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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A series of nine planetary boundaries have been identified by Rockstrom et al. 2009. It is becoming increasingly clear that development pathways must reconnect with the biosphere’s capacity to sustain them  (Folke et al. 2011).

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The ability to do work for man depends on the energy quality and quantity, and this is measureable by the amount of energy of a lower quality grade required to develop the higher grade. The scale of energy goes from dilute sunlight up to plant matter to coal, from coal to electricity and up to the high quality efforts of computer and human information processing. (Odum, 1973)

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Fundamental to the good society is the ability of elected officials and their civil servants to make decisions and policies grounded on evidence and sound scientific advice. This is also key to ensuring that the power of elites, and vested interests for maintaining the status quo do not dominate the political agenda of the day, and are kept in balance with the democratic principles of social justice, fairness, equity and sustainable development.

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June 25th, 2012

As the population of Canada doubles in size, one would expect the gross total household consumption of goods and services to increase accordingly.  To be specific, Canada’s population has increased in the last 50 years from approximately 18 million to 34 million; thus, arithmetically speaking, households collectively should be expected to consume 1.89 (i.e., 34 divided by 18) more now as they did as in the 1960s.  However, this is not the case. 

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What does inequality do to a community? Ironically, there is no relationship whatsoever between key social indicators and gross national product (GNP). Bigger income gaps lead to deteriorations in health (drug abuse, infant mortality, life expectancy, mental illness, obesity), human capital (child well-being, high school drop outs, math and literacy scores, social mobility, teenage births, and social relations (child conflict, homicide, imprisonment, social capital, trust).

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Richard Branson is using his purchase of British bank Northern Rock to offer small loans to the poor and urged Wall Street bankers to use their bonuses to help repair the economic damage they caused. His book, Screw Business as Usual, urges companies to not only focus on profit, but also on doing good for the world. "Microcredit has worked in Africa and India, maybe it could even work in somewhere like the United Kingdom". Microfinance traditionally targets women and, anlaysts say, has default rates of just a few per cent.

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