Is the Local Economy the Solution to a Post-Capitalist World?

localismIn his new book, The Local Economy Solution: How Innovative Self-Financing “Pollinator” Enterprises Can Grow Jobs and Prosperity (Chelsea Green, June 2015), Shuman debunks many of the myths around economic development—that tax breaks for wealthy corporations are beneficial for all, that only big businesses create jobs, that consumers only care about price, and that social enterprises can’t be self-financing.

Shuman, who has been a leader in the local economy movement for more than two decades, proposes low-cost pollinator businesses to stimulate the local economy through small business development. He defines a pollinator as a self-financing business with a mission of supporting other local businesses.

Pollinators lead to more dollars spent within that community, and often favor a triple bottom line approach that makes a connection between the three Ps: people, planet and profits.

Continue reading here.



Climate change having affect on coastal infrastructure

Climate change can have especially detrimental affects for coastal communities such as coastal erosion, saltwater inundation, and flooding affecting coastal infrastructure.

This is especially a problem for wastewater treatment, as some communities found out after Hurricane Sandy:

“The danger is that stormwater could inundate the [treatment] plants, damage electrical systems and other vital controls and result in raw or partially treated sewage being released into streams, rivers and Long Island Sound. That’s exactly what happened in 2012 during Storm Sandy, when about 24.3 million gallons of sewage overflowed from Connecticut wastewater systems, according to some estimates.”

Click here to read the article. 

ACT is currently doing work on the coastal risks of climate change, specifically focusing on effects on freshwater which includes wastewater treatment facilities. Our past work on water governance and sea level rise provide more background about coastal risks.


30 Year Old Trial Finds Organic Farming Outperforms Conventional Agriculture

organic vs conventional


Is organic farming more resilient, higher yielding, more energy efficient and more profitable? The Rodale Institute’s latest report of a 30 year trial says it is. Read the full report free here.

To learn more about climate adaptation, biodiversity, crops and food supply, see the following ACT reports:

Biodiversity Reports

Crops & Food Supply



Today is Earth Overshoot Day – In less than 8 Months, Humanity has exhausted Earth’s budget for the year

In less than 8 Months, Humanity exhausts Earth’s budget for the year.

Earth Overshoot Day 2015 is today, August 13. Please see the new website for Earth Overshoot Day at www.overshootday.org.

Screenshot 2015-08-13 16.02.33

Global Footprint Network

Below is information from Earth Overshoot Day 2014:

August 19 is Earth Overshoot Day 2014, marking the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year. For the rest of the year, we will maintain our ecological deficit by drawing down local resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We will be operating in overshoot.

Just as a bank statement tracks income against expenditures, Global Footprint Network measures humanity’s demand for and supply of natural resources and ecological services. And the data is sobering. Global Footprint Network estimates that approximately every eight months, we demand more renewable resources and C02 sequestration than what the planet can provide for an entire year.

Click here to learn more about Earth Overshoot Day, and how it has changed over time.

Click here for an economics-focused press release on 2014 Earth Overshoot Day.

Click here for media coverage of Earth Overshoot Day 2014.

Earth Overshoot Day is the annual marker of when we begin living beyond our means in a given year. While only a rough estimate of time and resource trends, Earth Overshoot Day is as close as science can be to measuring the gap between our demand for ecological resources and services, and how much the planet can provide.

For more information and/or to calculate your own Ecological Footprint, go to the Global Footprint Network.


Read the 2014 press release in your language:







Job Opportunity: Communications Lead with Pembina Institute

The Pembina Institute is hiring for a Communications Lead, based in Vancouver.

The communications lead reports to the B.C. regional director and will be integrated into the cross-organizational communications team. The successful candidate will be responsible for helping to shape the communications strategy and providing communications support for Pembina’s work on a variety of climate and energy issues currently facing B.C.

Check out the full job posting and application instructions here.


Is climate change causing pre-traumatic stress disorder in millenials?


Source: In These Times
Janez Volmajer / Shutterstock

What’s it like to come of age in the extinction age?

This article delves into recent research showing that millenials are very concerned about climate change. Unlike their parents who grew up under the Cold War threat, this generation faces a different fear: that of inaction. What are today’s youth doing to combat this lack of response to the very real and growing threats posed by climate change? Read the article here and learn more.


The Problem with Saving the World

oil plantations

Land cleared for palm oil plantations in Tasmania. Mattias Klum

The United Nations’ new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are about to replace the previous Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), are getting a lot of hate these days.The real problem is that the SDGs are profoundly contradictory, to the point of being self-defeating.

On the one hand, the preamble affirms that “planet Earth and its ecosystems are our home” and underscores the necessity of achieving “harmony with nature.” It establishes a commitment to hold global warming below a 2° Celsius increase, and calls for “sustainable patterns of production and consumption.” The goals include the restoration of water-related ecosystems, a halt to the loss of biodiversity, and an end to overfishing, deforestation, and desertification.

Yet despite this growing realization, the core of the SDG program for development and poverty reduction relies precisely on the old model of industrial growth — ever-increasing levels of extraction, production, and consumption.

This is the mortal flaw at the heart of the SDGs. How can they be calling for both less and more at the same time?

Continue reading here.



Hanging Underneath A Bridge Is A Great Place To Put Wind Turbines



One problem with wind power is that it’s expensive to build and hard to find the space. Problem solved.

Viaducts—the technical term for arch-supported bridges—are already impressive swoops of engineering prowess. But this kind of infrastructure is about to get even more amazing, as giant spinning turbines are hung from the spans.

The Juncal Viaduct in the Canary Islands is serving as a model for the project, completed by researchers from Kingston University in London. The scientists’ calculations show that installing turbines between its tall legs would produce enough power for 450 to 500 homes, or around half a megawatt. “This kind of installation would avoid the emission of 140 tons of CO2 per year, an amount that represents the depuration effect of about 7,200 trees,” Oscar Soto, a researcher on the project, told the Spanish-language SINC.

Continue reading here.


We’re building a movement to stop Nestlé from draining public lands dry in California and worldwide

Global Industry Outlook: Health, Consumers, Tech and Travel: Bulcke

Copyright by World Economic Forum swiss-image.ch/Photo by Michael Wuertenberg

California is experiencing its most severe drought in recorded history. Lakes and rivers are drying up, cities are instituting water rationing, and no relief is in sight.

California citizens are facing mandatory water restrictions, but Nestlé Waters’ bottling plants are operating at full volume. In fact, Nestle’s response to public outcry for water conservation has been anything but concerned. Recently, a reporter asked Nestle Waters North American CEO Tim Brown if he’d move Nestle’s operations out of California during the drought. His response? “Absolutely not. In fact, if I could increase it, I would.

In a period where the state is drying up, California can hardly afford to waste water. It’s time to let Nestle’s CEO know that his refusal to conserve water is unacceptable.

Continue reading here and tell Nestlé to stop bottling water from our public lands today!


To learn more about climate adaptation, biodiversity, crops and food supply, see the following ACT reports:

Biodiversity Reports

Crops & Food Supply






Deadly floods leave trail of destruction across southern Asia


Men try to shift a log from a roof in Kale township, Sagaing, Burma. Four areas of the country have been declared disaster zones. Photograph: Lynn Bo Bo/EPHeavy monsoon rains have continued to lash much of southern Asia, threatening further casualties and more destruction after a week of lethal floods and landslides.

Heavy monsoon rains have continued to lash much of southern Asia, threatening further casualties and more destruction after a week of lethal floods and landslides.

More than 100 people have died and up to 1 million fled their homes as land from Pakistan to Burma was deluged.

Read the full article here.


In Canada, we face similar problems. Over 7 million Canadians live in coastal communities*. ACT’s work on sea level rise has primarily been with the Coastal Cities at Risk (CCaR) project, a 5-year multinational research project to document these increased risks facing coastal cities. Learn more about our work with CCar here.


Canada’s tar sands landscape from the air – in pictures


A new book of aerial photographs, Beautiful Destruction, captures the awesome scale and devastating impact of Alberta’s oil sands with stunning colours, contrasts and patterns. The book also includes 15 essays by prominent individuals from environment and industry, sharing their insights, ideas and opinions. Photographs by Louis Helbig.


In hot water: Columbia’s sockeye salmon face mass die-off

salmonThe devastation to the local sockeye salmon population is just one of climate change‘s effects on wildlife and will “likely” reoccur intermittently over the next decade, James J. Anderson, a University of Washington fisheries scientist whose research focuses on the fish of the Columbia basin, told Al Jazeera.

“The larger problem is that the climate is changing faster than our ability to comprehend the magnitude of the problem,” he said. “Warmer rivers and salmon die-offs can be added to the many events that individually may be random, but which together reveal a rapidly changing world.”

Read more here.


To learn more about climate adaptation, biodiversity, crops and food supply, see the following ACT reports:

Biodiversity Reports

Crops & Food Supply


Job Opportunity with World Resources Institute

The World Resources Institute (WRI) is hiring an Adaptation Policy Research Analyst based out of Washington, DC.

The Research Analyst will assist with analysis related to climate change adaptation and the United Nations global climate change negotiations. This position also involves work on adaptation planning and policy in developing countries.

Read the full job posting here, and please share with your networks!


Climate Change ‘Triple Threat’ Increases Risk for Coastal Cities


Justin Lane/EPA
Source: The Guardian

Many US cities are at increased risk of climate change due to being located along the coast.

New research published in the journal Nature Climate Change lays out why coastal places are at increased risk. The combination of sea level rise, increased precipitation, and storm surge will cause larger and more detrimental effects for cities like New York, San Francisco, and Boston. Since 40% of the US population lives in coastal cities, this poses numerous problems for the economy, infrastructure, and human safety in addition to the environmental damage.

Read the full article here.

Here in Canada, we face the same problem. Over 7 million Canadians live in coastal communities*. ACT’s work on sea level rise has primarily been with the Coastal Cities at Risk (CCaR) project, a 5-year multinational research project to document these increased risks facing coastal cities. Learn more about our work with CCar here.


*Source: Government of Canada


New Grant Funding From Real Estate Foundation of BC

We are very grateful that the Real Estate Foundation of BC has approved another major grant for our work!

REFbc Logo PMS








This funding will allow us to continue our work on water governance, as well as on the intersection between food, energy, water, and biodiversity in a changing climate. The Real Estate Foundation of BC has provided us with funding in the past and we are excited that they continue to support our work.

Our previous work on water governance includes numerous reports and briefing papers, which you can check out here. You can also read more about our work on biodiversity, energy, and food. We are looking forward to doing more work connecting these areas and further exploring the effects of climate change.

Thank you to the Real Estate Foundation of BC!

Read about all the great projects they’ve funded here. 


Prehistoric trees may help a B.C. forest fight climate change

BCTreesAdaptThe trees are dying.

As California enters its fourth year of drought, the American state has lost over 12 million trees to the ongoing dry conditions. Another million trees are expected to die this summer.

It’s not as dire yet in British Columbia, where the province is only in the first year of a drought. But already signs of heat stress to some of the trees are unmistakable.

While drought-resistant plantings might offer one solution, an ecological artist and writer is offering another: deliberately moving species from further south to the north.

Continue reading here.


To learn more about climate adaptation, biodiversity, crops and food supply, see the following ACT reports:

Biodiversity Reports

Crops & Food Supply


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