Reviews of books, films, TV shows, and websites.

In films about climate change, the medium is the wrong message

climate films

If you'd like, I'm what you'd call an ex-(aspiring) filmmaker, an early vanguard of what promises to be, in one way or another, an eventual mass exodus from the film and television industries. I won't go into my reasoning behind film and television's future demise here, but suffice to say, if left to its own devices, the future of film and television is in the hands of peak oil and the collapse of … [Read more...]

Consumer worldview not as entrenched as you think

consumer worldview

A worldview is a basic way of interpreting things and events that pervades a culture so thoroughly that it becomes that culture's concept of reality — what is good, what is important, what is sacred, and what is real.  It is so invasive that it is invisible. It is simply assumed to be true apart from any inquiry into its validity. If a worldview maintains that the emperor is clothed, then, even … [Read more...]

Plenty of trouble: Feeding a climate changed world after peak oil

feeding the world

Nothing is more precious than balance, stability, and sustainability. Today, we’re hanging by our fingernails to a skyrocket of intense insane change, and it’s the only way of life we’ve ever known.  Joel Bourne has spent his life riding the rocket.  He grew up on a farm, and studied agronomy at college. But sharp changes were causing many farmers to go bankrupt and taking over the family farm … [Read more...]

Inspiration for the burned-out localizer

Richard Heinberg

While Marx predicted that socialism would follow capitalism, Richard Heinberg predicts the next thing will be localism. "All roads appear to lead eventually to localism; the questions are: how and when shall we arrive there, and in what condition? (And, how local?)," Heinberg writes in his latest book, Afterburn: Society Beyond Fossil Fuels. (We received a review copy of Afterburn free of … [Read more...]

With ten billion coming, sustainable is not enough


Stephen Emmott is a chief techno-wizard at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, England.  His brilliant young scientists are doing research in complex natural systems.  Their objective is to invent miracles.  They want to program ordinary cells to perform photosynthesis, so we can produce food from sunlight, without plows and seeds.  Agriculture can’t feed ten billion.  The goal is to delay the … [Read more...]

Dollars are worthless without crude oil

Money as energy

In my previous post I drew some parallels between energy and money – and more specifically, energy and banking – and pointed out that when money is at stake, the presence of energy is likely lurking somewhere in the shadows. It was mostly hypotheses and observations I was throwing around about energy and banking, but when it comes to energy and money, one can hardly overstate the connection. Take … [Read more...]

A homegrown remedy to tame American empire

U.S. empire

There's lots of talk of localization or re-localization in the Transition movement and among environmentalists and economic justice advocates generally. And for good reason. Today's global economy where big corporations, with security provided by the United States military, ship plastic crap from Chinese sweatshops thousands of miles to consumers around the world who don't need most of it anyway, … [Read more...]

The population prophet we all love to hate

Paul Ehrlich

In 1968, biologist Paul Ehrlich achieved infamy by publishing The Population Bomb: Population Control or Race to Oblivion?, one of the most controversial eco-books ever printed.  Ehrlich has been condemned to spend eternity with Thomas Malthus, in a dungeon reserved for doom perverts.  To this day, professors still use the two lads as great reasons to never take seriously anyone who asserts that … [Read more...]

Star spangled collapse

Photo: DVIDSHUB/Flickr.

Apparently, people who write titles for politico-military thrillers about nuclear brinksmanship find the language of The Star Spangled Banner just too good to resist. It must be the power of dark irony, to turn words of patriotic celebration into a warning for patriots. For example: Twilight's Last Gleaming is a 1977 drama starring Burt Lancaster as a renegade air force general who takes over a … [Read more...]

Soil erosion may get us before climate change does

Syrian ruins

Outside the entrance of the glorious Hall of Western History are the marble lions, colorful banners, and huge stone columns. Step inside, and the popular exhibits include ancient Egypt, classical Greece, the Roman Empire, the Renaissance, Gutenberg, Magellan, Columbus, Galileo, and so on. If we cut a hole in the fence, and sneak around to the rear of the building, we find the dumpsters, derelicts, … [Read more...]