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Season 1: Welcome to Crazy Town

Episode 13: Band-Aid Town and the Psychology of Climate Change

Pop quiz! A friend of yours has just had an unfortunate chainsaw accident and cut a femoral artery: do you (a) make a tourniquet with your t-shirt, or (b) stick a Band-Aid on the wound? If you picked (b), congratulations! You’ve followed the instruction manual for humanity’s pathetic response to climate change. In this final episode of season 1, Asher, Rob, and Jason consider the psychology behind both inaction and effective action in these times of crisis. And for the very practical-minded, they also cover when to prescribe tobacco poultices and whiskey shots — good fun for the whole family.

Episode 12: Helicopters and Kick the Can: Money in the Real World of Energy and the Environment

Have you ever wondered how dolphins feel about quantitative easing? OK, probably not, but it is important to consider the effects that money and monetary policy have on the real world of energy, society, and the environment. Nate Hagens joins Asher, Rob, and Jason to discuss said dolphins, a never-ending Grateful Dead concert, and the prospects of two mature solar panels giving birth to a little bitty baby solar panel. Oh, and Nate also offers coherent comments on how money works, how our economic system is likely to perform in the coming years, and how individuals can respond appropriately to humanity’s overshoot predicament (spoiler alert: it doesn’t involve stockpiling guns, gold, and beans).

Episode 11: My Dinner Is Stuck in Traffic: Fossil Fuels and the Food Transition

You know what drives Jason really crazy about auto traffic? No, it’s not the 42 hours per year that the average commuter wastes stuck in it or even the global warming pollution spewed, it’s the 3 BILLION (with a B people!) gallons of fuel that are wasted instead of helping with the transition of our food system. In this episode, Rob, Asher, and Jason talk about why fossil fuels are so embedded in our food system and how changes in the way we grow food might change where all of us live. This episode is designed especially for people who like to eat food and hope to continue doing so.

Episode 10: Tackling Inequality in the Economy, One Pair of Lederhosen at a Time

Chuck Collins joins Asher, Rob, and Jason in Crazy Town to describe his startling journey from undercover trust fund kid to tireless campaigner for economic equality. Together they examine why Richie Rich, Donald Trump, Scrooge McDuck, and Jeff Bezos keep getting richer (hint: it might have something to do with the rigged economic system). And they discuss what it means to address inequality on a finite planet. Is FDR’s New Deal still the best playbook?

Episode 9: They’ll Think of Somethingisms: Is Technology Really the Answer to Overshoot?

The threats of overshoot and climate chaos loom larger by the day, but it’s all going to work out just fine. At least that’s what you hear from starry-eyed techno-optimists, hemp enthusiasts, and the output of ultra-hypothetical computer models. The silver bullet could come from outer space (e.g., mining asteroids or colonizing other worlds), it could come from the sky (turning air into carbon-sequestering rocks), or it could come from beneath our feet (building infrastructure out of hemp). Maybe we should stop grasping at these (carbon nanotube) straws, and look for alternatives to the politically expedient worship of technology? Warning: we employ some math to get at the answer. Get out your abacus.

Episode 8: Mosquito-Flavored Popcorn: When Climate Scientists and Economists Go off the Rails

Did you know that we can lose half our food supply and it won’t matter? That’s because agriculture is only 3% of GDP, so there’s no need to worry about the effects of climate change on farming. Or so says the latest genius to win the Nobel Prize in economics. This “logic” is pretty darn disturbing on its own, but what happens when such muddled thinking comes to infest climate models? Besides causing Jason, Asher, and Rob to lose their minds (and their cool), it can lead to unrealistic optimism surrounding the Green New Deal and other worthwhile policies for dealing with climate change. Well, maybe we can use cryptocurrencies to purchase information about food for our virtual bellies when we run into problems on the farm.

Episode 7: Deer Sinew and Beetle Biscuits: Raising Kids in the Age of Climate Chaos

What do we want our children to do in the waning days of the fossil fuel frenzy and the early days of climate chaos? Being a good parent is hard enough under the best of circumstances, but it’s really difficult to know how much we should expose our kids to the realities of environmental meltdown and social injustice. In this episode Asher, Rob, and Jason explore what we could be teaching kids these days and debate which is the more valuable skill: being comfortable eating beetles or understanding how to deal with difficult people.

Episode 6: Zombies, Magic Rocks, Collapse, and Other Fun Sustainability Stories

Apocalypse is upon us, at least in movies, television shows, books, and even podcasts. Teen characters in youth literature are more likely to solve their differences by bow-hunting one another rather than hugging it out in the school hallways. In this episode, Asher, Rob, and Jason search for reasons why the movie theater is so obsessed with Armageddon and the political theater offers empty promises of infinite progress, when the reality is likely to be somewhere in the messy middle. For listeners interested in culinary topics, this is your chance to explore cannibalism-lite cuisine.

Episode 5: Solar Freakin’ Roadways: How Technological Optimism Undermines Sustainability

We’re GOING to make the transition to renewable sources of energy. There is no scenario outside the dark mind of Dick Cheney where we continue to use depleting and polluting fossil fuels over the long run to power society. So how exactly are we going to make the transition? In this episode, Jason, Rob, and Asher talk about some of the magical “solutions” that are being peddled out on the streets of Crazy Town (solar roadways, anyone?!?) and why we’re so quick to jump at technological fixes that ignore math, physics, and ecology.

Episode 4: My Car Is Bigger Than Yours: Consumerist Dreams and Environmental Nightmares

If you jam on the brakes for just a minute and take a look at cars and car culture, you just might find something stinky (maybe even as stinky as the black plume of diesel exhaust emanating from that souped-up pickup truck you’re stuck behind). Yes, there are some upsides to cars and driving, but those are overshadowed by the unbelievable downsides. Do you know how many deaths — of people and animals — can be attributed to the automobile? How about cars’ contribution to total greenhouse gas emissions? Have you ever thought deeply about how car culture can diminish the quality of ordinary life experiences? Luckily, there’s a straightforward (albeit not as straight and forward as the typical section of interstate highway) way to improve how we get ourselves from place to place.

Episode 3: 1.21 Jigawatts: Energy Literacy and the Real Scoop on Fossil Fuels

What would we do without energy? The short answer is, “Nothing, absolutely nothing.” And sadly, most people know next to nothing about energy and its fundamental role in society and life itself. If you’ve ever tried to push a car a small distance down a street, then maybe you have some understanding. But do you know how many hours of human labor are contained in a barrel of oil? Or how much it would cost for people to do the work of a fossil-fueled machine? Or how hard a world champion cyclist has to pedal a bike to toast a single slice of Wonder Bread? In this episode of Crazy Town, Asher, Rob, and Jason look for answers as they tour the insane asylum where our energy habits reside.

Episode 2: Punching Ronnie in the Mouth: Limits to Growth and Economic Lies

In his 2nd inaugural address, Ronald Reagan said, “There are no limits to growth and human progress when men and women are free to follow their dreams.” First impression: that’s a nice-sounding sentiment — way to stay positive, Ronnie! Second impression: what a load of crap (and a horrible foundation for economic policy in the age of overshoot)! This episode of Crazy Town focuses on the limits to growth, including the growth imperatives built into our economic institutions, and explores how the economy could make a shift toward sustainability. Along the way, Asher, Rob, and Jason take some potshots at Ronnie and his cohort of math-challenged wishful thinkers.

Episode 1: Orangutans and Santa Suits: Who’s Crazy When It Comes to Climate Change?

If you ask a hundred people what they want to do about climate change or other crises in the age of overshoot, Can you imagine putting on a Santa Claus suit, not to pull a fast one on the kids and deliver Christmas presents, but to protest Big Oil and climate change in front of your local gas station? That may sound insane, but given what’s at stake, it might be the sanest thing you could do on Christmas Eve (plus it’s kinda funny). In this first episode, Asher, Rob, and Jason explore how tough it can be to keep from going crazy as our society rushes headlong toward the cliff edge of environmental and social meltdown. Welcome to Crazy Town, where most of the inhabitants just want you to keep contributing to an economy already in overshoot, keep distracting yourself from the most important stories, and (most of all) keep your mouth shut.