"NEOPHOBIA" is the fear of novelty. While this condition is pervasive in the hallowed halls of Parliament Hill, nowhere is it found amongst the contributors to this issue of Alternatives. From crisis comes new ideas, and our current economic and environmental conditions have shot the creativity metre among our authors to the stars. Before us is a window of opportun­ity to transform our economy so that it places a fitting value on the wealth inherent­ in a healthy environment and robust communities.

A jobless recovery. We’ve heard it before, but what if this time it really is a jobless recovery? What if there isn’t enough full-time, fair-paying work to go around? This is where Sally Lerner weighs in. Lerner, a professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo, describes how Canada could cope with too many people and not enough full-time jobs – without becoming a welfare state.

“It’s been a long time since anyone has given serious thought to building a modern and affluent economy on the basis of agriculture,” begins the Toronto Food Policy Council’s Wayne Roberts. “Yet the economic life cycle of food offers opportunities for just such transformative change due to the number and positioning of green-collar jobs.” With a breathtakingly novel approach, Roberts lays out the job-creation possibilities of the agriculture and food sector.

These are just two of six articles comprising our newest issue, “Work.” We also examine the opportunities that await Canadians if our leaders were to embrace the future with less focus on the Gross Domestic Product and more on our well-being.

Mark Anielski, author of the popular book The Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth, describes how happiness is determined by our friends and meaningful relationships, rather than being driven by how much money we make. Indeed, only 10 per cent of one’s happiness, according to research from the UK-based New Economics Foundation, is connected with monetary earnings, material possessions and years of education. From the Madoff Survivors Group (some 500 people who were scammed by ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff) to the government of Tahiti, people are recognizing that money isn’t everything. They are turning to Anielski’s genuine-wealth model for a more fulfilling life.

Despite its dubious record of being the world’s worst performer in the forestry sector, writes WWF-Canada’s Martin von Mirbach, Canada’s industry is well-positioned to succeed. Von Mirbach describes a smaller, more agile industry that is decidedly greener. Already home to 25 per cent of the world’s FSC-certified forests, Canada could be as famous for its “green” forest products as it is for hockey.

Next up, Stephen Hazell describes his conversations with students about winners and losers in a greener economy. “Kids are smart. They get it,” writes Hazell, as he makes a case for government policies that support green-collar jobs. In light of the growing market for environmental products and services, Hazell can’t fathom our federal government’s approach: “Stephen Harper’s Conservatives seem to be waging a war against [green jobs].”

Rounding out our theme section is Chris Henderson’s take on the future of renewable energy in Canada. President of Lumos Energy and the national coordinator of the Aboriginal Clean Energy Network, Henderson contends that Canada won’t be able to develop its renewable energy potential unless Aboriginal communities are part of the country’s clean-energy solution.

With golden leaves falling all around us, it’s the perfect time for magazine reading before a roaring fire. Enjoy.

Nicola Ross is the former Editor of Alternatives Journal, and is a member of the editorial board.

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