Studies: Number of Rural Firefighters Dropping, Megafires Increasing

Most firefighters in the U.S. are volunteer, and many are the first line of defense when it comes to forest fires that threaten America’s small and large communities. According to recent studies, volunteer firefighters are also on the decline, thanks to economics and other issues that make volunteering a challenge. Last month’s findings by a University of Idaho research team suggest this may not be the time to lay down the pick ax and hose — megafires are on the increase, and are liable to be more frequent as climate change escalates.


Economic Stimulation and the Nonprofit Sector

Unlike banks, many philanthropic foundations and public charities have mission statements and objectives that align with the Federal Reserve’s objective of maximizing employment. This makes the nonprofit sector an ideal partner for the Fed.


California is Fighting Its Rampant Wildfires with Prison Labor

Thanks to an ongoing drought exacerbated by climate change, California is facing one of its worst wildfire seasons on record. But the state has a dirty little secret for keeping wildfires at bay: recruiting prison laborers.


Policy Points: Support Paid Sick Time, Just Trade and More

A sustainable economy will depend on policies that will help advance change on a societal level. Here are two important policies that can do that — and another action that can help shift the debate on many more.


Dissecting the Farm-to-Table Fable

To hear some farmers tell it, the farm-to-table concept doesn’t work. There’s too much opportunity for restaurants to build on hype, and too little assurance the consumer is getting what is paid for. But one popular farm-to-table program is defying that statement, proving that farm-to-table partnerships can not only inspire consumers to come to the table, but sink valuable dollars into regional businesses as well.

Germany Leads the World in Solar Power

How Germany Became a Solar Superpower

Germany continues to break records in solar power and renewable energy production overall. How are they doing this, and how does the U.S. compare?

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Prisoners Work Programs: Needed Skills or Exploitation?

Cañon City, Colorado, has a massive six-prison work complex where 4,000 prisoners do a wide variety of jobs. They even farm organic tilapia that you may have eaten. Is it fair to only pay prisoners $1.50 an hour when they earn the prison $63 million per year?


Major U.K. Bank Bans All-Male Management Shortlists

The U.K.’s financial sector, much like North America’s tech industry, is still struggling to expand gender diversity in its ranks. But Lloyds Banking Group has come up with a novel answer: It’s banned shortlists that don’t include a certain percentage of eligible women candidates and warned headhunters that their services to Lloyds may be impacted if they can’t comply with the request. Ouch!


Uber’s Unethical Astro-Turfing: A Sign of Things to Come?

Uber turns the users of its app into a lobbying tool against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Even though it is a multibillion-dollar company that is far, far bigger than any taxi company (many of which are independently-operated small businesses), Uber painted itself as a victim and told users to fight back against “special interests,” despite all the evidence that the biggest special interest in this fight is … none other than Uber itself.


Pope Francis Is Right on Climate Dangers, Wrong on Policy Options

The pope was right to call for a more ethical sustainable development that can meet our economic needs while also protecting the environment. He was wrong, however, to fault reliance on economic incentives as a way to deal with climate change.

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SolarCity’s Buffalo Boom Brightens Local Economy

The solar giant just completed the 1.2 million-square-foot shell for a manufacturing plant that near the Buffalo River. The $900 million factory is the centerpiece of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s upstate economic development plan, that he calls the Buffalo Billion.

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Court Strikes Down Idaho Ag-Gag Law

A U.S. District Court recently struck down Idaho’s ag-gag law, ruling it is unconstitutional. The court held that the law violates first and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The decision marks the first time a court has ruled that an ag-gag law is unconstitutional.