Posts filed under ‘Resilience’

RetroSuburbia talk by David Holmgren

Co-founder of the permaculture movement, David Holmgren, encourages permaculture activists to focus their energies on retrofitting suburbia for an energy descent future. David argues that the opportunities to retrofit are so much more important than new buildings because of the limits to debt based growth.

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May 28, 2018 at 10:46 am Leave a comment

Medusa’s Curse: The Necessity of Art in the Climate Struggle

Because I am a literary writer, writing about climate justice, people often ask me, What is the importance of the arts in the climate struggle? I turn to Friedrich Nietzsche, the nineteenth century German philosopher.

“We have art in order not to die of the truth,” he wrote.

So then. What are these lethal truths, the truths that break our hearts, sap our spirits, and turn us to stone? How can art save us in the face of those truths? Those are my two questions.

  1. What are the paralyzing truths that the world faces?

Number one. That we have the good fortune to have been born into the Cenozoic Era, when evolution has achieved its greatest fullness of flowering, what theologian Thomas Berry called the most “lyric period in Earth history.”

Imagine our good fortune, to live in the time of thrush-song and thirty thousand species of orchids, the time of small laughing children and whales that teach each other to sing. The fate of these lives is not a matter of indifference or economic expedience. These lives, human or otherwise, are the irreplaceable consequence of planetary creativity over four billion years. And they are the progenitors of everything that will grow on the face of the Earth.

Read Medusa’s Curse: The Necessity of Art in the Climate Struggle by Katherine Dean Moore at Resilience.org

May 23, 2018 at 9:46 am Leave a comment

Emergency Planning: Preparing for Power Blackouts

My neighbors tell me they once went 13 days without power after a winter storm. Knowing it will happen again, and dreading a stint in a shelter, I decided to get ready. Last fall I devoted a week to preparing a simple and inexpensive emergency kit that will help my family ride out 14 days without electricity. This kit gives me peace of mind because now I know the next blackout won’t be a nightmare. Life might even be pretty close to normal.

Read Emergency Planning: Preparing for Power Blackouts by Barbara Pleasant at Mother Earth News.

December 6, 2017 at 10:52 am Leave a comment

TLTI thinking tiny (homes)

When it comes to new housing, the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands is thinking small.

Tiny, in fact.

Council members decided this week to embrace the tiny-house movement that has become the darling of environmental trend-setters in the United States and Europe.

They asked planning director Elaine Mallory to prepare a zoning bylaw amendment that would remove the minimum size requirements for new houses, and include tiny houses in the township’s definition of permissible dwellings.

The township’s building rules now say that new houses should be at least 807 square feet in size, although houses can go as small as 484 square feet in a mobile home park.

Tiny houses, on the other hand, can run as small as 223 square feet, plus a “wash closet” in the bachelor model.

Read TLTI thinking tiny (homes) by Wayne Lowrie at The Brockville Recorder and Times.

Hat tip to Transition Brockville for this post.

 

 

 

October 18, 2017 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

Life in a ‘degrowth’ economy, and why you might actually enjoy it

What does genuine economic progress look like? The orthodox answer is that a bigger economy is always better, but this idea is increasingly strained by the knowledge that, on a finite planet, the economy can’t grow for ever.

When one first hears calls for degrowth, it is easy to think that this new economic vision must be about hardship and deprivation; that it means going back to the stone age, resigning ourselves to a stagnant culture, or being anti-progress. Not so.

Renewable energy cannot sustain an energy-intensive global society of high-end consumers. A degrowth society embraces the necessity of “energy descent”, turning our energy crises into an opportunity for civilisational renewal.

In a degrowth society we would aspire to localise our economies as far and as appropriately as possible. This would assist with reducing carbon-intensive global trade, while also building resilience in the face of an uncertain and turbulent future.

Read Life in a ‘degrowth’ economy, and why you might actually enjoy it by Samuel Alexander at The Conversation.

May 22, 2017 at 11:54 am Leave a comment

How to Encourage Entrepreneurship in Your Town

…nine different ideas for promoting entrepreneurship, within both government and the private sector.

street-festivalA strong town needs strong local businesses. Local businesses provide jobs and opportunities for wealth creation. They can become a draw, encouraging visitors from outside your community, as well as a way for community members to support each other by buying local. Only with a thriving locally-based economy—one that isn’t owned or propped up by someone six states away—can we succeed in creating sustainable jobs and lasting economic prosperity.

Entrepreneurship is a hot word these days. Lots of towns say they would like to attract more entrepreneurs and grow their small business communities. But how do you do it? There are many ways to encourage entrepreneurship in your community, both through government leadership and private sector/neighborhood-level work.

THE GOVERNMENT’S ROLE IN ENCOURAGING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

1. Adjust zoning codes to reduce business costs.

Do your zoning codes allow for mixed-use buildings where a shop owner runs her business on the first floor and lives upstairs? Are there minimum parking requirements for new businesses? Are food trucks permitted in your community? These are good questions to ask if you want to encourage small business growth. Buying or renting and renovating a building for a new business can be extremely costly. If your community allows for creative use of space, diverse income streams and smaller options than the typical stand-alone store, you lower the barriers to entry for small business owners.

2. Help facilitate walkable business districts.

Walkability is a huge factor in small business success and can create fertile soil for entrepreneurship to thrive. In a concentrated, walkable neighborhood with shops and restaurants, passersby are far more likely to frequent multiple businesses than if they were just driving to a specific store in an auto-oriented area.

Read How to Encourage Entrepreneurship in Your Town by Rachel Quednau at Strong Towns.

February 20, 2017 at 12:04 pm Leave a comment

Are Positive Stories Enough?

ThriveOne question has cropped up repeatedly: In a world filled with melting ice caps, war, species extinctions, and economic peril, how can I possibly argue that the small-scale actions I write about can transform the bigger picture for the better?

Belief in the possibility of change is a huge if intangible positive. So, too, is the proliferation of new social and economic models – from commoning, transition, and sharing, to local money, off-grid energy, and maker spaces. These are the infrastructure of the next economy – only they’re based on social energy, not concrete.

But back to that first question: do these myriad stories add up to a viable alternative to the system that’s wrecking the place now? On their own, probably not. But for me, the most important unfolding transformation of all is the emergence, in many places at once, of a new understanding of our place in the world.

Having worked hard throughout the modern era to lift ourselves ‘above’ nature, we are now being told by modern science that man and nature are one, after all.

This new story is, to put it mildly, a rather large ‘narrative adjustment.’ But it is neither utopian, nor fantastical. It speaks to our innate compulsion to change, progress, and create – indeed, to grow – but with new kinds of growth in mind: Soils, biodiversity and watersheds getting healthier; more cooperation and social connectivity; communities becoming more resilient.

Read Are Positive Stories Enough? by John Thackara at Doors of Perception.

February 3, 2016 at 11:14 am Leave a comment

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