Author: Chris Riedy

Loy Yang

What is a carbon hotspot?

For a few years now, I’ve been thinking about the idea of ‘carbon hotspots’. I define a carbon hotspot as a physical or cultural zone that is responsible for an unusually intense concentration of greenhouse gas (carbon) emissions. I think the concept is useful for helping us to think about the nature of the physical and cultural transformation our societies need to make to respond to climate change. I first recall using the term back in 2007 when putting together an unsuccessful grant application with several colleagues from diverse disciplines at the University of Technology Sydney. Back then, we were thinking of carbon hotspots in a purely physical sense – as geographic sites where activities occur that generate a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. Physical carbon hotspots Physical sites at which there is intense generation of greenhouse gas emissions include coal-fired power stations, coal mines, major motorways, airports, industrial facilities and sites of major deforestation. These are carbon hotspots at a project or infrastructure scale. The Loy Yang Power Station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley is …

The word "SHARE" written in wooden letterpress type.

Survey – The Sharing Economy in Australia

For a number of years, I have been interested in the potential for collaborative consumption, or the sharing economy, to deliver environmental, social and economic benefits. I’ve written about collaborative consumption and the impact of the sharing economy, and I’ve maintained a list of sharing initiatives operating in Australia. Now, I would like to dig a bit deeper into how the sharing economy is going in Australia. I’m running a survey of sharing economy or collaborative consumption initiatives in Australia. The aim of the survey is to: Provide a more comprehensive picture of collaborative consumption and sharing initiatives in Australia Explore the challenges and barriers faced by collaborative and sharing initiatives, and the strategies entrepreneurs are using to overcome these barriers Assess the economic, social and environmental benefits of the sharing economy Identify opportunities to support the emergence of the sharing economy in Australia. I’m looking for the following people to participate: People who are involved with a project, website, organisation or initiative…. Which is operating in Australia… And could be described as part of the sharing economy, sharing movement, collaborative economy, collaborative movement, commons movement, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing or the peer economy (or a similar term). If that sounds like you, please click on the survey link where you can find more information on the research. And please pass this on to anyone else that you can think of who …

Climate action

Where should we look for democracy?

What does democracy look like? When most people think about democracy, they probably think about voting in elections for a politician to represent them in parliament. The politician is then tasked with ‘debating’ issues on their behalf. This representative model of democracy assumes that we can trust politicians to represent our views. Of course, the reality can be very different. What if you don’t like any of the politicians that are running in your electorate? What if you think they are all out of touch with everyday reality? Or what if you like some of what they stand for, but not all of it? You are left with a blunt choice – out of these imperfect representatives, who is the least worst? It’s no wonder that many people love democracy in principle, but are disillusioned with its actual practice. There are other models of democracy that try to improve on traditional representative democracy. One such model is deliberative democracy. Deliberative democracy puts talking, rather than voting at the centre of democracy. In a deliberative democracy, things are …