Category: Society

Alessandra Orofino: It’s Our City. Let’s Fix It.

Too often, people feel checked out of politics — even at the level of their own city. But urban activist Alessandra Orofino thinks that can change, using a mix of tech and old-fashioned human connection. Sharing examples from her hometown of Rio, she says: "It is up to us to decide whether we want schools or parking lots, recycling projects or construction sites, cars or buses, loneliness or solidarity."

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Better Dead Than Different

Our visions of the future are defined, like the film Interstellar, by technological optimism and political defeatism. Yawn: "Hey, we can make it out here!" “It’s like we’ve forgotten who we are,” the hero of Interstellar complains. “Explorers, pioneers, not caretakers…. We’re not meant to save the world. We’re meant to leave it.” It could be the epigraph of our age. Don’t get me wrong. Interstellar is a magnificent film, […]

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A Gunpowder Plot Against Democracy

This bill of rights for corporations will blow up the sovereignty of parliaments. On this day a year ago, I was in despair. A dark cloud was rising over the Atlantic, threatening to blot out some of the freedoms our ancestors lost their lives to secure. The ability of parliaments on both sides of the ocean to legislate on behalf of their people was at risk from an astonishing treaty, […]

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Soil, Struggle and Justice – Agroecology in the Brazilian Landless Movement

This film examines a cooperative of the Brazilian Landless Movement (MST) in the South of Brazil, which struggled for access to land and then transitioned to ecological agriculture, or agroecology. This MST cooperative is demonstrating the possibility of an alternative model of flourishing rural life, which provides thriving livelihoods for farmers, produces high quality and low cost food for the region, and rehabilitates the earth.

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Light Bulb Moments

Think of the Industrial Revolution as the start of carbonifeous capitalism. — Dr. Ian Stewart Many a contemporary scientist has commented that they started talking about climate change 20-30 years ago and figured once they educated people, they could go back to their respective fields of research. That never happened. They learned that knowledge does not necessarily lead to action, because humans are not motivated by logic but emotions. So […]

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An Orchard Grows in Boston

Rebuilding the commons in an economically-divided, violence-scarred neighborhood by Orion Kriegman Egleston Square is a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, straddling the borders of Roxbury and Jamaica Plain (JP) in the city of Boston. High condo prices and even higher rents are pushing long-term residents, to move elsewhere. This churning of the real estate market, to be expected in a profit-maximizing system, dissolves community and acerbates race and class divides. It is […]

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Where Are Today’s Misemployment Figures?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SawYdOz1Wa8 When unemployment figures start to decrease in many countries, economists and governments congratulate themselves on their ability to ‘stimulate’ demand. This week, one London-based school that is devoted to teaching emotional intelligence responded by releasing a video that explores the distinction between good and bad demand, and ‘employment and misemployment’. They have uploaded the full script of the video on their website. I found this passage particularly inspiring.

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The Plastic Society – Moving Towards Plastic Independence

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We all know about society’s over-consumption of plastic. We’ve heard again and again that it takes up to a millennia for plastics to bio-degrade (1), and consumers worldwide are using approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year (2). And the issue of micro-plastic in our oceans in the past few years have gained awareness via social media. With all this data perpetually smothering our faces on a regular basis, […]

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“Cleansing the Stock”

How our governments now talk about human beings. To blot people out of existence first you must blot them from your mind. Then you can persuade yourself that what you are doing is moral and necessary. Today, this isn’t difficult. Those who act without compassion can draw upon a system of thought and language whose purpose is to shield them – and blind us – to the consequences.

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Melissa Fleming: Let’s Help Refugees Thrive, Not Just Survive (TED video)

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50 million people in the world today have been forcefully displaced from their homes — a level not seen since WWII. Right now, more than 3 million Syrian refugees are seeking shelter in neighboring countries. In Lebanon, half of these refugees are children; only 20% are in school. Melissa Fleming of the UN’s refugee agency calls on all of us to make sure that refugee camps are healing places where […]

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Falling Apart

Competition and individualism are forcing us into a devastating Age of Loneliness. What do we call this time? It’s not the information age: the collapse of popular education movements left a void now filled by marketing and conspiracy theories(1). Like the stone age, iron age and space age, the digital age says plenty about our artefacts but little about society. The anthropocene, in which humans exert a major impact on […]

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