The proper solution to climate change is to steer clear of the fossil fuels pits—not by seeking out a new way to sustain our consumer economy but to shift cultural directions and consume dramatically less.
Though, ‘Overshoot’, is ostensibly a book about biophysical limits, the theme that runs through it is about the human propensity for denying obvious facts: Our ability to deceive not only others, but more importantly, ourselves.
We need to be better students of the exits so that when things go wrong, as they always do and always will, we can find our way out.
The concept of “hydrogen economy” has a distinct “1960s” feeling. It is the idea of maintaining the lifestyle of the post-war period, with suburban homes, green lawns around them, two cars in every garage, all that.
If the moon is a symbol for true sustainability, it may be out of environmentalists’ reach—no matter what they try. We may have already crossed too many tipping points to prevent a massive ecological state shift.
It’s futile to argue with a fantasy but, even if driverless cars could become widespread, why would I want more technology when all I need is denser, car-free, walkable cities where jobs, goods and services are closer together?
A critical approach to utopian imaginaries is essential for any rethinking of political futures; without it, we risk being trapped in the same old stories even as we see ourselves as thinking outside the old story box.
In his article, “The Earth’s Carrying Capacity for Human Life is Not Fixed,” Ted Nordhaus, co-founder of the Breakthrough Institute, a California-based energy and environment think tank, seeks to enlist readers in his optimistic vision of the future. It’s a future in which there are many more people on the planet and each enjoys a high standard of living, while environmental impacts are reduced. It’s a cheery vision. If only it were plausible.
Mann’s story-telling skills shine when he’s narrating the life and times of Borlaug, Vogt and the colourful characters they worked with. When The Wizard and the Prophet embarks on a 200-page tour of today’s many global ecology challenges, Mann’s discursions are fascinating but the quality is uneven.
The 100-percent dream has become dogma among liberals and mainstream climate activists. Serious energy scholars who publish analyses that expose the idea’s serious weaknesses risk being condemned as stooges of the petroleum industry or even as climate deniers.
The god term I have in mind is, of course, “innovation.” The word derives from the Latin innovare, which means “to renew” or “to restore.” In everyday speech the word has come to mean something like: the activity of bringing new things into being that will generate sweeping renewal throughout the world.