Cartoon by David Sipress in The New Yorker
PREPARING FOR CIVILIZATION’S COLLAPSE:
How the Rich Can Stop Hurting the Poor: Sharon Astyk adds her own recommendations to the Transition Initiative’s recommendations, in an interview with Vandana Shiva, to help reduce the exploitation of struggling nations:
Thinking Long-Term: Also from Sharon, the need to plant now to allow succession of plants that will, a generation from now, provide sustainable food and shelter for you and future generations. This is the essence of permaculture. And Sharon asks: Can this permaculture approach to food preparation be applied to other strategies for preparing, organically and sustainably, for the coming Long Emergency?
Reality Proceeds Emergently: Jim Kunstler on our collective and very human unwillingness to change, or to face what’s really happening:
The trouble with self-delusion, either in a person or a society, is that reality doesn’t care what anybody believes, or what story they put out. Reality doesn’t “spin.” Reality does not have a self-image problem. Reality does not yield its workings to self-esteem management. These days, Americans don’t like reality very much because it won’t let them push it around. Reality is an implacable force and the only question for human beings in the face of it is: what will you do? In other words, it’s not really possible to manage reality, but you can certainly choose to manage your affairs within reality. We won’t do that because it’s too difficult. This harsh situation leaves the public increasingly with little more than bad feelings of discouragement and persecution.
Freakonomics Duo Freak Out: The authors of Freakonomics, which was an entertaining and informative study of statistical correlations in complex systems, have been taking their success too seriously. As Elizabeth Kolbert explains, they’ve written a sequel that proposes utterly ludicrous geoengineering solutions to climate change (neither author is a scientist of any kind). Wrong, guys, just wrong, on all counts.
Learning How to Facilitate With Graphics: A great series of 9 two-minute videos shows how to use simple, powerful drawings of people, processes and resources to illustrate and document what’s happening at an event, and hence facilitate learning, collaboration and understanding. Thanks to Chris Corrigan for the link.
Building With Whole Trees: A new form of construction harvests small, strong, flexible trees as the basis for building construction, and leaves the surrounding larger trees uncut. Maybe we can then go to the next stage and use the trees in situ. Thanks to Eric Lilius for the link.
American Dietetic Association Advocates Vegetarianism: This summer the ADA put to rest the many myths and concerns about vegetarian diets, and stated that, for everyone, a vegetarian diet (including a vegan diet) is much better than a meat diet. Thanks to Prad for the link.
POLITICS AND ECONOMICS AS USUAL:
Why the US Health Care Reform Compromise is Worse Than Nothing: Like the worse-than-useless climate change regulations coming out of congress, Dennis Kucinich explains why the compromise health care proposal is just a huge gift to the corporations responsible for the crisis (the insurance industry) and will make health care in the US even more unaffordable, for everyone. Thanks to Tree for the link.
Britain Rules Out Climate Treaty at Summit: Copenhagen -> Nopenhagen. Politicians headed to Copenhagen are furiously managing expectations downward. Maybe we’ll try again next year when we’re feeling better.
FUN AND INSPIRATION:
How to Act If You’re Poor: A brilliant and biting look at how we in affluent nations make the poor feel that their poverty is their own fault.
THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK:
From a tweet by bakedin: “The simplest, fastest way to make an entire organization smarter is for every member to know what is going on.”
From Susan B. Anthony (thanks to Cheryl for the link): “Cautious, careful people always casting about to preserve their reputation or social standards never can bring about reform. Those who are really in earnest are willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathies with despised ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.”
From Wendell Berry:
THE REAL WORK
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.