One year on, no lessons learnt? – Vikalp Sangam

A very good critique of “development” in India

This is a Longer version of the recently published article Are we listening to the lessons taught in the first year of Covid-19?

Local self-reliance for basic needs, and localized exchanges of products and services, are far more effective in securing people’s lives than are long-distance markets and employment opportunities. In the nearly 75 years since Independence, we could have geared economic policies that facilitated and encouraged such self-reliance. Rather than incentivize big industry to take over most production, virtually all household goods and needs – soaps, footwear, furniture, utensils, clothes, energy, even housing, and of course food and drinks – could have been produced in a decentralized manner by thousands of communities.

https://vikalpsangam.org/article/one-year-on-no-lessons-learnt/

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Review: Tim Jackson’s Post Growth – Life after capitalism

Tim Jackson’s Prosperity Without Growth is one of the most influential books on the postgrowth bookshelf, written in the wake of the financial crisis and clearly articulating the limits of economic growth as a measure of success. This book also comes in the wake of crisis, a time when “alongside an uncomfortable reminder of what matters most in life, we were being given a history lesson in what economics looks like when growth disappears completely.”

http://earthbound.report/2021/03/29/book-review-post-growth-by-tim-jackson?s=09

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What the Ever Given saga could teach us about the world

Washington Post, 30 March 2021 – https://tinyurl.com/38ws8xx4

The mishap led to the huge container ship choking off the Suez Canal, a man-made strait that sees more than a tenth of all global shipping pass through every year, for almost a week, serving as a reminder of the extent to which the global economy still moves on sea — that is, about of 70% of all international trade. The ship’s journey saw it conveying goods from Asia to Europe. It ran aground amid a Middle Eastern sandstorm and was rescued by a multinational coalition that included Japanese and Dutch salvage teams and local Egyptian tugboat operators. The ship’s 25 crew members were all Indian nationals, part of a legion of close to 2 million seafarers — many from impoverished backgrounds in South and Southeast Asia — who literally keep international trade moving. Thanks to coronavirus-era border restrictions, hundreds of thousands of sailors have languished aboard their often cramped ships beyond the terms of their contracts, invisible workers in what one captain described as the “shadow sector” of the global economy. The ship’s ordeal also highlighted the fragility of the global economy. Over the past half- century capacity on cargo ships has mushroomed by about 1,500%, expanding the range of available consumer goods and lowering prices around the world. The vulnerabilities of an interdependent world, where one product may be produced and delivered through supply chains threading multiple continents, are also on show. Even shipments that don’t go through Suez will be affected, as factories wait on essential components arriving from elsewhere before they can make products to send off. It highlights a world of choke points and how important a handful of key maritime passages is to the whole global economy, as well as the strategic calculations of regional powers, including potential standoffs between rival navies. China is dependent on vast imports of oil and iron ore and has arguably structured the bulk of its foreign policy – including its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative – to secure its far-flung trade networks. China imports nearly 3/4 of the oil it consumes, as well as about 4/5 of the iron ore it uses to fuel its frantic pace of infrastructure buildout – not to mention most of the goods exports it uses to obtain hard currency to pay for these commodities, making it peculiarly vulnerable to maritime blockades. Choke points such as the Suez Canal are bound to be even greater sites of geopolitical rivalry and tension, highlighting the need for world powers to figure out a collective system for administering them. [And all the more reason for us to find ways to live better with less in a world already consuming more that our planet can safely produce!]

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Are Environmentalists No Wiser than Monkeys Reaching for the Moon?

A fairy tale comparing monkeys cooperating to get the moon out of a lake to environmentalists pursuing a consumer economy based on renewable energy – blanketing the Earth with solar panels and wind turbines –
reaching for the mere illusion of sustainability rather than sustainability itself. The monkeys stand for unenlightened people who cannot distinguish between reality and illusion. Reminds me too of Trump supporters still trying to reverse the US election results.

https://mailchi.mp/e8970abba035/are-environmentalists-no-wiser-than-monkeys-reaching-for-the-moon?e=d41c59ca34

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Fossil Fuel Pollution Kills Eight Million a Year

On Feb. 9, the journal Environmental Research published a study conducted by three British universities and Harvard, titled “Global mortality from outdoor fine particle pollution generated by fossil fuel combustion: Result from GEOS-Chem.” While it seems like just another research article, its findings call into question the whole economic and political foundations of modern civilization.
https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2021/02/16/Fossil-Fuel-Pollution-Kills-Eight-Million-Annually

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Degrowth Conferences in 2020 & 2021 – helpful info and links from degrowth.info

The rhythm of the international degrowth gatherings and discussions in 2020 and 2021 adapted and adapts to present circumstances.
The <degrowth.info> web site has provided some useful links here to past and upcoming gatherings and discussions.

In 2021, compatibly with the constantly changing travel regulations, they encourage you to consider either physical or remote participation in:

– a Joint International Conference with Ecological Economics, originally announced as the 7th Degrowth / 16th ISEE International Society for Ecological Economics Conference, with a clear thematic focus on ecological economics (Manchester, July 2021); and

– the 8th International Conference on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity, hosted by a range of diverse degrowth actors from the Netherlands, with a broad thematic focus aiming to expand the frontiers of degrowth research and activism (The Hague, 24-28 August 2021). See here.

After the first edition in Christiania, Copenhagen, in 2018 prior to the Malmö 6th conference, we will support the organisation of the second Pre-conference International Meeting of the Degrowth Movement in The Hague immediately before the 8th International Degrowth Conference.

In 2020, three degrowth-related events were held online:

– The International Conference “Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Strategies for Social-Ecological Transformation” (May 29 – June 1; See here). You can watch all the sessions in our library, by searching “Degrowth Vienna 2020”.
Speakers included Susan Paulson, Juliet Schor and Miriam Lang. A hundred academic, activist, and artistic sessions and workshops were held.

– The Degrowth Summer Schools in the UK and Barcelona were postponed, and instead were organized as the Degrowth talks (29 April – 27 May). Watch the UK materials here.

– A symposium specifically focused on the implications of Covid19 for ecological economics and degrowth, was held at the time of the formerly announced 7th conference in Manchester (September 2020; See here).

The Support Group understands that, in changing global scenarios, our conferences might change from what we have been used to so far. Your proposals and suggestions are welcome.

We won’t get back to normal because normal was the problem. Keep up the fight!

The Support Group of the International Conferences on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability & Social Equity

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Wisdom from the oil fields?

It isn’t often I find somewhat enlightening articles in the NYT, but this one struck me as worth the “long” read (3000 words). Smith’s outline of the history and dangers of our fossil fuel dependency is useful, but so is his inclusion of an all too brief glance at a necessary transition, not only to alternative energy technologies but also to simpler, convivial local economies and cooperative lifestyles. He’s hardly in my slowcialist world, but for me he has captured some of the elements of Ulrich Ducrow’s 1995 “Alternatives to Global Capitalism” and our urgent need to find some dynamic global combination of alternative communities of living examples (of which there are already tens of thousands) and working within and against the “system”, not just to reform it but completely re-design and re-set it – a huge challenge, as most of us know.

Bob

Opinion: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/05/opinion/fossil-fuel-oil-climate-change.html

The First Step Is Admitting You Have a Problem
What my time working on a North Dakota oil patch taught me about America’s fossil fuel addiction — and how to curb it.

Credit…Artwork by Scott Gelber

By Michael Patrick F. Smith, NYT Feb. 5, 2021

Mr. Smith is a folk singer and playwright based in Kentucky. He is the author of the forthcoming “The Good Hand: A Memoir of Work, Brotherhood, and Transformation in an American Boomtown,” a book about his time working on the oil fields of North Dakota.

Look around you: chances are that every object within your field of vision contains refined petroleum.

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Investigative documentary sheds a light on the World Bank’s role in helping ExxonMobil exploit one of the biggest fossil fuel discoveries of our time.

Berlin, Washington D.C. | October 16th 2020

As the World Bank conducts its Annual Meeting, an investigative documentary sheds a light on the Bank’s role in helping ExxonMobil exploit one of the biggest fossil fuel discoveries of our time.

[Canadian
content note: Alison Redford, the disgraced Premier of the
Canadian oil sands province of Alberta, was paid in August
2020 by the Canadian High Commission in Georgetown Guyana to
provide advice to the Government of Guyana concerning the
proposal by Exxon-Mobil. Exxon-Mobil owns 60.9% of Imperial
Oil of Canada, which has contributed regularly to the
Progressive Conservative party of Alberta for which Alison
Redford was a Member of the Legislative Assembly.  There
would appear to be a conflict of interest in the hiring,
with Canadian taxpayers’ funds, of a politician who has
benefited from political party donations from the company
she was hired to evaluate. ]

120 miles off the coast of Guyana lies one of the largest crude discoveries in recent history: 13.6 billion barrels of oil and 32 trillion cubic feet of natural gas are the current estimate for known reserves in the entire offshore basin. ExxonMobil is the leading fossil fuel company in this massive drilling program, which has benefited from Guyana receiving considerable budget support and technical assistance from the World Bank. Together, BigOil and the World Bank Group risk turning Guyana into the world’s latest victim of the oil curse, further fuelling the global climate crisis.

After months of research, interviews with experts and a fact finding mission completed just before the global pandemic, the documentary “Carbon Bomb” now premieres on YouTube. The film sheds a light on how public finance can be used to help ailing oil giants exploit a country’s resources under the guise of public assistance.

Watch the full documentary here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chmOgYB7DGk

Contact:
For questions about the film or introductions to any of the protagonists and experts, please contact the Film’s Director:
Shane Thomas McMillan, Independent Filmmaker
shanethomasmcmillan – http://shanemcmillan.com/

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Guardian: Could covid degrowth have helped save the planet?

Slowdown of human activity was too short to reverse years of destruction, but we saw a glimpse of post-fossil fuel world.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/29/could-covid-lockdown-have-helped-save-the-planet?utm_term=8e65cf71ab81da53711a2aa69b324337&utm_campaign=GreenLight&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&CMP=greenlight_email

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The Transition to a Post-Capitalist World

Bob Thomson, April 10, 2017

An exciting new paradigm of transition to a post-capitalist world is unfolding in the forms of platform cooperativism, open source peer to peer manufacturing, agricultural and production technologies and convivial degrowth. It proposes a reduction of our societal and industrial metabolism to a level that is sustainable on our limited planet, based on the commons, i.e. resources and governance more in the hands of community and social movements than of individuals or corporations or authoritarian and/or sectarian political elites. I present here an overview of why we need this transition,  some elements of what it might look like and an introduction to the largely European peer to peer and convivial degrowth movements.

http://web.net/~bthomson/geocities/The_Transition_to_a_Post_Capitalist_World.pdf

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