Capitalism Will End, Celebrate What Comes Next

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The damage that wealthy bankers did to the economy back in 2007/08 is still with us, and that has led to a whole generation questioning the validity of modern hyper-capitalism. That same germination witness ongoing environmental destruction and the erosion of labour rights (amongst a litany of other ills) all for the goal of getting more profit. The rejection of the prevailing thought has caused a few people to be scared of the change to come.

Don’t be afraid of the future, embrace it. Be part of what you want to see come true by examining what’s to come through exploration of what already is.

Fortunately, there is already a wealth of language and ideas out there that stretch well beyond these dusty old binaries. They are driven by a hugely diverse community of thinkers, innovators, and practitioners. There are organizations like the P2P (Peer to Peer) Foundation, Evonomics, The Next System Project, and the Institute for New Economic Thinking reimagining the global economy. The proposed models are even more varied: from complexity, to post-growth, de-growth, land-based, regenerative, circular, and even the deliciously named donut economics.

Then, there are the many communities of practice, from the Zapatistas in Mexico to the barter economies of Detroit, from the global Transition Network, to Bhutan, with its Gross National Happiness index. There are even serious economists and writers, from Jeremy Rifkin to David Fleming to Paul Mason, making a spirited case that the evolution beyond capitalism is well underway and unstoppable, thanks to already active ecological feedback loops and/or the arrival of the near zero-marginal cost products and services.This list barely scratches the surface.

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A Better Take On The Current Generational Divide

It’s not rare to read in old media that young people these days are worthless, listless, clods. That viewpoint is beyond ridiculous, in recent months there has been a backlash to this attitude from millennials. Instead of being lazy and not doing anything about it – they are now quick to point out the young one aren’t the people who have essentially caused climate change, economic devastation, and a focus on profits over people.

In fact, in a recent article in The Nation it’s argued that due to the rot left from previous generations millennials are motivated to change the world.

The conventional wisdom about your generation and mine, the story that’s retold every day in every way as jobs disappear, debt redoubles, superstorms gather and islands—literally entire countries—sink into the ocean, is not just a lie, but a very useful lie for the lying liars of the world—for those who control the means of production and persuasion; who have helped to usher in this harrowing present; and who are most likely to survive and thrive, at least in the short term, a catastrophic future, should it come to pass. Conventional wisdom absolves them of their very real sins against the earth, against the poor and against their children. It’s a distraction, and an easy way to pass the buck. Finally, it’s an efficient method of controlling us, its targets. It’s a way to keep us in line.

Because in this narrative, we are apathetic and ineffective. We don’t think for ourselves, nor do we band together. We were raised to stare like zombies at television screens, and now our heads are permanently stuck in the Cloud. The global looters and profiteers—they are not well meaning. They operate with full knowledge of what harm they do, and do it anyway, because they don’t particularly care about you, about us or about the future. It’s not their problem. They will be dead, and their children, I don’t know, will be living in a bunker somewhere, alone, with the last of all that glistering loot.

In the meantime, while there is still some oil left to extract, one last blood diamond to mine, they are counting on us to close our eyes and build our apps in blithe resignation. Because this only goes their way if we agree to pretend not to notice what is right here in front of our eyes: that they are fiddling, gleefully, as the rest of Rome goes up in flames.

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Obviously, The Climate Change Debate is Over

Anybody with the ability to reason realizes that anthropogenic climate change is happening – and it’s happening in an unpredictable but faster way than previously imagined. The fact that fools argue against this infuriates me as they are essentially arguing against reality.

Recently, two acclaimed scientific bodies (The Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences) concluded that human caused climate change is occurring. This adds to a chorus of institutions that have reached the same conclusion years ago.

So what is possibly good about anthropogenic climate change? I have no idea if there is anything positive about it or not. What I do know, is that finally people are calling out the bullshit that the deniers are spouting – and that is a good thing!

The less we listen to people who deny the evidence and knowledge of multiple experts in multiple fields the better.

Indeed, this post was inspired by a comment made on Reddit. Here’s just a snippet of the excellent message meant for climate change deniers:

It’s extremely predictable. Ten years ago, you were telling us that the climate wasn’t changing. Five years ago, you were telling us that climate change wasn’t anthropogenic in origin. Now, you’re telling us that anthropogenic climate change might be real, but it’s certainly not a bad thing. I’m pretty sure that five years from now you’ll be admitting it’s a bad thing, but saying that you have no obligation to mitigate the effects.

You know why you’re changing your story so often? It’s because you guys are armchair quarterbacks scientists. You took some science classes in high school twenty years ago and you’re pretty sure it must be mostly the same now. I mean, chemical reactions follow static laws and stuff, or something, right? Okay, you’re rusty, but you read a few dozen blog posts each year. Maybe a book or two if you’re feeling motivated. Certainly, you listen to the radio and that’s plenty good enough.

I’m sorry, but it’s needs to be said: you’re full of it.

And this is from the article that caused the comment thread:

The publication explains that measurements that distinguish between the different forms of carbon in the atmosphere provide clear evidence that the increased amount of CO2 comes primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels, and discusses why the warming that has occurred along with the increase in CO2 cannot be explained by natural causes such as variations in the Sun’s output.

Many effects of climate change have already become apparent in the observational record, but the possible extent of future impacts needs to be better understood.

For example, while average global sea levels have risen about 20 cm since 1901, and are expected to continue to rise, more research is needed to more accurately predict the size of future sea-level rise.

Read the article here.

Cities Are The Key For Adjusting To Changing Climate

Readers of this site have seen lots of evidence that in the 21st century the best place one can live for a small carbon footprint is in urban areas. Things like increased infrastructure costs and higher costs of living associated with automobile use in rural & suburban places are obvious reasons why denser areas are better.

Now we can add even more reasons to live an urban life thanks to research from the IPCC and WWF.

The latest assessment by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicates a global carbon budget, or the estimated amount of carbon available to burn if the world is to limit runaway climate change. We also know that, if action is not taken soon, all the allowable emissions would be locked in by energy infrastructure existing within five years from now. Time is short.

The good news is that we know where to take action to prevent such lock-in and build a resilient energy future. Most of today’s emissions come from cities, and within that, the vast majority from three sources: the energy used to create electricity, to heat and cool buildings, and for transportation. From the Earth Hour City Challenge, a year-long programme launched by World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) to identify and promote cities that are leading climate action, it is clear that cities, and their mayors worldwide, are already demonstrating innovative solutions to reduce dependence on fossil fuels in each of these sectors.

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Daily Social Well-Being Challenges

MeYou Health is an online community that is trying to get people to make small changes everyday that add up to big change. They have a suite of apps for Facebook and iPhones that remind you to drink water or partake in a daily challenge.

When you think about it, your life is the sum of little day-to-day choices – what you have for lunch, how to spend a few minutes of free time. For most of us, those little choices are made without much thought, driven by habit or a moment’s pleasure. That’s just how we’re made.

Now imagine the difference over the course of your life if you were to make enough of those little choices just a little bit better every day. It would be huge, and there are libraries of research that proves it. This is where MeYou Health comes in.

As part of the MeYou Health community, you get reminders from us and encouragement from friends to spark moments of mindfulness that wake you from routine. So instead of living on autopilot, you stop a second to think “what if?” And we make it fun! There are games, engaging Web and mobile experiences, fascinating bits of knowledge, and supportive social networks of people just like you. And all of it backed by scientific research.

Read more at their site.