top of page

Week 5 (June 1-5, 2020) - Caring for the Environment, Living Better (Modules 9 and 10)


Week  5 Lecture PPTs (see Modules 9 and 10)

“We know that if we continue on our current path…, climate change
will change everything about our world… There are ways of
preventing this grim future, or at least making it a lot less dire. But
the catch is that these also involve changing everything.”

~Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs.
the Climate
(2014, p. 4)

Week 5 reviews how economic democracy begins to address the

environmental crisis, perhaps the most critical issue of our times.
Indeed, as humans encroach ever more on the natural world,
pandemics like COVID-19 must also be considered outcomes of this environmental crisis. How can we live better with the environment and also strive for self-actualized and fulfilling lives, while doing so sustainably, with dignity, and in community? Throughout Week 5, our backdrop is how our dire situation with the environment is intimately connected to the uncritical adherence to capitalocentric economic discourses and its ideology and practices of “growth at all costs.” But we also consider actually-existing movements contesting these capitalocentric tendencies, including the turn to democratic designs and applications of technology promoting sustainability, living with a smaller ecological footprint, and, ultimately, healing the damage that has been done to the earth.

In Module 9, we consider community ownership of social and public goods grounded in notions of “the commons,” and ways of “powering economic democracy” via renewable energy cooperatives (RE Coops). In Module 10, we search for democratic solutions to the environmental crisis by taking a close look at innovative ways of “living economic democracy” via alternative and cooperatively based communal housing proposals such as eco-villages and intentional communities.

Module 9 - The Commons and Community-Owned Resources: Powering Economic Democracy

Guest Lecturer and Facilitator

M. Derya Tarhan, PhD Candidate (AECD, OISE/UofT) and founder and director of The Community Power Report. On renewable energy co-ops and the transition to a sustainable economy.

Module 9 Lecture PPT


Required Reading

DeAngelis, Massimo & David Harvie. (2014). The Commons. In M. Parker, G. Cheney, V. Fournier, & C. Land (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Alternative Organization. London: Routledge (pp. 280-294).

Tarhan, Derya. (2015). Renewable Energy Co-operatives: A Review of Demonstrated Impacts and Limitations. Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, 4(1) (pp. 104-120).

The Leap Manifesto. (2015).

Required COVID-19 Reading

The Guardian. (2020). Coronavirus Pandemic Leading to Huge Drop in Air Pollution. (Mar. 23).

More video graphics of emissions pollution reduction during COVID-19 pandemic (many other graphics exist online).

Modola, Siegried. (2020). In Pictures: Coronavirus Exposes the Impact of Air Pollution. Al Jazeera. (Apr. 22).

Supplemental Reading

Klein, Naomi. (2014). Introduction, One Way or Another, Everything Changes. In This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. Toronto: Random House (pp. 1-30)

Mann, Patricia. (2016). On the Precipice with Naomi Klein, Karl Marx and the Pope: Towards a Postcapitalist Energy Commons and Beyond. Radical Philosophy Review, 19(3) (pp. 621-652).

Birchall, Johnston. (2011). Ch. 6, Consumer Ownership in Public Services and Utilities. In People-Centred Businesses: Co-operatives, Mutuals, and the Idea of Membership. Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan (pp. 106-125).

Victor, Peter. (2008). Managing Without Growth: Slower by Design, Not Disaster. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

Pearce, Joshua. (2014). Ch. 21, Free and Open Source Technology. In M. Parker, G. Cheney, V. Fournier, & C. Land (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Alternative Organization. London: Routledge (pp. 308-328).

Sclove, Richard. (1995). Democracy and Technology. New York: Gilford.


Watch The Economics of Happiness (Local Futures, 2011).

Module 10 - Sustainable Living and Intentional Communities: Living Economic Democracy

Guest Lecturer and Facilitator

Lisa Michajluk, PhD Candidate (AECD, OISE/UofT), eco-village practitioner, and former Senior Policy Analyst, Ministry of the Environment of the Government of Ontario. On living and learning in community and the eco-village movement.

Module 10 Lecture PPT

Required Reading

Mychajluk, Lisa. (2017). Learning to Live and Work Together in an Ecovillage Community of Practice. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 8(2) (pp. 181-196).


Required COVID-19 Reading

Weston, Phoebe. (2020). “We Did It to Ourselves”: Scientist Says Intrusion into Nature Led to Pandemic. The Guardian. (Apr. 25).

Ted from Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. (2020). Sweeter Milk Equals Better Cheddar: A Dancing Rabbit Update . (Apr. 14).

Degrowth Editorial Team. (2020). A Degrowth Perspective on the Coronavirus Crisis. degrowth. (Mar. 19).

Supplemental Reading

Kunze, I. (2012). Social Innovations for Communal and Ecological Living: Lessons from Sustainability Research and Observations in Intentional Communities. Communal Societies, 32(1) (pp. 39-55).

Baker, T. (2013). Ecovillages and capitalism. In Lockyer, J. & Veteo, J. R. (Eds.), Environmental Anthropology Engaging Ecotopia: Bioregionalism, Permaculture, and Ecovillages. Oxford, NY: Berghahn Books.

Kasper, D. V. S. (2008). Redefining community in the ecovillage. Human Ecology Review,15(1) (pp. 12-24).


Listen to Todd Dufresne on his book The Democracy of Suffering, “From climate change to pandemics: we can fix this mess together, argues philosopher (Ideas, CBC Radio 1, Apr. 8, 2020).

Listen to “The Degrowth Paradigm” (Ideas, CBC Radio 1, Dec. 13, 2013).

Courtesy tricontinental

Li-Zhong - Workers against the pandemic (2020)

bottom of page