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Making Community

If we consider that we as a people could soon face a climate-related collapse of our economic infrastructure, how might we avert this outcome? Or, failing that, be able to continue on while maintaining a civil society? It can be seen that the root of the crisis lies in our behavior, our individual and social behavior – which is a cultural problem. Yet, because each of us lives our lives embedded in our culture, we live and think within the domain we have inherited. If our current ways of thinking are much the basis for our crisis, we must make every effort to think again, and differently.

Veganic Growing And Animal-Free Agriculture: The Path Forward

Nature is complex. Her underground web is as intricate as her above-ground diversity. Below our feet, bacteria, microorganisms, mycorrhizae, and roots of perennial plants work symbiotically, absorbing and moving nutrients to wherever the need arises. Science has defined ecosystems and family groups, constantly updating our knowledge bank based on the most recent discoveries. However, this is the human interpretation of the natural world, but the way other animal species interpret it is likely different. While all species tend to follow the rhythms of nature, there is one that seems to go against her: ours, Homo sapiens.

Used Clothing Market In US Grew 7x Faster Than General Clothing Retail

Sales of secondhand clothing are on their way to making up 10 percent of the fashion market worldwide, as environmental concerns and high prices inspire consumers to shop for pre-loved items, according to a 2024 Resale Report by online thrift and consignment shop ThredUp. The 12th annual study, conducted by analytics firm GlobalData, includes projections through 2033. Its findings are based on a survey of 3,654 consumers in the United States, as well as a survey of 50 of the country’s top fashion brands and retailers, a press release from ThredUp said.

Repair Cafes:The Beating Heart Of The Right To Repair Movement

In the age of two-day shipping and planned obsolescence, we’ve come to look at the things we own as largely disposable, with devastating consequences for our environment, our communities and ourselves. Recent EPA estimates put the total generation of municipal solid waste at roughly 292.4 million tons each year. In a little over a generation, we’ve transformed from a society of “Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make it Do, or Do Without” to a society of “Dig, Burn, Dump.” Gone are the days of family heirlooms and the passing down of gifts from generation to generation.

Stillmeadow Peace Park Is Baltimore’s Tale Of Urban Reinvention

In the woods next to the Stillmeadow Community Fellowship church in Southwest Baltimore, Pastor Michael Martin has another sanctuary he eagerly shares with visitors. The church leaders poses meditative questions—”What do you hear?” “What do you see?” “How does it make you feel?”—as he walks parishioners, neighbors, and other participants in Stillmeadow’s “daytime retreats” through the 10 acres of once-neglected, church-owned property overlooking busy Frederick Avenue. Here, freshly planted and fast-growing saplings, carefully carved-out walking trails, and streamside sitting areas invite each person who passes through to pause.

Envisioning A Steady-State Comprehensive Plan

”Economic growth” is commonplace in the daily news. We assume it’s a good thing, that a 2–4 percent increase in GDP is beneficial to all. Likewise, we hear that our communities are growing, and we see a 2–4 percent increase in population as reasonable and benign. Meanwhile, visionary community leaders are busy planning for a steady feed of single-digit annual growth. So we’re in good hands, right? But what the news reports miss is that any steady rate of growth is an exponential function that contains within it a knowable doubling time.

Planning For Degrowth

There was an article in Nature from late 2022 on degrowth that got some sudden attention over the holidays because economists and tech bros noticed it and turned out on social media to do some hating. In fact the lead author, Jason Hickel, claimed on Ex-Twitter that as a result the paper was the most-read on Nature during the break. Regular readers here will know that my main issue with the idea of “degrowth” is the name—that if you’re trying to change behaviour around an idea that is deeply culturally embedded in 250 years of modernity, it’s best (a) not to do it head-on, and (b) not to frame it as a negative. But I’ll park that for now.

EU Approves Law To Ban Greenwashing On Product Labels

The European Parliament has voted to adopt a law regulating sustainability claims on product labels. The law will prohibit retailers from making general environmental claims and sustainability claims without evidence. The law bans the use of terms including “eco,” “biodegradable,” “environmentally friendly,” “natural” and “climate neutral” without evidence. The EU will now require sustainability labels to be linked to official certifications or those established by public authorities, such as the the EU Ecolabel, the European Environmental Bureau reported. Further, the law addresses carbon offsetting, banning labels from noting that products have a “neutral, reduced or positive impact on the environment” because of companies’ participation in carbon offsetting programs.

Upcycling 101: Everything You Need To Know

Many of us are familiar with the phrase, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” in terms of sustainability, but it’s become apparent that “Reduce, Reuse, and Repurpose” might be a smarter avenue in terms of reducing waste streams. Right now globally, 2.12 billion tons of waste is dumped annually. Many industries, particularly textiles, contribute not only to microplastic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, but also poisonous gases in the atmosphere. Doubling down on not always purchasing new things helps to reduce waste and conserve valuable resources. Upcycling is the process of using items that might be discarded to create a new use for them, often one with higher value.

Stitching A Co-Operative Future In Victoria, BC

In the heart of Victoria, British Columbia, a remarkable transformation story has been threaded by The Make House. What started as a 10-year-old sole proprietorship blossomed into a worker co-operative in December 2022. Host Robin Puga had an enlightening conversation with Tanya King, Studio Manager and Board Vice-President, unraveling the journey behind this creative pivot. he Make House began as a sole proprietorship. Faced with the prospect of the owner selling the business, the staff team decided to reimagine the future of The Make House. The decision to shift to a worker co-operative model was fueled by a desire to deepen their community roots and engage in democratic decision-making

Sustainable Food Systems Need Intergenerational Cooperation

“There is a growing fear of insecurity about food in our societies. We fear losing control of what we will be able to eat in the future. But we also see many local initiatives across Europe working on new food systems. However, to be honest, real change is coming too slowly. One important reason seems to be an absence of exchange, understanding and trust between generations. Elders tend to hold on to their habits, the younger generation wants to try out and take risks. We need to overcome that gap in order to move on to common action on our farming and food systems of the future. We work for a new intergenerational agreement. Food must come back to the centre of our lives”, says Katrina Idu (age 33), President of Forum Synergies, a partner organisation of ARC2020.

The Lower Sioux Need Homes, So They’re Building Them From Hemp

For now, it’s only a gaping hole in the ground, 100-by-100 feet, surrounded by farm machinery and bales of hemp on a sandy patch of earth on the Lower Sioux Indian Reservation in southwestern Minnesota. But when construction is complete next April, the Lower Sioux — also known as part of the Mdewakanton Band of Dakota — will have a 20,000-square-foot manufacturing campus that will allow them to pioneer a green experiment, the first of its kind in the United States. They will have an integrated vertical operation to grow hemp, process it into insulation called hempcrete, and then build healthy homes with it. Right now, no one in the U.S. does all three.

Band Walks 870 Miles On Tour To Promote More Sustainability

Filkin’s Drift, a band of two based in Birmingham, UK, have been highlighting sustainability in their latest tour by walking about 870 miles along the coast of Wales. Musicians Seth Bye and Chris Roberts walked between stops for their 60-day tour, carrying the instruments they needed and just enough clothing to walk and perform each day. Bye and Roberts each carried a 33-pound bag on their journey, the BBC reported. “We’re not at all suggesting that everyone should give up driving and walk to all their gigs because it has completely taken over our lives, but things like choosing more sustainable routes (should be considered),” Roberts said, as reported by the BBC.

How San Diego Built A Surveillance Apparatus

San Diego. California - It sounded smart on paper. In 2016, the San Diego City Council created a new infrastructure project related to its environmental initiatives: Thousands of streetlights would be retrofitted with energy-efficient LEDs. Plus, remote-controlled sensors would produce publicly accessible data on weather, traffic and parking. Considering the energy savings, the $30 million partnership with General Electric would pay for itself. Win-win. But today, the project is an example of how not to create ​“smart” city utilities. Those sensors included integrated cameras, and no councilmember formally opposed the potential surveillance issues. Most San Diego residents only learned they were filmed indiscriminately thanks to media reports — in 2019.

Transforming Suburbia

From the street, anyone would notice something different about these two properties in the middle of this bi focal suburban block in Eugene, Oregon. The houses on one side of the street date from the mid 50’s, the other side, larger and two stories, have replaced a wholesale nursery over the past 15 years. The two quarter acre properties of interest here, are green all the way to the street with food producing trees, brambles, vines. One place, notably, does not have a driveway. My property is a permaculture landmark in the Pacific Northwest. Literally, thousands of people have visited over the years to see what a nothing special suburban property can become.
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