Category: Society

Scotland Can Show the World that Small is Beautiful

And challenge the preeminent power of corporations to defy governments elected by the people. by David Morris Scots rally for independence. (By Martainn MacDhomhnaill under a Creative Commons license) Since 1945 the number of nations has soared from about 60 to more than 180.  The first wave of new sovereign states came with the decolonization movement of the 1960s and 1970s; the second in the early 1990s with the break-up […]

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Call to Action: Reclaim the Climate Movement (Australia)

I’m sure you’ve heard that everyone – or, at least, everyone who cares – will be marching for the climate this weekend. If you’re not marching, then you’re not doing anything at all, or so we’re told. False dichotomies aside though, I won’t be marching this weekend. I’ll be taking action instead. I agree with Chris Hedges: the march is nothing more that street theatre. It won’t lead to any […]

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Seven Reasons Why World Peace is Possible

Introduction The 21st of September will be International Day of Peace. It may seem a little premature to declare that world peace is due to break out by the end this month. I do not deny that the amount of killing and death and war and torture and death and coercion and abuse and death all over everywhere can be overwhelming. Nor do I deny that considering this it is […]

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Omar Ahmad: Political Change With Pen and Paper (TED video)

Politicians are strange creatures, says politician Omar Ahmad. And the best way to engage them on your pet issue is a monthly handwritten letter. Ahmad shows why old-fashioned correspondence is more effective than email, phone or even writing a check — and shares the four simple steps to writing a letter that works.

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Political Straightjacket

If the ozone hole had been discovered ten years later, governments are likely to have done nothing. In The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins, a comedy made in 1971, Spike Milligan portrays Sloth as a tramp trying to get through a farm gate. This simple task is rendered almost impossible by the fact that he can’t be bothered to take his hands out of his pockets and open the latch. He […]

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Someone Else’s Story

Scots voting no to independence would be an astonishing act of self-harm. Imagine that the question was posed the other way round. An independent nation is asked to decide whether to surrender its sovereignty to a larger union. It would be allowed a measure of autonomy, but key aspects of its governance would be handed to another nation. It would be used as a military base by the dominant power […]

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Open Source Recipes to Make Social Innovations More Shareable

Inspired by the principles of open source software, the concept of Open Social Innovation aims to document social innovations so they can be more easily shared. How can we share and transfer sustainable social practices across communities? Increasingly, we see individuals and communities experimenting with innovative sustainable practices, pioneering new ways to communicate, think, work, live, and share together. In that context the question arises as to how best practices […]

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Earth Democracy (video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGRC_xZ8hNI Earth Democracy promises to bring a deeper sense of democracy — one serving not only the people but our entire planet. This concept initiated by Vandana Shiva is in alignment with the permaculture ethics we relentlessly seek to promote and apply. I believe in a very fertile future and am convinced that a major shift of politics is happening. Remember that your voice is heard in your actions; the […]

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Crash on Demand – or Rapid Transition?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6pFDu7lLV4 The Arctic Death Spiral and the Methane Time Bomb (Duration: 1:11:11) Please watch before continuing with the article. Can we talk about transition, please? Regular readers will have noted the semi-recent flurry of conversations over ‘crashing’ the system (if not, see here, here, here, here and here) and possible pathways to transition (see here and here). I’d like to see this conversation continued, as it is not insignificant. Hence […]

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Social Media – A Double-Edged Sword

Permaculture calls for us to care for the earth, care for each other and share our resources. In an ideal permaculture world, we would all pull together in a collaborative search for nature-inspired solutions to global problems. Social media has the potential to help us do just that.

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Degrowth and the Carbon Budget: Powerdown Strategies for Climate Stability

Samuel Alexander (1), Simplicity Institute Climate change is not ‘a problem’ waiting for ‘a solution’. It is an environmental, cultural, and political phenomenon which is reshaping the way we think about ourselves, our societies and humanity’s place on Earth. — Mike Hulme 1. Introduction In recent years the notion of a ‘carbon budget’ has entered the lexicon of climate science (e.g. IPCC, 2013; Meinshausen et al, 2009). This concept refers […]

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A Tale of Three Countries: Are Farm Subsidies Necessary?

Imagine if Tom Vilsack (whose Wikipedia biography does not list any experience whatsoever with farming or farmers prior to his appointment as the United States Secretary of Agriculture) emerged from his offices to find a cow tethered on the street outside and protestors informing him that it was his task to milk her. This was exactly what happened in Norway during 2012 protests to changes in agricultural subsidies for Norwegian […]

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