The single greatest challenge facing our modern economic food chain is the insanely unnatural low cost of food to the consumer, making the simple and necessary act of eating dependent on food that is almost free. The global edifice of cheap food rests on the volatility of a single input; the exponentially depleting supply of easy, cheap oil. We are gorging ourselves at the $1.99 all-you-can-eat oil buffet. Food is too cheap, a "correction" is coming, and there is not a damn thing anybody can do about it. [...more]
In the end, Foer’s reflections on George provide the book’s most powerful argument against eating animals. What justification do I have, he asks himself, for eating other animals, but not eating dogs? Yes, dogs are intelligent, feeling beings, but so are pigs, cows and chickens. Properly cooked, dog meat is as healthy and nutritious as any other meat. It is also said to be delicious. In fact, since many people now advocate eating locally produced food and stray dogs are killed in their thousands in most big cities every year, dogs are the ideal local meat. [...more]
In the U.S. plenty of bloggers have pointed to the irony of Barack Obama collecting the Peace Prize while he launches a major escalation of the war in Afghanistan.
Here in Copenhagen, the Nobel – which was awarded in part because of Obama’s reengagement with the climate change negotiations -- carries a special set of ironies.
As Copenhagen unfolds, I notice some patterns in the media conversation: new examinations of confusion and denial; repeated attempts to explain and convince; more proposals of crucial solutions and necessary policies; timely reports on the severity of the situation. One question that seems to wander through these articles and essays and reports is this: why can’t we seem to get our shit together when it comes to climate change? The failure of Copenhagen feels, to many, like a foregone conclusion. So, like, What the What? [...more]
Yes, the overweening influence of corporate lobbyists has effectively neutralized policy and confused the public debate on our most serious problems. Yes, the capitalistic system favors short-term concentrated profits over long-term public good. And yes, the simple human preference for happy talk over sad stories plays a role in our denial. [...more]
A strange cloud envelops human civilization as its leaders fail to take the measures to protect it that they themselves endorsed just five months ago. It is oddly fitting that the latest act in humanity's climate-crisis drama will occur next week in the city where history's most famous Dane, brooding in his fog-enshrouded castle, failed to act decisively upon the very question hanging over the upcoming conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. [...more]
Global carbon markets may well have been hailed as the saviour of the planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but in many ways they are doing more harm than good, according to new evidence. [...more]
Georgia Tech City and Regional Planning Professor Brian Stone is publishing a paper in the December edition of Environmental Science and Technology that suggests policymakers need to address the influence of global deforestation and urbanization on climate change, in addition to greenhouse gas emissions. [...more]
The chatter that passes for news, the gossip that is peddled by the windbags on the airwaves, the noise that drowns out rational discourse, and the timidity and cowardice of what is left of the newspaper industry reflect our flight into collective insanity. We stand on the cusp of one of the most seismic and disturbing dislocations in human history, one that is radically reconfiguring our economy as it is the environment, and our obsessions revolve around the trivial and the absurd. [...more]
I love spending time outside. From wild places like the backcountry of the Sierra Nevada mountains, to the mundane nature in my back yard, I find comfort in my natural experiences. These places are restful. Peaceful. They restore my batteries, and help me to focus. And I am not alone in these experiences. People around the world seek out natural experiences. Even when confined to built spaces, we add pets, plants, pictures, and momentos from nature. It is part of who we are, and these experiences in nature help us reflect on what is important in life. [...more]