It is no secret that we are living in interesting and challenging times, and that we are in great need of not just innovative, but collaborative strategies for sustainability to address our planetary emergency head-on.
Nicole M. Foss is Senior Editor of the well-read website The Automatic Earth. Since January 2008, she and co-author Raúl Ilargi Meijer have been chronicling and interpreting the on-going credit crunch as the most pressing aspect of our current multi-faceted predicament. The site integrates finance, energy, environment, psychology, geopolitics and real politik in order to explain why we find ourselves in a state of crisis and what we can do about it.
Nicole is also an international speaker on global finance, energy and environment. She has lectured in hundreds of locations across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and has made numerous media appearances in a variety of countries.
Nicole describes our financial predicament, vulnerabilities, and the end of economic growth.
She speaks of strategies for coping with the financial collapse suggesting that the way to survive will come from the ground up, in community initiatives rather than from the top down.
She describes the functions of money, why it matters that the financial system is about to have an accident, and the cycles of economic expansion and contraction and how at the peak of an expansion phase, it involves credit (giving value to human promises to repay).
Promises only have value if people believe the promises. During an economic contraction phase promises are broken and cease to have value which results in a money supply crash and economic seizure, like in the 1930s, increasing probability of a systemic banking crisis as we see now in Cyprus.
Solutions include a financial strategy of no debt, of holding cash and gaining control over our essentials of existence. Building up businesses with local supply chains and distribution networks is required.
Other basics of robust systems include community building, time banking, local currencies, building social capital and relationships of trust that all build resilience. Nicole says you can’t change the waves but you can learn to surf!
Prior to the establishment of The Automatic Earth, Nicole was editor of The Oil Drum Canada, where she wrote on peak oil and finance. She also ran the Agri-Energy Producers' Association of Ontario, where she focused on farm-based biogas projects, grid connections for renewable energy and Feed-In Tariff policy development.
While living in the UK she was a Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, where she specialized in nuclear safety in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, and conducted research into electricity policy at the EU level. She also has significant previous experience practicing as an environmental consultant.
Her academic qualifications include a BSc in Biology from Carleton University in Canada (where she focused primarily on neuroscience and psychology), a post-graduate diploma in air and water pollution control, and the common professional examination in law and an LLM in international law in development from the University of Warwick in the UK.
Nicole is in New Zealand to speak on “Limits to Growth and where to go from here.
Her web site is www.theautomaticearth.com