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Sustainability for Whom?

March 4, 2015

The mission of UPSTREAM (formerly Product Policy Institute) is “sustainable production and consumption and good governance.” Sometimes I feel like we’re swimming against the tide in advocating a role for government action in ensuring sustainable production and consumption. Big...


Is the US Overplaying Its Energy Hand?

February 25, 2015

In the grand poker game of geopolitics, energy is often the wild card. That’s why the Middle East is such a mess: Great Powers (first Britain, more recently the United States) have been installing, propping up, toppling, threatening, or...


The Year the Dam of Denial Breaks

February 25, 2015

This is the year the “dam of denial” will break and the momentum for climate action will become an unstoppable flood. It will be messy, confusing and endlessly debated but with historical hindsight, 2015 will be the year. The...


Can We Earn a Living on a Living Planet?

February 23, 2015

It has been a tough couple of years in the effort to unite labor, community, and environmental groups, an alliance that has always been strained. The extractive energy sector—coal, gas, oil—has historically had strong union representation and well-paying jobs....

A surprising amount of water is hidden in a chocolate bar. Photo: Sandra Postel

Love Water for Chocolate

February 13, 2015

As Valentine’s Day approaches, no doubt many of us have chocolate on our minds and taste buds. Delicious, dark, tempting chocolate that, eaten in moderation, may even be good for us. As we’ve learned in recent years, the cocoa...


Thanks, Bill.

February 5, 2015

I learned today of the passing of William Catton, author of Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change (1982), and Bottleneck: Humanity’s Impending Impasse (2009). (For a biography of Catton, see Wikipedia ). I didn’t read Overshoot until around...