit how his offspring will fare.

(Source)

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Sustainable activism: Managing hope and despair

resilience.org / Paul Hoggett, Rosemary Randall / 14 December 2016

Sustainable activism has what Gramsci called a ‘pessimism of the intellect’ which can avoid wishful thinking and face reality as squarely as possible. However it also retains an ‘optimism of the will’, an inner conviction that things can be different. By holding optimism and pessimism in tension, sustainable activism is better able to handle despair, and it has less need to resort to binary thinking as a way of engaging with reality. It can hold contradictions so that they don’t become either/or polarities and can work both in and against the system.

Whilst it believes there can be no personal change without political change it is equally insistent that there can be no political change without personal change. It insists optimistically that those who are not against us must be with us, and therefore carries a notion of ‘us’ which is inclusive and generous, one which offers the benefit of the doubt to the other.

Finally, sustainable activism holds that it is never too late. In the context of climate change it is able to face the truth that some irreversible processes of change are already occurring; that the two degrees limit in the increase in global temperatures agreed at the 2015 Paris climate conference may not be achieved; that bad outcomes are inevitable, and that some are already happening. Nevertheless it also insists that this makes our struggles all the more vital to reduce the scale and significance of these future outcomes, to fight for the ‘least-worst’ results we can achieve, and to ensure that the world of our grandchildren and their children is as habitable as possible.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

The end of growth and the rise of Trump

The Tyee / Andrew Nikiforuk / 10 November 2016

trump-protestThe economist Raúl Ilargi Meijer wrote an interesting essay explaining why there is a Donald Trump in September. He credited Trump’s rise to “the most important global development in decades.”

That development, says Meijer, is “the end of global economic growth, which will lead inexorably to the end of centralization (including globalization). It will also mean the end of the existence of most, and especially the most powerful, international institutions.”

“In the same way it will be the end of — almost — all traditional political parties, which have ruled their countries for decades and are already today at or near record low support levels (if you’re not clear on what’s going on, look there, look at Europe!),” he wrote.

“This is not a matter of what anyone, or any group of people, might want or prefer, it’s a matter of ‘forces’ that are beyond our control, that are bigger and more far-reaching than our mere opinions, even though they may be man-made.”

The end of growth is tied inexorably to the deplorable quality of energy now being fracked and mined in North America. Bitumen and fracked oil just can’t support rich societies because these poor resources invite debt, environmental ruin and poor returns.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

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The Transition Framework

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.

— Chris Rhodes, Resource Insights (03 June 2013)
TB Projects

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