Cheap Oil Begets the Centralization of Power

Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Peak Oil, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

The oil age allowed us to do the wrong things with unprecedented speed and efficiency. Oil is an almost ideal energy source. It is relatively easy to extract (until recently) requires little refining, and has an extremely high energy density. The only problem is that there’s not an endless supply of it. To get an… Read more »

The Meat Industry and Ideas for What We Can Do About It

Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Health & Disease, Livestock, Society.

Some practical ideas about the meat industry Spacious chicken houses — a stark minority (Photo by David Ashwanden) In many countries, the state of the meat industry is fairly well publicised: poor conditions for animals (see for example 1, 2), strange and unnatural foods and medicines getting into our food chain (see for example 3;… Read more »

The Pig Farmer

Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Health & Disease, Livestock, Society.

One day in Iowa I met a particular gentleman — and I use that term, gentleman, frankly, only because I am trying to be polite, for that is certainly not how I saw him at the time. He owned and ran what he called a “pork production facility.” I, on the other hand, would have… Read more »

Loved to Death

Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Society.

By embracing their critics and colonising governments, corporations engineer a world of conformity and consumerism. How do you engineer a bland, depoliticised world, a consensus built around consumption and endless growth, a dreamworld of materialism and debt and atomisation, in which all relations can be prefixed with a dollar sign, in which we cease to… Read more »

Food Feudalism and the Invention of the Wilderness

Posted by & filed under Deforestation, People Systems, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination.

Humans, in this current form, have been around for about 100,000 years. Until agriculture went mainstream about 10,000 years ago, most cultures lived as hunter-gatherers, only making minor modifications to the plant communities growing around them. They relied predominantly on native, perennial plants and animals. The development of agriculture is typically referred to as the… Read more »

Supreme Court Backs Big Coal Over People (USA)

Posted by & filed under Economics, Society.

The Supreme Court just issued its ruling on McCutcheon V. FEC (see background on this case here if you’re not familiar) and it’s a disaster for our democracy. Five justices sided with Shaun McCutcheon, the climate-denying coal baron, opening the door for near-unlimited campaign contributions from individuals. We’re still figuring out all the implications of… Read more »

Charmian Gooch: End Anonymous Companies (TED video)

Posted by & filed under Economics, Society.

Anonymous companies protect corrupt individuals — from notorious drug cartel leaders to nefarious arms dealers — behind a shroud of mystery that makes it almost impossible to find and hold them responsible. But anti-corruption activist Charmian Gooch hopes to change all that. At TED2014, she shares her brave TED Prize wish: to know who owns… Read more »