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The Great Transition
Policy news & blueprints for the transition to a new Sustainable and Social Economy
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Degrowth – A Vocabulary for a New Era: Review

Degrowth – A Vocabulary for a New Era: Review | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
To the extent that degrowth is an involuntary process then another set of issues arise – will the society and economy withstand the process without catastrophic breakdowns and what can the many kinds of projects and policies described in this book do to make energy descent a survivable process for the population? A great many people will be finding that their lifestyle packages are severely stressed and breaking apart and this will generate a great deal of fear and ‘negative’ emotions.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Fascinating, must-read debate between Feasta's Brian Davey and  Giorgios Kallis on the framing of #degrowth. Can we manage degrowth or do we prepare for collapse?

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Economy on the edge: seeking a world that works for the 100%

The global economy is on the edge with 85 people having as much wealth as 3.5bn of the world's poorest. We need a new story of an economy that doesn't trash the planet
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent Guardian article by Hunter Lovings, Robert Costanzo and others on the new ecological economic paradigm which can take the planet away from the edge.

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The Anthropocene: It’s Not All About Us

The Anthropocene: It’s Not All About Us | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The Techno-Anthropocene has an Achilles heel: energy (more specifically, the failings of nuclear power). The Lean-Green Anthropocene has one as well: human nature."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Interesting perspective on the Anthropocene debate by Richard Heinberg but I keep struggling with this new Age of Man narrative. It seems to me as much  a token of our human hybris as a concept with dangerous ideological connotations.

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Jared Diamond: We could be living in a new Stone Age by 2114

Jared Diamond: We could be living in a new Stone Age by 2114 | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The Pulitzer-winning author explains why he adapted his classic book "The Third Chimpanzee" for kids: because we need them to fix our mistakes.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Must-read from Mother Jones for all those who have the courage to think.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, April 30, 5:07 PM

Even if these aren't the stakes that we're presently facing, these are the stakes that come with surviving in this universe, on this planet, in this plane of existence.

 

I don't know where we'll be in 100 years.  But what I do know, is that death and destruction is never off the table. 

 

That's just fact.  Take it for whatever you will.

 

Stupid chimps.

 

Think about it.

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The global Transition tipping point has arrived - vive la révolution

The global Transition tipping point has arrived - vive la révolution | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Nafeez Ahmed: A new post-carbon era dawns as the old fossil fuel system dies. It's time to step up.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Another must-read top post by the brilliant Nafeez Ahmed but I disagree with his "optimism of the will". Of course there will not be any extinction by 2030 but the transition from the old fossil-fuel and debt-based paradigm to the new 'one-planet economy' will not be without lots of pain and violence. Vive la révolution? Revolutions have a habit of eating their children or heroes, dear Nafeez.

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The Myth of Human Progress and the Collapse of Complex Societies

The Myth of Human Progress and the Collapse of Complex Societies | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Chris Hedges: The most prescient portrait of the American character and our ultimate fate as a species is found in Herman Melville's ''Moby Dick.''
Willy De Backer's insight:

Absolutely brilliant but bleak analysis of the state of our world. Must-read article for all with the courage to see...

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Scott A Gibbs's curator insight, January 28, 9:48 AM

Interesting opinions.  Although they are sure to enrage, there needs to be a different discussion about economic development and the metrics by which we measure it.

Artur Alves's curator insight, January 31, 10:54 AM

"Decayed civilizations always make war on independent intellectual inquiry, art and culture for this reason. They do not want the masses to look into the pit. They condemn and vilify the “burnt people”—Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, Cornel West. They feed the human addiction for illusion, happiness and hope. They peddle the fantasy of eternal material progress. They urge us to build images of ourselves to worship. They insist—and this is the argument of globalization ¬¬—that our voyage is, after all, decreed by natural law. We have surrendered our lives to corporate forces that ultimately serve systems of death. We ignore and belittle the cries of the burnt people. And, if we do not swiftly and radically reconfigure our relationship to each other and the ecosystem, microbes look set to inherit the earth."

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Into The Valley Of Death Rode The 600, Into The Valley Of 400 PPM Rode The 7 Billion

Into The Valley Of Death Rode The 600, Into The Valley Of 400 PPM Rode The 7 Billion | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
“Forward, the Light Brigade!” Was there a man dismay’d ? Not tho’ the soldier knew Some one had blunder’d: Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do & die, Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Great blog post by Joe Romm quoting Jeremy Grantham's latest analysis and William Ophuls new book 'Immoderate Greatness: why civilisations fail'. Should I rename the title of this ScoopIt from the 'Great Transition" to the "Great Collapse"?

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Conflict and Change in the Era of Economic Decline: Part 1 - The 21st century landscape of conflict

Conflict and Change in the Era of Economic Decline: Part 1 - The 21st century landscape of conflict | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Brilliant start of a five-articles essay by Richard Heinberg on the social implications of the Great Decline. Absolute must-read.

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You can't say that!

You can't say that! | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"So the real trade-off, the real choice we face, is not between climate protection on one hand and economic growth on the other. It’s between planned economic contraction (with government managing the post-carbon transition through infrastructure investment and useful make-work programs) as a possible but unlikely strategy, and unplanned, unmanaged economic and environmental collapse as our default scenario."

 

Richard Heinberg on why neither President Obama nor influential NGOs to tell citizens the inconvenient truth. Without that courage, the transition will be chaotic and will cost the world.

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IMF study: Peak oil could do serious damage to the global economy

IMF study: Peak oil could do serious damage to the global economy | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

One week after IMF economist Michael Kumhof attracted attention with his remarkable ideas on debt and money creation in the working paper "The Chicago Plan Revisited", here he is again with another remarkable study, on peak oil this time. One scenario in his modelling predicts an 800 percent increase in oil prices in two decades. Anyone for more doom-and-gloom?

 

Is the IMF becoming revolutionary? And will the media and policymakers read and understand the implications of these excellent papers? I guess now the Queen will not have to ask questions why nobody warned of this clear and present danger.

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Climate change is already damaging global economy, report finds

Climate change is already damaging global economy, report finds | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Economic impact of global warming is costing the world more than $1.2 trillion a year, wiping 1.6% annually from global GDP...

 

By 2030, the researchers estimate, the cost of climate change and air pollution combined will rise to 3.2% of global GDP, with the world's least developed countries forecast to bear the brunt, suffering losses of up to 11% of their GDP.

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India power cut hits millions, among world's worst outages

India power cut hits millions, among world's worst outages | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Hundreds of millions of people across India were left without power on Tuesday in one of the world's worst blackouts, trapping miners, stranding train travelers and plunging hospitals...

 

How long before this will also be happening in some of our "developed" countries? These are just the first signs of catabolic collapse.

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Record cereal prices stoke fears of global food crisis

Record cereal prices stoke fears of global food crisis | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Severe drought in US - largest exporter of corn, soya beans and wheat - pushes up prices and revives memories of 2007-08 riots...

 

This recurrence of the global food crisis caused either by rising commodity prices or extreme weather events related to climate change is a strong indicator of the validity of John Michael Greer's theory of the catabolic collapse of civilisations.

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Corporate armies, drone terrorism, laser weapons – MoD's vision of future

Corporate armies, drone terrorism, laser weapons – MoD's vision of future | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Ministry of Defence thinktank spells out potential threats to security that might emerge by 2045
Willy De Backer's insight:

The future is bright - our only hope: the robots taking over.

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Scientists vindicate 'Limits to Growth' – urge investment in 'circular economy'

Scientists vindicate 'Limits to Growth' – urge investment in 'circular economy' | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Nafeez Ahmed: Early warning of civilisational collapse by early to mid 21st century startlingly prescient - but opportunity for transition open
Willy De Backer's insight:

Good review of the latest study by Prof. Ugo Bardi for the Club of Rome on how climate change and resource constraints will force us to rethink our way of life.

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Daniel LaLiberte's curator insight, July 31, 10:00 PM

Zero Footprint means not just lowering our environmental impact, but eliminating it, and eliminating waste by recycling 100% of the resources we use, powered by 100% renewable energy.

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The Collapse of Western Civilization

The Collapse of Western Civilization | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

The year is 2393, and a senior scholar of the Second People's Republic of China presents a gripping and deeply disturbing account of how the children of the Enlightenment, the political and economic elites of the so-called advanced industrial societies, entered into a Penumbral period in the early decades of the twenty-first century, a time when sound science and rational discourse about global change were prohibited and clear warnings of climate catastrophe were ignored.

Willy De Backer's insight:

Looking forward to reading Naomi Oreskes new book on the demise of the West and the 'carbon industrial complex'.

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It’s the End of the World as We Know It . . . and He Feels Fine

It’s the End of the World as We Know It . . . and He Feels Fine | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
After decades of fervent environmental activism, Paul Kingsnorth decided it’s too late — collapse is inevitable. So now what?
Willy De Backer's insight:
Excellent must-read article in the New York Times about Paul Kingsnorth and the Dark Mountain project.
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Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'?

Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Nafeez Ahmed: Natural and social scientists develop new model of how 'perfect storm' of crises could unravel global system
Willy De Backer's insight:

Great must-read article in The Guardian.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, March 15, 2:22 PM

The warning signs are all there.

 

No one of significance is paying attention to it, and the population of humanity remains bogged down in trivial issues.

 

It's funny that the conservative instinct to resist change and take everything for their own small self is the cause of most of the significant changes in our world for the worse.

 

Looks like we're going to have to develop plans for how to dig out of this crater that we're going to fall into.

 

Think about it.

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At the root of Egyptian rage is a deepening resource crisis

At the root of Egyptian rage is a deepening resource crisis | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Egypt’s resource crisis is more than the primary driver of its own collapse: It could potentially destabilize the entire region, if not the world."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Must-read article on the crisis in Egypt and the Middle East. Nafeez Ahmed  is one of the few analysts who is able and willing to understand the nexus between the economic, the ecological and the energy crises.

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Climate change, debt and inequality 'threaten financial stability'

Climate change, debt and inequality 'threaten financial stability' | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Ahead of Davos 2013, World Economic Forum calls on policymakers to step up efforts to tackle three biggest dangers
Willy De Backer's insight:

Interesting report - my favorite quote from the press release: "Two storms – environmental and economic – are on a collision course"

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Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, January 8, 2013 7:29 PM

"Continued stress on the global economic system is positioned to absorb the attention of leaders for the foreseeable future," the report said. "Meanwhile, the Earth's environmental system is simultaneously coming under increasing stress. Future simultaneous shocks to both systems could trigger the 'perfect global storm' with potentially insurmountable consequences.


"On the economic front, global resilience is being tested by bold monetary and austere fiscal policies. On the environmental front, the Earth's resilience is being tested by rising global temperatures and extreme weather events that are likely to become more frequent and severe. A sudden and massive collapse on one front is certain to doom the other's chances of developing an effective, long-term solution."

 

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The World Bank's Shocking, Cautionary Tale on Climate Change

The World Bank's Shocking, Cautionary Tale on Climate Change | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Like the Ghost of Christmas Future, the World Bank has just provided us with a frightening glimpse into our world-to-be if, unlike Scrooge, we fail to change our ways.

 

The new World Bank report "Turn down the heat: why a 4°C warmer world must be avoided" stands in stark contrast to all fossil-fuel friendly policies of this and other international and national governance bodies. And the silence in the media about the coming Doha summit on climate change is deafening.

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Ignorance by consensus

Ignorance by consensus | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"We are trying to comprehend our world within the world-views and economic orthodoxies developed over an extra-ordinary, two-hundred year period of compound economic growth. This growth was coincident with increasing wealth, complexity and globalized integration. Part of our dominant consensus is that this trend will continue. Much of what is important to us, how we live, our expectations, what we value and hold dear, was shaped by this process. And we, the global 10%, have done well out of it.

 

The fringe view is that this growth is over – we are at the limits to growth, now. At issue is the stability of the globalized economy. We are moving into a deepening global deflationary depression, interspersed with dangerous and possibly irreversible shocks to the systems that support our basic welfare. We will lose much of what we take for granted and things we have come to call our own. We are entering an era of real danger and unpredictability."

 

Brilliant analysis by FEASTA's David Korowicz on why so many experts and economists keep getting it wrong on the economic and ecological crises.

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Radical Simplicity and the Middle-Class - Exploring the Lifestyle Implications of a ‘Great Disruption’

Radical Simplicity and the Middle-Class - Exploring the Lifestyle Implications of a ‘Great Disruption’ | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"How would the ordinary middle-class consumer – I should say middle-class citizen – deal with a lifestyle of radical simplicity? By radical simplicity I essentially mean a very low but biophysically sufficient material standard of living, a form of life that will be described in more detail below. In this essay I want to suggest that radical simplicity would not be as bad as it might first seem, provided we were ready for it and wisely negotiated its arrival, both as individuals and as communities. Indeed, I am tempted to suggest that radical simplicity is exactly what consumer cultures need to shake themselves awake from their comfortable slumber; that radical simplicity would be in our own, immediate, self-interests."

 

Gloomy analysis of our consumer society after post-growth collapse. Forbidden reading for anyone who believes "our way of life is non-negotiable". Truth is, nature will not negotiate and things are likely to be a bit less "nice" than described in this article.

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Michael Hudson's new must-read book: The Bubble and Beyond

Michael Hudson's new must-read book: The Bubble and Beyond | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sector has emerged to create “balance sheet wealth” not by new tangible investment and employment, but financially in the form of debt leveraging and rent-extraction. This rentier overhead is overpowering the economy’s ability to produce a large enough surplus to carry its debts. As in a radioactive decay process, we are passing through a short-lived and unstable phase of “casino capitalism,” which now threatens to settle into leaden austerity and debt deflation."

 

The new book by economist Michael Hudson should be mandatory reading for anyone seriously dealing with the global and European crisis.

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It's Too Late for Solutions

It's Too Late for Solutions | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"There is a clamor for “solutions.” Everywhere I go, people say "Don't be a doomer; give us solutions." And I discovered that the subtext to all that is they really want solutions for allowing them to keep on living exactly the way they are living now. To keep on running Wal-Mart, and keep on running Suburbia, and keep on running the highway system, and the whole kit of parts. And what that really means is that they are looking for ways to add on additional complexity to a society that is already suffering from too much complexity.."

 

Good Podcast with American author James Howard Kunstler at Peak Prosperity.

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