Updated: Jul 8
There are so many good reads out there on the issues we care about, so to help our team stay smart, we started a Seaside Sustainability Book Club. Up this month: The Green New Deal, by Jeremy Rifkin. Rifkin is an economic theorist and the book lays out his vision for “how to transform the global economy and save life on Earth.”
We had a stimulating discussion about what we learned, what surprised us and what this information could mean for Seaside’s programs. Here are three key takeaways.
Decentralization drives greater resilience. The author emphasized the need for approaches that connect multiple small players and can be tailored to meet local needs (city, state, region) – but under a unifying strategy. The European Commission is driving towards a climate-neutral continent by 2050 and is empowering the European Union’s 350 governing regions to customize how they get there. “Deep public participation” is also crucial. By offering the opportunity for stakeholder input at each critical decision point, it accelerates change at any level of society.
There are powerful, realistic, synergistic levers to pull. While transforming the global economy is a tall order, it can be done through a multisector approach. Infrastructure, energy, and communication technology are three major areas for action – combined, the author suggests transformation of these sectors will lead to a green “Third Industrial Revolution” (TIR).
Naturally, there’s the question: who will pay for this? Rifkin makes the case for the power of pension funds. The billions housed in these private and public funds could be a critical vehicle for moving the TIR forward faster, with “green banks” as the facilitators.
We need to think beyond ourselves. As Rifkin states…
Awareness of the planetary agencies that affect our very existence is a humbling experience and the central lesson that climate change is teaching us. Learning to live among rather than rule over these agencies that traverse the Earth is what takes us from dominion to stewardship and from human-centric detachment to deep participation with the living earth.
In the future, we are thinking about expanding our book club to the community. If we do, would you like to join? Comment below to let us know your thoughts (and what other books we should select!).