the planet you can save, maybe

Recently Barath wrote to me: Peter Singer’s ‘The Life You Can Save’ argument came to mind listening to last weeks’ C-Realm episode.  This was the question of whether we each have an obligation to do as much as we can to save the lives of others and if so (a) why limit it to just … 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

brief aside on ethics and obligation

As a kind of footnote to the last couple posts on bicycling and moral arguments, I wanted to say a little bit about how I think we should think about individual moral obligations.  So here are a couple small points: 1. It doesn’t follow from an act’s insufficiency (relative to some goal) that there is … Continue Reading

4 arguments for deliberate descent, part 3: moral

This is part 3 in a series of posts on a taxonomy of arguments for deliberate descent.  Parts 1 and 2 are here and here. Moral arguments. A moral argument for deliberate descent is premised on claims about how we ought to treat each other. Such claims can take many forms, but here I want … 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

A Conversation with Herman Daly

We are grateful to Herman Daly for chatting with us on a range of topics from ecology to economics, policy to politics, relocalization to religion.  He is Emeritus Professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, pioneered work on Steady-State and Ecological Economics, and has received more accolades and written more books than … 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