Here’s a fun fact: Abraham Lincoln didn’t go to law school. He independently studied the law, registered with the Sangamon County Court in Illinois and passed an oral examination by a panel of attorneys. He was then given his license to practice law.
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You can’t overstate the baleful effects for Americans of living in the tortured landscapes and townscapes we created for ourselves in the past century. This fiasco of cartoon suburbia, overgrown metroplexes, trashed small cities and abandoned small towns, and the gruesome connective tissue of roadways, commercial smarm, and free parking is the toxic medium of everyday life in this country. Its corrosive omnipresence induces a general failure of conscious awareness that it works implacably at every moment to diminish our lives.
If you have not yet read Part I: (Un)Paving Our Way To Nirvana, available free to all readers, please read it first.Executive Summary
- 'Smaller' will be the major theme in future development
- The general principles for resilient human settlement
- How redesigning our towns & cities offers liberation from the soul-sucking models we live in today
- What we can leverage from the New Urbanist movement
Before I review some of the basic rules and principles for assembling a human habitat worth living in and with some prospects of enduring, a few words about demographic change. The failing suburbs will not drive everybody in them to move to the cities. The big cities of America face equal difficulties with resource and capital scarcity, failing infrastructure that won’t be replaced, and problems as yet off the radar screen such as water safety, public health, food shortages, and social turmoil. The big cities will have to get a lot smaller and that process will take decades to resolve.
I’m convinced that the action in this country will move to the existing smaller cities and small towns, especially places that have a meaningful relationship with food production because there ought to be no question that agri-business will fail, and with it the entire food production and distribution process as we currently know it. One implication of this is that we will restore a visible edge between what is urban and what is rural, and what these places are for. As that occurs people will redevelop an appreciation for the distinction. The human settlement will no longer endeavor to be a cartoon of the rural countryside. And rural places will be organized and inhabited differently.
Therefore, a first general principle is...
Can't be with your loved ones for Thanksgiving? What better way to give thanks for the abundance in your life and celebrate generosity than to share your dinner with strangers?
Coworkers enjoy the facilities at Impact Hub Madrid. Photo by Madrid Educacion.
The sharing economy now seems to apply to almost anything and everything that people value. Beds, cars, parking spaces, sporting and music equipment, hardware, and even vegetable gardens are now being shared between friends and strangers alike.
Residents of Boulder, Colorado recently scored another huge victory in their pursuit of clean, publicly-owned energy. On November fifth, Measure 310, which was funded by energy giant Xcel and would have effectively halted progress on the project, was resoundingly struck down by voters.
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Bangla-Pesa ReLaunch | Koru Kenya
Bangla-Pesa was officially relaunched today in partnership with the Kenyan Government. Represented by Hon. Badi Twalib Minister of Parliament, Ward Representatives, the Speaker for the County Assembly, Women's Representative, the Chief of Police (OCS) and the Mombasa County Secretary. Other guests i...
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When negotiators from the 12 countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership gathered this week in Salt Lake City, Utah, they were met by the "TPP Welcoming Committee," a coalition of environmental, social justice, and labor groups who did their best to show that there is opposition to the deal in the United States.Foreign TPP negotiators thanked the protestors for their work.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership would affect laws and regulations involved in fields including agriculture, media, and medicine, and would cover about 40 percent of global GDP. While the leadership of both mainstream political parties in the United States supports the deal, advocates of environmental and social justice, as well as some elected representatives, have criticized it.
The Sierra Club has said the TPP would result in an "explosion of fracking." Public Citizen called it a "corporate power tool of the one percent." And, in a letter signed by more than 130 Democratic members of Congress, representatives Rosa DeLauro and George Miller described the TPP as "weakening ... Buy America provisions, providing extraordinary investor-state privileges, and restricting access to lifesaving medicines in developing nations."
One of the goals of this week's protests was to raise the profile of the deal. The text of the TPP remains secret to everyone except the national negotiating teams and more than 600 corporate "advisers."
That secrecy was dealt a blow last week, when Wikileaks published the TPP's chapter on intellectual property. The 95-page-long leaked document revealed that the United States' negotiators are pushing for a number of policies opposed by most or all of the others—on issues such as the patenting of plants and animals, harsher fines for those accused of copyright violations, and the ability to prosecute individuals who use or share copyrighted content by accident.
As the Washington Post showed in a detailed infographic, the leaked text seems to demonstrate that the United States has become isolated in the TPP talks.
Interactions in Salt Lake City this week between protestors and negotiators from other countries gave the same impression.
Bill Moyer is executive director of the Backbone Campaign, one of the organizations that participated in the actions. Moyer says that when some of those foreign delegates stepped outside of the hotel to view or photograph anti-TPP slogans that activists had projected on the hotel wall, they thanked the protestors for their work.
Then, at another point in the evening, Moyer shouted "Don't allow yourself to be bullied by the United States" to a group of negotiators from Latin American and Asian countries, and they responded by saying, "We're doing our best!"
Organizers used a variety of inventive tactics to express their feelings about the deal throughout the week. On Wednesday and Thursday nights, they used light cannons to project messages onto the walls of the Grand America Hotel, where the negotiations were being held. On Wednesday, they suspended a 75-foot-tall banner outside the hotel using weather balloons, and about 30 people marched to the hotel’s entrance while banging pots and pans.
"We completely undermined their attempts to keep the TPP invisible in the United States and elsewhere," Moyer said. "We overcame the barriers of short notice and geography to show the country, the world, and the international delegates that resistance to the TPP is growing in the United States."
Jesse Fruhwirth, a volunteer with the Salt Lake City-based climate justice group Peaceful Uprising, said the TPP is relevant to climate politics, too. The agreement is likely to make the permitting process for oil and gas drilling easier—bad news for those working to stop or mitigate climate change.
The issue of extraction is especially sensitive in Utah, which possesses valuable gas deposits as well as tar sands.
On Tuesday, as the local Bureau of Land Management auctioned off 44,000 acres of public land for oil and gas leases, TPP opponents joined members of Peaceful Uprising and Utah Tar Sands Resistance in a rally at the auction site.
James Trimarco wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. James is web editor at YES! and you can follow him @JamesTrimarco.
Sharing economy enthusiasts gathered together at an event put together by Let's Collaborate! and Suits to Silicon Alley last week to talk about the growth of the sharing economy and the subsequent implications with government in New York. Many peer-to-peer platforms face problems with outdated government laws designed for more traditional B2C industries or face no laws at all.
In this week's Off the Cuff podcast, Chris and Charles discuss:
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- If you want to reap short-term profits in today's markets
- Manipulation Magnifies the Destructive Potential of Bubbles
- Makes them fall harder because systemic trust is eroded
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University of Nicosia in Cyprus Becomes First in the World to Accept Bitcoin
The University of Nicosia in Cyprus has announced that it will accept bitcoin for the payment of tuition and other fees.
Everyday Life as Art: Naho Iguchi's Yearlong Happening in Berlin
Top image: Naho Iguchi at TEDxKyoto 2012. Photo credit: TEDxKyoto / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND.
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