Category: Society

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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The Conservative Lorax

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6uJkI9DE14 The Lorax, published in video form on our site here, is a much-loved children’s tale by Dr. Seuss — one with a strong environmental message (the original book version was banned in some schools and libraries in the US due to pressure by the forestry lobbies). Now, above, you can watch an updated version, where, I’m very sorry to say, you’ll discover that the Lorax, who formerly spoke for […]

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Pia Mancini: How to Upgrade Democracy for the Internet Era

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXfYNdapq3Q Pia Mancini and her colleagues want to upgrade democracy in Argentina and beyond. Through their open-source mobile platform they want to bring citizens inside the legislative process, and run candidates who will listen to what they say.

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The Toll-Booth Economy

Corporate power is the real enemy within, but none of the major parties will confront it. The more power you possess, the more insecure you feel. The paranoia of power drives people towards absolutism. But far from curing them of the conviction that they are threatened and beleaguered, it becomes only stronger. On Friday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, claimed that business is under political attack on a […]

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A Little Knowledge Can Be a Dangerous Thing

I had a conversation with my eldest son, Michael, some time ago. We discussed: “Why can’t knowledge be used to make things in society work better?” This question of my son’s got me to thinking about what is knowledge and what is the difference between knowledge of nature and knowledge of human affairs. In philosophy, this is called epistemology — the study of knowledge. I was very gratified that Michael […]

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Eradicating Ecocide – Sounding the Horn

Ecocide law, unlike any other law, has the capacity to disrupt what we perceive to be immoveable. How can we possibly decouple from fossil fuels, from economies based on making money out of heavy extractive industries, from businesses that are threatening to sue governments that refuse to allow them to destroy their lands? This is a question that is voiced in many different ways but the essence of it is […]

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The Kink in the Human Brain

Pointless, joyless consumption is destroying our world of wonders. This is a moment at which anyone with the capacity for reflection should stop and wonder what we are doing. If the news that in the past 40 years the world has lost over 50% its vertebrate wildlife (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish) fails to tell us that there is something wrong with the way we live, it’s hard to […]

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Life in a ‘Degrowth’ Economy, and Why You Might Actually Enjoy It

by Samuel Alexander, originally published on The Conversation Time to get off the economic growth train? Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock 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. This week’s Addicted to Growth conference in Sydney is exploring how to move beyond […]

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UN: Only Small Farmers and Agroecology Can Feed the World

Governments must shift subsidies and research funding from agro-industrial monoculture to small farmers using ‘agroecological’ methods, according to the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. And as Nafeez Ahmed notes, her call coincides with a new agroecology initiative within the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. Modern industrial agricultural methods can no longer feed the world, due to the impacts of overlapping environmental and ecological crises linked to land, […]

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Care of the Commons. Care of the Soul

Sharing is the path to a greener, more peaceful world. by Ruth Wilson Human decisions and human activities are imposing enormous costs on the life-support systems of planet Earth. Left unchecked, the results will be catastrophic for all living things, including humans. Some of the damage to life and the systems that support life is irreversible. Fortunately, the message is out there to “save the environment.” What may be equally […]

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Building Community Through Permaculture – an Interview with Mark Lakeman

Marcin Gerwin: You used to work as an architect for a large company. How did you come to be involved in permaculture? Mark Lakeman: I was working for a large firm in 1988 and I wasn’t exposed to permaculture while working in a corporate career, which was very typical. But fortunately for me there was a day in my firm when there was a huge toxic waste cover-up that I […]

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