Links and Tweets of the Week: November 14, 2009

BLOG Links and Tweets of the Week: November 14, 2009

sipress amazing race

Cartoon by David Sipress in The New Yorker


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:

  • Do not buy or eat any industrial meat – period.  Grain-fed meat raises the price of commodities in the poor world.  Either give up meat or eat only grass-fed meat.
  • Do not support biofuel production from foodstuffs or on land that is suitable for growing human crops.
  • Purchase high value, dry shipped luxury goods like spices, coffee, tea, etc… *only* when certified fair trade and grown in responsible ways (ie, shade grown coffee, etc…) 
  • Don’t buy imported produce.  Shift your diet to eat what’s available in your locality.  Remember, flying produce around the world is using planes to transport water, effectively.  That’s nuts on a whole host of levels.
  • Begin shifting your “shadow acres” of imported foods, resources and goods to your own locality – buy local when possible, even if it means buying less.  If you can’t produce something in your area, look for substitutes and work to establish local manufacture and production.

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.

Kabat-Zinn on Meditation: An audiocast with the meditation guru by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Thanks to Cheryl for the link.


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.


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.


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:

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.

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4 Responses to Links and Tweets of the Week: November 14, 2009

  1. vera says:

    The ADA statement does not say that veg diets are better than omnivore diets. It says that veg diets can be healthful and

  2. vera says:

    (Sorry…) It says that veg diets can be healthful and adequate IF properly designed, and may help with certain diseases. That is all it says. It conspicuously does not say if with certain other diseases, omnivores do better.Just keeping ya honest! ;-)

  3. Bob Watson says:

    Way to go, vera! I waited a few days to see if there would be an acknowledgment of your correction, but I’m not exactly surprised that it’s not forthcoming. Discussions with these folks have to deal with a lot of hyperbolic language, half truths, and special pleading. Im not sure it is worth a grown person’s time. There’s a flannel-mouthed relentlessness to deal with, reminiscent of life insurance salesmen and other hardnosed proselytizers. I hope this great site does not become a constant platform for this subject.To paraphrase (just slightly) Kyle Reese’s admonition to Sarah Conner:Listen!And understand. That [vegetarianism] is out there! It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with.It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear, and it absolutely will not stop! Ever! Until you are dead.

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