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WATCH: John Abrams: Earth Is an Employee-Owned Business

In this talk from Bioneers by the Bay 2008, John Abrams (author of The Companies We Keep: Employee Ownership and the Business of Community and Place) makes the case for an approach to climate change solutions—as well as solutions to other crises—that involves looking at the project in a whole new way: as a cooperative, employee-owned business venture.

But change is coming. I mean, that’s the way we humans are. But change is coming. Whether we’re against it or not, now is the time when we must insist on the future we want and need. Either that, or we’ll let a different future happen to us against our will. One way or another, there will be change. None of us can do it all. All of us can do something. And maybe it’s more than we think. At South Mountain Company—the design, build, and renewable energy company I founded in 1975 that’s been owned and operated by its employees for the past two decades—one of our goals is to make all operations carbon neutral in ten years. We really have not fully defined what that means yet for us, and the depth of that, but we’re moving toward the goal nonetheless. Today we heat our building and run our forklifts with biodiesel, which we make ourselves. Twenty-five percent of our electricity is generated on site. By the end of this fall, that will become 90%. In our work we’re moving closer and closer, sometimes reaching this goal of net zero energy houses, and even our subsidized affordable housing, which is a large part of our work, is built this way to make sure that it’s forever affordable.

But so what? How does our fumbling little drop in the bucket matter? It gives us hope.

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Watch more author videos at ChelseaGreenTV.


Q&A with Kate Raworth about her radical new book, DOUGHNUT ECONOMICS

Q: First things first: Why did you want to write this book? A: I studied economics at university 25 years ago because I wanted to make a difference in the world and believed that economics – the mother tongue of public policy – would best equip me to do that. Instead, its theories left me […] Read More

Slack and Taut: Defining a System’s Resilience

A resilient future (or a resilient present, for that matter) needs to be slack, not taut. What do we mean? Core to the concept of a Lean Economy is understanding the need to move toward a “slack” market rather than one that is “taut.” When British economist David Fleming died unexpectedly in 2010, he left […] Read More

Prehistory of the Next American Revolution

What now? A new Revolution? If we are to counter the dangers both of corporate domination and of traditional forms of socialist statism, decentralization is essential—both of economic institutions and of political structure. We are at a point in our nation’s history that could, decades from now, be taught as the prehistory of the next […] Read More

The Seven-Point Protocol for a Lean Economy

In the future, what will our local economies look like? How will they function if there is little, to no, state or national support? The late David Fleming envisioned a post-capitalistic society that we could call “deep local” — in which all needs are met at the local level — from income to social capital […] Read More

The Six Vital Capitals of the Future

There is an increasing demand on businesses and governments to evaluate their impacts on multiple forms of capital – natural, social, and economic— and this book explains how they can make it happen. The MultiCapital Scorecard’s open-source methodology has been endorsed by the United Nations Environment Program, and it has been shown to help public […] Read More
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