The Guardian / Angela Giuffrida / 01 April 2017
Italy has one of the most sluggish economies in the European Union, with the overall unemployment rate standing at 11.7% in January, figures from Istat, the national statistics agency, showed.
But there are some signs of recovery among small artisanal businesses, with hiring among them rising 2.3% in 2016, according to data from CNA, the national confederation of artisans and small businesses.
Claudio Giovine, a chief economist at CNA, said this is partly due to the economy in general performing mildly better and firms having more flexibility with work contracts.
There has been a trend among school leavers veering towards traditional trades, but also among graduates striking out alone, he added.
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In Tomorrow, the filmmakers meet with leading environmental experts who have developed practical schemes to face environmental and social challenges in search of solutions that can help save the next generations.
Transition Brockville / 25 March 2017
Transition Brockville’s Feb. 26 presentation featured Dr. Ellie Bennett, speaking on the International Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities, whose aims are to inspire creative, innovative, and effective ways for people and nature to thrive together in rural communities.
In future, that could mean Brockville and area residents will benefit from ICSRC initiatives ranging from hosting a freshwater institute, restoring wetlands and offering sustainability training for farmers, to sponsoring citizen science (such as a 24-hour bioblitz to do a species count in the area) and promoting setting up bee boxes in backyards.
Still in the formative stages, this not-for-profit centre (with charitable status) will be located in Downtown Brockville. It will be North America and Europe’s virtual and physical hub for achieving the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere program’s strategic objectives, focusing on building sustainable rural communities. Project proponents for the ICSRC are the Canadian Biosphere Reserves, Queen’s University, and the Aquatarium.
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We live in a time of tremendous political, environmental, and economic upheaval, which begs a profoundly important question: What should we do? We at Post Carbon Institute believe that, among other things, two areas of engagement are absolutely critical:
- Understand the true nature of the challenges we as a society face. What are the underlying, systemic forces at play? What brought us to this place? Acting without this understanding is like putting a band-aid on a life-threatening injury.
- Build community resilience. While we must also act in our individual lives and as national/global citizens, building community resilience is our greatest means of mitigating and adapting to the 21st century’s sustainability crises.
We’re offering this course — Think Resilience: Preparing Communities for the Rest of the 21st Century — to help you get started. You can either take it (consisting of 22 video lectures by Post Carbon Institute Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg, totaling about 4 hours) at your own leisure or participate in a six week long guided course, facilitated by Richard himself.
[ COURSE WEBSITE ]
The Guardian / George Monbiot / 08 February 2017
There are hundreds of examples of how this might begin, such as community shops, development trusts, food assemblies (communities buying fresh food directly from local producers), community choirs and free universities (in which people exchange knowledge and skills in social spaces). Also time banking (where neighbours give their time to give practical help and support to others), transition towns (where residents try to create more sustainable economies), potluck lunch clubs (in which everyone brings a homemade dish to share), local currencies, Men’s Sheds (in which older men swap skills and escape from loneliness), turning streets into temporary playgrounds (like the Playing Out project), secular services (such as Sunday Assembly), lantern festivals, fun palaces and technology hubs.
Turning such initiatives into a wider social revival means creating what practitioners call “thick networks”: projects that proliferate, spawning further ventures and ideas that weren’t envisaged when they started. They then begin to develop a dense, participatory culture that becomes attractive and relevant to everyone rather than mostly to socially active people with time on their hands.
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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.”
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