Gardens of Regeneration and Peace

Now home to 50% of the world’s population, expected to rise to 65%, cities are driving the development of our modern culture. But we are at a crossroads. Following the formation of the UN and now the broad agreement on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) we are on our way to a world in peace. Several of the SDGs lay the foundation: eliminating hunger, poverty, homelessness. However, as our awareness of the need to transition to sustainability grows, so continues the degeneration of our natural resources and our societies. The trend is not halting. Humanity’s  -our – shared project, true peace, needs everyone’s involvement and understanding.

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Join the System map webinar

Guests are very welcome to this week’s Pivot Project meeting on Zoom at 4pm BST, 1st July 2022 where I, Stephen Hinton, will present some outcomes of Pivot Projects work. One product of the #21 Sustainable Infrastructure work group was a high-level system map. This map, featured recently on my blog, drew an unprecedented high level of interest with readership increasing over 5000 percent!

Has pivot got some insights the world is dying to know? In this week’s all hands, Stephen will go through the system map bit by bit, explain some of the conclusions from the #21 group’s work and open up to discussion of the role of infrastructure (and concomitantly, investment) in pivot.
Read the post here https://stephenhinton.org/2022/05/17/industrial-society-system-map/

And see the main #21 report on Researchgate here.
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/344405095_Pivot_Project_Report_from_Working_Group_21_Sustainable_Infrastructure_for_the_World_Post-Covid

Give us your email here to get the link. No charge!

https://forms.gle/NcnF8VMQeF1ADDAj8

What use are the SDGS if there is global failure on every one of them?

Writing on his blog, Professor Jem Bendell explains the recent letter from scholars to the UN’s disaster event.

Professor Bendell says the SDGs represent a “failing approach, with all the indicators heading in the wrong direction”.

The UN reports countries have gone backwards on most of them. That is even before the inflation, energy and food polycrises of 2022. This failure was predicted at the outset, by scholars who identified the impossibility of promoting ecologically-demanding consumer lifestyles as the means of progress for all. 

Says Bendell: “Our main proposal is that we all stop pretending that we can grow economies, reduce poverty and avert environmental disasters.”

As we have outlined here in this blog earlier, there needs to be a general acceptance of resource limits and a systematic approach to providing quality of life within planetary boundaries. The current disciplines of economics and public management along with the democratic system are inadequate for the task.

The systemic approach outlined in this blog’s earlier posts might provide a better start.

Industrial system disconnect #1. The car

A recent post outlined a system map of the industrial society. One reason to map things out is to give you helicopter perspective where you might be able to better see where the system is not working. This post takes on one of the obvious reasons the industrial society is still not on track for the Paris agreement: the car.

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Industrial society system map

Highest level system map. Click to enlarge.

Above is the latest version of my system map, done in KUMU.IO.

The basic elements of the map

  • 11 elements (e.g. government, natural capital stocks, built capital, etc)
  • 31 connections (e.g. flow of resources to firms, waste to local authority)
  • 3 types of flow: work, money, resources
Continue reading “Industrial society system map”

Please Nippon Steel, don’t cut these woods! Update.

My letter pleading with Nippon Steel to reverse the decision to log Ovakos forest, close to Hofors town was premature. Ovako have reversed their decision

Lissjön woods with the lake in the background

Update! They didn’t cut the woods down.

We just heard that Ovako, subsidiary of Nippon steel, just announced that they will not cut the forest.

Continue reading “Please Nippon Steel, don’t cut these woods! Update.”

Fossil fuel depletion: a sorry outlook for Alberta

Oil companies (mining, forestry etc) should put the costs for restoration of the asset they are extracting from onto their accounts. As they are often publicly traded this should be available in the public record.

It seems some oil companies might go bankrupt before they have to do the restorations. 

The article brings to light something I have been seeing the more I get involved with normative accounting and the four capitals approach: the lack of clarity around accounting and political economy in general is used by extractive forces for their own good at the expense of the public sector.

The article has many good references and insights, highly recommended!

Multi capital scoring: measure what matters in the circular doughnut

Circular economy thinking, taking hold among policy makers, civil servants and scientists alike could be the answer to reducing material load, de fossilising and creating green jobs. Doughnut economic frames a reasonable operating space for this new economy. This article explores the possibilities to create metrics for the circular economy doughnut at a national or regional level.

Circular economy thinking is taking hold among policy makers, civil servants and scientists alike. For example, the Swedish Government formed its own Circular Economy Delegation last year and recently announced its national strategy for the Circular Economy. Facing reduced material availability and rapidly reducing use of fossil fuels to align with the Paris accord, Sweden hopes that its production system will continue to deliver and indeed grow economically, but with far less material and fossil energy intensity.

A reasonable operating space for the circular economy has been developed by economist Kate Raworth in the Doughnut Economy. The Doughnut model proposes a social floor below which the economic system shall not let citizens fall, and an ecological ceiling, through which social activities shall not exceed. This article explores the possibilities to create metrics for the circular economy doughnut at a national or regional level.

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Regenerating Society One “Cell” at a Time

Guest post by Steve Hamm

Bridge Street in Humboldt (early morning)

Ten years ago, Humboldt, Kansas, was a lot like thousands of small towns across the United States. Economic and social shifts had left the once-booming downtown feeling eerily abandoned. Walmart stores had opened up to the north and south of town, “sucking the life out,” as one local man put it. A highway bypass had been built. And, because of mechanization, the many farms in the area required fewer workers. As a result, many storefronts were empty and the town population was dwindling.

But the residents of this town of 1900 people didn’t give up. The area economy was actually quite sound. There were three successful industries—farming, a cement plant, and a fast-growing trailer hitch company. It was the downtown and the sense of wellbeing that needed a shot of adrenaline. That boost is now being provided by Joe Works, the founder and CEO of B&W Trailer Hitches, and a group of young people, mostly made up of his children, who launched an initiative called A Bolder Humboldt aimed at making the town a vibrant place to live and visit. “Why should people have to move elsewhere to enjoy the nicer things in life? Why can’t they have all those things in a small town in the Midwest?” says Joe.

Continue reading “Regenerating Society One “Cell” at a Time”