GLEANINGS

Decades of dam building had decimated migratory fish populations that had long sustained local wildlife and people on the Penobscot River. After years of contentious battles, local stakeholders struck a deal. Today, for the first time in 200 years, river life is rebounding. And the power company has not lost any hydropower generation.

One of the biggest barriers to making investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy is the upfront cost. So what if members of rural electric cooperative and rural municipal electric utilities could borrow money for small-scale improvements on the same terms as the utilities for their large-scale power plants?

Starting in 2014, they can.

The expansion of crowdfunding in the last few years has been quite vertiginous.  Hundreds of projects have been able to get off the ground around the world coming from very different backgrounds but united in the aim of creating a link between donors and the projects they sponsor.  Crowdfunding, for its practicality and usefulness, has expanded without any ideological limitation and while it served to finance

If I let on that, here in Oakland, there is a graphic design business, a bakery, a design-build firm, a business incubator and a bicycle courier company that all have one very important similarity, what would you guess it is that they have in common?  Say… you’re right: They are all worker-cooperatives. What a guess!

Matt and Eric interview co-op historian and novelist John Curl for Cooperative Vermont

See more from Cooperative Vermont on their Youtube channel

 

Go to the GEO front page

Though they end up as owners and decision-makers, workers in low-income communities often don't start off doing all the work of developing and growing a worker-owned cooperative themselves.

Mention the commons and most people conjure up the image of a bucolic English pasture. The commons were the fields and forests where medieval commoners farmed, raised sheep, gathered firewood, and in other ways met their everyday needs. That was before aristocrats and landed gentry evicted millions of people from their traditional lands and began the large-scale, industrialized abuse of nature.

A community without dollars is not a community without wealth – this basic insight lies at the heart of the community resilience movement. With income and wealth inequality still on the rise in our “post-recession” economy, communities are finding creative ways to meet their needs and maintain social ties through community-created forms of exchange, or complementary currencies.

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