Teachings and practices from the world's great faith traditions and humanistic philosophy to help us stay sane and remain courageous during the Transition time.

How Pope Francis’s climate encyclical is liberating the world


In my life there are two things that have the effect of at least somewhat isolating me from others. The first is being a writer on climate change, peak oil, and the economic crises bound up with those modern predicaments. The other is being a Christian environmentalist. In the first case, my essays, as well as my social media presence, fairly well run counter to the whole of my society and … [Read more...]

Peak oiler? Not Catholic? You should still stand with the pope on climate

support pope on climate

I get it, you believe in peak oil. So do I, despite gas at $2.50 a gallon. But peak oil is no excuse for either you or me to just sit around waiting for the final oil crash to make the climate problem moot by bringing down industrial civilization. Even if you're the world's biggest doomer, you have to admit that the timing is too uncertain -- will the über-crash come in five months or five … [Read more...]

We need a map out of the nightmare of consumerism

nightmare of consumerism

One of the most harrowing challenges of modern American life is navigating through the massive desert of our mindless, materialistic consumerism. It is within this landscape that a soul can become lost and drenched in despair. From the endless stream of vacant-eyed wraiths who glide down catwalks, to the pervasive advertising that never ceases to demean the values of empathy and compassion and … [Read more...]

‘They’ won’t let the planet fry, right?

"Numbitol"/Sleep photo art

Did you ever wonder who they were? The “they.” The “they” that tell us that low levels of radiation and E.coli are safe. Or that extraction industries boost the economy. Or that fracking and tar sands are the only way to solve the energy crisis. They tell us that we don’t need labeling on our food. They tell us that the upswing in adult diabetes is normal. Sometimes they are much more … [Read more...]

American kids in the Age of Oil: ‘Economically worthless but emotionally priceless’

Children by the Campfire Mircea Flickr

In colonial America, kids died young. No matter how unwelcome, Death was a frequent visitor at family firesides from Boston to Savannah, where parents could expect to lose, on average, up to half of their brood before they reached adulthood. According to 17th-century Puritan minister Cotton Mather, "a dead child [was] a sight no more surprising than a broken pitcher.” Things didn't get much … [Read more...]

How to think and live for yourself


When you get out of bed in the morning, what gets your motor running? Are you full of creative good ideas about what you hope to experience that day? Or, are you more focused on what you need to do in order to fulfill the day’s obligations? The question confronts the issue of motivation — that which energizes, directs and sustains our behaviors. Psychologists remind us that there are two … [Read more...]

Jesus, pioneer of voluntary poverty

Picture of the Holy Family

Note: This article is an excerpt reprinted with permission of the publisher from Simple Living in History: Pioneers of the Deep Future, a collection of essays profiling key historical figures whose lives served as examples of living simply. Bible references are to the New International Version (NIV) -- Ed. A clear theme throughout Jesus’ ministry was the conflict between seeking God and … [Read more...]

Month of heartbreak

Graffiti of pierced bleeding heart with dark spot

I saw grief drinking a cup of sorrow and called out, “It tastes sweet, does it not?” “You’ve caught me,” grief answered, “and you’ve ruined my business, how can I sell sorrow when you know it’s a blessing?” -- Rumi Valentines Day will may be a distant memory but the entire month of February has been designated American Heart Month. This means that for twenty-eight days we have permission … [Read more...]

Staying on the train

time flies sign

The traveler has to knock at every alien door to come to his own, and one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end. -- Rabindranath Tagore Nearly every day I speak with people who are confused, bewildered, disoriented, or conversely, extraordinarily clear about what is happening to them. A few years, months, or weeks earlier, they began waking up to the … [Read more...]

A walk in January

walking in snow

The only sounds are crows and wind. The winds resemble distant trains without the reassuring rhythm. They persist too strongly, and while I can't say that the trees object and are complaining, many have retreated to their shelters for the winter. No, this is not a pulse of power; it seems a determined, endless current, though it really is only a wave, the rhythm of which is not obvious yet. … [Read more...]