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green economy: 1/25 of 72
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Destruction driven by the 20% VAT penalty on property refurbishment? Demolition of Wychwood House on the Woodberry Down Estate, London in June 2007. Photo:  Sarflondondunc via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Use VAT to reward 'green' refurbishment - not demolition

Duncan Baker-Brown

19th March 2015

Another budget, another missed opportunity: the VAT system charges the full 20% on home upgrades, but 'zero-rates' developers who demolish and rebuild, writes Duncan Baker-Brown. Instead we should target VAT to reward those who meet 'green' criteria for energy efficiency and sustainability. Chancellors in waiting, listen up! more...
Capital by Thomas Pinketty, front cover (edited).

What Piketty missed - the ecological limits to growth

Rupert Read

18th March 2015

Piketty's 'Capital in the 21st Century' has taken the intellectual world by storm, writes Rupert Read. His analysis of wealth inequality is timely and powerful, but there's one crucial thing he hasn't 'got': that growth must run up against ecological limits - indeed it already has. more...
Greenpeace Energy, Germany's largest energy co-op, installing 21,132 photovoltaic modules with a peak power output of 3,800 kW on the 80,000 square roof of Stuttgart Exhibition Planet Energy. Photo: © Dirk Wilhelmy / Greenpeace Energy eG.

Green power! Civic energy could provide half our electricity by 2050

Stephen Hall

6th March 2015

With the Green Party's spring conference kicking off today, Stephen Hall presents a vision of a future energy system for the UK that embodies 'green' in its technology, politics and economics: low-carbon, networked, locally accountable and cooperative. Big Six, move over! more...
The Westmill renewable energy cooperative in Oxfordshire - a new model for the UK's energy future? Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

With corporate energy, we're stuck in the dark ages - let's switch to public ownership

Calum McGregor

23rd March 2015

Britain's corporate energy oligarchy has failed us, writes Calum McGregor. It's given us widespread fuel poverty, unfair tariffs, constant price hikes, billions siphoned off to shareholders, and chronic under-investment in renewables. Now is the time for a new model: public and co-operative ownership of energy infrastructure under participative democratic control. more...
Without money, would we all be rich? Maybe not. But prosperity for all will require us to develop a radically different relationship with money! Photo:  Toban B. via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Prosperity without growth: 10 policy proposals for the new left

Giorgos Kallis & Research & Degrowth

28th February 2015

Modern economies depend on growth, writes Giorgos Kallis: the moment it stops, we all get poorer, government tax revenues decline and unemployment rises. So is it possible to have prosperity without growth? Yes it is - and here's how ... more...
Lands, skies, waters, all the common heritage of humankind, all of us to share in Earth's bounty. Photo: Channory Point, North West Scotland, by Kristian Dela Cour (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Reclaiming our birthright: paychecks from Earth and Sky

Peter Barnes

24th February 2015

Alaska has put in place a 'citizen's income' paid to every resident by right - their dividend from the state's oil and gas wealth. The principle should be applied everywhere, writes Peter Barnes, compensating us for the enclosure and exploitation of the global commons, our shared inheritance of land, water and sky. more...
Family cycling in Richmond, Indiana. Photo: Mark Stosberg via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Boost health, well-being and prosperity - not economic growth!

Jules Pretty

21st February 2015

The financial cost of the diseases of modern civilization is almost double the budget of the National Health Service, writes Jules Pretty, while the economy has grown past the point of greatest satisfaction. Our over-riding priority should be to move to greener, healthier, more sustainable and satisfying ways of life. more...
Spin Cycle Cafe & Laundromat, Newington, CT, USA. Photo: Brian Cook via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Recycling is not enough! Sharing is the way to achieve a circular economy

Mariale Moreno

13th March 20-14

How can we reduce our ever increasing throughput of raw materials? By breaking out the the 'iron cage of consumerism', writes Mariale Moreno: make things to last - whether clothes, houses, cars, or washing machines. Join a car club. Share domestic appliances with neighbors. And bring back the laundromat! more...
To help artisanal miners stop poisoning themselves and the environment around them with mercury, only ever buy Fairtrade stamped gold jewellery. Photo: Fairgold.org.

Fairtrade Gold - helping miners take the mercury out of gold jewellery

Greg Valerio

12th November 2014

The unregulated 'artisanal' gold mining sector is a massive source of mercury pollution and other environmental damage, writes Greg Valerio. But now the Fairtrade Gold initiative is helping miners to reform their practices with equipment, training and a hefty gold price premium. All it needs now is for consumers to demand Fairtrade Gold in all their jewellery purchases. more...
Hunter Lovins. Photo: Joi Ito via Flickr.

Wild horses, Hunter Lovins, and the way to a better world

Sophie Morlin-Yron

10th September 2014

Hunter Lovins is on a mission, writes Sophie Morlin-Yron: to put the transformational technologies we already have to work for the benefit of people and business - and to re-create the economy so it's no longer a machine for polluting the planet and devouring natural resources, but a mechanism for building and sustaining natural and human capital. more...
Westmill Solar Park, Oxfordshire, is the world's largest community owned solar installation. Rated at 5MW, it covers 30 acres. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr.

Green energy co-ops blocked by UK financial regulator

Adam Vaughan / Guardian Environment

15th August 2014

The FCA is accused of undermining official policy by refusing new applications for community energy projects with a co-operative structure, writes Adam Vaughan. The key question: what is a bona fide co-op? Is investment alone a valid form of participation? more...
With batteries and a local microgrid, this PV-powered house near Boston, Massachusetts, could eliminate its dependence on grid-supplied power. Photo: Gray Watson (256.com/solar) / Wikimedia Commons.

For the next energy revolution, we must deregulate power grids

Bill Watkins

14th August 2014

How do we spur more microgrids powered by renewable energy? Deregulate, writes Bill Watkins, ending the monopolies enjoyed by centralized energy companies. The alternative is to keep consumers and micro-generators stuck with the energy equivalent of the 'Princess' phone. more...

green economy: 1/25 of 72
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Women at Isatou Ceesay's workshop for upcycled products. Photo: author supplied.

Gambia - recycling for women's wealth and independence

Louise Hunt

13th August 2014

Plastic waste, often burning, is a constant companion in Gambia, a poor country where few enjoy formal rubbish collection, writes Louise Hunt. Now a pioneering project to upcycle waste plastic is beginning to tackle the problem - and in the process enhancing women's social and economic status. more...
A solar-powered thatch hut. Photo: Ashden.

Reaping the benefits of community energy

Emily Haves

31st July 2014

Donors, NGOs and investors want to help grassroots sustainable energy enterprises grow, so they can bring the myriad benefits of clean and affordable energy to many more people, writes Emily Haves. But just what kind of support is needed? more...
Westmill Solar Park, Oxfordshire, is the world's largest community owned solar installation. Rated at 5MW, it covers 30 acres. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr.

Will the carbon bubble burst your pension?

Rebecca O'Connor

8th August 2014

What's the biggest threat to your life savings you've never heard of? Rebecca O'Connor shows how the world's exposure to unburnable carbon assets, and competition from clean energy technologies, could hammer your savings, pensions and investments. more...
Bread, peace and work! A 'speaking wall' in Marinaleda. Photo: Comisión de Audiovisuales Acampada Zaragoza via Flickr.

Catch your dreams - utopia is possible!

Liam Barrington-Bush & Jen Wilton

26th July 2014

Amid Spain's general depression, Marinaleda - an Andalucian town sometimes dubbed the 'communist utopia' - is bucking the moribund trend with a heady mixture of direct action, community-level democracy, cooperation and mutual aid. more...
Local currencies, like these Totnes and Stroud 'pounds' are intended to stimulate local economic resilience and keep benefits within communities. But is there a better way to achieve the same ends, everywhere? Photo: London Permaculture via Flickr.

Closing the money loop to build resilient local economies

Bran Knowles & Michael Hallam

21st July 2014

Using local currencies to stimulate local economies and revalue local labour over imported products and resources sounds like a great idea - but recent experiences have proved disappointing. Are there other ways to 'close the money loop'? more...
Luke Marion, installer Chris Jardine and Barbara Hammond connect the 140kW scheme's last panel, completing Oxford's biggest solar installation.

Pioneering community renewables in Oxford

Wendy Twist

11th July 2014

A partnership between an Oxford-based social enterprise and the local Council provides a blueprint for financing community energy projects, writes Wendy Twist. And with £2.3 million in the bank, things are really starting to move ... more...
A young demonstrator in Oxford yesterday calling on the University to divest from fossil fuels. Photo: Zoe Broughton.

Oxford University 'must divest from fossil fuels'

The Ecologist

1st June 2014

59 University of Oxford academics have signed an open letter urging the University to 'take action on climate change' by ridding its £3.8bn endowment of investments in fossil fuel companies, as hundreds march to demand change. more...
From derelict fishing gear to carpet. Photo: USFWS Puget Sound Coastal Program / Joan Drinkwin via Flickr.

Carpet giant Interface goes for 'sustainability gold'

Sophie Morlin-Yron

27th May 2014

Interface's sustainability model shows how large industrial companies can slash their carbon emissions and other environmental impacts without compromising profitability, reports Sophie Morlin-Yron. The key is to aim high! more...
Brighton Beach, August 2013. Photo:  Beverley Goodwin via Flickr.

Brighton & Hove: the future is Green

Rob Shepherd

21st May 2014

Under its minority Green administration, Brighton & Hove is an exemplar of progressive politics that is realising huge social, economic and environmental gains, writes Rob Shepherd. Maybe that's why political opponents are so desperate to brand it a failure ... more...
Money is much funnier stuff than you ever imagined. Photo: Doug Wheller via Flickr.

Making money - the state must reclaim its sovereign rights

Charlotte Jackson

22nd May 2014

Where does money comes from? In the 97% of the money we use is created by commercial banks out of thin air, as they advance credit. Charlotte Jackson argues that this system costs us all dear - as citizens, debtors, taxpayers, and as victims of economic instability more...
Toyota Solar Panel Array at its vehicle plant in Derbyshire, where Auris Hybrid, Auris and Avensis cars are built. Photo: Toyota UK via Flickr.

Government reforms will 'probably kill stand-alone solar PV in the UK'

Chris Goodall

17th May 2014

By publishing its 'reform' proposals for the support of large scale solar PV in two separate documents on the same day, the Government managed to conceal its true intent from the industry, writes Chris Goodall. The truth is much worse than anyone realised. more...
A detail from 'Paradise':

Let's build a post-growth economy that works for the 99%

Rupert Read

16th May 2014

Most of Europe is in a state of low economic growth, and it's likely to go on for a long time yet. So let's get good at it, writes Rupert Read, and build 'post-growth' economic systems that work for people and the environment - not just plutocrats. more...
Children of Swaziland. Poor for sure - but to all appearances, very happy. Photo:  Crawford Learmonth via Flickr.

Riches won't make you happy, but a greener economy might

Jules Pretty

30th May 2014

In the industrial era, economic growth has become equated with human progress, writes Jules Pretty, with a fundamental assumption that material growth and consumption inevitably leads to improvements in our well-being. Now think again ... more...

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