Consumerism, Economics, Society, peak oil — by Dean Fantazzini March 27, 2012
by Dean Fantazzini, Moscow School of Economics, Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
The Deepwater Horizon incident demonstrated that most of the oil left is deep offshore or in other locations difficult to reach. Moreover, to obtain the oil remaining in currently producing reservoirs requires additional equipment and technology that comes at a higher price in both capital and energy. In this regard, the physical limitations on producing ever-increasing quantities of oil are highlighted, as well as the possibility of the peak of production occurring this decade. The economics of oil supply and demand are also briefly discussed, showing why the available supply is basically fixed in the short to medium term. Also, an alarm bell for economic recessions is raised when energy takes a disproportionate amount of total consumer expenditures. In this context, risk mitigation practices in government and business are called for. As for the former, early education of the citizenry about the risk of economic contraction is a prudent policy to minimize potential future social discord. As for the latter, all business operations should be examined with the aim of building in resilience and preparing for a scenario in which capital and energy are much more expensive than in the business-as-usual one.Comments (2)
By Pietro Pagliardini (1), Sergio Porta (2) & Nikos A. Salingaros (3).
Chapter 17 in: Bin Jiang and Xiaobai Angela Yao, Editors, Geospatial Analysis and Modeling of Urban Structure and Dynamics, Springer, New York, 2010, pages 331-353.
(1) Pagliardini Rupi Andreoni & Gazzabin, Studio d’Architettura, Via Eritrea 9, 52100 Arezzo, ITALY.
(2) Urban Design Studies Unit, University of Strathclyde, 131 Rottenrow, Glasgow G4 0NG, UK.
(3) Department of Mathematics, University of Texas at San Antonio, One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, Texas 78249, USA.
This essay outlines how to incorporate morphological rules within the exigencies of our technological age. We propose using the current evolution of GIS (Geographical Information Systems) technologies beyond their original representational domain, towards predictive and dynamic spatial models that help in constructing the new discipline of “urban seeding”. We condemn the high-rise tower block as an unsuitable typology for a living city, and propose to re-establish human-scale urban fabric that resembles the traditional city. Pedestrian presence, density, and movement all reveal that open space between modernist buildings is not urban at all, but neither is the open space found in today’s sprawling suburbs. True urban space contains and encourages pedestrian interactions, and has to be designed and built according to specific rules. The opposition between traditional self-organized versus modernist planned cities challenges the very core of the urban planning discipline. Planning has to be re-framed from being a tool creating a fixed future to become a visionary adaptive tool of dynamic states in evolution.Comments (3)
Comedy Break, Society — by Marc Roberts March 26, 2012
Click for larger view
Courtesy: Marc Roberts
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Ryan Harb March 24, 2012
Editor’s Note: I want to congratulate Ryan and the UMass team on this significant milestone, and also wish to thank all of our readers who took a moment to vote to help ensure it came to pass. Onwards!
The White House honors five young leaders as Champions of Change for outstanding leadership on their college campuses, chosen by the public for their projects that embody the President’s goal to win the future.
The past few weeks have been life changing for me, and for many others who are part of the permaculture community at UMass Amherst. Possibly others from around the world, too. Together, we successfully brought permaculture to the national stage, and by we I mean the entire global network of permaculturists who live by the ethics “Earth Care”, “People Care”, “Share of Surplus”.Comments (6)
What do you do with an old church car park? Turn it into a community garden, of course! And that’s how the Ridley Grove Community Garden — a child, pet and disabled person friendly garden in the Adelaide suburb of Woodville Gardens — came into being.
The first thing they did was to bring in the experts to help clear the grass… a herd of hard working, hungry goats! Now that’s chemical free weed control… with built in fertiliser! Next came the soil building, with lots of compost and mulch, which turned a compacted surface of gravel and dolomite into fertile, productive garden beds.Comments (6)
Community Projects, Consumerism, Ethical Investment, News, Society, Village Development — by Brian Hedge
The small community of Mullumbimby in the Byron Shire of northern NSW, Australia, is currently in the process of determining their own food supply future by purchasing their local supermarket.
This movement, which is gaining momentum daily at an amazing rate, began by chance, fate, serendipity — call it what you will. Greg Dutton, president of the local community garden approached Richard Storie, the proprietor of the local IGA supermarket, about selling the community garden organic seedlings outside the store. During this conversation he quipped, "If the seedling sale goes well I’ll be back to buy the store". That’s a lot of seedlings. Nevertheless an idea was conceived and now after a five month gestation period a movement has been born.Comments (4)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, People Systems, Society, Village Development, peak oil — by Pietro Zucchetti March 22, 2012
This is an interview with Rob Hopkins, the founder of the Transition Town movement founded in Totnes, United Kingdom. The interview is about what Transition Towns mean, and how he came up with this idea as a permaculture teacher. The interview also covers how is this concept important now, during the present global crisis, and how the Transition Town movement can get involved in educating people to cope with a future in energy descent, which is starting not tomorrow, but right now! It ends with his prediction for the near future.
Duration: 23 minutes
Biodiversity, Community Projects, Consumerism, Society — by Anthea Hudson March 17, 2012
Twice a year, over the school holidays in the Australian states of South Australia and Victoria, the Flinders Ranges comes alive, with a series of activities aimed to provide an insight into this majestic, yet environmentally sensitive area.Comments (3)
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Presentations/Demonstrations, Society, Urban Projects — by Ryan Harb March 13, 2012
Hi All. We’re heading to Washington, DC in less than 48 hours and just found out the following: The White House Campus Champions of Change event will be live streamed on Thursday, March 15 from 2:50pm — 4:20pm (EST)! This means anyone can watch permaculture being talked about at The White House by tuning in here during that time.
I just wanted to share the good news!Comments (1)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Bio-regional Organisations, Community Projects, Eco-Villages, Economics, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by David Bollier March 10, 2012
The following is an adaptation of my notes for my talk at the Occupy Wall Street “Making Worlds” conference on February 16-18, 2012.
I am so pleased that the Occupy and Commons movements are finding each other and starting a new conversation. Occupy is an incredible force for change. It has a bracing vision, a deeply principled philosophy, and an independent, risk-taking spirit that is unusual in American political life. There are many challenges for Occupy, however, as it tries to imagine new ways to move forward and grow. I’d like to suggest how the commons framing and language may be strategically important by surveying the international scene of commons activism, which is remarkably robust. There is a lot is going on — but I won’t presume to be comprehensive; my apologies for any significant omissions.
Let me start by giving a brief speculation about why people from so many backgrounds are embracing the commons. First of all, it is a way for people to assert the integrity of their existing communities, or to try to reclaim that integrity. The commons also provides a way to assert a moral relationship to certain resources and people that are endangered by market forces. It’s a way of saying, “That _________ (water, air, software code, cultural tradition) belongs to me. It is part of my life and identity.”
Many people are embracing the commons, too, because it provides a powerful critique of neoliberal capitalism. But it is much more than that. It is a pro-active set of alternatives that work. And therefore it provides a positive, constructive scaffolding for practical alternatives to the prevailing market economy and corrupt political process. But the commons is still more than this. It is not just a policy critique or political philosophy, but equally a distinctive worldview, language and social ethic.Comments (19)
Community Projects, Consumerism, Demonstration Sites, Society, Village Development — by Kenneth Gronbjerg
Editor’s Note: For background on the FRESH project ("the world’s wildest supermarket"), please see this previous post.
From: Sepp Holzer’s Permakultur, Leopold Stocker Verlag, 2008
Danish food revolutionaries take matters into their own hands in order to do what needs to be done — without funding, permits and other bureaucratic fumblings.
In this article, I will answer the following questions:
- What is FRESH? What kind of people are in the movement? What is it doing?
- How is FRESH doing (or planning to do) what it does?
- How is FRESH progressing?
Alternatives to Political Systems, Courses/Workshops, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Wyan Carter March 9, 2012
What: Sociocracy Workshop
When: March 16-17, with an additional, optional Advanced Training day on March 19 (1.1mb PDF flyer)
Where: Synapse Conference Room, Level 1, 262 Montague Rd., West End, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
This is an update on a previous advert for the Sococracy workshop we ran on this site recently.
Due to popular demand, and a bit of last minute finessing, we’ve managed to reduce the cost of the upcoming Sociocracy to make it more accessible. The two day workshop has been reduced to $350, but will still provide you with the practical tools to implement a fairer, more engaging, more effective decision making system that’s already been used for over 40 years. If you’re sick of seeing community initiatives fall over because of a failure to make decisions or deal with power fairly, then it’s time to learn more about Sociocracy.
We’re also now planning to run a one hour introduction to Sociocracy on Friday night, the 16th of March. For more information or to register for any of the Sociocracy workshops, please go to sociocracyworkshop.wordpress.com.
Building, Community Projects, Consumerism, Economics, Land, Society, Village Development — by David Bollier March 7, 2012
I have been asked to address what the commons might have to say about urban spaces and urban life. The short answer is, a lot!
First, the language of the commons helps us assert a moral entitlement to public spaces again. It lets us challenge the unholy alliance of politicians, developers and professional architects and planners, and insist that city spaces serve our needs as ordinary people. This means, first of all, that commercial considerations cannot crowd out vital common purposes – as we see when the market or authoritarians take over.Comments (0)
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Education, Education Centres, News, Society, Urban Projects — by Ryan Harb
We did it everyone! It is now official. The UMass Permaculture team will be heading to the White House on March 15! This has been an amazing and inspiring week to see the voting results unfold and be in the center of it all. I can’t thank everyone enough for the support you’ve provided us with.
I’d like to share some reflections for how this week has been for me personally.Comments (7)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, People Systems, Society — by George Monbiot March 6, 2012
Ayn Rand’s ideas have become the Marxism of the new right.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
It has a fair claim to be the ugliest philosophy the post-war world has produced. Selfishness, it contends, is good, altruism evil, empathy and compassion are irrational and destructive. The poor deserve to die; the rich deserve unmediated power. It has already been tested, and has failed spectacularly and catastrophically. Yet the belief system constructed by Ayn Rand, who died 30 years ago today, has never been more popular or influential.Comments (90)