Sunday, 30 June 2013

VGS AGM: sustainable development: the bigger picture

On Wednesday, the Vision Group's AGM considered the question 'What is sustainable development?' Vision Group for Sidmouth - VGS Annual General Meeting
You can also download the full report on the public meeting on Sustainable Development.

Simon Tytherleigh from Sustainable Bradninch in Mid Devon was asked to talk about the 'macroeconomics' of sustainability. Bradninch Climate Action Group 

> It is now six years since the banking crisis erupted, and yet today the banks are even less diversified than ever before and they are not carrying out the function of channeling government money into business.
Small businesses still being starved by banks as lending falls by £3BILLION in threat to British economy | Mail Online
Banks Are Not Lending Like They Should, And With Good Reason - Forbes
Lending to small business: don't blame the banks? | Business | guardian.co.uk

> There are fears that the recovery from the recession is much slower than anticipated and that we are headed to a Japanese-style era of stagnation, with wages rising slower than inflation and people spending less.
Paul Krugman on Vimeo

> Not only is the National Debt  getting bigger, but so too is the Deficit (the measure of how far we are not breaking even). 
Increasing deficit cuts right through the Chancellor’s spin on Britain’s economy - Comment - Voices - The Independent

> The conventional 'answer' is a 'return to growth' - and yet it is clear this is not going to happen.
--- With Oil priced at over $100 for some years, we have now come to the end of cheap energy.
The Big Flatline: Oil and the No-Growth Economy: Amazon.co.uk: Jeff Rubin: Books
Growth Alone is Not the Answer | Jeff Rubin
--- Nicholas Sterne has calculated that we will have to spend a fifth of national income on dealing with environmental damage: ie, the 'costs of growth'.
Stern Review - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nicholas Stern: 'I got it wrong on climate change – it's far, far worse' | Environment | The Observer
--- Ben Bernanke has suggested 'quantitative easing' should slow down, creating panic on Wall St.
Quantitative easing: End of the line - FT.com
--- Rob Hopkins has reported that 75% of Local Authorities do not believe in 'a return to growth'.
Local, self-sufficient, optimistic: are Transition Towns the way forward? | Environment | The Guardian [see future blog entry...]
--- Alan Greenspan has seen a 'flaw' in the version of economics which assumes endless growth.
Greenspan Concedes Error on Regulation - NYTimes.com

> And yet many persist in believing that we will be going back to business as usual, with British estate agents talking about the housing market 'picking up again' 
Transaction levels pick up across UK, claims optimistic RICS - Estate Agent Today
--- And yet house prices need to decrease by 20-30% to service mortgage rates realistically.
Britain’s obsession with house prices will ruin us all - MoneyWeek
--- And - whilst internationally, 'sovereign debts' are going up - should mortgage interest rates rise by only 2%, it is calculated that a fifth of homeowners will be affected.
Cheap mortgages can't last forever, experts warn - The Lolly from Citywire Money

> The culture of 'entitlement' amongst Baby-Boomers means that future generations are expected to pay as times get harder - and yet, because of widespread illiteracy about these issues amongst younger generations, this situation is being accepted.
The next crisis: Sponging boomers | The Economist
Who Destroyed the Economy? The Case Against the Baby Boomers - Jim Tankersley - The Atlantic

> "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
Our Common Future: Towards Sustainable Development - UN

> In the UK we are currently consuming the equivalent of 3.25 planets - and there is a limit to how long this can go on for until the system falls apart.

- One Planet Challenge
... it would require three planets to support the world’s consumption if everyone used as many of the Earth’s available resources(“bio-capacity”) as the average UK resident. This level of resource use is unsustainable, and demonstrates the need for a ‘One Planet Economy’ – an economic system  of production and consumption which respects environmental limits while being financially and socially sustainable.
Counting Consumption - WWF
The vision and challenge: “A one planet economy”
Sustainable consumption and production requires us to achieve more with less. Current developed country patterns of consumption and production could not be replicated world-wide: some calculations suggest that this could require three planets’ worth of resources.
“One Planet Economy”: Sustainable Consumption and Production - DEFRA

> What we can do about it is to 'trim' - but at a community level. 
And what we need to ask is 'how to make communities resilient to outside shocks':
What is resilience? - Transition Town Totnes
Community resilience, Transition, and why government thinking needs both » Transition Culture

--- local currencies
Can local currencies help advance global sustainability? | Guardian Sustainable Business | Guardian Professional

Bristol pound is just one example of what local currencies can achieve | Local Leaders Network | Guardian Professional

The Brixton Pound - Money that sticks to Brixton - B£
Local Money: How to Make it Happen in Your Community » Transition Culture

--- the Transition Town movement
Welcome | Transition Network
The Transition Town Movement: Embracing Reality and Resilience

--- Incredible Edible

Incredible Edible - Transition Town Totnes
Incredible Edible | You are what you eat

--- a closed loop economy

Clean Production Action — Closed Loop Systems
The value proposition of simplifying sustainability | Closed Loop Advisors

> Read 'When The Money Runs Out' by Stephen D King, Chief Economist at HSBC.
Economics: Horror story | The Economist

Here is the presentation which Simon gave to Sustainable Crediton a couple of months ago: 

Review of 'Shrinking the giant hamster: how we can be better off without growth.'

Around 35 people attended Simon's stimulating talk.
Simon explained that we are already using 1.5 times the Earth's resources to maintain our current economic lifestyle. However all the world's economies are advocating growth economics as the way ahead. With an average growth forecast by traditional economists of 2.5% pa, the world's economy will double in 28 years and will be consuming resources of 3 Earths. This sort of exponential growth clearly cannot continue for ever and we are already seeing signs that growth is stagnating in many of the world's developed economies such as the UK, Spain, Italy, Greece etc. perhaps the economists have the theory wrong ? Simon put forward lots of ideas and ways that economies could work in a sustainable way. The New Economics Foundation has many resources. Finally he told us of his work with ACT (Alliance for Change Today) founded by Charles Secrett where a manifesto for a new economics will be put before all MP candidates for the 2015 election.
See Simon's presentationnotes and reading list.

Sustainable Crediton - 'Shrinking the giant hamster: how we can be better off without growth.'

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