Category Archives: Sustainability

New Directions for 2017

CRCS will be moving in several new directions this year, which we think will be of interest to a wider audience than just those of us interested in financing clean energy. We’ve been focusing more on communities in the past year, and on the values and vision that led to our mission, to assist local communities and neighborhoods to become more resilient in the face of the widening impacts of a changing climate.

We are proposing to work with one or two towns in New Jersey on their revitalization and self-renewal. Culture actually holds the key to greater local resilience, alongside the physical transformation of communities into eco-communities. And organization is what’s needed to transform culture. We are planning to create “civic cooperatives” that will lead these communities into a positive self-generating future. Many communities are today experiencing decline, or struggling to ignite a self-renewal, within the broader context of the need for a world for a world that shifts carbon from the atmosphere back into the soil. The cooperative model has proven itself to be more enduring, more beneficial, and often more valuable to communities than the conventional marketplace business model.

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Global4C Paper Featured at 2015 Earth Systems Governance Conference in Canberra

A paper entitled “Global 4C: World Monetary Union for Climate Change Mitigation,” by Delton B. Chen, Jonathan Cloud, Joel van der Beek, has been posted to the site of the 2015 Earth Systems Governance in Canberra, Australia, December 14-16. Focusing on the potential for using an innovative method of financing carbon mitigation and sequestration, the paper examines the basis for addressing economically the multiple challenges facing the planet, and the underlying causes of the failure of markets to incorporate the “externalities” that are now beginning to harm all of us.

As the paper notes at the outset,

“The future viability of our civilization is in serious doubt because of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) [3][5][6], chronic degradation of ecosystems [9][30][45], and risk of nuclear war [64]. These harms and risks are related to unchecked economic growth, fossil fuel usage, resource consumption, and militarization. Civilization is evidently in need of systemic change to avoid collapse and to build restorative networks [50][52].”

The paper offers a more complete economic framework for environmental management, and a new public policy for climate mitigation that has not yet been considered under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and was not discussed at COP21 in Paris. The paper offers a roadmap to strong decarbonization of the global economy, even when orthodox policies are unable to deliver due to political delay.

The ESG conference, subtitled ‘Democracy and Resilience in the Anthropocene,’ is the 6th in a series of conferences on Earth Systems Governance, aimed at fostering “a better understanding of the vital questions of legitimacy, accountability, transparency, and democracy” in finding a way to be responsible for the vitality of a living planet. Previous conferences have been held in Amsterdam (2009), Fort Collins (2011), Lund (2012), Tokyo (2013) and Norwich (2014).

You can download the conference program here: ESG_Canberra_Program_Final_Web.

The Global4C proposal, for which CRCS serves as policy host, will be featured as part of a panel on “Green Economies, Consumption & Growth.”

NJ PACE 2015 Summit to Focus on What’s Possible for New Jersey

The theme of this year’s New Jersey PACE Summit is “PACE: what’s possible for New Jersey?” The subtitle gives part of the answer: “Resiliency • Clean Energy • Jobs”— these are the major elements of the story, that will be explored at the conference. And there’s more to it as well — PACE can provide regenerative community benefits, support new technologies, and foster new approaches to the global challenges of our times.

PACE, which stands for “Property Assessed Clean Energy,” is redefined in NJ’s new amending legislation to include “the purchase, lease, or installation, or any combination thereof, of renewable energy systems or the energy produced by such systems, energy efficiency improvements, water conservation projects, flood resistant construction projects, hurricane resistant construction projects, storm shelter projects, or safe room projects, undertaken by property owners on properties within a municipality.”

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NY Times Feature on Cohousing

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Steve Welzer, EcovillageNJ.org

There is a featured article today on the editorial page of the New York Times about how cohousing might be a desirable option for single people. It ends, though, by saying: “. . . homes that combine privacy with community and sociability . . . that combination sounds pretty attractive for anybody . . .”

The article should have mentioned that there is no such option, yet, in the whole New York metropolitan area! That’s why we’re confident that, if we can get our ecovillage built, there will be considerable demand to purchase units and become part of such a unique community.

Here are excerpts from the New York Times article:

While many single people are quite happy to live alone, it’s not always easy. When Kate Bolick first lived in her own apartment, she said, “it felt unbelievably exciting to be simply living by myself and master of my own domain. But then maybe at around the seven-year mark it started to feel kind of repetitive and lonely.”

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NJ Appleseed: Embedding Sustainable Development & Land Use into Public Policy – March 23, 2015

CRCS and New Jersey PACE Executive Director Jonathan Cloud will be one of the speakers at the NJ Appleseed event on “Embedding Sustainable Development & Land Use into Public Policy” on March 23 at Seton Hall Law School in Newark, NJ. The day-long event, featuring Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop along with a line-up of other prominent speakers, will address a variety of timely issues related to sustainable development in New Jersey:

Development in New Jersey is a hot-button issue, with strong feelings on both sides. Some believe it is out of control, and cite strip malls springing up almost overnight, and mass numbers of townhomes covering the once-pristine suburban hillsides. Others argue that development brings jobs and other tangible benefits, and is key to the State’s economic future. Like it or not, development in New Jersey is here to stay. But can development be a force for good? Can we lessen the environmental impact, or better yet, reinforce overall sustainability and resiliency in New Jersey communities, create more affordable homes for our citizens, and stabilize neighborhoods? At this New Jersey Appleseed Public Policy Forum we will explore efficient and ethical land use policies, discuss private sector concerns and ways to address opposition, focus on how implementing ‘green’ can impact the bottom line, look at the ways that affordable housing can help create sustainable, safe, and strong communities, and examine strategies to reduce risk from new policies, among other important issues.

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“Being the Change” in 2015

JCloudStorerSm 2What we’re doing fits within the framework of “whole systems development.” It is made possible by the new levels of human coordination and communication in the digital age — what some people have called the emergence of “the global brain” — and by the possibility of pragmatic and sustainable solutions to human problems.

We are, in our own way, an expression of the most significant event so far in the course of human history, where we graduate to a new level of integrity, responsibility, and interrelationship with ourselves, with other species, and with the universe as a whole. If we’re aware of it, if it’s happening here, it’s likely also happening in many other places and contexts on the Earth. But it’s significant either way: whether we’re leading or joining the parade does not matter as much as the fact of our participation and our stand.

We have a number of ideas that we want to contribute to society, and we want that contribution to be recognized and rewarded in a way that’s proportionate to the value that’s created, so we’ve come up with the idea of a Contribution Economy. This economy would be fueled by an alternative global currency, Commons Credits (CC), awarded according to rules established and continuously updated by a collaborative of the best minds of our era.

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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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