Views from the Edge

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Welcome to the CRC blog, where we discuss bleeding edge issues around sustainable community development. The term ‘bleeding edge’ connotes the idea of our failure to somehow or other convince the publics about the urgency of responding to climate change now, and that we need to better communicate the principles and practises of sustainable development to the wider publics. So, yes it takes courage to be 'at the edge', and sometimes one 'bleeds' a lot, but let's start the conversation now.

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On our front page this week, we feature our video on spatial justice, justice that takes into account place integrated into social justice, that we can’t have spaces of inequality alongside gated communities. The rising income inequality revealed by the recent Oxfam study that the top 1% now possess 48% of the world’s wealth is further exacerbating a world of haves and have nots.

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Co-housing is a win-win situation with many co-benefits. As the baby boomers age, and lose their partners, co-housing is a viable alternative to retirement homes and nursing homes. As Anil Gawande points out in his thoughtful book, Being Mortal, “our most cruel failure is how we treat the sick and the aged. .

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A local energy company in Vermont, Green Mountain Energy, is leading the transformation of an electric system that depends on power sent along big transmission lines to a community-, home- and business-based energy system for both economic and environmental reasons. As a practical matter, the less electricity the utility pulls from the regional transmission system, especially at times of peak demand, the less it has to pay in fees, producing savings it can pass on to customers.

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Following up on my last blog, a new study has been released that talks about two narratives about climate change that appeals to a broad cross-section of the political spectrum and more importantly reduced skepticism among the centre-right. What’s the secret, focusing on avoiding waste as a critical part of saving energy, and appealing to patriotic support for the UKs flourishing low-carbon energy technologies.

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I have been having a discussion with a dear friend and colleague, Susan Tanner, former president of Friends of the Earth and a fearless environmentalist. She feels, and she is right, that we are in dire straits when it comes to climate change impacts, and although I agree with her, we don't agree on the best way to stimulate greater action.

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After testing 5 captive ravens, a team of Swedish researchers at Lund University believe this clever corvid species considers the future. According to this Guardian article, the ravens completed a series of tests centered on two tasks not typical in the wild. Not only did they learn how to use tools but also figured out how to barter with humans. In one experiment, they determined which tool could be dropped down a tube to release a tasty treat.

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