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How the Share Shed in the UK is Building Community

July 5, 2017 - 11:36

The Network of Wellbeing with support from the Big Lottery Fund helped launch the Share Shed Totnes in Devon, U.K., this year. It acts as a "library of things," a place where people can borrow tools and other equipment that they need. These are all things that people might not be able to afford or want to buy. Three months on, our organization's director Roger Higman interviewed Share Shed's manager Mark Jeffreys, to find out how things are going.

Categories: Economics

12 Reasons Why Gothenburg is an Amazing Sharing City

July 5, 2017 - 10:45

Earlier this year, Gothenburg — the second biggest city in Sweden — was voted as the world's "most sociable city." This reflects the typical culture of our city. We love to hang out in parks, cafés, bars, and other spaces. But Gothenburg, with it's almost 600,000 residents, also has some serious challenges.

Categories: Economics

Podcast: Why Local Self-Reliance?

July 3, 2017 - 10:36
Categories: Economics

Austin's Ride-Hailing Saga Shows Need for More Local Empowerment

June 29, 2017 - 14:18

Op-Ed: Uber and Lyft are back in Austin, Texas. Both ride-hailing giants left the city last May to protest the passage of a controversial law that among other things, required fingerprint background checks of drivers who worked for transportation network companies. This May, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that essentially nullified those rules, ending Uber and Lyft's hiatus.

Categories: Economics

Sacramento Nonprofit Sol Collective Uplifts Communities Through Art and Activism

June 28, 2017 - 10:14

The Sol Collective Arts and Cultural Center is a 3,200 square-foot space that straddles the border between Land Park and Curtis Park neighborhoods in Sacramento, California. Since the nonprofit was co-founded in 2005 by Estella Sanchez, a former teacher, it has hosted a number of art exhibits, community workshops, youth programs, and other events.

Categories: Economics

7 Inspiring Ways Canadians Are Sharing to Tackle Food Insecurity

June 28, 2017 - 08:16

In honor of Canada's 150th anniversary, we're taking a closer look at food security in the country. Canadians are cooking up a food revolution, one community kitchen at a time. Although Canada has one of the highest average standards of living in the world, food insecurity does exist — just ask struggling families in the poorer parts of places like Winnipeg, where young people are stretched between low-wage work and crushing debt, and families struggle in isolated Northern communities, struggling to choose between hunting for meat and working for a living.

Categories: Economics

Building the Networked City From the Ground Up With Citizens

June 27, 2017 - 17:18

How can technology lead to more participation in democratic processes? Who should own and control city data? Can cities embrace a model that socializes data and encourages new forms of cooperativism and democratic innovation? In the run-up to the OuiShare Fest Paris, Albert Cañigueral interviewed Francesca Bria, the chief innovation officer of Barcelona.

Categories: Economics

8 Lessons from the Second Annual International Lending Library Symposium

June 27, 2017 - 13:17

Imagine a world where you have low-cost access to common, infrequently used products needed for business or pleasure — tools, toys, musical instruments, camping gear… the list is infinite. Imagine an economy that prioritizes sharing high-quality durable goods, wasting less, and encouraging cooperation. Imagine a close-knit community co-creating a sustainable future. That's the world that the pioneers at the Second Annual International Lending Library Symposium are creating.

Categories: Economics

Podcast: How Loomio Fosters Collaboration and Participatory Practices

June 26, 2017 - 14:04

Playing for Team Human today, master of human connection and consensus, Loomio co-founder Richard Bartlett.

Categories: Economics

Meet Chris Rankin, Shareable's New Development Manager

June 26, 2017 - 13:37

We're delighted to announce that Chris Rankin has joined Shareable as a development manager. Rankin will be focusing on the financial growth of the organization, in collaboration with our staff and stakeholders. We're grateful to have him on the team. Please read the note below written by Rankin, to learn about his past work and path to Shareable:

Categories: Economics

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

June 22, 2017 - 15:20

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

June 22, 2017 - 05:15

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