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Chelsea Green Blog

A Pessimistic Pause

My normal tendency is to be optimistic, to assume that somehow things will turn out okay for the most part. But there are times when bad news gets through and I decide that we are just plain doomed–and if not me or my generation exactly, then my kid(s) and theirs. Michael Klare’s recent article in the Nation was one of those bits of news. He writes about the geo-politics of natural gas, arguing that as that version of fossil fuel becomes increasingly important to the function of the industrialized global economy, struggles over access and control of gas will intensify, even, perhaps, eclipsing the current level of political jockeying we currently see regarding crude oil. This is not exactly news to us at Chelsea Green, what with having published Julian Darley’s High Noon for Natural Gas last year, which provides an in depth look at the situation… … Still, Klare’s article is a depressing reminder of the challenges we face (where “we” means every last person on the planet, and that’s a big group of people, only a relatively small number of whom know what’s up, let alone are in a position to try to effect meaningful change). Doomed, I say, doomed, DOOMED! Well, maybe not. A decent night’s rest, some tea, the presence of committed co-workers, these things help to righten my outlook. Feeling better about the future doesn’t mean that there’s any less work to be done to ensure that we get ourselves on a path towards decent lives and sustainable societies. There’s more than enough need for reducing, reusing, recycling, and revolutionizing to go around. But there’s not going to be any hope for success if we don’t have hopeful attitudes. It’s a necessary ingredient, though insufficient on its own, and sometimes has the characterisitc of being self-perpetuating. As long as it inspires combined thought and action–like the ortho-praxis of the liberation theologists–then it earns the right to self-perpetuation.


The 5 Rules of Lean Thinking

Are you ready to co-create the future? These 5 Rules of Lean Thinking are a useful tool as we set out to collectively invent a post-market future.Surviving the Future is a story drawn from the fertile ground of the late David Fleming’s extraordinary Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It. That […] Read More

Imagination, Purpose & Flexibility: Creating an Independent Farmstead – Q&A (part 1)

Twenty years ago, the land that authors Shawn and Beth Dougherty purchased and have come to name the Sow’s Ear was deemed “not suitable for agriculture” by the state of Ohio. Today, their family raises and grows 90% of their own food.Such self-sufficiency is largely the result of basing their farming practices around intensive pasture […] Read More

Using Permaculture Principles to Design Resilient Cities

The Permaculture City begins in the garden but takes what we have learned there and applies it to a much broader range of human experience; we’re not just gardening plants but people, neighborhoods, and even cultures.Author Toby Hemenway (Gaia’s Garden) lays out how permaculture design can help towndwellers solve the challenges of meeting our needs […] Read More

Overshoot, Collapse, and Creating a Better Future

In 2016, Earth Overshoot Day happened on August 8—the day when we’ve exhausted the planet’s resources for the year, and are essentially borrowing from future years to maintain our existence today.Perhaps you celebrated this day with a counter-solution: a vegetarian meal, telecommuted, or turned off the air conditioning. There’s a lot more you could be […] Read More

Save Energy & Money This Winter: Seal Up Your Drafty House

Unless you’ve taken special preventative precautions, it’s likely that on cold days much of your house’s heat pours out through your (closed) windows. Most houses—especially old houses—have drafty, uninsulated windows that do little to prevent heat from dumping out into the cold night. Even if your windows aren’t drafty, the expensive heat your furnace has […] Read More
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