Climate change: Obama needs to turn talk into action

OSAKABIKE19

Something's been troubling me ever since I listened to President Obama's first post-reëlection press conference. Perhaps as a result of Hurricane Sandy, the now two-term president was finally asked a question about global warming, a topic conveniently avoided by both sides throughout the seemingly interminable campaign. The question came from New York Times White House correspondent Mark … [Read more...]

Eros and economy

Eros

Everybody loves a good story. Especially this time of year. In Plato’s Symposium, Diotima recounts the story of Eros. She tells us that on the day of Aphrodite’s birth, the gods had a banquet. Penia—that is, “Poverty”— came begging at the end of the meal. There she espied Poros — that is, “Wealth” — drunk on nectar and asleep in Zeus’ garden. As a way out of her destitution, Penia decided to … [Read more...]

The Capitalism Papers: Fatal flaws of an obsolete system

register

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 rust-bucket reactors start to fall

Toy

The US fleet of 104 deteriorating atomic reactors is starting to fall. The much-hyped "nuclear renaissance" is now definitively headed in reverse. The announcement that Wisconsin's Kewaunee will shut next year will be remembered as a critical dam break. Opened in 1974, Kewaunee has fallen victim to low gas prices, declining performance, unsolved technical problems and escalating public … [Read more...]

Upcycling at its best: Review of “Sewing Green”

Bike Bag

In his 2009 book The Ecotechnic Future: Envisioning a Post-Peak World, brilliant peak oil commentator and Archdruid John Michael Greer argued that the coming energy and economic collapse would lead less to a dramatic nightmare implosion with mutant zombie bikers driven by insatiable cannibalism and more to a steady decline in which we'll live off of the detritus of industrial civilization's long … [Read more...]

Waste not, want not

gDiapers

If you take a long hard look at a landfill you’ll see both tremendous need (where do we continue to put all this waste?) and undertapped opportunity (how can we redesign, reuse, and repurpose to avoid the landfill altogether?) We’ve been exploiting natural resources at an unsustainable level for nearly a century to create material goods for our well-being and pleasure. Over that time we’ve … [Read more...]

Indian grid failure offers lesson to us all

US electricity at night

A Washington Post story yesterday about the (so far) two-day electricity blackout that affected 600 million citizens was a study in trying to find an answer to the acute predicament facing Mother India. Numerous officials are cited in the article, mainly scratching their heads, baffled over the cause of grid collapse. Yet one paragraph stood out for its more definitive take on the problem. Indian … [Read more...]

Growth in global oil market slows

Dying oil fields and pump jack carcasses. Photo: David~O via Flickr.

Global oil consumption increased by 0.7 percent in 2011 to reach an all-time high of 88.03 million barrels per day, according to new research conducted by the Worldwatch Institute for its Vital Signs Online service. This rate of increase was considerably slower than in 2010, when oil consumption rose by 3.3 percent following a decline of 1.3 percent in 2009 due to the global financial … [Read more...]

Money can’t buy you love

MacroPaperMoney

Guy McPherson and Sherry Ackerman are back with us to continue dialoguing about individual components of sustainable living. In this dialogue, they take a long, hard look at money. Ackerman: Guy, I can’t seem to get past the fact that human beings are the only species that have to pay to live on the Planet. Every other species lives on Earth for free. What do you make of this? McPherson: It … [Read more...]

Human health: return of the four horsemen?

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

In the arena of human health, living in the post-industrial Stone Age will force us to deal with the biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. And I’m not thinking metaphorically. During the time of Christ, in the Mediterranean region, the population of humans was viewed through the same lens as other populations. As such, human deaths often occurred in large numbers, as a result of war, … [Read more...]