June 20th 2021 marks the return of the international WLD campaign, which aims to galvanize the worldwide localization movement into a force for systemic change. This movement is made up of myriad initiatives and groups on every continent working to rebuild community fabric, reduce ecological impact and increase human wellbeing, by bringing the economy back to the local level. Think farmers’ markets, permaculture, community gardens, small-business alliances, micro-grids, alternative education projects, and much more. Over the last few decades, the […]
Thirty years ago, a friend of mine published a book called 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save The Earth. It described the huge environmental benefits that would result if everyone made some simple adjustments to their way of life. Six hundred thousand gallons of gas could be saved every day, for example, if every commuter car carried just one more passenger; over 500,000 trees could be saved weekly if we all recycled our Sunday newspaper; and so on. […]
The fiftieth anniversary of the first Earth Day of 1970 will be in 2020. As environmentalism has gone mainstream during that half-century, it has forgotten its early focus and shifted toward green capitalism. Nowhere is this more apparent than abandonment of the slogan popular during the early Earth Days: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” The unspoken motto of today’s Earth Day is “Recycle, Occasionally Reuse, and Never Utter the Word ‘Reduce.’” A quasi-taboo on the word “reduce” permeates twenty-first century environmentalism. Confronting […]
This blog is also available in Chinese, Dutch, French, Greek, Italian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish and Turkish. For those who care about peace, equality and the future of the planet, the global political swing to the right over the past few years is deeply worrying. It has us asking ourselves, how did this happen? How did populism turn into such a divisive and destructive force? How did authoritarianism take over the political scene once again? From my 40 years of experience […]
What does genuine economic progress look like? The orthodox answer is that a bigger economy is always better, but this idea is increasingly strained by the knowledge that, on a finite planet, the economy can’t grow for ever. But what is a steady-state economy? Why it is it desirable or necessary? And what would it be like to live in? The global predicament We used to live on a planet that was relatively empty of humans; today it is full […]
(This article originally appeared on Truthout.org.) During a panel discussion this May on Community Choice Energy, a rapidly growing initiative in California and six other states that enables communities to seize control of local electricity services, I argued for the economic benefits of building out local, decentralized renewable energy assets such as rooftop and community solar arrays. I was followed by a panelist who chided my “misguided” belief in the virtue of locally-generated, clean energy. “Who cares whether our electricity […]
The way we describe local food systems can make it seem as though just two parties are involved: we talk about “linking farmers and consumers”, or “shortening the distance between production and consumption”. But a healthy local food system is not just a reciprocal relationship between food producers and consumers. It is more akin to an ecosystem, with complex webs of interdependence among participants filling dozens of niches. And as with an ecosystem, the whole requires the health of all […]
2005 Whether we’re seeking stronger communities, a cleaner environment, better prospects for the Third World, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions or limits on corporate power, there is a clear way forward: economic localization. Lately a lot of other voices have joined ISEC in this refrain, as the implications of ‘peak oil’ become more widely known.