“sustainability” articles

The nuclear nonanswer


When discussing concern over environmental exploitation and destruction, often particularly regarding global warming, the question often arises: what about nuclear? But what is the question for which nuclear energy is the answer? To slow global warming, the correct question is: how do we go about reducing the amount of carbon we emit? But that's entirely unrelated to the question that nuclear energy answers, which is: how do we generate more electricity?

Nuclear energy is pursued in the interests of—and based on an assumption of—economic growth. Without the growth assumption, it is not necessary. With the growth assumption in place, it is not sufficient.

Bad assumptions on Keystone XL


We have yet another opportunity to submit public comments on the proposal to permit the Keystone XL pipeline to be built. This time, I'm going to zero in on one particularly pernicious assumption presented in the Final Environmental Impact Statement: that the energy industry will just find alternatives to the pipeline, so disastrous tar sands exploitation is inevitable.

An invitation to conspire against the Keystone XL pipeline, and what it symbolizes


The current environmentalist coalition, led by, is rallying people to write to the US State Department and the President in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. The following is what I wrote. My favorite quote from this letter is: “Those who relentlessly pursue economic growth do so out of fear that prosperity is impossible without growth, and in this way they are slaves to this insatiable impulse; this situation is intensely dangerous and hurtful to everyone involved.” Writing this feels so natural to me, and so naturally makes me radically happy.

Understanding sustainability and society


Herein I provide some notes for a course (initially presented Saturday, 2011-02-26 as a SatCo) with the same name.

Taking the Keystone XL message to Shaker Square


The next stage of our plan to halt the development of the destructive Keystone XL pipeline is to raise the issue everywhere, including in Cleveland. We want the Obama administration to feel pressure about this continually, and from every direction. I submitted the following letter to the Plain Dealer yesterday; in it I ask you to join me at our Shaker Square rally next week in order to help to deliver this message.

Number 59


I describe the experience of being arrested while participating in the recent Tar Sands Action.

A letter about the Keystone XL protest


Bill McKibben hosted a video chat this past Wednesday for those attending the upcoming Tar Sands Action, and in it he encouraged people to write letters to the editor to raise awareness about the protest. I composed the following letter and submitted a version of it to the Plain Dealer today. It was a little bit long, so I had to whittle it down to size, but I still prefer this slightly longer version.

Monthly Growth Scan


This article examines other sources that discuss the policy of economic growth, focusing on sources from March, 2011.

Monthly Growth Scan


This article examines other sources that discuss the policy of economic growth, focusing on sources from February, 2011.

More jobs? What about food?


In response to a comment on my last article, I point out that emphasizing job creation reinforces unsustainable growth policies, and I also consider the relationship between jobs and food in our society.

Monthly Growth Scan


This article examines other sources that discuss the policy of economic growth, focusing on sources from January, 2011.

All the energy from the Sun


If we transitioned to renewable energy from the Sun, and if economic growth could continue, how long would it take for humanity to use all the energy that the Sun provides?

Monthly Growth Scan


This article examines other sources that discuss the policy of economic growth, focusing on sources from December, 2010.

Monthly Growth Scan


This article examines other sources that discuss the policy of economic growth, focusing on sources from November, 2010.

A visit to the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage


I spent two weeks in October visiting the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. In this article, I give an overview of how that experience affected me, and what I learned from the members of that community.

T. Boone Pickens presents his energy plan to Cleveland


As the first invited guest of the Town Hall of Cleveland, T. Boone Pickens talked about his energy plan. In his presentation and the following question & answer session, Pickens made it clear that his plan is largely similar to the existing approach—requiring increasing exploitation of fossil fuels, giving a nod to renewable sources, and stubbornly ignoring the problem of growth—but focusing on domestic resources instead of foreign ones.

Sustainable Cleveland 2019 is incongruous on sustainability


A year into its work, the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 project had its second summit this week. This article provides a summary and a critique of the events of the summit. Mainly, the summit emphasized the way that businesses and other communities can benefit from practices that are commonly labeled as sustainable, although it did not provide a framework for analyzing whether the result of these practices does lead to a sustainable society.

Results of the first Beyond Cleveland meeting


The first meeting of the Beyond Cleveland sustainability group was not very well attended, although we who did attend did have a meaningful conversation. I reflect on the implications of this meeting in this article.

Beyond Cleveland events


If you believe that we, as a culture, are not living sustainably, then we must critically examine why we are not living this way, and we must work actively to fix this problem. Beyond Cleveland is one group working to increase understanding of the problem of sustainability as well as to plan action to solve it.

We are meeting formally for the first time on July 10, 2010.

In 20 years, oil will be obsolete?


Two of my friends comment on my most recent article about growth.

To our leaders: we desperately need less growth, not more


The US military recently published a report in which they warn that Peak Oil is as near as two years away. They stress that this is a threat that should be met with “a massive expansion of production and refining capacity.” Paul Krugman just published a long article where he called our attention to the upcoming dangers of Global Warming. But he asserts that we still need to be able to grow our economy. US Energy Secretary Chu is right there to support traditional economic solutions, which are rooted in an assumption of growth.

Note to all: this does not add up. No growth can be sustained indefinitely, and it is this fact that requires our undivided attention.

Civilization is in trouble


I provide an overview of my thoughts on the problem facing society, why I find it compelling, and how I want to respond to it.