The eight forms of captial is a excellent foundation for the concepts behind financial permaculture. It was developed in collaboration by some of my closest permaculture mentors such as Ethan Roland, Gregory Landua, and Catherine Austin Fitts. The primary idea behind the eight forms is that they interchangeable and dynamic. Please enjoy this text and share it with in the businesses, organizations, and groups that you are a part of.
You can find more info about financial permaculture here.
On Jan. 15th, 2011, “Zeitgeist: Moving Forward” was released theatrically to sold out crowds in 60 countries; 31 languages; 295 cities and 341 Venues. It has been noted as the largest non-profit independent film release in history.
Learn more here
Okay, I didn’t watch the superbowl but I did watch a couple of super bowl ads. Now why would somebody like myself who detests most advertising watch cheesy superbowl ads? Well, superbowl ads are excellent windows into the influential cultural zeitgeist (spirit of the times, or literally the time ghost) The insights gained from superbowl ads can last much longer than the fleeting victories from the great spectacle itself. I wanted to share a couple of quick insights I found related to modern culture, the economy, and ecology. The first one came from the very cliché motorolo xoom commercial (“a tablet to change the world for the better”). Yes, it may sound incredible, even heretical, but the tablet computer (and by extension smartphones) have replaced the automobile as the central cultural object of techno-fetish for the 21st century. Oh my!, crazy I know. In the previous century an author I admire greatly named John Steinbeck wrote “Two generations of Americans knew more about the Ford coil than the clitoris.” Amazingly, our digital interconnectedness has officially dethroned the car for good and the percentage of young American who got a drivers license this year has dropped dramatically. Overall, due to the mobile web we really don’t need to drive as much and that’s a good thing.
Look for the tablet to receive mythical cultural attention in the next three years filled with a blind optimism that will likely never examine the hidden costs that desperately need to be ethically addressed. This is the dark side of optimism that all to often only comes to light in a tragic and inevitable flash. Personally though, I feel that mobile web technology will continue to play a critically important -but perhaps not the most important- role in humanity collectively redesigning the way we do things on this planet. My beliefs stand on a paradoxical position because I often look at the hidden costs of this very technology I advocate that society use effectively, expressively, and creatively to share those salient insights that can bring rapid changes in culture, world-view, and actions. In a recent video I posted here by Van Jones on the connection between hidden ecological and socials costs he said, “We can’t trash the planet without trashing people first”. This particular quote looks deep beyond trite quick fix “solutions” to get towards the roots of the controversy. When we run from paradox and controversy we refuse to make sense of the complexity and interrelatedness of the issue and in the words of the zen tradition we “get stuck in the branches while forsaking the root”.
This brings me to my next superbowl ad insight provided indirectly by oh so clever Groupon. Groupon as you may know is a multibillion dollar social e-commerce company known for social innovaiton and yet they deliberately wasted a considerable amount of money on a couple of extremely offensive and highly telling ads. What makes these particular ads so offensive is that besides being callous and insensitive they also lead us to optimistically believe we can simply buy our way out of any ecological or social ill without ever getting to the root of their causes. In my opinion Groupon has not only promoted their company in a very disgusting way, but they are actively promoting a largely unnoticed ideology that is fundamentally dangerous. How dangerous? Well, maybe not as dangerous as dictators but very dangerous non the less.
It is my belief that by using Permaculture as a design system and way thinking about the world we can bring society much closer to alleviating root causes rather than continuously mitigating effects. Permaculture does this by promoting the simple ethics of earth care, people care, and fair share, and also by examining the world in a holistic way that implicitly accounts for the interdependence of systems. I’ve posted a example of one of the terrible Grouopon ads below along with another video, almost a rebuttal if you will, by brilliant modern philosopher Salvoj Zizek. I want to know what your reactions are to this post and the videos so I also threw up a a little poll, enjoy.
(p.s. please come back for the next post where I rip apart the save the whales cliché (also insensitively made into a dumb groupon ad) and give some startling new details about why saving the whales may be one of the most important things humanity can do for health of the planet, and well, humanity.)
Van Jones remains as one of the most eloquent, honest, and influential people working at the nexus of environmental and social justice. Van is a personal hero of mine and his social philosophy is very akin to the ideas driving the liberation permaculture movement to which I subscribe.
My instructor Scott Pittman of the US permaculture Institute on the need for a Permcorps from permaculture.tv
Gaia punk here,
The Remarkable History (and Possible Future) Of Permaculture Disaster Relief
Yesterday the island of Hispanola was hit with a devastating 7.3 magnitude earthquake near Port-Au-Prince the capital of Haiti . Many multiple story buildings have completely collapsed including the major Hospital in the region. Thousands may be killed or trapped in the rubble and aid is being mobilized from around the world. With little to no backup power, sewage, water, housing, or food aid systems in place, Haiti, which is currently the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, is in a VERY DIRE SITUATION. Without a doubt resources and expertise are moving en mass to Haiti, but beyond this temporary relief, what will sustain this nation of 10 million people when it’s left in an even poorer position than ever before? This is where permaculture design comes in, with an adaptable and ever evolving tool kit that can be of vital assistance in disaster relief and the long recovery period to follow.
During the war in Kozovo back in 1999 when displaced refugees flooded into Macedonia Geoff Lawton and a crack team of eager permaculturalists secured international aid to design and implement the master plan for the Cegrane Camp Permaculture Rehabilitation Project, a large refugee camp that provided relief for over 43,000 people.
Geoff created the design around water capture and storage. The final design called for 7.2 km of swales, with an estimated water holding capacity of 30 million liters, greatly reducing the flood potential. Many passive solar strawbale buildings were constructed by trained locals who quickly grasped the simplicity and efficiency of this natural building technique. Large gardens, composting toliets, and chicken tractors all came together in a very short time span. The skills and systems thinking acquired during this process may help secure sustainable employment and economic development for the entire region for years to come.
Another successful implementation of permaculture relief took place in Cuba during the early 90′s when Cuba was suffering from a crippling petroleum embargo. Working with a grant from the Cuban government Austrailian permaculturalists, including Robyn Francis, traveled to Cuba to work with hundreds of Cubans on sustainable food systems design. Robyn, a well traveled expert in permaculture education in the 2/3rds (developing) world, helped local organizers use permaculture design prinicpals and techniques in their urban agriculture efforts. During this time, worker cooperatives were set up, market gardens and public transportation flourished, little to no pesticides or fertilizers were employed, and catastrophic famine was avoided. This partnership has continued to be highly successful and now some of the most experienced urban permaculture experts in the world come from Cuba because of the courageous spirit of the Cuban citizenry. Currently, the Cuba-Australia Permaculture Exchange (CAPE) is working on sustainable housing developments using natural building to compliment the work they began together with urban agriculture
There are numerous ways in which a full-time Permaculture Relief Corps could operate in Haiti in short and long-term time frames.
Building sewage systems, composting toilets, compost and recyclying centers, rocket and solar stoves, temporary shelters (perma-yurts), water catchment, and plant nurseries.
Permanent natural buildings, water storage, earth works, renewable energy, permaculture food forests, broad-scale reforestation, farms, aquaculture systems, health centers and schools.
In 2003 following a intense hurricane, a team including Eric Davenport, an American architect, and David Doherty, a Peace Corps Volunteer, worked for several months with the local community to rebuild a rural village after severe flooding. This team was then joined by Frederique Mangones, a renowned Haitian architect, and engineer Frantz Severe of ORE draw to the challenge of designing low-cost housing adapted to Haitian rural family activities. In the fall of 2003, a team of permiculturalists also offered their expertise to the village project.
|Today their team in collaboration with the local community and the Organization for the Rehabilitation of the Environment ORE is working on:|
– Low cost relief from floods
- Waste management & recycling to protect the environment
- Hygienic toilets to improve family health
- A community center to bring people together
- Privacy to reduce stress within families
- Green spaces to enhance quality of life
- Fruit trees to generate income
- Utilizing daily wind patterns, heat and cooling cycles
- Covenants to protect their community
Haiti is in desperate need of our assistance which can not come soon enough. 8 out of 10 Haitians live in abject poverty and need the long term commitment of folks working for a sustainable and abundant future. Please check out the links below of organizations doing great work in this field.
If you are interested in the formation of a Permaculture Relief Corps like the one I’m proposing please email thejulianeffect(at)gmail.com and I will keep you up to date on the latest developments.
My heart goes out to all those working and living in Haiti right now,
Evan Schoepke (@gaiapunk) *CORRECTION*: I had previously mixed up David Doherty (peace core volunteer with Darren Doherty (broad scale permaculture designer), sorry about the confusion.
Principal of Gaia Punk Designs
Here is some completely heretical news in for the world of eco-capitalist dreamers; no silly white multi-million dollar media men will ever solve the worlds ecological or social problems. Yeah I know what your thinking blasphemous right? Specifically, I am referring to the uber opportunistic and freshly greenwashed faces of Al gore, Warren Buffet, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Richard Rainwater, and now John Hantz. Hantz, a big time financial investor and longtime Detroit resident is proposing to put 30 million down of his own money to build a high tech farming operation that will be coupled with “green” estates. In Fortune Magazine’s limited interview Hantz said that Detroit is suffering from a lack of scarcity and that the only way to save housing prices is by taking as much property off the market as possible, hence the massive farm and real estate combo. But, couple this seemingly benign idea with a one track profit motive and instead of community revitalization one gets rampant community gentrification that pushes out the very people (the poorer residents of Detroit) that one is purporting to be “helping”. The team Hantz has assembled thus far is glaringly white in a city that is over 80% black which is highly suspicious to say the least not to mention naming the entire operation Hantz Farm doesn’t inspire thoughts of “community”. Rather than going to the folks who have already spent immense amounts of effort to bring local organic food to their communities and bring jobs in their neighborhoods, and then offer to assist financially in their efforts, thus far Hantz is developing a hierarchal strategy that may put those very folks out of business. Hantz’s preliminary proposals have garnered lots of unwarranted media attention even though very few details have emerged about how this farming project will be managed and who exactly will manage it.
The Hantz Farm site is just a collection of stock photos that to me seem as hollow as their message. Okay perhaps I’m being too cynical but right now important questions remain around what exact types of technology the farm will employ (already energy expensive technologies like hydroponics and large scale harvesters have been mentioned) , if there is even a viable market in the region, and most importantly, who will this for profit enterprize benefit the most. ”I’m concerned about the corporate takeover of the urban agriculture movement in Detroit,” says Malik Yakini, a charter school principal and founder of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, which operates D-Town Farm on Detroit’s west side. (from CNN)
Organic farming is enjoying a nice trendy resurgence as a solution to urban, rural, and ecological ills. Unfortunately, farming no mattter how popular can only do so much. It is well known that various economic events some deliberate and some unexpected have cost the United States and urban manufacturing centers like Detroit obscene amounts of jobs. What is not well known, is that neither local organic farming, or any green high tech green wizardry, is likely to bring these jobs back in the near future. But, never fear, there are three simple solutions to this whole mess we’re all in along with Detroit.
Detroit honestly doesn’t need anymore scarcity (though real estate barons may see it differently) it desperately needs abundance, and permaculture is a complete system that designs for abundance. If the polluted landscape of Detroit is going to be regenerated then organic farming is just not enough.
The entire history of Detroit is one of total abandonment by the world of capital and a complete lack of responsibility or loyalty to the local community. Cooperatives by their very nature encourage horizontal investment, diversity, democracy, and local responsibility.
THREE: Community Land Trusts
Community Land Trusts are set up in such a way as to encourage low income buyers into positions of ownership and avoid volatility in housing prices. There are few communities in the the US that have suffered worse volatility in housing prices than Detroit. What Hantz is proposing is just green veiled gentrification while the real solution for the people of Detroit lies in Community Land Trusts. Burlington VT has many successful examples of how and why CLT’s can close the gaps of classism.
Note, I did not mention 30 million dollars from some rich white guy! Now if that 30 million was invested in those 3 things I would surely change my tune, but if it’s invested in anything else, I really wouldn’t get my hopes up. Currently, Detroit will likely be the venue for the 2010 US social forum and I plan on being there purposing real solutions based on living permaculture and cooperative principals not on selfish, dead, capitalist oriented ones.
Organizations doing the real work in Detroit:
Evolve Detroit http://detroitevolution.com/
Detroit Agriculture Network http://www.detroitagriculture.org/
Detroit Summer http://www.detroitsummer.org/
Midwest Permaculture http://www.midwestpermaculture.com/
I love this video…
Makes me think of how eager people (especially like me) get once they learn the implications of permaculture design, enjoy!
Hey Gaia Punk here,
So I was just recently accepted for a 3 month Advance Permaculture Design internship with Ethan Roland of Appleseed Permaculture in the Hudson Valley area of New York. I am very excited for this opportunity to deepen my skills and I’m dedicated to the helping make permaculture design accessible to even more people than ever before. Ethan is such an awesome force in the world of permaculture and vital mentor to so many wonderful folks that I decided I would take a moment to highlight some of his work.
Ethan is a full time Permaculture designer and teacher and expert in the areas of large scale perennial polyculture systems and ecological community design. See slideshow:
Ethan studied at Haverford College and later obtained a M.S. in Collaborative eco-social design from Gaia University a innovative and global growing university through which he now occasionally teaches courses. Ethan is the principal of Appleseed Permaculuture which collaborates with permaculture and ecological designers from all over the world. Ethan currently sits on the board of Permaculture Across Boarders which assists permaculture projects in the developing or 2/3 rds world. His work has brought him all over world (Thailand, Azerbaijan, Kazakastan, the Virgin Islands,) with direct learning experience and mentoring from folks like Geoff Lawton and Dave Jacke. Ethan is directly involved with the Carbon Farming and Financial Permaculture movements. He supports and promotes sustainable community based cooperative enterprises like the innovative cocao CSA Booyacacao. Ethan contributes contents and expertise for Earth Activist Mentor a amazing site and service for up and coming designer like myself, folks looking for detailed in depth resources, or distance mentoring for permaculture diplomas. Well, I hope to do a video interview shortly with Ethan and Nicolas Roberts from Permaculture.tv but until then enjoy this inspiring lecture Ethan presented to a group of UMASS architecture students and Greg Landua presentation of Booyacocao “Theobroma” production.
On the liberation of spores:
For more stuff by the Spore Liberation Front check out this amazing zine.
I’m reposting this post because I just learned that they may be facing eviction
There is a genuine non violent revolution going on around the globe. One that crosses boundaries of race, creed, color, religion and subculture. A revolution that heals the heart even as it dismantles the heartless systems of oppression. It is of course the permaculture revolution; a revolution that is interconnected and diverse.
Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on
the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food
and shelter.” – Bill Mollison
I want to take sometime and give you a picture of some of these true revolutionaries….
The Swomp in Amsterdam is a collective squat that is guided by permaculture and its principals. Besides providing for themselves with their garden production the Swomp does community outreach and education. They are under constant threat of eviction and they may need some media attention soon. Please take the time to read their declaration and the inspiring sustainable ethics by which the community abides. Here is just a sampling of what they’ve accomplished:
- successfully squatted a unused urban lot and turned it into a permaculture demonstration site.
- built a strawbale home from mostly recycle materials
- organized with numerous other collectives on a wide range of important global issues
- provided free education to the community
- demonstrated that one can live in harmony with one’s conscience and with the earth
Please visit their awesome blog and if you are aware of other radical communities in the permaculture vein we would love to feature them here.
p.s. We are always looking for more contributors so if you would like to write for PRP e-zine please contact thejulianeffect(at)gmail with the subject “gaia punks.”
Humanity would never have evolved this far with out recognizing this very basic truth “in most cases it is better to share than to not share”. Everything was pretty simple until you had the arrogant “landowners” followed quickly by even more ridiculous and “legally” empowered capitalist. The Pirate Bay (whether the courts agree or not) is a indexing site of the many bit torrent links that have been posted by it numerous users, in reality it is not so different from sites like Google except in one respect, it’s just not used to make billions of dollars for private investors.
Permaculture and The Pirate Bay incorporate whole systems or “closed loop” design. Closed loop doesn’t mean closed design, quite the contrary. Closed loop means whole systems design that emphasises the relationship between elements and facilitates those various relationships in a wholelistic way. In nature everything contributes and takes in such a seamless fashion it is difficult to distinguish the takers from the contributors. Nature is the ultimate innovator. The pirate bay works organically in much the same way because each “taker” in turn becomes a contributor for someone else. This innovative model has been very successful at distributing large amounts of info to a broad spectrum of people. The only reason the big media companies are upset is that they are cut out of the loop as they should be. Middle men are inefficient….look at health insurance in the US, or much of the education system, hell just look at most politicians. Middle men and the proprietary, inefficient, or bureaucratic systems that support them are truly a dying breed and we can do vastly more without them. In this brave new digi-tech world we can teach ourselves to collaborate to create, spread, and disseminate our own media while remembering there is no politician anywhere who could ever represent all our dreams. Let this unjust trial of the pirate bay be a signal of the desperate dying breaths of all the middlemen, a siren call from which we can rally. This is no longer a issue of who controls the media, but who controls your mind? I say let it be open…
We are all the Pirate Bay!!!,
Long live the Open source revolutions,
For the future of all the internets,
ArRGH! maties sail on sail
Amazing Urban Permaculture Workshop in Brooklyn, NY
I just got back from a little eastcoast permaculture tour visiting folks in
Toronto, Montreal, New York, and Burlington VT. All I can say is that things are poppin’ right now in the world of permaculture.
So I don’t normally post too many course announcements here solely
because there are just so many, but this one is unique. It is a urban permaculture workshop with exceptionally experienced instructor Larry Santoyo of Earthflow Designs. Larry along with my awesome permaculture
design course instructor Scott Pittman work together with the US Permaculture Institute doing projects all around the US and the world at large. Here are the details about the workshops:
A campaign has just been launched to plant food forest all across the U.S. and the world as well:
A food forest is a multilayer poly-culture garden that mimics the natural structure of a forest and improves ecological integrity on many levels. A food Forest may have 9 various layers starting with:
Mycylieal (fungi) and bacterial
Ground Covers (for holding moisture, the soil, and soil fertility)
Herbaceous (vegetables and herb)
Small shrubs (berries)
Large shrubs (small fruits and nuts)
Small trees (large fruits and nuts)
Big trees (hardwoods)
Vines, climbers, and lots of flowers
Eric holzer of Permaculture Earth Artisans of Sebastopol, CA one of the US leaders of this campaign has this to say,
“My vision is to educate communities as to the whole system benefits of food forests from, climate change to relocalization of food sources and creating oases of human settlement in our communities. To do this we will help students and interns design and install these systems.”
For more good resources on food forest design see the links and resources below:
La Pura Vida de Permacultura
This is Permie Boi passin’ the good word from La Florida, Costa Rica where I’m in the middle of a fabulous permaculture design course at True Nature Community instructed by Scott Pitman of the Permaculture Institute.
I’m having a wonderful time learning, exploring, and sharing. The landscape here is amazing but in a lot of cases in need of regeneration. Even though true nature is a gringo (expats) community, (for now) it is very nice to see that they have intergrated themselves with in the larger community through helping to support and share with the local ticos (Costa Ricans) in multiple ways. This is a sharp contrast from much of the negative colonialist like developments happening in many ecologically fragile areas of the country. The people here from True Nature really practice what they preach at every level and also run a amazing educational service organization called CREER.
The students attending this course are from all over the world and are very excited about what they will bring back to where they live as am I. In the morning we wake up to amazing to an amazing landscape full of colorful chirping birds (Tucans even!) and verdant plants. We’ve been eating fresh local foods cooked with local recipies and Luna of True Nature has been kind enough to offer a free yoga class to those who enjoy it. It is amazing to see how much we’ve been able to improve the site in just a few days by building rain swales and various watercatchments. I know that all of this rewarding work will be greatly appreciated after our departure. I just recently saw an amazing animal locally known as a pizote’ (super cute!) for the first time and I’m extremely excited to continue to explore the rich ecology of this area. Much more more to come soon.
Living la pura vida,
Hey permie punx here is a wonderful manual that I came across in my studies so I thought I would share it with everyone! Enjoy!
It’s time to get retro….
retrofit that is
Hey everyone I really wanted to share this great video about my good friend Jan Spencer’s suburban permaculture retrofit house in Eugene, OR. Jan is a extremely knowledgeable permaculturalist, a awesome mural painter, and all around upbeat and very friendly guy. We first met two years ago during his west coast permaculture bike tour and we had a great time together coming back with some friends from the Ecocity World Summit in San Francisco. He showed us around his place which was such a cool retrofit I thought I would share it with you here.
clearly it’s true.
—Don’t let the cute smile fool ya
BE WARNED!— because
I know that if you’re like me then the very, very, last thing you want to read about in these times is anything with the taglines: fiance, corruption, negligence, scheming, losses, or economic gloom and collapse. No these things are not very fun or funny (okay sometimes they’re funny.) But, thinking about alternatives is essential. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of research on permaculture economics, finance, and theory. I’ve found lots of good work out there in the noosphere. Today though I was laughing a bit at the antics of Carlo Ponzi of the imfamous Ponzi Scheme fame the predecessor of the Madoff Scheme that the already broken banking and fiance industry is currently freaking out about. It is a wonderful aspect of life that criminals can teach you almost as much wisdom as saints, and if you know how to learn your lessons from their mistakes they might even teach you more.
It seems some people have a hard time learning lessoons. So what if the whole of global economy we’re to come unraveled in on ultra Ponzi Scheme? Unfortunately, as many of you know, it very well could; that is if people we’re to simply stop buying government backed bonds in the current precarity. Well, “precarious times call for precarious minds”, or as I like to call them the “carefully minded”.
. I just started tearing intoToolbox for Sustainable City Living by Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew cofounders of the Rhizome Collective in Austin TX who are definitely of the carefully minded sort. Along with great knowledge and methods the awesome illustrations in this book are done by my good friend Juan Martinez, also from Austin TX, a member mutant bike collective, and the amazingly prolific Beehive Design Collective based in Maine.
Lets just say I love this BOOK!!! This is one of my most favorite Permaculture books to date!! Go get it because it’s only ten bucks online! We need more books like this and more folks doing applied urban permaculture work in the cities!
Permie Punx Unite!
Recently, there was a splendid conference that took place in Hohenwal, TN-USA regarding Financial Permaculture. This is perfect timing since were in a economic crises and we need whole systems solutions more than ever right now. Check out their blog for great resources and see my post “my thoughts on permaculture economics” for some good insight as well.
The twenty first century is a century of global convergence. Never before has humanity had the power to spread ideas and modes of being as quickly as today, never before has there been a greater need to examine what has come before so that we might build today what is coming….
The horrendous problems and also staying power of exploitative capitalism are well known. Today we are faced with a social crisis, a credit crisis, a labor crisis, a housing crisis, a extreme food shortage, an environmental mega-crisis, and of course the energy crisis; the fact is that capitalism is a system designed to create and exploit crisis. This year 100 million people are likely to face possible starvation due to food shortages and hurtful policies. Instead of endlessly playing with in one economic game, occasionally bending the rules, sometimes even breaking them a bit, today we have the option of creating a wiser, more just, dynamic, and dare I say, more colorful game. A new economic system that fully incorporates the principals of living systems instead of ruthlessly denying them is on the verge of creation. This is the basis behind permaculture economics. It is imperative now that innovative alternatives aren’t seen as optional bandages for a wounded world, but are once and for all embraced as lasting solutions.
It is not enough to just value living systems if our everyday actions are contrary, destructive, and apart from the foundations on which those systems are built. One point of importance we must all collectively realize is that money generated by exploitative means is a entirely different form of money than money that is generated by just and sustainable means, and should in all ways be recognized as such. This point is not easily discerned especially since everything gets mixed up in circulation; just like with so many destructive products the biggest lie is one of omission. Triple bottom line accounting is one solution that has started to gain ground at taking into account these so called social and environmental “externalities”. But, how can we make an entire economy that recognizes these distinctions and can incorporate the proven principals of living systems, and who is already working to do so?
Perhaps one of the most exciting experiments in alternative economies is the local currency movement which guarantees more accountability with in a local economy because the people that use the currency have control over it. Unfortunately, this experiment is also in danger of always remaining as a experiment, albeit a successful one, do to the fact that it can never transcend the local scale. Whether we like it or not trade and commerce at the global level is here to stay simply because demand for global goods and services will not decrease until population does, and also because it is nearly impossible for any system no matter how sustainable to get all of the inputs from the local region including steel, lumber, plastics, and whatever other little necessary evils infiltrate our lives. Localism has a very prominent place with in sustainability but it can not be a panacea with which to fix all our current global woes. So what options are we left with?
Fortunately for us all it already is working. Currently, social micro lenders, green lenders, and permaculture credit unions, are providing the ground work for this incentive system by giving lower interest rates for socially and environmentally responsible projects. In essence, they are creating social and environmentally responsible capital. Community Land Trust are providing healthy living environments at affordable prices without the destructive and volatile swings of speculation. Others are doing important work by linking up green consumers and producers with online technology such as “green mapping”, green consumer rebate cards, and online barter systems, all of which are becoming increasingly popular.
Here is the most favorable scenario: first, green mappers using open source online technology target potential entities who would be interested in participating in this alternative currency. All participants will be measured by a social environmental index each year (many of these indexes already exist and have proven successful). Theoretically, at the top of this index would be entities such as green cooperatives, while as, non profits might be more in the middle since they may be green though not necessarily socially democratic, and at the bottom would be single proprietor green business or traditional businesses that are environmentally sound with employee stock ownership plans. Participants would be allowed to exchange their national currency or even local currency in for this alternative one, but would initially be prohibited from exchanging back (note, the value of this currency would be pegged to the average of all currency markets hence reducing volatility). Making this currency as digital as possible would cut down on prohibitive printing costs and increase its general liquidity. Having lower interest rates on loans made in this alternative currency based on an entities social environmental index rating provides a strong incentive for businesses to have the most progressive business structure possible. Once proven successful this incentive would then draw other entities into the alternative economy thus growing the transactions and trades of social environmentally friendly alternative goods and services. Seemingly ironic, this kind of economic activity will help substantially support multiple domestic economies with out the negative effects that we’ve seen from neo-liberal globalization thus far. It is possible to develop lending rules that would allow growth to primarily be horizontal in nature and create more diversity while at the same time minimizing monopolization and speculation. This type of horizontal and diverse growth with be more beneficial for all and create more stable economies. It is my conviction that the future as my generation will determine it will have a global economics system in which all social environmental cost will be accounted for.