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Local Third Places and Re-Imagining Economies as Sustainable

Professor Ray Oldenburg has spent many years analysing the social function of what he has coined ‘third places’. His books work to highlight the need for juncture places; places we meet and chew the cud with others in our community and network. Rather than the idea of social separate from economic, he recognises that the two lenses of seeing the world as being intimately bound and tied to each other.

The economic and the social cohabit the same landscape acting as a function of each other; this at least has been a reality, and is a necessary truth if we are to understand our world as a humanized place rather than as a machine of production. This perspective meets readily with Alfred Marshall’s statement ‘Political economy or economics is a study of mankind in the ordinary business of life’; this casts the study as something more human and rich than dry and merciless profiteering at any cost. Read more

The Corporation: Public Discussion on the Film

Over the last two film and curry nights at Serenity Cafe in Edinburgh, we have been watching the film The Corporation.  Originally it started as a book by Professor Joel Bakan, who teaches law at the University of British Columbia. He examines the social, economic, and political dimensions of law winning a number of awards for his scholarship and teaching as well as having worked on landmark legal cases and government policy.

The film has been nominated for over 26 international awards and won the World Cinema Audience Award for Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, the People’s Choice Awards Vancouver – Calgary – Toronto International Film Festivals; as well as winning the Joris Ivens Special Jury Award in Amsterdam International Film Festival. Read more

Podcast: Polly Jones of the World Development Movement Discusses TTIP

This is a podcast of Polly Jones talking about the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership at University of Manchester Policy Week 2014.  The World Development Movement changed it’s name to Global Justice Now, and are an organisation which fights for democratic social justice which works as part of a global movement to challenge the powerful to create a more just and equal world. They mobilise people in the UK for change, and act in solidarity with those fighting injustice, particularly in the global south. Read more

Podcast: International Waste Management; Crises and Opportunities by David Brown

Here David Brown, Waste Development David Officer for Derbyshire County Council, gives a talk about International waste management; the crises and opportunities which are presented to us.  In an age of neo-magical thinking, the culture which has developed is wasteful – that is, we imagine things both have no cost to the environment, and that our waste just magically disappears when it is out of sight.  This is the major crises of our time as we are discovering in quick and powerful terms that the planets resources (of which the ecosystems which keep us alive are included) are finite.

David talks about his work as an environmental officer and examines how waste is managed across the world helping us to understand the complexities and also dispel some of the myths. There are lots of different perspectives taken around the idea of recycling and preserving the environment, from the idea that it is expensive and wasteful in itself, to it is too late to do anything significant about the issues which have been created, and it is too complicated as a problem for us to deal with. Read more

Sustainable Business: Interview With Eleanor Cunningham Owner of Edinburgh Larder

This is an interview with Eleanor Cunningham who opened the Edinburgh Larder in 2009. In search for sustainable and ethical businesses, coming across Edinburgh Larder was a surprise. Combining locally collected and seasonal produce in recipes which reflect the flavours and tastes of Scotland, she has demonstrated that highly successful business is viable through sustainable practices.

The list of the suppliers she uses is impressive; when you go into the Bistro, you are met with a map of where the ingredients hale from, proudly naming the artisans involved. The Edinburgh Larder started as a café just off the Royal Mile and expanded to include a bistro in the west end of Edinburgh in 2012. At the Edinburgh Larder Bistro they organise events where people get the chance to talk about local produce and share some tasters. They also run foraging courses through the year – a particular delight are the 2 mushroom foraging courses in September and October. Read more