The Great Transition
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The Great Transition
Policy news & blueprints for the transition to a new Sustainable and Social Economy
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Is a sustainable future within reach?

Is a sustainable future within reach? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
John Elkington finds inspiration in the ready and available solutions listed in the Sustainia100 prospectus...

 

Interesting post by John Elkington on the Guardian's Sustainable Business blog but strange that the "father" of the "triple bottom line" is seriously leaving out the social dimension of sustainability. Are the capitalist elites preparing their Green Army-protected sustainability islands in the midst of civilisation collapse?

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The commons: beyond the market vs. state dilemma

"Rather than the vision of competition for scarce resources, the way of the commons is to look for support in what is needed, and not to consumption; to use more than to exchange, in the conviction that there are sufficient resources for all. In its concern for ‘us’ rather than an emphasis on resources; in its ability to share from the standpoint of autonomy as opposed to the idea of an authority that imposes rules when faced with inevitable conflict - this is an anthropocentric vision of cooperation and not a competitive and rational-economic vision. It exercises more concern over access and use than over property. More attention is paid to individual and collective wellbeing in sharing than to competing."

 

Brilliant article by Spanish professor Joan Subirats in Open Democracy on the "commons",  democracy and the internet. Must-read.

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Trade Off: Financial system supply-chain cross contagion – a study in global systemic collapse

Trade Off: Financial system supply-chain cross contagion – a study in global systemic collapse | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"This new study explores the implications of a major financial crisis for the supply-chains that feed us, keep production running and maintain our critical infrastructure. I use a scenario involving the collapse of the Eurozone to show that increasing socio-economic complexity could rapidly spread irretrievable supply-chain failure across the world."

 

Excellent new report from Irish think tank Feasta on the interconnectness between global energy insecurity, economic supply chains and the financial system. Worth reading full report.

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The future we really want: Survival 2100

The future we really want: Survival 2100 | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"In a more rational world, political leaders might come together in a special forum to acknowledge the nature and severity of the crisis and to establish the institutional and procedural basis for a worldwide “Survival 2100” project."

 

Author William Rees is the co-father of the ecological footprint. His absolute must-read "Project Survival 2100" article in Solutions is surely one of the best efforts to define the contours of a blueprint for the real sustainability revolution humanity needs. It is way more realistic than the superficial and unambitious gobbledegook of the Future we want Rio+20 final declaration.

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Realizing Private Capital’s Public Benefits

Realizing Private Capital’s Public Benefits | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Financial-market reform has fallen far short of securing the sector’s resilience, let alone driving investment in the technology, energy systems, infrastructure, and business models needed to develop a sustainable world economy."

 

Good article in Project Syndicate by sustainability expert Simon Zadek on the need to tackle the financial sector.

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2012 Blue Planet Prize Winners Offer Hope for Greener World

2012 Blue Planet Prize Winners Offer Hope for Greener World | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
“We’re facing a global storm, and the question is, is our boat ready?” Mathis Wackernagel asked the crowd gathered at the Japan Pavilion at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro Sunday.
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Sustainability should not be consigned to history by Shared Value

Sustainability should not be consigned to history by Shared Value | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
If Shared Value is to offer real, long term transformation it must address the flaws of capitalism, look beyond incrementalism and not just align commercial and societal goals, says John Elkington...

 

Good critique by sustainable business expert Elkington of the Shared Value approach developed by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer. But Elkington's own "triple bottom line" is as flawed as Porter's. Both of them do not put "ecological limits" at the heart of the transformational agenda.

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Rio+20: A Momentum for Resource Economics

Rio+20: A Momentum for Resource Economics | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Growth. It's not about plant growth, hair growth or growth in quality of life, it's about economic growth. And the kind that is measured in GDP. However, Rio+20 might mark a paradigm shift in the way we measure growth and wealth.

 

This article on Rio+20 in the Huffington Post demonstrates clearly how difficult it is to end our obsession with "growth" as the number one political priority. "Intelligent" growth, a "paradigm shift in the way we measure growth and wealth"... do all these phrases really put us on track for a new destination or do we just blind ourselves with nice rhetoric?

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Rio+20's opportunity will be squandered without courage and vision

Rio+20's opportunity will be squandered without courage and vision | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Gro Harlem Brundtland and Fernando Henrique Cardoso: Rio+20 must learn from the MDGs, emphasise sustainable development, and tackle climate change and gender inequality...

 

The same old wine but now in old bags; sorry Elders, but I have lost trust in you as you lack the courage to stand up really for the planet. The time for niceties and political pragmatism has past. History will judge you.

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Vision is not enough, we need a route map to build sustainable economies

Vision is not enough, we need a route map to build sustainable economies | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
A new report from the WBCSD sets out the steps needed to accelerate the pace of change in addressing social, ecological and economic challenges...

 

Interesting new report from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development building on its 2010 Vision 2050 report. Vision is one element, changing pace of the transformation another but both will need courage of the leading businesses to name and shame the business laggards and saboteurs (the fossil fuel sector and the financial sector being a few of the worst).

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Valuing Nature: Democracy or economics?

"... environmental sustainability will not be served by introducing or extending market instruments and norms to various areas of society, but quite the reverse. It would be better served by expanding and supporting the public sphere – both procedurally and substantively."

 

Another must-read article from the OpenDemocracy web site explaining why sustainability cannot be attained by putting a market value on natural capital and the economic "commons".

 

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Poor Richard's comment, May 21, 2012 5:59 AM
Much addo about very little. In a nutshell, without all the rhetoric, the proposed solution is reducing the scope of markets and "expanding and supporting the public sphere – both procedurally and substantively." Fine. What that really means is there is no unitary, all-encompassing market, i.e. certain things aren't on the auction block. Markets shall have circumscribed scope or boundaries, including appropriate regulation and no more archaic "externality" games. But the notion that *everything* should evolve from markets toward something else is absurd. Regulated markets would be natural and desirable even within many local commons. An agricultural land trust might want a produce market, and why not? Can we have more common sense and less high-toned new-agey stuff?
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New Club of Rome Report paints dark future for humanity

New Club of Rome Report paints dark future for humanity | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years", by Jorgen Randers, launched by the Club of Rome on May 7, raises the possibility that humankind might not survive on the planet if it continues on its path of over-consumption and short-termism.

 

While global leaders are focused on financial debt crisis, the ecological and social crisis gets worse.

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Royal Society Calls for Redistribution of Wealth and More Birth Control to Save Planet

Royal Society Calls for Redistribution of Wealth and More Birth Control to Save Planet | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The Royal Society wants the world to do something about population growth in a bid to stave off environmental and economic calamity, according to a new report dubbed “People and the Planet” released on April 26. At the same time, the excessive consumption of the world’s richest billion people must be restrained so that pets in the U.S. don’t consume more resources than people in Bangladesh." (Source: Scientific American blog )

 

A new report by the UK's Royal Society states some inconvenient truths and gets storm of critique from growth fundamentalists.

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Sustainability problems galore but precious few solutions

Sustainability problems galore but precious few solutions | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
While the 250 high level participants at the University of Oxford's Resource conference are clear about why short termism is so dominant, there is no silver bullet that will save civilisation...

 

What seems to have been seriously lacking during this conference is the social dimension of the sustainability crisis. What will be collapse for some (the 99%) could be a bright "gated" green future for others (the 1%). The signs of a new class war we are seeing in the Great Depression will become more visible over time.

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The Future /Who/ Wants (or needs)?

"Whether capitalism can be compatible with a beyond-growth wellbeing economy is as yet unclear. What is called for is a shift away from the commodification of everything and to a market system not based on profit maximisation but the ecological efficiency of the equitable satisfaction of wellbeing-needs. Whether the entities we call ‘companies’ will morph to be compatible with such a paradigm or new enterprises, more like co-operatives, family, employee and community owned enterprise will be the norm in this new paradigm is also not yet clear. But what is clear is that we can’t go on in the same blind fashion we are currently pursuing."

 

Jules Peck of the New Economics Foundation asks some interesting questions in this article republished on the Energy Bulletin.

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Rio+20 draft text is 283 paragraphs of fluff

Rio+20 draft text is 283 paragraphs of fluff | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
George Monbiot: World leaders have spent 20 years bracing themselves to express 'deep concern' about the world's environmental crises, but not to do anything about them...

 

I agree with Monbiot. History will look back in 2100 to this event as the final failure of several generations of policymakers and business leaders who could have prevented collapse. To be forgotten as soon as possible. One thing is certain: there will not be a Rio+40.

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Rio+20: WBCSD president says the future of the planet rests on business

Rio+20: WBCSD president says the future of the planet rests on business | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
With a disappointing political outcome at Rio+20, the president of the WBCSD says the only option is for business to spring into action and implement change at scale...

 

Can big business embrace limits to growth, develop a business model beyond short-term profit, empower leaders who advocate social and wage equality, adopt a no-lobby code, convince the fossil-fuel sector that the age of oil and gas has to end asap, tell the financial sector to downsize and serve the real economy, help SMEs to go sustainable? All very unlikely I would bet.

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Who do you trust: Mother Nature or Mr. Wizard?

Who do you trust: Mother Nature or Mr. Wizard? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The planetary boundary framework is problematic for neo-environmentalists because it is only by charging ahead in some of these areas—especially land use—that humans can really take control of Earth and engineer it into . . . well, whatever we want it to be. The Breakthrough report argues therefore that, “With the notable exception of climate, there is little reason to assume that other conditions that characterized the Holocene are particularly important to human material welfare.” So there. That wave of the hand gives humans plenty of maneuvering room, so now let’s get to work and see what we can make out of this random collection of rocks, water, and atmosphere."

 

Brilliant critique by Richard Heinberg of the new "environmentalism" which wants to geo-engineer and change the planet's boundaries.

 

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"Green Unilateralism"

Rather than seeking to contain this unilateralism, world leaders should leverage it in pursuit of global public goods. Such a strategy’s success depends on three factors: a focus on a small number of big-ticket national and regional actions, adequate policy leverage over these actions, and international coalitions to steer them along a legitimate path.

 

Realistic assessment by Simon Zadek of what we can and should expect from Rio+20: no global consensus but targeted unilateral steps towards sustainability.

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Earth 'risks irreversible change'

Earth 'risks irreversible change' | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Humanity's path is anything but sustainable, the UN Environment Programme warns, as scientists suggest life may be heading for irreversible change.

 

In the run-up to Rio+20 the UN has presented its 5th Global Environmental Outlook. Its analysis is gloomy and correct, its solutions disappointing because it does not have the courage to point to the real planet-killers: casino capitalism, growing inequalities and runaway population growth.

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Can disruptive policy create a sustainable finance system?

Can disruptive policy create a sustainable finance system? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The ideas for creating a new and sustainable finance system are out there. If this thinking doesn't get greater exposure to policy makers and the media, the world of finance will remain a barrier to social and environmental progress."

 

Good analysis by Chris Hewett on the Open Democracy site.

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"Why Do Economies Stop Growing?"

"Why Do Economies Stop Growing?" | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Many of the growth strategies tried around the world have turned out to have built-in limitations or decelerators – what one might call elements of unsustainability.

 

Absolute must-read article in Project Syndicate by 2001 Economics Nobel laureate Michael Spence. He seems to be one of the few economists able to think beyond the unfruitful austerity versus growth debate and link the crisis of the economy and economics with the sustainability crisis.

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Sustainable development is the only way forward

Sustainable development is the only way forward | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Jonathan Glennie: Development co-operation needs to shift focus from poverty eradication to a broader, more inclusive framework...

 

Good reframing of the development policy debate looking at the bigger picture on the Guardian's PovertyMatters blog.

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Sustainability transition needs social equity

Interesting zero-draft contribution to the Rio+20 summit by Initiative for Equity, a new global network of activists, academics, civil society groups, and movements around the world working on issues related to social, economic and political inequality.

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U.N. Fails to Finalise Rio+20 Plan on Sustainable Future

After two weeks of closed door negotiations, a U.N. preparatory committee (PrepCom) has failed to reach consensus on a global plan of action, titled "The Future We Want," to be adopted by a summit meeting of world leaders mid-June in Brazil.

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