By Guy Dauncey September 13, 2019
Guy Dauncey is founder of the BC Sustainable Energy Association, co-founder of the Victoria Car Share Cooperative, and the author or co-author of ten books, including The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming and Journey to the Future: A Better World Is Possible. He is currently completing The Economics of Kindness: A Ten-Year Transition to a Green Cooperative Economy. He lives in Yellow Point, on Vancouver Island, Canada. His website is www.thepracticalutopian.ca.
I premise my analysis on five statements:
- The climate emergency is real.
- The ecological emergency is real.
- The inequality, household debt and affordable housing crises are real.
- A new global financial crisis is lurking, caused by excessive corporate and private debt and banking deregulation.
- We need a rapid ten-year mobilization to achieve a transition to a new green economy, supported by a Green New Deal (GND).
What is a Green New Deal? The idea comes from President Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s, which used a Keynesian economic approach with active government intervention to regulate the banks, manage the economy and invest heavily in job creation to overcome systemic economic failure and end the Great Depression. The New Deal firmly rejected the idea that the market, if left to itself, would solve the problem. That same idea today, based on faulty neoclassical economic theory, is an indirect cause of the dramatic rise of the climate and ecological emergencies as well as the 2008 financial crisis and the crises of inequality, debt and unaffordable housing.
Click here: Six Green New Deals to download this paper as a PDF.
Continue reading Six Green New Deals: How Do They Compare?
By Guy Dauncey
There are massive forest fires in Siberia. Greenland’s melting is accelerating. Record heatwaves are roasting Europe. The world’s insects are dying off. The scary news keeps accumulating.
We are living on the edge of an emergency that is just getting started, and climate is only the half of it. There’s also an ecological emergency. How are we to respond? It’s easy to slip into complacency, or to be overcome by fear, followed by a sense of impotence. You know the crises are real, but the children are coming to visit, there’s a holiday to plan, and don’t get me started on the problems we’re having at work.
The first step to end complacency and neutralize fear is to put the crisis on your weekly to-do list:
- Weed the garden
- Visit your friend in hospital
- Sign the kids up for karate/soccer/piano/dancing lessons
- Do something to tackle the climate and ecological crises
Continue reading The Climate and Ecological Emergencies – What Can We Do?
by Guy Dauncey
In September 2018, the Paris-based Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) published a report on An agro-ecological Europe by 2050: Multifunctional Agriculture for Healthy Eating, in which the authors found that a fully agro-ecological Europe could sustainably feed 530 million Europeans by 2050.
In his fascinating new book Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food, Timothy Wise, who is senior research at the Small Planet Institute, comes to very similar conclusions for countries like Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.
I have captured the possibility of an agro-ecological future and compared it to the current reality in these two diagrams. They are too big to display, so click on each phrase below to see the full diagrams:
by Guy Dauncey
First published in The Mint – Fresh Thinking in Economics, June 2019
How can we turn around the world’s financial institutions so that their creation of money serves to construct a new ecological civilization, rather than destroy our current civilization through the financing of ecological and climate catastrophe? It’s a massive problem that needs multiple solutions.
Before we turn our attention to some possible solutions, we need some context. Global GDP in 2018 was $87.5 trillion. Global debt, created by the world’s financial institutions, was $247 trillion, growing by $14 trillion a year. Between 2005 and 2016 the debt increased by 73%, split between governments ($63 trillion), non-financial corporations ($68 trillion) and private households ($44 trillion).
Continue reading Five Ways to Achieve Ecologically Sustainable Finance
by Guy Dauncey
June 2019. The summer days bring exquisite shades of green. The bees are out, the ants rush around, and the wind rustles quietly in the tops of the trees. A fresh-baked rhubarb sponge cake sits on the kitchen counter. Life is sensuous, beautiful, and quite frankly, exquisite. Tiny mauve butterflies flit in and out of the flowers.
And then Cassandra arrives, she of the noble Greek ancestry, admired by the god Apollo, she with the golden locks and the long white flowing dress, reading from her list of warnings:
“One million species facing extinction, UN Report finds.”
“Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature.”
“By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s the oceans.”
“Do you need more?” she asks, then continues. Her eyes carry sorrow. Continue reading The Tears of Cassandra
For 200 years, students have been urged to learn the 3 R’s of reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic. In recent years, thinkers of various political persuasions have proposed adding a fourth R including running, relationships, religion, race, rithms (for algorithms), respect, road safety, ritalin, rifle-shooting, revolvers and (appropriately) resuscitation.
There is another 4th R that is even more essential if we are to survive the 21st century. It is the knowledge of ecology, of how our planet works, and how to regenerate healthy ecosystems from the atmosphere and the rainforests to the microbiomes in our own guts.
Profound ecological ignorance
Continue reading Reading, Riting, Rithmetic – and Regeneration
What does it mean to be so worried, because you really can’t afford the rent? To have to surrender your hope of ever owning a home? To face the end of a rental lease and know that there is NOTHING out there that you can afford? To stare homelessness in the face?
Many of us are comfortably housed, but many are not. The autumn rains have arrived, and the harvest crops are being gathered in. Everyone seems to be getting on with their lives. And yet for many people, the smiles and kindnesses that make life worth living mask a level of stress and worry that should have no place in our community.
How can it be that in this Cowichan Valley that we love so much, there is such a housing crisis? How can democracy, the housing market, and local government have failed us so completely?
Continue reading A Practical Plan for Affordable Housing in the Cowichan Valley Regional District
by Guy Dauncey
A persuasive story is an essential piece of equipment for a determined journey. Here’s the story I use to keep me rolling along.
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, before what we call the Universe existed, there was something, let us call it ‘being’ with a small ‘b’. Being expressed itself first as space-time and then as matter, becoming being-matter. It’s as good an explanation as any. Paul Sutter, a well-known astrophysicist, says “In the beginning there was a question mark.”[i] Stephen Hawking said in the beginning there was a singularity without time or space, but he couldn’t explain how it got there.
Continue reading What’s Your Story? Mine is Very Old
Will you join me? I need lots of people to join the November Offensive, so that together, we can make a difference.
This summer’s forest fires and smoke-filled skies have left many of us asking, “What will it take to end the climate dithering and start DOING something to tackle the growing emergency?”
The IPCC has just reminded us of the urgency of the crisis, and the need to reduce emissions globally by 45% by 2030 if we are to limit the warming to 1.5C.
The BC NDP government is getting ready to launch its climate plan at the end of November, somehow combining climate action sufficient to meet its stated goal of a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030 with its recent climate-disastrous decision to approve the big LNG Canada project.
The timing is critical to impress our New Democrat and Green MLAs of the need for urgent action to speed the transition to 100% renewable energy and protect the forests.
When the government floated its ‘Intention Papers’ in August, my response was that they were really timid, far from what was needed. Our government must, must do better. Continue reading Climate Action in BC: The November Offensive
by Guy Dauncey
Saturday October 20th was Election Day, and we had such great results! Of the 55 candidates who I recommended for your support, 38 were elected and 17 were not. In Courtenay and Comox progressive candidates were also elected, pushing out old-school conservatives.
This was my pitch for these candidates: I want Vancouver Island to become a place where people are really committed to living in harmony with nature.
I want our towns and cities to be full of safe bike lanes, wonderful green spaces, urban farms, affordable housing for all, great public transit, wonderful pedestrian environments, and to have permanently ended homelessness. Continue reading Our 2018 Local Elections on Southern Vancouver Island: The Winners