Category Archives: Richard Douthwaite

News from Feasta: Water Protectors

Feasta*, Afri, Comhlámh and Friends of the Earth organised a public meeting at The Teacher’s Club, Parnell Square, Dublin last week.

An online search revealed that the Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) is is the legal team for the ceremonial resistance camps at Standing Rock, North Dakota. The Energy Transfer Partners‘ Dakota Access Pipeline in the northern United States was projected to run from the Bakken oil fields in western North Dakota to southern Illinois, crossing beneath the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, as well as under part of Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. 

WPLC is dedicated to protecting the sovereign treaty rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and providing legal representation and coordination for Water Protectors engaged in resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing the Missouri River which constitutes a threat to the region’s clean water and to ancient burial grounds.

 

It maintains a presence on-site and provide legal advocacy, jail and court support, criminal defence, and civil and human rights protection to the native people and their allies gathered there. There is more information about events there and several videos at: http://bsnorrell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/standing-rock-prayers-at-water-live-now.html

 

For new readers: Caroline Whyte links us with the work of the late Richard Douthwaite, co-founder of FEASTA, whose books included ‘The Growth Illusion’ and recently we received the information-packed annual report for 2014 & 2015. See their website: http://www.feasta.org/.

 

 

 

 

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News from the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability: residential courses

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Cad a dhéanfaimid feasta gan adhmad? Tá deireadh na gcoillte ar lár

What will we do in the future without wood? The end of the forests has come.

Feasta‘s aim is “to identify the characteristics (economic, cultural and environmental) of a truly sustainable society, articulate how the necessary transition can be effected and promote the implementation of the measures required for this purpose”. (http://www.feasta.org).

Today the challenges seem greater than ever. How can the human species learn to live in harmony with the Earth, the rest of the natural world and with each other? For the last 15 years the Retreat Lodges at Rossbeigh, Co Kerry have proved to be a good place to think and talk about these issues: built with stone walls and a slate roof, the windows look out over tidal marshes and sand-dunes to the forty-mile long Dingle Peninsula and across Dingle Bay to the Blasket Islands and the Atlantic.

John Jopling is now re-launching the week-long Feasta residential courses held here for the last 16 years. The following programme is proposed:

  •  Series title: “Learning for the Future”.
  •  The courses will be held once a year – possibly increasing to twice a year
  •  They will ideally be announced 6 months ahead, naming subjects and key people.
  •  The first week in the new format will be the last week of June 2017.
  •  Each week will feature three or four main subjects.
  •  Each subject will be led by a key person.
  •  There will be 8 or 10 other participants.
  •  In addition there will be time for single session topics using “Open Space”.
  •  These might include talks about eg local wildlife.
  •  and/or ideas people are working on.
  •  Reading matter may be circulated to intended participants in advance.

Relevant topics could include:

  •  Gaia, Dark Mountain, systems-change and emergence, the Viable Systems Model.
  •  Climate change, biodiversity, the interdependence of species, other global boundaries.
  •  governance systems and economic systems such as De-growth
  •  the role of compassion and non-violence.
  •  commons, localisation, global citizenship, community ownership, co-ops, co-housing, community currencies, permaculture.
  •  topics such as wealth, inequality, ownership, corporate structures, money, taxes, citizens income, energy, cities, nano-technology.

Please feel free to suggest other topics – but be prepared to present them and/or suggest people who will, as the guarantee of well prepared discussions by people with expertise is important to making the courses a success.

feasta-iconNote also: The world’s first conference on world basic income was held in Manchester on 4th February 2017.

The event explored a new practical solution to global inequality and poverty. Feasta’s Caroline Whyte, who is involved in the CapGlobalCarbon campaign, was on a panel discussing practicalities.

 

 

 

 

News from Pat Conaty – and his tribute to Richard Douthwaite

pat-conaty-bestPat’s work on Community Land Trusts was referred to recently in the West Midlands New Economics Group (WMNEG) blog: At the University of Salford, working with Community Finance Solutions, Pat  has been developing a national Community Land Trusts training programme that has been running courses since March 2011 for new groups and local authorities. He believes that Community Land Trusts offer a community led ‘bottom-up’ approach to housing issues and creative, ecological developments. There are signs of a growing interest in initiatives long advocated by the New Economics Foundation: local currencies, housing co-operatives and credit unions.

With David Bollier, Pat co-edited a report on how different democratic money and co-op capital systems can be united earlier this year. David worked for years with Ralph Nader in the USA. His summary blog follows and the report may be read in full here. He writes:

One of the more complicated, mostly unresolved issues facing most commons is how to assure the independence of commons when the dominant systems of finance, banking and money are so hostile to commoning. How can commoners meet their needs without replicating (perhaps in only modestly less harmful ways) the structural problems of the dominant money system? 

Fortunately, there are a number of fascinating, creative initiatives around the world that can help illuminate answers to this question – from co-operative finance and crowd equity schemes to alternative currencies and the blockchain ledger used in Bitcoin, to reclaiming public control over money-creation to enable “quantitative easing for people” (and not just banks).  

To help start a new conversation on these issues, the Commons Strategies Group, working in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, co-organized a Deep Dive strategy workshop in Berlin, Germany, last September.  We brought together 24 activists and experts on such topics as public money, complementary currencies, community development finance institutions, public banks, social and ethical lending, commons-based virtual banking, and new organizational forms to enable “co-operative accumulation” (the ability of collectives to secure equity ownership and control over assets that matter to them). 

I’m happy to report that a report synthesizing the key themes and cross-currents of dialogue at that workshop is now available.  The report is called “Democratic Money and Capital for the Commons: Strategies for Transforming Neoliberal Finance Through Commons-Based Alternatives”

Frances Hutchinson, James Robertson and Joseph Huber posted papers on the Democratic Money Initiative wiki which also includes the report by David Bollier and Pat.

New to the writer was a 2011 paper by our late colleague Richard Douthwaite: Degrowth, Money and Energy. The subject of degrowth has recently been drawn to our attention by WMNEG’s Jeremy Heighway, working in Leipzig as a translator in the field of renewable energy.

Pat Conaty writes:

“What strikes me about this wonderful paper is how he creatively frames an outline of the new money commons architecture and he approaches this challenge in a multi-level way from global to national to regional. He links insightfully the fossil fuel crisis to the crash in 2008 and also highlights what the late Margrit Kennedy drew attention to, the embedded interest costs in public services and other essential goods.

“What is marvelous about this paper is the way he shows how the work to build resilience through co-operative innovation in community energy, food sovereignty, community land trusts (are implied) and regional currency can be brought together in a synergistic way. He argues for a provisioning system as Mary Mellor and Frances Hutchinson set out so well in the Politics of Money book in 2002. But he also draws attention to the kilowatt hour forms of money and tethering ideas Shann Turnbull has been articulating.”

 

 

 

Environmental news from networkers involved with CERE, FEASTA and LOCAL FUTURES

Rashneh, Helena and Richard all met in 2000 at a gathering we held near Bromsgrove.

rashneh csr video

rashneh csr2 logoToday we received a link to a video which we heartily recommend. In it,  networker Rashneh Pardiwala, co-founder of CERE, was interviewed by Pooja Damadia of CSR Journal which seeks to publicise news of good corporate practice. It may be seen here http://thecsrjournal.in/it-is-better-to-abide-by-the-laws-than-trying-ways-to-circumvent-them-dr-rashneh-pardiwala-cere/.

One telling point made was that urban areas benefited from electricity generated in rural Dahanu, whereas Dahanu itself, ironically, is subject to frequent power cuts.

caroline 2 feasta

rashneh feasta coverCaroline Whyte now links us with the work of our networker, the late Richard Douthwaite, co-founder of FEASTA, whose books included The Growth Illusion and recently we received the information-packed annual report for 2014 & 2015. There is even more on their website: http://www.feasta.org/.

The material on fracking, climate change, basic income and monetary reform will be of interest to many outside our network and will be recommended to them. There was reference to the work on biochar which many visitors continue to discover on this website linked with the name of James Bruges. See http://www.feasta.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/2014-15_annual_report_feasta.pdf

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Finally we recommend Helena Norberg-Hodge’s truly excellent TedX talk on localisation. See also the website of Local Futures.

Both video presentations prompt the wish for all New Era networkers to present their case in this way and make it available on Youtube. Does anyone know what costs are involved?