Category Archives: Economy

Agro-Business vs. Agro-Ecology

Choice

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:

AGRO-BUSINESS                            AGRO-ECOLOGY

Agro-Choice

Five Ways to Achieve Ecologically Sustainable Finance

Sustainable Finance

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

A Practical Plan for Affordable Housing in the Cowichan Valley Regional District

 

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

The Seven Phases of Climate Awareness

Climate Awareness

by Guy Dauncey

Which Phase Are You In?

Phase 1: Complete Unawareness. 

It’s simply not on your radar. You know more about Taylor Swift or Beyoncé than you do about climate change, or whatever it’s called.

Phase 2: What is This – is it Real?

I keep hearing about it, but it’s all so confusing. One person says one thing, someone else says another. So I’m reading blogs, articles, and even some books. trying to fathom it all out.

Phase 3: OMG, this is Awful. It looks like a Real Catastrophe.

Massive sea level rise? Huge droughts, storms and downpours? Freshwater running out? This is terrible. I read that the word most scientists use to describe the future if we don’t tackle the climate crisis is ‘catastrophic‘. Continue reading The Seven Phases of Climate Awareness

A Practical Plan for Affordable Housing in the Cowichan Valley

Home Everyone

by Guy Dauncey

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 there be such a housing crisis?

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

Trump and Trudeau: Spot the Difference

Trump & Trudeau

Trudeau: ‘No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and leave them there’

Trump: “We’ve got underneath us more oil than anybody … and I want to use it.”

I have very little to add to this. Emotionally, culturally, empathetically, educationally and behaviourally, Trump and Trudeau are as different as different can be. Trump is a bully, a braggard and a boor. Trudeau is a refined classical decoration on the carpet of civilization. Trump is a dirty stain.

Yet when it comes to energy and oil, their brains and their political instincts think alike. Trump is a proud climate denier. His “Grab them by the oil-wells” thoughts are at least consistent with his larger outlook, which is nationalist and mercantilist, as if the eighteenth century had never ended.

Continue reading Trump and Trudeau: Spot the Difference

Protecting the Coastal Douglas Fir Forest: Seven Practical Solutions

 

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It cools us in the summer, it warms our hearts all year,

It provides a home for owls and flowers, for herons, cedars, fir.

It shapes the landscape, painting peace, away from the urban rush,

It protects our water all year round, surrendering it clear and fresh.

In Japanese, the word shinrin means forest and yoku means bath, so shinrin-yoku means ‘forest bath’: being immersed in the forest with all our senses. Listening to its quietness, seeing the variety of trees, mosses, lichens and rocks, tasting the air as you breathe in deeply, touching the rough Douglas fir and the smooth red arbutus, going barefoot across the earth, dipping your feet in a forest stream, lying down to gaze up at its beauty. Such bathing brings healing to the body, heart, mind and soul. Continue reading Protecting the Coastal Douglas Fir Forest: Seven Practical Solutions

BC’s Climate Intentions Papers: A Timid Response – and the Twelve Solutions We Really Need

Timid Response

August 20, 2018

I wish I didn’t have to write this. I count myself a friend of the NDP/Green Alliance, and I had high hopes for the government’s new climate action plans. [1]  

BC’s Ministry of Environment has published a series of Clean Growth Intentions Papers, with a deadline for public feedback of August 24th, in the heart of this fire and smoke-filled summer. In my head, I can see that they have been framed in a very positive way, emphasizing the multiple economic benefits of engaging in climate action, reframed as clean growth.

But the policies floated contain little that is new. They are really timid. And by downplaying the climate crisis almost to a state of mental non-existence, they have written the urgency out of the picture. In my heart, I feel as if they have been written by a holiday season policy-drone operating on auto-pilot. Hard words, but that’s what I feel.

Continue reading BC’s Climate Intentions Papers: A Timid Response – and the Twelve Solutions We Really Need

By Rewriting our Past, We can Rewrite our Future

Mint 2

Once upon a time, there was a revolution. I have never read about it in any history book, yet it was the ancestor of all revolutions, from the earliest slave revolts to the French and Russian revolutions, the gay rights movement and the #Metoo movement.

By not knowing about it, and not understanding its consequences, our interpretation of history is missing a critical dimension as we struggle to free ourselves from the tentacles of neoliberalism and build a new economy that is friendly to humans and nature, not just to bankers and greed. In the light of this revolution, our understanding of thinkers such as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, Marx, Owen, Kropotkin, Nietzsche, Polanyi, Keynes, Hayek, Rand and Ostrom is changed.

We may never know when it happened, but a quarter million years ago is a good possibility. To understand its origins, however, we have to go back six million years, to when we shared a common ancestor with the chimpanzees and bonobos. Even today, we share 99% of our genes, and the same impulses to mother, to play, to help each other, to use social skills, to hunt together, to form tribes, to fight, to bully and to dominate.

Through it all, the non-alphas resented being dominated

Continue reading By Rewriting our Past, We can Rewrite our Future

Tiny Homes Villages

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Artwork by Richard Sheppard,  www.theartistontheroad.com

 

All I want is a village somewhere,

far away from the housing scare,

With friends and family,

Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly?

Little homes where we all can live,

A lovely garden so we all can eat,

Shared hearts, shared love, shared hopes,

Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly.

In May 2018 the average price of a home in BC was $750,000. In Victoria, the average price of a condo was $500,000.

Continue reading Tiny Homes Villages