Tag: sustainability

Writing in the Raw: The “End” Will Be The Beginning

On my walk to the train early Tuesday morning, I realized that my apartment building has a new resident.  Or at least the property does…

He sleeps wrapped up in a blanket in the 18 inches or so between our building’s far northwestern corner and the bush that runs along the edge of the sidewalk.  At first glance, it’s easy to mistake the man for an abandoned pile of clothing.  I’m sure that’s by design, and frankly I doubt even I would have noticed him at all if I hadn’t dropped my keys in my early morning stupor.

And now that I’ve gotten my personal matters straightened out again; and I will finally leave this miserable neighborhood for good in 6 weeks to single-handedly multiply the Coolness Factor of SE Hawthorne by a factor of 10…I wonder where this man will go from here?  Will he stay out this way for long?  Will anybody else “catch him”?  Does he even care?  Does he have anything to lose?

I wonder about this man’s life…but I’m never going to wake him.  Does anybody ever think about him?  Now, or in the recent past?  Besides me, of course…

A wife?  Kids?  Parents, brothers, sisters…nieces, nephews?

Does he know that somebody’s writing about him right now?

The Next Economic Revolution: Economic Growth and the Steady State

Crossposted from The European Tribune to Docudharma …

… because the world can’t end today, its already tomorrow on Docudharma.


 Early this month I finished Justinian’s Flea, which looks at the reign of Justinian the Great as the pivot between “late antiquity” and the rise of medieval Europe … and the central role in the drama played by the Plague of Justinian, the first clearly documented outbreak of the Bubonic Plague.

Which was one more addition to the mix of things involved in my reaction (s) to the diary [NB. at the European Tribune] by Jerome a Paris, Hostility to the notion of limits to growth … and the question of what was so special about the Industrial Revolution.

I’ll start with what is normal, then with what has been peculiar in the past couple of hundred years, and then how that peculiarity must have warped our economic institutions … and to get back to normality, we will have to unwarp them.

OK, “tell them what you are going to tell them”. Check. Make it clear as mud. Check. “then tell them”. That’s after the fold.

Sustainability and Prefiguration in a Couple of Acres: The Pomona College Natural Farm

This is a revision of an earlier essay I published on DailyKos.com, in preparation for its republication in the Environmental Analysis journal (and perhaps elsewhere).  Its major premise is as follows:

Sustainability is nowhere to be found, and so we appear to be groping in the dark when looking for it.  One of the ways in which we can proceed to build knowledge about sustainability, however, is in the community garden.  A conceptual guide to the idea of sustainability is located in the concept of prefiguration (as described by Joel Kovel in his book The Enemy of Nature), which describes the sense in which social institutions point to the possibility of a global, ecologically sustainable, society.  Community gardens have important prefigurative qualities, too.  The bulk of this diary, then, will be about one such community garden, one located on the campus of a college: the Pomona College Natural Farm.  The Pomona College Natural Farm will be presented as a place where sustainability, both in social and ecological terms, can be studied.  Its conclusion will attempt to speculate about the significance of the Farm and of community gardens as “prefigurations.”

Doing it for Ourselves, 1.5: Homebrew

Given the political climate lately, with talk of Bush never leaving office and declaring WWIII, I’ve been thinking about shifting the gears of this series towards basic disaster planning and survival techniques. These days, my Bushista survival kit includes beer and wine. Many years ago I made beer and wine at home. The beer was pretty good, but that blueberry elderberry batch, 20 gallons of the stuff….. shivers. It still gives me shivers, because it was so hideously bad!

Down below I’ll provide the basic required equipment, materials and instructions for homebrewing beer, plus lots and lots of links from more expert sources than myself. Clink Clink!! I’ll write one about winemaking in coming weeks.

Doing it for Ourselves 1.3: Passive solar

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in

Oh, let it shine, c’mon

Now everybody just sing along

Let the sun shine in

Open up your heart and let it shine on in

When you are lonely, let it shine on

Got to open up your heart and let it shine on in

And when you feel like you’ve been mistreated

And your friends turn away

Just open your heart, and shine it on in

~The 5th Dimension

(Words by James Rado and Gerome Ragni: Music by Galt MacDermot)

What is Passive solar? How does it differ from active solar technology? What are the benefits of passive solar technologies? Read on to find out.

By the way, this weekend marks the National Solar Tour by the American Solar Energy Society. You can check to see if there are any tour events in your area here

Doing it for Ourselves, 1.2: Water Conservation

When the well is dry, we know the worth of water. 
~Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1746


There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed. 
~Mohandas K. Gandhi


We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. 
~Native American Proverb


Opie, you haven’t finished your milk.  We can’t put it back in the cow, you know. 
~Aunt Bee Taylor, The Andy Griffith Show


Water is the best of all things.  ~Pindar (C. 522-C. 438 B.C.), Olympian Odes


Water has no taste, no color, no odor; it cannot be defined, art relished while ever mysterious. Not necessary to life, but rather life itself. It fills us with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses.  ~Antoine De Saint-Exupery, Wind, Sand, and Stars, 1939

Doing it for Ourselves 1.1

Last week I posted the first of this fledgling series here. This series is about the broad theme of self reliance and sustainable living. Each week’s post will have a different topic or focus, though I hope people will use the comments to talk about whatever their related interests and specialties might be or ask questions that others can answer. Today’s installment will focus on preservation, or how to make the things you have at home last.

Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson from Self Reliance

But lo! men have become the tools of their tools. ~Henry David Thoreau from Walden

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