Monday, May 8, 2017

THE REAL CULTURE SHOCK OF OUR TIME: the realization that we cannot save our western affluence and power, and a human future on this planet

So, meanwhile, despite all the noise in the political culture around Michael Flynn, and DT's tweets, the election in France, the corruption of an administration whose family is freely enriching themselves by taking the notion of "conflicts of interests" to a whole new level - while all this continues and escalates, the dismantling of science and research in critical government agencies that impact our future on this planet also continues. The war on facts regarding climate change and our national parks continues. The war on nature being perpetrated by the fossil fuel corporations, now emboldened and further enabled by the GOP regime in Washington DC, proceeds.

In the morning's Washington Post, this article: EPA dismisses half of key board’s scientific advisers, Interior suspends more than 200 advisory panels. Get those truth-tellers out of the way. Get those people showing us that the world we insist on is no longer possible out of the way. Replace them with those who can reassure us, as we look backward not forward, that we can still have that old world back and everything will be okay.  "Make America Great Again" means returning us not to the days of union factory work, good wages and benefits, high taxes on wealth to support public education, highways, and parks - but rather to the days of the old robber barons, the ones that "settled" the West with their railroads, gold rushes, land grabs, and genocidal ways.

And so that's where we feel need to focus this week, to remind us once again that it is up to us to partner with Nature, with the Water Protectors, with the National Parks defenders, with the anti-pipeline protestors, with local environmental justice groups, with our best scientific researchers and agencies like NOAA and NASA/Global Climate Change, in a broad, powerful unstoppable movement to impede, and ultimately halt, these grave threats to our future on this planet.

I was heartened by the enormous turnout for the March for Science - actually, many marches all over the country. By the hundreds of thousands, scientists went out into the streets (a rare thing in itself), along with their enormous fan base (people like me), to defend research, facts, science itself, an event that in its necessity marks how far we have sunk as a nation.
March for Science, Washington DC

This broad cultural descent into willful ignorance, reflected in the current political regime in DC, in my state of Wisconsin, and many other states around the nation, is a stunning reflection of our times, of the demise of a nation that, in my baby-boomer generation at least, considered education and knowledge to be source of pride in who we are as U.S. Americans. To have political "leaders" who embrace ignorance if it threatens their campaign donors, their place in a hierarchy of power, their religious beliefs - this is something that feels absurd and incomprehensible to many of us who grew up and went to school from the 1950s to the 1970s.

We must remind ourselves that reactionary movements, especially as strong as this current one, are also evidence of how threatened the old powers-that-be feel with the changes underway in the world. That's why they are called "reactionary" in the first place.

To what are they reacting? From the days of the Civil Rights struggles, the anti-Vietnam War movements, the women's movements, farmworker and immigrant rights movements, the emergence of rights groups around gender and sexual orientation, the first Earth Day that was accompanied by the first research showing we were headed toward an existential ecological crisis - all through those years, the reaction has been growing with the creation of corporate-funded right-wing think tanks, Tea Party activism, and the rise of a form of Christian fundamentalism that shifted the culture to the right - and away from science that challenged the tenets of those religious and/or economic groups.

Per US eco demand & resource supply - Global Footprint Network
In fact, the changes to culture and knowledge over these recent decades has been disorienting indeed, revolutionary, a real upending of an order marked by white Anglo-European, imperial, western economic domination that has been in place for centuries. That order considers itself superior to all others that have ever been, an aura that is collapsing in the face of reality - starting with its destruction of the living systems of the planet, its complete non-sustainability as it tries to live outside the boundaries of the Earth's own biocapacity. Add to these upheavals the imminent disappearance of the "white race," including the recent challenge to "whiteness" itself as defining anything real (I keep wishing more white supremacists would get their DNA ancestry checked to find out how mixed their blood really is), the collapse of male identity as superior to women, the collapse of old strict gender roles and identities - I mean, we could go on.

This attempt to try to reassert cultural or political "control" over this upheaval in the Western European-American order is at the very least desperate, sad, even kind of pathetic.

But it is powerful and it comes with a lot of corporate money to back it up. Perhaps Trumpism and the rise of former CEO Rex Tillerson to Secretary of State are the best examples of exactly what I mean - an aging generation of "grumpy old men," corporate titans from an old world order soon to die out, feeling their power dwindling, their old world views collapsing, but desperate to hold them in place.

Kind of like the attempted rise of the Old Confederacy as part of that dynamic of desperate clinging.

What I think a lot of them know, however, (sometimes better than a lot of progressives know) is that the Earth cannot possibly sustain the wealth of the rich and powerful while also promoting the well-being of all. This impossibility is not an opinion, this is just some of that uncomfortable reality of facts and science. It is not even remotely possible that wealth can remain this concentrated and all people have enough to eat, clean water to drink, arable land for their crops, uncontaminated environments, dignified housing and work, education for their kids. The Earth can't do it, and we can't even attempt it without destroying the planet's ability to hold us, to keep us here. This impossibility is perhaps the greatest stumbling block of our time. Most of us who benefit from the western capitalist system cannot see any way around this, and so we hedge, we retreat, we go into denial, about how profound and fundamental is the nature of the redistribution of wealth, well-being, and ecological sustainability required for our survival as a species.
Source: Global Footprint Network

Those who know these things and are still pushing forward with the agenda of the global corporate and financial powers are making a choice with grave moral implications.

If personal and corporate wealth are incompatible with preserving the living systems of the planet, if we are already living outside the boundaries of the Earth's biocapacity, how do we proceed in the Age of Trumpism, of corporate control and financing of our political system? How do we move forward, instead of backward, in this Age of Ignorance in which we refuse to see our demise even in the face of floods, firestorms, record heat, and rising seas? How do we find any hope in the efforts we make in the face of daunting challenges like the yawning gap between rich and poor, the growing desperation of populations facing war, terror, and mass dislocations, and the rise of dangerous tribalism and racism all around the planet, a defensive reaction to the social, cultural, and economic changes underway - everywhere?

This is big stuff, and more than can be addressed by the actions of any single one of us. It will take broad collective effort, movements and strong coalitions, education and action, advocacy and political engagement, deep cultural and spiritual work. While none of us can do all of these things, all of us can do some of these things. But crucial to effectiveness is that we not act in isolation, that we avoid "silos" and bubbles, that how we engage this transitional era mimic the way Nature itself works.

The inescapable nature of reality is that there is no such thing as an isolated, individual act. We exist within a complex web of relationships in which everything we do or do not do has impact beyond us, reverberating along the threads of that web. Do too much damage to it, and the web can no longer hold. And we have been doing a lot of ripping away at that web in the age of industrialization and models of endless economic and technological growth.

In the framework of our current political culture, we are seeing an aggressive push against the knowledge and wisdom - the truth - of how Nature works. And I don't mean Nature "out there" among the trees and rivers, I mean Nature that is the trees and the rivers and also human beings interacting with them at all times. We are not a separate silo'ed life form outside Nature that gets to use it for our pleasure, even when that pleasure is a nice hike in the woods. That means that we have to see ourselves and our impacts within the truth of our interrelations with all other sentient and non-sentient beings. 

Part of our challenge is to look at the work we do as expression of the interrelatedness of all those threads that hold, repair, strengthen the connections that hold the web together, meaning that hold us - all life, all the communities of life working together. It is not a matter of feeling the pressure that we must somehow address the whole blessed crisis in order to save the world, but rather to SEE each effort we make, project, or action, or story, or poem, or workshop, or community gathering as part of that web. We need to offer our lives and our efforts not just for the sake of ourselves, our ambitions, or our organizations, but for the sake of the whole, for the health and well-being of the whole of life.

It is from that conscious awareness of the whole that the new cultures and spiritual expressions are emerging that can serve to propel us to the new experience of what it means to be human within this planet. We saw glimpses of this at Standing Rock, now an inspiration for the work of Water Protectors all around the continent and beyond. We saw this in the unprecedented step taken by scientists to walk out of their labs and research institutes and out into the streets as activists for facts and truth. We saw glimpses of this in the two People's Climate Marches (2015, 2017) that put millions into the streets to advocate for the Living Planet - because that's where we all live, and she is in serious trouble.

Earth from inside Saturn's rings. NASA/Cassini
What is emerging is a new experience of what it means to be human within the living whole of this precious little dot spinning in dark space within an unfathomable breadth and depth of cosmic reality.

The new age in which we are living involves this unsettling, even terrifying, awareness - that the age of a certain form of economic culture is bringing us to the brink of planetary disaster and we can't keep doing this anymore. We cannot have wealth accumulation based upon capitalist systems of economic growth and survive much longer. We have set in motion, and continue to set in motion, the conditions for our own demise - if not extinction (and probably not that) at least a future of terrible suffering and want on a devastated planet that could take centuries to fully recover.

These are thrilling times to be on the planet, yes? Here we are at the threshold between eras. Humans have been here before, but never at this scale, never with this much at stake. What I think I want to remind us of with this post is that reaction is not only not the end of the world, but is often indicator of an old world dying and a new one being born. It's just that we U.S. Americans have been at the top of the western economic culture for so long that for us this looks like disaster coming. For a lot of the world, and for Mother Earth herself, this may look indeed like an obstacle beginning to get out of the way. As the dominant economic culture loses credibility, new ecological cultures are rising up.

So as we confront this unresolvable conflict - that we cannot keep our way of life and preserve a human future on this planet - we are going to face the choice of despair or hope, depending on which of these paths we choose. We cannot have them both.

Margaret Swedish  - Check out my bio at our old website.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

How's 'the great unraveling' going for you so far?

Are you enjoying the ride?

Seriously, though, how is it going for you? Panic, rage, fear, terror in the night, nightmares, cold sweats, insomnia? Hard on relationships, too. We are bearing a lot these days - those tuned in to the rapid acceleration of every destructive aspect of western economic domination of planet, cultures, and peoples. Of course those not tuned in are feeling it, too, with all sorts of anxieties, prescription drugs, lashing out, demonizing "the other," and just wondering why they are so out of sorts all the time now.

I could post every day about the unraveling, and probably need to start posting more often in any case, just to keep us all up with the major trends.

Bleaching/dead coral: The Ocean Agency
So, each day I check in with the planet to see how it's doing - and it ain't doing so great anymore. The unraveling of deeply intertwined ecosystems is apparent now - from the bleaching and death of huge portions of the Great Barrier Reef, to the drowning of coastlines in Tasmania (herald for many parts of the world), to the record warmth in the Arctic causing cascades of waterfalls off melting ice sheets, to coming to terms with the reality that most of our water sources on Turtle Island are contaminated with the leaching of toxins and the waste of our industrial society while also diminishing from overuse (e.g., from fracking and unsustainable human development), to surpassing 410 ppm of carbon in the atmosphere for the first time since before the evolution of hominids (in other words, the conditions which gave rise to our evolutionary era) - 412.63 ppm on April 26, to be exact (NOAA-ESRL).

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Urgency of change

Where to start... A couple of weeks go by between posts, and the news feels overwhelming. When we say that we are living in momentous times, it's because we are. When we speak of the Great Unraveling, what that metaphor is showing us is that, if you keep pulling at the threads, the fabric weakens. It can hang on for a while, but then it reaches a point where it can no longer hold together and it all falls apart rather quickly.

The U.S. culture is more siloed than ever before, people tucked away in so many bubbles of like-mindedness, of fear, of resistance to change, the blinders pulled in more tightly to keep the view narrow and comforting - and yet the reality is that we are never siloed, we are always interconnected, and these attempts have impacts far beyond us. The more we narrow, the more the world unravels. The more we silo, the more we lose resilience, which is necessary for life. The more we silo, the less prepared we are to deal with change.

Even that the word "silo" is being used as a verb tells you something about the cultural moment.

Yesterday AG Sessions lauded the proposed wall for the southern border and his determination to keep the "filth" from entering our country. Walls. Border enforcement. Strict separations. Enforced silos. Nature doesn't work that way. The attempt, down through the millennia, to keep populations separate and one dominant over all the others, or one species dominant over all other species - well, when I ponder the cost in bloodshed and planetary destruction of these attempts, that we are facing collapse should not surprise us. At some point, a history like this crosses a threshold.

So, how do we enter in to this great moment of human struggle when we will determine whether or not we can create the conditions for survival - but not mere survival, rather rich and abundant life and well-being for future generations? Whether or not we can do this will be determined now, by this generation, or mix of generations, living on the planet right at this very moment. Breathtaking, isn't it?

Crossroads: even the Trump administration could not withdraw outright from the Paris climate agreements, even though it has no intention of fulfilling the U.S. commitments made by President Obama. That at least tells you something about the pushback from a world that is seeing island nations or coastal cities drowning, record heat/floods/drought/wildfires all across the planet, expanding aridification zones (like in our desert Southwest), ocean acidification that is killing off the primary food source for marine life, the sixth great extinction (well underway now), and looming threats of water and food scarcity, facing hundreds of millions of people with starvation.

Yes, the counter-currents to this administration's climate change denialism and lack of concern over destruction of ecosystems in order to free up corporations to extract and poison as they please are pretty strong. The silo says we can do this, and that we have a right to do it. The global community and the reality of the planet says that if we destroy the eco-communities of this nation, we also destroy ourselves.

So here's one thing we all must do: weak and insufficient as it is, we must defend the Paris climate agreement and we must raise holy hell in our legislators' states and districts in this cause.

Here is something else we must do. Wherever we live, Nature is under threat - from bad agricultural practices (industrial agriculture is one of those industries that does not need saving, it needs dismantling as quickly as possible, for the sake of water and soil and our future ability to eat), to extreme extraction for fossil fuels or metals and minerals for consumer products or industrial production, to pollution of our streams, rivers, lakes, aquifers, and groundwater, to suburban and exurban sprawl, and more - wherever you live, these issues are present and urgent. We must partner with the living systems in which we are embedded, with our larger ecological/biological communities,  to work with them to restore, replenish, allow to heal, and end any corporate practice that threatens them.

And we need to do this no matter the cost - because, if nothing else, the cost of not paying this price now is greater than any cost we really want to know, experience, or endure later on. Look into the eyes of the little ones around you if you fear the economic hit, the hit to your lifestyle aspirations, that will likely accompany this ecological mission. Ask yourself what matters more.

I am an avid vegetable gardener, and I have learned in the most visceral way possible that my life depends on the life of my soil, on the worms, the bees, the microorganisms, the water - and that none of those living beings depend on me, on my existence (except that I not destroy them). Such an insight ought to humble us all. Who needs taking care of first and foremost?

I don't say that as the kind of "deep ecologist" who sees humans only as pestilence and threat. I say that because it is true, and if we see the human as also sacred and precious and part of the evolutionary unfolding that makes this Earth unique in all the universe, then we best get into deep relationship with all that makes us possible and take damn good care of those relationships.

Here's some news for you: 
From the Guardian, April 5:  Climate change impacting ‘most’ species on Earth, even down to their genome 

It reads under the headline: "Three recent studies point to just how broad, bizarre, and potentially devastating climate change is to life on Earth. And we’ve only seen one degree Celsius of warming so far."  

First sentence of the article: "Climate change is rapidly becoming a crisis that defies hyperbole."
Urgency...
"Continuing to burn fossil fuels at the current rate could bring atmospheric carbon dioxide to its highest concentration in 50 million years, jumping from about 400 parts per million now to more than 900 parts per million by the end of this century, a new study warns.
"And if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated beyond that point, the climate could reach a warming state that hasn’t been seen in the past 420 million years."
These levels are not locked in. They are what happens if we continue business-as-usual - which the world rejects, but not yet this nation. And we have to change that in a hurry.  

Urgency...
From the Chicago Council on Global Affairs: Why is water scarcity a global security concern?

"By 2025, the UN predicts that 1.8 billion people - 22% of the global population - will be living in regions with absolute water scarcity." Last time I checked, that was less than 8 years from now. If ever there was a statistic that showed starkly the unsustainabillity of our human way of living on this planet... Remember, it is water that made the Earth blue and green and teeming with life. What in the world are we doing?!
Urgency...

We have to step it up now.

So next weekend, scientists will march in Washington DC in defense of knowledge and truth (my mechanical engineer professor brother, who is an energy expert, will be there, marching and lobbying our state legislators). And the following week is the huge climate march in DC and elsewhere - or let's hope they are huge. Even though I think marching will not do it, showing the breadth of the movement is important right now. But if we don't do the hands-on grueling work of organizing and education, speaking and writing, making legislators really uncomfortable, creating movements that do actually threaten the global economic order, we will not have done enough in time.

So, protest, march, lobby, advocate, yes, but remember that equally crucial is the work of "new creation." We only send people to anger, frustration, and despair if we tell them we can't live like this anymore and have nothing to point to in order to show what other ways of life might look like, and how we can begin to live them right now.

Here's some more news for you:
This area in Detroit is now America's first 100% organic, self-sustainable neighborhood
Yes, in Detroit. When you don't have the luxuries and pleasantries of the consumer culture to lose anymore, it's amazing what creativity gets freed up to create cultures not only of survival, but of goodness, health, resilience, and well-being, along with friendship and community.
Yes, we must create with urgency...
Alice's Garden Urban Farm - this is where I have my garden plot. I can't even begin to describe all the ways new creation is going on now in this neighborhood.
And this:
Ho-Chunk Nation General Council Approves Rights of Nature Constitutional Amendment

We need a whole movement around those rights, even if it means accepting that we must relinquish some of our economic "rights" to wealth and consumption, to consuming more than we need.
How about this?
"Calling all Water protectors" - Water Is Life
It's not that nothing is going on. All sorts of things are going on, and they are mostly invisible to the mainstream culture. The Dakota Access Pipeline is still being fought - in Iowa, North Dakota, in Louisiana. The Keystone XL is being fought all over again in Nebraska and elsewhere. Other pipeline battles are underway in New Mexico and Texas. Fierce resistance is emerging to plans by the Trump admin to open public lands to more drilling and fracking. In parts of Appalachia, communities are not waiting for the coal industry to be revived, but are moving on to create new economies that can thrive without destroying their precious mountains and streams [see, for example: Appalachia's New Trail: finding life after coal - CS Monitor].

All around us, we see the threats, the dangers unfolding. All around us, if we look beyond the dominant economic/political world, we see the acts of new creation. Trust me, this is where you want to be when things fall apart.
There is a transition that must be made now - yes, with urgency - from one way of life to another. We don't have to wait for someone else to do it for us, or save us somehow. We just need to begin right where we are. The Earth isn't waiting for our politics to change. She is not a product of an economic culture. It is not for her to bend to us to save that culture, it is for us to bend to her so that we may learn again how to live here.
~ Margaret Swedish

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Fast backward of the old, and the new passageway we must construct

In Germany, they are working on a potentially breakthrough technology using heat from lamps that, when concentrated in one spot, reach temperatures of 3,500 Celsius, or what this article calls "the world's largest artificial sun," and then to use this heat to create hydrogen fuel for energy.

Meanwhile, in France, a huge project is underway, called International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), to develop nuclear fusion as a source of unlimited clean energy for the future. What they are attempting is to find a way to control atomic reactions and harness them for energy. International partners include the U.S., Russia, and China, an initiative first negotiated by Pres. Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev - yes, that long ago. It is still unproven and it may never work, but it is cutting edge technology in any case. Also hugely expensive.

In China, the government is moving toward huge wind farms and solar arrays, aware that choking on coal in cities where breathing is deadly does not bode well for the nation's economic future.

MTR coal-mining - Vivian Stockman
Meanwhile, in the Trump White House, they are trying to revive the coal industry.

Talk about dinosaurs. That's what I see every time I look at a room full of white men standing ceremoniously around the fearless (also corrupt and incompetent) leader as he signs some other document intended to harm humans and the planet out of motivations of revenge and resentment. I see dinosaurs. I see remnants of a species after the asteroid has hit, and the fast-rolling responses of a planet's climate systems as the living beings of an old era slowly succumb, disappear, left to future generations only as fossil imprints buried under layers of new eras of the evolution of life.

This new era - already emergent. But not in the giant fusion experiment. That feels a lot like geoengineering - throwing even bigger industrial projects at the planet to try to salvage an aging industrial civilization. Rather, this new era is emergent in the resilient communities rising up all around the planet, reconnecting with the Earth's living systems instead of trying to "harness" them, raising food and new small industries to support neighborhoods and cultures, cleaning up the contamination that marks the character of the old economic model, developing "sharing economies" and eschewing "industrial grandiosity" for the sake of simpler, richer, more tender and loving lives.

Photo: M Swedish
One era is dying, has entered its thrilling and destructive last death throes. The other is creating paths to get us through this difficult passageway to the new evolutionary era, and to the new humans we still might become if given time to heal from the damage this industrial age has done to us. And I ask which road we would rather all be on? And what can we do with our lives to be decisive about the direction we choose?

This poignant article from the NY Times: Hope Springs Early, but Not Eternal, for the Deadnettle - or for Us. While I appreciate the gorgeous writing, poetry, and art emerging from this tragic time of ecological demise, how many more more deeply touching lamentations and expressions of deep grief and fear must we read before they tip the balance away from our collective cultural embrace of industrial society?

So, before cheering on an example of breathtaking arrogant human grandiosity like ITER, which, even if it worked, would come too late and require enormous amounts of mostly mined resources to pull off, can we begin to imagine the simple, the scaled-down, the reduction in energy use rather than finding bigger and better ways to produce more of it? Do we get so focused on reducing CO2 emissions at the point of emitting them, and miss the depletion and destruction of living systems required to address that one end-stage piece of our planetary crisis?

I read this morning (March 28) that Energy Partners is beginning to put oil into the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota this week. I also read that Bold Louisiana has pledged to put their bodies on the line to stop completion of that pipeline in their state. I also read that the legislature in Maryland has voted to ban fracking in that state, the third to do so. Trump has granted the presidential permit for construction of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline. Bold Nebraska is prepared to go back to court over issues of eminent domain in order to try yet again to stop it.

Alice's Garden - M Swedish
In Milwaukee, we gear up at Alice's Garden for the next growing season at what we consider our sacred inner city urban farm, April being the month when our labor gets serious. The Garden is part of a growing new food "economy" here in Milwaukee where urban farming combined with neighborhood markets and skills development in growing businesses related to that economy is taking root - by the sheer will and determination of people in some of our most challenged neighborhoods.

Hope comes from there. Hope comes from all those engaged in one way or another in opening that passageway from an old destructive way of life to the new one emergent everywhere.

That asteroid hit our planet decades ago, when our industrial/consumer economy drove us past the tipping point, beyond the carrying capacity of Mother Earth. That was back in the 1980s. We have been tearing at the threads that hold the web of life together for a long time now. It has shown its resilience to abuse for a long time. But it cannot hold together much longer. Indeed, the signs of the unraveling are already with us. That deadnettle - that deadnettle is announcing the times.

Photo: M Swedish
Some people are listening. Some people are taking action. Some people are dreaming new cultures and new ways of life and actually birthing them. We don't give up. We know we are seeing the death throes of a dying civilization. We know we are about the work of new creation. We are working to open that narrow passageway.

~ Margaret Swedish



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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Didn't We Say This Time Was Coming?


            Many are shocked that it’s this bad, but do we deserve to be surprised? Haven’t we been saying for a long while now that we’ve been moving toward collapse? The culture, full of unresolved tensions and strains it could no longer hold, has been so clearly unsustainable for a long, long time. Those tensions and strains have been bred into the very nature of the society since its founding days, fed on a steady diet of western economic thought, the kind that wasted Europe before Europeans came to North America to begin wasting this continent as well. And in the last two centuries of industrialization and exponential population growth, those tensions were bound to implode.

            We have said this. Many have seen it coming for decades – all through my adult life, actually, because it was the projections of collapse from way back in the 1970s that were part of what propelled me into the work of social justice and from there to the work on eco-justice and the connections among ecology, spirituality, and culture that is the orientation and content of the work I have been doing since leaving Washington DC in 2006.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Necessity of Deep Truth

There are facts, and there is truth. And then there is deep truth.

What do I mean by that?

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We already know that the regime trying to gain control over all aspects of government and the economy is trying to create a fact-denying culture. Or I should say, they are trying to expand the power of a fact-denying culture that has been rising for decades in reaction to tumultuous change brought about by last century's world wars, including that Cold one, exponential population growth, collapse of old empires leaving chaos and violent power struggles in the former colonies, mass industrialization that has wreaked havoc on ecosystems, the rise of technologies that have separated us from knowledge of the natural world, the decline of White Western Domination as population diversity spills into every corner of the planet, transformational changes to the notion of work and labor as computers and robots replace people...

Monday, February 6, 2017

Don't let them steal your joy


It’s bad. Okay, it’s bad. It’s as bad as we thought it would be, perhaps worse than many thought it would be. And it’s going to be bad for a while, probably a long while.

So this is crucial. Do not let them steal your joy.