Tyranny vs Leadership: Authoritarian Exploitation or Mutual Aid for Survival

How to manage a societal crisis: that is the question. Or, is it a question at all? Why is it so difficult for a society of ostensibly free people to work together to make life better? To be accurate, we humans are in quite a pickle these days. With looming climate chaos before us, we … More Tyranny vs Leadership: Authoritarian Exploitation or Mutual Aid for Survival

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

Getting Real: How to Constrain Climate Chaos for a Livable World

Can we get there from here? That is an open question. It all depends on what we do, and if we do. So far, we have done almost nothing in comparison with what we must do to retain a livable world into the Anthropocene. Overwhelming evidence on global warming and its effects destabilizing the key … More Getting Real: How to Constrain Climate Chaos for a Livable World

Speaking the Unspeakable: Climate Reality vs Industrial Culture

The Green New Deal (GND) may or may not have much chance as a framework for drafting realistic climate legislation. Not only does a slavishly Trumpist Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, defy Senate tradition and democratic principles to fight any proposal the president does not like. He and his Republican cohorts block anything the Democrats propose, just … More Speaking the Unspeakable: Climate Reality vs Industrial Culture

Being David Brooks in the Bowels of the Green New Deal

Many consider David Brooks the voice of conservative reason In America. After all, he has even published some almost sociological books on matters of character, family, and progress toward ‘the American dream.’ And, he presents himself as a soft-spoken empathic analyst on the Sunday talk shows and in his New York Times column. Brooks may … More Being David Brooks in the Bowels of the Green New Deal

Communication, Contagion, and Conspiracy

Social contagion is an age-old process of collective behavior. It has been studied by sociologists in the U.S. for decades. In the economic sphere, stock market bubbles that end in a furious crash that reflects the contagion of panic. Economists cite the infamous collapse of the “Tulip Mania” in Holland in 1637 as the classic … More Communication, Contagion, and Conspiracy

Civility and the Climate Impacts of Denialism

Yesterday, I read an article in the Scientific American discussing a key dilemma that stymies climate action. No standards exist that could provide firm measures of how much carbon emissions reduction is necessary by what date to avoid the worst climate chaos. The article asked the difficult question of how much CO2 we must remove … More Civility and the Climate Impacts of Denialism

Small World, Big Change: Chasing the New Great Transformation

The cliché, “the world is getting smaller,” sometimes jumps right out at you in an incident or experience that is entirely unexpected. That happened to me one cool fall evening. My wife sat at a table at the entrance to the Torreon Marriott Hotel (a small part of a global story of transformation in itself), … More Small World, Big Change: Chasing the New Great Transformation