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What Is Sustainability?

As a contribution to this ongoing refinement of the concept, I recently formulated five axioms (self-evident truths) of sustainability. My goal was simply to distill ideas that had been proposed previously and put them into a concise, easy-to-understand form. The First Axiom Any society that continues to use critical resources unsustainably will collapse. Exception: A […]

Ecological Economics

Many people would agree that the central desirable end of economic activity is a high quality of life for this and future generations.  Conventional economists argue that humans are insatiable, and therefore economics should focus on endless economic growth and ever-increasing consumption.  Considerable evidence, however, suggests that humans are in fact satiable&emdash;there is a point […]

Money and Energy

The debt-based money system just described cannot work if there is less and less energy available.  We only borrow if we think we’re going to have more money in future with which to repay, and a society as a whole cannot expect to have more money unless there is economic growth, or inflation, or a […]

The Human Nature of Unsustainability

Humans may pride themselves as being the best evidence for intelligent life on Earth, but an alien observer would record that the (un)sustainability conundrum has the global community floundering in a swamp of cognitive dissonance and collective denial…

Making Sense of Peak Oil and Energy Uncertainty

There are currently no viable substitutes for oil at current rates of consumption.  Although alternatives to oil do exist for many of its uses, they are generally vastly inferior to oil in their energy content and in the ease of which they can be extracted, transported, and turned into a commericaly-usable fuel. This is a […]

Peak Oil and the Great Recession

The year 2008 will be remembered as a major turning point in industrial history, for it was the first year when the world got a taste of the unpredictable price spikes that come from inadequate oil supplies.  The first half of the year was marked by a steady increase in the weighted average price of […]

The International Response to Climate Change

One Solution: Cap and Share. “Cap and share” is an attempt to share the cost and the work of fighting climate change among all the nations of the world.  It proposes that a Global Atmosphere Trust should be set up to represent everyone’s interests, not just those of powerful groups in powerful countries. The trust would cap […]

Local Goverment in a Time of Peak Oil and Climate Change

Many responses to peak oil urge individual and community solutions, ignoring government.  They argue that since government hasn’t done anything to address the problem, citizens and businesses must take matters into their own hands.  Some even argue that government is part of the problem, particularly federal and state governments. This attitude is shortsighted. This is […]