For those who sense that something isn’t quite right with endless growth as an economic model, developing alternatives can be an isolated task. The evening news rarely leads with a story extolling the virtues of co-ops and community currencies, and the language of sustainability has been coopted by the status quo.
Although more and more people are busy creating new production models to meet the twin challenges of climate change and social justice, the hardest part may be getting them all together in a room.
For Justin Ritchie, this is exactly the opportunity that the New Economy Summit at UBC from April 4th to 6th is hoping to provide. Ritchie, one of the conference organizers and co-producer of a podcast on alternative approaches to social and economic organization called The Extraenvironmentalist, sees the 3-day event of panels and discussions as an opportunity to unite the efforts of a diverse network of people working with new economic models.
The global warming threat requires a rapid reduction in the carbon pollution emitted from every country in the world.
But just as each country is only a percentage of the planet’s population or GDP, each country emits only a percentage of total carbon pollution. This enables short-sighted or selfish people (perhaps profiting from carbon pollution) to argue that their country should continue with projects to expand carbon pollution (or at least not reduce it) because their individual effort will not solve the problem.
“If people don’t speak out there will never be any change,” says the University of Victoria’s award-winning climate scientist Andrew Weaver.
And the need for change in Canada, says Weaver, has never been more pressing.
“We have a crisis in Canada. That crisis is in terms of the development of information and the need for science to inform decision-making. We have replaced that with an ideological approach to decision-making, the selective use of whatever can be found to justify [policy decisions], and the suppression of scientific voices and science itself in terms of informing the development of that policy.”
SolarMission Technologies and its Australian subsidiary, EnviroMission Limited produced this 5 minute video on the pilot plant in Spain. It is an older video (2000) but gives a decent understanding of the solar tower concept.