Biocarbon, Capital, Children, Circular Economy, Climate Change,
Degrowth, Economic growth, Economic theories, ECONOMY,
Emissions reductions, EU, Green Deal, Greenhouse gas emissions,
Ideology, Macroeconomics, MOBILITY, Permaculture, Poverty,
President Joe Biden, Regenerative Thinking, Social Impact Bonds,
South Africa, Sustainability, URBAN DEVELOPMENT,
Ursula von der Leyen, Water
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Regenerative thinking is about:
healing ourselves, our place, our environment,
making decisions with a living systems view of life,
understanding the interconnectedness of ourselves, our society, our
creating value for every player in a wider ecosystem,
questioning our cultural narratives and our actions,
a conscious choice to make a forward change, ...
von der Leyen:
The European Green Deal is a broad roadmap: We care also about biodiversity
and forests, agriculture and food, green cities and for example the
Holmgren: Traditional agriculture
was labour intensive, industrial agriculture is energy intensive, and
permaculture-designed systems are information and design intensive.
The goal of the EU’s ambitious new “Green
Deal” is to put Europe on a path toward zero emissions and
sustainable growth decoupled from resource use.
The plan marks a sharp
departure from traditional ecological approaches that have typically
called for reduction of consumption and, therefore, de-growth. Despite
warnings from scientists about the danger of climate change,
fear of de-growth is why many governments and much of the business community
have long shunned ecological issues. There was a widespread belief that
ecological constraints, however meritorious, would necessarily limit
consumption and thus cut corporate pro?ts. At the same time, there was
the widespread belief that technology would solve the problem of scarcity
of natural resources.
Now, concern about climate
change and other ecological issues have captured the attention of business
and political leaders. There is a change of attitude of business and
political leaders who look at mitigating climate change as a pro?table
technology change and look at sustainable growth as a realistic alternative
At the end of 2019, Ursula
von der Leyen, president of the European Union, presented the European
Deal, an ambitious plan to make Europe an economy where:
there are no net emissions
of greenhouse gases by 2050,
economic growth is
decoupled from resource use,
no person and no place
is left behind.
The EU has committed 1
trillion euros to the plan. In the United States, in a dramatic reversal
from the previous administration, President Joe Biden has declared that
climate change is a defining priority and has launched a $4 trillion
plan for “Clean
Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice”.
Under the Green Deal, Europe’s
economy would progressively reduce to zero emissions of greenhouse gases
and grow without causing depletion of natural resources. But how can
these goals be achieved?
The progressive reduction
of greenhouse-gase emissions is an immense technology-change program,
replacing fossil fuels with energy based on clean sources. However,
growth de-coupled from resource use is a conceptually more complex problem.
A partial answer, explicitly mentioned in the Green Deal, is provided
by implementing a circular
economy where human artifacts are continuously reused and
redesigned. But only a fraction of a modern economy can become circular.
Moreover, due to negative entropy flow, circularity
requires large amounts of energy.
Quality, not quantity
Under the Green Deal’s
ecological constraints, economic growth can be achieved by increasing
the quality of products and services – but only if it’s taken into account.
Qualitative growth is essentially a process of increasing information
and complexity of an economy without use of natural resources.
What is the likely path
to qualitative growth? Under the Green Deal, sources of energy based
on fossil fuels will be replaced by a new generation of clean energy.
We also need to reduce and possibly eliminate both biological and industrial
pollution and avoid depletion of natural resources.
Under such constraints,
firms will find it difficult to grow in the classical sense by manufacturing
more products. They must therefore seek to innovate and create products
of higher quality and, ultimately, complexity. Simply put, firrms will
create information and complexity – for example, the aesthetic dimension
of artifacts, including buildings and cities, art, culture, health care
and medicine, food, intelligent travel. It will be the creative effort
of firrms and governments that will produce qualitative growth.
An important consequence
is that both economic theory and economic decision-making need to be
able to measure and model qualitative growth and to recognize that qualitative
growth is genuine growth. If economics does not understand and measure
quality, the Green Deal risks to be perceived as de-growth.
Current macroeconomic models
are not able to model qualitative changes. They attempt to model the
quantity of output, with the very strong assumption that an economy
produces only one final good or, equivalently, a composite good. But
in reality, economies produce a large number of heterogeneous products
and services subject to a process of innovation and change. All these
cannot be aggregated by any physical measure and therefore one cannot
measure the quantity of output. It would be tempting to create an index
considering the rates of change of each variable, but indexing does
not work in the presence of change and innovation.
The only possible aggregation
is aggregation by price. This is what is done in practice in the political
and economic discourse to measure economic output. All advanced economies
compute their gross
domestic product (GDP), which is the sum of the value of
all domestic consumption transactions. But the GDP is subject to a fundamental
issue : As prices are only relative prices, how do we compare GDP in
different moments? How do we separate real growth from inflation?
Measuring economic complexity
We compare GDP in di?erent
moments by computing the consumer
price index (CPI), which is used to compute in?ation rates.
The nominal GDP, which is the sum of all domestic consumption transactions
at current prices, is de?ated by the CPI to yield the real GDP. The
CPI is an index computed selecting a basket of goods and services and
computing its price change over a given period. But this procedure completely
misses changes of prices due to qualitative changes.
To measure sustainable
economic growth, we need a generalized notion of inflation that takes
into account both quality and quantity. There are several ways to achieve
this goal. The simplest consists in stipulating that the most innovative
segments of the economy have zero inflation. Other solutions include
the adoption of measures of economic complexity.
These are not academic
theoretical issues. If we continue to discount nominal GDP by CPI as
it is currently computed, we risk that, under the Green Deal constraints,
the European economy will appear to be in recession as its innovation
efforts without using natural resources will be ignored. If economic
theory fails to understand quality and to promote its measurement, then
it will lose its role in supporting decision-making. Major efforts for
arriving at a sustainable economy will be frustrated by naively, and
falsely, concluding that an otherwise flourishing, highly qualitative
economy be in recession.
If we want to achieve sustainable
growth under the constraint that consumption is independent from the
use of natural resources, we should move along the path of qualitative
growth. This implies that quality improvement be considered genuine
growth. If economics has to play a role in supporting decision-making,
it must understand qualitative development and be able to measure qualitative
In a February
17 webinar organized by the Taylor Institute of the Franklin
University, Lugano, Switzerland and by the CFA society, Milan, Italy,
one of the authors of this article, Sergio Focardi, outlined how future
growth respectful of ecological constraints will be qualitative growth.
Focardi also discusses how qualitative growth requires economic theory
to gain the ability to understand and model qualitative growth.
Water is a medium
that is largely not understood by physics and chemistry. Its material
nature is tested, studied and understood by physics. However, beyond
its physical and chemical qualities also memory and information play
a significant role in water, and these build a bridge from the immaterial
to the material world. These subtle phenomena are the ground of misunderstanding,
and they can neither be studied nor detected by traditional experimental
Hence, we use a different
approach: we investigate the patterns that appear in a water drop after
evaporation of the water and photograph them under a dark field microscope
with a magnification between 40 and 400. We can prove that the patterns
correlate with information exposed to the water. For one experiment,
the patterns are in the most cases so similar that we can speak of reproducibility
of the test.
Typical patterns appear
for each kind of water itself, depending on the ingredients and history
of the water. External effects may overrule these patterns, e.g. things,
which are laid in the water or electromagnetic frequencies or acoustic
waves that oppose to the water. By the observed patterns, we realize
that water has a particular kind of memorizing and storing information
of things that it has experienced. From experiments, we can also see
that living organisms, like plants, can read this information
and act with a unique behavior to the information stored in the water.
Our findings prove the
memory of water and also the communication between separate units of
water. Both seem to be essential for the understanding of mechanisms
in living cells -these consist for approximately 70% of water- as well
as for the communication of water in the world. This knowledge constitutes
a reason to talk about a new dimension of quality and health of our
planet earth. - Prof. Dr. Bernd Helmut Kröplin
that water has memorising
capacity. In this case the oceans would know something about the water
sources up in the mountains and vice versa
that water allows for
inter-communication and transfer of information
that differing thoughts
could be visualised in pictures
that water is like a
mirror in various ways
Which low dose-effects
of radiations are astronauts exposed? Could these low effects acting
on human organisms up to now unverifiable - been detected? Based
on these questions discovered Prof. Dr. Bernd Helmut Kröplin and
his team a sensitive and on divers vibrations reacting element: the
Ultimate Giver of Life, Points to Intelligent Design
There's a buzz around the term "sustainability", but what
does it really mean and what is the type of thinking that is required
to make a fundamental shift outside the existing paradigm? What kind
of mindset is required to solve the ever-growing societal challenges
and to make a meaningful contribution to the world? Claudia explains
what "regenerative thinking" means and provides a few examples
of practices and concepts that support this mindset.
Founder and Director at Terragon Nature Lab, the Netherlands https://terragon.nl
By World Science Festival
How much brain do you need to be smart? Bees and ants
perform marvels as colonies, though each insect has barely any brain.
And plants with no brain at all exhibit behaviors that,
by any definition, count as intelligent. Brace yourself for a mind-bending
exploration of plants that learn new behaviors and warn their brainless
fellows of danger; vines that compete with each other; molds that solve
puzzles; and trees that communicate and cooperate through a wood-wide
web of microscopic mycological fibers. Perhaps the real question
is, are we smart enough to appreciate the vast range of intelligence
that surrounds us?
Participants: Monica Gagliano,
Simon Garnier, Thomas Horton, Naomi Leonard, Mark Moffett
Agrivoltaic is a combination
of solar energy and agriculture that can promote the decarbonization
of the energy system, but also the sustainability of the agricultural
sector and the long-term profitability of small and medium-sized enterprises.
These are the objectives
of the first national platform for Sustainable Agrivoltaic promoted
by ENEA with the aim of bringing together companies, institutions, universities
and trade associations around a single working table. In support of
the network, ENEA and ETA - Florence Renewable Energies are launching
the Sustainable Agrivoltaic Platform, which aims to promote the exchange
of information between all stakeholders involved and to fuel activities
that will help identify guidelines, methodologies and technological
and innovative solutions for the construction of agrivoltaic plants
ETA - Florence will be
responsible for the development of the dedicated website, the platform
management, the communication together with the organization of events
Theory-based residual neural network combines discrete
choice models and deep neural networks, long viewed as conflicting methods.
Researchers at the Future
(FM) interdisciplinary research group at Singapore-MIT
Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), MITs
research enterprise in Singapore, have created a synthetic framework
known as theory-based residual neural network (TB-ResNet), which combines
discrete choice models (DCMs) and deep neural networks (DNNs), also
known as deep learning, to improve individual decision-making analysis
used in travel behavior research.
As machine learning is
increasingly used in the field of transportation, the two disparate
research concepts, DCMs and DNNs, have long been viewed as conflicting
methods of research.
By synergizing these two
important research paradigms, TB-ResNet takes advantage of DCMs
simplicity and DNNs expressive power to generate richer findings
and more accurate predictions for individual decision-making analysis,
which is important for improved travel behavior research. The developed
TB-ResNet framework is more predictive, interpretable, and robust than
DCMs or DNNs, with findings consistent over a wide range of datasets.
Accurate and efficient
analysis of individual decision-making in the everyday context is critical
for mobility companies, governments, and policymakers seeking to optimize
transport networks and tackle transport challenges, especially in cities.
TB-ResNet will eliminate existing difficulties faced in DCMs and DNNs
and allow stakeholders to take a holistic, unified view toward transport
Urban Mobility Lab at MIT
postdoc and lead author Shenhao Wang says, Improved insights to
how travelers make decisions about travel mode, destination, departure
time, and planning of activities are crucial to urban transport planning
for governments and transport companies worldwide. I look forward to
further developing TB-ResNet and its applications for transport planning
now that it has been acknowledged by the transport research community.
SMART FM lead principal
investigator and MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning Associate
Professor Jinhua Zhao says, Our Future Urban Mobility research
team focuses on developing new paradigms and innovating future urban
mobility systems in and beyond Singapore. This new TB-ResNet framework
is an important milestone that could enrich our investigations for impacts
of decision-making models for urban development.
The TB-ResNet can also
be widely applied to understand individual decision-making cases as
illustrated in this research, whether it is about travel, consumption,
or voting, among many others.
The TB-ResNet framework
was tested in three instances in this study. First, researchers used
it to predict travel mode decisions between transit, driving, autonomous
vehicles, walking, and cycling, which are major travel modes in an urban
setting. Secondly, they evaluated risk alternatives and preferences
when monetary payoffs with uncertainty are involved. Examples of such
situations include insurance, financial investment, and voting decisions.
Finally, they examined
temporal alternatives, measuring the tradeoff between current and future
money payoffs. A typical example of when such decisions are made would
be in transport development, where shareholders analyze infrastructure
investment with large down payments and long-term benefits.
Social impact bonds are
for social welfare services based on “payment by results”. They are
first was launched in the UK in 2010, and the first in a developing
country in Colombia in 2017. Nearly 140 have
in the last 10 years. About 70 are being developed.
In social impact bonds, investors provide
working capital upfront to nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) to deliver
services. If the NGO successfully meets predefined targets – like placing
a certain number of work-seekers in jobs – outcome funders repay investors
with interest. If NGOs miss the outcome targets, outcome funders reduce
their payments to investors in proportion to the performance gap, thus
diminishing their returns.
If targets are missed by a wide margin,
the investors could also lose their capital.
In most cases, it is philanthropists
(typically charitable or corporate foundations) that provide all the
investment capital. Rather than providing grants, the investments give
these philanthropists the chance to earn returns and recycle social
expenditure, ensuring that the money goes a little further.
The performance against the outcome
targets is confirmed by an independent outcome auditor, with the financial
management audited by a financial auditor. An intermediary typically
solicits investments and outcome funding, manages the relationships
between the different participants, and assists the service providers
in developing results-based systems.
This capacity building – along with
the promise of larger pools of funding – is a drawcard for NGOs. Another
is that it opens an alternative funding door in an environment that
has seen a decline in funding from traditional donors.
The first two social impact bonds were
initiated in South Africa in 2018. They concluded last year. Both pioneered
new solutions to stubbornly persistent social problems. They also increased
the money available to social expenditure by soliciting private investment
I was involved in compiling
a series of reports
for the research firm Intellidex
about their financial and social performance.
The reports concluded that social impact
bonds showed innovation in areas that desperately needed it. And with
minor adjustments, they should be applied more widely.
The first social impact bond in South Africa
– Bonds4Jobs – had a single performance target: the placement of economically
excluded young people into well-paying, higher-complexity jobs. Meeting
the target was the responsibility of NGOs that provide training and
job-matching services to young people and employers. The project was
led by the non-profit Harambee
Youth Employment Accelerator. Two additional providers were
brought in after the successful first year.
Matching is an approach to youth training that
designs training in consultation with employers. It combines additional
services with training for work-seekers. This involves the profiling
of job-seekers so that they are trained for specific jobs that fit their
competences and abilities.
has demonstrated that many employability programmes for young people
aren’t developed on a matching basis. This reduces their effectiveness
and means that substantial spending – by the state, private sector and
civil society – is inefficient. In turn, this contributes to the unending
catastrophe that is youth unemployment in South Africa. At the
end of 2020, 63% of 15-24 year olds, and 41% of 25-34 year
olds, were unemployed.
The service providers were successful, meeting
the social impact bond’s job target of 600 medium complexity jobs in
the first year and missing it by only a small margin in the second year
(1,209 placements against a 1,400 jobs target). This was due to the
COVID-19 related national lockdown.
The social impact bond was terminated by the
intermediaries two years earlier than anticipated and with full repayment
of capital and returns (ranging from 7% to 11% per year) to investors.
The decision to terminate was taken due to the extraordinarily negative
The second social impact bond – the Impact Bond
Innovation Fund (IBIF) – ended on schedule in November 2020 after an
investment term of three years. Here, the Western Cape Foundation for
Community Work provided home-based early learning services to preschool-aged
children in two impoverished communities in the Cape metro area: Delft
and Atlantis. For most South Africans, early learning services delivered
in preschool-like environments are
very expensive. Where services are accessible, they are typically
The performance targets were:
the recruitment and retention of 2,000 children
in the programme over the three assessment years,
attendance of a set number of sessions, and
improvements relative to a group of similar
children in the Early Learning Outcomes Measure – a test that assesses
programme impacts on early learning.
The project significantly over-achieved on the
first target. However, though improvements were achieved, the early
learning outcome measure targets were missed. This was largely due to
the fact that the IBIF was the first time the test had been applied
to a home visiting (rather than centre-based) model. This made setting
In both social impact bonds, the priority of
the NGOs was meeting the performance targets. This results orientation
– along with the provision of working capital by investors to cover
service delivery costs upfront – allowed service providers to try new
things to ensure that targets were met.
The service providers’ efforts were supported
by the intermediaries. They built the capacity of NGOs to improve service
delivery, especially in the area of monitoring and evaluation. These
systems allowed for a better understanding of performance, the needs
of staff and beneficiaries, and what needed to be changed to ensure
targets were met.
A major consequence of the monitoring and evaluation
was that the evidence base about effective programming in youth employability
and early learning has grown. Bonds4Jobs showed that it is possible
to use a matching approach to deliver decent jobs to young people from
disadvantaged backgrounds. This has already led to a change in the way
the state designs some employment programming. Similarly, the IBIF showed
the usefulness of home-based services in improving access to quality
early learning and improving child-carer interaction.
The hope is that future social impact bonds will
build in rigorous impact evaluation – rather than simple outcome verification.
This would allow for a more nuanced understanding of the various effects
of social programming, and how they might differ for different groups
Secondly, to really begin to make a dent in youth
unemployment and inadequate early learning, performance targets will
need to be more ambitious.
This could be achieved by intermediaries building
capacities of smaller, less well-resourced NGOs to deliver services
differently and in more areas.
Scale could also be achieved by the state adopting
models that have been proven with the social impact bonds.
The next frontier in social impact bonds is attracting
larger volumes of commercial investment. For this to happen, bigger
transactions serving more beneficiaries are needed. In addition, a blended
capital stack, as employed in Bonds4Jobs – where philanthropists take
losses first, and commercial investors are the first to be paid out
– is a promising feature that lowers the risk profile for investors.
Finally, more market development is required.
As social impact bonds and similar instruments proliferate, and as benchmarks
are developed, investing in them will seem less niche. But the need
to make investment profiles attractive for commercial investors must
be balanced against the needs of outcome funders who also require a
good deal. It makes little sense for governments to pay investors returns
unless they are shouldering significant risk in financing innovative
programmes to vulnerable populations.
This article is republished from The
Conversation under a Creative Commons license.
The world often falls short of the way we'd like it to
be, and our power to make even just a little difference can seem limited.
Sometimes it feels like you need to be a super-hero to work toward achieving
anything meaningful. But what if by re-conceiving what you do, you could
change the world for the better?
In this guide, business and leadership coach Carol Sanford shows you
how to fundamentally change the roles you play in society, enabling
you to master more than you ever believed possible; grow yourself and
other people with purpose and meaning, provide astounding innovations
for your clients, children and students, create extraordinary social
returns, rebuild your creativity, and bring new life and success to
everything around you.
THE REGENERATIVE LIFE will teach you to see your personal and career
roles differently: stripping away all preconceptions of how it should
be done, understanding what your role is at its core, and building yourself
back up to become something new; an innovation so grounded, inspiring,
and resilient, it can change the world.
is a consistently recognized thought leader working side by side with
Fortune 500 and new economy executives in designing and leading systemic
business change and design. Through her university and in-house educational
offerings, global speaking platforms, multi-award-winning books, and
human development work, Carol works with executive leaders who see the
possibility to change the nature of work through developing people and
work systems that ignite motivation everywhere. For four decades, Carol
has worked with great leaders of successful businesses such as Google,
DuPont, Intel, P&G, and Seventh Generation, educating them to develop
their people and ensure a continuous stream of innovation that continually
deliver extraordinary results.
Piketty has fundamentally changed the way we understand
His global bestseller 'Capital
in the Twenty-First Century' brought the phenomenon of rising inequality
to our attention and highlighted its economic basis. Pikettys
latest book, 'Capital and Ideology', takes the discussion even
further to examine inequality as a political phenomenon, shaped by ideology
and social institutions.
What are the ideologies
that have created our current age of inequality, and what are the risks
this age poses? What would need to happen for change to occur?
Join Thomas Piketty in
conversation with UNSWs Richard Holden, as they explore the political
basis of inequality in our hypercapitalist age.
This video illustrates how one community developed
and implemented a sustainable solution to help keep stream water cool
enough for healthy fish. Their solution has the added benefit of removing
CO2 from the atmosphere.
mission is to accelerate practical and profitable solutions to global
warming by galvanizing leadership, growing investment, and bridging
divides. Since 1998, Climate Solutions has pioneered the vision and
cultivated political leadership in the Northwest for the proposition
that clean energy and broadly-shared economic prosperity can go hand-in-hand.
Through our programs such as Business Leaders for Climate Solutions,
New Energy Cities, Sustainable Aviation Fuels, and Northwest Biocarbon
Initiative, Climate Solutions builds a powerful constituency for local,
regional, and national action on climate and clean energy. Climate Solutions
has offices in Seattle, Olympia, and Portland.
Biocarbon Initiative (NBI) program is dedicated to establishing
the Northwest as a leading laboratory and incubator for biocarbon solutions.
In addition to rapidly transitioning off of fossil fuels (the first
climate solution), we must also restore safe levels of greenhouse gases
in Earths atmosphere by developing scalable strategies to pull
carbon from the air and store it in soils, trees, and other plants (the
second climate solution).NBI is building the movement to protect and
increase carbon stored in forests, farms, communities, wetlands, coasts,
and other ecosystems, in ways that are economically attractive and deliver
multiple public benefits.
Trees, plants, and soils absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,
helping to reduce CO2 pollution that is destabilizing our climate.
(born 1955) is an Australian environmental designer, futurist, ecological
educator and writer. He is best known as the co-originator with Bill
Mollison of the permaculture concept following the publication of Permaculture
One in 1978. Since then he has developed three properties, consulted
and supervised in urban and rural projects and presented lectures, workshops
and courses at a wide variety of events and venues in Australia and
around the world. His writings over those three decades span a diversity
of subjects and issues but always illuminating another aspect of permaculture
At home (Melliodora
in Hepburn, Central Victoria), David is the vegetable gardener, silviculturalist
and builder. Within the international and growing permaculture movement,
David is respected for his commitment to presenting permaculture ideas
through practical projects and teaching by personal example, that a
sustainable lifestyle is a realistic, attractive and powerful alternative
to dependent consumerism.
As well as constant involvement
in the practical side of permaculture, David is passionate about the
philosophical and conceptual foundations for sustainability, the focus
of his seminal book Permaculture:
Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability. This book
has been significant influences on the development of Transition Initiatives
around the world. More recently his Future
Scenarios work has seen him recognised as a significant thinker
about the Energy Descent future. After a decade of significant
international travel, David is
no longer flying but continues to do some international presentations
by skype and pre-recorded video including receipt of the recent award
What is permaculture?
Popularly seen as a cool
form of organic gardening, permaculture could be better described as
a design system for resilient living and land use based on universal
ethics and ecological design principles. Although the primary focus
of permaculture has been the redesign of gardening, farming, animal
husbandry and forestry, the same ethics and principles apply to design
of buildings, tools and technology. Applying permaculture ethics and
principles in our gardens and homes inevitably leads us towards redesigning
our ways of living so as to be more in tune with local surpluses and
Permaculture is also a
global movement of individuals, groups and networks working to create
the world we want, by providing for our needs and organising our lives
in harmony with nature. The movement is active in the most privileged
and the most destitute communities and countries. Permaculture may be
Australias most significant export for humanity facing a world
Permaculture is also a
and movement of individuals and groups working in both rich and poor
countries on all continents. Largely unsupported by government or business,
these people are contributing to a sustainable future by reorganising
their lives and work around permaculture design principles. In this
way they are creating small local changes but ones which are directly
and indirectly influencing action in the wider environment, organic
agriculture, appropriate technology, communities and other movements
for a sustainable world.
David Holmgrens Future Scenarios
This page explores
the work of Permacultures cofounder David Holmgren and what he
sees for the possible directions that civilization can take.
Extended interview with David Holmgren: Co-originator
Legendary Australian Permaculture Garden Tour
David Holmgren & Su Dennett's Melliodora