The Worldwatch Institute has just released their 40th anniversary edition of the State of the World, and this time it’s titled Governing for Sustainability. In it, this year the institute looks at how governments are reacting to people demanding environmental action in defiance of powerful and monied corporate interests pushing environmental concerns to the side.
In this edition, contributing authors examine the potential for improving governance by analyzing a variety of trends, such as local and regional climate initiatives, energy democracy, and corporate responsibility. They argue that sustainability depends on action in both the economic and political spheres. Financial industries need to serve as public stewards again. Unions can help ensure that the transition to sustainability is socially just. Most importantly, citizens must take responsibility and empower themselves.
“Ultimately, it seems to us, all governance begins with individuals in communities. Humans are no more isolated actors in politics than they are the independent molecules of mainstream economic theory,” says State of the World 2014 co-director Tom Prugh.
“Pressure to improve governance, at every level, can come only from awakened individuals, acting together, dedicated to making their communities sustainable places,” adds State of the World 2014 co-director Michael Renner. “From there, it may be possible to build communities in a way that affords every person on Earth a safe and fulfilling place to live, and offers future generations the same prospect.”
Read the report here.
The new German government has begun a process of asking the American government to take their nukes out of Germany.
Time has the scoop
“We want the last nuclear weapons that are stationed in Germany to be taken away,” Westerwelle said at the conclusion of the coalition talks on Saturday. The U.S. doesn’t disclose the exact number of nuclear warheads it still keeps in Germany, a legacy of its Cold War policy that dates back to the 1950s, and which made western Germany the frontline of its Soviet containment strategy. But German sources estimate there could be as many as 20 nukes still in the country.
Germany has also changed some of its taxation policies to help get through the global economic hilarity, but the rich are arguing that their taxes should be raised.
The BBC knows what to say about this.
A group of rich Germans has launched a petition calling for the government to make wealthy people pay higher taxes.
The group say they have more money than they need, and the extra revenue could fund economic and social programmes to aid Germany’s economic recovery.
Germany could raise 100bn euros (£91bn) if the richest people paid a 5% wealth tax for two years, they say.
A new study has been released that looks at how the United States can cut 28% of their greenhouse gas emissions. They looked primarily at the wastefulness of energy use and notice problems that can be solved from the level of the consumer, to the landlord, and to every level of government. By knowing the problem, we can begin to solve and, indeed they have a couple suggestions.
“What the report calls out is the fact that the potential is so substantial for energy efficiency,” said Ken Ostrowski, a leader of the report team. “Not that we will do it, but the potential is just staggering here in the U.S. There is a lot of inertia, and a lot of barriers.”
The country can do the job with “tested approaches and high-potential emerging technologies,” the study found, but doing the work “will require strong, coordinated, economywide action that begins in the near future.”