the irresistible fleet of bicycles

the green, sharing, making economy

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In 2014, the Green Economy — dominating the media enviro beat and UN negotiations since well before the 2012 Rio Earth Summit – merged and morphed into the Sharing Economy and the Maker Economy to offer us a vision of Transformative Transnationalism. But, is this really a new Triple Bottom-line or just the same old Triple-Bottom Feeders? ETC Group takes an irreverent look at what was new in 2014 – and what only claimed to be. The full article can be found HERE but you can also read excepts below!

The Green Economy: The food and beverage industry probably spent more time in the halls of the UN than most governments did, trying to persuade policymakers that they are on the Green cutting edge of a new paradigm in food, health and the environment. PepsiCo’s lobbyists, for example, told everybody who would listen that more and more of its bottles are being made from bioplastics and touted what they are doing to reduce hunger in Mexico (the same country where PepsiCo is sidestepping new sugar taxes by manipulating package size; a third of Mexico’s population is obesei). At a UN meeting in Bonn, civil society groups told Pepsi that the issue is less the questionable bioplastic bottles than the stuff inside.

The Sharing Economy: Closely linked to the Green Economy, 2014 saw an explosion in interest in the Sharing Economy (a.k.a. On-Demand Economy). A year earlier, in the 2013 holiday season, more people stayed in AirBnBs than could sleep in all the hotels in Las Vegas at full capacity. By Christmas 2014, AirBnB had 1 million beds on offer – 300,000 more than its nearest rival, Intercontinental Hotels (IHS). What began a few years ago as a clever use of social media to post affordable accommodation by renters and homeowners hoping to make a little extra cash, AirBnB (short for “air bed” and sometimes – but rarely – “breakfast”) can now also mean rooms, suites, whole houses or a ranch in Brazil for $3000 a night. (ETC suggested AirBnB change its name to Earth Flat Society.)

The Maker Economy: DIY 3-D printers and DIY Bio (gene synthesizers) arguably made 2014 the “Meet Your Maker” Year. In more than 98 cities and 56 countries (including over 200,000 people in New York and San Francisco), Makersix met and made things – everything from DIY pistols (to DIY for) to senseless glowing plants – but mostly really ugly fridge magnets, junk jewelry and bad beer. Even public libraries (wondering what to do with their reference rooms post-Wikipedia) are setting up 3-D printing shops and every incubator and accelerator from Barcelona and Bangalore is making space for biohackers to either beat Ebola or (better still) brew natural botox. The 3-D printers and the biohackers have even joined forces to print out skin, blood vessels, and organ parts. Fridge magnets aside, the Makers see themselves on the threshold of a truly liberating Industrial Revolution. Click HERE to read this article in detail!

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