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27 January 2015
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The Black Hole in Ukraine
by V.I. Postnikov   
I have had a long presentiment about Ukraine being the black hole for humanity. Probably it first was felt after the Chernobyl disaster. (Chernobyl translates into English as "a Black True Story” and "Wormwood.") Lately, my presentiment has only been strengthened.

The black hole has literally been dug by humans themselves. To explain this, let me turn to more history.  

Ukraine historically is the land where nature accumulated one of the richest deposits of coal and ores, and some of the most fertile soil on earth. This fact lies at the root of the contradiction between the pastoral nature of Ukrainians and the industrial development imposed on them first by the Russian Empire, and then by the Soviets. The riches of the land had already been squandered by the end of the 20th century.

 
Peak Oil and the Fracking Bubble: Could this Mimic the 2004-2008 Housing Bubble?
by Allan Stromfeldt Christensen   
ImageHas fracking reached its twilight?

I'll admit that I was completely caught off guard by the recent (and ongoing?) crash in oil prices. It'd be a stretch to say I'm embarrassed by my lack of foresight, although perhaps "dumb-ass" would be a bit deserving.

I would say I'm well enough versed with the reality of peak oil: I've read perhaps a couple dozen books on the topic, pored through several of the peak oil blogs (upon deciding to end my 5-year Internet hiatus a year ago), have seen several talks given by various writers on the topic, and I've attended two Age of Limits conferences.

 
"Sustainable" - How Must It Be Defined And Gauged?
by Vermonters for Sustainable Population and Jan Lundberg   
Just as "sustainable growth" is ultimately an oxymoron, and just as the original 1970 Earth Day eventually became a co-opted, farcical Chamber of Commerce insult, the word "sustainable" has been nearly exhausted as a credible claim or slogan. But the concept remains and says a bit more than "green," because one then tends to reckon with population size. Sustainability is perhaps best defined as what is appropriate for a "seventh generation," the Native American philosophy. Yet, "sustainability" specialists, many of them well-meaning environmentalists, persist in reinventing sustainability criteria with nary a mention of the only record of sustainability: indigenous, traditional ways sustained for uncounted millennia. Culture Change welcomed this submission:
 
Welcome to the 21st Century - Time to "turn21"
by turn21   
ImageThis is the time for our species to “turn 21”: to transition from adolescence to responsible adulthood as citizens of the planet, before we destroy our own future.

turn21.org asks only two things of you who are reading this: that you take the time to understand the human predicament as presented below, and that on the 21st of every month from now on you make some effort to spread this understanding to one or more other people.

 
Tres Hombres Sails across the Atlantic Again, with Some New Twists
by Jan Lundberg   
Image Under Captain Arjen van der Veen, the engineless 32-meter schooner brig Tres Hombres is arriving now in La Palma, Canary Islands. This is her sixth annual voyage across the Atlantic and back to Europe, carrying intensely desirable cargoes for discerning eco-savvy customers.

The tall ship started her voyage from her home port of Den Helder on Oct. 9. She first sailed to Stavanger, Norway to pick up a load of salt fish. From there she sailed to Brixham, UK, where she took on ale. Foul weather did not slow the ride; it made it faster.

 
Questionable Renewable Energy Dreams: Where Do We Go from Here?
by Jan Lundberg   
Image A Tale of Three Studies • Oil Grows in Instability and Danger As It Goes Away Geologically • Cars Are Renewable?
It was the summer that Al Gore had NASA's James Hansen testify in the Senate that human-caused global warming had begun: in August 1988 I founded Fossil Fuels Policy Action, a nonprofit institute, in Washington. We would be a clearing house for energy data & policy, with an eye to replacing fossil energy with renewable energy. Two all-consuming questions became our focus: why is the U.S. not conserving energy, and what can make it happen? This immediately morphed us from more passive "assessment" to more active advocacy, within our basic mission.
 
The Population Bomb - revisited by What Is Sustainable
by Richard Adrian Reese   
Image In 1968, biologist Paul Ehrlich achieved infamy by publishing The Population Bomb, one of the most controversial eco-books ever printed. Ehrlich has been condemned to spend eternity with Thomas Malthus, in a dungeon reserved for doom perverts. To this day, professors still use the two lads as great reasons to never take seriously anyone who asserts that there are limits to growth. We all know, of course, that humankind has no limits. We have technology!
 
Empirical Support for Nonviolence
by Abbie Kouzmanoff   
Image"Violent campaigns are more than twice as likely to fail in their objectives as nonviolent ones. Violence is becoming increasingly ineffective, and nonviolence is becoming increasingly effective over time... Civil resistance can be an effective force for change in the world in almost any context." As to post-campaign outcomes, violence tends to stay around: "Win by the sword, rule by the sword." - Prof. Erica Chenoweth

From The Dartmouth Staff: Professor Presents Empirical Support for Nonviolence
The notion that violent insurgency can effectively enact change around the world is a myth, according to Erica Chenoweth.

 
From the Middle Class to the Mutual Class
by Paul Glover   
Image Americans have the tools and money to create an America where all workers are employed, whose every square mile is beautiful; whose cities are safe playgrounds for children; whose food is fresh and affordable; whose waters are clean from sea to crystal sea. An America run by Americans for Americans is fully capable of rebuilding all homes so they're earthquake-proof, hurricane-proof, tornado-proof, flood-proof, drought-proof, fireproof, and bank-proof. When Americans take control of money, we are wealthy enough to build an America where it's easy to stay healthy and to get healed; where costs of living get smaller and our lives get bigger.
 
Before the Ebola Factor: Instability of Technological Infrastructure amidst Potential for Healing
by Jan Lundberg   

Community resilience will be as important as personal health and natural immunity for preventing the worst Ebola scenarios or similar calamities. It is safe to count on some resilience in the face of Ebola, but this will ultimately be despite our vaunted technological prowess which, if enough damage has already resulted and ominous trends hold, has served overall to weaken our species. Ebola is certainly a wild card with death's face, but a disease-threat can also be mainly a symptom -- a symptom of our mistakes in the dominant culture, led by globalization for an unprecedented number of technologically dependent, overcrowded humans.

Introduction: Energy-industry infrastructure analysis as the origin of this exploration

 
Consumption Civilization: Our Prospects Since Western Civilization's Historical Adaptation
by Jan Lundberg   
For whatever its accomplishments and intricacies, Western Civilization has been based on (1) the exploitation of people and the environment, and (2) the attempt of constant expansion -- geographically, quantitatively, and in the mind.

This expression has had such a long run that it has comprised all conventional history. All the while, civilization as top-down exploitation and expansion has been ratcheting up spectacularly, especially in recent decades, despite -- and partly because of -- fast-shrinking resource limits. Climate instability is barely beginning to act as a brake.

The relatively slow process of civilization's march via exploitation and expansion has finally graduated and adapted to something unanticipated little over a century ago: mass consumption.

 
Labor Day Reality for Humanity on the Gallows - or Shall We Imagine Differently?
by Jan Lundberg   
The U.S. holiday Labor Day is a joke.  Any day off is welcome, of course.  However, again there will be no visible strikes and no muscle-flexing by the labor movement.  Observance of Labor Day is as if having to be either over-worked or unemployed, putting up with extreme income disparity, tolerating insanely onerous student debt, forced to contribute to environmental degradation and unabated military madness, are non-existent issues in the "real world."  

The non-labor orientation of our political reality has a lot to do with the loss of May Day (May 1st) in the U.S. as a workers' show of force and rallying tool.  This is ironic when the world picked up on it big time, honoring it to this day, almost a century and a half after the U.S. anarchist labor movement created it.

 
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