Let’s Get Real: What is Sustainable in Markets, the Biosphere, and Society?

In a number of posts, I have discussed various social illusions such as the idea that the extractive industrial consumer economy could just keep growing permanently, as so many economists implicitly insist. That deeply flawed illusion rests on some equally defective assumptions. Many people also believe that as industrial materials reach a state of depletion … More Let’s Get Real: What is Sustainable in Markets, the Biosphere, and Society?

Stranded Assets and Planetary Liabilities

When investment banks talk of the known reserves of oil and gas that may be left in the ground if climate policy ever were to sequester them, they call them potentially “stranded assets.” The investment banks that finance exploitation, drilling, fracking, and pipelines, see all forms of petroleum only as financial values once inserted into … More Stranded Assets and Planetary Liabilities

Thank You for Your Service to the Rich and Powerful

Today is Veterans Day. When I hear the ritually grateful expression, “Thank you for your service,” offered to a veteran or current military service member the speaker has never met before, I wonder why the statement makes me uncomfortable. Perhaps it is because such ritual expressions of appreciation for military service reflect no real understanding … More Thank You for Your Service to the Rich and Powerful

Facing a Fantastic Future: Fantasyland, Apocalypse, or Hopeful Realism?

We usually think of something as fantastic if it is so wonderful and amazing that it seems like fantasy. I suspect that is where Walt Disney got the idea for his “Fantasy Land” and the other fantastical components of Disneyland, Disneyworld, and all those animated entertainments. Much of it suggests unbounded human futures through industrial … More Facing a Fantastic Future: Fantasyland, Apocalypse, or Hopeful Realism?

What is Sustainability? Even the Experts Struggle with its Complexity

Many folks toss about the term, “sustainable” quite cavalierly these days. Like “green products” and “green consumption,” it often implies that a practice or product can continue as part of the industrial-consumer economy for a very long time. Yet the global corporate economy as presently constituted is hardly sustainable itself. Well, quite often the product … More What is Sustainability? Even the Experts Struggle with its Complexity

Renewable Energy and Sustainable Life

I deepened my carbon footprint this week by flying to Toronto for a conference at the University of Toronto, Mississauga, on “Sustainability: Transdisciplinary Theory, Practice, and Action,” (STTPA) The topic seems crucial for understanding how we must move forward to stem the tide of planetary destabilization of climate, ecosystems, and the threat of societal collapse. … More Renewable Energy and Sustainable Life

How to Control Complex Adaptive Systems to Survive

We live in increasingly complex systems, more and more of them are of our own making, though not always of our own conscious design. There are two basic kinds, natural complex adaptive systems, such as the Earth System and its many subsystems, and human-made complex adaptive systems, such as social groups and corporations. It appears … More How to Control Complex Adaptive Systems to Survive