Don’t Call Me a Pessimist on Climate Change. I Am a Realist

So I present an unpopular but fact-based argument in the form of two “Am I wrong?” queries. If you accept my facts, you will see the massive challenge we face in transforming human assumptions and ways of living on Earth. I welcome being told what crucial facts I might be missing. Even a realist — … Continue reading “Don’t Call Me a Pessimist on Climate Change. I Am a Realist”

Trees in the Field: Taking Farming to a New Dimension

As positive as it all sounds, the £65,000 investment is a lot. Are the trees worth it? They definitely are, says Briggs, and because trees grow on only half of the farm, he can make a direct comparison. The arable yields per hectare are the same and the trees only take up 8% of the … Continue reading “Trees in the Field: Taking Farming to a New Dimension”

Plunder of the Commons: A Manifesto for Sharing Public Wealth by Guy Standing: Review

It is in the other English tradition – a tradition starting with the Charter of the Forest, later championed by the Levellers, later by the Chartists and the Co-operatives, the trade unions and the original Labour Movement that brought us the Welfare State – a tradition of resistance to autocracy and privilege – and a … Continue reading “Plunder of the Commons: A Manifesto for Sharing Public Wealth by Guy Standing: Review”

Fine Fleece at Stone Steps Farm

In the scenic Nicasio Valley of Marin County, Stone Steps Farm is a small, family farm breeding Pygora goats, mini Nubian goats, and Gotland sheep. Animals of all three breeds are friendly, gentle, and small enough to be handled and transported easily. Leigh, her husband John, and their sons care for the animals, including doing the milking … Continue reading “Fine Fleece at Stone Steps Farm”

Extinction Rebellion: Four More (Unconvincing) Criticisms

Nah, there’s nothing deathly or millenarian about the XR activists I know. They’re just ‘ordinary’, flawed, caring (middle-class) people like me, full of love and zest for life, and really, really scared about the deathly devastation that climate change threatens to wreak upon the world and the life they hold dear, unless governments act radically … Continue reading “Extinction Rebellion: Four More (Unconvincing) Criticisms”

Of warnings and their ripple effects

In her testimony to the US Congress, Greta Thunberg did not prepare a statement for submission to the record. Instead, she submitted the most recent scientific report, issued by the IPCC three weeks earlier. She said simply, “I am submitting this report as my testimony because I don’t want you to listen to me, I … Continue reading “Of warnings and their ripple effects”

UK Government Implements Fracking Ban – For Now

After seven years of promoting fracking, Conservative ministers have withdrawn their support and blocked the prospects of a shale gas industry. The UK government has issued an immediate moratorium in England because of the risk of earth tremors. Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have already issued measures that amount to moratoriums on fracking.

Corporate Climate Commitments: Who Should Lead Climate Action?

There are more possibilities than a marginally less-bad business-as-usual future.  Effectively and justly achieving deep emissions cuts requires fundamentally changing the system, not merely modifying it or slapping its beneficiaries’ wrists.  Real change requires state programs and regulations as well as trying out new forms of ownership and governance.

When Wildfires Sweep through California, Who Gets Left Behind?

The wildfire crisis, one that is expected to get worse in the Golden State in the coming years as the full effects of climate change kick in, illuminates a glaring disparity. When fires rip through a community, its most vulnerable members — the old and sick, domestic workers, construction workers, and incarcerated folks — get … Continue reading “When Wildfires Sweep through California, Who Gets Left Behind?”

New Bubbles, Mounting Debt: Preparing for the Coming Crisis

The global economy is clearly headed for another recession after a decade of lukewarm recovery. The bailouts and loose monetary policy of the post-2008 world did nothing to fix the fundamental causes of capitalism’s latest systemic crisis. Instead, they papered over structural weakness while enabling another orgy of irresponsible lending and rampant speculation.

Climate Politics/Capitol Light (37)

The big news of the week—kind of—was Trump’s starting the paperwork for getting the US out of the Paris Climate Accord (Accord). Although Trump announced his intentions in June 2017, the rules of the Accord prohibited any formal action before a few days ago. The US won’t actually be off the Accord until November 4, … Continue reading “Climate Politics/Capitol Light (37)”

Keystone Attitudes and Policies of Enough

We need keystone policies that are underpinned by a vision of a rich social, personal and economic habitat for people. The role of politics is to design institutions and policies that enable people to co-operate and that facilitate citizens to act for the common good. The policies mentioned above function in this way. If key … Continue reading “Keystone Attitudes and Policies of Enough”

We Need to Talk About … Green New Deal and Other Necessary Vocabulary for our Times

In this post, I reflect on the vocabulary we need to be familiar with if we are to raise awareness and develop widespread literacy and skills for responding to all our interrelated problems, from climate breakdown to soil erosion, species extinction, human suffering and inequality. The issue of language and vocabulary has arisen in a … Continue reading “We Need to Talk About … Green New Deal and Other Necessary Vocabulary for our Times”

‘Coyote’ Alberto Ruz on the Rights of Nature

Every time a group of people starts to make others understand that there’s a need to take action for a given problem, they can start to undertake initiatives to adopt this law, as we are doing. The abolition of slavery in America and of apartheid in Africa started with small groups which engaged themselves in … Continue reading “‘Coyote’ Alberto Ruz on the Rights of Nature”

Mist Showers: Sustainable Decadence?

The daily shower would be hard to sustain in a world without fossil fuels. The mist shower, a satisfying but forgotten technology which uses very little water and energy, could be a solution. Designer Jonas Görgen developed a do-it-yourself kit to convert almost any shower into a mist shower and sent me one to try … Continue reading “Mist Showers: Sustainable Decadence?”

We Need Good Policy on Good Food Policy

Neighborhood groups, business improvement associations, and unions can adopt policy. Universities can adopt policies to buy local and sustainable food. The power of public and para-public purses is more widely available  than ever before. As well, the talents of citizens for self government and leadership are higher than ever before. We need to look ahead to a … Continue reading “We Need Good Policy on Good Food Policy”

The Stories We Need: Pan-African Social Ecology

Kadalie’s book is one more testament that a collective awakening is taking place to jettison the state and redefine global history from the bottom up. For all this, direct democracy by itself can hardly promise social and ecological restoration. Democracy is not a matter of implementing formulaic procedures and structures; it is a matter of … Continue reading “The Stories We Need: Pan-African Social Ecology”

A ‘Council for the Future’ Could Break Australia’s Climate Paralysis

Like most people, I hoped climate policy would improve, but years of infighting and adversarial politics have resulted in a dearth of climate action, where cooperation might well have yielded positive results. One solution to this frustrating deadlock is to place the responsibility for climate policy at arm’s length from political actors. We need a … Continue reading “A ‘Council for the Future’ Could Break Australia’s Climate Paralysis”

Harvard and TIAA’s Farmland Grab in Brazil Goes Up in Smoke

It may come as a shock to Harvard students, faculty, and alumni, as well as the millions of educators and others in the United States whose pensions are managed by TIAA, to learn that these two institutions are deeply and directly invested in this destructive expansion of agribusiness. Over the past twelve years, TIAA and … Continue reading “Harvard and TIAA’s Farmland Grab in Brazil Goes Up in Smoke”

Ordinary Life has Vanished in Fire-Ravaged California

California is the fifth-largest economy in the world and likes to shout about its genius at innovation, but it is a victim of its lack of energy innovation. It’s a climate disaster zone, with the new reality of hotter, dryer conditions made far worse by the outdated power grid and corrupt private corporation in charge of … Continue reading “Ordinary Life has Vanished in Fire-Ravaged California”

Federal Fuel Efficiency Standards: Another Unnecessary Conflict in the Age of Trump

President Trump divides just about everything political he or his administration touches. The latest industry Trump has caused to turn against itself is automaking. Since Day 1 of the Trump presidency, the auto industry has been hoping to re-negotiate the deal it struck with the Obama administration on auto and light truck fuel efficiency standards … Continue reading “Federal Fuel Efficiency Standards: Another Unnecessary Conflict in the Age of Trump”

The Earth Does Not Speak in Prose

The minute there’s an orthodoxy of language and an orthodoxy of thought, which we all feel we have to stay within otherwise we’re going to get punished, or cancelled, then that’s the end of expression, that’s the end of any attempt to explore outside the boundaries. It’s what every orthodoxy from fascism to communism to … Continue reading “The Earth Does Not Speak in Prose”

Rivers of the ‘Dammed,’ Rising from the Grave

Oil spills, hazardous waste, and ship groundings hex America’s oceans and rivers every year. Pollution drives people away from beaches, leaving them silent as a boneyard. NOAA looks for ways to bring waterways back to life. To do this, NOAA and our partners often look for opportunities to remove or bypass barriers for fish passage … Continue reading “Rivers of the ‘Dammed,’ Rising from the Grave”

In Zambia, a People’s Budget Campaign Demands a Budget that Works for Women

The national budget in any country is one of the key instruments a government can use to fight inequality and bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. For this reason, Fight Inequality Alliance Zambia has been carrying out a People’s Budget campaign in the last couple of months to advocate for a more equal budget … Continue reading “In Zambia, a People’s Budget Campaign Demands a Budget that Works for Women”