Archive for ◊ December, 2012 ◊

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• Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

If you really look at them, there is little difference between wishful thinking, technology and magic. All three are beyond our rational understanding. All three purport to solve problems beyond our means. All three have a heightened value in our culture. Kunstler, as always, is on to some startling discoveries.

Source: The Arlington Institute

Jim Kunstler has a new book out, “Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation.” You can tell from the title that Jim is still operating in big-idea land. Kunstler is always fun to read, and whether you buy all of his ideas or not, they always make you think.

This book is like a straight line into the future – considering many of the ideas and people who believe that humanity and America will be saved by technology. This is a good summary of the structural, sustainability arguments against the automobile industry, mass migrations and demographic shifts out of suburbia and the inadequacy of renewable energy sources and alternative fuels (as we understand them today) to sustain the present systems. As always, Kunstler offers delightful reading (he does know how to use the language), and thoughtful perspectives.

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• Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Dark Mountain, an alternative to Transition TownFor anyone who ever attended Transition Town meetings and was driven nearly insane by the huge efforts to generate community consensus…and for artists who need to express the raw emotion of witnessing this slow motion train wreck we call “civilization.”

Source: Transition Network

Dark Mountain Project is neither a political campaign, nor a community group. In some ways it is as hard to define as Transition. Stemming out of a manifesto written by Paul Kingsnorth and Dougald Hine in 2009, it soon developed into a book, then a festival, then a movement. It is both a cultural response to a collapsing world, and a network of people who gather to make sense of that collapse…

… There’s all the intensity of a Transition debate here but without the concerns of the Village, worrying about whether “the community” is going to come to your event, or understand you, or fund you. No battle with the Council, no struggle to get Other People to do stuff. No psychology or sitting around in a circle talking about your feelings. Everyone understands you.

The festival struck a chord deep within me that Transition, for all its complexity, does not reach. It speaks of rain and birds and ancestors and everything I am putting myself on the line for…

…What the two networks have in common is providing a meeting place and platform for people who know that the story our parents told us about our world is not holding; that the socio-economic model we have taken for granted most of our lives is not only precarious, but is socially unjust and environmentally destructive. As a people, hemmed in by denial and illusion on all sides, that meeting place is crucial. As the manifesto state,s Dark Mountain does not seek solutions, it holds a space so that a different narrative can be created. Not another monoculture but an “uncivilised” culture that is diverse in its expression as an eco-system. To be part of that creative edge is what pulled me: to listen to the stories that people are telling around the fire, on the edge of the forest, in tune with each other, intellectually sharp as a scythe.

Author:
• Thursday, December 06th, 2012

There have been many stories recently about how North America will achieve energy independence soon, and how the Peak Oil myth is dead (see: Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle). Peak oil is not dead, it’s just sleeping. Math doesn’t go away just because you don’t like the answers.

The scale of the problem dwarfs any possible combination of solutions including: fracking, oil shale, natural gas, tar sands and biofuels. Here is a graphic from the car insurance association advising everyone to start planning for a radically different future when gasoline is very expensive. The question is not IF Peak Oil occurs, it’s just a matter of when:

Source: TransitionVoice

Peak Oil graphic