What We as a People Can Do, by Richard Heinberg, David Fridley, originally published by Our Renewable Future | JUL 14, 2016

Ed. note: This is Chapter 10 of Richard Heinberg’s and David Fridley’s new book, Our Renewable Future, now available from Island Press. Post Carbon Institute’s companion website, ourrenewablefuture.org has also just been launched and contains additional content not in the book.

Sound national and international climate policies are crucial: without them, it will be impossible to organize a transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy that is orderly enough to maintain industrial civilization, while speedy enough to avert catastrophic ecosystem collapse. However, world leaders have been working on hammering out effective climate policies for nearly a quarter of a century, and during that time greenhouse gas emissions have continued to increase. And the impacts of climate change are becoming ever more incontrovertible and perilous.

Clearly, individuals, households, communities, and nongovernmental organizations cannot merely stand by and hope that political leaders somehow find the wherewithal at the last moment (if it is not already too late) to halt our descent into climate chaos. We must put all possible pressure on those leaders to take politically difficult decisions to severely limit carbon emissions.

That will require collective action on a scale that has yet to be seen. The massive transformations in energy systems, government, and the economy that we have described are exceedingly unlikely to occur absent struggle and social action. Powerful interests invested in the extractive economy will not give up their advantages willingly. As Frederick Douglass eloquently said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

At the same time, we must also show that we as citizens are ready for climate policies by proactively reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and cutting our greenhouse gas emissions. In the process, we can road-test behaviors and technologies that are needed on a broader scale. Fortunately, many people, communities, and organizations have already started doing this, but more are needed.

Individuals and Households

Tackling the energy transition, climate change, and energy inequality will require collective action and policy. So the most important thing we can do as individuals is to support equitable solutions to climate change, and support local democracy and engagement in local decisions about energy.

Read more here: What We as a People Can Do

Beyond capitalism and socialism: could a new economic approach save the planet? | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian

A holistic approach to the economy is necessary to avoid social, environmental and economic collapse, according to a new report by the Capital Institute Dead fish clog the Rodrigo de Freitas lake in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Scientists claim that the fish were starved of oxygen because of pollution. A holistic approach would look closely at the environmental impacts – such as a fish die-off – of economic activities.

To avoid social, environmental and economic collapse, the world needs to move beyond the standard choices of capitalism or socialism. That’s the conclusion of a new report released Wednesday by US think tank Capital Institute.

The non-partisan think tank argues that both systems are unsustainable, even if flawlessly executed, and that economists need to look to the “hard science of holism” to debunk outdated views held by both the left and the right.

Jan Smuts, who coined the term “holism” in his 1926 book, Holism and Evolution, defined it as the “tendency in nature to form wholes that are greater than the sum of the parts”. For example, in the case of a plant, the whole organism is more than a collection of leaves, stems and roots. Focusing too closely on each of these parts, the theory argues, could get in the way of understanding the organism as a whole.  Viewed through this perspective, the capitalist tendency to isolate an economic process from its antecedents and effects is fundamentally flawed.

The Capital Institute, created by former JP Morgan managing director John Fullerton, says that society’s economic worldview has relied on breaking complex systems down into simpler parts in order to understand and manage them. For example, this traditional economic view might view automobile manufacturing separately from the mineral mining, petroleum production and workers on which it relies. Moreover, this view might also not acknowledge the impact that automobile manufacturing has on the environment, politics and economics of an area. Holism, on the other hand, would view the entire chain of cause and effect that leads to – and away from – automobile manufacturing.

The Capital Institute report, titled Regenerative Capitalism, emphasizes that the world economic system is closely related to, and dependent upon, the environment. “The failure of modern economic theory to acknowledge this reality has had profound consequences, not the least of which is global climate change,” it says.

A long chain of cause and effects

According to the Capital Institute, the consequences of this economic worldview are vast and far reaching, encompassing a host of challenges that range from climate change to political instability.

For example, the current capitalist system has created extreme levels of inequality, the report says. This, in turn, has led to a host of ills, including worker abusesexismeconomic stagnation and more. It could even be considered partly responsible for the rise of terrorism around the world, the report claims. In other words, this inequality has become a threat to the very system that is creating it. Without radical change, the report warns, “the current mainstream capitalist system is under existential threat”.

What is needed now, the Capital Institute argues, is a new systems-based mindset built around the idea of a regenerative economy, “which recognizes that the proper functioning of complex wholes, like an economy, cannot be understood without the ongoing, dynamic relationships among parts that give rise to greater wholes”.

Read more….

Source: Beyond capitalism and socialism: could a new economic approach save the planet? | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian

Singing In Tree

“When the feminine was part of the worldview, the tree was the Tree of Knowledge, the World Tree, or axis mundi at the center of the earth. Uniting the three realms of heaven, earth, and the underworld, the sacred tree had the power to reveal messages from the gods. As a symbol of the self in the process of becoming, the tree unites the opposites of masculine and feminine, conscious mind and unconscious knowing. It challenges us to undertake the journey of spiritual transformation. We must first understand our connection to the earth and the seasons of our lives, the cycles of the moon and the language of the Mother tongue.”

The Seed is in the Flower

“Círculo de Soñadoras aims to build a movement of reconnecting to dreams as a vehicle for women’s empowerment. We have realized that hosting time and space for women to share their sueños through stories of inspiration and inter-generational mentorship is key to empowering the next generation of women to shape actionable dreams, build resilience through entrepreneurial skills, and thrive in their communities, wherever they are.”

Center for Planetary Culture | TOWARD REGENERATIVE SOCIETY: A RAPID TRANSITION PLAN

“Today, humanity faces our greatest challenge, and our most precious opportunity.  Our activity as a species has put the Earth in jeopardy. We can directly observe that our use of resources must change.  We are threatening the ability of the biosphere to support our continuity, and the future of all complex forms of life. We appear to have reached one of those rare, extraordinary junctures in human history when a thorough transformation of society, culture, and consciousness is necessary. Climate change is the most urgent of many impending threats. As individuals, we must understand and accept the critical nature of our time. For the sake of future generations, we can become part of a wave of awakening and of action, that grows exponentially.

Under this extreme time pressure, there is great potential to quickly develop and distribute a new social model based on an ethos of global citizenship and planetary stewardship. For this to happen, humanity must act upon our unique capacities for self-awareness and foresight. We must fully activate the prefrontal cortex – the brain structure that makes us uniquely human, which developed in the last forty thousand years. We must envision a new model for planetary civilization, then design and manifest it.”

via Center for Planetary Culture | TOWARD REGENERATIVE SOCIETY: A RAPID TRANSITION PLAN.

‘What’s Possible’: The U.N. Climate Summit Opening Film | TakePart

Presented to world leaders at the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit in New York, this short inspirational film shows that climate change is solvable. We have the technology to harness nature sustainably for a clean, prosperous energy future, but only if we act now. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, What’s Possible calls on the people of the world to insist leaders get on the path of a livable climate and future for humankind.

Learn more about climate change and take action at takepart.com/climate.

What’s Possible was created by director Louie Schwartzberg, writer Scott Z. Burns, Moving Art Studio, and Lyn Davis Lear and the Lear Family Foundation. It features the creative gifts of Freeman and composer Hans Zimmer.

via ‘What’s Possible’: The U.N. Climate Summit Opening Film | TakePart.

Naomi Klein: “we are not who we were told we were” | ROAR Magazine

On the eve of the publication of her new book, Naomi Klein talks about the things that give her hope in a world that can sometimes feel very bleak.Naomi Klein rose to international acclaim in 1999 by explaining how big corporations were exploiting our insecurities to convince us to spend money we didn’t have, on stuff we didn’t need No Logo. In 2007 she masterfully dissected the ways those steering the global economy use moments of social and environmental crisis to justify transferring public wealth into the hands of the ultra-rich The Shock Doctrine. Less-known though are the alternatives Klein spends much of her time witnessing, documenting, and digging into, from the spread of fossil fuel divestment, to community-owned energy projects and resistance to tar sands pipelines.On the eve of the publication of her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate, Klein sat down with Liam Barrington-Bush at the Peoples Social Forum in Ottawa, to talk about where she finds hope in a world that can sometimes feel very bleak. She reminds us that in a culture that treats people as consumers and relationships as transactions, ‘we’re not who we were told we were.’::::::::::::::::::::::LBB: In a recent piece in the Nation, you wrote: “Because of the way our daily lives have been altered by both market and technological triumphalism, we lack many of the observational tools necessary to convince ourselves that climate change is real — let alone the confidence to believe that a different way of living is possible.” What has helped you to believe that a different way of living is possible?NK: I think part of it is just having been lucky enough to have seen other ways of living and to have lived differently myself. To know that not only is living differently not the end of the world, but in many cases, it has enabled some of the happiest times of my life.I think the truth is that we spend a lot of time being afraid of what we would lose if we ever took this crisis seriously. I had this experience when I had been living in Argentina for a couple of years; I came back to the US because I had agreed to do this speech at an American university. It was in Colorado and I went directly from Buenos Aires, which was just on fire at that moment; the culture was so rich, the sense of community was so strong. It was the most transformative experience of my life to be able to be part of that.So I end up staying at a Holiday Inn, looking out at a parking lot, and it’s just so incredibly grim. I go to this class and I do my spiel. I was talking about Argentina and the economic crisis. At this point the US economy’s booming and nobody thinks anything like this could ever happen to them. And this young woman says, “I hear what you’re saying, but why should I care?”

via Naomi Klein: “we are not who we were told we were” | ROAR Magazine.