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Peak Experience

The Age Of Oil Is Coming To An End: An Interview With Richard Heinberg

We’re on the verge of an infrastructural shift as profound as any in human history, on the scale of the Industrial Revolution. You might say we’re going to be seeing the other side of that revolution, and it will change our political system, our ideologies, and our beliefs.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Island Of The Damned

“Millions upon millions of years ago,” goes some of the most profitable prose of the 1970s, “when the continents were already formed and the principal features of the earth had been decided, there existed, then as now, one aspect of the world that dwarfed all others.” This is the portentous opener to a James Michener book that boasts perhaps the largest protagonist ever.

Good Enough

What can I trust my mother to do? She will usually come when I need her. She will love my children as fiercely as I do, but in an older, less-complicated way. She will frequently enrage me. She will not always be honest with herself, or with me. But my mother can see things from far away, useful things like road signs for gasoline and food, for airports I need to find, for towns I think I have missed. And she can see things that frighten and surprise me, like betrayal before it comes, and what is happening in my heart when we are hundreds of miles apart.

Sweet Rolls And Vodka

You are living with your grandparents at the age of twenty because you have been kicked out of a recovery home for women alcoholics. Unable to shake your old habits of defiance, you stayed out all night (curfew was 9 P.M.) with a member of the opposite sex, albeit a sober one, riding a big motorcycle he called his “hog,” the wind whistling past your ears as he drove you helmetless through the dark hills of Laguna Canyon. At sunrise you climbed through your bedroom window at the recovery home and found a note waiting on your untouched pillow: “This was your final warning. Pack today.”

You’re In Here, Too

It’s morning but still dark out. It’s also raining and cold. I’m walking out of the twenty-four-hour fitness center, on my way to the all-night Waffle House, when a woman hails me from her car. She has just run away from her husband, she says, and needs gas money to get to her mother’s.

Cry In The Wilderness

People are scared of people like me, except bill collectors. They weren’t afraid even when I told them they should have been. Perhaps they didn’t believe me, or they couldn’t imagine a woman could be a threat, or maybe they are simply the hardiest among us. Perhaps only they and cockroaches will survive a nuclear explosion.


John Lennon Is Dead And It Really Bothers Me

I was born in 1962 in Houston, Texas, and spent most of my early childhood in a neighborhood called Pine Woods, where we had a small house on an oak-and-pine-lined street named Mulberry. My grandparents, my mother’s parents, lived five blocks away on a street called Hewitt. My mother was the oldest of ten, and she gave birth to me when she was sixteen, while her own mother was having her late-in-life children. My grandmother’s last two sons, Walter and Richard Gallagher, were around my age and more like brothers to me than uncles.


When he was very young, he waved his arms, snapped his massive jaws, and tromped around the house so that the dishes trembled in the china cabinet. “Oh, for goodness’ sake,” his mother said. “You are not a dinosaur! You are a human being!” Since he was not a dinosaur, he thought for a time that he might be a pirate. “Seriously,” his father said to him after school one day, “what do you want to be?” A fireman, maybe. Or a policeman. Or a soldier. Some kind of hero.

Readers Write

Waking Up

Lately I’ve been waking up a lot, usually between three and four in the morning. I wake up, and I think. First I think about my oldest daughter someplace in Africa. Then I imagine a pretty neighborhood here in New Jersey where I hope someday she’ll live.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Sy Safransky's Notebook

July 2006

I went to bed too late last night after indulging myself in the usual ways — eating too much, drinking too much, drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Musings From Our Founder ▸


“A spirit of violence permeates the whole of our science, technology, economics. . . . It makes us think absurdities such as infinite growth in a finite environment were possible; that we could go on finding and burning as much oil every ten years as in all previous history; that science could cure the sickness of the environment; . . . that man’s future was one of little work and endless leisure; that man has moved from the age of scarcity into the age of plenty. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

E. F. Schumacher

More Quotations ▸
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