I have been a fan of Chris Smaje’s blog A Small Farm Future for a while, and it has changed the way I think about what I do for a living and what we are all doing for our livings. Smaje’s eclectic but thoughtful posts, and the lively commentary that ensues, provide all the geeky pleasures of a graduate seminar run by a fair-minded yet passionate professor. Or even more accurately, all of the geeky pleasures of a beer-fueled conversation with a deep-resumed group of agrarian thinkers from around the world. Continue reading “A Retrospective on the Prospect of a Small Farm Future”
This Thanksgiving weekend I am thankful for Julian Hoffman, who manages to be – on Twitter @JulianHoffman – a good, kind, humble person. That is a difficult thing to do in a medium that rewards controversy, snark, and self-aggrandizement. Julian Hoffman shows it does not have to be that way: that you can be supportive of other writers and Twitter users, that you can post fascinating, subtle photos and video of the natural world, that you can showcase the work of those who are standing up for and nurturing the non-human world and their local communities. With a following in the thousands, he is successful by any rational, non-toxic definition of success as well, and his internet persona is a welcome tonic to the generally low internet standard of behavior. Continue reading “Quite Possibly the Nicest Person on the Internet”
We the People have voted, we have made our choices clear, and the path forward is constrained by all the built in checks and balances, and what appears to be a foot dragging fetish. The following is a piece from David Wayne Fitzsimmons, normally a political cartoonist published regularly in the Arizona Daily Star. It was forwarded to me from FB.
While this piece was published before Election Day a new administration will not be inaugurated for another two months so none of the concepts presented have been acted upon. However this exhortation offers food for thought, most especially the idea that democracy is not something that we have or can be given but is something that we do, with voting a small part of it. That said I cannot agree with all the language herein, in particular the parts implying American exceptionalism. Much damage has been done, both by a malignant demagogue and an apparently apathetic public. As well the wildfire virus is currently out of control. We have a long road ahead to regain our place as a partner among equals, much less to regain leadership. This essay asks some necessary though painful questions.
“Will a virus kill our economy? Will our dollar lose its value? Will a civil war follow Tuesday? Will we tear each other apart? Or will we pull together, as we always have, to collectively rebuild our nation?
It is up to you, dear citizen.
I believe an American Renaissance is coming.
After the Black Death the survivors looked to the past for inspiration, beyond the recent Dark Ages, to classical Greece and Rome, which led to a flowering of enlightenment, the arts and sciences.
Out of the rubble an American Renaissance will emerge. And there will be a rubble of historic scale.
What is the future you want, citizen? A continuation of the Dark Ages or Renaissance?
A new President will have no choice but to call for the most radical sweeping legislation in the history of our Republic, a vast Marshall Plan for the rebuilding of our nation.
Are you in, dear citizen?
Will we cobble together a European-style blend of socialism and capitalism with healthcare a right, public service honorable, and sacrifice understood?
Will we reform our politics, creating a responsive accountable high tech transparent political system?
Will we have the will to strip money from our corrupt political system?
Your call, citizen.
Will we put country first and embrace the collective action our enormous challenges call for?
What say you, citizen?
Will we reward evidence-based policy makers and shun the donor-based policy makers that serve the narrow and forsake the Common Good?
Will rule by the obscenely rich end? Will you ask them to nourish the profoundly wounded Republic in which they flourished? Will Americans, in a protracted Depression, drive a tax collector’s spigot into the neck of every freeloading million, billion and zillionaire to lift up our nation, as all of us are asked to do?
Tell us what you think on Tuesday, citizen.
Will our nation put the vast jobless multitudes to work, leaning into restoring and building the next America, while an army of Americans will test and track this pandemic into containment?
It is up to you, dear exhausted citizen.
This can be the American Century, if you wish it so, citizen.
With innovation, science and tech know-how the United States of America will lead the way in combating climate change, bringing our people unparalleled prosperity.
Only if you wish it so.
Will we rebuild our nation’s bridges, roads, universities, and ports?
Will we upgrade public education and our entire digital infrastructure with the newest and best state of the art know-how that made us the envied and admired standard for the globe?
It is up to you, citizen.
From sea to rising sea we must combat climate change with the zeal and commitment of the America that liberated the world from Fascism in the second World War. We must build wind farms, solar farms, electric charging stationswith the patriotic zealwith which the Greatest Generation churned out the men, arms, bombers, and tanks that conquered an existential threat to our lives.
Our youth that vote on Tuesday will inherit this fight. They have no choice. They will be our next Greatest Generation.
Do you stand with them, citizen?
America surrendered to the threat of an invading virus because we chose to be led by a cabal of ignominious know-nothings who have poisoned truth with their malignant anti-science, anti-reason, and anti-education ethos.
Is that your America, citizen?
On Tuesday, it is up to you to deliver reactionary politics to history’s freezer.
Will America, reborn, seek truth, justice, and reconciliation?
Entirely up to you this Tuesday.
Will America, reborn, tear the cancer of racism from our hearts and finally embrace our diversity, and lift up our brothers and sisters?
Ball’s in your court.
Will America, reborn, fund public education at levels appropriate for a People willing to pay the price to make America a first rate world power, a light for the World? Will we reignite Liberty’s torch on election day? Will we choose the American Renaissance?
It is up to you, citizen.
The United States made the right choice after, to paraphrase Churchill, exhausting all other options. It would have been nice if we hadn’t gone down the Trump path but perhaps it was necessary to learn some lessons the hard way. Hopefully he will soon be a distant figure in the rear view window, but before we pull away it would be wise to learn what we can from Trumpism. So here’s my post-election blog. Continue reading “Election Aftermath”
The Vatican has announced Pope Francis’s new encyclical, Fratelli tutti – dedicated to “fraternity” and “social friendship”.
“We live in a time marked by war, poverty, migration, climate change, economic crises, and pandemic. Recognizing a brother or sister in everyone we meet…reminds us that no one can ever emerge from the present hardships alone, one against the other, the global North against the global South, the rich against the poor or any other excluding differentiation.”
These words resonated with me as our nation faces the outcome of one of the most difficult and consequential presidential elections in our history. Continue reading “Healing the Hearts and Minds of America”
Having already voted by mail in our tiny, over-whelmingly blue state, we wait, with bated breath and knotted stomachs, for the results.
The results of Tuesday’s elections for the US president will have far-reaching impacts – around the globe and on our individual lives. The results of the Bush v. Gore election, for instance, led to wars which called my daughter’s father, a helicopter mechanic for the Army National Guard, away to long deployments on military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, and contributed, I think, to his early death. On a larger scale, the results of that millennial election meant that the US did not exercise its potential for global leadership towards lowering greenhouse gas emissions and reducing pollution, as might have happened under Gore. It is my daughter’s generation that will feel the impact of that election acutely. Continue reading “On the Eve of an Apocalyptic Election”
something right up the anima alley for the weekend from Dr. Sharon Blackie and two favorite networks: Daily Good and Moon Magazine
As I read a recent headline in The Atlantic “The US is on the Path to Destruction” I realized once again that climate change is truly an existential threat.
“Climate change is killing Americans and destroying the country’s physical infrastructure. The federal government spends roughly $700 billion a year on the military. It spends perhaps $15 billion a year trying to understand and stop climate change. I thought about those numbers a lot last week, as I tried to stop my toddler from playing in ash, tried to calm down my dogs as they paced and panted in mid-morning dusk light, tried to figure out whether my air purifier was actually protecting my lungs, tried to understand why the sky was pumpkin-colored, and tried not to think about the carcinogen risk of breathing in wildfire smoke, week after week. The government has committed to defending us and our allies against foreign enemies. Yet when it comes to the single biggest existential threat we collectively face—the one that threatens to make much of the planet uninhabitable, starve millions, and incite violent conflicts around the world—it has chosen to do near-nothing. Worse than that, the federal government continues to subsidize and promote fossil fuels, and with them the destruction of our planetary home. Climate hell is here. We cannot stand it. And we cannot afford it either.” Continue reading “Climate hell is here. We cannot afford to ignore it.”
The above image: “Depicting a topic as expansive as inequality in a single frame is a challenge, especially since unequal experiences are often lived adjacently, but separately. Photographer Johnny Miller has successfully achieved a method of visualizing inequality—by using a drone to spotlight from above how rich and poor can inhabit spaces that are right next to each other, but so different.” Continue reading “Inequality, Poverty, and Injustice; a problem of too much and not enough.”
I will begin at the end. The last sentence in Jason Hickel’s new book is “We have everything to lose and a world to gain.” We have always had everything to lose, perhaps, but it is only relatively recently that we have, and by “we” I mean we of the so-called First World, drifted so far into a mass delusion that we no longer live in “the world.” We live off the world, enjoying lifestyles that depend on long supply chains which we barely realize exist. We have developed elaborate intellectual structures to deny that the world matters or has any standing except as a extraction site or a dump. To mainstream political and economic thinking, the world is not a factor in any discussion of goals and values. The world as foundational to our being, much less as a full subject with intrinsic value to itself, has no place in mainstream thinking. It is a resource, a dead corpse on which we feed. This is our Achilles’ heel, our fatal blind spot. It has been built into our intellectual tradition for millennia. It is our daunting task to alter that tradition, change the intellectual DNA of our civilization, and re-learn the values and aspirations that animate our daily lives. Jason Hickel’s book is an important contribution to that effort. Continue reading “Animism Reborn: A Review of Jason Hickel’s Less is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World”