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create-iconAlong with direct action and other forms of resistance, a transformational movement must also have a constructive program that builds new institutions based on the values that the movement aspires to achieve. These may eventually replace the old systems. From small, worker-owned cooperatives to national advocacy groups, hundreds of thousands of people around the country are working to create democratic and sustainable systems that meet the basic needs of all people.

Massachusetts To Launch Push To Fill Vacant State-Funded Apartments

Massachusetts housing officials announced Friday that they are launching a “90-day push” to reduce the number of vacancies in state public housing by the end of the year. The initiative comes after an investigation by WBUR and ProPublica found nearly 2,300 of 41,500 state-funded apartments were vacant at the end of July — most for months or years — despite a housing shortage so severe that Gov. Maura Healey called it a state of emergency. Massachusetts is one of only four states with state-subsidized public housing, and about 184,000 people are on a waitlist for the units.

A Coal Mine Turned Garden Feeds 2,000 Texans Every Month

Five homeschoolers pick fist-size garlic cloves, green jalapeños, strawberries, squash and kale on a breezy Thursday morning in late June. They’re volunteering at a local food garden where bright orange marigolds attract bees from a local keeper’s hive. The 1-acre garden has yielded about 10,000 pounds of produce for six food pantries since it began harvesting in April 2022. Texan by Nature, which manages the garden and was founded by former First Lady Laura Bush, estimates it has served approximately 2,000 people per month in Limestone, Freestone and Leon counties. Located in Freestone County about 60 miles east of Waco, NRG Dewey Prairie Garden is a part of a massive effort to restore a 35,000-acre lignite coal mine.

How To Build The Future In Place: Taking The First Steps

Building the future in place envisions bringing together an ecosystem of community-based institutions and public policies that meets human needs and balances our relations within the natural world. It involves weaving together community initiatives and advocacy campaigns that now often operate in separate compartments to create a coherent politics, built around deep-rooted, place-based movements informed by comprehensive visions for transformative change at local and bioregional scales. It starts where markets and the system are failing, prioritizing communities and people who are being failed the most. In the process, it fills the greatest need now existing in our society, for community. In a fractured world where increasing disruptions can be expected, we need to somehow find our way back to human social solidarity, to being good neighbors. It’s not just climate. We face a profound crisis of global ecosystems.

Musician Cooperativism At Groupmuse

I am a cellist and worker-owner of a cooperative. As an ICDE fellow, I hop out of my usual action-oriented work to reflect on why cooperativism is an alternative to the status quo for freelancing musicians. As a professional cellist, I witnessed the infrastructural fractures that musicians in the United States have to navigate. In 2020, I returned to the U.S. from a year of studying in France, after contemplating during quarantine about the economics of working as an artist. One important question I wanted to solve: Rather than competing with my colleagues for limited paid gigs, how can I generate new opportunities and resources with them?

Illinois Just Ended Cash Bail; Here’s How Organizers Made It Happen

Illinois is poised to eliminate the use of cash bail in the state’s carceral system following the passage of the Pretrial Fairness Act by the state legislature on January 13. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, who has said he favors ending cash bail, is expected to sign the bill into law. The policy of conditional pretrial detention — holding accused people in jail until their trial, unless they can afford to pay bail — is currently practiced in all 50 states, although New Jersey did drastically reduce the use of cash bail. It’s a practice that necessarily penalizes poor people and disproportionately affects Black and Brown people, already overrepresented in U.S. jails and prisons.

Towards An Indigenous Economics

With a profound sustainability crisis facing humanity, it may be useful to try and glimpse what a sustainable relationship between people and planet might actually look like. This essay explores how cultures and their host environments mesh together in pre-industrial societies. It seeks to show how cultural beliefs and practices reflect and reinforce the environmental adaptations of seven different community settings – the Mbuti forest people in central Africa, the Kayapó people in the Brazilian Amazon, the Nuer cattle herders in South Sudan, the Chagga agro-foresters on Mount Kilimanjaro, Asian peasant farmers, and European small-scale urban systems.

The National Flood Insurance Program Is Broken

The most expensive type of disaster in the United States is flooding. Hurricanes, a major source of flooding, make up seven of the 10 costliest disasters in United States history, from Katrina in 2005 to Ian in 2022. Together, these storms alone have cost $800 billion, adjusted for inflation. Half a century ago—before any of these storms occurred—the federal government created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a public sector alternative to fill in the gaps in higher-risk areas where commercial insurance is unavailable. But as the frequency and severity of flooding events have increased—and as insurers continue to add to the list of states they refuse to insure—the NFIP has become massively oversubscribed, amassing more than $20 billion in debt on behalf of its five million policyholders.

Capitalist Urbanization, Climate Change, And The Need For Sponge Cities

In this fascinating article, first published in Liberation School, environmentalist and author Tina Landis explains the concept of sponge cities: what they are, why they are needed, and China’s leading role in developing them. Tina observes that “the majority of the world’s cities today were built for profit and speculation in mind, with little to no consideration given to negative impacts on either ecology or humanity.” “Vast hardscapes—sidewalks, roads, parking lots, buildings—and gray infrastructure that channels water away as it falls, places these urban centers at odds with biodiversity and the natural cycling of water through the landscape. Green spaces that are created within urban environments are often highly managed areas separate from the rest of the city, filled with non-native ornamental plants and thirsty grasses that require intensive irrigation, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides, while providing little to no benefit to native species of birds, insects, and others.”

Xi Jinping Meets With Nicolas Maduro In Beijing

The president of China, Xi Jinping, hosted a welcoming ceremony for the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, and the Venezuelan delegation accompanying him, held at the entrance of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The two heads of state announced the elevation of the China-Venezuela relations to an “all-weather strategic partnership,” as reported by the Xinhua news agency. The ceremony, held this Wednesday, September 13, began with a roll of drums, signaling the arrival of Xi Jinping and his wife. They descended the stairs of the People’s Palace and took their seats of honor next to the red carpet. Shortly after, President Maduro arrived in a presidential motorcade.

The Beauty, Challenges, And Potential Of Living In Ecocommunity

In 2007, while studying sustainable communities for a chapter on the subject for State of the World 2008, I had the chance to visit several ecovillages. But none stood out like the Los Angeles Eco-Village. Surrounded by car-centric city sprawl, it was a tiny little oasis of green—literally and figuratively, with it being populated by many environmental activists. It was inspiring to meet them and learn about their efforts, and I daydreamed about what would happen if there was a little urban ecovillage in every city incubating citywide change, catalyzing human-centric infrastructure changes, teaching permaculture techniques, and so on.

Fighting Criminalization With Housing First

Housing is one of our best tools for ending mass incarceration. It does more than put a roof over people’s heads; housing gives people the space and stability necessary to receive care, escape crises, and improve their quality of life. For this reason, giving people housing can help interrupt a major pathway to prison created by the criminalization of mental illness, substance use disorder, and homelessness. For this briefing, we examined over 50 studies and reports, covering decades of research on housing, health, and incarceration, to pull together the best evidence that ending housing insecurity is foundational to reducing jail and prison populations.

Amazon Deforestation Down 66% From Last July In Lula’s Brazil

The Amazon rainforest is the largest tropical rainforest on the planet. It is home to more animal and plant species than any terrestrial ecosystem, including one-third of the world’s tropical trees. This diverse sanctuary is also one of the last refuges for jaguars, pink river dolphins and harpy eagles, according to WWF. Brazil has an Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Amazon by 2030, and since President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office at the start of this year, deforestation has fallen dramatically. The country’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Marina Silva said that deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon in Brazil dropped 66.11 percent in August.

Building Hope And A Halfway House In Washington, DC

With nearly two million people in prison and an incarceration rate five times higher than most countries on the planet, the United States is the world’s only carceral superpower. Our nation has a long tradition of “justice” that is articulated in a cold, calculating and harsh expression of punishment. Despite this history, a counter narrative surrounding imprisonment and punishment in the United States has also existed — one that is based in reform, repentance, restoration and redemption. Quakers in Philadelphia spent decades in the early 19th century protesting harsh prison conditions and ultimately convinced the Pennsylvania Assembly to reform their model of imprisonment.

Project Provides Housing And Tech Training For Young Women Of Color

The quaint, Victorian-style house where social entrepreneur Bridgette Wallace chose to bring her vision to life looks like any other home in Boston’s historic Garrison Trotter neighborhood. Built in 1900 and nestled in the heart of Roxbury, this unassuming property on Boston’s Hutchings Street houses an innovative co-living and co-learning model to curb the effects of tech industry-driven gentrification. Welcome to G{Code} House, a place where women and nonbinary people of color ages 18-24 can reside as they complete a two year coding course that prepares them to enter the workforce.

The US Moneyless Economy Is Booming

Humans have a serious stuff problem. We keep making and buying new things when most of the time we could find those things in great condition, secondhand. Instead, we’re making trash at such a rate that an unfathomable 40 percent of the ocean’s surface is now covered in trash islands, and there is literally more than a ton of trash for each one of the 8 billion people on this planet (9 billion tons, and growing). If these heaps of waste (the lion’s share of which is produced by corporations rather than individual households) aren’t mortifying enough to drive people toward the free economy of reuse, maybe the lack of a price tag is — especially given the staggering wealth gap and cost-of-living crisis in the United States.
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