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Common questions for presidential candidates

December 11, 2016

While the Brexit and the victory of Donald Trump shook the world, it is the turn of France to be in  election period. The French will vote in May for their next president. The issue is all the more important in the current context.

François Hollande (French president between 2012 and 2016) presidential review is not good and the French are looking for actions, but they mainly think of actions that will affect their life, their income.

Thinking in terms of self-interest is not new. For example my family has a family business and I grew up in a climate where discussions during elections were mainly focus on how the political programs and presidential candidates would affect businesses and families. People votes are focused on how the election results would benefit them personally even if our nation and world are facing other majors problem.  Little is said about the common good of a society.

We live in an individualistic society where the needs and interests of the individual are promoted to the needs of the group. So what is the best way to think, to do? As a young citizen, a number of questions about common property come to my mind. This could destabilize the candidates often accustomed to speaking for the personal interests of different societal classes.

  • What constrained actions will you take to honor the Paris agreements ?
  • What measures would you take to reduce the tons of waste dumped into the oceans?
  • What is your action plan to minimize the abusive use of non-renewable resources in France?
  • What is your strategy to promote common good actions?
  • What is your plan to put the common good in the center of French concerns?
  • How will you make public space safe and accessible to all communities?…

By May 2017, many questions will be asked of presidential candidates in a multitude of talks, debates and meetings. It is up to us to ask the questions that concern us as a system of french citizens. It our duty to build the world we want live in, in France we have the chance to vote, this is not a reality in all country around the world.

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Microcredit, a Social Development Tool

December 7, 2016

Sheltered from a pouring rain  by a palm leaf,  Reang is working on her loom, employing at the same time, her feet, and her hand to operate. Every move is graceful and coordinated as a hammock production is in full swing ! Although, traditional activity in the region of Battambang in Cambodia and in a lot of other place around the world are unfortunately in decline.

Many women subscribe to microcredit from microfinance institutions to buy raw materials and upgrade their equipment. Development through financial inclusion of  poor people is

burgeoning and is implemented in the majority of developing countries.

The Concept was developed by Muhammad Yunus,  the Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 2006, and involves the provision of financial assistance to people excluded from the traditional banking system. These poor, often illiterate and mostly unsecured individuals, do not fit into the boxes of large financial institutions. Lending money to them would be too risky.

The microfinance institutions work  in contrary to conventional banks trusting these future entrepreneurs by providing loans to expand or create an income generator. Credit modalities varies from country to country. The amounts are up to 60$ in India and 3000$ in Peru with a repayment spread over 3 to 24 month. Thus the microcredit institution does not only  supply a loan to a single woman or group of women (the latter appear to be more responsible than men) but also provides social and corporate management formations based on playful tools. The topics can range from the importance of not subscribing to several loans at the same time to the use the capital for business and not for consumption.

The practice shows that microcredit institutions have reason to believe in these people: the repayment rate is nearly on average of  98% . Through these actions, they are entire communities who see their standard of living and their social environment improve. Inclusive microcredit used in this manner proves to be a formidable development lever.

Most of the time, beneficiaries need significant cash contribution at a given time. Many micro-entrepreneurs use the money to build up stock, artisans (carpenters, weavers, shoemakers …) are applying for loans to purchase their raw materials needed to make their products. Finally, rural activities are numerous, the loans are used more often to purchase inputs, tools or animals.

Microcredit programs affect the development by creating physical, human and social capital. In fact the activity promoted by the loans increase production and consumption for common pool resources and units ressources. Microfinance has created a new system which is an important lever for sustainability.

 

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Drink lemonade to fight against poverty!

December 5, 2016

The start-up Lemonaid produces drinks with fruit from organic farming and fair trade. The goal of the company: to use the profit to finance sustainable projects in developing countries.

A refreshing drinkthat is green and fair, does it sounds too good? Yet it is the goal of the start-up Lemonaid. On 7 October, she was rewarded in the Non Profit Awards which aim to enhance the pioneers of altruistic economy.

In 2008, in Hamburg, Germany, the founders have a simple but innovative idea: like children wishing to pocket money, they’ll make lemonade, a good and simple product. And instead of keeping the money for themselves, it will be used to finance actions in the service of social improvements, environmental and ecological in developing countries through their foundation “Lemonaid & ChariTea e.V.”.

Currently, the company has developed three different products: Lime, Maracuja and Blutorange. All fruits are from organic farming and fair trade, and the recipe is similar: fruit, sometimes sugar and sparkling water. No preservatives, coloring or other artificial flavor. The fruits come from small farming cooperatives located around the world: the sugar cane is grown in Paraguay, the lime is from Mexico, the maracuja is grown in Sri Lanka, the mango is from India.

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Of course, they want be sure to respect their values. Lemonaid do not just use international certifications to choose farmers. The company also meets the farmers who provide their raw material to ensure to their working conditions are fair

On every bottle sold, 5 cents is levied. Since January 2010, the company has already managed to raise over 1.2 million € and supported many projects. Water tanks in South Africa to collect rainwater are helping local farmers. In Paraguay, an organic farming school provides young people with basic education as well as more practical matters related to agriculture, fruits and vegetables, livestock.

This social business helps to create a relation between different systems of  commoners around the world to support local initiatives of sustainable development. “Limonaid” confirms that the spirit of company and collective action have points of convergence. This example also highlights that the spirit of a business can be a means of promoting sustainable development in communities.

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The earth, our Common

December 3, 2016

 Global warming is scientifically established, and it turned out that human beings are responsible. Beyond the COP21 agreements in November 2015, the fate of the planet depends on all of us. Everyone is invited to consider the climate as a common good of humanity. Every individual has to feel concern about it in his everyday actions. Businesses, also, must be involved, in fact industry, tourism, restauration sectors… are the major cause of climate deregulation. Today population around the world and especially in the West, have to move from a culture of climate destruction to a culture of nature and humanity preservation.

The case of the environment, refers to the issue of global governance. In fact, the lack of global institutions ability to impose rules and put in place causes severe penalties and does not push countries to take actions. Furthermore, as the common good, it is difficult to establish a common management.

In his latest documentary, Leonardo DiCaprio tries to draw the world portrait. The movie, follows the actor in his journey around the world to examine the worst climate disasters.

  • Deforestation due to palm fields in Indonesia;
  • Glaciers melt around the North Pole;
  • Beijing’s smog;
  • Oil exploitation in South America…

Spectators also see major anti-pollution sites as the “Tesla Gigafactory” and interviews with different people all more or less involved in the environmental cause. I find it praiseworthy the actor’s approach of using his status of “Oscar-winning superstar” to send a message that would affect communities directly. His celebrity give him the possibility to his combat to be heard.

Many have criticized the choice of the United Nations to awarded the title “Messenger of Peace” in ecology to Leonardo Dicaprio . In fact, he knows nothing scientifically about this subject. But with this film, DiCaprio plays its role of ambassador and delivers what it does best for a cause close to his heart and his concern for all human beings.

But this film offers only a first look at the ecological cause, it just a statement of the situation. Someone who is already accustomed to the ecological cause will not learn much from the documentary. He can even find things to complain about. For example, the film praises the renewable energy systems such as wind turbines or solar panels, but does not speak about the recycling difficulty of these materials, or how they can they be improved.

Finally, even if the documentary denounces, it does not really offer new sustainable solutions or even start possible solution to solve the various problems reported. However the documentary  opens the spectator’s eyes so they can themselves be  actors of change.

Appropedia, a site to develop and spread the commons

November 4, 2016

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Again, evening news has been terrifying and paints a portrait of a sad world. There are not only dozen of deaths after natural disasters, forest destruction due to capitalist companies,  reports about poverty and migration… but also an opportunity for politicians to engage themselves in an obscene competition to know what is appropriate to do in this crisis. But during all these debates, no solutions are implemented. However men and women have a multitude of  ideas to face currents society’s evils.

The Appropedia’s designer, has decided to create a sharing platform with what might allow us to build a sustainable world. The platform gives the opportunity to any individual or communities to be an actor of the change by bringing innovative projects and support to treat world’s current problems. In sum, Appropedia seeks to create a world where we produce significant change in commons.

The objectives of this initiative is to share  collaborative solutions about sustainable development, poverty reduction, permaculture and international development. This is possible only due to free access and the posting of playful and clear tutorials. The website encourages not only new solutions but also additional details on existing posts.  The concept of Appropedia is strongly inspired of Wikipedia but with one clear mission: “Sharing knowledge to build sustainable lives.”

Started in 2006, the page today has nearly reach 342,000 contributors who share their knowledge and sustainable projects. 27,000 of these files come from books, articles, authors, NGO research, and individuals who wish to share their knowledge for the benefit of the greatest number. Free access allows people to use the content in any manner, including trade, but the website requires any modification of the articles to use the same license. This system aims to not only make mankind richer in terms of sustainable development knowledge but also allows research to advance because the information can be completed or corrected at any time by people across the planet.

Today Appropedia is a major website that supports sustainable development. It highlights a number of technical innovations from the commons. This platform embraces the development of the Internet and new forms of collaboration. It is a digital Commons or knowledge commons, which is distinguished from natural or material common described by Ostrom.

The Internet has become an essential resource for societies to development. For this reason, it must be considered as a common, which can not be preempted by the interests of certain actors, public or private, but must benefit the worldwide community to develop content. Common allowed creative dynamic growth and the emergence of the digital economy.