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The Sun Interview

The Bright Green City

Alex Steffen’s Optimistic Environmentalism

I love the idea that there is a proper technique to living on this planet. For too long we’ve had this romantic notion that nature’s perfect, and humanity has fallen from grace, and there’s really no way to be a human being and not abuse nature. But if we view how we live on the planet as a matter of technique, we can see ourselves not as evil but as ignorant. These things are happening because of our poor choices, not because of our nature. We can make better choices. The future isn’t already written.

Sy Safransky's Notebook

October 2009

Global warming is irreversible, Lovelock says: We’ve already pushed the planet past the tipping point. Solar panels and compact fluorescents aren’t going to avert disaster. By the end of this century, he predicts, floods, droughts, violent storms, and melting polar ice caps will make most of the world uninhabitable.

The Sun Interview

The Decline And Fall Of The Suburban Empire

James Howard Kunstler On Reshaping The American Landscape

I hear two themes that both represent a big fantasy. One is the techno-triumphalist fantasy that assumes we’re going to invent our way out of our problems: some mythical “they” will come up with a techno-rescue — a new miracle fuel to keep the cars running, or something like that. The other fantasy assumes that we’re going to organize our way out of this mess. Both tend to ignore the likelihood that we’re going to be living in a more disorderly society with a lot of people who are unhappy and perhaps violent and who are going to be making disruptive political claims.

Quotations

Sunbeams

Nature is by and large to be found out-of-doors, a location where, it cannot be argued, there are never enough comfortable chairs.

Fran Lebowitz

The Sun Interview

The Sincerest Form Of Flattery

Janine Benyus On The Virtues Of Imitating Nature

Our mission, in both our business and our nonprofit, is to increase respect for the natural world. Creating more-sustainable products and processes is just an extension of that. To learn from nature, you have to become involved with what Wes Jackson calls the “deep conversation.” To learn how to take carbohydrates and water and turn them into a fiber as strong as steel, as a spider does, you go to a spider and respectfully ask, “How are you doing that?” Then you go and try to do it yourself. And when you fail — it’s very hard to do! — you go back to the organism and ask again.

Quotations

Sunbeams

Cars today are almost the exact equivalent of the great Gothic cathedrals: I mean the supreme creation of an era, conceived with passion by unknown artists, and consumed . . . by a whole population which appropriates them as a purely magical object.

Roland Barthes

The Sun Interview

How Many Americans Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb?

Joan Ogden On The Nation’s Uncertain Energy Future

Getting back to the federal level: There is currently a suppression of politically unacceptable views on energy. For example, scientists who work on global warming are being told not to talk to the press. The Environmental Protection Agency issues an annual report on air pollutants and their impact. A few years ago, when the draft of the report included greenhouse gases — the kind that contribute to global warming — the information was pulled by the Bush administration.

The Sun Interview

Forget What They Told You

The Truth According To Greg Palast

The idea that America’s a democracy is a fucking lie. We’ve had one fixed election after another. By my calculations, Hubert Humphrey beat Richard Nixon in 1968. Of course, Humphrey was a jackal as well. But what is not widely understood is that we’ve always had a system in America of not counting certain votes. My good friends on the Left are afraid that the Republicans are going to steal the next election by computer — that the software is going to allow Karl Rove to change the vote. Well, most people who worry about that are white. Black people know they’ve stolen the vote the old-fashioned way for centuries.

Quotations

Sunbeams

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious.

Major General Smedley Butler