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Deep thought - Dec 3

Staff, Energy Bulletin

- Powering the Future: A Nobel-Prize Winner Takes a Look Deep into the Energy Future
- Global warming, population growth, and food supplies: When will Americans finally “get it”?
- Feminism, Finance and the Future of #Occupy - An interview with Silvia Federici
- The Tailor of Ulm - a look at the Italian Communist Party

archived December 3, 2011

World made by hand

Lindsay Curren, Lindsay's List

Old school letterpress printers Hatch Show Print of Nashville, Tennessee have been in continuous business since 1879. They do everything by hand from carving plates to setting type to inking and then hand cranking their print rollers. Their business model offers an excellent example of the kinds of jobs of the future communities need in addition that go beyond food production and farming.

archived December 2, 2011

Review: Songs of Petroleum by Jan Lundberg and Diamonds in my Pocket by Amanda Kovattana

Frank Kaminski, Mud City Press

At first glance, Jan Lundberg and Amanda Kovattana seem like unlikely kindred spirits. He’s a former oil analyst turned whistleblower and rock musician, while she’s a British-educated Thai émigré who makes her living helping people become organized. Yet their similarities run deep, beginning with a profound concern for the planet and a flair for writing. Indeed, both are indispensable contributors to one of the top news sites on energy and the environment, Energy Bulletin. Both also happen to be accomplished memoirists, and their memoirs offer rare insights into family relationships, the vicissitudes of wealth and the quandary of being an environmentalist in an environmentally apathetic age.

archived October 31, 2011

7 billion: Understanding the demographic transition

Sharon Astyk, Casaubon's Book

The term "Demographic Transition" describes the movement of human populations from higher initial birth rates to a stabilzed lower one, and seems to be a general feature of most societies over the last several hundred years.

The demographic transition is not a product of wealth or cheap energy in large quantities - we can see that by viewing the history of demographic shifts in Europe and the US. Instead, it is mostly about enabling people to make different reproductive choices, and supporting those choices - it requires no coercion, no high energy infrastructure, and is comparatively cheap to achieve.

archived October 20, 2011

The overburden: Review of “The Last Mountain”

Lindsay Curren, Transition Voice

The film The Last Mountain has it all: a human story of ordinary citizens fighting a soulless and unaccountable coal corporation; an urgency as the last mountain in the Coal River Valley is eyed by Big Coal for surface mining; a history and context for the people's claim to the rights of the commons; activism in the form of petitioning the government as well as civil disobedience; the role of business, profit, labor and economy as labor power is eroded and corporate profits soar; the eco-system, heritage, and culture of the region; and a new way forward proposed by the people themselves. It's the best documentary I've seen on mountain top removal. But really, it's about so much more and has come together perfectly as a gestalt, a meme for our times.

The Last Mountain, June 2011, 95 minutes, Dada Films, Directed by Bill Haney.

archived September 30, 2011

Reinventing the informal economy

Sharon Astyk, Casaubon's Book

When the formal economy fails, the informal economy is needed - and yet we have stripped the informal economy over the last decades. How to rebuild is a huge question - and one whose radicalism can't be overstated. It involves completely reinventing our economy, among other things, since the domestic informal economy stands against industrial growth capitalism and undermines the idea that we can have economy based largely on consumer spending. If you make, rather than buy, well, that changes a lot of things.

archived June 27, 2011

Gender Issues

Damien Perrotin, The view from Brittany

As you can guess, the French press has been abuzz with the … ahem... legal troubles of our former president-to-be. The … re-ahem... difficulties of Dominique Strauss-Kahn may turn out to have the same historical impact as the rape of Lucretia – that did not change the fact that some pan-Mediterranean Empire would eventually emerge, but it did make sure its language would not be Etruscan or Punic. DSK’s tribulations have, however, a more immediate interest, as they highlight what may be of particular importance as we slide down Hubbert’s curve: the troubled relationship between gender and power.

archived June 10, 2011

Live webchat with Kurt Cobb and Christine Patton (Peak Oil Hausfrau)

Staff, Energy Bulletin

Read the transcript from our live webchat about the power of storytelling to engage people around the challenges we all face. Facing the future through fiction!

archived June 6, 2011

The Jemima Code: The politics of the kitchen, past and present

Robert Jensen, Energy Bulletin

Yet for all the success, the 52-year-old Tipton-Martin is a woman haunted, not by traumatic memories from her own life but by Aunt Jemima. Not just by the Aunt Jemima caricature -- the commercial persona for the "Mammy" figure from plantation life that has sold pancake mix and syrup -- but by the real African-American women in kitchens through the centuries, during and after slavery, whose work and wisdom has been ignored.

archived May 31, 2011

Holiday embrace, holiday revolt

Lindsay Curren, Lindsay's List

The capitalist-saturated American culture gives way to holidays only begrudgingly. Under corporate dominance, Americans vacation and take time off from work very little compared to the rest of the industrialized world. When we do have a holiday, it's equally steeped in the capitalist ethos, with garish sales loudly urging us to consume, gorge and grab ACT NOW deals. But it's exactly this paradigm that's pitched growth to an unsustainable end and set us adrift intellectually and culturally. This Memorial Day reject the buying and spending frenzy. Reject the go, go, go mentality. Embrace instead a process of renewal, relaxation, connection. Take that precious day off, that lovely three-day weekend as an invitation to your higher self, guilt not necessary.

archived May 27, 2011

Worlds collide in a luxury suite

Rebecca Solnit, TomDispatch

Who would ever write a fable as obvious, as heavy-handed as the story we've just been given? The extraordinarily powerful head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a global organization that has created mass poverty and economic injustice, allegedly assaulted a hotel maid, an immigrant from Africa, in a hotel's luxury suite in New York City. Worlds have collided. In an earlier era, her word would have been worthless against his and she might not have filed charges, or the police might not have followed through and yanked Dominique Strauss-Kahn off the plane to Paris at the last moment. But she did, and they did, and now he's in custody, and the economy of Europe has been dealt a blow, and French politics have been upended, and that nation is reeling and soul-searching.

archived May 23, 2011

Youth climate movement worthy, needs to include peak oil

Lindsay Curren, Transition Voice

A new youth climate movement lead by Alec Loorz, who is suing the US government on behalf of his generation over lack of action on climate, seeks to raise awareness and move the climate conversation to an actionable tipping point. While his iMatter movement inspires, and shows the best in youth, iMatter hasn't included climate's twin issue —peak oil— and it faults their parents and grandparents for causing the problem, rather than recognizing that youth today are the inheritors of the work of energy and environmental giants that came before them.

archived May 9, 2011

Walking for Water

Faye Brown, On the Commons

“You have to decide what it is you are going to stand for,” Day explains. “Water is essential to life. We live in the water of the womb of our mother before we come into the world. We are birthed from water, our bodies are primarily water and we can’t survive without clean water. At some time in your life you have to take a stand.”

archived April 26, 2011

Innovation of the Week: Community seed banks to empower women and protect biodiversity

Supriya Kumar, Nourishing the Planet

To protect the local biodiversity and preserve traditional seeds, the GREEN Foundation, in partnership with other NGOs, including the Seed Saver’s Network and The Development Fund, has created community seeds banks throughout the state of Karnataka, India. All villagers can become a member of a community seed bank by paying an annual nominal fee. Members, who receive seeds free of cost, sow the seeds, harvest the crop and return double the amount of seeds to the bank. To maintain purity of the seeds, farmers must follow rules – such as no chemical fertilizers and pesticides – when growing their crops.

archived April 15, 2011

Octogenarian recalls the First Great Depression

Janaia Donaldson, Peak Moment Television (blog)

Rowena spoke about people giving them hand-me-down clothes and a bag of groceries from time to time. “But we never felt deprived,” she told me. “And having hand-me-downs is nothing to be ashamed of.”

archived April 5, 2011