Lets begin by comparing two very different responses to the idea that humanity faces an urgent mandate to transform its relationship with the planet, with future generations and with each other.
From the left brain, we have Heinrich Boell Foundation’s A Green New Deal , which offers a reasoned response to the premise that, ”Humanity is confronted by historic challenges. While the economic and financial crisis has rocked the foundations of our economic system and threatened the livelihoods of millions of people here in Europe and in the rest of the world, we cannot afford any further delay in tackling the crises in the realms of climate change and global justice.”
While from the right brain, Pachamama Alliance offers an inspirational video based on the premise that next four years can determine the quality of life for the next thousand. Because there is still time to act, but no time to waste — they are launching a global campaign to shift humanity onto a sustainable, just, and fulfilling path by 2014: FOUR YEARS.GO
From a slightly less apocalyptic point of view, The New Economics Foundation has published a report on the Robin Hood Transaction Tax. They make the case that a transaction tax is a powerful tool for addressing two great problems facing the international community; the stability and sustainability of the global economy and the yawning gap between rich and the hundreds of millions of people whose basic needs for food, clean water, shelter and education are not met.
A little closer to home, in the USA, Tax Day is approaching. Last year, the emergent Tea Party dominated the media conversation about taxes with their “shrink government, cut taxes” message. Chuck Collins and the Program on Inequality and Common Good staff are looking for help to change the message. According to a new IPS report, Shifting Responsibility, for 50 years Congress has been cutting taxes for the very wealthy and global corporations. During the same period, the middle class has consistently paid the same share of their income in taxes.
You also may want to sign on to UFE’s Responsible Wealth’s Tax Fairness Pledge to call attention to the need to end the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy in 2010. So far, 75 wealthy individuals have taken the Pledge. They hope to reach 100 signers by tax day.
For some, even closer to home, there is a detailed report on Keeping Wealth Local, from Marjorie Kelly and the Tellus Institute prepared for the Ford Foundation’s Wealth Creation in Rural America project. The aim of this report is to look at the role of shared ownership models in keeping wealth local. It’s a handbook of various models of shared ownership, such as cooperatives, employee ownership, community land trusts, municipal ownership, conservation easements, and more — including definitions, strengths and weaknesses, many real-world examples, and where to go for sources of assistance.
On the global stage, IFG’s new report Safe Passage to Cancun – Getting a UN Climate Deal Back on Track summarizes the main messages from IFG’s recent public event in Washington DC, providing analysis and perspectives on the outcomes of Copenhagen.
A paper by John Gowdy, Behavioral Economics and Climate Change Policy , from RPI, suggests that the standard economic approach to climate change policy, with its almost exclusive emphasis on rational responses to monetary incentives, is seriously flawed. In fact, he asks if monetary incentives may actually be counter-productive.
Thanks to Betsy Taylor for sending the link to the Journal of Industrial Ecology (JIE), which dedicated an enire issue to sustainable consumption and production. Thanks also for the link to The Blueprint for European Sustainable Consumption and Production , a joint publication of the European Environmental Bureau and Sustainable Consumption Research Exchange, which provides rigorous and comprehensive insight into the life-cycle impacts of consumption on the environment.
Consumption can be complicated. In her recently published book, Green Gone Wrong, environmental writer Heather Rogers blasts through the marketing buzz of big corporations and asks a simple question: Do today’s much-touted “green” products-carbon offsets, organic food, biofuels, and eco-friendly cars and homes- really work?
NEN is proud to publish a first hand report from Noel Ortega and other young activists who took to the streets in Orlando, Florida to protest big banks lobbying against financial regulation. ”Yes, the event was amazing! — There was a lot of awesome energy at Trade Action Camp and we developed some fantastic next steps. Although we are currently writing-up the event highlights, and our next steps to circulate to our partners, there is one thing we would love to share with our partners imminently — a video of the direct action.”
In case you still need to be convinced that Wall Street needs stronger regulation, read Matt Taibbi’s Looting Main Street, in the Rolling Stone. It’s a stomach churning tale of the poisonous combination of high finance and corrupt local officials on the fiscal health of Birmingham, Alabama. It makes the carpet baggers look like Methodist ministers.
If you are mad as hell and don’t want to take it anymore after reading Matt’s horror story, you can click on either moveon.org or aarp (depending on your age) to sign a petition for stronger derivative regulation.
(Please note, NEN is a non-partisan organization and does not lobby for any legislation. NEN is sharing these sites to illustrate the demographic scope of organizations involved in this issue.)
In the silver lining department, there was more frustrating news from a federal appeals court which ruled that the FCC doesn’t have the authority to protect Internet users. This decision means that the agency can’t stop Comcast from blocking Web traffic, carry out the National Broadband Plan, or safeguard Net Neutrality. However, this was followed by an announcement from Luis Ubiñas, president of the Ford Foundation, challenging philanthropy to fight for an open Internet and universal access, as well as announcing Ford’s five year, 50 million dollar commitment to this work.
Speaking of 50 million dollar initiatives, the Institute for New Economic Thinking’s (INET) inaugural Conference at King’s College, Cambridge concluded on Sunday, April 11. Conversations focused on the Greek debt crisis, the current state of the Central Bank, and strategies for worldwide economic reform. You can go to their website and read all about it.