Regenerating NJ Shore Communities

JCloudStorerSmThrough our new nonprofit, the Center for Regenerative Community Solutions (CRCS), we have begun the work of rebuilding NJ’s shore communities in a more sustainable way. As part of the basis for this work, we’ve published the following article, originally posted January 12, 2013, and most recently revised February 11, 2012: RegeneratingNewJerseyShoreCommunitiesJan2013r

We’ve also been sharing the following message with a number of Shore-based and statewide nonprofits:

CRCS is looking to partner with other nonprofit and civic organizations to host a series of community dialogs regarding the long term sustainable reconstruction of the NJ shore. Our team has substantial experience and expertise in community engagement, urban planning, anthropology, organization development, project management, leadership development, finance, and permaculture, as well as the broad topics of sea level rise, coastal ecosystem integrity, and climate change.

While we are a newly registered entity, CRCS comes out of work that we’ve done for a number of years through the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise at Fairleigh Dickinson University, the Center for Leadership in Sustainability, and through several other nonprofits.

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Seeking Sustainable Growth in the Wake of Sandy

The Center for Regenerative Community Solutions and Regenerative Community Ventures, Inc. have recently circulated a position paper on “Laying a Foundation for Sustainable Growth in New Jersey in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy” with policy makers and community leaders in the state. Here is a final version, and several excerpts. The authors are co-founders of the Center for Leadership in Sustainability, the Sustainable Leadership Forum, and Acumen Technology Group, LLC. Jonathan Cloud is Senior Fellow, Institute for Sustainable Enterprise, Fairleigh Dickinson University and Managing Partner, Acumen Technology Group, LLC.Victoria Zelin is Principal, Regenerative Community Ventures, Inc., a licensee of Unified Field Corporation.

Superstorm Sandy has dramatically altered NJ’s economy as well as its geography for years to come. While there may be a short-­term “bounce” from the money spent on reconstruction, the thinking about how that rebuilding should be carried out is already moving very quickly toward the view that it needs to be substantially more hurricane-­proof and disaster-­resistant, more resilient, and — in a word — more sustainable.

This paper sets out some considerations and recommendations for creating a foundation for sustainable growth in New Jersey, describes some of the initiatives we are taking through our new nonprofit organization, the Center for Regenerative Community Solutions, and makes specific suggestions for policies and programs for state and local government to support these and similar initiatives from other organizations.

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Doing Business Differently

JCloudStorerSmWe know that the new economic and ecological realities we face require us to do something different in business, which in some cases also means doing business differently.

Certainly it’s possible to use a conventional business model to manufacture and install solar panels, build windfarms, etc., and we certainly need these kinds of things “at scale,” as they say, sufficient to offset the energy we get from coal, oil, and nuclear. But other kinds of businesses — local, community-based businesses focusing on food, energy conservation, community banking, and other elements of local “economic, social, environmental, and cultural development” — these it seems need a different approach to doing business altogether.

For one thing, getting people to invest in local projects is surprisingly difficult under the conventional business model. It’s just much easier, and assumed to be much safer and more profitable, to “diversify your investments” by putting them in mutual funds, bonds, and publicly-traded companies. What we need are local investments that are either super-secure, or where the risk can be spread over many different enterprises and investors.

Focusing attention on the local economy is one of the central tenets of “financial permaculture,” a movement that is growing out of the tradition of permaculture derived from the work of Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in Tasmania in the 1970s.

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Beyond Lingering Problems in Haiti, Progress and Vision Spark Hope

Sustainable Haiti Conference, April 4-6, Miami Convention Center to Feature Sustainable Haiti Coalition

n the face of cholera outbreaks, political turmoil and faltering development efforts in Haiti, can individuals in America impact the long-term prospects for Haitians? Tamara Apollon, president of Mon Pays Mon Cuisine (i.e. My Country, My Cuisine) (Piscataway, NJ), told a United Nations commission on the status of women on February 22 that more help is needed.

She for one is doing her part. In the past several years, Apollon has traveled to Cuba and Spain, and is also meeting with companies in the U.S., to open new markets for novel Haitian-based products such as mango juice, squash puree and dried fruits. The products support a community cooperative of 300 women fruit growers in Lascoabas, about 90 minutes from Port au Prince. Apollon can generate demand for the products, but further investment is needed to buy generators, processing and storage equipment to bring the cooperative to its full potential, she says.

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What’s In a Name? – Help Needed

I need your help. For discussion purposes please assume the following:
  1. We need to phase out the use of fossil fuels.
  2. We need to incentivize people to burn less fossil fuel and one way to do this is to increase the prices of fossil fuels.
  3. An easy way to do this is to impose a tax on fossil fuels.
  4. The specific proposal here is to impose a tax on the CO2 that will be produced when the fuel is burned, and to collect this tax at the source of the fuel:  mine, well, or port of entry for imported oil and gas.  The tax will start low and increase by a predetermined amount each year.  All the revenue from this tax, except for a small administrative cost, will be returned directly and promptly to the public.  The revenue will be divided equally among all legal residents and checks will be sent out in December and June.  [Alaska does this for oil pipeline revenue and sends out a check each June.]

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Toward a Sustainable Future for Haiti

JCloudStorerSmThe earthquake in Haiti has been many things – including both a wakeup call for Americans, and an opportunity to demonstrate our compassion – but it has above all been a human tragedy that has revealed the weaknesses and deficiencies that were there before. A 7.5 magnitude earthquake will no doubt cause some damage no matter where it occurs, but it does not always need to cause the extent of devastation that has occurred in Haiti, or to leave the population as unaided.

Some colleagues of ours at the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise met last week to discuss what we could do to contribute to a longer-term recovery, that would try to address the social, environmental, and economic challenges facing this troubled nation. We talked about a great many things, including the fact that many of us feel powerless in the face of such catastrophes, especially those that afflict human beings in distant places. We are all “overcommitted” to many worthwhile and challenging tasks already, and taking on such a monumental task as helping to chart the way forward in Haiti clearly seems to require that we steal time and energy from other causes. But if we can make even a small difference, while honoring our other commitments, this seems a compelling goal. Read the rest of this entry »

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An Open Letter to the President

The Road Not Taken:
A Letter to President Obama
from a Concerned Democrat,
and a Concerned Citizen

Jonathan Cloud (Publisher)

Jonathan Cloud (Publisher)

Dear Mr. President:

I write out of deep concern as to the state of our nation today.

I believe that in the year since your inauguration, an important opportunity has been missed to unify and mobilize the American people in the service of their highest ideals.

I acknowledge the many pressures and challenges that have been thrust upon you by circumstances, and I applaud you for the intelligent and courageous actions you have taken. Your actions have, as almost all economists now recognize, averted an outright collapse of the financial system. And this is but one of many remarkable accomplishments, not the least of which has been changing the tone around America’s role in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

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Off Fossil Fuels by 2040: Proposed Democratic Resolution for Feb 1 Meeting

allen1Bernards Township Democratic Committee Resolution No. 2010-01

A RESOLUTION urging Congress and the President of the United States to enact legislation to phase out the use of all fossil fuels by 2040, and urging the President of the United States to declare 2010 a year for national dialog on this program.

WHEREAS, the Bernards Township Democratic Committee is a duly organized local political committee under the laws of the State of New Jersey;

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Latest News & Updates

JCSketch72f

Jonathan Cloud (Editor & Publisher)

I’ve been working to add some sections and some content to the site and get it ready for a launch of some kind, when we decide that it’s ready for “prime time.” There are some challenges in the formatting, and I welcome your comments.

  • I’ve posted Bill Allen’s upcoming discussion of “OFF by 2040” at the February 1 Bernards Democrats’ meeting to the Events page. Eventually I’ll add a Calendar to this page so it will be easier to see what’s happening.
  • I’ve posted a recent correspondence between Larry Nault, Bill Allen, and myself, starting with Larry’s communication as an article and then adding our responses as comments, as an example of how things ought to appear (at least in my view).

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The Democrats Still Don’t Get It

 

LNaultHi folks:

I copied below a column from tomorrows NYT by Bob Herbert.  This is the story I was yelling about in Sonal’s campaign and you guys were wondering if I was nuts and were full of denial respecting the troubles brewing here and on everybody’s mind.  My specific charge was limousine liberals.

Reading the stuff you two are batting back and forth I wonder if you two are on the same planet as I live on.  The health care legislation is dead.  Cap and trade or any variations of carbon restrictions are dead.   President Nero fiddled while the economy was burning,  hostage as he is to environmental interests as hostile to progress as the republican cabal is to co-operation.  The cart was placed before the donkey.  You can accomplish nothing until the private economy gets back on its feet.  With a robust economy, with unemployment dropping all these other things could be considered rationally. Until then nothing will get done. Read the rest of this entry »

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