Author Archives: Jonathan Cloud

Global Climate Deal and the Missing Link

The climate deal fleshed out in Lima, Peru, is that all countries can set their own climate goals [1,2,3]. But will this be effective in preventing dangerous greenhouse gas emissions? Very unlikely, writes Delton Chen (Geo-Hydrologist, Civil Engineer):

delton

During the past 250 years of industrial and technological revolution, the primary catalyst for innovation and the fundamental driver of economic growth has been the availability of fossil fuels (i.e. coal, oil and gas). To avoid extremely dangerous climate change, the global economic system must be re-organised at a fundamental level, and the new order must include a social transformation that grows exponentially; otherwise the required mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will be too slow to avoid a climate catastrophe.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was put into effect in 1994, and civilisation officially acknowledged that it was ‘addicted’ to fossil fuels. The ultimate aim of the UNFCCC is to prevent “…dangerous human interference with the climate system”[4]. The recent UNFCCC’s meeting in Lima, Peru, provides the latest update on civilisation’s de-carbonisation program, but the results of the Lima meeting signify global action will be further delayed given that nations are only obliged to make voluntary commitments. 

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What Anyone Can Do

“In 1929 I began to consider what the little individual could do on behalf of his fellow man that government and corporations could not do. It became evident that the individual was the only one that could deliberately find the time to think in a cosmically adequate manner. Each human has his lifetime to invest. If he commits to operations in cosmic integrities he will find himself participating in nature’s own formulations and will realize the potentials of her various freedoms and choices, to be employed to the advantage of all human beings to come, in order that humans may fulfill their cosmic functioning on board of our planet.”

—R. Buckminster Fuller

Certainly Buckminster Fuller was no “ordinary individual,” as he liked to think of himself, but he did not consider any other humans as potentially less capable than himself. Each of us has our unique contribution to make, which is taking the next step for ourselves. Such a step is never arbitrary, in that it occurs inside of a given set of circumstances, and is given to us by the totality of our unique life experiences and understandings. But it is also voluntarily chosen. It is possible to seek one’s calling, to discover one’s inner purpose, but ultimately we also have to choose it.

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PACE Legislation Moving Forward in New Jersey

The latest version of A2579 — amending legislation to the PACE statute approved in 2012, which has proved unworkable — has been passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, and is now headed to the floor for a vote. An identical version is being shepherded through the NJ Senate by its passionate sponsor, Senator Bob Smith (D-Middlesex), with the full concurrence of its Republican Co-Sponsor, Senator Kip Bateman (R-Somerville).

Here is a portion of the “Statement” accompanying the release of the bill:

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A Global Call to Share the World’s Resources

Kosmos, a “Journal for Global Transformation,” recently published A ‘global call’ from our friends at Share the World’s Resources (STWR), which is in turn taken from Sharing.org (which offers its material under a Creative Commons License, as we’ve begun to do with our materials on The Contribution Economy).

The lead-in to their article expresses as well as anything I’ve seen recently the current problematique, the central challenge and response of our age:

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Global 4C Proposal Wins in MIT Competition

CRCS-MIT-CoLab-Award-2014A proposal authored by Dr. Delton Chen, and sponsored by CRCS, has won in the 2014 MIT Climate CoLab Competition. The Global 4C proposal was not the winner of the final prize, but it was a winner and very well received and recognized at the conference.

The conference itself — or at least the part we were present for — was itself quite fascinating, and remarkable for the variety of entries, the keynotes, and of course the conversations in the halls. We were unfortunately detained in New Jersey for a crucial meeting on Thursday morning (which turned out well, advancing the cause of PACE financing in New Jersey), and then set off for Boston in drenching rain, poor visibility, and at least four major accidents along the way. Harrowing. We finally made it around 3:45 to the venue, and got to the breakout room for your presentation just as you were answering the last question.

People felt the proposal was serious and well thought-through, and were happy to speak with us about it. The videos, and above all the new radio interview, linked below, have made the idea very clear and accessible, so we no longer have to spend much time clearing up misconceptions.
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Notes on the Contribution Economy

Without really giving it too much thought, I’ve been calling the economic philosophy that we’ve been working on “the Contribution Economy.” The idea is simple, perhaps even simplistic: since people get the greatest satisfaction from “making their contribution,” why shouldn’t we have an economy based on their doing so? If everyone got to make their highest contribution, and felt they were doing so effectively, wouldn’t we have a more successful economy, i.e., one that satisfied more people?

Compensating people for what they contribute seems both the fairest approach, and a way to incentive what we want most, which is to encourage people to make their highest contribution to society overall. Of course, there’s a certain minimum that everyone requires to live (which many people currently fail to receive), and this ought to be considered their reward for simply “showing up.”

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Why We’re Asking

JCloudStorerSmAsking for money is one of the more challenging things that every charity has to do. The first question we need to answer, however, is “Why are we asking?” If we don’t have a clear and compelling answer, we’re handicapping ourselves from the start.

So here’s why.

  • It’s to give people the opportunity to contribute to the world they believe in.
  • It’s to give us the ability to keep working on creating a world that works, by providing “regenerative community solutions,” i.e., practical ways of restoring and building communities that last and become self-reinforcing and self-sustaining.
  • Ultimately, it’s to empower the world of generosity, the you-and-me world, rather than the you-or-me world.

In The Soul of Money, Lynne Twist, who has raised more than $150 million in individual contributions, tells the story of her own first monetary contribution:
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NJPACE: A Homegrown Success Story?

We’re committed to a future that has New Jersey PACE as a local success story in the making. Working back from this future, what will this look like, and what will it mean for New Jersey?

Let’s imagine what New Jersey might look like in ten years with PACE. Continue reading