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Uber's Missteps Should be a Cautionary Tale to the Tech Industry

7 hours 3 min ago

Op-Ed: This week, news broke that Uber's investors demanded and got CEO Travis Kalanick's resignation. The company has been embroiled in controversy from the get-go, and Kalanick should have been let go much sooner.

Categories: Economics

Podcast: How Placemaker Helps Communities Support Local Businesses

17 hours 9 min ago

This week in Building Local Power, we're discussing independent businesses and the communities that support them. Host Christopher Mitchell and ILSR co-director and Community-Scaled Economies initiative director Stacy Mitchell interview Katrina Scotto di Carlo from Portland, Oregon.

Categories: Economics

Danish Energy Cooperative Lets Consumers Collectively Build Wind Turbines

June 21, 2017 - 16:54

The establishment of a carbon-neutral energy system requires massive investments in infrastructure such as wind turbines. Because distributed energy systems do not fit the business models of the old energy utilities, they continue to invest far too little in this sector. Meanwhile, many individual electric power consumers are interested in investing in renewable power infrastructure, but these investments are too large and require a level of expertise too advanced for individual households to be able to support them. How can consumers take matters into their own hands?

Categories: Economics

How Residents of Hamburg Reclaimed the Power Grid

June 21, 2017 - 12:00

From 2000 to 2014, the energy infrastructure of the city of Hamburg was mainly in the hands of private energy monopolies such as Vattenfall and E.On that controlled most of Germany's electric power infrastructure. These companies had a strong interest in utilizing their coal and nuclear power plants as long as possible, thereby obstructing a shift to renewable energy. Moreover, they were reluctant to provide equal access to small power providers and invest in a smart grid that allows more effective management of variable, distributed power inputs.

Categories: Economics

Podcast: Late Environmental Economist Robin Murray's Views on Creating a New Economy

June 20, 2017 - 16:43

In this episode, we spoke with the late Robin Murray, a prolific sustainability and environmental economist, an advocate for a living economy, and a key player in the birth of the fair trade movement. Murray was named by The Guardian as one of the fifty people who could save the planet. He worked to establish the London Climate Change Agency with the Deputy Mayor of London, and alternated between working on innovative economic programs in local, regional, and national governments and in academia.

Categories: Economics

Timeline: History of Rural Electricity Cooperatives in the US

June 20, 2017 - 10:11

Most farms in the U.S. today have power, and many get their current from small, consumer-owned rural electric cooperatives. But in the 1930s, only 10 percent of these farms were connected to the electricity grid. During the New Deal era, a system of electricity cooperatives was established, and through the sharing of resources, the nation's rural communities were electrified. Within a few decades, roughly 90 percent of farms in the U.S. were connected to the electricity grid. The same grid exists today, but it is badly in need of an upgrade. 

Categories: Economics

Community Power Offers Fukushima a Brighter, Cleaner Future

June 19, 2017 - 13:27

In 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami ravaged the Fukushima prefecture, in the Tohoku region of Japan's main island of Honshu.

Categories: Economics

Cool Block Shows How Neighborhoods Can Create Climate Resilience

June 19, 2017 - 12:10

In her 30 years of working in the sustainability sector, Sandra Slater has learned quite a bit about human behavior, including the idea that just giving people information doesn't inspire a change in behavior. 

"If you just go in and say, 'Let's lower your carbon footprint,' it's a nonstarter," Slater says. "You have to go in with other motivators." She says people are looking for social connection, meaning, purpose, safety, and efficacy.

Categories: Economics

How Electricity Cooperatives in the US are Paving the Way for a Renewable Future

June 19, 2017 - 10:24

Curtis Wynn had a problem. Since 1997, Wynn has led the Roanoke Electric Cooperative in North Carolina. For a good chunk of that time, he'd been pushing for the cooperative's members to adopt clean technology. The problem? His members thought their bills were too high — some were paying more than $200 a month. A third of the co-op's members live in mobile homes and about a half live in single family homes — almost none live in apartments. Many of these buildings were badly in need of efficiency upgrades.

Categories: Economics

The Case for Local, Community-led Sustainable Energy Programs

June 19, 2017 - 10:06

The energy infrastructure that we inherited from the 20th century is one dominated by fossil fuels and uranium, mined in relatively few localities in the world. The distribution and refining of these fuels is tightly held by a few large corporations. Electricity generation typically occurs in plants that hold local or regional monopolies, with vast profit potential. While gasoline is burned in millions of vehicles, the distribution system remains within the control of a few corporations, which often have regional or national oligopoly or monopoly control.

Categories: Economics

Key Takeaways from the New Cities Summit

June 15, 2017 - 18:38

Ten years ago Songdo, South Korea, was underwater. Today, it's a city in Incheon's free economic zone with 20 million square feet of LEED certified buildings — 40 percent of all LEED buildings in South Korea. That's dozens of high rises. In fact, it's a whole city's worth. Songdo is the very definition of a new, master planned city; one in which sustainability and well-being are incorporated from the beginning.

Categories: Economics

Podcast: How the Regenerative Finance Collective Distributes Wealth and Power

June 14, 2017 - 03:06

In this episode of Next Economy Now, Ryan Honeyman, a partner and worker-owner at LIFT Economy, interviews Kate Poole, who co-leads Regenerative Finance, a collective of young people with wealth working to shift control of capital to communities most affected by racial, economic, and climate injustices. Poole is also a member-leader of Resource Generation, which works to redistribute land, wealth, and power.

Categories: Economics

Podcast: What if Our Economic System Was Set Up to Generate Happiness?

June 13, 2017 - 15:42

In this episode, we spoke with Liz Ziedler, co-founder of Happy City Bristol, an organization geared towards fostering holistic happiness in Bristol, U.K., through measurement tools, workshops, and campaigns. 

Happy City's aim is to "reclaim happiness from commercial triviality and make it a guiding, radical principle for society." The organization invites individuals to explore what truly brings lasting happiness and gives communities the tools to measure and be attentive to what really matters.

Categories: Economics

New Videos Explore the Political Potential of the Commons

June 13, 2017 - 10:56

Just released: A terrific 25-minute video overview of the commons as seen by frontline activists from around the world, "The Commons in Political Spaces: For a Post-capitalist Transition," along with more than a dozen separate interviews with activists on the frontlines of commons work around the globe. The videos were shot at the World Social Forum in Montreal last August, capturing the flavor of discussion and organizing there.

Categories: Economics

Q&A: Landscape Architect Martin Barry on Urban Planning in Prague and Beyond

June 13, 2017 - 10:18

Martin Barry is a landscape architect who chose to leave New York City for Prague, a city with "so much potential." His platform reSITE aims to bring international perspectives and expertise concerning contemporary, resilient, and sustainable cities by organizing an annual conference, among other activities. What was the path to creating such a platform from scratch, one of the most respected in Europe today? Barry discussed his vision of the city, the future of architecture and planning, and reSITE's projects with Petra Jansová for, a Czech leading online news media.

Categories: Economics

Why the Open Access Movement in Agriculture Matters

June 12, 2017 - 10:31

Western discourse around open access has largely been restricted to academic, scholarly communications circles. In fact, many friends and colleagues have told me they first encountered open access when, after graduating from university, they were confronted with the fact they no longer had access to school databases; or when online article searches reached the dead-end prompt "click here to pay for access."

Categories: Economics

As Climate Change Threatens Food Supplies, Seed Saving is an Ancient Act of Resilience

June 8, 2017 - 13:08

On Feb. 26, 2008, a $9-million underground seed vault began operating deep in the permafrost on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, just 810 miles from the North Pole. This high-tech Noah's Ark for the world’s food varieties was intended to assure that, even in a worst-case scenario, our irreplaceable heritage of food seeds would remain safely frozen.

Categories: Economics

How One City in Spain Launched a Local Currency

June 8, 2017 - 09:18

During her 2015 campaign, Barcelona's mayor Ada Colau promoted the idea of launching a local currency in her city. Colau viewed a local currency as a way of defending independent businesses and residents from rapidly-rising rents and benefits that are disproportionately reaped by corporate chains instead of local stores. Though the community currency failed to materialize in Barcelona, the city immediately to its northeast, Santa Coloma de Gramanet, created a local currency this year.

Categories: Economics

5 Ways the Denver Public Library Supports the City's Homeless Population

June 8, 2017 - 08:09

My work at the Denver Public Library over the past year and a half has opened my eyes to the innovative ways in which libraries can play a role in addressing the needs of a city's homeless population. The rate of homelessness in Colorado is staggering, and it is unfortunately on the rise. Last year the number of homeless people in the state rose by 13 percent, according to a report by the U.S.

Categories: Economics

What Does it Mean to Unlock the Next Economy?

June 7, 2017 - 12:26

Unlocking the Next Economy is about creating access to the physical assets of historical organizations with social purpose to support local economic change. Stir To Action's year-long pilot will explore how these physical assets can be an important part of Community Economic Development (CED), and how un-and underused churches could specifically be a part of this process. 

The opportunity?

Categories: Economics