Revisiting the DOM index

A few months ago, I discussed an idea that Adam and I have been contemplating for a little while now—the DOM index. Our objective was to create a metric or set of metrics that capture well being in a way that isn’t blind to ecological limits or human needs, and one that is updated daily. … Continue Reading

Climate change vs. Peak Oil

I’ve been wondering for the past year about the interactions between climate change and peak oil. They’re twin problems, rooted in our dependence upon fossil fuels (and oil in particular). But there’s a lot of misunderstanding out there. Many people who know about climate change know little about peak oil. Many who know about peak … Continue Reading

seasoning for vegetarians

It’s easy to make food taste good when meat’s involved.  Animal fats in particular are pretty much a guarantee of deliciousness (hence duckaroni!).  But if you want to eat vegetarian for any reason—the carbon footprint of meat, say—you can’t pick up that particular crutch.  Instead you’ve got to know your seasonings; here are some of … Continue Reading

A Psychological Carbon Tax

There’s plenty of understanding that efficiency measures can sometimes (often) fail if they fall victim to Jevon’s Paradox.  The common response is that we need to couple efficiency measures with a carbon tax or similar policy that give people both the means and the incentive to decrease energy consumption. But let’s look at the underlying … Continue Reading

reconstructing “Why bottled water is good for the environment”

Kris de Decker writes what is generally a fantastic blog, and back in 2008 he made a curious argument and gave it a thumb-in-the-eye provocative title: “Why bottled water is good for the environment.”  It’s worth reading in full, especially the comments thread, in which supporters and detractors are both represented, each quite sure that … Continue Reading

philosophy and the long emergency

Being a philosopher interested in peak oil (and other perils of industrial civilization) puts me in an uncomfortable position: philosophy seems to be of little help in the face of such pressing problems.  Don’t get me wrong—I do think that philosophy has practical effects, but they’re diffuse and slow; and the thing about problems like … Continue Reading