Posted by steve on September 29, 2009
We have just set up a test-bed for our latest currency experiment. COGS stands for Circle of Gifts, and is a complementary currency specifically designed to help local communities re-localise activities. The aim of re-localisation is to provide inhabitants with the possibility of an acceptable quality of life to inhabitants when traditional economic development fails, or their circumstances are against them.
We believe complementary currencies will become more important as energy supplies dwindle and impact the economic growth so essential for interest-based economic systems of nations.
We intend to help people explore how complementary currencies can help sustainable development, whilst developing the COGS concept and services.
From the COGS page you can find out more about COGS and the COGS experiment. You can also sign up to join the experiment, get started with COGS and start finding out how your local community can benefit.
Membership is free at this time, just sign up on the COMMUNITY EXCHANGE SYSTEM
Choose “Sweden” as country and “COGS” as the system.
Posted by steve on September 28, 2009
Are there boundaries to the pressure mankind can put om the Earth? Are we near them or have we exceeded them? These are some of the questions researchers at the Stockholm Resilience Center have been asking.
Image; Stockholm Resilience Centre.
– The human pressure on the Earth System has reached a scale where abrupt global environmental change can no longer be excluded. To continue to live and operate safely, humanity has to stay away from critical ‘hard-wired´ thresholds in Earth´s environment, and respect the nature of planet’s climatic, geophysical, atmospheric and ecological processes, says lead author Johan Rockström, Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre.
He warns that transgressing planetary boundaries may be devastating for humanity, but if we respect them we have a bright future for centuries ahead.
An article published in Nature describes how over a third have already been transgressed.
The three of the nine are climate change, biological diversity and nitrogen input to the biosphere.
Here is the complete list.
- Stratospheric ozone layer
- Chemicals dispersion
- Climate Change
- Ocean acidification
- Freshwater consumption and the global hydrological cycle
- Land system change
- Nitrogen and phosphorus inputs to the biosphere and oceans
- Atmospheric aerosol loading
Read the full article on the Author’s home page.
Posted by steve on September 15, 2009
Courtesy Deutsche Bank Group
I really like the carbon counter from Deutsche bank. It gives a scientific, factual approach to the unpaid for use of common resources: our climate system. You can download your own counter from their website, too.
We need more initiatives like this to present what is happening in an easy, but factual way. The bank expresses concern that the asset management they so carefully practice when it comes to their client’s property is not being practiced by governments when it comes to national assets. In fact, in an interview on their website, executives go so far as to express concern this lack of proper risk management may derail the entire economy, and their own business with it.
Hard hitting stuff from people who seem to have done their homework!
Posted by steve on September 14, 2009
The Technocracy network has been thinkng about Eco-units. They have done some good work in sorting our what it is all about. Read the article on their website.
Posted by steve on September 12, 2009
We find ourselves in the aftermath of a giant financial meltdown. Yet few really understand the seriousness of the situation. Faced with the choice of either
(a) reforming the economic system and ripping from the hands of the banking system its iron control of societies world wide,
or (b) trying to patch the system up.
Politicians chose the latter.
I can’t say I blame them. I am not sure I would have had the courage to go against the banking system. On the other hand I wish they had. What has happened in effect is that governments have put their own peoples into debt to pay the banks. The financial meltdown in the last year has cost $10,000 for every one who lives in the world’s richest countries, as reported by the BBC.
Econmic growth is the only way t pay it back. We don’t have it now. But how can we attain economic growth when the very engine of growth, oil, has reached its production peak?
From a sustainability point of view we really only have four choices of strategy. These are outlined below. The standards we enjoy today are the product of massive, global supply chains. We can ask ourselves: how well is the system performing, and do we want to demand of our politicians that they change? I do not give solutions here. Only what I consider to be the options open to people who by law shall represent the will of the people who elected them.
First let us consider the options:
Supply chains burden eco and climate systems by emitting large amounts of pollutants. Maybe that is worthwhile if it means we can live in prosperity. On the other hand, the emission of pollutants and depletion of resources only puts the cost of depletion and emission into the future for someone else to take. And it is hardly acceptable that despite the development of this system since the 50s, and all the people who have studied the subjects involved, still one billion of 6,7 billion of Earth’s citizens go to bed hungry. How much depletion and emission is allowed is determined by government ultimately. Although I wrack my brain to understand where they get that mandate.
Anyway, businesses operating in these supply chains are permitted by the governments that regulate them. This passing on of the negative consequences of supply chains is called externalization of costs in economic terms. It is a matter of time how long they can continue.
A matrix of outcomes can help to illustrate sustainable thinking. Achievement of living standards on one dimension is mapped against environmental depletion. (This includes depletion of both mineral deposits and disruption of climatic and biological systems.)
- The worst case is where costs are externalized, negatively affecting climate and eco systems and a standard of living in still not achieved.
- The next worst, the eco-challenge case, is where a standard of living is achieved, but at the expense of the eco system. This situation is temporary as externalized costs will come back for future generations to pay. One example would be the degradation of agricultural soil which costs more and more to achieve yields.
- The third case is where eco systems are preserved but a standard of living is not achieved either.
- The true sustainable situation, best case, is where a standard of living is achieved and climate and eco systems are functioning for coming generations.
Is it really so difficult to understand what political direction, loud and clear, people need to give their politicians? And to work towards themselves?
This text is taken in part from my white paper, Asset-Based Financing.