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It’s more than an oxymoron. Massive Small is a framework for urban development that can make cities more sustainable and resilient. But how does it work and does it make sense for the future? The following excerpt is from Making Massive Small Change by Kelvin Campbell. It has been adapted for the web. The Massive Small…Read More
For centuries, humans have had a very strong interest in oil and it’s only getting more intense. Our dependency is reaching a concerning level which Matthieu Auzanneau speaks to in his book Oil, Power, and War. The following article was written by Frank Kaminski and was published on Resilience.org. In Oil, Power, and War, French…Read More
For generations, we’ve worked collectively as a society to build our cities into vibrant communities where we can progress and flourish together. Over the years, however, we’ve lost the art of collective and community evolution as our governments step in with their big ideas for urban growth – many of which come at a steep…Read More
Politics & Public Policy
Born on Third Base
A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good
As inequality grabs headlines, steals the show in presidential debates, and drives deep divides between the haves and have nots in America, class war brews. On one side, the wealthy wield power and advantage, wittingly or not, to keep the system operating in their favor—all while retreating into enclaves that separate them further and further from the poor and working class. On the other side, those who find it increasingly difficult to keep up or get ahead lash out—waging a rhetorical war against the rich and letting anger and resentment, however justifiable, keep us from seeing new potential solutions.
But can we suspend both class wars long enough to consider a new way forward? Is it really good for anyone that most of society’s wealth is pooling at the very top of the wealth ladder? Does anyone, including the one percent, really want to live in a society plagued by economic apartheid?
It is time to think differently, says longtime inequality expert and activist Chuck Collins. Born into the one percent, Collins gave away his inheritance at 26 and spent the next three decades mobilizing against inequality. He uses his perspective from both sides of the divide to deliver a new narrative.
Collins calls for a ceasefire and invites the wealthy to come back home, investing themselves and their wealth in struggling communities. And he asks the non-wealthy to build alliances with the one percent and others at the top of the wealth ladder.
Stories told along the way explore the roots of advantage, show how taxpayers subsidize the wealthy, and reveal how charity, used incorrectly, can actually reinforce extreme inequality. Readers meet pioneers who are crossing the divide to work together in new ways, including residents in the author’s own Boston-area neighborhood who have launched some of the most interesting community transition efforts in the nation.
In the end, Collins’s national and local solutions not only challenge inequality but also respond to climate change and offer an unexpected, fresh take on one of our most intransigent problems.
The End of Stationarity
Searching for the New Normal in the Age of Carbon Shock
Scientists have devised a new term to explain the turmoil caused by climate change: the end of stationarity. It means that our baselines for rainfall, water flow, temperature, and extreme weather are no longer relevant—that making predictions based on past experience is no longer possible. But climate change has upended baselines in the financial world, too, disrupting the global economy in ways that are just becoming clear, leaving us unable to assess risk, and causing us to fundamentally re-think economic priorities and existing business models.
At the heart of that financial unrest is the role of carbon, and as the world moves toward making more and more polluters pay to emit it, a financial mystery unfolds: What are the costs? Who has the responsibility to pay for them? Who do you pay? How do you pay? And how will those costs ripple through the economy?
These are the questions veteran journalist Mark Schapiro attempts to answer as he illuminates the struggle to pinpoint carbon’s true costs and allocate them fairly–all while bumping up against the vagaries of the free market, the lobbying power of corporations, the political maneuverings of countries, and the tolerance of everyday consumers buying a cup of coffee, a tank of gas, or an airplane ticket.
Along the way, Schapiro tracks the cost of carbon through the drought-ridden farmland of California, the jungles of Brazil, the world’s greatest manufacturing center in China, the carbon-trading center of Europe, and the high-tech crime world that carbon markets have inspired. He even tracks the cost of carbon through the skies themselves, where efforts to put a price tag on the carbon left by airplanes in the no-man’s land of the atmosphere created what amounted to a quiet but powerful global trade war.
The End of Stationarity deftly depicts the wild, new carbon economy, and shows us how nations, emerging and developed, teeter on its brink. Originally published in hardcover as Carbon Shock, the book is updated throughout and includes a new afterword, based on the Paris climate talks.
The Climate Change Playbook
22 Systems Thinking Games for More Effective Communication about Climate Change
Advocates and teachers often find it difficult to communicate the complexities of climate change, because the people they are trying to reach hold so many mistaken assumptions. They assume, for example, that when climate change becomes an obvious threat to our everyday lives, there will still be time enough to make changes that will avoid disaster. Yet at that point it will be too late. Or they assume we can use our current paradigms and policy tools to find solutions. Yet the approaches that caused damage in the first place will cause even more damage in the future.
Even the increasingly dire warnings from scientists haven’t shaken such assumptions. Is there another way to reach people?
The simple, interactive exercises in The Climate Change Playbook can help citizens better understand climate change, diagnose its causes, anticipate its future consequences, and effect constructive change. Adapted from The Systems Thinking Playbook, the twenty-two games are now specifically relevant to climate-change communications and crafted for use by experts, advocates, and educators. Illustrated guidelines walk leaders through setting each game up, facilitating it, and debriefing participants. Users will find games that are suitable for a variety of audiences—whether large and seated, as in a conference room, or smaller and mobile, as in a workshop, seminar, or meeting.
Designed by leading thinkers in systems, communications, and sustainability, the games focus on learning by doing.
The Art of Leading Collectively
Co-Creating a Sustainable, Socially Just Future
A guide to collaborative impact for leaders in industry, government, and social change networks
Our world is facing unsustainable global trends—from climate change and water scarcity to energy insecurity, unfair labor practices, and growing inequality. Tackling these crises effectively requires a new form of leadership—a collective one. But, in a world of many silos, how do we get people to work together toward a common goal? That is one of the most important questions facing sustainability and social-change professionals around the world, and it is a question that Petra Kuenkel answers in The Art of Leading Collectively.
Readers learn how to tackle system change for sustainable development, reimagine leadership as a collaborative endeavor, retrain leaders to work collectively, and manage diverse groups through a change process that has sustainability as a guiding focus. Drawing upon two decades of pioneering, internationally recognized work orchestrating multi-stakeholder initiatives, Kuenkel presents her chief tool, the Collective Leadership Compass, and shows others how to use it with large groups of diverse stakeholders to solve complex, urgent problems—particularly those that enmesh business activities, governance, human needs, and environmental impacts.
The book offers many examples of collective leadership efforts involving corporate, public, and nonprofit sectors around the world. Readers learn about the processes that led to a sustainable textile alliance and set standards for sustainable cocoa and coffee production and trade, as well as those that helped nations rebound from war, develop sustainable infrastructure, and tackle resource conflicts with global businesses, to name a few.
Kuenkel provides a clear roadmap for leaders from multinational companies involved in partnerships, international organizations engaged in cooperative development, public agencies, and interest groups—as well as for citizens seeking solutions to social and sustainability challenge
GMO Myths and Truths
A Citizen’s Guide to the Evidence on the Safety and Efficacy of Genetically Modified Crops and Foods, 3rd Edition
It is often claimed that the case against genetically modified (GM) crops and foods is based on emotion, not science, and that to oppose GM crop and food technology is to be anti-science. It is also claimed that GM crops offer higher yields and better nutrition, that they are safe for health and the environment, that they reduce agrochemical use, and that they are needed to feed the world’s growing population. This book, co-authored by two genetic engineers and a writer/researcher, exposes these claims as false, using scientific and other documented evidence. GMO Myths and Truths summarizes the facts on the safety and efficacy of genetically modified (GM) crops and foods in terms that are accessible to the non-scientist but still relevant to scientists, policymakers and educators. The evidence presented points to many hazards, risks, and limitations of genetic engineering technology. These include harms found in animal feeding and ecological studies, which in turn indicate risks to health and the environment posed by GM crops and foods.
The layout of the book enables those readers with limited time to read the chapter summaries, while providing more detail and full references for those who require them. At 164 pages of paperback size, this new condensed version is shorter and more accessible than the authors’ 330-page report by the same name, which has been downloaded over half a million times.
The book shows that conventional breeding continues to outstrip GM in developing crops that deliver high yields, better nutrition, and tolerance to extreme weather conditions and poor soils. In agreement with over 400 international experts who co-authored a UN and World Bank-sponsored report on the future of farming, the authors conclude that modern agroecology, rather than GM, is the best path for feeding the world’s current and future populations in a safe and sustainable way.
Systems Thinking For Social Change
A Practical Guide to Solving Complex Problems, Avoiding Unintended Consequences, and Achieving Lasting Results
Donors, leaders of nonprofits, and public policy makers usually have the best of intentions to serve society and improve social conditions. But often their solutions fall far short of what they want to accomplish and what is truly needed. Moreover, the answers they propose and fund often produce the opposite of what they want over time. We end up with temporary shelters that increase homelessness, drug busts that increase drug-related crime, or food aid that increases starvation.
How do these unintended consequences come about and how can we avoid them? By applying conventional thinking to complex social problems, we often perpetuate the very problems we try so hard to solve, but it is possible to think differently, and get different results.
Systems Thinking for Social Change enables readers to contribute more effectively to society by helping them understand what systems thinking is and why it is so important in their work. It also gives concrete guidance on how to incorporate systems thinking in problem solving, decision making, and strategic planning without becoming a technical expert.
Systems thinking leader David Stroh walks readers through techniques he has used to help people improve their efforts to end homelessness, improve public health, strengthen education, design a system for early childhood development, protect child welfare, develop rural economies, facilitate the reentry of formerly incarcerated people into society, resolve identity-based conflicts, and more.
The result is a highly readable, effective guide to understanding systems and using that knowledge to get the results you want.
The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America
Meet the essential Bernie Sanders—an authentic and uncompromising champion of the people.
Independent United States Senator Bernie Sanders—with a thirty-five-year career in public service, first as Burlington, Vermont’s mayor, then as Vermont’s sole representative to Congress, and currently as a United States senator—is now campaigning to become president of the United States. His goal is to build a movement to take back our country from the rich and powerful, and return it to its rightful owners—we, the American people.
Sanders’ common sense, populist message is resonating with Democrats, Republicans, independents, as well as ordinary working- and middle-class Americans from all walks of life, including millennials, seniors, veterans, immigrants, environmentalists, union workers, and more.
In this short, accessible book, author Jonathan Tasini draws heavily from Sanders’ ample public record of speeches, statements, and interviews, and couples his working-class spirit with specific legislation he has championed on a number of core proposals that comprise a broader people’s agenda for America, including:
- A national, single-payer health care system;
- Free public higher education;
- Taking on wealth and income inequality;
- Preserving Social Security;
- Caring for our veterans;
- Ensuring civil rights for all;
- Combatting climate change;
- Reforming Wall Street, and much more.
The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America is a must-read for anyone who shares a vision for a forward-looking, sustainable, and more just United States of America, and is eager to change the course of history.
What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming
Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action
Why does knowing more mean believing—and doing—less? A prescription for change
The more facts that pile up about global warming, the greater the resistance to them grows, making it harder to enact measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare communities for the inevitable change ahead.
It is a catch-22 that starts, says psychologist and economist Per Espen Stoknes, from an inadequate understanding of the way most humans think, act, and live in the world around them. With dozens of examples—from the private sector to government agencies—Stoknes shows how to retell the story of climate change and, at the same time, create positive, meaningful actions that can be supported even by deniers.
In What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming, Stoknes not only masterfully identifies the five main psychological barriers to climate action, but addresses them with five strategies for how to talk about global warming in a way that creates action and solutions, not further inaction and despair.
These strategies work with, rather than against, human nature. They are social, positive, and simple—making climate-friendly behaviors easy and convenient. They are also story-based, to help add meaning and create community, and include the use of signals, or indicators, to gauge feedback and be constantly responsive.
Whether you are working on the front lines of the climate issue, immersed in the science, trying to make policy or educate the public, or just an average person trying to make sense of the cognitive dissonance or grapple with frustration over this looming issue, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming moves beyond the psychological barriers that block progress and opens new doorways to social and personal transformation.
The ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant!
Know Your Values and Frame the Debate
Ten years after writing the definitive, international bestselling book on political debate and messaging, George Lakoff returns with new strategies about how to frame today’s essential issues.
Called the “father of framing” by The New York Times, Lakoff explains how framing is about ideas—ideas that come before policy, ideas that make sense of facts, ideas that are proactive not reactive, positive not negative, ideas that need to be communicated out loud every day in public.
The ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant! picks up where the original book left off—delving deeper into how framing works, how framing has evolved in the past decade, how to speak to people who harbor elements of both progressive and conservative worldviews, how to counter propaganda and slogans, and more.
In this updated and expanded edition, Lakoff, urges progressives to go beyond the typical laundry list of facts, policies, and programs and present a clear moral vision to the country—one that is traditionally American and can become a guidepost for developing compassionate, effective policy that upholds citizens’ well-being and freedom.
How the Quest for Mineral Wealth Is Plundering the Planet
As we dig, drill, and excavate to unearth the planet’s mineral bounty, the resources we exploit from ores, veins, seams, and wells are gradually becoming exhausted. Mineral treasures that took millions, or even billions, of years to form are now being squandered in just centuries–or sometimes just decades.
Will there come a time when we actually run out of minerals? Debates already soar over how we are going to obtain energy without oil, coal, and gas. But what about the other mineral losses we face? Without metals, and semiconductors, how are we going to keep our industrial system running? Without mineral fertilizers and fuels, how are we going to produce the food we need?
Ugo Bardi delivers a sweeping history of the mining industry, starting with its humble beginning when our early ancestors started digging underground to find the stones they needed for their tools. He traces the links between mineral riches and empires, wars, and civilizations, and shows how mining in its various forms came to be one of the largest global industries. He also illustrates how the gigantic mining machine is now starting to show signs of difficulties. The easy mineral resources, the least expensive to extract and process, have been mostly exploited and depleted. There are plenty of minerals left to extract, but at higher costs and with increasing difficulties.
The effects of depletion take different forms and one may be the economic crisis that is gripping the world system. And depletion is not the only problem. Mining has a dark side–pollution–that takes many forms and delivers many consequences, including climate change.
The world we have been accustomed to, so far, was based on cheap mineral resources and on the ability of the ecosystem to absorb pollution without generating damage to human beings. Both conditions are rapidly disappearing. Having thoroughly plundered planet Earth, we are entering a new world.
Bardi draws upon the world’s leading minerals experts to offer a compelling glimpse into that new world ahead.
Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution
The stat sheet on hemp sounds almost too good to be true: its fibers are among the planet’s strongest, its seed oil the most nutritious, and its potential as an energy source vast and untapped. Its one downside? For nearly a century, it’s been illegal to grow industrial cannabis in the United States–even though Betsy Ross wove the nation’s first flag out of hemp fabric, Thomas Jefferson composed the Declaration of Independence on it, and colonists could pay their taxes with it. But as the prohibition on hemp’s psychoactive cousin winds down, one of humanity’s longest-utilized plants is about to be reincorporated into the American economy. Get ready for the newest billion-dollar industry.
In Hemp Bound:Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution, bestselling author Doug Fine embarks on a humorous yet rigorous journey to meet the men and women who are testing, researching, and pioneering hemp’s applications for the twenty-first century. From Denver, where Fine hitches a ride in a hemp-powered limo; to Asheville, North Carolina, where carbon-negative hempcrete-insulated houses are sparking a mini housing boom; to Manitoba where he raps his knuckles on the hood of a hemp tractor; and finally to the fields of east Colorado, where practical farmers are looking toward hemp to restore their agricultural economy—Fine learns how eminently possible it is for this misunderstood plant to help us end dependence on fossil fuels, heal farm soils damaged after a century of growing monocultures, and bring even more taxable revenue into the economy than its smokable relative.
Fine’s journey will not only leave you wondering why we ever stopped cultivating this miracle crop, it will fire you up to sow a field of it for yourself, for the nation’s economy, and for the planet.
The Zero Waste Solution
Untrashing the Planet One Community at a Time
Waste is something we all make every day but often pay little attention to. That’s changing, and model programs around the globe show the many different ways a community can strive for, and achieve, zero-waste status.
Scientist-turned-activist Paul Connett, a leading international figure in decades-long battles to fight pollution, has championed efforts to curtail overconsumption and keep industrial toxins out of our air and drinking water and bodies. But he’s best known around the world for leading efforts to help communities deal with their waste in sustainable ways—in other words, to eliminate and reuse waste rather than burn it or stow it away in landfills.
In The Zero Waste Solution, Connett profiles the most successful zero-waste initiatives around the world, showing activists, planners, and entrepreneurs how to re-envision their community’s waste-handling process—by consuming less, turning organic waste into compost, recycling, reusing other waste, demanding nonwasteful product design, and creating jobs and bringing community members together in the process. The book also exposes the greenwashing behind renewed efforts to promote waste incinerators as safe, nontoxic energy suppliers, and gives detailed information on how communities can battle incineration projects that, even at their best, emit dangerous particles into the atmosphere, many of which remain unregulated or poorly regulated.
An important toolkit for anyone interested in creating sustainable communities, generating secure local jobs, and keeping toxic alternatives at bay.
Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era
Oil and coal have built our civilization, created our wealth, and enriched the lives of billions. Yet, their rising costs to our security, economy, health, and environment now outweigh their benefits. Moreover, that long-awaited energy tipping point—where alternatives work better than oil and coal and compete purely on cost—is no longer decades in the future. It is here and now. And it is the fulcrum of economic transformation.
A global clean-energy race has emerged with astounding speed. The ability to operate without fossil fuels will define winners and losers in business—and among nations.
In Reinventing Fire, Amory Lovins and Rocky Mountain Institute offer a new vision to revitalize business models, end-run Washington gridlock, and win the clean-energy race—not forced by public policy but led by business for enduring profit. This groundbreaking roadmap reveals market-based solutions across the transportation, building, industry, and electricity sectors. It highlights pathways and competitive strategies for a 158%-bigger 2050 U.S. economy that needs no oil, no coal, no nuclear energy, one-third less natural gas, and no new inventions.
This transition would cost $5 trillion less than business-as-usual—without counting fossil fuels’ huge hidden costs. It requires no new federal taxes, subsidies, mandates, or laws. The policy innovations needed to unlock and speed it need no Act of Congress.
Whether you care most about profits and jobs, national security, health, or environmental stewardship, Reinventing Fire charts a pragmatic course that makes sense and makes money. With clarity and mastery, Lovins and RMI point out the astounding opportunities for enterprise to create the new energy era.
Drawing praise President Bill Clinton, former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, and a host of others, Reinventing Fire has piqued the interest of world leaders, business leaders, and political strategists.
The paperback will carry a new preface detailing the response from China and beyond.
Marijuana is Safer
So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? 2nd Edition
In 2012, voters in Colorado shocked the political establishment by making the use of marijuana legal for anyone in the state twenty-one years of age or older. In the wake of that unprecedented victory, nationally recognized marijuana-policy experts Steve Fox, Paul Armentano, and Mason Tvert revisit the “Marijuana Is Safer” message that contributed to the campaign’s success–as the first edition of this book predicted it would in 2009. In this updated and expanded edition, the authors include a new chapter on the victory in Colorado and updates on a growing mountain of research that supports their position.
Through an objective examination of marijuana and alcohol, and the laws and social practices that steer people toward the latter, the authors pose a simple yet rarely considered question: Why do we punish adults who make the rational, safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol? For those unfamiliar with marijuana, Marijuana Is Safer provides an introduction to the cannabis plant and its effects on the user, and debunks some of the government’s most frequently cited marijuana myths.
More importantly, for the millions of Americans who want to advance the cause of marijuana policy reform–or simply want to defend their own personal, safer choice–this book provides the talking points and detailed information needed to make persuasive arguments to friends, family, coworkers, elected officials and, of course, future voters.
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights
The Escalating Battle Over Who Decides What We Eat
Do Americans have the right to privately obtain the foods of our choice from farmers, neighbors, and local producers, in the same way our grandparents and great grandparents used to do?
Yes, say a growing number of people increasingly afraid that the mass-produced food sold at supermarkets is excessively processed, tainted with antibiotic residues and hormones, and lacking in important nutrients. These people, a million or more, are seeking foods outside the regulatory system, like raw milk, custom-slaughtered beef, and pastured eggs from chickens raised without soy, purchased directly from private membership-only food clubs that contract with Amish and other farmers.
Public-health and agriculture regulators, however, say no: Americans have no inherent right to eat what they want. In today’s ever-more-dangerous food-safety environment, they argue, all food, no matter the source, must be closely regulated, and even barred, if it fails to meet certain standards. These regulators, headed up by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, with help from state agriculture departments, police, and district-attorney detectives, are mounting intense and sophisticated investigative campaigns against farms and food clubs supplying privately exchanged food-even handcuffing and hauling off to jail, under threat of lengthy prison terms, those deemed in violation of food laws.
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights takes readers on a disturbing cross-country journey from Maine to California through a netherworld of Amish farmers paying big fees to questionable advisers to avoid the quagmire of America’s legal system, secret food police lurking in vans at farmers markets, cultish activists preaching the benefits of pathogens, U.S. Justice Department lawyers clashing with local sheriffs, small Maine towns passing ordinances to ban regulation, and suburban moms worried enough about the dangers of supermarket food that they’ll risk fines and jail to feed their children unprocessed, and unregulated, foods of their choosing.
Out of the intensity of this unprecedented crackdown, and the creative and spirited opposition that is rising to meet it, a new rallying cry for food rights is emerging.
What Then Must We Do?
Straight Talk about the Next American Revolution
Never before have so many Americans been more frustrated with our economic system, more fearful that it is failing, or more open to fresh ideas about a new one. The seeds of a new movement demanding change are forming.
But just what is this thing called a new economy, and how might it take shape in America? In What Then Must We Do? Gar Alperovitz speaks directly to the reader about where we find ourselves in history, why the time is right for a new-economy movement to coalesce, what it means to build a new system to replace the crumbling one, and how we might begin. He also suggests what the next system might look like—and where we can see its outlines, like an image slowly emerging in the developing trays of a photographer’s darkroom, already taking shape.
He proposes a possible next system that is not corporate capitalism, not state socialism, but something else entirely—and something entirely American.
Alperovitz calls for an evolution, not a revolution, out of the old system and into the new. That new system would democratize the ownership of wealth, strengthen communities in diverse ways, and be governed by policies and institutions sophisticated enough to manage a large-scale, powerful economy.
For the growing group of Americans pacing at the edge of confidence in the old system, or already among its detractors, What Then Must We Do? offers an elegant solution for moving from anger to strategy.