Doomsday narratives about climate change don’t work

When we present humanity as a hopeless victim of climate change, we are less likely to act because the ending seems inevitable… In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement, city leaders publicly committed to limit their greenhouse gas emissions. Their determination provided the foundation for an optimistic conversation about climate change solutions despite national inaction.

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When does the Commons Transition begin? – Resilience

Commons include not only the gifts of nature, like water and land, but also shared assets or creative work, such as cultural and knowledge artifacts. Commons are a shared resource, co-governed by its user community, according to the norms of that community. Considering the historical depths of the Commons, it’s difficult to agree on one definition that encompasses its full potential for social, economic, cultural and political change. The Commons is not the resource, the community that gathers around it, or the rules of how is is managed, it’s the evolving interaction between all these things. Why is the Commons steadily gathering attention as a concept and practice? And what happens next?

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Grenfell Tower will forever stand as a rebuke to the right

Johnathan Freeland in the Guardian

Grenfell Tower threatens to stand forever as a warning against four of the defining features of our era. First, deregulation – elevated to an ideal by the free marketeers of Thatcherism and pursued ever since. Protections for consumers or workers or residents have long been recast and despised as “red tape”, choking plucky entrepreneurs. A favourite slogan of the right was the promise of “a bonfire of regulations”. Well, they got their bonfire all right.

Second, and related, is privatisation, an animating ideal for the right since the mid-1980s. Grenfell Tower will surely endure as proof that there are some aspects of our lives that do not belong in the realm of profit.

Third comes austerity, which has depleted the ranks of housing officers and safety inspectors across the country. Hardly an excuse in the Royal Borough, mind you, which is said to have £300m sitting in a contingency fund… The local authority and its arm’s length management company decided to save a grand total of £4,750 by opting for the cheaper and more flammable version of cladding for this tower.

But most obviously, Grenfell Tower is a story of inequality, of the poor herded into a cramped building made unsafe because it was prettified to improve the view of the nearby rich.

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Degrowth is anything but a strategy to reduce the size of GDP | P2P Foundation

Following up on Jeroen van den Bergh’s excellent review of the growth versus climate debate, Giorgos Kallis points to a fundamental misrepresentation of the quoted research on degrowth: degrowth is not a strategy „aimed at reducing the size of the GDP“.

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Remembering John Dillon – KAIROS Canada

KAIROS is shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our dear friend and colleague John Dillon.

John was a great friend and a “student” of Degrowth. His quiet and solid research over decades motivated and mobilised thousands of Canadians to action on many many social, political and economic issues. He will be deeply missed.

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Social metabolism and accounting tools

The application of the biological concept of metabolism (‘Stoffwechsel’) to social systems can be traced back to Marx who, influenced by Liebig and Moleschott, talked about the ‘metabolism between man and nature as mediated by the labour process’. Such a biophysical approach to the economy was not unusual at the turn of the nineteenth century but arguably did not form an integrated school of thought until recently (Martinez Alier and Schlupmann, 1987). This biological analogy grew from the observation that biological systems (organisms, but also higher-level systems such as ecosystems) and socio-economic systems (human societies, economies, companies, households, etc.) decisively depend on a continuous throughput of energy and materials in order to maintain their internal structure (Fischer-Kowalski and Haberl, 1993).

Today, a number of standardised methods exist for accounting for energy flow, material flow and land use aspects, provides the basis for empirical analyses of the biophysical structure of economies and for developing strategies towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns. These methods include material and energy flow analysis (MEFA), life cycle analysis (LCA), life cycle inventory (LCI) and life cycle impact assessment (LCIA), and also input-output analysis (IOA) (Weisz, 2006). Other instruments in the social metabolic toolkit include HANPP, EROI and Virtual Water, as well as related concepts such as ecological footprinting, and ecological rucksacks.

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Degrowth: the case for a new economic paradigm | openDemocracy

Unbridled growth appears to be at odds with social well-being and environmental sustainability. How might we develop a model that reduces the imperative for growth while maintaining economic stability?

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