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  • Civic Charter Launched by International Civil Society Centre

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    The Civic Charter, an initiative led by the International Civil Society Centre, was oficially launched at Global Perspectives 2016 in Berlin (Germany) on October 26. Developed through international consultations, it presents an opportunity to align efforts and develop new action initiatives to protect and expand civic space.

    The preamable of the Charter reads:

    We, the people have the right and the duty to participate in shaping our societies

    Human rights and fundamental freedoms are increasingly violated worldwide. In a growing number of countries, people and their organisations face severe restrictions and are deprived of their rights to participate in shaping their societies. Activists are threatened, persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and killed. Legitimate civil society organisations are hindered in their work, deprived of funding, forbidden to operate and dissolved. Avenues for people’s participation in public decision-making are restricted or closed down.

    Yet, unless people genuinely participate, the world will be unable to overcome its most threatening challenges, including persistent poverty, growing inequality, and climate change.

    People’s individual and collective participation brings life and gives meaning to democracy. It is vital in protecting human rights, achieving development and building just, tolerant and peaceful societies. It ensures that those who hold public offices, or other positions of power, are held accountable for their actions, and working for the common good.

    We reject any attempt to prevent people from participating in shaping their communities, their countries and our common planet.


    The Civic Charter provides a framework for people’s participation


    The Civic Charter is grounded in our common humanity and universally accepted freedoms and principles. It provides a framework for people’s participation that identifies their rights within existing international law and agreements.

    It is imperative that all governments, all levels of public administration, international institutions, business and civil society organisations worldwide fully respect and implement the provisions of this Charter.

    You can read the rest of the Charter along with the list of signatories (including a number of GTN members) here.


  • Designing for Hope

    Posted by Chrisna du Plessis

    GTN member Chrisna du Plessis, Associate Profesoor at the University of Pretoria, published Desiging for Hope - Pathways to Regenerative Sustainability. Co-authored with Dr Dominique Hes of the University of Melbourne, the book offers a hopeful response to the often frightening changes and challenges we face; arguing that we can actively create a positive and abundant future through mindful, contributive engagement that is rooted in a living systems based worldview. Concepts and practices such as Regenerative Development, Biophilic Design, Biomimicry, Permaculture and Positive Development are explored through interviews and over 30 case studies from the built environment to try and answer questions such as: ‘How can projects focus on creating a positive ecological footprint and contribute to community?’; How can we as practitioners restore and enrich the relationships in our projects?; and ‘How does design focus hope and create a positive legacy?’ The intention is to provide an inspiration to all kinds of designers and anyone working in the built environment, whether they are designing spaces and places, systems and processes, or simply new ways of being in the world so that they can find their own way of contributing to the creation of a thriving future.

    The duo also produced a documentary from the interviews of this book, called The Regenerates.


  • Taking Back What We Already Own: A Forum on Social Ownership

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    A Forum on Social Ownership: This forum features Marjorie Kelly, Senior Fellow, The Democracy Collaborative and author of Owning our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution and The Divine Right of Capital with Nancy Goldner, Co-Chair, Hub Public Bank and Julie Matthaei, Co-Coordinator of Boston Area Solidarity Economy Network (BASEN).

    Sponsored by Hub Public Banking, BASEN, Boston Chapter, Democratic Socialists of America, the Democracy Collaborative, Massachusetts Global Action, Alliance for Democracy

     

    Where: encuentro 5, 9A Hamilton Place, Boston, MA 02108-4701

    When: Friday, September 25, 2015, 6:30 - 9:00 pm


  • 2016 SCORAI Conference: “Transitions Beyond a Consumer Society”

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    The Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative is organizing its second international conference on June 15–17, 2016 at the University of Maine located in Orono, Maine, USA. The conference theme is “Transitions Beyond the Consumer Society” and is intended to provide opportunities to consider: 

    1. The continued development of a network for the interdisciplinary and international exchange of ideas, research, and best practices related to sustainable consumption practice and policy.

    2. The presentation of innovative research and applied projects which improve our understanding of consumerist lifestyles and/or provide original insights into processes of societal transitions in the context of ecological limits, unequal distribution, and economic globalization.

    3. The generation of collective insights into key strategies, policies, and institutions designed to foster alternative means to pursue individual and societal well-being.

     

    Read more about the conference and how to get involved here.


  • GTN Authors Featured in Spanda Journal Issue on Systemic Change

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    The July issue of the Spanda Journal, the international journal of the Spanda Foundation, guest edited by Helene Finidori, focuses on the question of systemic change and features a number of authors from the Great Transition Network.


    In her introduction, Helene Finidori explains the question that was sent to all writers:

    “How and why does systemic change manifest? How does it unfold? What are leverage points, the forces and dynamics at play? What are the conditions for its empowerment and enablement? How do agency and structure come into the picture? We would like to look at the subject from various perspectives and disciplines, in research and praxis, exploring the visible and invisible, space and time, unity and diversity, level and scale, movement and rhythm.”

    In addition to Finidori, the GTN members featured are Rasigan Maharajh, Michelle Holliday, Mimi Stokes-Katzenbach, Jack Harich, and Ashwani Vasishti.

     


  • New Article by Rich Rosen on IAM Research and Climate Policy in "Technological Forecasting and Social Change"

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    The July 2015 issue of Technological Forecastign and Social Change will feature an article by Tellus Institute Senior Fellow Rich Rosen that critically reviews the integrated assessment modeling (IAM) research underlying the AMPERE study.


    You can read the abstract below and the full article here.

    This critical review of the integrated assessment modeling (IAM) research underlying the AMPERE study is also relevant to many other IAM-based model comparison papers. One of the main symptoms of the serious methodological problems of these studies is that the results produced by different models for what are portrayed as the “same” scenarios differ quite substantially from each other. While the authors of the AMPERE study correctly raise the important question of whether these differences are due primarily to differences in model structures, or to differences in the sets of input assumptions for the “same” scenario used by different research teams, they never address this question in a logically systematic and credible way. In fact, they cannot and do not arrive at an answer, since each modeling team generally relies on a single but different set of most input assumptions for the same scenario. Finally, the research teams involved in the AMPERE project, and other similar projects, fail to understand the fundamental impossibility of forecasting net mitigation costs or benefits over the long run given both the practical and deep uncertainties implicit in both the equations comprising these IAMs, and the input assumptions on which they rely.


  • GTN Members Contribute to the Eugene Memorandum: "The role of cities in advancing sustainable consumption"

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    The participants of the workshop The Role of Cities in Advancing Sustainable Consumption in Eugene in Eugen, Oregon, from October 29–November 1, 2014 (co-sponsored by the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative) produced a memorandum calling on cities to take the lead in advancing sustainable consumption.

    The memorandum begins,

    Cities in North America have an important role to play in building prosperity and well-being while promoting lifestyles compatible with the limits of natural systems. The consumption of materials and energy in high-income cities is a significant factor in driving climate change and resource depletion. Increasingly, government agencies, industry organizations, and experts in the research community are calling attention to the need both to consume less and consume differently. Cities can and should take action to make this possible.


    It goes on to outline 10 guiding principles for local action.

    You can read it in full on the Sustainability: Science, Practice & Policy website.


  • GTN Members Keynoting Conferences this Summer

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    Anders Wijkman, Vice President of the Club of Rome, will be a keynote speaker at the World Conference of Futures Research 2015 conference "Futures Studies Tackling Wicked Problems: Where Futures Research, Education and Action Meet" in Turku, Finland, June 11-12, 2015.

    Karen O'Brien, professor at the University of Oslo, and Nebosja Nakicenovic, Deputy Director and Deputy CEO of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, will be keynote speakers at the International Scientific Conference "Our Common Future under Climate Change" in Paris July 7-10, 2015.

    Melissa Leach, Director of the Institute of Development Studies; Giorgos Kallis, professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona; Inge Ropke, professor at Aalborg University; and Kate Raworth, visiting research associate and lecturer at Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute, will be keynote speakers at the European Society for Ecological Economics 2015 conference "Transformations" at the University of Leeds, June 30-July 3, 2015.

     

     

     


  • Nature Climate Change Publishes Letter to the Editor from Tellus Senior Fellow Rich Rosen

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    Tellus Senior Fellow Rich Rosen has a letter to the editor in the latest edition of Nature Climate Change on the peer review process for integrated assessment models (IAMs). The letter concludes, "In 2013, the IAM Consortium — which was set up at the request of the IPCC after the Fourth Assessment Report and of which I am a member — set up scientific working groups intending to establish communitywide standards on IAM documentation and
    the inclusion of key input assumptions in research publications. There has been little
    or no progress since. It is my contention that this situation should be rectified, so as
    to usher in a new era for peer reviews in this field.

  • Burkhard Gnärig Releases New Book on CSO Disruption

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    Burkhard Gnärig (who gave an interview to GTI last year) just released his new book The Hedgehog and the Beetle – Disruption and Innovation in the Civil Society Sector. The book reviews the future prospects of our sector and claims, that in order to survive and thrive civil society organisations need to re-invent themselves.

    You can read and comment on the book here: http://disrupt-and-innovate.org/book/start/. You can also order it as a paperback or e-book on www.lulu.com.

    You can participate in the disucssions around the book on Twitter or on the new website www.disrupt-and-innovate.org.


  • "Strategies Towards the New Sustaianbility Paradigm": A New Book about the GT

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    A new book, "Strategies Towards the New Sustainability Paradigm," edited by Odile Schwarz-Herion and Abdelnaser Omran, traces out paths toward a GT future.

    On a historical global turning point, this book offers a thorough exploration of the “New Sustainability Paradigm”, originally developed by the Global Scenario Group (GSG) of the Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI) as a starting point for analyzing real-life transitions and transformations. 11 contributors from 5 continents present detailed analyses of economic and political transitions in Western and Eastern Europe, the USA, the Middle East, and in Asia, discussing the role of different players in the implementation of the New Sustainability Paradigm.

    Part I offers an overview of the six scenarios developed by the GSG and a short discussion of significant papers published by the Great Transition Initiative (GTI) of the Tellus Institute. Next come examples of dramatic historical and current transitions in Western Europe, the USA, Eastern Europe, the Middle East (Arabian Spring), and Asia, as well as an analysis of the potential of humankind to manage a great transition to the new sustainability paradigm. Subsequent chapters highlight the role of culture and education and review the role of different players for the implementation of the new sustainability paradigm. The focus of Part II is on the ecological pillar of Sustainability. The discussion includes urgent ecological problems including climate engineering, eco-criminality, bioterrorism, biodiversity protection, water, energy, and food security. Part III deals with needed innovations in sustainable waste management and sustainable city architecture, especially big cities in developing and threshold countries, where a significant part of the world population is concentrated. The fourth and final section offers an analysis of insights developed throughout the book, and outlines recommendations for the implementation of the New Sustainability Paradigm by civil society, grass-root movements, scholars, politically neutral NGOs, sincere media players, and by open-minded and enlightened politicians to manage and steer the Great Transition towards sustainable global democracy.

     


  • GTN members in new Handbook of Research on Sustainable Consumption

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    GTN members Maurie Cohen and Juliet Schor both have articles in the upcoming Handbook of Research on Sustainable Consumption (May 2015).


    Fromt the publisher's page:

    This Handbook compiles the state of the art of current research on sustainable consumption from the world’s leading experts in the field. The implementation of sustainable consumption presents one of the greatest challenges and opportunities we are faced with today. On the one hand, consumption is a wanted and necessary phenomenon important for society and the economy. On the other, our means of consumption contradicts many important ecological and social long-term goals. Set against this background, the Handbook aims to offer an interdisciplinary overview of recent research on sustainable consumption, to draw attention to this subject and to encourage discussion and debate. In 27 chapters, leading authorities in the field provide their expertise in a concise and accessible manner.


    Juliet Schor has an article "Collaborating and Connecting: The Emergence of the Sharing Economy," co-authored with Connor Fitzmaurice. Maurie Cohen has an article "Toward a Post-Consumerist Future? Social Innovation in an Era of Fading Economic Growth."


  • Next System Project Launches

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    The following press release comes from GTI's friends at the Next System Project, led by Gar Alperovitz and Gus Speth:

    For many months now, we have been developing and incubating the Next System Project as an effort to help catalyze a wide-ranging discussion of the deep systemic challenges – economic, political, social, and ecological – we face as individuals, communities, and as a nation. Prominent among these are growing wealth inequality, escalating climate change, persistent racial inequities, violence against women, the decay of civil liberties, and the continued erosion of our democracy at all levels.

    The goal of the Project is to put “the system question” on the map for wide-ranging national debate, dialogue, and ultimately action. We need a diversity of ideas, and open discussion. We hope to explore and debate thoughtful approaches that take us beyond rhetoric into a range of substantive system-changing institutional and policy approaches and strategies.
     
    It’s rare that ideas matter in politics. Usually, what matters is simply the momentum of entrenched power. But every so often history gives us an opening to something new. When the old stories no longer explain the world around us, when it is obvious that something is deeply wrong, new ideas can matter, and matter a great deal. Our present moment in history appears to be one of those times. Unless we can seize it, and come together to develop and implement a plausible alternative systemic direction, the current downward trajectory of pain and decay will likely continue. 
     
    The first step is free and open debate. Today we are releasing a major public statement on the systemic crisis, The Next System: It’s Time to Face the Depth of the Systemic Crisis We Confront. It has been signed by over 350 leading activists, academics, business leaders, policy makers, labor leaders, and environmentalists. Signatories to the statement do not agree on everything, of course. But they have made clear that they affirm the importance of a serious national discussion of the growing systemic crisis and possible systemic alternatives. A rich and effective debate is only possible with a diversity of viewpoints and perspectives.
     
    This statement is now open for signature by any and all who support our call for a national conversation on systemic change. If you have not done so already we encourage you to read the statement, share it with your colleagues, and consider adding your name as a signatory. You can find the statement on our website, thenextsystem.org. A PDF version, with the names of the 338 signatories who had signed before we went to print, can also be found here, and printed copies are available from The Democracy Collaborative for those who would like them.
     
    Additionally, working with Softbox films, we have produced a short film aimed at bringing these critical issues to a wide audience. The film features climate activist Bill McKibben, actor Danny Glover, economic and social equity advocate Angela Glover Blackwell, whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, and many others who believe it’s now time to start asking and answering the hard questions. The film is being released along with the statement. We hope you will watch it and share it with your networks.
     
    We are also publishing our first report: The Next System Project: New Political-Economic Possibilities for the 21st Century, an essay on the thinking that led to the Project and the goals of the effort; it can be downloaded here. The report also provides a brief survey of systemic alternatives that have been proposed by various writers and activists, and that are now beginning to be more widely discussed. We have also begun commissioning a series of working papers in areas where new research ground must be broken and new issues brought to the table. Wherever possible we will be working with people and groups who have done pioneering work in connection with the various topics, hopefully boosting capacity that already exists rather than duplicating important work already underway.
     
    In May – together with a number of allied organizations – we will be hosting a national webinar conversation and dialogue on systemic change. Joining us on the panel will be Juliet Schor, Professor of Sociology at Boston College; Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of PolicyLink; and Gerald Torres, Jane M.G. Foster Professor at Cornell University Law School. The webinar is set for 3:00pm Eastern on May 20, 2015, and registration is available here.
     
    Future newsletters will be sent on a bi-monthly basis, and will contain updates on the project as it develops, along with highlights on other items of interest. The Next System Project can also be found on Facebook and on Twitter, and we can be reached via email at nextsystem@democracycollaborative.org.
     
    Today’s launch initiates a multi-year commitment to foster essential national debate through research, communications, convenings, policy proposals, and other strategic activities. We encourage you to forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues who may be interested.


  • Disrupt & Innovate: New Site for Activists and Civil Society Professionals

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    Today, the International Civil Society Centre launched its new website Disrupt&Innovate. With this site, they are hoping to extend the discussion about the future of our sector beyond the realm of our usual audience of leaders and experts. The site is open to staff and activists across the civil society sector and to all who are interested in the changing terms for civil society action.

    Each Tuesday, they will post a blog on a specific aspect of change and hope that this will start a lively discussion. Once the site is well established, they will ask guests to contribute to the blog describing the challenges and opportunities of change from their perspective.

    On 21 April, Burkhard Gnärig’s new book, The Hedgehog and the Beetle – Disruption and Innovation in the Civil Society Sector, will be accessible through the site. Readers will have the opportunity to comment on any part of the book.





  • New Article by Rich Rosen on IAM Research, Climate Policy, and Uncertainty

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    Rich Rosen has a new article in Technological Forecasting and Social Change entitled "Critical review of: 'Making or breaking climate targets—the AMPERE study on staged accession scenarios for climate policy' (TFSC 17862)." The article highlights the flaws in recent IAM research, highlighting in particular the failure to address the implications of uncertainty when predicting the long-run costs of climate mitigation.

    You can read the abstract below and find the full piece here.

    This critical review of the integrated assessment modeling (IAM) research underlying the AMPERE study is also relevant to many other IAM-based model comparison papers. One of the main symptoms of the serious methodological problems of these studies is that the results produced by different models for what are portrayed as the “same” scenarios differ quite substantially from each other. While the authors of the AMPERE study correctly raise the important question of whether these differences are due primarily to differences in model structures, or to differences in the sets of input assumptions for the “same” scenario used by different research teams, they never address this question in a logically systematic and credible way. In fact, they cannot and do not arrive at an answer, since each modeling team generally relies on a single but different set of most input assumptions for the same scenario. Finally, the research teams involved in the AMPERE project, and other similar projects, fail to understand the fundamental impossibility of forecasting net mitigation costs or benefits over the long run given both the practical and deep uncertainties implicit in both the equations comprising these IAMs, and the input assumptions on which they rely.


  • "Towards a World Citizens Movement" at World Social Forum - Save the date!

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    Towards a World Citizens Movement 
    at the World Social Forum in Tunis

    How can social movements, NGOs and concerned citizens connect to a powerful and transformational world citizens movement that provides alternatives to the systematic exploitation of people and planet and overcomes the paradigms of growth, consumerism, markets and competition?

    After two global conferences in Johannesburg in 2013 and 2014, that united 400 global citizens from all over the world, we want to take the process to a new level at the World Social Forum in Tunis, building on the vision of the Johannesburg compass, and the bounty of learning and linking we had the privilege to experience in this journey.

    We propose two opportunities in Tunis to work on systemic change through a world citizens movement:

    • An open assembly, part of the World Social Forum programme, that will test and enrich current initiatives in a dialogue with a boarder audience (tentatively planned for 25 March)
    • A strategy workshop that will bring together 150 change makers from social movements, NGOs and various fields of activism, to assess and further develop attempts to globalise citizens voices as a transformational answer to the systemic crisis (planned for 26 March).

  • Inaugural Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    Inaugural Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs

    Inaugural Thematic Focus: Human Dignity & Human Rights

    January 21, 2015

    Second Floor Conference Room

    Church Center for the United Nations

    777 United Nations Plaza, New York City

     

    A discussion on the intersections of human dignity, human rights and religion in international affairs, including freedom of religion or belief, initiated by the United Nations and International Affairs Office of the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church led to the planning of an annual series of lectures on these topics. Discussions that were joined in by the United Nations Office of the World Council of Churches and the United Nations Office of the Seventh Day Adventist Church resulted in the planning for such a series that is now called the Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs. These three organizations, and the United Methodist Women which joined later, make up the four co-organizers of the inaugural symposium scheduled for January 21, 2015, in New York City. The thematic focus of the inaugural symposium is on human dignity and human rights.

    Joining the co-organizers of the Inaugural Symposium are co-sponsors equally with presence and work related to the United Nations. These include the African Methodist Episcopal Church Women’s Missionary Society, The Episcopal Church, the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and The Salvation Army.

    The Symposium, conceived as an annual event at the Church Center for the United Nations, is designed as a space for conversation—identifying and deepening the multifaceted, multilayered, multidimensional, and multidisciplinary aspects of the permanent general theme, which is on the role of religion and faith-based organizations in international affairs. The annual thematic focus will allow the organizers to build upon previous conversations and continue to heighten intellectual engagement, create forms of action and mechanisms for collaboration among participants.


    If you are interested in learning more, please contact Jillian Abballe at jabballe@UMC-GBCS.ORG.


  • Rich Rosen at the Global Perspectives Conference in Paris

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    Last week, Tellus Institute's Rich Rosen participated in a panel entitled “Unlimited Economic Growth on a Finite Planet?” at the Global Perspectives Conference in Paris organized by the International Civil Society Organization and the OECD.  His talk was "Financing the Great Transition – The Contradictions of Capitalism."


    You can read more about the conference here.


  • Announcing the LEDDA Partnership

    Posted by John Boik

    I would like to invite all GTI members to read our TruthOut article “Competing with Capitalism to Maximize Well-Being.”

    As discussed in the article, I am pleased to announce formation of the LEDDA Partnership, which should have a natural affinity with GTI.  The partnership is intended to become a diverse, global association of academic, civil society, government, business, and philanthropy groups focused on development and testing of the LEDDA framework. The LEDDA framework is the parallel, local economic--financial--business--social welfare system described in my 2014 book, Economic Direct Democracy: A Framework to End Poverty and Maximize Well-Being. A free PDF copy of the book is available at our website.

    As described in the “10-Year Strategic Plan for the LEDDA Partnership,” we see this as a 10-year, $70 million project. A computer simulation model has been published that illustrates how the proposed system could increase family incomes, produce income equality, and channel billions annually toward local businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations, even in an average-size US county.

    I invite all GTI members to participate in the partnership, and to pose questions or offer comments on the TruthOut article, the strategic plan, the simulation model, or any other aspect of our project. 

     ~John Boik~


  • May 15: Creating the New Economy - A Sustainable Business Academy Workshop

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    Dear colleague in the Boston area,

    Please join us for a special workshop on Creating the New Economy - May 15th, 2014 in the afternoon at UMass Boston.

    Sponsored by the Sustainable Business Academy, the workshop will feature nationally known change agents, entrepreneurs and thought leaders including Wil Rapp, Hunter Lovins and Allen White, addressing the opportunities for businesses and activists to engage with and support a new economy of shared benefits, generative exchange, and sustainability. The attached flyer gives all the details.  If you have any questions please contact the organizers, Benyamin Lichtenstein in the Entrepreneurship Center at UMass Boston, Benyamin.bml@gmail.com; or Joe Grafton Joe@AMIBA.net

     

    Creating the New Economy – An SBA Workshop
    Thursday May 15th, 2014  

    1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

    Following the SBN Conference that morning.

    Spend an afternoon with faculty and thought leaders from UMass Boston, Clark University, Tellus Institute, and nationally known entrepreneurs and change-makers like Wil Raap, Allen White, and Hunter Lovins in this participatory event.  Workshops include Entrepreneurial Opportunities in the New Economy, The Success of B-Cops, Reducing Inequality as an Outcome of the New Economy, and Inspiring Stories from New Economy Entrepreneurs. 

    AGENDA

    1:00 pm.        Wil RappKeynote Presentation

    2:15 pm.        The Success of B-Corps  

                                 Reducing Inequality

    3:15 pm         Networking Break

    3:30 pm         Entrepreneurial Opportunities

                               Inspiring Stories from Hunter Lovins & Mike Brady

     4:30 pm        Allen White - Closing Address


  • Rich Rosen to Speak at 2014 NEXUS Conference

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    Tellus Institute’s Rich Rosen will be delivering  a talk on the use of the Polestar model to analyze sustainable development scenarios at the 2014 international NEXUS conference, “Sustainability in the Food-Water-Energy.”

    The Polestar System is a software tool designed by the Tellus Institute for integrated sustainability planning and long-range scenario analysis. Rather than a rigid model reflecting a particular approach to simulating socio-ecological systems, it offers a flexible and adaptable accounting framework for constructing a wide range of possible futures.

    For more on the Polestar project, visit http://www.polestarproject.org/polestar_sys.html or read the “The Century Ahead: Search for Sustainability,” published in Sustainability by Rich Rosen, Paul Raskin, and Christi Electris.


  • Allen White to Keynote the Sustainable Business Network of Boston’s 25th Annual Sustainable Business Conference

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    Tellus Institute’s Allen White will deliver a keynote address at the Sustainable Business Network of Boston’s 25th Annual Sustainable Business Conference on 15 May at UMass Boston.

    The theme of this year’s conference is “Sustainable Entrepreneurs Take the Lead: Partnerships & Collaborations that Build a Strong Local Economy.” You can learn more about the conference here.


  • GTN Members Featured in New Book “Creating a Sustainable and Desirable Future”

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    Robert Costanza and Ida Kubiszewski have just released a new edited book titled Creating a Sustainable and Desirable Future: Insights from 45 Global Thought Leaders. The book offers a broad, critical discussion of what a sustainable and desirable future should or can be. It includes contributions from GTI Director Paul Raskin as well as GT Network members like Gar Alperovitz, Herman Daly, Tim Jackson, Bill McKibben, Bill Rees, Juliet Schor, Gus Speth, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and Peter Victor.


    You can view the table of contents, download a sample chapter, and order the book at http://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/8922.

  • Tellus in the News

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    Tellus Institute Senior Fellow Rich Rosen’s research article “The economics of mitigating climate change: What can we know?”, published in Technological Forecasting and Social Change, was recently cited on the Climate News Network. The news article, entitled “‘Forget the cost – tackle climate anyway,’” highlights the main arguments of the research piece:

    This argument directly challenges the many politicians and others who insist that governments should adopt policies designed to limit climate change only if they can make a strong economic case for doing so. Essentially, it shifts the ground of the debate from “what is affordable?” to “what is survivable?”

    You can read the full article from the Climate News Network here.





  • Connect with GTI on Social Media

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    Dear GTN members,

    GTI is now on social media!

    Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GT_Initiative.

    Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreatTransition.

    Subscribe to us on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/greattransition.

    Connect with us on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/great-transition-initiative.


  • Sustainable Business Academy March 21st

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    The next meeting of the Sustainable Business Academy will be on Friday, March 21st at noon at the Tellus Institute.

    This event will feature Dan Rosenberg, co-founder of Real Pickles, who will tell their story of raising local investment capital through a direct public offering.  Not only did this local food venture use local investment channels to raise funds, but they also used this capital to finance a conversion to a worker owned cooperative.

    Dan will be followed by an academic thinker (TBA) who will look at local investing, community capital, and cooperative ownership through a macro lens and share thoughts on where local investing and local businesses are going and what this means for the New Economy.

    A discussion period will follow the session and lunch will be provided.

    There are limited spaces available for this event, and our thanks go out to the Tellus Institute for sponsoring the space and our meal.

    Registration is now open and is on a first come, first served basis.  Click here to sign up.  Note: due to limited capacity and high demand for these events, please register only if you are sure you will be able to attend.


    About the Sustainable Business Academy

    The Sustainable Business Academy aims to bridge the gap between three groups: Businesses, Academics, and Social Innovators from non-profits, government, etc.  This gap appears in the different languages, different styles of communication, and different outcomes for which each group aims with regard to the ‘New Economy.’

    The SBA aspires to

    1) Share knowledge and best practices across these sectors

    2) Draw attention to work being done in terms of education and research, and

    3) Gain resources – for funding research, starting ventures, and supporting non-profits.


  • ENL Wiki presents the Economics of Needs and Limits

    Posted by Pete Faraway

    The Economics of Needs and Limits is a new type of guiding framework for a post-capitalist economy. Developed over two decades by independent scholar Frank Rotering, ENL has human well-being at its core and provides a comprehensive range of concepts and analytical tools for aligning economic activity around this ethic, within the ecological limits imposed by nature.

    The book that delineates this rational framework is available as a free pdf (at this link) on the author’s website, contractionism.org.

    GTI member Pete Faraway is now the creator of the newly-minted ENL Wiki, which adapts Frank Rotering’s book into hypertext pages for easy web browsing and reference. ENL’s elegant and humane logic is fully and clearly portrayed, illustrated by over 75 graphs and figures, with references and a glossary. He welcomes feedback from GT participants.


  • The Economics of Mitigating Climate Change

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    A new article by Richard Rosen of the Tellus Institute and Edeltraud Guenther of the Technical University of Dresden—“The economics of mitigating climate change: What can we know?”—has been published by the journal Technological Forecasting & Social Change.

    You can read the abstract below and the full article here.

    The long-term economics of mitigating climate change over the long run has played a high profile role in the most important analyses of climate change in the last decade, namely the Stern Report and the IPCC's Fourth Assessment. However, the various kinds of uncertainties that affect these economic results raise serious questions about whether or not the net costs and benefits of mitigating climate change over periods as long as 50 to 100 years can be known to such a level of accuracy that they should be reported to policymakers and the public. This paper provides a detailed analysis of the derivation of these estimates of the long-term economic costs and benefits of mitigation. It particularly focuses on the role of technological change, especially for energy efficiency technologies, in making the net economic results of mitigating climate change unknowable over the long run.

    Because of these serious technical problems, policymakers should not base climate change mitigation policy on the estimated net economic impacts computed by integrated assessment models. Rather, mitigation policies must be forcefully implemented anyway given the actual physical climate change crisis, in spite of the many uncertainties involved in trying to predict the net economics of doing so.


  • What Good are Footprints? Frontier Research in Footprinting for Sustainability

    Posted by Reid Lifset

    The notion of environmental "footprinting" as a way to represent the impact of human activity on the planet's environment has become a veritable industry over the last two decades.

    Since the concept first gained popularity in the 1990s ­- when it was introduced by researchers William E. Rees and Mathis Wackernagel -­ footprinting has been used to explain a range of complicated phenomena as a single metric, spawning carbon footprints, water footprints, and various other indicators to communicate the human impact on the carrying capacity of Earth.

    In "Frontiers in Footprinting," a special feature in the new issue of Yale University's Journal of Industrial Ecology (JIE), leading voices in the field of industrial ecology provide contrasting viewpoints on the value of footprinting and explore new opportunities that this still-evolving field continues to offer. Articles debate the merits of ecological footprinting (EF) and use of LCA in footprinting and explore the use of water footprinting. Opportunities to extend the concept of footprinting through new application areas are discussed including social input-output analysis, the use of geo-demographics, and "big data."

    The Journal of Industrial Ecology is a bimonthly peer-reviewed scientific journal, owned by Yale University, published by Wiley-Blackwell and headquartered at the Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

    Articles will be freely downloadable for a limited time at http://jie.yale.edu/footprint.

     


  • Paul Raskin to Give Keynote at 2014 ISEE Conference

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    GTI Director Paul Raskin will be giving a keynote address at the International Society for Ecological Economics's 2014 conference in Iceland, "Wellbeing and Equity Within Planetary Boundaries."

    The conference will take place from August 13 to August 15 in Reykjavik, Iceland.

    You can read more about it here.


  • Welcome!

    Posted by Jonathan Cohn

    Welcome to the GT Network Bulletin Board!

    Feel free to use this space to post information on news items, publications, requests, and events of interest to the GT community.