‘Snowpiercer’ off the rails

Tilda Swinton is from the government but she's not here to help in Snowpiercer.

In portraying environmental issues, film has proven its unique power to influence public sentiment. A standout example is The China Syndrome, a 1979 anti-nuclear thriller released mere days before the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor plant accident made front-page news. The 2012 feature film The Promised Land brought to audiences images, ideas and emotions about the fracking controversy. So … [Read more...]

For sale, habitable planet, too late

Wave Breaker

According to legend, Ernest Hemingway bet his 1920s-era colleagues he could write a complete story in just six words. Hemingway is said to have considered the resulting piece his best work: “For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn.” Making no attempt to keep up with Hemingway, this article provides an overview of the dire climate-change situation in fewer than 300 words. Perhaps even Twitter users … [Read more...]

Sadly, extinction is no laughing matter

The wise fool.

Quoting Carl Sagan, I begin some presentations with this line: It is far  better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. Many people disagree with Sagan, choosing delusion over reality, believing we can have infinite growth on a finite planet with no consequences for people or other creatures, other life forms, other organisms. The … [Read more...]

A new kind of Christmas story

Dead Soldier Wreaths

'Tis the season for reaching out, connecting, and gifts, for good or for ill. One of the Christmas cards was unintentionally soaked in irony. I'll forgo the tempting rant about a religious holiday that has been co-opted to promote conspicuous consumption in an empire founded on secular ideals and skip straight to the card and its message. Filled with proud stories of the kids in the U.S. … [Read more...]

The Capitalism Papers: Fatal flaws of an obsolete system


Self-interest lies at the root of capitalism. This self-interest is a thoroughly predictable, steadily consistent feature of the human landscape and can reasonably be viewed as a solid foundation upon which to build. Self- interest can serve as both motivation and a salve for weary spirits. Kept within commonly-accepted bounds, it acts as a spur against laziness, and a hopeful haven for … [Read more...]

The new existentialism

A philosopher.

"As this planetary crisis invades our individual lives, unavoidably, neither the personal nor the collective misconception of who we are will remain tenable" -Charles Eisenstein, from Ascent of Humanity The state of humanity is at a crossroads between a dying culture of civilization and a new way of living in the world — a way of living that in symbiosis, in synchronicity with the Earth. … [Read more...]

Not even a spoonful of sugar could help

kill your tv

Television anchor Edward R. Murrow is credited with this expression: "Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar." Murrow understood the power of television to misinform the masses. This strategy has worked brilliantly on every front, but none more pronounced than the all-important issue of global climate … [Read more...]

Junk food for Jesus

Jesus at Chick-fil-A

I'm a Christian. But I wouldn't eat at Chick-fil-A even if the company's CEO were St. Francis of Assisi, Mother Theresa or Dietrich Bonhoeffer. And it's not really because I disagree with the views of the company's actual CEO about gay marriage. It's because I think that Chick-fil-A's whole business model is itself basically un-Christian, despoiling God's creation in all too many ways. All that … [Read more...]

The gates of Hell

The Gates of Hell

In a letter to Ernest de Chabrol dated 9 June 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote: As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in? Nearly two hundred years later, de Tocqueville has been vindicated not only as a superb social critic but … [Read more...]

Denial, anger and acceptance while circling the drain


I remember the exact time when I knew for sure that my dad’s cancer was entering the late stages. After his six hour brain surgery he had a hemorrhagic stroke that destroyed his ability to speak and swallow. I knew that he and my mom wouldn't be rescheduling their trip to Europe. Dad would be lucky to get out of the hospital and spend a few peaceful weeks or months at home before his death. My … [Read more...]