New Green Economy Day 1: Prologue

I’m writing today from a Starbucks in Ballston, just outside the nation’s capital. Today is the first day of the three day New Green Economy Conference, where I will be attending and volunteering. It has proven to be a good trip so far, and I am looking forward to meeting all those sustainably-minded people I have been reading: Tim Jackson, Herman Daly, Brian Czech, and many more.

Today’s workshop is “Alternatives to Neoclassical Economics for Business and National Security.” It’s all day, should be a very informative. We’ll be hearing from Dr. James Giordano of the Potomac Institute for Policy StudiesDr. Brian Czech of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE), R. Warren Flint of Five E’s Unlimited, and Joan Michelson, writer and editor.

Today’s Session Goals:

“During this workshop participants will learn the positions of conventional economists and ecologists and be exposed to alternative concepts including incorporation of sustainability, diversity and valuation into human economies.

After the workshop participants will better understand how natural and human economies work, on how they incorporate non-commodity resources into value systems, and the ethical and moral positions taken by ecologists and economists.”

Be sure to follow me on twitter for updates in the moment, I’ll be visiting with some friends in DC tonight and then hopefully writing a recap of concepts, ideas, and things gained from today’s workshop.

The New Green Economy

The New Green Economy
The New Green Economy

It’s official! I’m heading to the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) New Green Economy Conference! Through my volunteer work with the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE) I was invited to volunteer at the conference (and attend when off-duty). The goal of the conference is to form “a set of recommendations on how to move towards a green economy in the US and in the world… The recommendations will be presented to the Obama Administration and to Congress, as well as to other key stakeholders.”

While there are still a few months before the conference, I thought I would share the good news. There are tons of different topics being covered, and only three days to fit them in, so I have to choose wisely. During that week I will be posting each day about the things learned and experienced, and hopefully some good pictures too! I am really looking forward to helping out with this great conference, meeting some change-makers, and learning more about the many concepts of the Green Economy.

Here’s what NCSE has to say about the conference:

“Marking a decade of history, NCSE’s signature national conference will engage leading thinkers and doers from a diversity of disciplines, sectors, and perspectives in a structured conversation about the meaning of the green economy and how investment in green education, research and jobs can help solve both the economic and environmental crises.

Welcoming over 1000 attendees, The New Green Economy will bring together leaders in sustainable business, environmental policymakers, civil society, university faculty, students from across the nation, and educated citizens.

NCSE leverages a multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral approach to bring together involved scientists and decision-makers from a wide range of organizations. Our conferences are highly interactive, including renowned speakers, topical symposia to explore issues in more depth, and breakout sessions to develop (and publish) recommendations on how to advance science and connect it with policy and decision-making.”

I am looking forward to helping with the conference and bringing some of the new back to you! More to come in a few months…

P.S. I aware of the environmental downsides of air travel, and I am not necessarily fond of it, nor do I have much faith in offsets, however I am looking for the best offset program for my trip to at least do something. Any suggestions are welcome. The NCSE does offer an offset service as part of their registration, but I would like to find the best option out there.

A Steady Stater Dinner

A Great, Sustainable Meal
A Great, Sustainable Meal

I’m approaching another year older (hopefully wiser) and was taken out to a surprise location for dinner by my partner. She did her research and found a great place near us that represents what I envision life in a steady state economy to be like: focused more on the local economy, a greater sense of community, and more time to enjoy living our lives with less of an impact on the environment.

Sutra is a vegetarian restaurant in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle, nestled amongst the many former-homes-turned-businesses along 45th street. A beautiful, intimate space awaits up to 35 guests for a dinner seating serving four community-style courses. Seasonal food from Forged and Found Edibles, Full Circle Farm, and other local food suppliers are masterfully combined into delicious meals.

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Carfree Day Leading to a Carfree Lifestyle?

Free Yourself From Your Mobile Prison
Free Yourself From Your Mobile Prison

This morning I awoke a bit earlier than usual, rubbed my eyes, and moved slowly about my morning routine. My usual morning involves sleeping past my alarm clock wake-up call, hurrying out the door, grabbing food and coffee on the way. Today I was more intentional. I managed to drag myself out of bead early enough to make my own breakfast and catch the bus to work.

I work on the north end of Seattle, and my typical commute via car is about 20-25 minutes. Because of the location of my work I go opposite of traffic, so I can sail through the 11 miles watching the other direction back up. Today was different, though: today is Worldwide Carfree Day. Today I took the bus, but what benefits my car-commute time hampers my bus-commute time.

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Sustainable Scale

Size Does Matter
Size Does Matter

Sustainability is quite the buzzword nowadays. What is sustainability anyway? It would appear at face value to have a simple, easily understood meaning. On the contrary, almost everything labeled “sustainable” is not, creating ambiguity in the meaning of the concept. It has become more of a marketing tool than an actual process. Being sustainable is quite different from what is typically called sustainable in our culture currently.

Something is sustainable if it can maintain balance with the system supporting it, and can do so indefinitely. A sustainable process takes only the amount of resources that can be regenerated by its supporting system between each processing cycle. Waste generated by a sustainable process can be absorbed by the surrounding system at the same rate it is created. Sound familiar? On a large scale, that’s the steady state economy.

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Eco-Friendly & Green Web Hosting

An Ecologically Responsible Host

After thorough investigation, Steady State Revolution has found a new, ecologically responsible home! Previously this blog was hosted on servers that were far-removed to my morals (unknown to me at the time of purchase and proof that you should always do your research!). We’ve moved to a carbon neutral web host that supports non-profits: Acorn Hosting.

So, if you’ve noticed any outages today, it was just the side effects of our transition. We’re back in business now!

There are lots of other options out there for the eco-minded webmaster, though. Treehugger has a list of green web hosts, and many of them are good choices. I went with Acorn for the combination of green energy (which supports a sustainable way of life), great options (unlimited databases, for instance), and competitive prices (a lighter weighted factor, but a factor nonetheless).

Not only is Acorn powered by renewable energy, but is women owned and gives discounted rates to non-profits. All around, I can sleep better at night now.

Sustainable Economics Blogs

Green Blogs

Green Blogs

Here are a few new blogs I’ve found that I want to make aware to you. These blogs all deal in roughly the same area: steady state, or sustainable, economics. They show the growing undercurrent of desire for a sustainable economic that is rushing towards the surface.

  • Shift Happens – From the mission statement: “‘Shift Happens’ will inspire readers by informing them on current economic and political trends by informing the readers on the paradigm shift towards a more sustainable future.”
  • Gaian Economics – Writing to empower you to become part of the economic discussion, because “All other green campaigns become futile without tackling the economic system and its ideological defenders. “
  • No Impact Man > Sustainable Economics – No Impact Man’s sustainable economics section, he’s got lots of good posts.
  • Share the World’s Resources – “STWR advocates for essential resources such as food, water and energy to be shared internationally under the agency of the United Nations.”
  • USSEE Blog – Then United States Society for Ecological Economics blog
  • The Inspired Economist – A forum for the “New Economy” focused on the triple bottom line – people, planet and profit.
  • CASSE BlogThe Center for the Advancement of the Steady State economy is the source for steady state information online. See also their news section for more updates.

If you see something missing from the blogosphere and/or want to help spread the word on this subject – create your own blog! WordPress is what I use and it is a great, free way to blog.

Incentives for Healthy, Eco-Friendly Remodels

Richard Moyle, with the Mesothelioma Cancer Resource Center recently inquired about posting an article on this blog in relation to the new tax incentives that have been placed into law to “jump start” our economy. Of course, we don’t need a jump start – we need a whole different engine.

We need an economy that runs not on some insatiable growth-hungry, greedy engine, but a sustainable, development-centered engine. That being said, I agree with Richard on the need to inform people about the risks of Asbestos when remodeling your home. I am also pleased that our government is giving incentives to make our homes greener. And since I am currently studying to take my LEED AP Exam (hence the thin number of posts this week), this is relevant to my present state of mind.

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