Where are We Going?

Around 11,000 years ago, as the last ice age ended, our ancestors – in no fewer than 5 locations around the world – took advantage of the new conditions and tried an agricultural way of life.  Fast forward through two momentous phase shifts in human history (agricultural and industrial revolutions), and here we are: approaching 8 billion, seeking freedom, experiences, and material wealth all derived from physical surplus.

Our Economy is a Degenerative System

Our ecological footprint exceeds the Earth’s capacity to regenerate. A number of useful indicators and frameworks have been developed to measure the ecological impact that humanity and its dominant economic system with its patterns of production, consumption and waste-disposal are having on the planet and its ecosystems.

Resource Limitations

How do we know at what level our consumption is sustainable, and when we’re in planetary overshoot? How do we quantify what the planet’s capacity is to meet human demands, and how much of that capacity is renewable, and how much of it is just being permanently depleted? And once we had a way to quantify that, what would we do with that information?

Why Climate Change Isn’t Our Biggest Environmental Problem, and Why Technology Won’t Save Us

Our core ecological problem is not climate change. It is overshoot, of which global warming is a symptom. Overshoot is a systemic issue. Until we understand and address this systemic imbalance, symptomatic treatment will constitute an endlessly frustrating round of stopgap measures that are ultimately destined to fail.

Pi’s tiger and the Anthropocene

Science studies scholar Bruno Latour is fond of the film “Life of Pi” for the metaphor it provides for our current predicament. The main character of the film, Pi, ends up in a lifeboat with a tiger, and not a friendly one. Though Pi builds a raft to give himself distance from the tiger, he must still tie the raft to the lifeboat which holds all the supplies–food, fresh water, and, as we see later, flares. Ultimately, the destruction of his raft forces him to return to the lifeboat and find a way to live with the tiger.

Earth Overshoot Day and Not-For-Profit Enterprise

In 2015, 13 August is Earth Overshoot Day. The day marks the estimated calendar date when humanity’s demand on the planet’s ecological services (which produce renewable resources and assimilate wastes) outstrips what the Earth can supply