October 2010


 

Nagoya Castle

The announcement will be made at the biodiversity summit in Nagoya, Japan according to www.guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 20 October 2010 07.00 BST

India is today expected to become the first country in the world to commit to publishing a new set of accounts which track the nation’s plants, animals, water and other “natural wealth” as well as financial measurements such as GDP.

The announcement is due to be made at a meeting of world governments in Japan to try to halt the global destruction of biodiversity and it is hoped that such a move by a major developing economy will prompt other countries to join the initiative.

Work on agreeing common measures, such as the value of ecosystems and their “services” for humans – from relaxation to clean air and fertile soils – will be co-ordinated by the World Bank, which hopes it can sign up 10-12 nations and publish the results by 2015 at the latest.

The move fulfils one of the key demands of a major report also being published today at the Japan meeting, a UN study of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)

The report was commissioned by the G8+5 major nations in 2007 in the hope of repeating the success of Lord Stern’s report on climate change in persuading governments of the strong economic case to take action on saving the natural world.

The environment secretary, Caroline Spelman, welcomed the report: “TEEB can have the same impact for biodiversity as Stern had for climate change and will be a useful tool to help reduce the loss of species and habitats … economically, we have to take action to reduce the loss of our natural environment before the cost becomes too high.”

Pavan Sukhdev, economist and the TEEB study leader said: “Natural capital is a massive asset class, and developing nations’ biggest asset.”For it to be missing from the balance sheet of the nation, or for failures not to be counted, does not make sense.”

After India and the other countries that join it in the first ecosystem accounts, Sukhdev said he hoped another 20-30 would adopt the system over the following three to five years.

“The rest: if they are not with it, people will get left behind,” he added. “We’ll never have all 192 countries, but does that matter? The idea is to establish the direction in which national accounting must go.”

After the publication over the past two years of an interim report and specific documents about the economics and recommended actions by governments, businesses and citizens , Teeb will today publish its final “synthesis” report.

This will not contain a specific headline value for all the world’s biodiversity, although earlier versions have quoted huge values for individual ecosystems such as forests, and Sukhdev today talks of “the multi-trillion dollar importance” of the natural world.

However it argues that there is plenty of evidence for national and local governments, businesses and individuals to radically review how they make decisions to take into account the damage or preservation of biodiversity.

“Teeb’s approach can reset the economic compass,” says Sukhdev. “Do nothing, and not only do we lose trillions of dollars’ worth of current and future benefits to society, we also further impoverish the poor and put future generations at risk. The time for ignoring biodiversity and persisting with conventional thinking regarding wealth creation and development is over. We must get on to the path towards a green economy.”

Among the report’s recommendations are that countries and companies should publish accounts of their natural capital, and how much it has increased or decreased over the previous year, in parallel with traditional financial accounts. This should help address current accounting rules which, for example, measure the clean up of a pollution spill as an increase in economic activity (by the clean up companies), but take no account of the long-term damage done.

Such all-encompassing measures would be more likely to encourage other suggested changes, such as paying people to protect or restore ecosystems, refunding people who do not cut down forests or farmers who reduce chemical fertilisers and pesticides; and better certification schemes so that those who produce products and services, such as food and drink, in more environmentally friendly ways, can get recognition and charge higher prices to cover extra costs.

The report also calls for reform of subsidies for damaging industries, such as mining and intensive farming, and tougher fines for polluters to discourage the problem and pay for proper restoration.

In a written statement for the TEEB launch and his own country’s announcement, India’s minister for environment and forests, Jairam Ramesh, said: “Teeb aims to provide strong incentives for countries to ensure decisions are not solely based on short-term gains, but build foundations for sustainable and inclusive development.”

Among the figures collected by the report team were an estimate that at present rates deforestation would cost the global economy US$2-4.5tr (£1.27-2.86tr) a year by the middle of this century; while the estimated market for certified agricultural products, such as organic, would be $210bn (£133bn) by 2020. Another quoted by TEEB, by Trucost in London, found the total environmental damage by the world’s 3,000 biggest listed companies in 2008 added up to at least US$2.2tr (£1.40tr)

“TEEB has brought to the attention of the globe that nature’s goods and services are equally if not far more central to the wealth of nations including the poor – a fact that will be increasingly the case on a planet of finite resources with a population set to rise to 9 billion people by 2050,” said Achim Steiner, UN under-secretary general and executive director of the UN Environment Programme .

 

TEEB in numbers

US$50bn – The annual loss of opportunity due to the current over-exploitation of global fisheries. Competition between highly subsidised industrial fishing fleets coupled with poor regulation and weak enforcement of existing rules has led to over-exploitation of most commercially valuable fish stocks, reducing the income from global marine fisheries by US$50bn annually, compared with a more sustainable fishing scenario (World Bank and FAO 2009).

€153bn – Insect pollinators are nature’s multibillion-dollar providers. For 2005 the total economic value of insect pollination was estimated at €153bn. This represents 9.5% of world agricultural output for human food in 2005 (Gallai et al 2009)

US$30bn – 172bn The annual value of human welfare benefits provided by coral reefs. Although just covering 1.2% of the world’s continent shelves, coral reefs are home to an estimated 1-3 million species including more than a quarter of all marine fish species (Allsopp et al 2009). Thirty million people in coastal and island communities are totally reliant on reef-based resources as their primary means of food production, income and livelihood (Gomez et al 1994, Wilkinson 2004). Estimates of the value of human welfare benefits provided by coral reefs range from US$30bn (Cesar et al 2003) to US$172bn annually (Martinez et al 2007)

US$ 20-67m (over four years)The benefits of tree planting in the city of Canberra. Local authorities in Canberra, Australia, have planted 400,000 trees to regulate microclimate, reduce pollution and thereby improve urban air quality, reduce energy costs for air conditioning as well as store and sequester carbon. These benefits are expected to amount to US$20-67m over the period 2008-2012, in terms of the value generated or savings realised for the City (Brack 2002).

US$6.5bn – The amount saved by New York, by investing in payments to maintain natural water purification services in the Catskills watershed (US$1-1.5bn) rather than opt for the man-made solution of a filtration plant (US$6-8bn plus US$ 300-500m a year operating costs). (Perrot-Maitre and Davis 2001).

50 – The number of (rupees) millionaires in Hiware Bazaar, India as the result of regenerating 70 hectares of degraded forests. This led to the number of active wells in the surrounding area doubling, grass production increasing and income from agriculture increasing due to the enhancement of local ecosystem services (Teeb case mainly based on Neha Sakhuja).

A possibly related post with Green MP Kennedy Graham

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

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Ian Lungold

 

Consciousness has a plan and we’re all part of it.

 Ian Xel Lungold

A new friend recently sent me a DVD of a talk given by Ian Lungold in Sedona, Arizona in February, 2005. The talk was on Ian’s specialty—The Mayan Calendar: The Evolution Continues Ian Xel Lungold died in November, 2005 so the making of this recording of his talk was timely indeed. The following is a summary of notes I took while watching Ian Lungold’s presentation. These are his perceptions as I heard them.

Consciousness has a plan and we’re all part of it.

The speed limit of your mind is 24 thoughts per second, but intuition has no speed limit.

The Mayan Calendar was never a calendar; it was a meter of creation. The real purpose of the Mayan Calendar is to engage your intuition

We’re hypnotised in patterns. To break free of the patterns we have to make the choice to do something different. An extended vacation is one such way.

We’re presently about to move from the Galactic Stage of evolution to the Universal Stage. At each successive stage or cycle the rate of change of consciousness is twenty times faster than in the previous stage. People could feel stressed because the speed of change is accelerating. Time’s not speeding up, change is. How to cope? Stay centred and trust your intuition. Personal integrity is about following your heart, your intuition (remember: intuition means ‘to learn from within’). As Shakespeare so timelessly said: To thine own self be true. Allow everything to happen and to be as it is; don’t resist. It’s a matter of witnessing and allowing. Be discerning. When you allow things to happen you can choose not to participate.

Where are we headed? From ‘doing’ and ‘having’ to just ‘being.’ It started for us as children when we were asked: What will you do when you grow up? We’ve been conditioned to be ‘doers.’

The foundations of manifestation in three dimensions are attention, intention, integrity and intuition. Integrity is the gatekeeper. If you don’t have personal integrity you won’t be able to access intuition. Intuition comes through your connection to the source. Synchronicity is where intention meets opportunity.

Ian presented a chart showing a gradient of emotions. The highest was ecstasy followed by enthusiasm, interest . . . apathy and death. The higher emotions broaden our range of choices. The lower ones minimize them. For example, when we are apathetic the only two choices we have are to care or not.

There are no (innocent) victims, only those who create themselves as victims. (I’m sure some will find this statement challenging but it is another way of saying our thoughts, beliefs and expectations create our world.)

For more on this subject visit this website: http://www.thewildrose.net/mayan_calendar_implications.html

Or you can read a blog of a recent interview of mine. 2012: The End of the World or the Beginning of a New One

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

I recently picked up the Penguin Krishnamurti Reader from our library. The following is a brief extract from one of the chapters in the book. Enjoy, John

“. . . an intelligent mind is one which is constantly learning, never concluding . . . an intellient mind is a mind which is not satisfied with explanations, with conclusions; nor is it a mind that believes, because belief is again another form of conclusion. An intelligent mind is an inquiring mind, a mind that is watching, learning, studying. Which means what? That there is intelligence only when there is no fear, when you are willing to rebel, to go against the whole social structure in order to find out what God is, or to discover the truth of anything.

Krishnamurti in His Younger Days

Intelligence is not knowledge.

Your mind is the result of all of humanity, and when you understand it, you don’t have to study a single book, because the mind contains the whole knowledge of the past. So intelligence comes into being with the understanding of yourself; and you can understand yourself only in relation to the world of people, things and ideas. Intelligence is not something that you can acquire, like learning; it arises with great revolt, when there is no fear – which means, really, when there is a sense of love. For when there is no fear, there is love.

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Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com And In Search of Simplicty is now available as an eBook here.

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

 

Could it be that all we need to know is written in the book of Nature? Could it be that we feel separate because we share a belief in separation? What do we really need? What can we give each other? Could it be love?

Last night Lucia and I attended the 50th birthday of a dear friend. We shared delicious healthy food. We shared meaningful conversations. I began dancing when a three-years- young child asked me to dance. I hardly stopped dancing for the rest of the night. I play/danced with men, women and children. I play/danced with my beloved Lucia.

What are we here for but to share in the joy of existence? Is anything ever wrong? Does anything really need to change, or does our perception need to change of it? Can we make mistakes? Do we need to get everything perfect the first time we try? Do you need to feel guilty because something you tried didn’t work out? Almost always in hindsight you find out that it did. So why bother beating yourself up now?

Why do we seek answers from authorities (author-ities)? Why do we look for confirmation of our perfection from others?

Are we seemingly in separate bodies because we’ve collectively bought into the idea of separation? What does Unity mean? Are you separate from me? Is that possible? Is it possible for anyone or anything to be separate from the Source? What is it that separates us from our awareness of the Source? If God, the Source, created everything, who created God? Did we? I’d like an answer to that.

Maybe all we need to do is to stop and to listen. Maybe all we need to do is to accept that all is well and perfect just as it is. Maybe all you need to do is to accept that you are perfect just as you are. You are a perfect child of the Universe. You have never done anything wrong. Imagine how you would feel if you embraced completely that knowingness. What’s stopping you?

What stops any of us from reading Nature’s script? What stops any of us from being able to do anything? Is it simply the belief that we can’t? If I believe anything is possible, it is. If I believe I can move mountains, I can. The question then is: Do I need to?

I Am you and you are me. We live in unity. There is a place we will meet. A place in the Heart. I’ll see you there. I’ll meet you there. I’ll dance with you there. I’ll laugh with you there. Can you hear the music? Can you hear the laughter? If not, what’s stopping you?

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

Last week I received an email from a subscriber to this blog. This person (Liz) did a little investigating into the veracity of claims that mercury is found in flu vaccines. The response she received from an obviously informed individual, Jim Vause, is printed below:

Hi Liz

You are right on the drug company putting everything down on their warning sheet….which make the sheet next to useless as it is nearly impossible to understand what is important and what isn’t

The thiomersol (interesting how they spell it two ways)  dose in vaccines is next to nothing and is being removed anyway. The link to autism simply doesn;t stand up to high quality study…the organisation I chair had to look at the research on this for our Autism Spectrum Disorder guidelines   http://www.asdguideline.com/faq

the interesting thing is that the chelation clinic (the semi alternative clinic in Auckland who give the superhigh dose vitamin C) infuses this stuff for their chelation therapy..a lot bigger dose

So as usual the media simplifies something ….its always easier to be sensational to get readership than to tell the truth.

Jim Vause

I really appreciated this email from Liz. The reason I publish this sort of information is to give us all something to think about. We are all products of our own conditioning. Twice in my life I have fought back from bouts of spinal meningitis. Each time the disease followed vaccinations. I’m lucky to be alive.

I have done much research over the years and I must say I question the need or efficacy for vaccines at all. I’m obviously biased based on my own personal experiences. I make no apologies for this. Each of us needs to decide for ourselves what is best. I simply produce another perspective that hopefully gets readers thinking.

Vaccine manufacturers claim to have eradicated many infectious diseases. Yet studies show that the reduction in said diseases came about through improvements in sanitation and hygiene. The same diseases still exist in places with poor sanitation today.

We are also told with sensational headlines that New Zealand is embroiled in an epidemic of meningococcal disease (spinal meningitis). I’ve seen such headlines in the New Zealand Herald on a number of occasions. Yet this supposed epidemic began the moment the MMR vaccine was introduced here in 1991. Is this a coincidence?

In our lightly populated Far North I personally know of four cases of vaccine-damaged people. One teenager we know suffers from chronic fatigue, one young woman was severely brain-damaged after receiving a vaccination as a child, one baby died within a week of being inoculated and one man contracted polio after being exposed to the live vaccine through his child. These are real cases that escape the headlines but which change people’s lives forever.

Vaccinations are one of the pillars of modern medical practice. Medical schools are funded by pharmaceutical companies. Doctors who dare to speak out against vaccinations are ostracized or stripped of their ability to practice medicine. Refer to the case of Quebec doctor, Ghislaine Lanctôt, author of the Medical Mafia, who encountered this very response for daring to question the sacrosanct nature of vaccines. When you ask your doctor about vaccines be aware that they cannot bite the hand that feeds them. I have no such concerns. I have nothing to gain by reporting my viewpoints and those of my guests on the radio. Most newspapers today are owned by powerful individuals or mega-media companies which exercise editorial influence over what is reported. I’m extremely fortunate with my radio show. I can interview anyone I like and can present any perspective. There are no editorial guidelines aside from the desire to present the truth.

I urge you to read the following post on what a homeopath has to say about the swine flu and vaccines.

A Homeopathic Epiphany on Voices from the North

Here are few more posts about vaccines. Do consider reading them and making your own mind up on this subject. I wish you happiness and glowing health. John

Wake Up to the Reality of Vaccines

Are All Modern Pandemics Caused by Vaccines?

The Swine Flu Agenda on Voices from the North

Swine Flu Fraud

 

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

My special guests on this Voices from the North interview are Ken Ross and John Kenderdine. Ken’s current position is as Community Development Advisor with the Far North District Council in New Zealand. Ken’s work and educational background has all been associated with ecology and biology. Ken summarizes some of the guiding lights in the new paradigm of human thought—people like Fritjof Capra. Ken speaks about the influence Rachel Carson has had on Capra’s perspective.

 

Oil is a finite resource that has been used as if it has been an infinite resource. This is also how we’ve treated other resources like copper and phosphates. Peak Oil is explained—how the easy, cheaper oil is available early and how the heavier oil that most oil fields are tapping now are more expensive to extract. America’s oil fields reached their peaks in the early 70s. The same stands true today for the rest of the world’s oil. Even ex-president George Bush has said we are addicted to oil. Ken describes how Americans use roughly 10 kilo-calories of energy to produce one kilo-calorie of food. Obviously this is not sustainable. Other Western nations are almost as frivolous in their use of energy. Ken also talks about how for 150-200 years we’ve made decisions based first on economics, then on people and, finally, on the environment. This is in the reverse order to what it should be. The first question should be, “Is it good for the environment?”

Ken describes New Zealanders as living in a fool’s paradise. New Zealand is only behind Iceland in terms of the amount of chemical fertilizer used on their farms. Ken teaches about the importance of bacteria in the soil to minimize the leaching of nitrogen from our farms. He lucidly explains what the ecological footprint means. We are today experiencing the 6th greatest mass extinction in the earth’s history, and this is a human-exacerbated event. Earth Watch Institute recently indicated that in 2006 China used more cement than all other countries combined. They are in catch-up mode. Ken speaks passionately about social justice. He says we have no right to live with our Jacuzzis and other extravagances when 40,000 people die of starvation in the world daily. We are all in this together.

 The song in the middle of the program is Antipodean icon John Clarke’s, We Don’t Know How Lucky We Are.

 John Kenderdine describes the Transition Town movement initiated by Irishman Rob Hopkins, a movement designed to restore a vibrant resilience in local communities. Transition Town groups are mushrooming all over the world in response to these times in which cheap oil is no longer available. Local communities are taking initiatives rather than waiting for our politicians to lead us to greener pastures; in other words, it’s a bottom-up approach. John speaks of how he can live like a king below the poverty line by distinguishing between true wants and needs. This may be something we all need to learn if present trends continue.  

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Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

My recent guset on Voices from the North was Rebecca Ranum. We spoke on community currencies and Time Banking. Rebecca belongs to the Kaitaia Transition Town Inititiative and the following words summarize our discussion. I have modified and edited words kindly provided to me by Rebecca. The complete interview is found below:

 

TTK history: Transition Towns is a global, grass roots initiative that aims to build sustainable communities that can cope and even thrive when oil gets more expensive, when we are hit with further economic recession and/or when climate change makes it harder to grow food in some areas of the world. The bottom line for transition towners is food security. The Kaitaia TT group started in 2008 after a public meeting at the Little Theatre where then Green M.P. Nandor Tanczos spoke.

Relocalisation is a central aim for Transition Towns and creating local currencies is part of this. In April last year Rebecca attended a community currency conference in Wanganui where she found out about Time Banking for the first time. She was really inspired by the idea and came back to Kaitaia keen to do something. After a public meeting about community currency, a group of half a dozen people was formed to look at setting up an community currency system in Kaitaia. From all the different community currency systems available, the group opted for time banking. But first, let’s take a look at some of the other options that are available and currently in place around the world.

Community Currency Overview

Community currencies are complementary currencies. They are not meant to be an alternative for the national currency (i.e. NZ dollars), but are meant to be used alongside it. Community currencies are designed to meet needs in the community that are not served by the national currency.

Complementary Regional Currencies

Each region of a country has its own economy. Some of what we buy is grown or made locally, while the bulk of the labour is local. Some of the services we pay for (like our dentist’s or hairdresser’s time) have no connection to national or global business. In any regional economy there may be between 20% and 35% local autonomy. These goods and services could be paid for using a regional currency working in parallel with a national currency.

Potential benefits of regional interest free money

  • Increased local control of the economy
  • Reduced unemployment 
  • Higher standard of living  
  • Reduced levels of personal, business and council debt
  • Encourage new business into the region

In Germany, a successful regional currency is operating in the Chiemgauer district of Bavaria. An economics teacher and some senior students launched the scheme in 2003. Chiemgauer coupons have a hologram, a serial number and two signatures.There is a club card, identifying members of the association they had to form to avoid prosecution from financial authorities.

Retailers accepting chiemgauer can only redeem them for 95% of their value, as 2% goes to the students for administration of the programme and 3% goes to a local charity of the merchant’s choice.

Coupons are only valid for three months and come with an expiry date. This gives people an incentive to pass them on quickly and keep the currency circulating. They are not designed to be saved. Coupons are bought into circulation i.e. 50 Chiemgauer coupons are bought for 50 euros.

So this scheme is designed to be good for local economic development and prevents money from going out to the big cities. It stays in the district instead. A certain amount of national currency is therefore taken out of circulation and replaced with a currency only valid in the region.

There is a fair bit of time and expense in setting up a regoinal currency as the coupons need to be printed to a standard where they cannot be easily counterfeited and a considerable amount of publicity, marketing and administration is required.

LETS/green dollars

LETS is a mutual credit system that works with accounts that all balance to zero within the whole of the system. Basically you get paid in credits for providing goods or services and your account gets debited as you ‘spend’ your credits. Most LETS are run using accounting software. In 1989 there were 60 LETS in NZ, currently there are about a dozen still operating around the country. LETS can be very useful in times of widespread unemployment. LETS in NZ have declined since the late 1980’s as the economy has improved. There is a new LETS that has just started in the Bay of Islands area called the BOICE. They have about 50 members so far and are about to launch their own paper currency called the Bay of Islands Dollar. They may have to change the name of their vouchers as you can get into trouble with the Reserve Bank of NZ by including the word “dollar” in the name of your currency. The Wairarapa Community exchange have also issued their own paper currency called the WAI. In the future, it may be useful for our local economy, to have a LETS in Kaitaia.

 

Loyalty cards

Flybys is a complementary currency. You gain loyalty points for shopping at certain retailers which you can then spend on a variety of products.  In Upper Hutt they have a similar system for rewarding people for shopping locally called the Upper Hutt X-card.  When you have a local scheme, local points encourage local spending. Rather than money leaving the town and moving to larger towns and cities, the money stays in the local economy.

A local currency such as the Upper Hutt X-card is the only way that local businesses can genuinely promote ‘Buy Local’.

 

Why We Need Community Currencies

The current debt based monetary system is very unfair and is arguably the reason for the ongoing destruction our planet. Constant growth is needed to keep the system functioning. Constant economic growth requires the increasing use of natural resources. Humanity is now coming up against the limits of the earth’s resources so our current monetary system just cannot continue as it is. Almost every country in the world uses and is part of the same flawed monetary system. We can make money work better in our own small part of the world by designing and using complementary currencies that meet our needs as a community.

At the heart of the money shortage is a monetary system that drives exponential growth, of everything! Exponential growth cannot be sustained on a planet with finite resources. The shortage of money comes about because most of the money we use has been created by commercial banks as interest bearing debt. Since the principal has been created but not the interest, people and firms are obliged to compete with one another to find the money to pay the interest, causing some at least to go further into debt, and putting enormous pressure on natural resources.

Each year the total money supply must increase by at least the amount of interest demanded, increasing the debt burden in every indebted sector – company, credit card, student, mortgage, and hire purchase. To recoup the interest on debts, businesses build into their prices a percentage for interest. The result is that those who are net debtors pay more on the combination of their shopping baskets and their debt than they can ever earn from interest on their savings or investments. One result is that money is constantly being transferred from the many net debtors to the few net creditors, widening the gap between rich and poor.

 

Where Time Banking fits into the community currency landscape

In the past people had a variety of currencies to chose from – local, regional and national and that is likely to be the way of the future also. Time banks are a complementary currency that improve the social economy. A time bank is a community system where people’s time and skills are the currency rather than money. 

Time banking differs from LETS or green dollarsin that everyone’s time is valued equally with time banking. Because of this it is not attractive to people with skills that are worth a more per hour than the minimum wage. Time banks have a community chest facility so people who are not able to contribute for whatever reason can still obtain help through a time bank. Some time bank members ‘donate’ their time to the community chest which is similar to traditional volunteering.

The main purpose of time banking is not to save money, it is for growing social infrastructure. Time banking can help to save money or put another way – it gives people access to services they just would not get otherwise, but this is not the most important aspect of time banks. There are some things you can get through a time bank that you cannot buy with money e.g. companionship, care and a support network.

The reason the Kaitaia group chose Time Banking above the other community currencies is because you don’t need any special skills to be part of a time bank, anyone can participate and everyone is valued equally. It is this inclusiveness and equality that appealed to the Kaitaia group. Eventually it would be ideal to have a LETS in Kaitaia as well as a time bank because LETS are designed to keep the economy moving when everyone is short of cash. People can see an immediate need for time banks but the need for a LETS is not seen as urgent just now. If there was a more general shortage of cash in the community and widespread unemployment – then a LETS is likely to take off.

Who benefits from a Time Bank:

Time banking is for anyone who could do with a stronger social network around them e.g. do you have people to call on to: baby sit your children, help if you are sick, drive you somewhere, help you with computer problems, go shopping with you, confide in, help with parenting, give relationship advice, fix your broken fence, advice on buying a home/property, health advice etc People with very good social networks probably don’t need time banks. Many of the problems in our society stem from inadequate or dysfunctional social networks. The whole community benefits when people are able to get the help they need within their own networks. Time banking strengthens people’s social and support networks.

Many people are reluctant to ask for help or to accept help from others. Some people feel they have nothing of value to give others. Many skilled people are too busy to help others or contribute to community projects if this time cannot be recouped somehow – hence the general downturn in volunteering. Being part of a time bank helps to overcome these barriers. Our time bank started trading a few months ago and already we have found this has created a stronger network amongst our group that did not exist before. People build trust as they trade with other time bank members and the circle of people you can call on when you need help increases. People feel more comfortable asking for help when they have ‘credit’ in the bank or know they can repay the bank for help received.

Community groups can be time bank members. People doing volunteer work for a community group can be paid in time credits e.g. for going door to door collecting money for a charity, taking part in a working bee to maintain a community hall or mentoring a young person. The community group may obtain time credits for example by allowing time bank members to use its facilities or offering courses that can be paid for in time credits. Time credits for use by a community group can also come from the community chest. Time bank members are given the option of giving some or all of their time credits to the community chest in order to support community projects.

Examples of trades from time banks

Kids earn time credits for taking an elderly neighbour’s rubbish out to the kerbside each week and spend credits watching a special tv programme on another neighbours big screen TV

Time credits earned by making soup for community group meetings, are spent getting gutters cleaned out

Time credits earned by tutoring a child having difficulty with reading are spent being taken shopping

People get time credits for helping out with working bees at Te Mara Rongoa Marino, a community rongoa garden.

Older, experienced gardeners could get time credits to mentor younger gardeners

Use your credits to get a group of time bank members to do a working bee at your home or someone else’s home (you can use your time credits to get things done for other people).

People taking part in health or social programmes could be paid time credits to put in the essential ‘work’ required to meet goals e.g. taking part in an exercise programme to improve overall health or attending a parenting programme.

How people join the Kaitaia Time Bank:

–         Register online, by telephone or at the Age Concern office on a Monday or a Friday (between 10am and 2pm)

–         attend an orientation session at REAP

–         fill out your profile, view other members profiles and start trading.

–         membership fee after one year

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

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