Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage.

A Climate Scientist Battles Time and Mortality

Justin Gillis, New York Times
One day in 1991, high in the thin, crystalline air of the Peruvian Andes, Lonnie G. Thompson saw that the world’s largest tropical ice cap was starting to melt. It was the moment he realized that his life’s work had suddenly become a race

The discovery meant other ice caps were likely to melt, too, and the tales of past climate that they contained could disappear before scientists had a chance to learn from them.

Driven by a new sense of urgency over the ensuing 20 years, he pulled off a string of achievements with few parallels in modern science. He led teams to some of the highest, most remote reaches of the earth to retrieve samples of the endangered ice.

Then last October, the race against the clock became much more personal.

Dr. Thompson woke up in a Columbus hospital room, a strange dream rattling in his brain. He looked down. “Wires were coming out of my chest,” he said. Machinery had been implanted to keep him alive. Longer term, doctors told him, only a heart transplant would restore him to full health.
(2 July 2012)
Suggested by EB contributor Albert Bates who writes: “Heroes in our midst. The melting tropical glaciers and lost civilizations, with causality working both ways. We are Gaia, too.”

Green sculptor-farmer in his studio-yurt
: Arlo Acton of North San Juan
Lawrence Desmond, YouTube

Arlo Acton in his Metal Sculpture Studio, June 2012, Filmed by Larry Desmond. Arlo Creates Metal sculptures in his yurt at Olala Farms in Northern California.

(2 July 2012)
I had heard of Arlo from friends, but I wasn’t sure I believed it … until I saw this video by his friend, archaeologist Larry Desmond.

A trained sculptor, he and his wife Robyn left the art world behind in the 1970s to do organic farming in the Sierra Foothills. Even though he worked long days on his farm on his tractor, mending fences, etc., he still had energy to create dozens of fascinating and humorous works. Now in his late 70s, he recently gave up farming to devote himself to sculpture. As far as I know, he hasn’t had any shows in years and is diffident about putting himself forward. As you can see, almost all his works have an ecological theme.

For those of us who follow the traditions of the Beats and Hippies, the video helps answer the question, “What happened to the counter-culture of the 60s and 70s?” Like Arlo, many have stuck to their beliefs, leading committed and modest lives that are in sharp contrast to the mainstream. Arlo and his family take an active part in the North San Juan community where they live. Others in the community are organic agriculturalist Amigo Bob Cantisano. and poet Gary Snyder. Arlo’s wife is also an artist with a degree from UC. She now creates herbal balms and salves (Olala Farm).

There are Wiki articles about Arlo in Spanish and in French but there is nothing in English. A translation from the Spanish:

“He studied Fine Arts at the University of Washington, and earned a Master of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts in san Francisco. He was Profesor at the niversity of California Berkeley, and now resides North San Juan. … At the beginning of the 1970s, he abandoned his career to join the hippies in Northern California.”

More information on Arlo and his tradition can be found in Art in the San Francisco Bay Area by Thomas Albright. This review of the book describes the SF Bay Area art scene:

The Bay probably has the most distinctive, even eccentric cultural personality in America. It exists in a mantle of stunning, temperamental geographic beauty populated by people who embrace the arts with nearly fetishistic fervor. The area is cosmopolitan in its receptiveness to outside influence but incestuous in the way it enwombs alien sensibilities.


“A Face in the Crowd”: Andy Griffith’s rivetting premiere as a folksy sociopath

Elia Kazan, YouTube

Excerpts from the movie:

(3 July 2012)
Andy Griffith died July 3. Mostly he is remembered as the aw-shucks sheriff of Mayberry on the “Andy Griffith” show, or as the star of the television law series “Matlock.” What is less well known is that Griffith first came to fame in a hard-hitting political satire, A Face in the Crowd (1957) directed by Elia Kazan.

Griffith played a drifter/country singer named Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes, who hit the big-time with his wisecracks and charisma. He becomes a folksy populist commentator on television, supporting right-wing politicians and pitching Vitajex – a pill to restore male potency.

The movie shows how well Griffith could act. As “Lonesome” Rhodes he oozes charm and laughs like a sociopath (see the trailer above for a sample.)

As peak oil and climate change make themselves felt, we can expect more figures like “Lonesome” Rhodes.


Bookchin on Bookchin: An appeal for support (for a documentary)

Ian Angus, Climage and Capitalism

“What defines social ecology as social is its recognition of the often-overlooked fact that nearly all our present ecological problems arise from deep-seated social problems. Conversely, our present ecological problems cannot be clearly understood, much less resolved, without resolutely dealing with problems within society.”— Murray Bookchin

Climate & Capitalism is an ecosocialist project, reflecting the viewpoint of environmental Marxism. Murray Bookchin was an anarchist who frequently and vehemently disagreed with Marxism.

Nevertheless, ecosocialists can and should recognize him as a co-thinker and comrade. If we disagree with him on some issues, even important ones, it is in the framework of shared goals, of shared commitment to mass democratic struggle for a better world, and of enormous respect for his lifelong devotion to the fight against capitalism and ecocide.

That’s why I am supporting the appeal of award-winning independent film-maker Mark Saunders for funds to complete his important documentary on this legendary political thinker, philosopher, anarchist and environmental activist.

Bookchin on Bookchin is being made on a shoestring budget: it has no conventional funding. The producers are appealing for contributions from individuals who recognize the importance of Bookchin’s life and ideas. And as they say, if you can’t spare money, spread the word.

The video below provides an introduction to the project. For more information, or to make a contribution to this important project, go to Bookchin on Bookchin.

From Bookchin on Bookchin:

Murray Bookchin (1921-2006) was a pioneer of the ecology movement, and was a significant social theorist on the Left throughout his life. He was an anti-capitalist and an advocate for the decentralization of society along ecological and democratic lines. He called for alternative energies and wrote prophetically about pesticides, cancer and obesity. His writing on anarchism, specially his 1971 book Post-Scarcity Anarchism, lifted and sustained the movement from the 19th century into the 21st century. His life paralleled major American and international events, such as the Great Depression, World War II, the Vietnam War and the counterculture movement. We’ll ask how a large part of the 20th century, with all that’s come and gone, has helped shape his thoughts a nd theories. In 2006 Bookchin died after a long and active life as a revolutionary, being deeply involved in the labor movement, in the civil rights movement, in urban activism, and in Green politics. In 1974 he co-founded the Institute for Social Ecology. In 1992 the british newspaper The Independent, referred to him as ”the foremost Green philosopher of the age.” It called his 1982 book The Ecology of Freedom one of the ”classic statements of contemporary anarchism.”

(2 July 2012)
Many of the ideas in the sustainability movement were first enunciated by Murray Bookchin. -BA

Ivan Illich: Writing on the Web

Ivan Illich, Preservation Institute
Ivan Illich became well known in 1970, when he published Deschooling Society which argued that the top-down management of schools makes students powerless – and that the same top-down management is typical of the modern, technological economy that prevents people from learning. Tools for Conviviality made the same criticism of technology generally. Along with Energy and Equity, this book made Ivan Illich one of the most important theorists of the radical ecology movement of the 1970s.

Illich has the following works on the web:

  • Deschooling Society: At last, the entire text of one of Illich’s most important works is available on line. This book made Ivan Illich famous, arguing that schooling is a model of our centralized consumer society.
  • Tools for Conviviality: The entire text of another of Illich’s most important works, the most general statement of his view about technology. This book helped found the radical technology movement of the 1970s. (PDF format)
  • Energy and Equity: The entire text of Illich’s book about transportation, city planning, and energy, written in response to the energy shortages of the 1970s.
  • Vernacular Values: This series of articles from CoEvolution Quarterly is the basis of most of Ivan Illich’s book Shadow Work. It describes how professionals have taken over things people used to do for themselves – even learning their own language.
  • Silence Is A Commons: In this article from CoEvolution Quarterly, Ivan Illich takes on the electronic media.
  • Taught Mother Tongue and Nation State: A recording of Ivan Illich speaking about the invention of standard Spanish, the first language that people were taught to speak. (3.25 minutes).

These articles by Illich from the New York Review of Books are also available:

If you know of any other writing on the web by Ivan Illich, please let us know: send e-mail to: [email protected].

(accessed 3 July 2012)