Energy & Economics

Daniel Schmachtenberger, The Consilience Project

"A Vision for Betterment"

What are the value systems embedded in our institutions and policies, and how do they reinforce the need for ongoing growth at the expense of the natural world and human well-being?

 How do we change these dynamics to form a new, holistic definition of progress that accounts for the connectedness of our planet to the health of our minds, bodies, and communities? 

This episode offers a conceptual map of game theory, sociology, ecology, state capitalism and other underpinnings of our current crisis.  It is not a feel-good episode but it is exhilaratingly clear. 

Collapse is likely to come in waves, knowing why and when they happen could save your life

"One school of thought, which I’ve called End-Times Doomism, tells us there is no need to worry, because we lack agency to do anything about it. ...So we might as well embrace “radical acceptance” and enjoy the ride (if not the destination). For those of us who choose to believe that life after collapse is both possible and likely, radical acceptance will not do. I want to be explicit about why. It is because, whatever world we find ourselves in during and after collapse, we will aspire to be among its survivors. 

Professor Steve Keen is Head of School of Economics, Politics and History at Kingston University London

JT Chapman produces the Second Thought podcast and co-produces  The Deprogram, an international socialist podcast.

Olivia Lazard, environmental peacemaker and research fellow at Carnegie Europe, joins me to discuss just how complex that task is, detailing the five steps of the Anthropocene and how violence increases at each step. 

We discuss these legacy systems of extraction and violence and how they are embedded into decisions being made around A.I., creating security risks in a resource-scarce world. We also cover the dematerialisation of our economies, the myths that blind us to energy and materials, before discussing the balance of power tipping our planet and human systems further into crisis.

Rachel Donald, Planet Critical Podcast

Warning: the reading/comic below uses slavery as a horrifying metaphor for how humans in the Global North have accustomed ourselves to drawing a thousand times our individual work capacity from millennia of solar radiation stored in fossil fuels.  This connotation was deliberate on Fuller's part.  However, he did not intend to refer to African American slavery in particular. 

A comic by Stuart McMillen

... [T]oday's economy would be vastly smaller were it not for ... the fossil sunlight that we have tapped for the past three centuries in the form of fossil fuels like coal, gas and petroleum. "Bucky saw that coal, oil and gas were batteries for ancient sunshine that allowed civilization to, for the first, live beyond its solar income" available through daily sunshine, McMillen writes in the comic.

NY Times, 5/13/24 - Jonathan Mingle

[Earth-friendly solutions] include “virtual power plants” — when technologies such as home batteries, rooftop solar systems, smart water heaters and thermostats are linked together and managed via software to provide the same services as a conventional power plant. Utilities in Vermont, Colorado and Massachusetts are already using them, to quickly respond to rising demand at a much lower cost than operating natural gas combustion turbines. 

Utilities could also accelerate efforts to replace outdated transmission lines with newer ones that can carry double the electric current and to bring more battery storage online. They can compensate customers for using less energy during times when demand is high and invest far more in energy efficiency, helping customers to adopt devices that use less electricity.