Author Archive

Future energy availability: ‘net energy’ and the Energy Internal Rate of Return

Jun 22, 2011 Comments Off on Future energy availability: ‘net energy’ and the Energy Internal Rate of Return
This week we are publishing two articles from Fleeing Vesuvius which focus on energy supply and use. Chris Vernon's paper explains why, although there is a lot of oil still left in the ground, its supply will contract very rapidly indeed and the world may have run out of oil to burn for energy by 2050. Tom Konrad argues that if a standard assessment tool, the internal rate of return, is used to compare the net energy yield of various projects, it shows which to prioritise for the energy transition.
Read more

Can we change the world in the kitchen?: Review

Jun 18, 2011 1 Comment
In this review of the book Depletion and Abundance by Sharon Astyk, Dennis Lum outlines Asytk's suggestions for adjustment to a post-peak-oil future by means of re-valuing the informal economy, particularly those parts of it that are traditionally seen as women's work, together with locally-based industry and the cultivation of plants. He concludes that it is "a wise and thoughtful book filled with optimism and passion for a future that is anchored in realism if only we would embrace it".
Read more

Proximity 2.0: Cutting transport costs and emissions through local integration

Jun 16, 2011 Comments Off on Proximity 2.0: Cutting transport costs and emissions through local integration
In this chapter from Fleeing Vesuvius, Emer O'Siochru describes how different activities should be situated beside each other to be more energy and carbon efficient. This flies in the face of current development planning which tends to focus on bringing similar activities closer together to reap the benefits of scale and agglomeration.
Read more

Networking for Resilience

Jun 15, 2011 1 Comment
A series of discussions exploring how best to pool resources and work collaboratively so as to maintain and develop strong, flexible communities able to withstand environmental and economic change. Part of the 16th Convergence festival, organised by Feasta and Transition Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Read more

Cultivating hope and managing despair

Jun 08, 2011 Comments Off on Cultivating hope and managing despair
from Fleeing Vesuvius. Psychologist John Sharry describes how societies are struggling to come to terms with the nature and extent of the changes facing them both now and in the future. Modern psychological models of motivation and change, and of how people deal with threat and loss, suggest strategies that can be used to help individuals change and to galvanise communities into collective action.
Read more

ODAC newsletter – 3 June 2011

Jun 04, 2011 Comments Off on ODAC newsletter – 3 June 2011

This week’s newsletter discusses the current all-time high in emissions levels and Oxfam’s report on an impending international food crisis, among other topics.

Read more

Why Pittsburgh real estate never crashes: the tax reform that stabilised a city’s economy

Jun 02, 2011 Comments Off on Why Pittsburgh real estate never crashes: the tax reform that stabilised a city’s economy
by Dan Sullivan, from Fleeing Vesuvius. Pittsburgh and Cleveland have adopted diametrically opposed strategies, with dramatically different results. In Pittsburgh, foreclosure rates are low despite the downturn, home prices are climbing slightly and construction rates are increasing. Cleveland, meanwhile, is struggling to stem a complete collapse of its housing market. The difference lies in the fact that Pittsburgh has had a site-value tax, which steadies the market, and Cleveland has not.
Read more

An Introduction to Alternative Trading Systems – 27th June

Jun 01, 2011 Comments Off on An Introduction to Alternative Trading Systems – 27th June
Green Works will host Cork Community Forum, FEASTA the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability, Future Orchards, a Cork community-supported agriculture project and Skillstore, an initiative to set up a community-based Timebank in Farranferris College. All of these talks will explore the potential for community currencies to strengthen the local economy and the resilience of our communities.
Read more

Can unpaid co-operation produce better products than the profit motive?

May 30, 2011 1 Comment
Wikipedia and the Linux computer operating system were both created by unpaid volunteers using the internet, and both are out-competing their commercially-produced rivals, such as the Encyclopaedia Brtiannica and Microsoft. Are they examples of a new type of economy which has a lot further to go? Michel Bauwens, the founder of the Peer-to-Peer Foundation (P2P) believes so.
Read more

Nobel prize for economics awarded to Mountebank

May 29, 2011 Comments Off on Nobel prize for economics awarded to Mountebank

Some biting satire at Too close to the truth to be funny, though. …

Read more

The nutritional resilience approach to food security

May 25, 2011 Comments Off on The nutritional resilience approach to food security
by Bruce Darrell, from Fleeing Vesuvius. This paper describes practices for ensuring that we can continue to feed ourselves adequately in the future, with a focus on the need to ensure that the soil contains an optimal mix of nutrients. Very few soils have a perfect balance of minerals. As a result, their fertility is limited and the crops grown on them cannot provide all the nutrients people need. As people can get food from elsewhere at present, these local deficiencies do not matter too much. But this situation is likely to change.
Read more

Can the world economy phase out fossil fuels by 2050 and still grow?

May 23, 2011 1 Comment
At the beginning of February, WWF – the World Wide Fund for Nature – issued a major study, The Energy Report, which claimed that a rising global demand for energy services could be met by a combination of greater efficiency and the rapid development of renewable energy sources so that fossil fuel use could be almost entirely phased out by 2050. Australian writer and university lecturer Ted Trainer, who has been analysing the ability of renewable energy sources to meet future needs for at least the past decade, gives his verdict on the study.
Read more

The costs and benefits of moving out of beef and into biofuel

May 20, 2011 1 Comment
Most beef farmers in Ireland are losing money. In view of this, some policymakers and commentators think that it would be in the national interest to encourage a lot of them to give up their loss-making hobby and to switch to growing biofuels instead. The Carbon Cycles and Sinks Network is preparing a report which explores this idea and draws some unexpected conclusions, and comments are very welcome.
Read more