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Pedal Power solutions to petroleum dependence and polluting vehicles: Arcata Library Bikes, Pedal Power Produce, and more!

CAOE - Committee Against Oil Exploration - stop offshore oil drilling to protect sensitive habitats and cut petroleum dependence.

Culture Change through music! The Depavers eco-rock!

Take our Pledge for Climate Protection and learn about the Global Warming Crisis Council.

SEI hometown action!
Arcata city council's proclamation against war on Iraq and Kyoto Protocol proclamation.

Overpopulation has become a reality.  Overpopulation Resources and News Tidbits

Sail Transport Network

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What do you think of what's said in the Culture Change Letter? Join the discussion!  Email us at info@culturechange.orgGive your comments on U.S. energy & transportation habits, sustainable living, peace, climate change,  Arcata...  We edit letters for brevity.  The most recent letters come first and are grouped into the specific Culture Change Letter and its topicGeneral and Arcata-oriented letters are at the bottom of this page.

CCL #50 January 10, 2004  A nonviolent scenario: Ready for deep revolution?

CCL #49 January 3, 2004 The masses: a cornered animal

Jan. 6 -
     My view of the future is that things will continue to get worst as people continue to find excuses and reasons to let it be. Look at all the people who have had cancer and/or have had people close to them die of cancer. How many are denouncing the cancer society for only pushing cures rather than looking or promoting cause avoidance? We know what causes cancer yet people keep on giving money to drug companies and societies that support them. If cancer is not a wake up call, what do you figure will be?
     I'd love to feel positive - to hear from you why you think people will act. I know that 3 years ago when I heard that around 2007 there wouldn't be anymore fin fish found in the seas of the world, I was shocked and wrote to the studies author asking what could - should - would be done....I'm still waiting for real actions to take place. It was on the news (in Canada - CBC) for about one day.
     So ok Jan, Happy New Year. Although I can't figure how anybody can be happy anymore, I'm still willing to use the word.

JL responds: Thanks for wanting to take the discussion to higher levels.  My simple answer is that the animal is not yet backed into the corner.  As long as there is diversion and ample food, (even what passes for food today) people will be willing to see just the smiling facade of the system.  But as soon as the critical mass occurs in socioeconomic pressure, people will start looking and acting beyond the television screen and the party line of their bosses and institutions.  Perhaps the end of plentiful oil will trigger the mass's ire, but then it's going to be chaos.  So, if the animal feels cornered somehow before that, then we will see a rebellion and the chance for a more planned transition to sustainability.  Inevitably, though, collapse is inevitable and energy use as we know it will not be possible on a mass scale.  Does this help clarify my analysis?  Cheers, Jan

January 4, 2004 - Dear Culture Change:
    Nobody with any sense could quarrel with what you have said. My thinking right wing friends (there are a few thinking r wingers, sort of) don't believe this is going to happen fast enough to affect them. I bet they're wrong.

    Along the way, I wonder how China's rise and the dollar's collapse will change the dynamics.
    John Schaefer

Jan. 4 - You have hit the bullseye again.  Cornered animal is exactly how I am feeling these days.  And for exactly the reasons you point out.  Every trip in a car, every urban flood from buried creeks, every sound emanating from mass media TV and radio.  My adrenaline induced panic state is surrounding me increasingly as I struggle to remain focussed and take care of daily life.  Thanks for your insights.  Keep it up.  I wish I had a better idea of the way out of this mess.  Organizing requires some inspired belief in others, which I am a little low on at the present time.  My struggle currently is inward into my own sources of inspiration or lack thereof.  
    Paul Richards
Jan. 4 - Hi Jan-
    I note that the stridency and urgency of your letters is increasing
approximately in parallel with the incoming threats we both know too
well.  I like the way you are leading people along.  Nice recent letter.
    I told you a while back that I had quit my job, sold my suburban home, and
joined an intentional community.  
    Anyway, I just want to say, "Good Job"!
    Bruce Stephenson

Jan. 4 - Dear Jan,
    Having made observations much like yours, my husband and I started an
organization that is designed to address the mental numbness induced by the
right wing/corporatist messaging machine, its media collaborators, and
incessant advertising. You ask when we are going to get started. We're
already working on it. Commonweal Institute (no relation to the Commonweal
in Bolinas, CA, nor the Catholic magazine of the same name) is still a small
organization, but growing. As far as we can tell, it's the only one anywhere
in the country designed to deal both with ideas and the need to use
sophisticated marketing & communication techniques to move the public
    If you're interested, check out the website of Commonweal Institute
( I'd like to hear your reactions.
    Katherine Forrest, MD
    Commonweal Institute
    325 Sharon Park Drive, Suite 332    
    Menlo Park, CA  94025

Jan. 4 - 
    Personally, I have long said that we nibbled our way ignorantly into this mess, and we will nibble our way back out.  It's too complex a situation for a quick fix that will be acceptable to the majority.  Most dangerous:  cornered rats begin to kill and eat one another. I had a dream when i was 8 years old that I would die at the barricades in a street fight. I wonder. . . . .I've also seen recent articles in several mags wherein it was claimed that it takes about 2 million people with the same desires to make anything happen.  The desires have to be good for the majority of the rest, or the effort will be suppressed.  I think it can be done.  That's what keeps me going.  As Fuller said so well: "In the end, only integrity is going to count".
    Jay Baldwin

Jan. 4 - Culture Change,

    Jan Lundberg states what should be obvious to anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear. We, in this community, need no new impetus to organise. The main problem is the method of change that has been humanity's bane. We never seem to look ahead. We see the light in the tunnel, we hear the blast of the horn, yet we still play on the tracks. It has always been after the train has passed, flattening everyone in its path, after - fill in the blank - disaster, that we do anything.
    Look at any major change in history and you will see this pattern. A couple of prime examples are the great depression and Minimata. We ignore all the warning signs, we let the damage progress, and it is only when the damage is catastrophic that we do something about it. The horse is out of the barn, along with the cows, chickens, rats etc.
    We knew back in the 70's the oil would run out, but we did nothing to change the efficiency of the combustion engine until OPEC forced the issue in pointed fashion. In fact, almost any significant change or progress in humanity's condition has come at a huge cost. And I am afraid that these times are no exception.
    We must organize, but it must be a post disaster capable organisation. It must look at what the collapse of the oil economy will mean. It must be a repository of information that will help the survivors rebuild without making the mistakes which brought them to that point of no return.
    We must be ready to see world population levels crash when the environment implodes and then be there to rescue as much of our life support system as possible.
    Many people will die. And many people will focus on saving them all. This is our natural impulse as liberals and good hearted people. But there is no way to save the planet with this many people sucking the life out of the system. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the ecosystem is not human and it does not care for us one way or the other. It simply exists and if we decide to push the system so out of balance that is kills off our species, then so be it. The ecosystem will just chug along.
    We will not force people to behave one way or another, that would be counter to our belief systems. So we cannot sterilise most of the population to control out of control growth. Nor can we implement even more horrific measures. What we can do is be ready for the disaster and be ready to step in and explain what happened, why it happened and how to survive with no chance of repeating the insanity.
    Our best hope is that a disaster will befall us that will simultaneously be big enough to change us, small enough not to kill us all off and soon enough that it is not too late.
    Here is to hope and luck.
    Richard A. Davies

CCL #48 December 27, 2003 Curse of the well informed — Paying off in 2004?

January 1, 2004 - Dear Jan, 
    UntiI I came to this country 35 years ago I lived in the English countryside.  As a child I lived in small villages, no electricity, no running water, a pump outside in the yard, no TV, no radio.  Yet on reflection life was in many ways better than today.  The villages were self contained and we had our own society. No elder or sick individual went without someone to help and  look after them, everyone stopped and spoke when you passed them in the street. We had our football and cricket teams, and other groups that met weekly to play cards, make music and so on. We children walked to school a mile or so without fear, no one locked their doors.
    I think that we will inevitably have to return to the self contained villages or small towns when the oil runs out.  The talk of hydrogen cars and so on is largely hog wash.  I am not against technical advancement, indeed some of the items I was responsible for are still sitting on the moon, but we have to look at these things with a practical eye.  Science can help us to make the best of our resources but it cannot extend them or produce more.  We must first decide what standard of living we want for our people and then we can calculate just how many we can support in that style.  Of course none of this will happen as there is no overall global planning for the future.  We will just toddle along and hope that we can take care of every shortage as it occurs.  Then we ultimately will find ourselves in an untenable situation. To avoid this we must completely change our society from being based on profit (greed) to being based on doing what is best for society.  This is unlikely to occur here in the US as there is this great opposition to any national planning (Listen to the cries of "But that's socialism").
    Already the few countries that have a declining birthrate are looking to ways to bring in more people and here in NY state the cry is that we need more development to find more jobs for the immigrants that are flooding in.
    One of my books is called
Fruitful Extinction, based on my experiences in third world countries which prompted me to consider the world's growing population.  Please feel free to print out and give a copy to your friends.  See

CCL #47 December 18, 2003 Peace and the U.S. petro-city

Dec. 26 - j,
    i live on the edge of a 62 acre forest. in windy periods, for example, dropping tree branches can be quite dangerous. but when downtown san francisco quakes, for example, there is little escape.
    all health to you and your family in these short days,
Dec. 19 - Dear Jan, 
    I agree with your assessment for the most part.  Please keep in
mind that there are cities that you would love if you were to visit.  Have you traveled to carfree cities that were designed to be beautiful and charming?  My passion is studying cities.  Each year I travel to cities that are carfree or traffic free, mostly in Europe.  Traffic free cities are starting to happen in the USA. To put it simply cities make nature and agriculture possible. Sprawl, a congratulation of single family houses, is the villain. When people build a cabin in the foothills or mountains its as if a tentacle of cancer or fungus is creping in to mother natures domain.  Roads and cars are the villains.  It's e-z to slip into the dark side of our personalities.  People who live in cities and fight for there quality of life are the heroes.  People who move from cities into sprawl or little cabins in the hills helter-skelter are the villains.  
    Please see my www site  browse through the books page.  Also go to
    Michael  L.  Hoag
    Laguna Beach, CA

Dec. 19 - Dear Jan:
    It is great to be able to live in a redwood forest or a dramatically less populous area like SW New Mexico as I do (although too many cars, traffic, and DWI offenses abound despite or because of our rural character), but not everyone can escape the "caged city." The great "multiplier effect" strikes again!! If folks could garner the resources needed for subsisting in even a simple cabin in the foothills, they'd encroach upon forest/wildlife habitat
even bigger time than already shown during the great fires of this past fall and summer in the SW and especially California).
    Or they'd strain small-town resources in a high-desert town like Silver City (water, especially--the drought persists and the Rio Grande in neighboring Las Cruces farm area is DRY; the silver minnow is being moved to a "reservation"  to save it.) Commonly, folks build a nice place in the beautiful but arid lands 5-10 miles out of town (no services!!), then drive several times weekly into Silver City to work, volunteer, or get supplies.  Our little bus system seems relegated to poor or welfare folks or older folks needing a ride to dialysis.
    So what is the solution?--small towns that somehow stay that way and stil develop in a sustainable way may be the answer, leaving the forests to the wilder species.  A group of people in Silver City is starting something called the hometown initiative that you could find out more about by e-mailing Nick Siebold, one of our own councilors at         
    Hope this proves helpful and hopeful--it is only in beginning stages. Can give you more e-mail addresses of organizers if you need them.
    Please keep writing to us and making us think. Cheers and a happy woodland holiday despite everything, 

CCL #46 December 14, 2003 United Nations Climate Change Conference: Growth remains the strategy

Dec. 15 - I wouldn't worry too much Jan.
    World oil production will start to decline before climate change becomes severe, most likely.  We will have climate change, maybe even major climate change, but it won't be as
bad as the projections say.  We'll run out of oil first.
    Of course, one nightmarish possibility is that we'll burn even more coal to compensate... which will, of course, make things worse.
    It's gonna be an interesting 20 years, that's all I can say.
    Los Angeles

JL responds - The gases going into the atmosphere won't affect climate for 50 to 80 years, so there is no comfort in running out of oil.  Climate change is getting out of control. -

Dec. 15 - Yeah, I suppose you're right.
    I wonder what the elite class is thinking..
    What do they think is going to happen to their grand-children?  No one will escape... well.  Maybe not.  The very wealthy almost always escape... unless the poor classes revolt and get them first.   I've often wondered if that was one reason for the elites' supporting the military:  for protection in extremis.
    It has been ever thus, after all.  Of course, sometimes the military joins the revolution,
cf. France, 1795 or so.
    Los Angeles

Dec. 15 - Pincas Jawetz made the comment "There you have the first shoe dropping: adapt to climate change because the economic elite refuse to reduce emissions sufficiently."
    This shows a gross misunderstanding.  The greenhouse gases are already well above historical natural levels. Climate change due to this fact is already under way. This is irreversible so we do have no alternative but to adapt. A reduction in the rate of emissions will only reduce the rate at which the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increase. It can only reduce the rate of climate change.  That is a very worthwhile object but it is not fostered by the misleading statement above.
    Denis Frith

JL reponds: We don't misunderstand that climate change is underway and may even be out of control.  Nevertheless, the right thing to do is to slash all greenhouse gas emissions immediately.  Perhaps this will happen when the rising tide of polluted sea water washes into Wall Street.  Then the top dogs can get helicopter-lifted to work every day to their office building's roof-tops, using fossil fuels no doubt.  Incidentally, I made the comment, not Pincas Jawetz. - JL

CCL #45  December 2, 2003 Brain control of the masses via pollutants 

December 21, 2003 - Yo,
    I have another source of CO Poisoning the article neglected to mention - cigarettes.  That's right - those little white things they charge 3$ a pack for.  We've got at least half the working class sucking down carbon monoxide sticks laced with chemicals designed to produce addiction.  On top of that, Cigarettes kill more US Citizens a year than AIDS, alcohol, motor vehicles, homocide, drugs, and suicide combined.  ("The Source"- Nov 03)   So much for those pesky benefit packages and social security payments.
   You've really got to wonder at all the things the craporations have designed and gotten away wit.  And where does such greed and malice come from?  Really?!  That would be a good article for the next Culture Change, and I would gladly write it for a nominal fee, say.. a headlight for my bike.
Oh yeah, a question: (From a victim of fluorosis) How do you get the fluoride out of water if filtering doesn't do it?  I don't believe in buying bottled water from someone else's community.  Please respond if you have an answer.
    In Love with Culture Change,

CCL #44  November  25, 2003 Overpopulation's toll: Water privatization and the rising conflict

Nov. 26 - Excellent article.  In addition to activism against water privatization, all compassionate landowners should be responsible for grabbing (and sharing!) the rainwater that falls on their site.  If everyone did this, the water finding its way to rivers, lakes, dams, etc—the sources tapped by corporations—would be reduced.  Collection systems can be very inexpensive, even made from recycled components (55-gallon drums obtained from bakeries, etc.) and simple earthworks, needing only a shovel, can also be used.
    Many how-to books are available.  The best one (Rainwater Harvesting by Brad
Lancaster) is scheduled to come out next year.
    Thanks for all your hard work and research.
    Kay Sather

JL responds - I agree that local approaches are best.  Here in northern California there are pot growers who take all the water from their streams for their crops and don't leave much water for the endangered fish species downstream, when some cisterns for example would be more ecologically equitable.  Lancaster is one of our readers, and is expert at re-using building materials and permaculture.

Nov. 26 - JAN, Don't really understand your water rant although I agree with some of the points you make.  But if water is to be free who then pays for filtering, storage, piping and conduit maintenance?  Have you seen Kirk Sale's piece on water in the current FOURTH WORLD REVIEW?  

JL responds: There should not be a cost for water when there is so much wealth squandered as I said in my report.  Even if there were not a lot of tax wealth available, people can take care of their land and defend it cooperatively so that the water is not polluted or silted.  Sather's letter above speaks of local management.  

Nov. 26 - Jan,
     The letter about water was interesting.  Up here in Oregon, we're dependent on the snow-pack for our summer water supply, irrigation, etc.  In recent years, it's been melting.  Well, it's a Chevy Day.  We're taking it out for no other reason than to put the top down.

JL responds: You're a great kidder, you Chevy-less walker!

Nov. 25 - Very excellent compilation and timely, as usual.  There will be many wars over this.
    John Kaminski

JL responds: Thanks, John.  Until I looked into this I sort of accepted the idea that yeah, there will be water wars.  Now I see it more as one ongoing war that started a while ago and will go on until the foundation of civilization is changed. 

Nov. 25 - Thanks again for your commitment to the realization of our traumatic situation.  I am honored to arrive at this site to read each letter that embodies the only real effect of our lives, or rather, our mislifes.
    Timothy Dicks
    IT Professional

CCL #43  November 19, 2003 The corporado's life and its antithesis

Nov. 21 - Too true - have just finally gotten around to reading David Korten's "When Corpoations Rule the World," and whereas I knew the general outline, it is always good to refresh oneself with the nauseating details.  But it is so scary that people can't seem to wake up from consumeritis.
    Wanda Ballentine

Nov. 21 - Jan, 
    I read your newsletter with interest and appreciation. Thanks and keep on doing it. Gandhi is the one who can show us the way out of this mess, I agree. I don't want to join your pessimism on the corporado and his drones though. I think the truth of the world crisis is within all of them and they, being human and creative, will have responses to the situation that will be news to all of us. It may not be possible to avoid the bloody cataclysm that you are waiting for, but then again, it might. So, to your advice to enjoy every day whatever you can even within Babylon, I would add, keep your eyes and heart open for the unexpected. Your hopeless optimist, 
    Paul Richards
    PS:  One more thought: Ray C. Anderson and Former Commander of US Air Force

JL responds: Thank you Paul. I think I was a little hard on the corporate execs, if you're right that they will join in community. Who knows. Yet, as you know, the planet is being trashed so badly that nature as we knew it may not recover. And yet the corporados keep up the aggression and techno-nightmare without changing direction. Larger forces are at work, for better or worse. Jan


CCL #42  November 12, 2003 Resisting nanotech, violence and the corporate state — They're coming for you

Nov. 15 - Dear Jan:
    Did it ever occur to you that all those people are in jail
because they deserve to be.   And if they weren't, they would be creating mayhem even in remote places like Arcata.
    You give corporations much more credit than they are due.  Nanotechnology?  Honestly.  The reason none of your leaders has any following is that the message is merely anti the establishment, not convincingly for an alternative.  Yes, recycling and driving a fuel efficient car are good things, but you can't build a society on that cliche.

Nov. 14 - Hi, [regarding the Culture Change Letter #42] I agree 100 cento per cento.  It has to get worse, before more people get pissed and something happens.

Nov. 13 - Jan, am definitely aware of this Orwellian development but it's almost impossible to deal with on top of everything else.  What really disturbs me is your statement  "a little more time must elapse before mass interest is awakened on a big enough scale" - not because you said it but because it seems to be true.   And I keep thinking, WHY will it take more time?  What will it take to wake people up?
    The fact that books by Michael Moore, Al Franken, Molly Ivins, and Jim Hightower  that are highly critical and informative about the insanities that are going on AND very funny, so they get read - are at the top of the NYT best seller list is very heartening.  But Moore's books have consistently been at the top and he has SRO audiences on his tours and sometimes has to perform twice a night.  SO - many people are getting the message - why aren't they staging
another Boston Tea Party?  They just like the laughs?  They don't think they have to ACT on the info?  I get so frustrated.
    However, I recently heard historian Howard Zinn giving the historical perspective, that there have never been so many individuals and grassroots groups rising up globally - certainly the February protests against Bush's war, and vigils continue every week all over this country and the world (I love it that residents of the retirement center in my home town, Mill Valley, CA are out there every week, walkers, wheelchairs and all.)  Anti-war is not the same as anti-corporation, but they're close.
    Paul Hawken agrees with Zinn and says the amazing thing is that all the different grassroots groups, while they may be focused on different aspects, are not in conflict with, but complementary to, each others' actions.  Jean Houston, Starhawk and others - all globetrotters -  say similar things.  I keep thinking of the symbol of the weed growing up through the concrete.
    I get very frustrated with the environmental organizations - all groups - social justice, etc.- why they don't coordinate and join forces.  Am very irked at Union of Concerned Scientists, whose latest magazine is all about more efficient cars, but nothing about peak oil coming at us.
    Wanda Ballentine

Nov. 13 - Dear Mr. Lundberg:
    You are right on target, about the control of the human populace. 
    Nothing will destroy the economy (here and worldwide) more, than the collapse of the oil supply.  This is going to shortly come to pass (<>Google Search: "Peak Oil').
    Oil is the most strategic natural resource we have.  Without it, society (particularly the fly/drive transportation system) will collapse.  I have warned people about this, but they apparently don't care.  The collapse is shortly going to commence.  It will be irreversible.  Brace yourself for what is going to come.
    I have been interested in Bible prophecy for many years, and the coming Antichrist is well on the way.  He will control all of the world; so that no one will be able to perform any kind of economic activity, without his mark in the forehead or right hand.  I would suggest you watch two very important programs (both of them on Trinity Broadcasting Network).  The shows are "Jack Van Impe Presents" and "International Intelligence Briefing".  

CCL #41 November 6, 2003 Tyranny of mediocrity — The opposite of tribal fineness

Nov. 10 - There are a lot of people in my family that fit the "Bigman" description.
    Tohellivisions in every room, big extracab 4x4 pickups, big boats, lots and lots of guns, RVs, power leaf blowers, pressure washers, the latest in home entertainment.  But they are not happy, nor are they physically active.
    They tell me that I need to work more, get ahead.  I must be sick or mentally ill.  I just don't think all those frivolous items are worth my time.  I am happy with what I have.  I make enough money working two days a week to consume what I need.  My 18 year old Toyota is still running great.  And because I ride my bicycle around town a lot, that old Toyota will last another 5 years at least.  I would much rather spend my time playing guitar, hiking, reading, with my family, or working for a better world.
    Great writing Jan, this is one of your best CC letters.
    Depaver Larry

JL responds:  Larry, it is a lonely life sometimes, to be an exponent of cultural change.  I know you are in tune with the truth and nature, so I don't feel sorry for you.  But it's so weird, isn't it,  being in such a minority surrounded by pathalogical apathy and such complacency about consuming so much energy and other materials.  Keep on eco-rockin', Jan

Nov. 7 - It's time to use the correct word for our present society: "Kakistocracy". Look it up in a good dictionary and put it to work. 
    Jay Baldwin (of the late Whole Earth Review) California

JL does his homework: "Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens. from the Greek kakistos, kakos, bad"

Nov. 7 - A new mall was just completed here directly across from another mall  - named appropriately, "Legacy."  It boasts heated sidewalks and looks like Disneyland at night.  It snarled traffic for months during its construction and continued to do so the weekend it opened as it was mobbed by people determined to be there at the beginning.  Not enough parking places and cars backed out into the streets.  Friend of mine who moved here from California a few years before I did commented that the main activity for Ohioans is shopping (also has one of the highest rates for obesity and smoking).  Yet, this is supposed to be an impoverished area with high unemployment and jobs leaving in droves, so one has to wonder where are all the buyers are coming from?  Charging as if there's no tomorrow, I guess, and thus insuring there won't be.

    However, a mall proposal for the West Side was defeated in the election this week - but by just a handful of votes, so is being challenged for a recount...  AND a statewide measure for $500 million for more giveaways and subsidies to businesses for 'economic development' DID fail - mainly due to the rural areas - of course, rural areas are generally very conservative and vote GOP big time, but this time I guess they were tired of funding urban insanity.
    Have you read Chalmer Johnson's BlowbackThe Cost and Consequences of American Empire?   I learned more from it about the whys and hows of the insanity of the U.S. economic 'system' than from anything else.  It is simply stupefying how our so-called 'leaders' can be so totally blind, deaf, short-sighted and incredibly stupid.  Their greed for power and money is insatiable - they never have enough.  Clearly they have Texas-sized holes in their souls which they try to stuff with things, status, etc.
    Wanda Ballentine

Nov. 7 - The great, and rather irreverant Scottish poet, Robert Burns, wrote

   Oh what gift the giftie gi'e us,
   To see oursel'es as others see us.
    In his day, the others weren't the other species and the oceans and the
atmosphere. Objectivity is beginning to creep into our culture, but it is
meeting grave resistance. The objective perch is not a comfortable pew.
    Unfortunately, there is still enough coal and heavy oil available to make a
major change in the atmosphere even if it won't flow as fast as the light
stuff we're addicted to at the moment. After the Petroleum Age and the Coal
Age 2 play out, realistic sustainability will take hold, but I can't see a
voluntary enlightenment taking hold. Fossil fuels are the most highly
addictive substances on earth. Tell the smoker that he has to choose between
smoking and driving; watch the fun. Personally, I think we should ban cars
and take up smoking.
    And we're worrying about Iraq? And the Dow Jones Average? And the California deficit? And about Jessica Lynch?
    Salmon have arrived at Banks Inlet on Banks Island in the Arctic ocean. The
native people don't have a word for salmon. They also don't have words for
robins and other bird species that have arrived within the last decade. From
their perspective, climate change already happened, it isn't if or when.
But, by god they love their snowmobiles, too. Hypocrisy begins at home.
    John Park  

Nov. 7 - SUV things are one thing, but flag decals are another.
-See ya (delete from mailing list)

JL responds: Eric, your email address has been deleted.
There is a close relationship between flag waving (and its various forms) and over-consumption of energy.   Also, the flag is something, on or off an SUV, that represents death and theft for the relatives and friends of approximately 6 million civilians around the world that the U.S. government has killed for the corporate/security-state agenda.
The next Culture Change Letter is about nanotech, water privatization and the fact that They are coming for you (and me).  You can see it on our website in a few days, at - Jan

CCL #40 October 30, 2003 Opposing the Plan Puebla Panama and FTAA: "Free trade" for Mesoamerica: roads, dams and death

Oct. 31 - Hi; I now get your newsletter, and am appalled by Plan Puebla Panama.  However, being barely able to support myself, I cannot contribute to the cause.  I can only offer moral support and encouragement in your efforts.  I just wanted you to know that my heart is with you and all the poor folks who will be adversely affected.  I do spread the word about capitalistic wrongdoings to whomever will listen.
 Peace, Mike B. 
Oct. 31 - 
"Free Trade", is a terrible mistake.
    It lowers every involved nation to the lowest common denominator...
    Those nations that have labor laws, environmental laws, etc., have higher costs for products and services. 
    "Free Trade" moves jobs and manufacturing from those that HAVE protections for people and the environment, to those that refuse such protections.
    FIGHT free trade.
Ronald Frederick Greek
Yuma, Arizona

CCL #39 October 21, 2003 — Modern perception's limitations and The curtain of materialist society's illusion

Oct. 28 - Jan,
     As I cannot say I have not enjoyed one of your letters, I again, can say I thoroughly enjoyed this one (The Curtain of Materialist Society's illusion).  I have seen the movies, and understand your metaphor.  I believe what this boils down to is choosing;
  Love and compassion,
 "Or if a form of Eden awaits us when the curtain crashes down, we could look forward to living sustainably as we elevate love to the highest social value."
  Or hate and fear,
 "What would life be like without the curtain?  Without billions of people living as materialists?  Without today’s extreme social strife?  Without war, terror, and ecocide?  Can we imagine doing without the boxed-in thinking as practiced by all the alienated individuals coping with survival in noncommunity?"
    Thanks again 
    Timothy Dicks
    IT Professional

Oct. 22 - Hi Jan, 
     I enjoyed your letter about illusory curtain of Maya. 
    Charles T., Oregon

CCL #38 October 14, 2003 — We came down from the trees, now we cut them  -  The new transition to sustainability

Oct. 16 - Geez, Jan, you make me wish I had more time at the library to read the amazing volume of great stuff Brian Willson has put out on the web.  For
now I'll go back to my corporate job reminded that there's one more soul
out there committed to resistance and plenty of reason to keep up my urban
homesteading and putting aside surplus earnings and seeking financial
    Don M., Modesto, California

Oct. 15 - It's an interesting statement about us as a species, our cutting down the forest.

    For monkees like us trees represent safety--our final avenue of escape.
    It's interesting to reflect upon.
    Katuah Earth First!er

Oct. 15 - i think this is one of the best essays you've written. very good.

    Dynomight, excelente, brovado!
    I take it back. This is one excellent piece, though more than a 'tree-hugging' piece implied by the title. Virtually no loose ends.  Adequate references to 'culture change', 'oil depletion', other issue inclusiveness. Heavy duty material offered at climactic end. Neat! I printed it out on 3 pages at 12pt. This can be distributed ANYWHERE, but honestly, I think the title should improve: "Humans evolved first as tree dwellers, now prefer SUVs"  I don't know, something that diversifies the title.  Something more implicative, because this is excellent reading.  Congratulations.

Oct. 15 - Why do believe that a peaceful solution will work Jan?  I too would like to think - like Brian Willson and you - that interconnectedness will prevail and that by talking, writing, giving the example, the billions will change.     
    They won't. The enemy in this case is not a bad guy.  She's the new mother who is buying nice throw away diapers for her lovely baby.  He's the daddy who's lobbying city hall to accept his water cleanup does NOT include protecting water at source but a very expensive sexy new water cleaning plan.  She's the grandmother who's buying all these new gadgets and appliances for her family...etc...You know what I'm getting at. 
    Why do you think things will change? through peace? why? everybody's comfortable.  Only people like me read you. Not them. No time. Shopping beckons...
     As much as I hate violence and love some people, I am convinced only (drastic measures) will work.  Only rattling the cage will scare people enough to change. Changing requires thinking.  If the obvious signs of climate change don't do it (I live in the Okanagan where fires raged all summer and yet nothing, NOTHING has changed) what do you think will? only real threats to people's lives.
     My only question is how to do it.
     Please let me know if you have data I don't have.  Such as why peace will work.  Otherwise I may stop reading you soon as although I really agree with your premises I despair at your solutions. 

Jan Lundberg responds:  Dear H, I'm sorry about the fires you had to endure.  It is indeed dispiriting that people don't get it and keep killing the Earth.  
    Don't forget Gandhi and that movement's success, even though he was soon assassinated.  But nonviolence was proven correct and has been so proven countless times.  
    The main thing you are missing from my message is that the great changes are mostly out of our control.  Although it's sad that the shoppers you refer to will keep doing their think mindlessly, for their material "security," at some point they will be stopped.  Not by a movement or by talk of peace, but by the twin runaway freight trains coming down the tracks: the collapsing economy (perhaps having lost a sufficient oil supply), and nature which is already up at the plate and swinging fearsomely, batting last.  As I say in almost every essay, we will be forced to transition to sustainable ways to survive, however much damage there is still ahead between times.  We'll need luck and good knowledge of best practices.  I just added a section in our Global Warming Crisis Council / Science webpage, on record climate damage in 2002, so it seems we'll need A LOT of luck.
- Jan

Oct. 14 - Interesting essay, as usual.

    I do not share your optimism in the adaptability of the human race.
    I am more convinced by arguments that grow from the Tragedy of the Commons...for instance, Jay Hanson proposes that if we really care about the future of humanity, we should all go right out and buy an SUV with the lowest possible gas mileage figures (a Hum-vee would probably do nicely), and then proceed to drive up and down the street in front of your house at the most wasteful speed (or, better, spend every night for a couple hours driving your Hum-vee on a nearby freeway, as fast as possible...)....why do this?
    Simple:  for every drop of oil we use now, one less child can be born later.  So, by using it up now, we actually save lives.
    The rise of the human population of the planet and the industrial-scale use of fossil fuels track in tandem exactly.  Without all that lovely cheap energy, we would *never* have been able to reproduce so rapidly.   As you point out in your essay, this reproduction rate will likely continue undiminished until peak-oil passes...then, the end.  The end of all growth as we know it.
    Until then, buy an SUV and drive it hard!  Save a life!  Because humans will continue to consume and reproduce until forced by necessity to do otherwise...
    I'd like to see an essay from you discussing your sense of when peak-oil will occur, or if it has occurred already (according to some observers, it may have passed in 2000 or 2001)... with additional discussion of how the OPEC producers have been lying about their reserves for at least the last 20 years now.
    Charles Andrews
    Los Angeles

Oct. 14 - It is people like you who have been the cause of chronic wasting deisese, mad cow deasise, etc, etc. Why don't you face the fact your kind serve no purpose in mankind. While I am apposed to unnesseccary cutting of timber, it is neccessary to maintain liveable units of wildlife. These feed the poor and underprivelidged. When was the last time you helped a homeless person by giving them a job or a meal or a warm place to sleep? I think you are a cowardly selfish son of a bitch who deserves to be eaten by a bear.  
- unsigned email

JL responds:  There are many worse ways to go, than by a bear, in this mechanical and toxified world. - JL 

CCL #37  October 6, 2003 —  I love nature so I sleep with her — Living outside the box

Oct. 13 - 
Ok, I try to be a respectful citizen of earth.  I recycle, reuse, and
and try not to impulse buy, buy, buy.  But, the last article by Jan
Lundberg is over the top.  Who are you talking to these days?  People
who don't work?  I'm supposed to sleep out in the woods and then get up
and go to work all day?  What computer do you work on?  Are you
handwriting those columns with a pigeon feather?  I thought I was
sensitive to environmental issues, but frankly, you're single-handedly
sending me into the opposite camp.   I'd still be laughing except that
you might really be serious about all this nonsense.
    L. Norcross

Oct. 9 -

    Thank you,

Oct. 8 - Thank you for this! Though it made me cry; I miss the erotic, blended smells in the woods... Thank you for the encouragement and motivation towards obtaining the lifestyle my heart desires for healing. Thank you for sharing the simple truth, the peace, power, and gentleness found there. I appreciate this sight beyond my ability to express. Peace & Blessings to you, as you pursue your work. My admiration is deep.


Oct. 7 - Slept out for eight years, so I couldn't agree more with you. Unfortunately, the cold, damp Humboldt winters got into my lungs and now I can't sleep out when the temperature is below 50 degrees or so. My lungs fill with fluid.

Oct. 7 - "Wilderness is relative." Very true. A great paper at the World Wilderness Congress said it's a continuum with two axes: human modification and human control.
I can't support promoting sleeping in nature. While it is obviously fun for humans, it is intrusive to wildlife. We dominate their habitat during the day, forcing them to be nocturnal. Now we are going to also intrude at night? I prefer to hike once a week (for exercise and to stay in touch with nature), and enjoy my back yard, but sleep indoors most of the time. Since we insist on keeping nature at arm's length, that habit gets carried into the wilds. I would like wildlife's needs to be considered in regard to every human action/development.
I agree about using cars as homes for the homeless. My solution to both problems is to put all retired cars into legal parking spaces and give the keys to a homeless person for his/her home. It will reduce driving as well as help the homeless.
"I'm the same as the creatures/that live in the groves".  - Not really. Not only are we an exotic species, but most other species don't want us around:

    Michael J. Vandeman, Ph.D. (author of What Is Homo Sapiens' Place in Nature -  From an Objective (Biocentric) Point of View?)

Oct. 7 - Hello, Jan
When I first picked up a copy of Auto Free Times back around 97 or so I was inspired. Here was a publication that seemed to prove that the ideas
mushing around in my head and my life were
meritable and had potential for real world application.
Unfortunately, as my real world experiences continued and evolved I didn't find AFT to match my growth or understanding of the world and realistic solutions to the major problems facing the world.  And lately it seems the e-journal has devolved into nothing but a regular lamentation fit for an adolescent's diary.
The problems facing the world are real, serious and complex. But that means the solutions have to be, too. And I don't think yours are. Absolute best of luck with your life, your community, and your drive towards solutions. 

CCL #36  September 28, 2003 — Dysfunction: more individual or societal? — Overcoming the BS

Sept. 30 — Jan-
         Your 'dysfunction' theme of your message reminds me of a book I read - "When Society Becomes an Addict" in which the author claims we are a 'society in denial'. Our complacency re: fuel consumption seems to be a prime example.

Sept. 29
     In regard to the causes of Mental and Social Illness, a lot of it can be laid right on the doorsteps of our direct immediate forbearers, ie: Parents, Grandparents, Great grandparents. If they allowed themselves to feel and not conform with the herd mentality then slowly we could break down the insane rut that Western Civilization is floundering in. tendency for the "I know better than the rest of you because I am smarter, kinder, compassionate, etc"; believe me I know the feeling. However, I don't believe that attitude is helpful to the cause. We are all part of the human experience and just because zillions of other people don't agree with our cause doesn't make them "Less Than" and we are "More Than". Comes across as we are the Enlightened Ones.

Sept. 28 — Dear Jan Lundberg:
    I must say that your essays tend to be very depressing, and I think I will ask that you please remove me from the e-mail list that receives them.
    At least Molly Ivins does this with some humor.  Sorry, but I am just flat out politically EXHAUSTED right now, and not feeling like reading much of anything more in the bad news column.  Give me some GOOD NEWS, please.
Eric R. Eaton

Dear Eric, We'll take you off the list, and since you ask for some good news, I am recently given to understand that the world average temperature will go up at least 15 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, due to feed-back loops (that release more methane and CO2 hence heating up the atmosphere and hence releasing more gases, ad infinitum in an uncontrolled spiral).  Never before have feedback loops been quantified.  The good news is not that this minimum warming will happen, of course, but now that this finding has come to light, people will do something finally to cease burning fossil fuels and deforesting, I am most confident.  Please check our website again and there may be more items for your use. - Jan

Oct. 4  — Dear Jan: 
    I found much to appreciate in this essay, as several of us here in ... City are having trouble dealing with dysfunctional folks in government and nonprofit volunteer groups while working to improve trails, open space, sidewalks/accessibility, libraries, educational/economic opportunities, etc. Most of us are volunteers. Some of us have had plenty "dished out" to us from the very groups we helped so wholeheartedly while active members. (I do agree with you that it is good to find out what people REALLY think of one, no matter how hurtful.) 
    Our only "sin" is withdrawing from an org after compiling highly successful records while participating. Then there is the "guilt by association syndrome" dogging the footsteps of silent supporters--those who won't play along with the ostracization game, but have a hard time confronting gossipers and tormenters (random insanity). Do you have an explanation for this particular phenomenon? 
    One librarian helping us get lots of good books says that when leaving a particular group (under whatever auspices), ex-members "lose the scent of the tribe." Any comments on social shunning or "pariahdom" of this nature? 
    Thanks for this essay and any personal comments you could offer, 
P.S. Eric Fromm's "Anatomy of Human Destructiveness" offers a few insights from yesteryear.

Dear Margaret, It's great that you and your cohorts help your community in sustainable living.  Something I heard about a forest-protection group: on the part of the successors there seemed to be a fear that the founder would come back, and perhaps there was an ego-derived fear of comparing poorly with the predecessor.  Successors anywhere may feel inadequate compared to the creativity and accomplishment of the founder, so they want to make plain to any observer that things are now better than before.  In my family business in the 1980s my record was criticized on petty matters, and I was even sued to stop using my own name and knowledge, as my business acumen was a threat.  This was after I handed over a fabulous entity with healthy financials and the best reputation in energy publishing.  In my present affiliation with this website's group, one player in a take-over attempt almost ten years ago tried to say it was axiomatic that I had to leave because I was the founder and supposedly founders have poor skills at managing and growth.  Meanwhile, these detractors were busily assuring we would not get funding and that their new group got the grant we'd earned.  Artificial schisms are sometimes created so people can make off with the group or a big piece of it.
    I don't quite understand the problem of the silent supporters and the ostracization game.  Suffice to say that political games go on that have to do with social circles and status. - JL

Sept. 28 —  

"The more active you are, you are less isolated than the yes-sir/no-sir member of the herd.  With more contacts, the more you run into "strange people" and their incompetence.  You also can meet many wonderful people who have their scene together, but they do not predominate or drive society - as to why, that's another essay about some other era." [Culture Change Letter #36]
That is a core topic to discuss.

Sept. 28
— Jan, 
The dysfunction's basis (capitalism) has become societal; it has become deep
rooted in our culture. However if the capitalistic credo/ philosophy/ belief structure/ intellectual operating system that has developed during our recent history (~10,000 years) had not been in tune with the mentality and the aggressive nature of most of the individuals in our species -- then the CAPITALIST modus operandi would not have developed in the first place and would have long since been rejected wherever it arose. 
    Thanx for being there.
    Peter Salonius (author of Energy Tax Made Easy)
Sept. 28 — To All in Charge of "C-C""
    Thank you for your commitment and gentle spirits.  Keep the faith and strengthen the young ones with your knowledge. God Bless U all.
    With Love,

Sept. 28
— While I'm sure it makes sense to relate your personal circumstances to the big picture, I doubt this is being perceived as you would hope - When you start talking about "them" and "those people," you come across as not only being paranoid, but superior. Accusing "others" of acting insanely invites scrutiny upon you, not "them." You're probably too close to the situation and your own writing to see it, but the language and contentions you make here seem self serving and not at all useful to the readership of culture change... 

JL responds: my exercise in understanding people in this dysfunctional culture was enjoyable to me and to others, but not to all, particularly when a nerve might be touched.  Admittedly, this culture must have dished out some insanity for me to ingest and pass on too. liked the essay enough to post it for their large audience, so there! -JL

CCL #35 September 19, 2003 — The solidarity option — I get by with a little help from my friends

Sept. 19 - Very nicely written, Jan.  Thanks.  Gives ideas even for those of us who have to make a lot of compromises living in the big city.

Sept. 19 - You're the BEST!!!!!
I want to be in the same community you're in...
sisterly love from

Sept. 19 - Hello Jan,
    Speaking of a community of nature-based people, I thought I would mention Ken Kifer.  I don't know if you were ever aware of him, but his website,, has been a great boon to many people.  His bikepages are extensive and entertaining, his evaluation of Thoreau is wonderful, and his novel about a new world looks promising.
    Unfortunately, Ken Kifer was killed by a drunk driver while biking six miles from his house.  (He has been carfree for a long time).  He lived in a small cabin in rural Alabama, and lived a simple, carfree life in a place where it would be deemed impossible by even the most idealistic of people.
    You should check out his website.  I believe his son wants to keep it going, but you never can tell.  His death is a great loss to the community of people who are trying to live a sane life in this world.
    Paul Cooley

JL responds: Thank you, Paul.  We have put up a link to the site, and you're right it is a good one.

CCL #34 September 12, 2003 — Chaos, collapse and survival - Birth of a culture

Sept. 15 - I found most of your information email interesting and thought provoking. However you make use of the term "Black" House, black meant in a negative context. I am reminded of the subtle racism, the code words used to perpetuate the oppression in this country. If you are truly progressive you will educate yourself about what is actually the foundation of oppression and injustice... racism.  As for "closing our borders" to others... lets not forget!  European white man invaded this country stealing it from the Native American people.
Signed, Kashia
Supporter of A.N.S.W.E.R (Act Now To Stop War and End Racism)

    As to our color of presidential palace in the District of Crooks, the White House already has a terrible connotation, to many.  So, Black House cannot possibly be worse.  Oil is black, get it?  As to your advice, "educate yourself about what is actually the foundation of oppression and injustice...racism," any thinking person continues learning.  However, it is an historical fact that there is often oppression, injustice and war that has nothing to do with racism, and that other factor is usually greed and expansion--the story of civilization.  It was not racism originally that motivated the early city builders of Mesopotamia to enrich themselves at neighbors' expense.  Racial harmony and equity is not always achieved by tolerant representation in getting a piece of the toxic American Pie, and recail harmony will not have helped when it's a dead planet.  George W. Bush has two African-Americans in his cabinet and they are both tainted by war association. 
    Do keep educating people on these issues.  Thanks -

CCL #33 September 6, 2003 — Party on, Babylon - Civilizations do end

Sept. 7 - You are so right. The problem is how can we reach the pleasure people.
Bob Luitweiler, Servas group

Sept. 7 - Dear Jan,

    I think you are awesome!  I have been reading your writings and allowing it to become a part of my consciousness for some 10 years now.
    I felt the need to respond to this message because of your question - I am having (sometimes too much) fun in Babylon - tearing it down.  I am one of those who feels that to make the needed cultural change you have to be a
full participant in the culture then change the 'self''.  In doing my work for cultural change I have as much fun as I can.  If it's not fun I avoid it.  When your having fun people will join you.  When people join you - you have a movement.  A movement based on fun and being a "model" for others to go by.  I even frequent the state capitol spreading my witchy laughter through the halls.  It scare the begeebers out of them.  Hee Hee  I can write a letter that rocks the house for weeks.
    That's fun!.
    I own nothing!  I have an income of less than $7,000 a year - but boy do I have some fun!   I feel like a Queen Goddess manifesting all I need.  I am building wild sanctuaries everywhere I go.  I get presents every day (I was even given land!), then I give them away.
    The masses will not embrace culture change if it is offered by threat or by shaming.  It must be offered as fun.  It must be offered as chic.  It must be offered not pushed to become a reality.  By the way I have seen much cultural change occur in my universe.  Keep up the good works.
    Life is a Joy!
    Much Love and Gratitude,

Sept. 7 - It takes a lot of courage to resist the social norm enough to live sustainably.  As a college student, I try to consume within the limits of my conscience, but it is often difficult to overcome the pressures to buy "nice" clothes and have food around that my friends will want to eat, and to buy cheap because I don't have much income.  It's difficult for me to align myself with radical groups because I feel inferior to them for not doing a better job of living sustainably.  I want to hang out with the Peace and Justice org people at my college, but it seems sometimes that I need to follow some mainstream trends in order to have a social life and maybe get a date once in a while.  I want to be brave and confident and feel beautiful and like I "fit in" while being conscious of the environmental and global-social consequences of my actions. I'm working on it.  Hopefully this letter will give hope to others like me who are afraid to become "one of those granolas".  I admit my weakness, I yearn for the day when the normative civilization is one of responsibility to all of humankind and to the earth.  
    Peace to
all of your hearts.
    (Ms. E.G.) A Growing Conscience in Minnesota

Sept. 6 -
    I am enjoying reading the columns you send via your Culture Change e-newsletter.  Keep on keeping on, that's what I'm doing.  Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
    Robert Waldrop, Oklahoma City (sustainable-food service)

CCL #32 August 30, 2003 — Ration oil during war — Or is this a War on Conservation?

Sept. 5 - Jan Lundberg's article was interesting and obviously ambitious.  I don't believe however, that he was harsh enough in judging our society's readiness for such a measure.  On the surface, rationing of oil during wartime seems like it could be clever in the political sense because it would satisfy many different groups.  But much of the War on Terror is fought in secret and has so far not proven to make us safer.  I am doubtful that many positive gains are being made, and if they are, they are not made known publicly.  Basically Americans will not support rationing for very long when results from this secret war fail to materialize. 
    Concrete victories garner support, but our current battle lacks any kind of transparency.  Propaganda from the European and Pacific theaters was ubiquitous during the second World War.  News from the front was tracked here at home closely.  The entire country was supportive of our military efforts and we all felt we were in it together.  Today's American knows nothing of sacrifice or collective effort.  The average consumer (not citizen) is ill informed about our activities abroad and often about domestic issues as well.  Life is judged to be good or bad based on the stock market's daily numbers and the square footage of our suburban boxes.
     Joe Sixpack will not tolerate riding a bike to Wal-Mart, where his DVD player will have doubled in price, unless Don Rumsfeld presents bin Laden's head on a platter on CNN.  Even then, I question whether people would give up the standard of living to which they have become accustomed in order to help fulfill our stated goals in the War on Terror.  Jan stated in his article:
     "Somebody wants a big motor vehicle regardless of fuel economy, and the powers-that-be want that car-buyer to succeed in that want!"
     This is 100% true.  Politicians want us to keep getting high on consumerism because it keeps us happy and voting for them.  I believe that the Bush administration likes it because it keeps us distracted, but imagine how quickly attention would be turned on them if the economy really went south.  More economic breakdown would be the logical result of oil rationing, as GDP growth is tied directly to energy use.  Our current batch of leaders will have thankless jobs because they will soon find themselves in a Catch-22.  They'll be blamed for hard times because of voluntary conservation, and they'll be blamed for worse times when real shortages occur.
     Eric Ameigh, Buffalo, NY

Sept. 1 - Jan,
         Why not require 55 mph? Our own recent experiment on I-75 revealed 35 mpg at 55 mph - 25 mpg at 65 mph!
         A 55 mph speed limit could be (re)imposed nationwide almost overnight. IF there is a conservation will, there IS a way.
    Mary Lou Tanton, Michigan

Aug. 30 -

    I fear the end will not be sudden and thus merciful.
    Humanity can devise substitutes to keep consumption politics in business through a long, horrible descent into the ultimate extinction of everything.
    Now, extinction will happen even under the best of circumstances. The sun will boil the earth's surface within a couple billion years no matter what we do.
    The crime we are committing is the willful sacrifice of happiness in the meantime.
    For environmentalists, earth stewardship is a prerequisite for personal happiness. For most people on the planet, happiness is still just the next crust of bread.
    From a tactical standpoint, how do we environmentalists move the mass of humanity as a whole from the day-to-day struggle for food and welfare to the much more fundamental question of happiness?
    Our domestic culture does not have the capacity to make that transition using its existing political and communication channels, created and controlled as they are by the consumption imperative. We have divested ourselves of our direct political power, through apathy and self-absorption. Whatever power we as individuals all still have is the power of our dollars at the store counter.
    What we need, ideally, is a universal consumer union. This would cut the broad flow of income to the corporate and human oligarchies that capture and recycle it to perpetuate gratuitous consumption. We should create a database of all the products we buy, who produces them, and where their political contributions go. We should then initiate a movement of people willing to buy only those products whose profit goes to uses that will ultimately change the paradigm.
    This is the idea behind green power. It should be expanded to include all categories of consumption. We must starve the right wing oligarchs of the profits they use, through advertising and political bribery, to perpetuate the current course toward premature self-destruction as a species and an ecosystem.
    Mat Hollinshead
    St. Paul, MN

JL responds - I'm not clear on how the producer-oligarchs are to be kept in check if they're still manufacturing and marketing their stuff.  But that may be irrelevant when they lose the plentiful petroleum and packaging for making and shipping the widgets and food--we're not going to have most of the present population size staying around longer than a few months because of die-off resulting from petroleum shortage.  Nevertheless, your idea of a conscious consumers union sounds cool.  Even better, I like a non-consumers union concept.  Maybe the two of them could have productive liaison, but they could also clash, ideally in ceremonial combat only.  All kidding aside, green consuming has serious limitations.

CCL #31 August 25, 2003 — On Borrowed Time

Sept. 11 - Dear CultureChange,
    Jan Lundberg's essay is correct--as far as it goes.  Many of us suppress our inner tendency to succumb to despair, and do things like form and work for organizations like Mothers Against War...acting instead of wringing our hands and putting our heads in the sand is somehow life-sustaining.  I refer you to the publication What is Enlightenment?, Spring/Summer issue, in which Jeremy Rifkin, in an interview, said:
    "Right now we have three great crises facing the human family and they're all connected to oil.  The first is global warming, the second is the increasing debt in the third world, and the third is the potential for more wars in the Middle East . . .
    ". . .so if you add it all up--global warming  (in less than a century, a shift in climate that is equal to the change from the last ice age to today--and that took 15,000 years...), an increasing divide between the haves and the have-nots, more third world debt, and growing geopolitical and military pressures in the Middle East, compounded with the fact that global production of oil is likely to peak sometime within the next ten to thirty-five years--it means we're at the end of an era.  As we move toward this very dangerous endgame for the current energy regime, a new hydrogen energy regime is on the horizon.  The key question is:  How do we get from here to there in a way that will allow us to cross the divide and not collapse civilization?"
    Daphne S. Reed, Founder

JL responds: Dear Ms. Reed, I disagree with Jeremy Rifkin's comments above only on the nonsense about "a new hydrogen energy regime is on the horizon."  People who really understand energy are disappointed in him for propounding this without proving it.  However, if he were to be totally truthful about there not being a technofix to perpetuate the consumer economy and our massive overpopulation, he would lose favor with funders and other supporters of the establishment.  The question is, is it okay to mislead in order to get a bigger truth into circulation (peak oil); is it selling out.   
I have made clear, in my previous columns, my reasons for believing Petroleum Civilization will collapse.  Even if you want to believe that other energy forms will deliver the punch oil does (which they don't), we will not be ready to switch to them when the final oil crisis hits.  And, the market will create such upheaval that whatever causes the financial/economic meltdown won't matter.
    Your organization can help its members by forming close bonds with people willing to form community.  They must practice maximum conservation via sharing and cooperation.  Social services can also be provided substantially from family and friends.  Of course, the masses will sit in front of their TVs and behind the wheel of their cars until the rude awakening.  But sustainable living may get a head start with some folk.  I wish you the best of luck.  Thanks for writing.  Please link to our site from yours. -JL

Aug. 28 -  The "War against Terror" has been created by those who wish to keep their populations in fear.  It would seem that the terror connected to the states is of Islamic origin.  What makes them so mad at the States?   What drives them to kill themselves to try and make a point?  What is the west doing to make them so angry.  Sadly, the root is Israel and Palestine and the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq are escalations of that civil conflict, as is also the rise in Islamic terrorism.  As a global village we have to create enough resources to supply the needs of the village.  As can be seen with the rebuilding of both Afghanistan and Iraq those resources are very limited. 
    Sad, is it not?
    Colin Preece

Aug. 28 - Hi all,
    I like what you're doing.  Have you folks endorsed Kucinich for President?  I'm absolutely convinced that Dennis represents our best and only hope.  Howard Dean and all the rest are just more of the same... business as usual.  We need Kucinich!

    An endorsement from you all and your active support would be very helpful.  I would appreciate your thoughts on this.
    In Peace,

JL responds:  I personally don't spend time on elections much, but they are an avenue not to be neglected, just in case.  Kucinich is certainly better than a lesser-of-two-evils choice; hell, a Dept. of Peace is visionary!  Please let me know if he would support oil rationing, although he would say this is not a legit war.  Good luck.  Here's a contact URL for Kucinich for y'all:

Aug. 27 -

    My thoughts exactly.  (I want) to print (in Gaian Voices) something that has some suggestions for how to deal with the reality of your essay.  Your first sentence is "First the bad news, then the hopeful outlook".  But I didn't find the latter, and I was hoping to because I thought: aha, here's the missing piece for the newsletter.  Is there a hopeful outlook that doesn't sound like so much pie-in-the-sky?  (And I want the answer to be yes, and then I want to know how).  Can you help?
    Susan Meeker-Lowry

JL responds:  Instead of pie-in-the-sky it's more like cake in the mud, where life began according to a recent theory.  More response after the next letter:

Aug. 27 - I read your latest newsletter about the fall of our Republicrat, oil-based, greed-filled social order and was disappointed that after chronicling all the reasons why our world will implode, there wasn't, as promised, a word of hope on how we can all prepare for, and work towards, shifting the momentum that is leading us down the road to disaster.  Any thoughts?
Joan Sullivan

JL responds - I have been trying to get across the idea that inevitable collapse will be the only thing to usher in the sustainable ways that are here and there today waiting in the wings.  We also try to get people to see on our website the hopeful and proven methods of transportation and agriculture, such as Pedal Power Produce--that's a project sort of languishing pending funding (three ings in a row!).
    The second paragraph in On Borrowed Time was about the positive trend, even though some readers felt gypped because I did not see fit to return to that angle. (
"The other side of the coin is that positive trends can take hold and triumph...")
    There is so much education to do to puncture the myths of dominant society and its faked-up story, that I devote far more of my writing to that than the movement to dismantle it.  The movement has me available if it likes, but it is in part in fantasy land concerning matters such as the technofix and the carrying capacity of the ecosystem (overpopulation).  So I'm not in the forefront of the resistance movement when it is mostly futile anyway.  The big forces at work are nature and the collapsing economy--not a social movement no matter how vitally needed it is.  I don't prefer a negative outlook!  See if someone with a lot of hope really has the facts as I recount them. Only the truth shall set us free.
  Cheers, Jan

Aug. 27 - The concentration of the writers on gas guzzling cars is interesting but short sighted.  Petroleum based plastics like nylon, polyester, rayon, etc. consume considerably more petroleum than the excess consumption of fuel that exists in the difference between 20 mpg and 60 mpg and these products are easily replaced by renewable wool, silk, cotton and the much dreaded and maligned hemp.  The petroleum based plastics that have served to reduce the weight of cars, etc and now serve as containers for myriad products from milk to cleaning fluid can be replaced by renewable soy oil based plastics. Just as a renewable food for thought -- one jet fighter plane burns more fuel in one hour than a Ford Explorer burns in a year.
    The production of electricity with dammed water (including those steps to preserve natural plant, animal, and insect life in the existing ecosystem in the construction of the dams) is far more planet safe than the production of indestructible nuclear waste from nuclear power plants. The electricity transmitted by power lines can be insulated by soy oil based plastics instead of petroleum based plastics.
William Carlotti

JL responds - So, consumer society just has to get smart and cooperative and make a seamless switch to renewables?  Your comments mostly point up the inefficiencies of the present system.  Just because hydroelectric power is safer than nukes, this does not present an answer to growth, because the major hydropower spots have been taken, and dams always silt in.  Nevertheless, despite your daydreaming for a new day of renewables and the unfeasibility of the perpetuation of the fossil-fuel/nuclear infrastructure, it is good to see alternatives brought up. - JL

Aug. 26 - Jan,
    Because Bush has f****d the economy,  CO2 emissions have slowed down for the first time in 12 years.  Maybe this civilization really does need to crash, like Rome.  It is a cancer and to try to fix it will only keep it going longer.  Ed Abbey's solution was to drive gas guzzlers to help us get rid of oil and cars sooner.  i guess i now feel the solution is to sow the seeds of a sustainable society while at the same time letting the dominant society collapse on itself while hoping it doesn't take us all with it.  maybe it will be a gradual transition through a series crises and solutions.  Maybe there does have to be some pain for gain.  The ex-Chernobyl site now has abundant wildlife cause all the people are gone.
    Bill Le Bon

JL responds: Hi Bill, The idea of polluting now to rid ourselves of future pollution is worthy only of stoners' musings.  Abbey couldn't've been serious. -JL

Aug. 25 - hi- this message is for jan., 
    i just wanna let you know that it is soo highly appreciated of what you are doing through writing.  i look forward to reading the letters every time i receive them. it's inspirational for me to ACT upon some of this horrible craziness that is going on.  through reading your letters i know that there are others out there that feel this reality through a deeper and more connected perspective.  it is easy for me to forget that sometimes living around so many disconnected folk all the time , i can definitely feel a little outta place w/my feelings. thanx again. much love many blessings- keep it goin'!!
(from Raggedyanndrea)

CCL #30 August 17, 2003 — Private property's not what it's cracked up to be — Question realty — I was way yuppie

Aug. 18 - 
    I think the whole concept of property needs to transform into some sort of acknowledged responsibility to be a steward to that particular place so that it's there for the next generation to use as well. If we spent half as much effort not doing harmful things to the Earth, as we spend trying new behavior, the planet could heal faster. 
    Linda Curry

Aug. 18 - Jan, 
    What are your suggestions for alternative living? I agree that our current lifestyle of car, private property castles, and nuclear family is insane. We need alternatives that the every day worker bee can accept.
    Mark Zinan

JL responds: Dear Mark, we need to question the choice ( trap) of being the worker bee.  Only then can we liberate ourselves from cars, castles and other illusions of personal power.  The article contained suggestions for alternative living.  Exploring them becomes The Journey, The Adventure of Liberation.  My article was barely a glimpse. - JL

Aug. 18, 2003 - Dear culturechangers, 
    How very interesting to receive this article. I have never owned land, and the reason being, that I never felt anyone had the right to own the land, the air, the trees, the rivers, etc. I felt this way as a child and it has never left me. I have been a school teacher most of my life, and had the money to buy: however, I always preferred to be a free spirit roaming wherever I would desire. 
    I do not think in terms of the land being stolen, as I do not think anyone should now or ever have owned the land. The land is being restricted for use by the so called privileged class of people, in the past, mostly white males...Not too long ago even white females could not own land, even if it was land owned by their husbands who passed away. Nowadays, it is anyone who is able to buy, buy and buy. I notice lately that still it is primarily the white people buying up the land and renting to minorities and others. 
    The homeless: Yes, that is an interesting happening. Why anyone should be arrested and put in jail for sleeping under the stars is beyond me. Why anyone should not have the right to lie down and rest at any time, anywhere in nature, is beyond me. 
    Let's face it. Societies are very sick. Unfortunately they are filled with greed and ignorance and many hearts have been closed off. Perhaps this is why the dolphins decided to go back to the ocean.  Perhaps this happened before. But, now the oceans are no longer safe either. 
    How can anyone own the land? It is like owning the air. But, at age 60 I am thinking of buying a little plot for the first time, if only to preserve and protect and love a small part of mother earth. 
    I was glad to read this article, as all of my life, people thought I was a little odd for never buying and not getting a piece of the American pie. Let's face it, those who bought and sold at the right times made fortunes. But, is this a way to make money? It never seemed right to me. I have never wished to be a part of this. But, we who love the land must somehow preserve the little that is left. How? This is the big question. 
    And, there should be places for those who are "homeless" or "wandering" to be able to sit, rest, and sleep without fear of being incarcerated or ridiculed. Perhaps there should be free pieces of land.....such as People's Park in Berkeley, where people are allowed to just be. Of course, all people must respect the land and not litter it with the new-age junk which destroys and uglifies our mother. Education and love could help in this department. 
    Each of us must just follow our inner calling, our hearts, and do the best we can. There are many things to consider in the present area of owning or not owning land. I know many people who have bought land in Costa Rica and Mexico. 
    I have always felt, that if land is to be possessed, then everyone should only have one little piece of it, not acres and acres or two or three or more homes here and there. But, is this a reality? 
    Those who want seem to take and not care. I feel for the native americans whose freedom to roam was taken away from them. Confinement is not a way for many, not a way for me. Solutions? I suppose talking and getting together to brainstorm would be a start. 
    Here's to freedom to roam, freedom to be ourselves, and to a deepening love of mother earth, father sky, sister rivers, and all aspects of nature. Blessings to all... love and peace, 
    charlene light

Aug. 17, 2003 - Beautiful, Jan!  I admire your views, your writing, and the more-than-interesting life you've led so far.
    All the very  best,
    Brad Newsham

JL responds - May my life be less and less interesting! - JL

CCL #29: August 10, 2003 — Goodbye to the War Party (Republicrats et al) and the nuclear threat

Aug. 11 - Hello Jan,
    The human brain/mind has become so deranged--as human history attests--that optimism for a  meaningful cultural change should prevail after another human holocaust is not supportable by the evidence.
    [Regarding anti-circumcision website and petition; link below] Circumcision has deeper roots than the economic, as does the subordination of the feminine to the masculine in patristic/theistic cultures of the world and which drives most of the male violence throughout the world. This thesis is complicated but has a broad support from various scientific studies.  See the websites below.
    I am not optimistic as to the future of homo sapiens or the world and time is running out for any of us to make any difference but we have no alternative but struggle against the odds and hope that I am wrong.  Appreciate your efforts and those of so many others.
    With best wishes.
    James W. Prescott, Ph.D.
    Institute of Humanistic Science

Aug. 11, 2003 - [letter to be retrieved; check back later]

John, what you say sounds reasonable.  It's like the frogs slowly warming in a pot ready to boil.  Depleted uranium ain't the big flash or the sudden boiling water. I did go into depleted uranium, if you saw.  There are great books on it.  The peace movement here in Arcata is very strong, so I get to learn more than the average person.  But there are so damn many issues of critical importance, not making headlines, such as pesticide drift--people getting poisoned and the government doing nothing about the perpetrators (farm owners and pesticide manufacturers).  
An overall cultural change that comes about when the economy collapses will do away with a lot of the excesses of industrial society.  Perhaps Dr. Prescott would agree with some of this.

CCL #28: August 2, 2003 — The joy of riding a bike: sticking it to corporate polluters

August 4 - Jan:  
    I liked it and had the thought, "You really do have to be that far out to be right."  
Regards, Lindsey Grant

Aug. 4 - Dear culture change,  
I read it and it did have an effect on me as all things these days do.  The truth is painful and its difficult to find a path (certainly not perfect) from where we are now to where we must be.  Part of the difficulty is doing it in a way that validates our belief in ourselves and each other and being an instrument for change.  There is so much pressure to capitulate to the rat race.
    Extricating ourselves from an unsustainable mess challenges our will and sanity....and creativity....and I might as well throw in courage too.  It's hard to be always an optimist 365 days a year.  Our frustrations come out with the truth as well.
Michael Framson

Aug. 4, 2003 - 
    I enjoyed the relaxation of style.  Sometimes what you need to say comes out best when you just say it and to hell with the critics. Speaking from the heart is highest on my list.

    My apologies, but  I won't accept your retraction.
    Just say what you mean and mean what you say; the world will be better for it.   -TK

August 4 - You are obviously afraid of offending somebody; please, seek some psychiatric help--or just ride your bike more!--and get the fuck over it.  This is the biggest problem that this boy sees with the whole cycling, pedestrian, and alt-trans culture--we're a bunch of fuckin' pussies about stating our case and trying to be heard by Redneck America!
"Starve a raghead--ride your bike!"
"Don't ride a bike for the damned planet--ride for
your country!"
"Drive more; the Saudis need to keep paying the
bombers' rent!" Etc.
    David Feldman
    Vancouver, WA

Aug. 4 - Dear Ms. (sic) Lundberg: 
    Although I am not an active member of your organization, rather an interested bystander with parallel convictions, I have been receiving your frequent articles for approximately a year now. Thus, I am sincerely confused about the issue surrounding your latest, and--dare I say--strongest in recent memory. Obviously the debate is internal if you state that it (the article) is being retracted before any criticism can be returned. This then begs the question, what criticism?  I have read your article over and would be hard pressed to find any point or statement with which I disagree let alone am offended by. Although the language is a little stronger than I am accustomed to read from you, I believe this aids the piece greatly, and I would hope that this is not the reason that it is under fire. If there is anything the "left" needs these days it is more fire and less of the caution and "political correctness" that is espoused by the bleeding-heart liberals we are ruled by. Yes, make no mistake, our oppression in modern society is due just as much to these "leftists" who jump in their own SUVs and wag their tails when Mr. Bush is around--and growl when he turns his back. Now, I know that you and the Sustainable Energy Institute are more radical than this, which is why I am so perplexed at this controversy. If it was your personal decision, I respect this entirely, but would urge you to stick by your guns, trust your impulses, and so on. But, if it was a decision by the larger organization, then I ask all of you to really question what your energy should be going towards. I understand that you have policies and guidelines (need I say ethics) which you follow, but I do not see how an article filled with marked passion and truth could go against these convictions. And since when has "writing for the sake of writing" ever been a bad thing? We as a people desperately need more dialogues, more unrestrained speeches, and--most definitely--more honest expressions. Any attempt to limit these is doing nothing but limiting ourselves. Keep up the good work! 
Paul D'Agostino

Jan Lundberg answers: I made the decision to apologize to all recipients by myself, and having done this and "taken back what I said" in a retraction, I've left the column on the website so people can decide what approach is correct or inappropriate.

Aug. 4 - Good Morning! 
However well I understand the validity of the reasons for which you apologized, I still do not understand why you made a big deal out of it: I did not read in this article anything considerably more offending than, for instance,  MSNBC giving 5 full minutes of prime time to a "pundit' saying that Jesus was a carpenter, and if he was living today, would certainly drive an SUV, have no time for emission regulation, global warming, and "wussy" alternative cars...Whatever misstep you think you did pales in comparison of the stunning vulgarity of the material thrown around by mainstream media.
    I agree with your inclusive policy, but please do not overdo it in the politically correct department.
    I appreciate your work greatly,

Aug. 4 - I'm appalled that you're retracting the first of your so-called "culture change letters" that I actually fully agree with.  I'm a daily bicycle commuter and couldn't agree more with the sentiments it shared-- bicycles are the best way to break the car culture.  Your organization is being way to apologetic for stating the truth in a convivial way.
    I'm unsubscribing.  Anyone that retracts a paper in favor of bicycommuting is clearly not standing on the same side of the battle against energy consumption that I am.
    Julie Eisenhardt
    Washington, DC

Aug. 4 - Frankly, Jan, 
    I found the piece refreshing -- making very valid points throughout with a deft, light touch. I did not find it to be "writing for the sake of writing". I feel you are being a touch sensitive.
    Best regards,
    Geoff (co-author of the newly published "Success in Store: How to start or buy a retail business, enjoy running it and Make Money".

Aug. 3 - Dear CC,
    I'd like to suggest an idea for free energy -  People power. When people walk through a revolving door they turn a pulley hooked to a generator.  The more people enter, the more power generated.  It's a low-tech, healthy alternative to what we have now.  And I'm sure it could be adapted to any door too.
Best wishes,
    Tom Hendricks, ed. of Musea
    (now celebrating our 10th year)

Aug. 3 - I enjoyed CC letter #28. Although it was rather odd for a CC letter. Keep up the great work and writing. Hope to see another CC magazine in my mailbox someday! I still believe that the Auto-Free Times (changed to Culture Change magazine) was the best environmental magazine ever published. I still read my old issues quite frequently. They are very inspiring. I was glad to see bicycles come up again in a CC letter. Car culture is killing me.
    - Cheers,
    Alice Mosley

Aug. 3 - And your point is?  You have nothing to prove to me.  I respect honesty and truth before my own family. If they were not honest and true, I would not call them family.  The real crisis in our world today, is simply this; people are willing to settle for the simpler life, rather than accept the consequences of a sincere, and honest life.  They would rather do than think before they do.  They would rather sacrifice the existence of humankind, than make an effort to preserve it.
    Tim {good website! - JL)

Aug. 3 - I agreed with your essay wholeheartedly, in theory. my reality is complex with less happy , easy resolutions. my job is 6 miles distant so biking could be a great way to get there. i do love riding bikes but for the last 5 years that has been increasingly impossible because of (a back problem).  a recumbent bike would be a solution if i could afford one, even a used one. i could take the bus but it's route is so circuitous that it takes 1.5 hours, time i don't want to nor can really waste. i could walk but again the time factor. carpooling? only one other person from work lives anywhere near to me and she only overlaps my schedule sporadically. going shopping? same issue.
    Quite reasonably you could say that it would be cheaper still to invest in a recumbent than a car with all it's attendant costs (insurance, gas, oil,
maintenance, etc). no doubt about it. but car costs are designed to be taken in smaller parts so that unless you step back you won't be consumed by the anxiety of it's total expense.
    The point i'm trying to make, albeit circularly, is that the problem is not only personal choice but a systemic trap. i totally agree that the major solution to this trap is to opt out. as a single person this is difficult but doable. when you have responsibility for dependents or because of physical limitations you are the dependent, opting out is possible only with lots of help. where is this help going to come from? what kind of help is it? who will materially support this help? will it be voluntary, i.e unreliable, or mandatory? etc...     
    Another solution is to fight back to demand this help from 'our government' for which you and your newsletter are a perfect example (after all, the car/oil industry is totally subsidized by our taxes).
    Keep up the good work,
     bob segal

JL responded: Thanks Bob, I appreciate your well-taken points. The idea of "help" is so basic, but is diminishing in this culture along with nature. - JL

Aug. 3 - Usually, when I receive any missive from Culturechange, I immediately delete it.  Most everything written is so heavily laden with cynicism and smug superiority that I can't take it.  The ultimate, hoped-for result for any progressive magazine, action or movement (I believe) is to help bring about social change - a cultural change, if you will.  As the old saying goes, you will catch a lot more flies with honey than you will with vinegar. I feel that Culturechange magazine is almost always drenched with vinegar. 
    What I don't want to read is anything that leaves me without hope, that expounds on other people as adversaries rather than others just like you and me who simply haven't changed their habits yet (you weren't born perfect, were you?), huge crimes already done by huge corporations that I can not possibly have any effect on (creating a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness in me) and that old "I am better than you" smugness.  I don't like it with born-again Christians and I don't like it with born-again Environmentalists.
    What I do want to read, specifically, are articles written by a wide
variety of people from throughout the United States, clever organizing tactics that give me hope (if they also make me laugh, all the better), projects and campaigns that can be duplicated right here in our own town, things that pat me on the back for living an ever-more environmentally simple and safe lifestyle.
    And finally, I'd like to see at least 1/2 of the energy currently going into this publication be re-directed towards forming environmental clubs with all age groups from grade school on up through Environmental Block
Clubs for adults or whole families. If this were done and done well, there would be no shortage of people to write articles and do the other tasks needed to make the magazine vibrant and self-sustaining.
    I do not want a knee-jerk reaction to this "criticism." I'd just like to see some culture change within Culturechange.
    Fhyre Phoenix

JL responds:  Good news, we have been advising an anti-roadkill club started by a 13 year old on the east coast.  She was inspired by an article on this website.  This website does not have everything, but it could do more with some more financial support!  Delete my columns, but try some of the other articles and notices on this website by others.  If there are websites we should link to, we are all ears--and vinegar, Honey!

CCL #27: July 26, 2003 — The daily grind in a society mentally ill

July 26 - I was very impressed by the article, Mr. AmeriCop, inmate/warden - The daily grind in a society mentally ill by Jan Lundberg.
     I began resisting the madness nearly 10 years ago, when I was in my 50s, not even able to put what I was doing into words.  I quit working for the system and took on a life of poverty in order to do work that is meaningful and creative - for no pay. I learned to travel anywhere at the drop of a hat, be gone for any length of time with nothing but a small bag of clothes, my computer (if it is a long journey) and a box of letters from those who have no freedom.
     I soon began to be hosted in tiny rooms by people who liked what I was doing and wanted to contribute in some small way to the greater good.  Although they have not thrown off the oppression of the daily grind, they know, through me, that it can be done. 
     Because I am very vocal about the source of suffering for so many voiceless people, and too, because becoming an amplifier draws the attention of many that hate to be exposed, I have lived as if I''d one day have to defend myself in a court of law against unwarranted charges.  I never knew what I'd say about why I won't hold a 'proper' job, live in other people's homes, and starve rather than take food stamps.  But after reading this article, I understand clearly why I live this way and how I'll explain it.  I'll probably be the only sane person in the room, but it doesn't even matter how it all turns out.
     Although I have never lived in a prison, I've learned more about prison than I ever wanted to know and I am prepared to survive anything.  Although I never want another person to control me, especially an insane one, I am prepared to live wherever, experience anything, and have absolutely no doubt that I will keep my inner freedom - my sanity if you will, until the day I leave the insane asylum. 
     That young lady from the sixties, Janice Joplin...She was so right when she sang, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."
    Thank you for putting into words what I could not.
    Kay Lee
    Making The Walls Transparent

CCL #26: July 16, 2003 — Forming a Global Warming Crisis Council

    Many letters came in on forming a global warming crisis council, so they are being put on a new webpage for the council.  Go to the GWCC.

CCL #25: July 10, 2003 — Industrial society has polluted enough — Shutting Down the WTO Economy?

July 15 - Dear Jan,
The USA is now facing an all-out assault against those who want to know what they are eating.  The FDA intends to allow big corporations complete freedom to label processed foods as they see fit.  I am trying to gather info about Tony Blair and his attempt to defend US policies in Europe.

CCL #24: June 26, 2003 — The oil industry has plans for you: blow-back

July 7 - We're not ruled by fascists.  That is simple-minded.  The United States is a plutocracy, and was *created* to be a plutocracy.   It was made the way it is by design, not by accident.  Any close reading of the Federalist papers makes that pretty clear.
    So money is the key.  The rich rule.  Fascistic symbolism is merely for purposes of manipulation of the population.
    Second of all, you guys over there need to have a bit more hard-nosed view of human nature.  We are in big, big trouble here, because human nature is *not* nice.  We are, as Jay Hanson so neatly puts it, "the apex predator."  We are NOT going to make nice when the oil begins to rise in price, forever.  No, we are not going to make nice, at ALL.
     I wish that were not true.  But I fear it is.
     Charles Andrews

June 26 - Hello again Jan,
    Blowback from the Middle East has barely started.  It seems that the goal of the Bushisti is to lock up ALL the Mid East oil, which means they want to invade Iran, on another WMD nuclear pretext. After that, Syria (with the help of Israel) and Afghan pipeline(s) will be used to pump oil from central Asia. I wonder if we'll hear a giant sucking sound as the Earth is totally drained of oil?
    In addition, Spencer Abraham's Hydrogen Dream (From the Wilderness) reminds us that only nuclear can generate enough electricity to split water into hydrogen in the quantities needed to power fuel-cell autos, assuming no catastrophic collapse of the US economy. If it does collapse, there will be a greatly reduced need for personal automobiles.
    The proponents of nuclear  will wave the "no-net-increase in carbon dioxide" flag. So I expect nuclear (and US nuclear weapon testing) to re-emerge as "the hope of America". US dissenters will likely be arrested and have any remaining civil rights surgically removed. (The Chinese military are doing a roaring trade in transplantable organs from executed "criminals")
    Graham Cooper

CCL #23: June 13, 2003 — Shattering illusions and building freedom are unpopular for now

July 2 - Or could it be the ineptness of those who pretend to be the alternative?
    Mike Hitchcock 

June 21, 2003 - Sometimes it's worth it to risk economic disaster and outcast from the mainstream.

June 21 -Hello  Jan Lundberg,
    Just read your change newsletter #23.  I agree with it, however I was put off by the abrupt ending paragraph.  While that paragraph makes sense to me, it is too brief to be encouraging.  Maybe you don't want to be encouraging.
    At any rate some elaboration of change on a case by case basis to me probably includes listening to other people more than occurs in our society.  I believe as an average person talks freely and pretty much uninterrupted their own consciousness, thier thinking, breaks through some of the illusion, and the person begins to wonder where to go from here.  Of course some are deeply set in their prewent ways, and when listening I can feel exasperated.  I need someone to "let off steam" to.  For certainly arguing with that stubborn person won't do me or her any good.  I'll still need a friend to let off steam to.
    Looking at one's fears can probably done better with friends listening to each other, and getting down to what is honestly bothering me.
    Then there is what I see as positive developments.  For instance, permaculture practioners are spreading their outlook and methods.  This may be a slow process, but it is "innoculating" the world with people ready to demonstrate an alternate and better way of living in one's locale. 
    The use of consensus decision-making is spreading somewhat, though it is not always well understood nor well practiced.  There is some effort to include everyone's outlook.
    No need for me to go on.  I see positive ferment underway while also seeing this energy intensive society approaching its last stages.  A cup of good
Kansas wine wouldn't hurt either.
    Mark Larson, Lawrence, KS

June 20 - You made a rough effort to understand the motives and mentality of ordinary, even thoughtful Americans but you do not understand empathy. When a group of people see their house burning down and have no water or other apparent means of dousing the flames to accuse them of lethargy accomplished nothing.
    MoveOn is thoughtfully approaching the public in terms they can encompass. 
1. They are dealing with people where they are not where they wished they were or think they should be.
2. They are dealing with bites small enough for them to chew.
3. They approach them with respect as coworkers not subjects.
    Although all your criticisms of our present trend may be correct that does not deal with the real problem -- methods of change, attitudes that may underlie the problems, life habits, entrapment in a system that seems beyond our control.
    Your message is valuable. Your approach may not be effective. I have made many similar mistakes so I know from where I speak. It's a tough challenge getting them off their couch and away from the boob tube into effective social change activities.
    Bob Luitweiler

June 20, 2003 - I suspect that Jan Lundberg is the one who is under an illusion. Lundberg is saying that people don't know what they want, and that Lundberg and other elites know better. The alternative is that Lundberg doesn't know what everybody wants, and that all of the individuals in the U.S. have a better idea of what they want than some elitists. The latter sounds more likely to me.
    Randal O'Toole

June 10, 2003 -
Please send these highly effective e-letters to my (email) account. Again, my appreciation for all the relevant information that is awakening and raising my own awareness and ability to act.  
    Amy Struloeff

CCL #22: June 7, 2003 — Money, materialism and sex: why money and materialism aren't the answer

June 20 - Dear Jan, 
    This weekend I attended a WA gathering held by the NW Intentional Community Association. We talked about building trust among other things. I just got hold of a new book - "Creating a Life Together, Practical Tools to Grow Eco-Villages & Intentional Communities"by Dian a Leafe Christian.
    Some communities are doing income & asset sharing, land trusts etc. Organisation on this level is socialistic, anarchistic and a lot more healthy for humans, as you suggest. Eventually, cities and all non-intentional communities will be (1) irrelevant (2) a threat to the intentional communities.
    Have you done an article about FIAT currency, why it's not money - what it is and where it comes from? This is a deep, dark & murky subject - give it a go, eh?
    Your new letter is, as always, a good read. I enjoy looking for new angles and assumptions.  I am one of your Outsiders, living on the fringe and planning an eco-community.
    I am developing a network of communitarians. I am not a US citizen. I'm curious to know how & where your "huge drop in population" is going to occur? Do you mean as a result of massive civil wars over dwindling resources? Pandemic? Pollution and disease?
    I'm not at all sure people want their illusions shattered. They will likely turn on those who try and kill the messenger who brings bad tidings. As Gurdjieff said - most people are asleep. It's best to let sleeping "sheeple" lie.
    Two of the illusions are the stability and the scarcity of money. Fear of money (or the lack of it) drives the lives of the masses. I don't think "surpluses and profit can be piled higher and higher". In fact we saw recently when the stock market collapsed, how trillions of dollars can vanish into thin air. Such wealth is not wealth. It is legal fiction. A gigantic con game.
    Again, I suggest you do a feature on fiat currency - what it is and why it will collapse.
    Let's drink to the end of consumerism - with beer that we have brewed ourselves.
    Cheers,  GC

June 20 - Subject: Globalization? Global problems?
    Your Culture Change Letter is of great interest to me. Because of your concern with world environmental and related problems, there are two activities I think you may find of interest and here are the URLs for more information: 
1- - "Global Solutions" 156-page book FREE to download 
2- - take back the world from global exploitation 
I wonder if you would consider passing on this information in your newsletter?
    Richard A. Stimson, High Point, NC (336) 884-1038, author.  See books at newly revised website

June 7, 2003 - It has several times occurred to me that some group of people might arise to supplant the current misuse of property through a collective ownership agreement.  Essentially, contributing property gains access to all the property.  There would be agreements about uses of the property and so forth to carefully prevent abuses, but the idea would be to allow maximum collective enjoyment and security.
    Jason Meggs

June 7 - Dear CCLetter:
"A new study from Claremont Graduate University, California, has found that statistically trust works better than competition and individualism..." 
Uri Dowbenko

CCL #21
: May 24, 2003 — The Machine versus Food-Not-Lawns 

May 27 - Could you please speak to the flaunting of material possessions to compete for the more desirable of the opposite sex?  I ask this because I think it is a major prop of the materialism in our society.
    Dean C Rogers

CCL #20: May 15, 2003 — Petroleum culture versus Earth living — The fallacy of the renewable energy technofix 

CCL #19: May 9, 2003 —The tragedy of money relations — and the alternative

CCL #18: May 2, 2003 — The cost of oil security:  No more war—Become informed, and act

CCL #17: April 24, 2003 — False prosperity from oil:
It is the obedient workers who will eat — for now

CCL #16: April 16, 2003 — Is the market The Enemy?

Oct. 11, 2003 - Dear Jan,
    I am writing in appreciation of your article, and to let you know that we
are following up on your generous offer to republish your article on our
non-commercial, nonprofit web site
( I think you will find that our
interests are very much in line.
    Best wishes,
   Jason Weston, Senior Editor
    Politics of Health Knowledge Network

CCL #15: April 7, 2003 — U.S. civilization's weakness evident in family trends

CCL #14: March 2003 — The peace movement and oil

CCL #13: March 2003 — Sustainability starts with family solidarity

CCL #12: February 2003 — Institute of Petroleum hears Sustainable Energy message

CCL #11: January 2003 — Citizen petroleum councils: toward conservation, food security and peace

CCL #10: January 2003 — 7 notions for a livable new year

CCL #9: December 2002 — The Holy — Daniel Quinn's novel reviewed

CCL #8: November 2002 — Health care tribe: elder care "insurance"

CCL #7: October 2002 — Ending U.S. oil tyranny 

CCL #6: October 2002 — The nature revolution

CCL #5: September 2002 — Sustainable eating

CCL #4: August 2002 — Where lies failure of the world summit on sustainable development

CCL #3: August 2002 — Spare Iraq and the atmosphere, avoid oil shock

CCL #2: July 2002 — Hunting and gathering in Ecotopia

CCL #1: June 2002 — Alternative to techno-enslavement 

General topics
On December 5 2003 the New York Times published this Opinion letter by Jan Lundberg:
Consuming Globally
To the Editor:
Pres., Sustainable Energy Institute
Arcata, Calif., Nov. 29, 2003

Dec. 14, 2003 - Dear Jan,
     I agree wholeheartedly with your New York Times comments on Paul Krugman's op-ed piece.  Of course,  the barrel of the global energy gun is constantly evident in the U.S.: whether coal in the hills of West Virginia,  gas in the plains of Montana and Wyoming, oil in the valleys of Utah, or the wind farms of Nantucket.  It is axiomatic that if sustainability can be corrupted, it will be.   We've found that to be the case in Aziscohos Lake (Maine) where our interest was originally piqued by the fact that our loons have blood mercury levels of 750,000x that of the lake water.  We have investigated a number of aspects of  Florida Power and Light's management,  one of which has led to the summarized complaints I've attached.  If you are interested in the actual complaints,  let me know.  Our organization and current newsletters can be found at:       
    Best regards and keep up the good work.   
    Don Green

JL responds: Thank you, Don, for being awake and living according to Earth ethics. Best of luck in your struggle. Yours is one of all too many U.S. examples under the gun, in effect. You join people together when you point out that corporate globalization is at home too. - Jan

Dec. 18, 2003 - I tend to believe http:/ when he says that the USA has a 'land bank' which could provide all of the USA's energy needs through the mass production and processing of cannabis hemp.  The culture of the USA has already changed with the use of cannabis for socialisation.  It could really change if cannabis's cousin' hemp was nationally grown again.
    Colin Preece

JL responds: Just what are the USA's energy "needs?"  We cannot and should not maximize land use for anthropocentric ends, when other species are needed and have intrinsic right to habitat.

Nov. 27, 2003 - Your letters are indeed interesting.  With respect to Babylon and salinization, Saddam Hussein's grandest project 'The Third River' was planned to reverse the salinization and make the fertile crescent green again.  The idea was to put down a fair amount of river water--renewable--and do moderately deep pumping--ten or twenty feet, I understood--to draw that water, now as brine, out at the bottom and dump it in a canal headed to the ocean.

    I never heard what happened to the project, which may of course have been conceptually simple but impracticable.
    George Phillies
    "Has America's luck run out?"

Oct. 22 - I would agree, that a logical, sustainable society, is a bright potential future for mankind.

    It appears clear to me, though, that the end of the fossil fuel era will be a period of widespread conflict, and untimely, unpleasant death.  I've been
looking at the "situation" since 1998, when I first REALLY read Jay Hanson's dieoff website.  I see no means to avoid Jay's "crash", which can be any disaster scenario you care to dream up.  Frankly, I'd bet that it's going to be worse than we can dream up...
    While we can't save the current infrastructure, there is still some time left to utilize it to put into place that which humanity SHOULD have been developing.  But the time is short.
Do you have links or other referrals to "local" groups (I'm in Yuma, Arizona) who are taking appropriate personal actions?
    It appears basic premises at your site are:
    Absent miracle technology, somewhere between 1% and 10% of the present population is "sustainable."
    The present "overshoot" population is being sustained on fossil fuels.
    Fossil fuels are a finite resource, probably depleted in the coming decades.
    There does not appear to be a peaceful, political, practical means to lower the population to sustainable levels within the remaining fossil fuels.
    Therefore, I'd project we should expect:
    Once the true relationship and dependency on fossil fuels is realized, even if we're not yet at "depletion," or even at a permanent inability for supply to meet demand, that there will be "significant" social unrest, on a global scale.
(Resource wars.)
    Ongoing "unpleasant" activities until the population is at/below sustainable levels, and competition for resources ends.
    A dark-age following the crash.
    Logically then, the future of humanity requires:
    Knowledge and technology be preserved in manners and locations calculated to avoid the worst of the crash.    
    Healthy, educated, experienced, and trained individuals who survive the crash with the minimum of personal trauma, injury, etc.   
    Concentrations of supplies, resources, and energy pre-selected and stored sufficient to meet the needs of the core community thru the crash, and to provide a "surplus" to help get surrounding communities "back on their feet."   
    Where to put these ecovillages?  It depends on what you believe is going to happen in the crash.  They probably SHOULD be everywhere.
    The time for action is "now".  Unfortunately, I don't see it taking place.
    Ronald Frederick Greek
    Yuma, Arizona, USA

JL responds: Dear Ronald, Sorry, we don't have a good local-based network.  You can try permaculture groups and Earth First! chapters.
As to our basic premises, you're accurate, except rather than a "dark age" to go into, we are in one now which we will be exiting.  The way of sustainability will be bright, and to survive we will be moving toward it really fast when the collapse starts to settle.  Be of good cheer, Jan

October, 2003 - 

Dear Culture Change, I am working on reprinting several "how to" books of the 1850's, before oil, when America was for the last few years sustainable.
No TV. Not even kerosene, and Abe Lincoln read by firelight.
We have been living recently in the most luxurious of all times, and when the wells run dry hydrogen won't be the answer. I guess we will just have to go to bed when it gets dark?
    I drove an 800 pound 1976 British Reliant Robin from Portland, Maine to Newport, Oregon on less gasoline, only 60 gallons. We ought to be investing our diminishing oil in bicycle tires.
    Charles E. Mac Arthur
Oct. 22, 2003 Subject: The consumer economy terrifies me
Sustainability vs. The Consumer Economy
With due respect to Keynes and the benefits of demand stimulation, it would seem that we should move beyond trying to use all available labor and begin to focus on how to employ only the needed labor.  Does anyone believe that growing consumption can be sustained?  Our present consumer economy uses most labor, but its high consumption rates are at odds with resource stewardship. The high rates of resource consumption needed by the consumer economy not only hasten the trend toward resource scarcity, high consumption rates also increase the pollution which lies behind global warming. The consumer economy is not sustainable, but it is necessary to prevent automation from causing unemployment in a world of wage dependence.

Any activity involves some resource consumption. We all need to consume food, fuel and other perishable goods. The provision of consumption goods is the proper goal of any economic system, but the consumption of durable items is not a proper goal for a sustainable economy. Only a consumer economy, with the goal of increasing consumption by any means, seeks to consume potentially durable items prematurely, as if waste could really increase wealth.

Advocates of the consumer economy must deny the limits to growth, or pretend that increased consumption is consistent with resource conservation, or admit that they don't care about stewardship. No one wants a destructive economic system, yet most people have supported the consumer economy and its use of demand stimulation to create jobs. Belief in the existence of an infinite supply of cheap resources made the consumer economy seem desirable, but today we know that because the consumer economy needs waste to function it will hasten resource scarcity, and it will leave us unprepared and living in a world of scarcity. Support for the consumer economy is falling for good reason.
Since the media made everyone aware of world oil depletion problems, the assumption that we don't need to worry about resource scarcity has been shaken out of most people. Now that we are worried about resource scarcity one question is "What can we do to prevent resource scarcity?"  Which is part of the larger question, "What must we do to have a sustainable society?"  Most people desire a sustainable society, we know we need a sustainable society, and our engineers already know how to build one. The conflict between increasing consumption to make jobs and reducing consumption to conserve can't be solved. It will be impossible to build a sustainable economy if we fail to reassess the role of human labor in an automated economy.
Some wealthy people, with the ambition and means to rule, cleverly created the consumer economy to provide jobs after world war two, thus delaying the need to reassess the role of human labor in an automated economy. Those people can create a sustainable economy whenever they become justifiably terrified by the consumer economy's inability to reduce consumption rates. Our wealthy rulers must create a new economy that will provide people's needs without making too much pollution and without running out of resources rapidly if they hope to avoid leading us into an age of growing scarcity. They are already so worried about resource depletion that they are willing to use aggression to grab all the known oil resources, but their fear of war is small compared to their fear of reassessing role of human labor in an automated economy. It's interesting how people so often are afraid of the wrong things. Finding more oil, and grabbing more oil, will only delay the need for economic reform at the high cost of increasing world conflict. It would be much better to address the main cause of unsustainablity now, rather than seeking more delay and finding comfort in denial. That cause is needless wage dependence in an economy that already provides unearned income, but only for a tiny minority.   
     Barry Brooks

Oct. 7 — Hello, Jan

    When I first picked up a copy of Auto Free Times back around 1997 or so I was inspired.  Here was a publication that seemed to prove that the ideas
mushing around in my head and my life were meritable and had potential for real world application.
    Unfortunately, as my real world experiences continued and evolved I didn't find AFT to match my growth or understanding of the world and realistic solutions to the major problems facing the world.  And lately it seems the e-journal has devolved into nothing but a regular lamentation fit for an
adolescent's diary.  The problems facing the world are real, serious and complex.  But that means the solutions have to be, too.  And I don't think yours are.  Absolute best of luck with your life, your community, and your drive towards solutions.

Dear Murphy:  If enough money were to roll in (from the bulldozing, oil-mainlining establishment?) you could see a reappearance of the Auto-Free Times as well as the print version of Culture Change magazine.  Similarly, the inactive Alliance for a Paving Moratorium is another exercise in trying to use the destructive system and the unholy dollar to stop the forces driving our culture over the cliff. Fortunately, there seems to be demand for my regular lamentations that, at least, frequently cover auto-free living and related issues.  So we are not giving up the fight, although some may give up on us.
Good luck to you too, and don't hesitate to see our website for any resources to aid mature and immature folks in a crusade against cars, paving, oil, etc. - Jan

Sept. 29 — The only reason the world isn't in the middle of a catastrophic war for resources (we are warring for resources, as in Iraq, but not catastrophically...yet) is that there are still enough to go around (more-or-less), and because of nuclear weapons, which, if used, make all resources unusable (assuming there are people around to use them)...

    I make this comment in light of what you say will emerge after the overshoot and die-off of our current population.  Unfortunately, human beings evolved precisely the way they did under the pressure of two imperatives:
1)  To evade all resource limits, and..
2) When a resource limit cannot be evaded, to take what is wanted by deception or violence.
    This big brain of ours was evolved to accomplish the two purposes above..and as far as I can tell (from the view of evolutionary biology), that won't change even after a die-off.
    Controlling huge masses of human beings, most of whom are completely unconscious to their own natures, and will remain so, involves either enormous wealth (to keep them happy, temporarily...this is how the United States works:  we're so wealthy compared to the rest of humanity, we don't really
need a totalitarian police state to control society...yet)...enormous wealth in only one sector of an overcrowded planet probably cannot be sustained...and the
only other way to control millions of people in an environment of resource decline is a violent police state.
      Even after the catastrophe (of whatever magnitude) occurs, human nature will not have changed, unfortunately.  How we get around that one is not at all clear to me, short of a permanent police state that would *force* the sensible and sustainable use of resources.  There will be much violence though, as rebels, sustained by their basic nature, wage an endless guerilla war to live "free"--that is, to live as violent, deceptive human beings.
    The nature that allowed us to evolve up from the African plains, is the same nature that will keep us in perpetual civil war..until we can, in Jay Hanson's phrase "rewire our wetware" something that will probably take thousands of
years, if it ever happens...
    I don't believe everything evolutionary biology teaches...but I believe enough of it to think that our violent, mendacious nature is our doom, unless we change it.  And that kind of change takes a long, long time.
    I am not, by the way, talking about that small group of people working to re-wire their wetware.  Those people, if successful, could likely live in harmony with their environment.  I'm talking about the vast majority of humanity, that majority which strives to *have* as much as possible, and to take from others by deception or violence what they do not *have*'s the vast majority that
worries be, before *and* after the die-off.
Charles Andrews
Los Angeles

Sept. 28 -Jan Lundberg,
    My wife, Roberta has done some wonderful paintings of an American
car-free city...take a look:
    Ken Avidor

Sept. 10 - Hi,

    Please put me on the e-mail list.
    I just found the Culture Change web site. I have enjoyed reading your articles - it seems like we speak the same language.
    30 years ago I read Living the Good Life and Continuing the Good Life - Helen and Scott Nearing. The message went straight to my heart - I've been resisting the plutocratic oligarchy since then. Hopefully Peak Oil will be
the dawn's early light.
    Best Regards,
    Robert Barnard

Sept. 9 - Hello Jan,

    Thank you, thank you for sending these messages.   They're important and never fail to get me thinking and feeling about our state of affairs.  
    Landon Hilliard
    Boulder, Colorado

Sept. 8 - I think you are starting to make an impact. There seems to be an emerging concern about the imminent oil crunch.

    In my efforts to fight expansions of carring habitat, I have circulated some of your materials. They have been well received.
    I also focus on the subliminal suburban socialism (the Soviet-style pricing of roads) that congests Rage Road and Bumper to Bumper Boulevard that connect McMansion Drive to Sprawl Mall.
    See "The Elephant in the Bedroom" by Stanley Hart & Alvin Spivak or the summary of their work in "Suburban Nation" by Duany, Plater-Zyberk & Speck.
Keep up the good work!
    Jim Bush

Sept. 1 - I heard a theory from Russia that oil is created non-biologically inside the Earth. Do you agree with that? What are the implications? How fast is it being created, etc.?
    Mike Vandeman, Ph.D.
    PS: I am working on creating wildlife habitat that is off-limits to humans ("pure habitat"). Want to help? (I spent the previous 8 years fighting auto dependence and road construction.)

JL responds: Hi Mike, I believe oil was biologically created, but don't know for sure. I think the origin is irrelevant, because the creation is not quick anyway, and we have to stop using the stuff.
Cheers, Jan

Aug. 29 - Dear Jan,
    If you can stand a wee bit of constructive criticism (I admire your work immensely), your writing seemed to be of higher quality in your "AFT" (Auto-Free Times) issues than the e-mail newsletters you send to grab folks' attention. Some generalizations don't seem as substantiated or research-backed as formerly.
You are great on oil/gas/energy sustainability or lack thereof and promotion of alternative lifestyles, but when straying into the disintegration of the American family, etc., you are on shakier ground without at least passing references to leading sociologists' findings. Know what I mean?
However, the price is right, your predictions are worth listening to, and I always pick up some valuable kernels...
Margaret Hadderman
New Mexico

 JL responds:  I don't believe sociology or any ology is a valid approach in itself to understanding and changing culture. Part of this is because specialization is a trap for myopia.  I have read a fair amount of sociological and related works, have thought and think about these issues, but the whole reality is a big integrated fukkup called the dominant culture.  The family is key to any culture, and you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. I notice and say (and email) points that seem to be neglected, from whatever disciplinary standpoint. 
    Culture change includes "sociological" observations and they suggest some reasons for why we pave over the Earth and don't have a communal society.  I think a generalist approach is best, and I happen to be a generalist.  The observations I make, such as divorce rate in the U.S. being 50%, don't usually require references--I'm sticking to stuff I know about, and my old reputation for credibility in oil matters is really a publishing talent for accuracy and reliability, which I think I'm maintaining.
I'm happy to respond to your criticism.  The AFT did not have much of my own writing, although the last mag (Culture Change) certainly did.  I am still trying to assemble cultural change works and authors.  I'm trying to start a trend:  If the right works are being written for culture change, no matter by sociologists or physicists or even drop-outs who think about society and have cogent observations, then I won't feel I have to fill a gap.  Anyway, the fact that you read my essays (I don't think of them as attention grabbers for the website, although that's what our designer Mike Kunz figured) is a complement and endorsement.   Think of me also as a columnist trying to create output and be consistently productive with the columns. Columns and magazine articles are not academic in style.  But our website and our future hard-copy publications need referenced works too.
    Take care,

Aug. 17 - Dear Sirs: 
    The United States is heading for disaster. The U. S. consumption of oil is nearly 8 billion barrels annually. The worldwide consumption of oil is nearly 30 billion barrels annually. The U. S. consumption of oil would wipe out the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve (rated at 16 billion barrels) in just two years. The worldwide oil consumption would wipe out the ANWR in a little over 6 months. The U. S. consumption would wipe out the Iraqi reserves (the world's second largest, 112 billion barrels) in just 14 years. The worldwide consumption would wipe out the Iraqi reserves in less than 4 years. Additionally, many oil industry experts are saying we will soon reach the peak of worldwide oil production; and commence an irreversible and sharp decline in production. 
    The U. S. transportation system is essentially a fly/drive transportation system. This system will never free itself from a dominant dependency on oil for energy. The collapse of the oil supply will mean the collapse of the transportation system, and the collapse of the United States. The most strategic mode of transportation we will ever have is rail transportation. Rail transportation is the most energy efficient, and the most energy alternative, means of transportation we will ever have. Rail transportation is the most energy efficient. A modern train is capable of achieving 750 gross ton miles per gallon (weight in tons, times miles per gallon). No other means of transportation can even come close to this. 
    Rail transportation has a two hundred year history of running on every source of energy known to mankind. It is the only mode of transportation we have, that does not have to be dominantly dependent on oil for energy. In fact, all trains can be made to run without using one drop of oil for energy. Trains are the only means of transportation that can carry us through the oil collapse to come. 
    Sincerely, James A. Hellams

JL replies: The 64-dollar question is asked again: will rail get some support that would translate into sustainable renewable energy propulsion?  We look for this information and it's very hard to come by.  Any assistance would be appreciated. 
    Our group headed the anti-road construction movement for years, and we could not find much interest in boosting rail, nor could we get much support from rail interests whom we were serving in general.  A paving moratorium was first suggested by our office in 1989 as a means of aiding AMTRAK. - JL.

Aug. 11, 2003 - Hey Jan,
Santa Cruz is having the most fog free summer in anyone's memory which is great but is a confirmation that the climate is changing.  the idea that came to me as i looked out over the bay was that agriculture is suffering or is going to suffer as a result of climate change.  have you seen any accurate estimates of how climate change will affect national and international agriculture?  i remember seeing an article in Chemical Engineering magazine that said, based on current trends, that climate related damages and costs would be greater than the world GDP by 2050, which means that the global economy will collapse long before then if we don't impose radical changes immediately. but i wonder if the food source might be the first impact to really hit us. 
    Bill Le Bon

JL replies: My own guess is that petroleum crash will hit the food situation first, and overwhelmingly, although you are right that climate change is even bigger as a factor on our agriculture and the ecosystem that is supposed to feed us naturally.
    I would appreciate any further information on this. - Jan

July 25 - Culture change is the key, but it doesn't happen soft and slow. 
    Andrew McKillop, energy author (UK)

July 20, 2003 - Dear Friends, 
Thanks for your letter calling attention to the new website on population.  I thought the website was excellent.  Focusing on population is the correct thing to do, but it is politically incorrect.  Of course you know this already.
    I am attaching some papers of mine dealing with these problems.  In the paper on sustainability you will find the Laws of Sustainability.  The First Law of Sustainability is: population growth and / or growth in the rates of
consumption of resources is not sustainable.
    Many thanks for focusing on the heart of the problem.
Every increment of added population, and
     every added increment of affluence
     invariably destroys an increment
     of the remaining environment.
Population growth and increases in affluence
     make it impossible for reasonable increments
     of improved efficiency in the use of resources
     to enhance or even to preserve the environment.
You cannot preserve the environment
     by accepting the population growth
     and the increased affluence
     that are destroying the environment.
Sincerely, AL
Professor Emeritus of Physics
            University of Colorado at Boulder
            Boulder, Colorado, 80309-0390
(for Dr. Bartlett's papers, go to our Overpopulation page)

July 19, 2003 - Hi Jan,  I'm finally comprehending that you've switched from a paper format publishing the Auto-Free Times, to a completely e-format; I guess the assumption being electricity and computers and the skill needed to work them is all available free and easy... or am I a little off base? I realize society is in transition regarding computers and energy but I also have always been a skeptic of 100% electricity driven activism.  I'm not sure what to do about much of this except keep reminding activists that retirees and kids are among the biggest allies the auto-free movement can have; and eliminating their participation by switching to all-electric formats may be a bad idea.
    Folks marginalized by the lack of decent public transportation in this country are the same folks marginalized by not having free phone lines, computer equipment and training and electricity available to them.  It seems to me most hackers have developed their skills at the expense of an employer or educational institution which furnished all the chips and software and phone lines and office space and electricity needed to come to the conclusion that no one who has not had all those advantages, matters.
    One of the joys of bicycling is learning to do without a lot of the electricity driven crap that modern society takes for granted, including computer literacy/skill/equipment & utility payments. I'm managing to stay on board, just barely, and a bit late as I had no idea when folks insisted I should learn how to save time and money with computers that it would end up costing me thousands of dollars over a decade or two of frustration finding out computers are about 80% oversold and under-functioning.  The primary thing they are good at is marginalizing the young, the old, and the poor, folks who would benefit most from the auto-free message...any comments Jan, and have you ever run across any assessment of how much electricity (aka petroleum from power plant combustion) a given e-mail uses up?  Designing computers not to have an on-off switch or at least not one that matters, has been part of the problem, of course, the reasoning being that it's ok to waste small amounts of electricity.  Too bad that reasoning got multiplied by 200 million computers, all designed like the ultra-sophisticated apple see-through monitors that also work as room heaters, often triggering a gas-guzzling air conditioner to trip on in the can get a burn injury on those damn monitors they run so hot!    
Best, Jim Doherty

Culture Change Letter replies: Jim, we have reluctantly gone web/email oriented; raising funds for the printing of thousands of magazines has been difficult especially since 9-11 when the foundations lost a lot of their stocks-value.  I have not seen figures on how much global-warming power an email account may use.  You made some great observations.  Thanks.  JL  July 22, 2003

July 16, 2003 - Dear Colleagues,
    Considering your concern and effort regarding sustainability and the future, we believe you may be interested in our new book Socioeconomic Democracy: An Advanced Socioeconomic System.  I am therefore sending you a brief description of the book and then concluding with a short article describing Socioeconomic Democracy.  If you find this material of interest, we would be happy to explore future possibilities with you.
    Robley E. George, Director
Center for the Study of Democratic Societies
Description of the book:
Socioeconomic Democracy is a theoretical model socioeconomic system wherein here exist both some form of Universal Guaranteed Personal Income and some form of Maximum Allowable Personal Wealth limit, with both the lower bound on personal material poverty and the upper bound on personal material wealth set and adjusted democratically by all participants of society. 

July 15, 2003 - I absolutely LOVE the information that you send me. Thank you for providing me with this much-needed information. I share your news letters with anyone that will listen (and some that don't want to). Please answer a question for me:
     I am 30 years old, currently a student, and I work part time at a department store. I am divorced, and I basically got nothing from the marriage--in other words, I'm starting over from scratch. I have no land, no
assets, and very little money. I want to have my own organic farm, and I want to live as independently as possible, while still being part of a like-minded community. How do I achieve that without supporting the corporate demons? Got any suggestions?
     Phil Hoffman,

Dear Phil, check this out:
See Communities directory and current Mother Earth News.
     Thanks for the positive feedback.  When you say your "own" organic farm, this immediately seems to be an unnecessary obstacle.  (Just as, to have a satisfying love relationship, marrying a person and having he or she as one's "own" is not necessary.)
     You can be a part of an organic farm, such as a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) where you would not be just a subscriber but a volunteer, and even a farmer.  The materialist dream of owning land is one of our culture's errors, but it's understandable when it's now the only game in town.  Being a student and working to pay bills is another example of playing in what seems to be the only game in town.  Finding supportive housemates, farming partners, comrades or communal friends is more likely for you in the more open-minded West than in the nation's middle where you are. However, there are activists in almost every town who are hard core in their independence and fighting the system together, utilizing mutual aid to survive.  Look at the Berrigans in Maryland.
     If you allow us to put your letter and this response on our letter page, with your email address, maybe someone will contact you. All the best at finding meaningful relationships and what some call work,
    Best, Jan

June 27, 2003 - Hi Jan,
Culture Change is the only organization I've found that articulates my own view of the situation here on Earth. Environmental groups too often focus on passing regulations and protecting particular areas and species, without considering the overall cultural changes that will be necessary to maintain life on the planet, let alone preserve a livable environment. That approach is pretty easy for the powerful to shoot down because there are always lots of ordinary people whose livelihoods depend on never-ending economic growth, at whatever cost--hostages to "progress". (Unfortunately for me, I'm a hostage.)
I'm particularly glad that you recognize the problem of overpopulation.  Even if the Cornucopians (e.g. Julian Simon) are correct and it's feasible to maintain the current population growth rate for the next seven million years, the thought of adding that many people to this already crowded planet is depressing to say the least. Proponents of maximizing the number of humans on Earth have never been able to make me understand the desirability of that kind of "progress".  Even if the dire predictions of Paul Ehrlich are not soon to be realized (and I hope for our sake that they are not), the prospect of "civilizing" every inch of planet Earth is dreary, to me.  Even sparsely inhabited areas are under pressure to economically justify their existence.  (I grimace when I see the sign on entering some national forests,  "Land of Many Uses" when I consider many of the "uses".)
Keep up the good work!
Dean Rao

June 14, 2003 - Aloha Jan, 
My book "Money Driven Medicine--Tests and Treatments That Don't Work" is nearly done. I will be sending it to medical journal editors and publishers within a month. I wonder if you would be interesting in reading what I have and offering comments or suggestions? The health care funding proposal from "The Right Medicine" has been adjusted for inflation. About $750 billion out of $1.6 trillion would now come from taxes on non-renewable energy. The $1.6 trillion is the government's projection of health care costs in 2003. I got the $750 billion from a $1.75 additional tax on non-renewable energy. It was a guestamated from adjusting "The Right Medicine's" estimate for inflation since 1994. If you have a better figure of the per million BTU and per gallon tax that will raise $750 billion, I will use it.
    David Cundiff, MD

Re Arcata 
July 8, 2003 - Hi, I had a quick search for an address for the Arcata City Council, your address was the best I could come up with.  Could you please forward this message of support to them.
    Just read an article about how the Arcata City Council had voted to stop council employees officially assisting with the implementation of the Patriot Act.
    I am a resident of the Republic of Ireland and have been appalled at the way George Bush and his Neo-Liberal side-kicks have used the tragedy of September 11th to trample on international law and the American Constitution.
    I would therefore like to congratulate the Arcata City Council on taking a stand against the Patriot Act, I hope more districts will follow your example.
    Yours in Solidarity
    Geoff Corcoran

July 8 - Although the war on Iraq took place in spite of your objections, I admire Arcata's courage and your resistance to the "Patriot Act", which is fundamentally a fascist  law. George W Bushowitz and his Militant Corporatist Neocon owners care nothing for Planet Earth, only for their greedy visions of Power, Money and Oil. 


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Articles of interest:
Anti-globalization protest grows, with tangible results.  WTO protests page

Tax fossil-fuel energy easily
by Peter Salonius

UK leader calls War on Terror "bogus"

Argentina bleeds toward healing by Raul Riutor

The oil industry has plans for you: blow-back by Jan Lundberg

It's not a war for oil? by Adam Khan

How to create a pedestrian mall by Michelle Wallar

The Cuban bike revolution

How GM destroyed the U.S. rail system excerpts from the film "Taken for a Ride".

"Iraqi oil not enough for US: Last days of America?"

Depaving the world by Richard Register

Roadkill: Driving animals to their graves by Mark Matthew Braunstein

The Hydrogen fuel cell technofix: Spencer Abraham's hydrogen dream.

Ancient Forest Protection in Northern California . Forest defenders climb trees to save them.

Daniel Quinn's thoughts on this website.

A case study in unsustainable development is the ongoing crisis in Palestine and Israel.

Renewable and alternative energy information.

Conserving energy at home (Calif. Title 24)



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