No True Permaculture

I do a fair bit of gardening in public or semi-public spaces — sidewalk strips, parking lots, yards of large buildings, rooftops — and over the last couple of years I’ve had a lot of conversations with people passing by about gardening, fruit trees, sustainability, and lots more. One topic that has come up infrequently … Continue Reading

The Decline of Falsifiability

Recently there has been much discussion and debate on the revelations of government surveillance programs. While I think the specifics of those revelations, and the debate around them, are interesting in themselves, I think the manner in which the debate is happening points to a deeper issue that our society is facing that I haven’t … Continue Reading

more minimalism

There’s a knock-knock joke that goes like this: Knock-knock. Who’s there? Knock-knock. Who’s there? Knock-knock. Who’s there? Knock-knock. Who’s there? Philip Glass. Which is a hilarious dart aimed at another minimalism.   But I found myself thinking of it upon looking at this recent NYTimes piece on minimal living, which sings the same old song.  … Continue Reading

Free Services

A while back I had considered free energy as it exists in modern industrial society. Today I want to consider free services provided by nature, but that are ignored for what they are, especially in the context of a long-running trend that is finally getting notice in the tech-centric media: the tension between automation and … Continue Reading

A Singul(arity) Track Mind

I like reading things that I think I’ll disagree with. I just borrowed one such book from the library—Peter Diamandis’s Abundance. His book has gotten a fair bit of traction in the mainstream and technology press, and more than that Diamandis seemed to be one of the few techno-centric authors willing to at least attempt … Continue Reading

4 arguments for deliberate descent, part 2: aesthetic

This is part 2 in a series of posts on a taxonomy of arguments for deliberate descent.  Part 1 is here. Aesthetic arguments.  An aesthetic argument concludes that we ought to initiate deliberate descent from the premise that doing so will yield a more beautiful world or way of life.1  Few if any writers make … Continue Reading

4 arguments for deliberate descent, part 1: prudential

‘Deliberate descent’ is the name I’m going to use for the whole family of ideas that includes “downshifting,” “decivilization,” “uncivilization,” “sustainable” living, “deindustrialization,” etc., plus the variety of particular proposals for doing so, such as John Michael Greer’s Green Wizardry, Sharon Astyk’s Adapting in Place, and Rob Hopkins’s Transition movement.  All of these ideas focus … Continue Reading

how resilient is the food system?

Given industrial food’s dependence on petroleum, it’s easy to conclude that peak oil poses a serious threat to our food supply.  And it’s likewise easy, given the importance of food in our lives, to conclude that making food peak-oil-resilient is one of the first things to worry about.  So it’s a nice surprise to hear … Continue Reading