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News from the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability (FEASTA) co-founded by Richard Douthwaite
Following the May Food for Thought collaborative event, which FEASTA organised in partnership with Afri, Teacht Anair, Food Sovereignty Ireland and the IEN-organised National Biodiversity Week, Caroline Whyte sends news of an event Elements of Change, in Cloughjordan ecovillage, Co Tipperary, on June 29, organised by Cultivate, which will feature Rob Hopkins among others. The Cultivate website has more details.
Now that we have declared a climate and biodiversity emergency, what are we going to do about it? Reimagine how we transition to a low carbon, biodiverse and just society.
I first met Jane at an Energy21 awards event in London many years ago. We discussed Positive News then and on several occasions afterwards. Neither of us was happy with the type of advertisements carried in Positive News and she managed to persuade the editor to add the newspaper style supplement because she needed something more suitable to hand out to MPs. A charming and able woman.
When I sent the news of her death to Jackie Carpenter, saying I’d like to write about her, as I believe several networkers will have known her, Jackie wrote:
“Here is a story you might like to include. Back in the 90’s, Hermann Scheer, a German MP was making amazing progress with promoting renewable energy in Germany. He came to England quite a bit because he thought it was very important to persuade the UK to do likewise, to become a world leader in renewable energy. He soon got to know Jane Taylor, who used to write glowing things about him in Positive News. I met him at the launch of Eurosolar UK and later I ran the UK branch of Eurosolar for a while. Hermann also met Professor Susan Roaf, who was the first person in the UK to have a solar roof. One day he was with we three ladies. “You are my mistresses!” he said, and Jane replied, “No Hermann, that’s not the correct English word for what you mean.” Hermann laughed and went on, “I want you three to organise a lecture about renewable energy to a large audience in London!” The following year I was president of the Women’s Engineering Society and I fixed up for the lecture to be held in the Institution of Electrical Engineers. I introduced Susan who gave the talk, and Jane was the reporter, writing all about it in Positive News.
Pat Conaty ended, “This is a huge loss to co-op economy colleagues in Wales. Jane had been working with us actively in recent years on the Peoples Bank for Wales project. Indeed she played the lead role on our report that convinced the new First Minister, Mark Drakeford to back our grassroots vision in late 2018.”
Last year there was a New Era blog about the International Alliance for Localization (IAL), co-founded by Helena. People and groups from 58 different countries have joined the alliance to date and more are signing up every day. The lists of individual and organisational members may be seen here.
IAL’s recent message: the localisation of our food systems is possibly the single most important strategy for building new economic models that benefit both people and planet.
Since food is something that every person needs every day, even small shifts in the way it is produced, transported and marketed can have big impacts.
For a while now, the average age of farmers worldwide has hovered around 60 years old. As the older generations of farmers retire, the question grows more pressing: who will grow the food of the future, and what will their farms look like? Fortunately, a small but growing number of young people around the world have begun to renew their interest in farming, and they’re likely to have smaller, more diversified, less chemical dependent and more community-oriented farms than the generation preceding them. Not only that, but a surprising number of people with college degrees and “prestigious” desk jobs are leaving urban areas and returning to the land.
We’ve chosen a selection of inspiring short films from the USA, Canada, China, India, Thailand and Australia that offer a glimpse into small diverse farming operations around the world. The films are divided into seven categories:
- Introduction — The New Local Food Movement
- Diverse Farming Systems
- Local Food Webs — Exploring Systems of Distribution
- Local Food Processors — AKA Making Delicious Food
- Challenges & Solutions
- Ecovillages & Networks for New Farmers
- And Finally, A Little More Inspiration
We encourage you to pick a few of your favourite films from the list and organize a ‘viewing night’ for your friends or your local community — to inspire others to get involved in working for food system change. Let us know how it goes by tagging us on Facebook and Twitter, or emailing email@example.com.
And please share with us any other short films about inspiring food and farming initiatives that you know of. We’d be happy to share them with others.
A later message is about ‘Happiness in A Time of Crisis’: 5 Day / 4 Night Residential Course, The Gaunts House, Dorset, UK. July 11th – 15th, 2019
A highly participatory, first-of-its-kind residential event at Gaunts House, bringing together Helena Norberg-Hodge (founder of Local Futures), Satish Kumar and Mac Macartney – three highly sought-after, internationally-recognized and inspirational speakers – as well as distinguished guests, facilitators, thinkers and activists from around the world. This 5-day course gives you the chance to meet friendly, like-minded people to discuss how we can transform the global economy and make a happier world.
As politicians and other supporters of the Green New Deal in the USA made their voices heard on Capitol Hill in December, Naomi Klein writes:
“The bold moral leadership of newly-elected members of Congress like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has me feeling more optimistic about our collective chances of averting climate breakdown than I have in years, But a whole lot of things need happen very quickly if the political tide is going to shift in time – including finding new ways to engage the public in this fight”.
She had the opportunity to sit down with one of the few politicians who has consistently focused on this issue — Sen. Bernie Sanders. They spoke at the Sanders Institute Gathering in Burlington, Vermont, this weekend. Sen. Sanders then hosted a ‘town hall’ on climate change with guests including Ocasio-Cortez, 350.org founder Bill McKibben, activist and “Big Little Lies” star Shailene Woodley, climate scientist Brenda Ekwurzel, activist and musician Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, and Mayor Dale Ross of deep-red Georgetown, Texas.
Colin, as Convenor of the UK Green New Deal Group, welcomes this growing transatlantic awareness and responded to a Times article by The New Economics Foundation’s Miatta Fahnbulleh, headlined: “Britain needs a green new deal to revive its economy after Brexit”.
She spoke of the need to move beyond the old, broken systems and status quo that left many people behind, adding, “A green new deal for the UK could give us just that” and continued:
Climate change has muscled its way back onto the political agenda:
- debated by UK MPs last week for the first time in two years
- with added momentum from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey’s support for a green new deal in the US;
- the audacious climate marches on Westminster by schoolchildren
- and increasingly rising temperatures.
The idea is simple: an unprecedented mobilisation of resources to achieve 100% renewable energy and eliminating greenhouse gas emissions within a decade while creating millions of jobs and lifting living standards.
The question we should be asking is can we get away with not taking action on climate change. If the science is right, then the answer is no. The more that global temperatures rise, the more chaos in the system: more devastating hurricanes, record droughts, extreme floods, coastlines disappearing, food scarcity from loss of crop yields and fisheries — all driving climate-related poverty across the world at a scale we cannot even imagine.
The cost of this, not just in pounds but in human suffering, will far outstrip the cost of any green new deal. And as cartoonist Pett says:
Colin agrees that Green New Deal’s introduction of a massive, costly, yet utterly crucial shift to a lower carbon infrastructure will require widespread public support. Such a programme would be labour intensive, consisting of work that is difficult to automate and so providing a secure career structure for decades. It would include making the UK’s existing 30 million buildings and future new builds energy-efficient and fitted with renewables, plus a concentration on rebuilding local public transport links, making resource use more efficient and developing sustainable local food and agricultural systems.
Most importantly in political and social terms such a Green New Deal approach will generate ‘Jobs in Every Constituency’ including affluent as well as ‘left behind’ areas and so should gain the support of MPs from all political parties.
Our work on a People’s Bank for Wales is advancing. Mark Drakeford the new First Minister put it in his manifesto and is committed to making this happen. We are working now with Welsh government to make this real within two years.
We ran an online course Social and Ecological Economic solutions in the past and attracted activists from 24 countries. Our partner is the Open University in Canada. The registrations will go live mid Feb. The course is free.
The need for systemic change has never been more obvious or more urgent – for people and planet. We at Synergia are reaching out to people who are committed to the common struggle for transformative change.
As an international network of senior, lifelong practitioners and community educators we are shaping our contribution around two core areas of work:
- a) Designing accessible, high quality educational resources that can be leveraged by change agents everywhere to create system changing solutions fitted to local contexts. Our online learning platform offers discussion and exchange of practical knowledge and strategies for action leading to systemic change and the provision of basic needs.
- b) Providing training and education programming to change makers – whether individuals or organizations – through intensive, face-to-face courses that fit solutions and strategic thinking to solving key issues in strategic sectors.
In 2017 we piloted a MOOC (Massive, Open, Online Course) to test our ideas, methods and tools. Over 600 people registered from 24 countries. We learned a lot. We have now targeted March 11, 2019 for the launch of the newly revised course where change makers from many fields can experience and utilize contemporary, cutting edge content to advance their work. The course will be offered in two four week segments.
The Synergia MOOC offers a certificate and we are working to secure undergraduate and Masters level accreditation. The course is free at the certificate level. The cost of degree accreditation is not yet finalized. To learn more about the theories and approaches that underpin our vision and work, visit: https://synergiainstitute.wordpress.com/
The Synergia Team
To learn more about our face-to-face programs, click here: https://vimeo.com/305934867.
If you have questions about the MOOC or if you want to discuss how we can help facilitate group learning that is geared to your priorities and objectives, please contact Michael Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org
Zerbanoo and Richard Gifford have worked long and hard on this issue – see one of several references on this website.
A Moseley reader recently sent a link leading to the good news that the UK’s claim of sovereignty over the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean has been ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice at the Hague (above), the United Nations’ highest court, which ordered Britain to hand them back as soon as possible. The full article may be read here.
The case was referred to the court, which hears rival legal submissions over international boundaries, after an overwhelming vote in 2017 in the UN assembly in the face of fierce opposition from a largely isolated UK.
Delivering the lengthy judgment, the president of the ICJ, Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, said the detachment of the Chagos archipelago in 1965 from Mauritius had not been based on a “free and genuine expression of the people concerned”.
He added: “The UK has an obligation to bring to an end its administration of Chagos archipelago as rapidly as possible.”
The UK retained possession of the Chagos archipelago, which includes the strategic US airbase of Diego Garcia, after Mauritius gained its independence in 1968, effectively paying Mauritius more than £4m for the islands.
About 1,500 native islanders were deported so the largest island could be leased to the US for the airbase in 1971. They have never been allowed to return home.
In its submission to the ICJ last year, Mauritius argued it was coerced into giving up the Chagos Islands. That separation was in breach of UN resolution 1514, passed in 1960, which specifically banned the breakup of colonies before independence, lawyers for Mauritius said.
Prof Philippe Sands QC, who represented Mauritius at The Hague, said: “The court has given a crystal-clear verdict, which upholds the rule of law. This a historic and landmark judgment. It will be for Mauritius and the UK to sit down and implement this advisory opinion. It will be for Mauritius now to decide on the resettlement of the islanders. There’s no veto at the UN general assembly. It will decide how to go forward with the matter”.
David Snoxell, coordinator of the all-party parliamentary group in the Chagos Islands, said: “Opinion in the UN and the Commonwealth is highly critical of our policy towards Chagos. The UK’s reputation and human rights record suffer. Litigation costs to the taxpayer multiply. Her Majesty’s government should seize the opportunity to engage in serious discussions with Mauritius for an overall settlement. There is no defence, security, political or legal reason to delay it any longer.”
Q&A with Author, Activist and Organic Farming Pioneer Julian Rose
Note: Julian Rose’s new book Overcoming the Robotic Mind – Why Humanity Must Come Through is available through Dixi Books HERE.
Q: Our planet is turning into a place that cannot be lived in any more at a very fast pace. Does your book put forward an exit plan for humanity that stands right on the edge of the cliff?
A: My book lays out a ground-plan for root and branch reform in all the key areas that affect our daily lives. It also exposes what forces are at work in bringing our planet to the cliff edge. Without knowing this one cannot come up with a solution on how to overcome apocalyptic events. Humanity is in possession of an extraordinary creative power which remains largely untapped; a power which has been deliberately repressed by a very small minority of global control agents.
Q: Before the very last step over the cliff, do you believe that humanity can save itself as well as the other living creatures?
A: Yes, certainly. Humanity is being pushed into a corner – a very toxic one. But the vast majority of people on this planet are essentially good, honest humans. The task we have is to free ourselves from thoughtless slavery to the political status quo, all around the World. A slavery which we are all complicit in by continuing to conform to a deeply destructive false agenda. In my writing I call for people to come together to break the chains of our conformist passivity and to build a new society. The animal/ plant kingdom is suffering deeply from the same ‘top-down’ repression, of course. It too will be liberated when those who lead show that they are in possession of something we call wisdom. Then they will understand the necessity of working with the forces of nature and not against them.
Q: Your own life story outlines an individual experience on changing lifestyle, can you tell us a bit more about it?
A: Well, it’s a long and rather dramatic story, but trying to encapsulate it in short, I would say that I came here with a mission. Born into an aristocratic family with a landed Estate and finding that the central role of my life is to make this Estate reflect a different value system than the stereo typical ‘class’ structured one of colonial Britain. When you own land, the first thing one needs to do is ensure it is treated responsibly. If one owns cottages, they should be used to house those who take a responsible attitude to the land and ecology (farming and forestry) in which they are working. It goes on from there, layer by layer, so that eventually the elite image which still surrounds most Country Estates, is transformed into a blueprint for an extended family living and working together in a manner which allows them to express their creativity and for the place in which they are working to express its creativity too. It is a socio-economic experiment which brings into focus the necessity to find a balance between the need to build an active working economy and at the same time give birth to a socio-spiritual community. A community that, bit by bit, forms the basis for sustaining the day to day working life of the Estate – and shares responsibility for its future. It is a life time work.
Q: You have brought your own lifestyle first to Poland than to various other communities. Also you have become a source of inspiration in many countries. Could you please tell us more about this?
A: I have a great respect for the peasantry and their deep knowledge of the land and how to sustain it with the minimum of outside inputs. I came to Poland on the invitation of Jadwiga Lopata, a respected environmentalist in her Country, in the year 2000. She asked me to become a co-director of the newly inaugurated International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside. I felt an intense need to warn Polish farmers (there were 2 million at that time) of the dangers of following the monocultural Western agrochemical route of food production proposed by the European Union. Most particularly, to start with, the necessity of saying NO to GMO. It has been a long battle, but we have succeeded in preventing GMO getting in to Poland and have awoken people to the irreplaceable value of the mixed family farm as the foundation of national food security. Through my writing it has been possible to put forward new visions of a way forward for humanity, largely based on my own experiences on the land as an organic farmer and – at an earlier point in my life – in the arts.
Q: In the light of these experiences, which parts of the world or countries do you believe should urgently change their lifestyles?
A: The change would be welcome from any country. However, the responsibility for the mess this planet finds itself in has most to do with the West, and particularly the USA. Due to acquiring an unreasonable proportion of economic wealth through military conquest and then employing this wealth to try and dominate world affairs, the West has set a very irresponsible and dangerous model for other nations to ‘aspire to’. It is now the case that just eight multimillionaires own the same wealth as half the world’s population. Such gross inequality is the surest sign yet that the world is on the brink of a multi-layered crisis. It is, in fact, a spiritual crisis. A crisis of rampant greed and pathological self interest, over natural generosity and manifest compassion.
Q: The responsibility for ecological problems has been knocked back and forth like a tennis ball between Northern and Southern hemispheres for years. For that reason, the real problem remains obscured. How do you interpret that?
A: At the heart of this North/South dilemma lies a historical ambition to conquer. That ambition is evident in the Old Testament and is refuted in the New Testament. However, in spite of being part of the credo of Christianity, the practice of ‘love thy neighbor’ has never taken root. In fact Christian aspiration is still expressed in the lines of a famous hymn which states “Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war” and reflects the decimation carried out in the name of Jesus by the Northern Crusader armies of the 12th and 11th centuries. From this we can see how the fanatical dogma surrounding ‘religion’ has played a key role in dividing and conquering – and with this comes the ecological biases that have their roots in what are held to be ‘superior and inferior’ guardianships of planetary diversity. Until mankind can get beyond the primitive impulse to ‘control’ rather than ‘respect’ nature and human kind, the ecological solution cannot be resolved.
Q: What you think about young people who are under the age of around thirty, are you pessimist or optimist in this sense?
A: I am ambivalent concerning optimism or pessimism with regard to young people today. We are witnessing a rejection of some of the values that were held to be important by older people – and that is common to recent centuries of what is sometimes called ‘progress’. However, in the majority of cases, we are not yet seeing a replacement of those values by something imaginative and progressive. There is, in the West, a strong narcissistic sense of values in what has been termed the ‘me me society’. I do not lay the blame for this on youth, but more on the behavior patterns set by their parents. The materialistic expectations and aspirations of parents have set the tone. I see great potential in the young of today, but it needs harnessing – ideally in land-based projects, adventurous natural health explorations and strongly led political exposes.
The chief danger lies in becoming over engrossed in Wifi technologies, smartphones and robotics. This virtual reality world – which is designed to ‘do your thinking for you’ – can numb humanity into perpetual slavery to an authoritarian central control system. It is why I have called my new book Overcoming The Robotic Mind – Why Humanity Must Come Through.
Q: There is a stronger fight for defending life in various countries outside of Europe, what do you think about this?
A: I suggest that those still living closer to the soil have retained a stronger will to fight their expulsion from the land, as well as to protect the ecological diversity that sustains them. There are many examples. In India there is now a significant rebellion against GMO and monocultural farming practices introduced by the West. Communities all over the world are waking-up to the sources of their top down exploitation, epitomized by neoliberal Western capitalism and its Goldman Sachs style banker elite. The serious alternative news feed now available on the internet has played a big part in encouraging a process of growing awareness.
Q: How can all these interactions in this field become stronger and more fruitful?
A: By people refusing to bend to the will of the central control system (status quo), and by taking back their destinies into their own hands and working them out at the local level. At the same time, exposing the horrors of mistreatment that are perpetrated by governments as well as supra national powers like the European Union. It is a dual process. Individuals have to see through ‘government’ and form bottom-up people led movements that will usurp the power help by the ruling cabals. It is about the most exciting challenge that one could face!
Q: Recently, more and more leaders in Europe are coming to power who deny climate change, do not believe in democracy and keep a distance towards human rights. Do you think this is a temporary situation? How do you interpret that?
A: I would say that it is a further expression of an age old attempt to create a caste-iron position of ‘leaders’- and of slaves who serve those leaders. The ‘leaders’ can only achieve their goals by cultivating a ruthless disinterest in humanity as a whole – which of course includes the animal and plant kingdom. War, aggression and dominance are fascistic traits. That is what we are witnessing coming back into the foreground within governments and the corporations that fund and control them.
It is a long planned for attempt by the 0.5% power elite to wrest absolute control over all aspects of planetary life. It is closely affiliated with Masonic and Satanic practices.
It will be temporary if people rise up in unison and reject this horror show. It will become worse if they don’t and will lead to a cyborgian age more automated and sterile than that predicted by Orwell and Huxley more than half a century ago.
‘Our life in our hands’ is an aspiration that must now become a reality. But it will need to be informed by a deeply spiritual form of passion for all that is beautiful, brave and of collective importance for all of humanity, regardless of race, religion or color.
CERE’s Urban Afforestation Project (UAP) is increasing the green cover in Indian cities by helping companies, organisations, and individuals to reduce their carbon footprint.
CERE calculates the amount of carbon sequestered at each plantation site, taking into consideration species type, age of saplings and projected growth rates. Sequestration values are calculated as projections over 5, 10, or 15 years. Carbon Sequestration Certification is an integral part of the program and clients are provided with a CERE Offset Certificate at the end of the plantation and assessment.
See the locations at which plantation drives have been held and added information on this new website.
Katy, Rashneh and colleagues – full list here
CERE’s Rain Water Harvesting programme has proved to control floods and our Carbon Map and Cap project is also growing from strength to strength, helping major companies to go green by mapping their carbon emissions and determining their carbon footprint and thereafter, helping achieve reduction targets to cap their carbon emissions.
Their Schools for Solar programme started this year with three institutions being solarised and the project will expand further next year to cover many more schools and colleges. CERE’s educational books, posters and e-learning courses are being used by various stakeholders.
As they say, most parts of India receive a high amount of solar radiation for 250 to 300 days in a year which-eventually adds up to a potential of producing 6,000 million GWh of energy per year. All will hope that – as soon as possible – the country will tap this resource to generate electricity on a large scale.
I have been living at Trelay Cohousing for over 11 years. This year we had the Farmhouse refurbished, so Margot moved into my tiny wooden house (see left) and I moved into my camper van, leading to a chaotic few months when I couldn’t find anything.
The Farmhouse work is coming on wonderfully well, but Margot is still in the tiny house and now I am in the Shack. I am on the UK Cohousing Network Board of Directors and work to promote cohousing – a good way of life.
I spent three hours per day watering during the drought growing some big onions, I won five cups in this year’s local show.
Anyone who becomes a ‘Friend of Trelay’, will receive these information-packed and very cheering newsletters.
Browsing the site today I was reminded that the subject of her masters thesis was the relationship between central banking and sustainability She notes:
“Back when I did a masters thesis on central banking and sustainability in 2006, there was very little official recognition on the part of any government or central bank that private banks are directly responsible for money creation – although the Swedish central banker I interviewed for my research acknowledged it immediately when it came up, and if you looked hard enough you could already find references to it elsewhere too”.
Early in December a mailing brought news of a groundbreaking evening on soil & climate action, at Cloughjordan ecovillage in Tipperary (below), with delicious food from ‘said soil’ and a call to action on the dancefloor. There was also art, live music, poetry and DJs as part of the Global Green Christmas Party and World Soils Day. Dr. Ollie Moore, who manages Cloughjordan’s community farm was in discussion with UCD & Friends of the Earth’s Cara Augustenborg.
Another discovery on FEASTA’s website was Mike Sandler’s article Climate dividends and the Yellow Vests – extract below:
Climate dividends, which return money from a carbon price back to people, provide a direct solution to the yellow vests concerns, while putting income inequality on equal footing with climate concerns. They would counteract the regressive impacts of diesel fuel charges, and send money to the very people who need it most.
The yellow vests undoubtedly want a livable planet for their children. Climate dividends can help change the perception that addressing climate change will be costly to working class people.
Canada is starting to look at dividends as part of their carbon pricing strategy. Perhaps Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could make a call to President Macron and suggest offering climate dividends to the yellow vests.
Climate dividends is a simple solution (based on more complex economics, but let’s leave that for later), and the benefit to the public is that, when paired with an economywide cap, it will reduce emissions, return money to households, and provide a start to a universal basic income.
The main obstacle facing climate dividends is that many politicians are less motivated to give the money back to people, when they could instead spend the money on big projects (such as high-speed rail in California)
Climate dividends could be the solutions the yellow vests are looking for. Will Macron or others recognize it in time?