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Archive for the ‘Manifestos & auguries’ Category

Inspired by the daily litany of depressing news (and by reading Latour’s Down to Earth), I’ve succumbed to the temptation of writing a manifesto. Manifestos are cheap, I know, but we have to start somewhere. (And so many questions arise as you write one: about the proper balance between critique and vision, between generality and […]

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… that might get humans to pull through the next few centuries relatively intact as a species (if not undiminished or unscathed): Decarbonization, Deplasticization, Demilitarization, Decolonization, and Demographic Transition. The first, Decarbonization, entails a dramatic reduction in industrial production of atmospheric carbon (and other greenhouse gas) emissions. It will keep conditions for the flourishing of […]

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Spin the dial and see where it lands. Take several steps in that direction. Look around. Spin again. 1. Struggle, or The World at War Frame: We are at war. The war is between the good guys and the bad guys. We must triumph. (Variations: The war is between those who are plundering the planet […]

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“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe…” 62 moons orbiting in and around the grooved rings of Saturn. Winter and spring, hurricanes, jet streams, and auroras. Rivers and deltas pelted by methane rains on Titan. Hydrothermal vented oceans, and geysers shooting plumes of water that fall back as snow on Enceladus. Moons forming spiral waves cresting […]

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May Day (Beltane, Walpurga’s Day, et al.) is a good time for reflecting on politics, ecology, and possibility. The following can be considered part of a series on this blog. When neoliberalism is understood as the alliance between economic liberalization and social liberalization — that is, between those who would “liberate” capitalist markets (who sometimes get called fiscal […]

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So, Donald Trump will be president of the United States and both Congress and Senate will be dominated by Republicans. Environmentalists and social justice activists, almost universally, find this idea horrifying. But there are silver linings to be found amidst the wreckage. Let’s explore a few of them.

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I’ve been using the metaphor of the Sustainability Bottleneck in my teaching, but another one that is more immediately graspable is The Bubble. Two things landed in my in-box this morning that testify to this (but that’s a pretty daily occurrence, e.g., see this, this, this, this, this, this, and this, all from the past week). One […]

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The following is something I wrote a while back that I have not had a chance to do anything with. I’m sharing it here simply because it will otherwise languish. It is a reflection on the political left and its failings in a changing global situation, a situation marked by inequality on a global scale, by increasing, […]

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Some 2500 years ago, a man named Siddhartha Gotama articulated what have come to be known as the “4 Noble Truths”: the truth of dukkha, or fundamental suffering (that there is a basic unsatisfactoriness to life), the truth of its causes (that it arises from an ignorance and misperception of the nature of things, which are […]

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Astrophysicist and NPR blogger Adam Frank writes about the “sustainability bottleneck” as the state faced by technological civilizations like ours, which have learned how to “intensively harvest” energy, but not how to sustain themselves through the crisis this harvesting sets off. It turns out there may be millions of planets that give rise to life in our galaxy alone. Frank […]

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