Nov 24, 14

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business

Cooperation Law for a Sharing Economy

Editor's Note: This article from YES! Magazine, originally commissioned by Shareable Magazine, explores how a new sharing economy is emerging and asks: "how does it fit within our legal system?" Author Janelle Orsi says it's "time for a whole new field of cooperation law." This is a great piece and we wish we'd written it ourselves! Although it's longer than our usual blog posts, it's definitely worth reading. Please check it out below. The directory of the Cohousing Association, which...

business

The Emergence of a Biosphere Economy

An economic transformation to rival the Industrial Revolution is on its way – and this time nature will be properly valued, predict John Elkington and Alejandro Litovsky. Almost 200 years ago, Thomas Newcomen built the world’s first commercially successful steam engine in order to pump water out of deep coal mines. In the process, he handed humanity the keys to the Earth’s fossil-fuel resources, an event which, in turn, helped fuel the Industrial Revolution. Ever since that moment,...

business

How Deep CO2 Reductions Can Help the Economy

An excerpt from the terrific fact- and chart-filled new book, "Greening Our Built World: Costs, Benefits, and Strategies" (Island Press) by Gregory Kats: Perhaps because we spend the vast majority of our lives in buildings or traveling between them, we often overlook the scale of building energy use and the associated impact on climate change. For example, in a 2007 national survey of 1,000 homeowners, almost 75% said that they believed their homes had no adverse environmental impact. The...

business

Exploring a Carbon Neutral City - Notes from Seattle's Unconference

A huge thank you to everyone who came downtown on a blustery morning to participate in last Saturday's unconference on a carbon neutral Seattle! Carbon neutrality is a simple idea with complicated details: it's hard to define and far-reaching in its implications. Carbon neutrality implies a city that uses no fossil fuels and produces no unused waste - a city where every system functions differently than it does today. Yet the idea of Seattle becoming North America’s first carbon neutral...

business

Does Paul Krugman Vastly Understate the Economic Argument for Climate Action?

Paul Krugman has a piece in this week's New York Times Magazine, one that I'm not at all sure is as big a love letter to climate action as some in the environmental movement make it out to be. Krugman argues that the consensus for action among economists studying climate has been largely overlooked: Like the debate over climate change itself, the debate over climate economics looks very different from the inside than it often does in popular media. The casual reader might have the...

business

In Place of a "Less Bad" Economy

"A thief who tells a judge he is stealing less than before will receive no leniency. So why do companies get environmental awards for polluting less - even though they are still polluting?" Gunther Pauli is scornful in his new book The Blue Economy of the "do less bad" school of environmentalism. "It's an approach which sees billions of dollars invested in less toxic and longer lasting batteries - even though the 'less toxic batteries' still rely on mining, smelting and toxic chemistry,...

business

Japan, China, and the Low-Carbon Economy

I've had the good fortune to view the world through a Japanese lens over the past 10 days — specifically, the worlds of green business and clean technology, about which I've come to Japan to speak. My host is the U.S. State Department, whose Office of International Information Programs invites a range of speakers to various foreign outposts at the host countries' request. (I did a similar speaking tour in Europe last fall, and another, in India, in 2000.) This latest trip took me to four...

business

Counter Argument: Joe Romm on Gates

Recently, we published Alex Steffen's take on Bill Gates' TED presentation. Steffen calls it the most important climate speech of the year, so far. But Worldchanging ally Joe Romm thinks otherwise. For another side of the coin, check out his substantive (if confrontational) critique of the Gates' plan. Bill Gates is wrong about “energy miracles” To preserve a livable climate, we need technology deployment. That's what drives innovation, as Gates himself used to argue. So I listened...

business

Where Did We Go Wrong on "Green Jobs"?

I was in a meeting today with some smart folks that got me thinking again about "green jobs," specifically Van Jones' message about the intersection of environmentalism and social justice. They're not polished thoughts, but I thought I'd share them and see what folks think. Ever since Van Jones got essentially lynched by Glenn Beck's teabaggers, I've been wondering why it was so easy to target him, why the green jobs message (which seemed to me at the time uncontroversial) so clearly failed...

business

Local Stock Exchanges and Micro-Equity Investments

Over on Small-Mart: Ideas and Tools for Building Healthy Local Economies, economist Michael Shuman is talking about a different way to stimulate the U.S. economy: local stock exchanges and micro-equity investments. In his article, Local Stock Exchanges and National Stimulus, Shuman makes the case for reforming old laws that could open up local businesses to local investors. Outdated federal securities laws have left Main Street dangerously dependent on Wall Street, and overhauling them...

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