Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Development’ Category

The next bubble: Priming the markets for tomorrow’s big crash—By Eric Janszen (Harper’s Magazine).

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Hans Rosling on global population growth | Video on TED.com

Read Full Post »

From http://www.gtinitiative.org/documents/Great_Transitions.pdf

A Distant Vision
“Here is a civilization of unprecedented freedom, tolerance and decency. The pursuit of meaningful and fulfilling lives is a universal right, the bonds of human solidarity have never been stronger and an ecological sensibility infuses human values. Of course, this is not paradise. Real people live here. Conflict, discontent, mean-spiritedness and tragedy have not been abolished. But during the course of the twenty-first century the historic possibility was seized to redirected development toward a far more sustainable and liberatory world.

The fabric of global society is woven with diverse communities. Some are abuzz
with cultural experimentation, political intensity and technical innovation. Others are slow-paced bastions of traditional culture, direct democracy and small-is-beautiful technology. A few combine reflection, craft skill and high esthetics into a kind of “sophisticated simplicity,” reminiscent of the Zen art of antiquity. Most are admixtures of countless subcultures. The plurality of ways is deeply cherished for the choice it offers individuals and the richness it offers social life.
The old polarizing dualities—cosmopolitanism versus parochialism, globalism
versus nationalism and top-down versus bottom-up—have been transcended. Instead, people enjoy multiple levels of affiliation and loyalty—family, community, region and planetary society. Global communication networks connect the four corners of the world, and translation devices ease language barriers. A global culture of peace and mutual respect anchors social harmony.

The World Union (née the United Nations) unifies regions in a global federation for co-operation, security and sustainability. Governance is conducted through a decentralized web of government, civil society and business nodes, often acting in partnership. Social and environmental goals at each scale define the “boundary conditions” for those nested within it. Subject to these constraints, the freedom to fashion local solutions is considerable—but conditional. Human rights and the rights of other governance units must be respected. While sophisticated conflict resolution processes limit conflict, the World Union’s peace force is called on occasion to quell aggression and human rights abuse. Preferred lifestyles combine material sufficiency and qualitative fulfillment. Conspicuous consumption and glitter are viewed as a vulgar throwback to an earlier era. The pursuit of the well-lived life turns to the quality of existence—creativity, ideas, culture, human relationships and a harmonious relationship with nature. Family life evolves into new extended relationships as population ages and the number of children decreases. People are enriched by voluntary activities that are socially useful and personally rewarding. The distribution of income is maintained within rather narrow bounds. Typically, the
income of the wealthiest 20 percent is about two or three times the income of the poorest 20 percent. A minimum guaranteed income provides a comfortable but very basic standard of living. Community spirit is reinforced by heavy reliance on locally produced
products, indigenous natural resources and environmental pride.

The economy is understood as the means to these ends, rather than an end in itself. Competitive markets promote production and allocation efficiency. But they are highly fettered markets tamed to conform to non-market goals. The polluter pay principle is
applied universally, expressed through eco-taxes, tradable permits, standards and subsidies. Sustainable business practices are the norm, monitored and enforced by a vigilant public. Investment decisions weigh carefully the costs of indirect and long-term
ecological impacts. Technology innovation is stimulated by price signals, public preferences, incentives and the creative impulse. The industrial ecology of the new economy is virtually a closed loop of recycled and re-used material, rather than the old throwaway
society. Some “zero growth” communities opt to maximize time for non-market activities. Others have growing economies, but with throughputs limited by sustainability criteria. In the formal economy, robotic production systems liberate people from repetitive,
non-creative work. Most everywhere a labor-intensive craft economy rises alongside the high technology base. For the producer, it offers an outlet for creative expression; for the consumer, a breathtaking array of esthetic and useful goods; for all, a rich and diverse world. Long commutes are a thing of the past. Integrated settlements place home, work, shops and leisure activity in convenient proximity. The town-within-the-city balances human scale community with cosmopolitan cultural intensity. Rural life offers a more serene and bucolic alternative, with digital links maintaining an immediate sense of connectedness to wider communities. Private automobiles are compact and pollution free. They are used in niche situations where walking, biking and public transport options are not available. Larger vehicles are leased for special occasions and touring.
Advanced mass transportation systems link communities to local hubs, and those hubs to one another and to large cities. The transition to a solar economy is complete. Solar cells, wind, modern biomass and flowing water generate power and heat buildings. Solar energy is converted to hydrogen, and used, along with direct electricity, for transportation. Advanced bio-technology
is used cautiously for raw materials, agriculture and medicine. Clean production practices have eliminated toxic pollution. Ecological farming makes use of high inputs of knowledge, and low inputs of chemicals to keep yields high and sustainable. Population
stabilization, low-meat diets and compact settlements reduce the human footprint, sparing land for nature. Global warming is abating as greenhouse gas emissions return to pre-industrial levels. Ecosystems are restored and endangered species are returning,
although scars remain as reminders of past heedlessness. This is not the end of history. In some sense, it is the beginning. For at last, people live with a deep awareness of their connection to one another, future generations and the web of life.”

<!–[if !mso]> <! st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } –>

A Distant Vision

Here is a civilization of unprecedented freedom, tolerance and decency. The pursuit of

meaningful and fulfilling lives is a universal right, the bonds of human solidarity have

never been stronger and an ecological sensibility infuses human values. Of course, this

is not paradise. Real people live here. Conflict, discontent, mean-spiritedness and

tragedy have not been abolished. But during the course of the twenty-first century the

historic possibility was seized to redirected development toward a far more sustainable

and liberatory world.

The fabric of global society is woven with diverse communities. Some are abuzz

with cultural experimentation, political intensity and technical innovation. Others are

slow-paced bastions of traditional culture, direct democracy and small-is-beautiful

technology. A few combine reflection, craft skill and high esthetics into a kind of

“sophisticated simplicity,” reminiscent of the Zen art of antiquity. Most are admixtures

of countless subcultures. The plurality of ways is deeply cherished for the choice it

offers individuals and the richness it offers social life.

The old polarizing dualities—cosmopolitanism versus parochialism, globalism

versus nationalism and top-down versus bottom-up—have been transcended. Instead,

people enjoy multiple levels of affiliation and loyalty—family, community, region and

planetary society. Global communication networks connect the four corners of the

world, and translation devices ease language barriers. A global culture of peace and

mutual respect anchors social harmony.

The World Union (née the United Nations) unifies regions in a global federation for

co-operation, security and sustainability. Governance is conducted through a decentralized

web of government, civil society and business nodes, often acting in partnership.

Social and environmental goals at each scale define the “boundary conditions” for those

nested within it. Subject to these constraints, the freedom to fashion local solutions is

considerable—but conditional. Human rights and the rights of other governance units

must be respected. While sophisticated conflict resolution processes limit conflict, the

World Union’s peace force is called on occasion to quell aggression and human rights

abuse.

Preferred lifestyles combine material sufficiency and qualitative fulfillment. Conspicuous

consumption and glitter are viewed as a vulgar throwback to an earlier era. The

pursuit of the well-lived life turns to the quality of existence—creativity, ideas, culture,

human relationships and a harmonious relationship with nature. Family life evolves into

new extended relationships as population ages and the number of children decreases.

People are enriched by voluntary activities that are socially useful and personally rewarding.

The distribution of income is maintained within rather narrow bounds. Typically, the

income of the wealthiest 20 percent is about two or three times the income of the poorest

20 percent. A minimum guaranteed income provides a comfortable but very basic

standard of living. Community spirit is reinforced by heavy reliance on locally produced

products, indigenous natural resources and environmental pride.

The economy is understood as the means to these ends, rather than an end in itself.

Competitive markets promote production and allocation efficiency. But they are highly

fettered markets tamed to conform to non-market goals. The polluter pay principle is

applied universally, expressed through eco-taxes, tradable permits, standards and subsidies.

Sustainable business practices are the norm, monitored and enforced by a vigilant

public. Investment decisions weigh carefully the costs of indirect and long-term

ecological impacts. Technology innovation is stimulated by price signals, public preferences,

incentives and the creative impulse. The industrial ecology of the new economy

is virtually a closed loop of recycled and re-used material, rather than the old throwaway

society.

Some “zero growth” communities opt to maximize time for non-market activities.

Others have growing economies, but with throughputs limited by sustainability criteria.

In the formal economy, robotic production systems liberate people from repetitive,

non-creative work. Most everywhere a labor-intensive craft economy rises alongside the

high technology base. For the producer, it offers an outlet for creative expression; for the

consumer, a breathtaking array of esthetic and useful goods; for all, a rich and diverse

world.

Long commutes are a thing of the past. Integrated settlements place home,

work, shops and leisure activity in convenient proximity. The town-within-the-city balances

human scale community with cosmopolitan cultural intensity. Rural life offers a

more serene and bucolic alternative, with digital links maintaining an immediate sense

of connectedness to wider communities. Private automobiles are compact and pollution

free. They are used in niche situations where walking, biking and public transport

options are not available. Larger vehicles are leased for special occasions and touring.

Advanced mass transportation systems link communities to local hubs, and those hubs

to one another and to large cities.

The transition to a solar economy is complete. Solar cells, wind, modern biomass

and flowing water generate power and heat buildings. Solar energy is converted to

hydrogen, and used, along with direct electricity, for transportation. Advanced bio-technology

is used cautiously for raw materials, agriculture and medicine. Clean production

practices have eliminated toxic pollution. Ecological farming makes use of high inputs

of knowledge, and low inputs of chemicals to keep yields high and sustainable. Population

stabilization, low-meat diets and compact settlements reduce the human footprint,

sparing land for nature. Global warming is abating as greenhouse gas emissions return

to pre-industrial levels. Ecosystems are restored and endangered species are returning,

although scars remain as reminders of past heedlessness.

This is not the end of history. In some sense, it is the beginning. For at last, people

live with a deep awareness of their connection to one another, future generations

and the web of life.

Read Full Post »

I ran across this video on Youtube while searching for videos about sustainability. Bill Mollison argues that the techno fantasy of being able to sustain our current trajectory of economic growth is not possible without an abundance of new sources of energy. I think he fails to see how rapidly renewable energy is being developed around the world especially how those the growth rates are exponential. Whether or not we can develop these before the availability of oil starts to decline remains to be seen, but I think once we realize we have reached peak oil there will be an even greater worldwide push to develop more sustainable sources of energy.

Permaculture is an interesting set of ideas and was the forerunner to sustainability. It integrates whole systems thinking around agriculture and the social networks it interfaces with. Most of the same concepts and theories in permaculture can be found in other current sustainability writings.

I do agree with him that we should be using Earth’s resources in a more efficient manner and exploiting synergies in our agricultural processes.

Read Full Post »

I got published! – Starbulletin.com http://ping.fm/9lgRJ

Read Full Post »