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Is there a way out? Announcing the new Radical Ecological Democracy website

Ashish Kothari & Pallav Das write: Genuine alternatives to the destructive juggernaut of corporate and finance capital are emerging as much from contemporary progressive resistance as from the wisdom of indigenous peoples’ and other traditional community world-views. “Radical Ecological Democracy” (RED) is one such emerging paradigm based on which we can fashion a meaningful future.

Is Costa Rica the world’s happiest, greenest country?

Ariana López Peña writes: Costa Rica was the most environmentally advanced and happiest place on earth last year, followed by Mexico, Colombia and Vanuatu, according to the Happy Planet Index, which measures life expectancy, well-being, environmental footprint and inequality to calculate nations’ success– all areas where Costa Rica’s government has made significant effort and investment.

Watch: Fidel Castro: Tomorrow will be too late

Fidel Castro, the legendary Cuban revolutionary and politician who passed away on November 25th was known for his pioneering policies in health and education, but was equally committed to environmental issues. In this short talk given at the 1992 Earth Summit, Fidel described the global environmental crisis and identified its causes more powerfully than any other delegate.

Bookshelf: Lean Logic – A Dictionary For The Future

A masterpiece and a dictionary unlike any other, every entry in David Fleming’s Lean Logic presents the author’s deft, original analysis of how our present market-based economy is destroying the very foundations—ecological, economic, and cultural—on which it depends, and his core focus: a compelling, grounded vision for a cohesive society that might weather the consequences.

Video: Beyond the Red Lines – System Change Not Climate Change

From the lignite mines in Rhineland, to the streets of Paris, the struggles for climate justice are fought at more and more fronts. This film documents the story of a growing movement that says “Enough! Here and no further!” and commits civil disobedience taking the transition towards a climate just society into its own hands.

Ashish Kothari: The search for radical alternatives – key elements and principles

Can there be a collective search for paradigms and pathways towards a world that is sustainable, equitable and just? How can such frameworks and visions build on an existing heritage of ideas and worldviews and cultures, and on past or new grassroots practice? This note attempts to layout a few thoughts towards such a process.

Cuba’s sustainable agriculture is now at risk, thanks to Uncle Sam

Miguel Altieri writes: Cuba, which took to agroecology out of necessity when the U.S.S.R. collapsed, has become a leading example of ecological agriculture. If it does not deal carefully with U.S. agribusinesses, Cuba could revert to an industrial approach that relies on mechanization, transgenic crops and agrochemicals, rolling back the revolutionary gains of its campesinos.

Creating “urban-rural bioregions” in India: a self-sustaining regional planning alternative

Didier Prost writes: Development impacts on the climate, the way fertile land is used and  on ecosystems are catastrophic for the environment. A “return to (the notion of) land as a common good” requires us to raise “awareness or consciousness of place” in order to rebuild relationships of co-evolution between human settlements and the environment.

Video & Report: Four important lessons from Cuba’s urban food survival strategy

Aurel Keller writes: The collapse of the Soviet Union, and resultant loss of imports crucial for the island nation’s industrial agriculture system left Cuba with a severe food crisis in the 1990s. Today, Cuba has become a regional leader in sustainable agriculture, and its practices and institutions a model for localized and small-scale urban agriculture.

Why global capital fears ‘Brexit’

Helena Norberg-Hodge writes: Today, banks and corporations run Europe. For big corporations and financial institutions, diversity is an impediment, whereas monoculture – in all aspects of life, from seeds, fast food and clothing, to architecture – is ‘efficient’. For them, a single Europe-wide market of 500 million people was an essential step to further growth:

The Peak Oil dilemma

David Blittersdorf writes: Our industrial society can handle about a 10% voluntary energy reduction across the board, doing things like walking more and carpooling. To get to the necessary level (which, by some estimations, will be about a 60-80% decrease in energy usage), will be impossible unless we change the way we think about things.

Recent victories by people’s movements show democracy is thriving

Ashish Kothari writes: Unlike the representative form that most countries have adopted, a series of recent events point more to a direct form in which people on the ground have the primary power of decision-making. From Chhattisgarh to Odisha, people’s movements against large development projects have brought out the real power of democracy in India.

The Panama Papers: Consequences of centralised money and power

Charles Hugh Smith writes: If we don’t change the way money is created and distributed, we will never change anything. The Panama Papers offer damning proof of this: increasing concentrations of wealth and power free of constraint (like taxes) is not just the consequence of centralized money and state power, but its only possible output.

Power in India: radical pathways to local self-rule

Ashish Kothari & Pallav Das write in State of Power report: People are recognizing that the current power dispensation is frozen in an intellectual paradigm defined by free-market orthodoxy and will change only if confronted by worldviews such as swaraj or Radical Ecological Democracy. India (and the world) needs that change in order to continue to thrive.

Odanthurai – Tamil Nadu’s energy self sufficient village

Times of India COIMBATORE: Just a fortnight after the civic body elections, a village panchayat in Coimbatore has decided to offer free electricity to its residents within the next five years. Having already won international acclaim through its unique welfare schemes and energy self-sufficiency drives, Odanthurai near Mettupalayam has begun efforts to develop a corpus

Mihir Mathur: Local Exchange Systems

Local Exchange Systems: Designing Community Initiatives A discussion paper on Alternate Economics to Strengthen Local Economy and Facilitate Sustainable Adaptation Mihir Mathur & Mithika D’Cruz – Watershed Organization Trust, Pune Abstract Economic Globalization in its current form is a centralising juggernaut which often causes large-scale resource depletion in remote eco-systems, unpredictable price variations in essential commodities

Bangalore meeting with Naresh of Transition Town Totnes

Transition Towns is a world wide living experiment in how to shift our current system of unequal, growth based consumption, to one where all are living well in times of change and within our planetary boundaries. The transition movement now has many examples of how local, small scale change can influence social and political systems. Naresh Giangrande, co founder of