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Chelsea Green Blog

James McCommons in The L.A. Times

James McCommons is the author of the award-winning book, Waiting on a Train; The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service, which chronicled a year spent riding Amtrak across the United States.

In a recent piece for the Los Angeles Times, he shares his experience of effortless connections, convenient stations, and gorgeous routes as he traveled by rail in Europe with his son. There’s more than a touch of lament in his words for the way passenger rail works back here in the States. As Waiting on a Train illustrates, Amtrak is hampered by ineffective subsidies and decaying infrastructure, making rail travel difficult where it’s possible at all.

McCommons is not alone in hoping that we can follow in Europe’s footsteps to create viable rail transit in this country. The fuel efficiency of rail, when compared to cars and trucks makes it a favorite for those looking to trim carbon dioxide emissions. We won’t be holding our breath for a change, however. Subsidies for less efficient travel methods have been strong for ages, and even the recent oil disaster doesn’t look to be changing that anytime soon.

Read Waiting on a Train.

Read the full Los Angeles Times article.


The Miracle of Farming: Toward a Bio-Abundant Future

Charles and Perrine Hervé-Gruyer’s Le Ferme du Bec Hellouin is a celebrated model of innovative, ecological agriculture in Europe, connected to national and international organizations addressing food security, heralded by celebrity chefs as well as the Slow Food movement, and featured in the inspiring César and COLCOA award-winning documentary film, Demain (Tomorrow).In this excerpt from their […] Read More

Three Principles to Survive the Future

What guiding principles will you need to not just survive the future, but imagine a better one? 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 hardback consists of four hundred and four interlinked dictionary entries, […] Read More

Sow Seeds: Stop Walking Around Doing Nothing

“In the last one hundred years, 94 percent of seed varieties available at the turn of the century in America and considered a part of the human commons have been lost.”That’s one of the key takeaways in award-winning author and activist Janisse Ray’s book, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food. In her book, Ray […] Read More

True or false? Figs contain dead wasps

They are trees of life and trees of knowledge. They are wish-fulfillers … rainforest royalty … more precious than gold. They are the fig trees, and they have affected humanity in profound but little-known ways. Gods, Wasps and Stranglers tells their amazing story.Fig trees fed our pre-human ancestors, influenced diverse cultures and played key roles […] Read More

Eight Seed-Saving Myths

You don’t have to move to Svalbard, Norway in order to have access to a seed bank.Author and plant breeder Carol Deppe believes that every gardener should have her own seed bank. Even if you aren’t a seed saver, you should have your own seed bank. Even if you never experience any disaster beyond the […] Read More
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