Archive for the tag “Transition”

Report: The rise of the Right and climate catastrophe

Michael T. Klare writes: Nationalistic exceptionalism could become something of the norm if Donald Trump wins, or other nations put the needs of a fossil fuel-based domestic growth agenda ahead of global climate commitments. In its latest report, the Norwegian energy giant Statoil outlines a chilling scenario focused on just this sort of dystopian future.
Read more…

Forecast: The world nears peak fossil fuels for electricity

dino-peak-oilThe way we get electricity is about to change dramatically, as demand for fossil fuels comes to an end— in less than a decade. According to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecast, massive shifts are coming soon to power markets because electric cars and affordable battery storage for renewable power are arriving faster than expected.
Read more…

Sustainable Lifestyles: Pathways and Choices for India and Germany

Harry Lehmann, Sudhir Chella Rajan
Co-authors: Sneha Annavarapu, Claudia Kabel, Christian Löwe, Astrid Matthey
(Indo-German Expert Group on Green and Inclusive Economy)

policy paper
Green Economy has been recognized by the Rio+20 Summit as “one of the important tools available for achieving sustainable development”. It is emphasized that Green Economy should “contribute to eradicating poverty as well as sustained economic growth, enhancing social inclusion, improving human welfare and creating opportunities for employment and decent work for all, while maintaining the healthy functioning of the Earth’s ecosystems”.

Such a transition towards a green and inclusive economy requires major efforts both on a national and international level, and cooperation and exchange of experiences is key to support the process. India and Germany are major players in this transition. Against this backdrop, an interdisciplinary working group of renowned experts from leading research institutions and political think tanks in India and Germany has been set up in November 2013 to enhance
collaborative learning, contribute to informed decision making in both countries and feed into the international debate on a Green and Inclusive Economy.

Five key topics are:
• Frameworks and challenges for a green and inclusive transformation
• Natural resources and decoupling growth from resource consumption
• Sustainable lifestyles
• Green and inclusive cities
• Transformation of the private sector

This policy paper was elaborated based on discussions in the context of the 3rd expert
group meeting on 12–14 November 2014 in Berlin.
The group is supported by the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation,
Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and facilitated by the GIZ Environmental Policy
Programme in Berlin and the Indo-German Environment Partnership in Delhi.

Visit the website of the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability
Download the paper: Sustainable Lifestyles: Pathways and Choices for India and Germany

Allan Savory: A Global Strategy for Addressing Global Climate Change

Editors note: Allan Savory is the recipient of the 2003 Australian International Banksia Award for the person or organization doing the most for the environment on a global scale. Below is  Executive Summary of his paper on combating Climate Change.

Executive Summary 

Simplistic and counter intuitive as it may be, the fate of civilization today hangs on two slender threads – the correct management of livestock and the rapid development of benign energy to sustain cities and mass transport. Excessive emissions of carbon and other gases from fossil fuels are not the only causes of global climate change, nor are they the greatest cause of climate change, as popularly espoused. Humans began to change climate in ancient times through their actions that began to disrupt complex living communities, diminishing biodiversity and replacing the role of large herbivores and predators in the worlds savannas with fire. Ancient practices, continued to this day, ensured land degradation (desertification) and increased atmospheric carbon dioxide and other gases from fires and soil breakdown. This process of environment destruction had destroyed many civilizations before coal and oil were discovered or widely used.

Essential as it is, stopping carbon emissions entirely will not alone solve the potential catastrophe facing humanity because a great part of what amounts to global environmental malfunction cannot be attributed to carbon emissions. If tomorrow we somehow achieved zero emissions from fossil fuels we still would not avert major catastrophe. Grassland and savanna burning would continue, desertification would continue to accelerate with soils increasingly unable to store either carbon or water and the climate would continue to change.

To avert disaster on a scale almost unimaginable a global strategy is required that addresses carbon emissions while effectively dealing with biodiversity loss and biomass burning to reverse desertification that is not caused by atmospheric carbon buildup.

Based on over fifty years of sustained work on the desertification aspect of global climate change, I suggest a strategy that offers hope in todays confusion and lack of any clear and workable strategy at any level local, governmental or international. This simple strategy may encourage others to improve on what I offer. The strategy suggested follows two distinct paths. A high technology (reductionist science) path to alternative sources of benign energy and a low technology (relationship science) path to removing harmful atmospheric gases, ending biomass burning and reversing desertification as major components of global climate change. As I will explain, ending most biomass burning and reversing desertification can only be achieved through shifting our world view concerning the management of large animals livestock and wildlife.

While proposing a safe strategy I also argue that measures encouraging high technology solution alone to current legacy load of atmospheric carbon entail risk when such risk is not required. The strategy suggested in this paper sees an essential and vital role for high technology in our search for alternative sources of energy. However the suggested strategy also recognizes the extreme dangers of relying on some technological solution to ongoing biomass burning and land degradation (desertification) and the safe storage of legacy carbon. Most of all much of the suggested strategy treats Earth as the complex Global Strategy for Addressing Climate Change 5 living system that it is and which requires working with rather than against natural functioning of our environment.

Download pdf: A Global Strategy for Addressing Global Climate Change 

Event: Badanavalu Satyagraha National Convention for Sustainable Living

scene from the play Yantra Rakshasa Mardini (Slaying of the Machine ...
Scene from Yantra Rakshasa Mardini (Slaying of the Machine), a play recently held in Bangalore in support of  Badanavalu Satyagraha. Pic courtesy: The New Indian Express

Over the last year and a half, a Handloom Satyagraha has been underway in and around the state of Karnataka. It was conducted by the All India Federation of Handloom Organizations. In December 2013, thousands of handloom weavers from across Karnataka marched several hundred kilometers in a campaign entitled ‘Banashankari Yatre’. In January 2014, an indefinite fast was observed demanding strict implementation of the Handloom Reservation Act. In December 2014, a fast until death campaign was undertaken in order to protest against the manufacture of imitation handloom products through powerlooms.

The federation has now decided to broad base the Satyagraha and include all organizations working towards sustainability into this campaign. Sustainability in agriculture, environment, labour, gender, language, folklore, culture and education, along with Khadhi and handlooms, is our motto. Badanavalu Satyagraha has now become a joint campaign of all consumers and producers of a sustainable production range. It is a joint campaign of the city people and the village poor. Read more…

Event: Badanavalu Satyagraha & National Convention for Sustainable Living

scene from the play Yantra Rakshasa Mardini (Slaying of the Machine ...
Scene from Yantra Rakshasa Mardini (Slaying of the Machine), a play recently held in Bangalore in support of  Badanavalu Satyagraha. Pic courtesy: The New Indian Express

Over the last year and a half, a Handloom Satyagraha has been underway in and around the state of Karnataka. It was conducted by the All India Federation of Handloom Organizations. In December 2013, thousands of handloom weavers from across Karnataka marched several hundred kilometers in a campaign entitled ‘Banashankari Yatre’. In January 2014, an indefinite fast was observed demanding strict implementation of the Handloom Reservation Act. In December 2014, a fast until death campaign was undertaken in order to protest against the manufacture of imitation handloom products through powerlooms.

The federation has now decided to broad base the Satyagraha and include all organizations working towards sustainability into this campaign. Sustainability in agriculture, environment, labour, gender, language, folklore, culture and education, along with Khadhi and handlooms, is our motto. Badanavalu Satyagraha has now become a joint campaign of all consumers and producers of a sustainable production range. It is a joint campaign of the city people and the village poor. Read more…

T. Vijayendra: Post Carbon Society And Transition

The Industrial Society or the Carbon Society
The present social system that we are living is called Industrial Society. It began with the Industrial Revolution (1760 -1830) in the West and was followed by social revolution in various countries Holland, France, England and the USA, ending the age old feudal society and ushering in a capitalist society. Later, similar revolutions followed in many countries in the West and in Japan in the East. In the twentieth century, many socialist revolutions occurred, notably in Russia, China, Cuba and Vietnam. All of them had two things common ushering in an industrial society (whether capitalist or socialist) and ending the feudal society.

However, capitalism spread in other countries too mainly through colonialism, but without effecting a similar social revolution. These countries are generally known as Third World countries, which includes India too. In the absence of a social revolution, it did not unleash the people’s energy as they continued to suffer from poverty and lack of education and good health care. On the other hand, many traditional low energy technologies and ways of living are still active in these societies.

The material basis of industrial society has been coal, oil and many other minerals. These are generally known as non-renewable resources because, unlike plant and animal resources, these are fixed in quantity under the earth and as we take them out, their stock keeps on dwindling. Among these, coal and oil are the most important because they represent concentrated sources of energy. Hence industrial societies can also be called carbon-based societies. Read more…

News update

Bad loans will worsen if economy falters: RBI
Indian Express
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has warned that the asset quality of scheduled commercial banks may worsen from the current level if the macroeconomic conditions deteriorate drastically. The central bank’s latest Financial Stability Report has also raised red flag on connected banks triggering a contagion and sought more disclosures and accountability in big-ticket corporate debt restructuring (CDR).

Oil’s Swift Fall Raises Fortunes of U.S. Abroad
Andrew Higgins, New York Times
A plunge in oil prices has sent tremors through the global political and economic order, setting off an abrupt shift in fortunes that has bolstered the interests of the United States and pushed several big oil-exporting nations — particularly those hostile to the West, like Russia, Iran and Venezuela — to the brink of financial crisis.

Five energy surprises for 2015
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
The coming year is likely to be as full of surprises in the field of energy as 2014 was. We just dont know which surprises! I am not predicting that any of the following will happen, and they will be surprises to most people if they do. But, I think there is an outside chance that one or more will occur, and this would move markets and policy debates in unexpected directions.=

Weve Been Incorrectly Predicting Peak Oil For Over a Century
Matt Novak, Paleofuture
The authors lists a number of failed predictions about oil depletion and argues that the idea of peak oil has contributed to climate change more than any other meme of the 20th century. Rather than making the case for alternative energy sources, too many people believed that it would be a problem that eventually sorted itself, which it wont. Also read the lively debate triggered by the article, in the comments section.

A Roadmap to Global Burning: Notes for Understanding the Lima Outcome
Pablo Solón, Common Dreams
The “Lima call for climate action” which came out of the recent UN climate talks, establishes a roadmap to a post-2020 agreement that will be weaker than the ongoing Cancun Agreement (for 2012-2020), and it lays a foundation for an even worse agreement in Paris in 2015, says Solon, former Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations.

What climate change asks of us
Margaret Klein, The Climate Psychologist
Climate change is a crisis, and crises alter morality. Climate change is on track to cause the extinction of half the species on earth and, through a combination of droughts, famines, displaced people, and failed states and pandemics, the collapse of civilization within this century. This is an unprecedented moral responsibility, and we are by and large failing to meet it.

Review: The Great Transition The New Paradigm
Nafeez Ahmed, Degrowth 2014 blog
Worried about the shit hitting the fan on climate change and other major crises? Good. Because those crises prove that civilization is in the midst of a phase shift to new forms – and we’ve got the opportunity, right now, to ride the wave of five interlinked revolutions in information, food, energy, finance and ethics, to co-create a new way of being that works for everyone. (This is a review of University of Turin economist Prof Mauro Bonaiutis new book, The Great Transition. Read Part 1 of the review: The End of Growth?)

Leading archaeologist says world civilization approaching collapse
PBS Hews Hour
Arthur Demarest, one of the world’s leading archaeologists, studies the collapse of ancient civilizations, from Greece and Rome to the Maya and Aztecs. In this interview with Ted Fischer, a professor of anthropology at Vanderbilt University, he says I see most of the symptoms of societies on the brink of collapse, not just in the U.S., but in the tightly interconnected societies of Western civilization – now essentially world civilization, and gives detailed reasons why.

Book: Just Enough lessons in living green from traditional Japan

Rob Hopkins, originally published by Transition Culture  

edo

One of the most extraordinary books I have read in recent years is Just Enough: lessons in living green from traditional Japan by Azby Brown. Brown is director of the Konazawa Institute of Technologies Future Design Institute and has lived in Japan for the last 30 years.  It is a beautiful analysis of the integrated, mindful and design-driven way in which one traditional society worked and embodied the principles of sustainability.

Here is a TEDxTokyo talk Brown gave about this:

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of Hopkins interview with Brown.
Visit http://www.indiabookstore.net/ to compare prices for Just Enough.

Peak Shit! How Oil Spilled the Economy –1

Part 1 Energy Misuse Starts With School!

By Stanley Ravi, POI member

(Editor’s Note: Stanley Ravi got interested in Peak Oil when he attended a conference on the subject in 2004 in Bangalore. Since then, he has been involved with several Peak Oil and Transition related initiatives, including an attempt to set up one of the first Transition Town experiments in the country. This is the first installment in a series of articles in which he will recount his journey.)

I was born in a lower to middle income family in Bangalore in 1967. My parents put me in to schools they could hardly or just about afford. I learnt good English.

I didnt like schooling, and found it a total waste of time and energy. Here’s one valid reason to believe and prove that schooling is a huge waste of life and energy just to learn: Learning is so mediocre and drab when compared to Mastery, and every form of life is capable of mastery. But more on that later.

It is also an example of wasting energy. Let’s make a simple calculation: Carrying 100 pages x 10 books x 200 days x 10 crore children x 5 kms x 2 directions x 10 years only to write on 10 pages max. See what I mean? Read more…

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