As the media report the continued explosive growth of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and resulting deaths in some cases, the level of indifference and denial appears to be declining. Yet, governments remain sluggish in their response to the pandemic, with a small number of exceptions. The United States of America seems particularly vulnerable to … More Two Emergencies, Part II: Climate & Coronavirus Collide
Sometimes we resist forces that take us out of our “comfort zone.” These days, two such forces, one new and in our face, and the other not so new but consistently resisted as its danger grows, now vie for our attention. A viral pandemic and a global climate crisis seem so different. But are they? … More Two Emergencies: Coronavirus and Climate Collapse
I spend a lot of time during the winter in a small town on the Pacific coast of Mexico. It makes more sense to a jubilado who grew up around California beaches than staying where Skiing is popular. The snow-covered Sangre de Cristo Mountains overlooking Santa Fe, are not a draw for this old surfer. … More Engineering and Experience: Professionals and Us
The global corporate economy of perpetually growing extraction, production, consumption, and waste, has already produced far too much. It has done so for a very long time, with increasingly inequitable distribution. Consumption and waste not only exhaust non-renewable resources; they contaminate the complex adaptive living systems we call ecosystems, that is, our habitats. The only … More To Transform Society for Survival, We Must Liberate Ourselves from the Endless Growth Economy
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?
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
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
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?
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
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