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B5. Resilience, Third Nature, and Transition

The greatest good for the greatest number: A doctrine of acceptable losses

Resilience - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 09:10

“The greatest good for the greatest number” seems like an enlightened view until you examine its application. Then things get very messy.

Rethinking Cities in Arid Environments for the 21st Century

The Nature of Cities - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 11:31

Arid cities around the world Over two years ago, my colleagues and I at Arup began a research project focused on the topic of planning and designing cities in arid environments. We were initially interested in exploring the most relevant practices and innovations for cities in the Middle East, but soon realised that many other … Continue reading Rethinking Cities in Arid Environments for the 21st Century →

The post Rethinking Cities in Arid Environments for the 21st Century appeared first on The Nature of Cities.

The Government Shutdown Expands the Ranks of “Underwater Nation”

Resilience - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 05:11

As the government shutdown drags on, the image of federal workers lining up at food pantries has dramatized just how many workers live financially close to the edge.

Memoirs of an Earth Steward & Ecosystems Restoration Manual

Resilience - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 05:11

Sparked into action by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring John Todd and his wife Nancy Jack-Todd, together with their friend Bill McLarney, founded the New Alchemy Institute (N.A.I.) in 1969 “to restore the land, protect the seas, and inform the Earth’s stewards.” 

State of the Climate: How the World Warmed in 2018

Resilience - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 05:11

The climate data for 2018 is now mostly in, though the ongoing shutdown of the US government has caused some datasets to be delayed.

How to Take on Fascism without Getting Played

Resilience - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 03:06

The growth of polarization makes it possible for haters to come out from the margins, form larger groups and make political trouble. Why is polarization increasing now, with the accompanying growth of fascist groups?

Lackan Cottage Farm Design

Resilience - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 02:40

Lackan Cottage Farm is the product of permaculture design, which can be seen in everything from our natural building products, to our waste and water treatment, energy production, and food growing. It is constantly evolving and growing with our own permaculture experience.

Why We Won’t Quit the Climate Fight

Resilience - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 02:19

We are old climate veterans who have tried to do our part, in every way we know how, to keep our fossil-fuel addicted civilization from driving off a cliff. Are we tired? Sure. Discouraged? Absolutely. Pissed off? Yep. Sad? Call it broken-hearted. Quitting? Nah.

The Government Shutdown Expands the Ranks of ‘Underwater Nation’

Post Carbon Institute - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 10:06

As the government shutdown drags on, the image of federal workers lining up at food pantries has dramatized just how many workers live financially close to the edge.

By one estimate, almost 80 percent of U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck. Miss one check and you’re taking a second look at what’s in the back of the pantry cupboard.

From federal prison guards in small towns to airline safety inspectors in major cities, the partial government shutdown has forced 800,000 federal workers — and many contractors, too — to survive without a paycheck.

The shutdown is a Trump-made disaster, with an estimated 420,000 “essential workers” required to show up for work without a paycheck. They have full-time responsibilities, which makes finding another part-time job nearly impossible.

Another 380,000 federal workers have been furloughed, including Coast Guard employees that are being encouraged to take on babysitting gigs and organize garage sales. They saw their last paycheck on December 22 and are scrambling to pay rent, mortgages, alimony, and credit card bills, let alone the groceries.

The average federal employee isn’t wealthy, taking home a weekly paycheck of $500, according to American Federation of Government Employees, the union representing affected workers.

The vulnerability they feel isn’t unusual. A majority of the U.S. population is living with very little by way of a savings cushion.

One troubling indicator is the rising ranks of “underwater nation,” households with zero or negative wealth. These families have no savings reserves — they owe more than they own.

The percentage of U.S. households that are “underwater” increased from

15.5 percent in 1983 to 21.2 percent today. This experience cuts across race, but is more frequent in black and Latino households — including over 32 percent of Latino families and 37 percent of black families.

The next 20 percent of all U.S. households have positive net worth, but not much. Four in ten families couldn’t come up with $400 cash if they needed it for an emergency, according to the Federal Reserve.

Black families are especially vulnerable to economic downturns or delayed paychecks.

Since 1983, the median wealth for a U.S. family has gone down 3 percent, adjusting for inflation. Over the same period, the median wealth for a black family declined a devastating 50 percent, according to Dreams Deferred, a new study I co-authored for the Institute for Policy Studies. (Meanwhile, the number of households with $10 million or more skyrocketed by 856 percent.)

Unemployment may be low, but it masks a precarious and insecure population. At the root of the problem is growing inequality.

Wages for half the population have been stagnant for over four decades, while expenses such as health care, housing, and other basic necessities have risen. Many families still haven’t fully recovered from the economic meltdown a decade ago.

After going up steadily since World War II, homeownership rates have been falling since 2004. And as with income, homeownership is also heavily skewed towards white families. While the national homeownership rate has virtually remained unchanged between 1983 and 2016, 72 percent of white families owned their home, compared to just 44 percent of black families.

Latino homeownership increased by nearly 40 percent over that time, but it still remains far below the rate for whites, at just 45 percent.

If the partial government shutdown continues for “months or years,” as President Trump threatens, there will be even more stress and hardship on our nation’s most vulnerable families. The bigger challenge is how to ensure our economy enables more people to save and build wealth.

Make no mistake: parts of our economy were on “shutdown” long before the government.

Originally published at OtherWords.

Foodbank image via monkeyatlarge/flickr.

Fracking in 2018: Another Year of Pretending to Make Money

Resilience - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 06:50

2018 was the year the oil and gas industry promised that its darling, the shale fracking revolution, would stop focusing on endless production and instead turn a profit for its investors. But as the year winds to a close, it’s clear that hasn’t happened.

How Native American Diets Benefit From Tucson’s Indigenous Seed Bank

Resilience - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 06:33

The organization’s Native American Seed Request program distributes up to 10 free or low-cost traditional seed packets, annually, among individual Southwest Native Americans, and regional tribe members who live elsewhere. 

8 Percent of Americans Recently Changed their Minds on Climate. What Gives?

Resilience - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 06:13

So if you’re trying to get someone to open their mind, you might consider the idea of a having tough, nuanced conversation … and actually hearing them out. Good, old-fashioned, respectful debate? I’d take that over a rage fest or shoutathon any day.

Education, Jobs and Capitalism

Resilience - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 04:32

Given US capitalism’s control of the American economy, the economic system’s educational needs are best served by ensuring that the nation’s school achievement does not get out of hand; that is, schools cannot become too successful in producing well-educated graduates for the purportedly vast (but actually small) number of STEM jobs.

The 8th of December, the End of the Month, and the End of the World

Resilience - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 04:08

Saturday 8 December 2018 is a day that will likely go down in history for many social movements. The streets of many European cities were filled with demonstrations against the most pressing social issues of our time: growing inequality, useless mega infrastructural projects, and climate breakdown.

Connecting to Nature is a Matter of Environmental Justice

Resilience - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 03:40

Environmental activism is meaningless if it does not grapple with issues of injustice and expose the links between environmental devastation, colonial history, and the exploitative relationships of the North and the South. But does this mean that campaigns focused on our connections to the natural world and the suffering of non-human animals are irrelevant?

Is Coastal GasLink an Illegal Pipeline?

Resilience - Wed, 01/16/2019 - 06:58

The $6.2-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline may face a bigger threat than the opposition of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and protests across Canada.

Istanbul Restaurant Offers Job Training and Other Services for the Homeless

Resilience - Wed, 01/16/2019 - 06:22

Explaining the many barriers former sex workers, abuse victims, and the homeless face at getting a fresh start in life, Tükrükçü says her personal experiences helped her understand that what is needed most to build a new life is skills.

Dreams Deferred: How Enriching the 1% Widens the Racial Wealth Divide

Resilience - Wed, 01/16/2019 - 05:51

In light of Dr. King’s pursuit of economic justice, this report highlights how historic racial wealth disparities have been perpetuated and increased by the trend towards extreme inequality in the United States.

Extinction Rebellion isn’t about the Climate

Resilience - Wed, 01/16/2019 - 04:23

And I’m here to say that XR isn’t about the climate. You see, the climate’s breakdown is a symptom of a toxic system of that has infected the ways we relate to each other as humans and to all life.

How Do we Ensure that Project Hope Overcomes Project Fear?

Resilience - Wed, 01/16/2019 - 03:35

Today is about changing the conversation about Brexit. It’s about moving forward – humbly, positively and with hope.