Letter from the Fire (well Smoke) Front

We still have time to learn the lessons and get this right, but many strongly held beliefs (yes they are beliefs, not science) have to go out of the window, and we need much more science focus on this issue, rather than the ever burgeoning clamour for “saving” threatened species, which takes oxygen and energy … Continue reading “Letter from the Fire (well Smoke) Front”

How We Reduced the Environmental Impact of (Almost) Everything We Buy

The stuff we humans buy is a disaster for the planet we love. Livestock intended for human food now make up 60% of the total weight of mammals on Earth, while wild mammals make up only 4% (the rest is humans and pets). The global clothing industry is responsible for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, … Continue reading “How We Reduced the Environmental Impact of (Almost) Everything We Buy”

Our Time Balm

Humanity and the earth is suffering from a worldview disease leading to a voracious self-destruction. It is a set of values or qualities, held with religious conviction that transforms all novelty into itself: economic growth, control over circumstances, progress, individualism, exploitation of nature, domination of strong over weak, and freedom-as-entitlement.

Juliana v. US: Hardly Child’s Play

More than four years ago, 21 youthful plaintiffs asked a federal court to rule a habitable environment a protected right under the US Constitution. On January 17, 2020, a divided three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals told them they didn’t have standing to pursue their case and that there was nothing the court could do to redress … Continue reading “Juliana v. US: Hardly Child’s Play”

Bushfires: Can Ecosystems Recover from Such Dramatic Losses of Biodiversity?

All species are embedded in complex networks of interactions where they are directly and indirectly dependent on each other. A food web is a good example of such networks. The simultaneous loss of such large numbers of plants and animals could have cascading impacts on the ways species interact – and hence the ability of … Continue reading “Bushfires: Can Ecosystems Recover from Such Dramatic Losses of Biodiversity?”

The Social Life of Commoning

The British sociologist Raymond Williams once wrote, “Culture is ordinary.” We could say much the same about commoning. It is terribly ordinary. Commoning is what common people decide for themselves in their specific circumstances if they want to get along with each other and produce as much wealth for everyone as possible.

Clean Tech Versus a People’s Green New Deal

Is there a way to imagine a different GND, a global Green New Deal? I think so. But it might have to start by recognizing the ecological laws of limits and a social ethic of redistribution of wealth and resources, and equality. It would argue for developmental convergence, including in energy use, between wealth and … Continue reading “Clean Tech Versus a People’s Green New Deal”

How One Utah Community Fought the Fracking Industry — and Won

Southern Red Sands said their intended market was in Utah’s Uintah Basin 350 miles north, but a new frac sand mine just opened in the basin. “It’s almost inconceivable they’d be able to compete with them because the biggest cost with frac sand is the shipping,” said Baker. “There are some operations in the San … Continue reading “How One Utah Community Fought the Fracking Industry — and Won”

The Urban Drivers of Economic Growth

Planning scholars have for years studied and criticized the mechanisms of urban land transformation that drive national economic growth. Urbanization is not the consequence of economic growth but the actual driver of it. The enlargement of cities, their number of jobs, estates and infrastructures, is a driving force behind growth.

The JX Ranch

In 2004, cattle ranchers Tom and Mimi Sidwell bought the 7,000-acre JX Ranch, south of Tucumcari, New Mexico, and set about doing what they know best: earning a profit by restoring the land to health and stewarding it sustainably.

Business Beyond Shared Value

After more than two centuries of applauding industrialization and the growthism that has gone with it, it’s no news that we’ve currently surpassed human and planetary boundaries. And these, in turn, are calling into question the well-established mind-maps that have enabled us to get where we are at today. Allegedly designed to overcome old harms, … Continue reading “Business Beyond Shared Value”

Anticipating Collapse

Collapse can’t happen soon enough, as far as I’m concerned. By collapse, I mean the breakdown of the complexities of our current society. It’s not that I long for the feral world, red in tooth and claw, portrayed in collapse fiction, although I know there are those who fantasize about mastering a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Extinction Rebellion: ‘Terror Threat’ is a Wake-Up Call for How the State Treats Environmental Activism

Extinction Rebellion was once criticised by other activists for “love bombing the cops”, but now it has found itself labelled a terror threat. In a guide sent to teachers by counter-terrorism police, the non-violent group’s logo and activities were described to help them spot students who may be involved.

What Will It Take to Move the Local Food Revolution Forward?

More local food is appearing in grocery stores and restaurants and even schools, thanks to a growing number of “food hubs”; but it is a drop in the bucket still, compared to the food that is trucked in from afar.  What do we need to turn this around?   At least four things, each with practical … Continue reading “What Will It Take to Move the Local Food Revolution Forward?”

Grassroots Aid Workers Bring Help and Healing Across the Border

For her part, Zavala is determined to do all she can to ensure that in this camp where she operates, everything possible is being done to assure these traumatized families a measure of dignity and a fair shot at a new life. She says, “In a time where asylum-seekers are being denied the fundamental right … Continue reading “Grassroots Aid Workers Bring Help and Healing Across the Border”

The Commons and Climate Change

There is much to be said about the relationship of commons to climate change, but let me offer this short glimpse into the clash of worldviews that must be negotiated. Whatever the outcome in ongoing arguments with capitalist climate-deniers, our best recourse will be to build and fortify our many commons as a failsafe against … Continue reading “The Commons and Climate Change”

Miracles and Tragedies of Modern Travel: a Love-Hate Story

Movement is a privilege viewed a right. Modern infrastructure in its many forms, from planes to trucking, one-day Amazon to instant Snapchat, is almost entirely built and run on uninterrupted flows of energy—which, for the past century-and-a-half or so, have been almost entirely fossil-fuel-based. In a way, it’s quite simple: throw fuel of unmatched power … Continue reading “Miracles and Tragedies of Modern Travel: a Love-Hate Story”

The Restaurant at the End of the Ecosphere

Suppose you want to make a reservation at The Restaurant at the End of the Ecosphere, one of the most exclusive destinations in the entire universe. This is not an undertaking for the faint-hearted. To have a chance of booking your place to witness the mass extinction to end all mass extinctions — an event … Continue reading “The Restaurant at the End of the Ecosphere”

Pictures of the World on Fire won’t Shock us for Much Longer

It’s not the melting of the ice-caps or the burning of the forests that seem to me to be the real apocalyptic scenario, but rather the slow atrophying of our moral imaginations; not the inferno itself, but the indifference of those of us who are not yet on fire. In this sense above all we … Continue reading “Pictures of the World on Fire won’t Shock us for Much Longer”

The Limits of Capitalism

What we have set in motion now, in the capitalocene, is likely beyond technological solutions, notwithstanding Promethean male fantasies of Mars colonies and planetary geological engineering. What we have set in motion is now, at least in part, beyond human control. That is, no re-engineering of social relationships and modes of production will reverse the biological and … Continue reading “The Limits of Capitalism”

How First Australians’ Ancient Knowledge can Help us Survive the Bushfires of the Future

Many of those commenting on the current bushfire crisis in Australia argue about fuel reduction, hazard reduction, use of aerial incendiaries, drip torches, ancient Indigenous techniques and western forms of fire management. But to me, these fires suggest we urgently need a new dialogue and paradigm for living in a rapidly changing world.

Climate Politics/Capitol Light (38)

Feeding off of a failed UN Summit late in 2019, the almost daily release of reports updating and confirming climate science studies, student strikes, a continent on fire, and the already prominent place of climate in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, 2020 looms as a watershed political year for national climate policy.

Common Sense for the 21st Century (excerpt)

What does a real Climate Emergency action plan look like? The answer is defined by the science − by the physics and chemistry. Some find it hard to imagine this is actually happening. Some think it seems ‘unrealistic’. But ask yourself about the alternative of risking the collapse of civilisation, the death of billions of … Continue reading “Common Sense for the 21st Century (excerpt)”

‘Soylent yellow’: Is artificial protein really a solution to food production?

The 1973 dystopian science fiction film “Soylent Green” is set in the year 2022, just one year after a nonfictional Finnish company hopes to begin selling an artificially produced yellow protein-laden flour created by bacteria that the company says will revolutionize food production. The flour is derived from vats of yellow bacteria whose fermentation process … Continue reading “‘Soylent yellow’: Is artificial protein really a solution to food production?”

How Getting Gid of ‘Shit Jobs’ and the Metric of Productivity can Combat Climate change

Work can be “shit” or it can be good. Sociologists and psychologists have developed various frameworks to explain what makes a job good or bad. And we’ve identified a few common factors. A good job is socially useful, it provides material security, it is varied and creative, and it offers us a degree of autonomy. … Continue reading “How Getting Gid of ‘Shit Jobs’ and the Metric of Productivity can Combat Climate change”