Trump is slated to become our new Overlord, and a lot of people are really nervous, with good reason. I hope that people take care not to trample each other as they stampede toward the exits. Immediately after the election, the papers reported that so many people were asking about immigration to Canada that the Canadian immigration web site crashed. On top of that, there is now a movement for California independence. They are proposing to do it entirely legally and peacefully, via a California referendum and amending the U. S. constitution. Continue reading
The Oracle of Oil: A Maverick Geologist’s Quest for a Sustainable Future. By Mason Inman. W. W. Norton & Company, 2016.
M. King Hubbert was a prophetic 20th century American oil geologist best known for his predictions about peak oil — the maximum rate of oil production. But the people who claim to “refute” Hubbert have usually not even understood what he was saying. He expressed his views in various technical papers and writings, in lectures, and in private conversations — in short, in his life. Mason Inman has written the first and so far the only full-length biography of Hubbert. It is absolutely essential to anyone who wants to understand what Hubbert was about, which can only be done by looking at his life and thinking as a whole. Continue reading
A couple of months ago the Denver Post ran an editorial, “The death knell for ‘peak oil.’” The Post editorial stated that at a 2009 conference in Denver, peak oil theorists predicted that spot shortages would “blow up prices, shock economies and destabilize governments”; but now collapsing prices and a world “awash” in oil had refuted these ideas, and “peak oil worries have been laid to rest.” (Jan. 21, 2016).
Oh, really? Let’s take a look. Continue reading
How can we deal with climate change, let alone peak oil, water shortages, deforestation, and everything else — given that truly effective environmental action would probably stop the economy from growing and totally change everyone’s lifestyle?
Our whole economy depends on fossil fuels, and our livestock-centered agricultural system is pillaging the earth’s biosphere. Veganism is surely part of the needed approach here. Continue reading
For Naomi Klein, the climate change issue changes everything: the only way to deal with climate change is to change capitalism. We need fundamentally to alter our economic system if we hope to save the planet. Her analysis is spot on and I hope that climate change activists and vegans will study and benefit from this book. The only criticism I would have is not that it is too radical, but that it isn’t radical enough. Continue reading
Methane is a lot worse than we thought, but there is some good news about the climate as well, already well publicized. Al Gore has gone vegan. In the past many people have complained about Gore’s lack of interest in combating a key cause of climate change. Well, now our hopes have been realized: Gore is a vegan. The “revelation” has been confirmed by The Washington Post.
This is a hugely interesting fact about which quite a bit of ink has already been spilled. The most interesting facet of this story is how amazingly little we know about Gore’s veganism. Continue reading
In EcoMind, Frances Moore Lappé sets out seven “thought traps” which she seeks to defeat and replace with better ways of thinking. Earlier, I dealt with Thought Trap #1.
Lappé is an engaging, chatty writer with some considerable influence. I agree with a lot of what she says in this book. That’s why I’m giving her a hard time about the few points on which we do not agree. Thought Trap #3 is a case in point. Continue reading
In EcoMind, Frances Moore Lappé (most notably of Diet for a Small Planet fame, written in 1971) sets out seven “thought traps” which she seeks to defeat and replace with better ways of thinking. In this essay I am going to deal just with the first of these thought traps, and probably the most important, concerning the “growth” issue.
She expresses the first thought trap as follows:
“Endless growth is destroying our beautiful planet, so we must shift to no-growth economies.” Continue reading
Last January 21, the KPOV show “All Things Vegan” aired an interview of me in which we discussed a number of issues, the most important of which is why the environmental issue is important for vegans. The following clip gives the segment of the show which interviews me (it’s about 17½ minutes long). Click the picture below to listen to the interview. (EDIT: This link was broken, so I have replaced it with the link to the “All Things Vegan” show. The interview with me starts at about 40:25).
Peak oil — the maximum point of oil production — is of tremendous importance to the future of vegetarianism. A lot of vegetarians, though, have not even heard of peak oil, and it is hard to explain it to them. Why is this, and what can we do about it? Continue reading
Heating of buildings is a significant chunk of the nation’s energy consumption, and many buildings are quite wasteful. This has huge consequences for climate change and resource depletion, and decisions about buildings have consequences that last decades.
So, in the summer of 2007 we decided to superinsulate our house. In 2009 we took further action to reduce heating consumption, installing a tankless hot water heater and further sealing the house. This post is a visual depiction of what happened. Continue reading