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Sustainability

Canada Makes An Unprecedented Push For Multifamily Housing

For more than a century, zoning ordinances rooted in segregation have encouraged the construction of single-family homes, often at the expense of apartment buildings and other structures that promote urban density. Beyond contributing to a mounting housing shortage and spiraling prices, such policies have contributed to sprawl and dependence upon automobiles. Canada has decided to try something different.  The government has taken the unprecedented step of offering provincial governments billions of dollars in infrastructure funds with one catch: To receive it, they must require cities to abandon single-family zoning laws and allow the construction of fourplexes.

Tompkins County, The Finger Lakes Hub Of Sustainability

The Finger Lakes region of western New York State is distinguished by a series of long and narrow glacial valleys, dammed by moraine, that now contain lakes. Glacial scouring created some of the deepest lakes in North America, including Seneca, Cayuga, and Skaneateles lakes. These spectacular natural features give the region its identity. The region features ample farmland and forest and a relatively sparse population. Tompkins County, in the heart of the region, has experienced a steady 0.5% per year increase in population. But nearly all the surrounding counties have stable or slightly declining populations.

Study Finds Indicators Of Economic Growth Without Environmental Harm

A recent study conducted by researchers from China, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Britain, and South Africa has found evidence of separation between economic growth and environmental degradation in China’s most economically significant lake basin. The Yangtze River Delta, which was studied by the team, accounts for only 4 percent of the country’s land area but a quarter of its gross domestic product (GDP). Some of China’s major industries, including chip, electric vehicle, robot and battery manufacturers and developers in software and artificial intelligence are concentrated in the delta.

Over 160 Groups Call On UN To Stop Promoting Carnivorous Fish Farming

Over 160 experts and civil society groups are calling on the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to remove carnivorous fish farming from its definition of “sustainable aquaculture” ahead of World Ocean Day on 8 June. As industrial aquaculture expands globally, concerns are mounting among academics, fishing communities, and campaign groups about the environmental and social impacts of farming species like salmon, shrimp, and sea bass  – carnivorous fish that are reared on wild-caught fish for feed. The FAO has advocated for the growth of aquaculture and claims the sector can play a bigger role in feeding the world “sustainably” in the face of climate change and a growing global population – a stance the EU and salmon companies have eagerly echoed.

How Working For Place-Based Solutions Can Change The World

In a world of onrushing crises, where the level of change required to meet them boggles the mind, even as too many trends are moving in the wrong direction, questions of “What will be enough?” and “Can it come soon enough?” surge to the foreground. There must be a place to begin grappling with the complex questions of societal transformation. A place to grab hold and gain enough leverage to begin making fundamental changes. That place is the communities and bioregions where we live. We must begin to build the future in place. Clearly we are over the line ecologically, as the planetary boundaries study I recently covered underscores.

The Refillery Is Coming For Your Grocery Store Routine

“This is slow shopping,” says Roque Rodriguez about his refillery grocery store, Seed and Oil, in Woodside, Queens. “It’s about slowing down, being more present, being more aware: What’s the impact of the choice I just made? We educate folks when they come in, we talk to them, and you see people getting into the rhythm of it.” I don’t think it’s that much slower to shop at package-free stores like Seed and Oil—you bring your own container and weigh it, then you fill it up with the amount of rice or walnuts or Peanut M&Ms that you want to take home. But I get what he means.

Sustainable Food Systems: Feeding Ourselves Across Europe

Brussels is currently not the most hopeful place for those wishing to see EU food systems in a fair, ecological transition. But hope is on the ground. Not waiting for the impetus to come from above, many communities, food policy councils, solidarity farming initiatives, food cooperatives, as well as rural and urban municipalities have already established their own democratic, economic and social frameworks in order to create sustainable food systems. At Feeding Ourselves 2024, a roundtable on Bottom-Up Approaches to Sustainable Food Systems was a chance to connect partners of two ARC2020 projects, Rural Resilience in France and Rural Europe Takes Action – Germany* with kindred spirits in Ireland.

How To Unite Local Initiatives For A More Sustainable Global Future

This article challenges the belief in high-tech solutions to solve socio-environmental crises, proposing a political vision beyond “green growth” and “ecomodernism.”. It advocates for a commons-based technology framework, promoting collective resource management for sustainability. We thus introduce “cosmolocal” production, a configuration that strives to connect communities around shared resources and serve their needs while minimizing ecological impact. Despite acknowledged tensions, we contend that the cosmolocal framework could foster institutional and social change, aiming to address environmental degradation and wealth inequality.

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.
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