Insight 2011, No 2


Residential housing in Kirklees, England. Credit: Darren Beaumont

In this issue ...

i4 is an ejournal that reports on the efforts of people in Canada and around the world to Inspire, Innovate, Incite, and Invent ways of life and work that permit both people and planet to thrive. This latest i4 release describes how to dovetail energy efficiency with housing affordability and jobs. The key? ...


Community - the Key to Energy Efficiency Buy-In

Good news, home renovators! With the recent success of the Conservative Party at the polls, Canada’s Eco-Energy Retrofit Program gains a new lease on life. Once again, householders will be able to qualify for up to $5,000 in federal rebates for upgrading their home’s heating system, water heater, or insulation. If you’re someone who can sort through all the options on the program’s national website, choose a reputable contractor, and cover all the costs up front, it’s a good deal. Why, over the last three years, 85,000 households have participated ... rather less than 1% of the Canadian total.

Is this really the best we can do? Read on.

Poverty Reduction by Other Means

As fossil fuel prices rise, millions of households face fuel poverty. In reply, we could try to control energy costs, or raise income levels, or challenge the notion of family home ownership itself. In England, Kirklees targetted energy efficiency instead. 30% of households have taken part, driving fuel costs and GHG emissions down, and local employment up.

Read Kirklees, U.K. (in English with a French language summary). Photocredit: Yorkshire Energy Services CIC.

"Kirklees, U.K." the first installment of an i4 Special Edition on the role of the social economy in resolving the shortage of affordable housing. See the complete content line-up.

What lies at the end of the neoliberal rainbow? How about determination, hope, and resourcefulness. In ten years fraught with economic crisis, over 200 worker co-ops have stepped up to nurse bankrupt businesses back to life in Argentina. With a survival rate of 90%, don't call these co-ops a "stopgap" - they are a viable alternative.

Read The Measure of Success (in English with a French language summary). Photocredit: Paula Surraco.

Transition Sharing

There are now 51 Transition Towns and initiatives active in Canada. That's a world of experience in training and community engagement, as well as resources. Tell us about it!

Please use the Transition Questionnaire to outline the projects that you have launched and the resources you have developed in Canada. What's worked? What hasn't? We'll get back to you and then see how other transitioners can benefit from it.

Upcoming Conferences & Training Events

  • Connections to Revitalize Communities, June 8, Toronto, ON, sponsored by the Canadian CED Network in Ontario. Click here for more information and to register.
  • Business Succession and Employee Ownership (Oct. 11-13) and North American Worker Co-ops (Oct. 13-15) - two conferences for worker co-operators back-to-back in Québec City. For program information, click here.
  • 2011 International Forum on the Social and Solidarity Economy (FIESS), October 17-20, Montréal, QC. Early bird registration ends June 24. Click here to register.
  • ILO Academy on Social and Solidarity Economy, October 24-28, Montréal, QC. Click here for more information about this training event.

Become an i4 Supporter

i4 does not require readers to pay for subscriptions. Rather than prevent people from reading it, we want to distribute its contents far and wide, wherever there are people looking for practical approaches to fundamental change. Still, i4 costs money to produce.

Want to help us continue to turn out a quality ejournal? Become an i4 supporter. Propose a topic. Make a donation. Advertise.

Better still, choose a Topic Proposal and Partner with us to bring it to press. See the current list of Topic Proposals and the benefits of partnership with i4.

IPCC Report on Renewable Energy

In addition to energy efficiency, Kirklees - now Yorkshire - Energy Services (YES) is paying close attention to building the market for renewable energy. Responding to the incentives created by Government of the U.K. (especially the Feed-In Tariffs), YES is partnering with installers and suppliers of renewable energy in order to help create the volumes of demand and supply that will drive down prices. Public policy set the stage for local and regional initiative.

Similarly, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released a Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation. (An excellent summary of its conclusions is available here.) The report concludes that "green power" could hold greenhouse gas concentrations below the critical level - given support from public policy. As one IPCC member said, "The report shows that it is not the availability of [renewable] resources but the public policies that will either expand or constrain renewable energy development over the coming decades."


Insight is a service to subscribers of i4, a free ejournal about community resilience and transition in an age of peak oil and climate change.

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Don McNair
Canadian Centre for Community Renewal
1601 - 25th Avenue, Vernon, B.C. V1T 1M8 CANADA
tel 250-542-7057

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