“There is surely a correspondence between an exhausted culture and a populace devolved so far into mental dullness that it can’t recognize its predicament. We don’t seem to get how much the industrial production spree of the past 200 years has just plumb worn us out, not to mention the ecosystem we were designed to dwell in” writes James Howard Kunstler under the title “Modernity Bites” this November 26, 2012.
James’ thesis is that we are at the end of the industrial era and that the economic structures it has spawned are imploding around us.
What if we just accept the reality that the industrial spree was a self-limiting adventure and now we have to move on?
Posted in Wise words of others
Tagged climate, climate change, Doha, economy, energy, environment, epochal changes, james howard kunstler, renewable energy, resilience, science, sustainability, sustainability debate
How do trees manufacture mass out of thin air?
Stuart McMillen’s latest illustrated essay (he calls them comics, but I think that sells them short) is one of his best yet. How do trees manufacture mass out of thin air? How do our human building techniques and processes compare?
Fans of Stuart’s will know to expect a beautifully illustrated and well told story that will really get you thinking – they will not be disappointed with Thin Air! Newbies please take some time to check out Stuart’s web site, not just his ‘comics’.
Thin Air trees cartoon – Stuart McMillen comics.
Returning to business as usual as soon as possible was the mainstream mantra after September 2008; such was the shock of the collapse. A crash like that is never an easy time for considered reform and few countries had the resources to make any serious attempt in any case, so invested were we all in the good old days of cheap abundant energy and exponential growth. August 2011; here we go again?
What a delight to stumble across the website of 20’s Plenty for Us!
My hypothetical Parallel Universe turns out to be in the UK…
In March 2010 when I first wrote about an imaginary futuristic world where the maximum speed of any powered road transport device is 30-km/h within urban areas the notion seemed plausible to me, but most readers politely suggested the idea would remain a dream. It turns out that dreams can come true: The 20’s Plenty for Us movement in the UK (20 mph = 32-km/h) appears to be gaining some real traction.
Already 5m residents live in towns which are adopting or have adopted this policy. Most importantly, through democratic debate those communities have decided that “20s Plenty Where People Live”. And it is those same communities who have then changed their behaviour to drive slower in residential streets and where people walk and cycle.
via 20s Plenty for Us.
Posted in Wise words of others
Tagged community, design, eco-friendly, environment, green, innovation, peak oil, positive development, resilience, transition towns, transport, urban design
“Drew Dellinger is one of the most respected and admired performers in the field of deep ecology / awakening / planetary work.”
– Rob Hopkins, Founder of the Transition Town movement.
“Drew is the Earth’s grapevine, the transcendent delivery man, the vocable giver, the dispatcher of the unremembered, the confabulating oath keeper, the stand-in for the intimate grief that holds us in thrall. His poems are bodies of light seen by startled new eyes and long after he speaks they weave the unconscious, stitching us to our collective and uncertain future.”
– Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest and The Ecology of Commerce
See more: http://drewdellinger.org/
With the passing of poet Gil Scott-Heron this week, I’d like to dedicate a few lines here to reflect on his work, particularly his recurrent themes of freedom from oppression and peace. He died on Friday May 27 in New York after becoming ill during a trip to Europe.
Born in Chicago April 1st 1949 Gil was often called the godfather of rap for his groundbreaking spoken-word performances set to music, a tag he disliked. He recorded more than a dozen albums, but was probably best known for his 1970 song ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’.
“You will not be able to stay home, brother. You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out. You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip, skip out for beer during commercials, because the revolution will not be televised.” Continue reading
Posted in Thoughts, ideas, musing, Wise words of others
Tagged environment, Gil Scott-Heron, greed, green, resilience, sustainability, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, transition, Work For Peace
Hans Rosling is fast moving up my list of inspirational thinkers and influencers. Not only does he have some of the best graphical data representation to be seen, he is also a highly entertaining and very compelling speaker.
His thesis on population really opened my eyes to another perspective on that question.
This TED Talk is yet another unique perspective on some of the issues and challenges of our times:
“What was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution? Hans Rosling makes the case for the washing machine. With newly designed graphics from Gapminder, Rosling shows us the magic that pops up when economic growth and electricity turn a boring wash day into an intellectual day of reading.” Recorded at TEDWomen, December 2010, in Washington, DC.
Floating in the Pacific gyre
My post on Garbage and Room Service introduced readers to the ‘Trash Hotel’ project and the mountains of rubbish in our oceans, particularly the huge – Texas size – floating archipelagos of plastic in the Pacific.
In a moving coda from TEDxGPGP, Jackson Browne plays “If I Could Be Anywhere,” a song he started writing last April  aboard Mission Blue Voyage, the Sylvia Earle-inspired trip to brainstorm ways to save the endangered ocean. “If I could be anywhere,” he sings, “anywhere right now, I would be here.” Have a listen:
If you’re as moved as I am by this song and the reasons it was written, what are you going to do about it?
Have we been barking up the wrong tree with alternative energy policy, research and development? Ted Goranson, scientist, author, philosopher and architect seems to think so. In his recent (April 2011) article on the subject he argues that there has been too much focus on funding shovel-ready projects, which really only aim to make sub-optimal schemes less troublesome. We need a game changer he claims, such as the integrated circuit, radio or electricity were. Such a paradigm shift requires a space-race scale investment in basic science. Continue reading
Author: Julie Ustinoff
Date: 02 June 2010
Affordable housing was once a cherished feature of the Australian way of life. But it is no longer so. A first home is now out of reach for many young Australians, and escalating rents make saving for that home extremely difficult. In this article, Julie Ustinoff examines an often-overlooked consequence of our housing affordability malaise.
Click here to go to the article
…or browse your own way there via: http://www.brisinst.org.au/