robertogreco + waste   76

[Essay] | Faustian Economics, by Wendell Berry | Harper's Magazine
"The general reaction to the apparent end of the era of cheap fossil fuel, as to other readily foreseeable curtailments, has been to delay any sort of reckoning. The strategies of delay, so far, have been a sort of willed oblivion, or visions of large profits to the manufacturers of such “biofuels” as ethanol from corn or switchgrass, or the familiar unscientific faith that “science will find an answer.” The dominant response, in short, is a dogged belief that what we call the American Way of Life will prove somehow indestructible. We will keep on consuming, spending, wasting, and driving, as before, at any cost to anything and everybody but ourselves.

This belief was always indefensible — the real names of global warming are Waste and Greed — and by now it is manifestly foolish. But foolishness on this scale looks disturbingly like a sort of national insanity. We seem to have come to a collective delusion of grandeur, insisting that all of us are “free” to be as conspicuously greedy and wasteful as the most corrupt of kings and queens. (Perhaps by devoting more and more of our already abused cropland to fuel production we will at last cure ourselves of obesity and become fashionably skeletal, hungry but — thank God! — still driving.)"



"The normalization of the doctrine of limitlessness has produced a sort of moral minimalism: the desire to be efficient at any cost, to be unencumbered by complexity. The minimization of neighborliness, respect, reverence, responsibility, accountability, and self-subordination — this is the culture of which our present leaders and heroes are the spoiled children.

Our national faith so far has been: “There’s always more.” Our true religion is a sort of autistic industrialism. People of intelligence and ability seem now to be genuinely embarrassed by any solution to any problem that does not involve high technology, a great expenditure of energy, or a big machine. Thus an X marked on a paper ballot no longer fulfills our idea of voting. One problem with this state of affairs is that the work now most needing to be done — that of neighborliness and caretaking — cannot be done by remote control with the greatest power on the largest scale. A second problem is that the economic fantasy of limitlessness in a limited world calls fearfully into question the value of our monetary wealth, which does not reliably stand for the real wealth of land, resources, and workmanship but instead wastes and depletes it.

That human limitlessness is a fantasy means, obviously, that its life expectancy is limited. There is now a growing perception, and not just among a few experts, that we are entering a time of inescapable limits. We are not likely to be granted another world to plunder in compensation for our pillage of this one. Nor are we likely to believe much longer in our ability to outsmart, by means of science and technology, our economic stupidity. The hope that we can cure the ills of industrialism by the homeopathy of more technology seems at last to be losing status. We are, in short, coming under pressure to understand ourselves as limited creatures in a limited world.

This constraint, however, is not the condemnation it may seem. On the contrary, it returns us to our real condition and to our human heritage, from which our self-definition as limitless animals has for too long cut us off. Every cultural and religious tradition that I know about, while fully acknowledging our animal nature, defines us specifically as humans — that is, as animals (if the word still applies) capable of living not only within natural limits but also within cultural limits, self-imposed. As earthly creatures, we live, because we must, within natural limits, which we may describe by such names as “earth” or “ecosystem” or “watershed” or “place.” But as humans, we may elect to respond to this necessary placement by the self-restraints implied in neighborliness, stewardship, thrift, temperance, generosity, care, kindness, friendship, loyalty, and love.

In our limitless selfishness, we have tried to define “freedom,” for example, as an escape from all restraint. But, as my friend Bert Hornback has explained in his book The Wisdom in Words, “free” is etymologically related to “friend.” These words come from the same Indo-European root, which carries the sense of “dear” or “beloved.” We set our friends free by our love for them, with the implied restraints of faithfulness or loyalty. And this suggests that our “identity” is located not in the impulse of selfhood but in deliberately maintained connections."



"And so our cultural tradition is in large part the record of our continuing effort to understand ourselves as beings specifically human: to say that, as humans, we must do certain things and we must not do certain things. We must have limits or we will cease to exist as humans; perhaps we will cease to exist, period. At times, for example, some of us humans have thought that human beings, properly so called, did not make war against civilian populations, or hold prisoners without a fair trial, or use torture for any reason.

Some of us would-be humans have thought too that we should not be free at anybody else’s expense. And yet in the phrase “free market,” the word “free” has come to mean unlimited economic power for some, with the necessary consequence of economic powerlessness for others. Several years ago, after I had spoken at a meeting, two earnest and obviously troubled young veterinarians approached me with a question: How could they practice veterinary medicine without serious economic damage to the farmers who were their clients? Underlying their question was the fact that for a long time veterinary help for a sheep or a pig has been likely to cost more than the animal is worth. I had to answer that, in my opinion, so long as their practice relied heavily on selling patented drugs, they had no choice, since the market for medicinal drugs was entirely controlled by the drug companies, whereas most farmers had no control at all over the market for agricultural products. My questioners were asking in effect if a predatory economy can have a beneficent result. The answer too often is No. And that is because there is an absolute discontinuity between the economy of the seller of medicines and the economy of the buyer, as there is in the health industry as a whole. The drug industry is interested in the survival of patients, we have to suppose, because surviving patients will continue to consume drugs.

Now let us consider a contrary example. Recently, at another meeting, I talked for some time with an elderly, and some would say an old-fashioned, farmer from Nebraska. Unable to farm any longer himself, he had rented his land to a younger farmer on the basis of what he called “crop share” instead of a price paid or owed in advance. Thus, as the old farmer said of his renter, “If he has a good year, I have a good year. If he has a bad year, I have a bad one.” This is what I would call community economics. It is a sharing of fate. It assures an economic continuity and a common interest between the two partners to the trade. This is as far as possible from the economy in which the young veterinarians were caught, in which the powerful are limitlessly “free” to trade, to the disadvantage, and ultimately the ruin, of the powerless.

It is this economy of community destruction that, wittingly or unwittingly, most scientists and technicians have served for the past two hundred years. These scientists and technicians have justified themselves by the proposition that they are the vanguard of progress, enlarging human knowledge and power, and thus they have romanticized both themselves and the predatory enterprises that they have served."



"If the idea of appropriate limitation seems unacceptable to us, that may be because, like Marlowe’s Faustus and Milton’s Satan, we confuse limits with confinement. But that, as I think Marlowe and Milton and others were trying to tell us, is a great and potentially a fatal mistake. Satan’s fault, as Milton understood it and perhaps with some sympathy, was precisely that he could not tolerate his proper limitation; he could not subordinate himself to anything whatever. Faustus’s error was his unwillingness to remain “Faustus, and a man.” In our age of the world it is not rare to find writers, critics, and teachers of literature, as well as scientists and technicians, who regard Satan’s and Faustus’s defiance as salutary and heroic.

On the contrary, our human and earthly limits, properly understood, are not confinements but rather inducements to formal elaboration and elegance, to fullness of relationship and meaning. Perhaps our most serious cultural loss in recent centuries is the knowledge that some things, though limited, are inexhaustible. For example, an ecosystem, even that of a working forest or farm, so long as it remains ecologically intact, is inexhaustible. A small place, as I know from my own experience, can provide opportunities of work and learning, and a fund of beauty, solace, and pleasure — in addition to its difficulties — that cannot be exhausted in a lifetime or in generations.

To recover from our disease of limitlessness, we will have to give up the idea that we have a right to be godlike animals, that we are potentially omniscient and omnipotent, ready to discover “the secret of the universe.” We will have to start over, with a different and much older premise: the naturalness and, for creatures of limited intelligence, the necessity, of limits. We must learn again to ask how we can make the most of what we are, what we have, what we have been given. If we always have a theoretically better substitute available from somebody or someplace else, we will never make the most of anything. It is hard to make the most of one life. If we each had two lives, we would not make much of either. Or … [more]
wendellberry  2008  economics  science  technology  art  limits  limitlessness  arts  ecosystems  limitations  local  humanism  humanity  humility  community  communities  knowledge  power  expansion  growth  interdependence  greed  neighborliness  stewardship  thrift  temperance  christianity  generosity  care  kindness  friendship  loyalty  love  self-restraint  restraint  watershed  land  caring  caretaking  morality  accountability  responsibility  respect  reverence  corruption  capitalism  technosolutionism  fossilfuels  waste 
may 2019 by robertogreco
How To Build the Zero-Carbon Economy
"The Green New Deal sets an ambitious goal. Here’s how to get there."



"THE ANISHINAABE PEOPLE HAVE A PROPHECY that a time will come when we have to choose between two paths: one scorched, one green. For those who choose the green path, a more peaceful era will follow—known as the Eighth Fire—in which the Anishinaabeg will return to our teaching of Mino Bimaatisiiwin, the Good Life. Mino Bimaatisiiwin is based on reciprocity, affirmation and reverence for the laws of Nature—quite a different value system from that of the Gross National Product.

How to ensure we make the right choice is the art of now. As Dakota philosopher and poet John Trudell often says, first you have to “keep the beast out of the garden.” I refer to the beast that’s destroying our collective garden as Wiindigo (cannibal) economics—the practice of extracting every last bit of oil just because you’ve got the technology to do it, ecosystems be damned.

Killing Wiindigo economics is doable, but it will be a big job. We must work with the determination of people who actually intend to survive, and we must find the Achilles’ heels of the current system. For inspiration, look to the roughly $8 trillion moving out of the fossil fuel industry thanks to global divestment campaigns. Look to the social movements emerging as water protectors block “Black Snakes”—that is, oil pipelines. Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline is another year behind schedule while renewable energy moves ahead.

So, what’s next?

We need a Green New Deal—or as I prefer to call it, a Sitting Bull Plan. As Sitting Bull once said, “Let us put our minds together to see what kind of future we can make for our children.” That’s what’s we need—to put our minds together.

The plan proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) offers the beginning of a new green path. In the pages that follow, writers from the movement put their minds together to chart that path.

In “How To Bury the Fossil Fuel Industry” [http://inthesetimes.com/features/green-new-deal-public-control-of-coal-fossil-fuel-industry.html ], journalist Kate Aronoff tells us how to kill the Black Snakes. Currently, the energy sector makes up around 6 percent of U.S. GDP. Enbridge’s Line 3 is just one $2.9 billion hemorrhage, all for a Canadian corporation to get some filthy tar sands oil to bake the planet. Time to get some control over that sector—being an oil addict is a drag.

In “Electric Companies Won't Go Green Unless the Public Takes Control” [http://inthesetimes.com/features/green-new-deal-solar-power-local-control.html ], Johanna Bozuwa and Gar Alperovitz tell us to get local on energy. A study in New Jersey suggests that each megawatt of community solar installed generates around $1.8 million of total economic impact during construction, operation and maintenance. Community solar projects allow families, tribal governments and municipalities to combine their efforts to go solar, which allows people who may not have suitable rooftops, or who face financial or regulatory barriers, to access renewable energy. That’s real energy security.


In “We Produce Too Much Food. The Green New Deal Can Stop This.” [http://inthesetimes.com/features/green-new-deal-food-production.html ], Eric Holt-Giménez of Food First reminds us that we have a food overproduction problem. How baffling is it that we waste roughly 40 percent of our food in the United States? A study once found that Chicagoans’ fruits and vegetables travel an average of 1,500 miles from farm to table; we also slather them with fossil fuel-based chemicals, from everything ending with -cide to the plastic packaging. In the meantime, Indigenous nations worldwide are adapting to the times. Through the agroecological techniques Holt-Giménez proposes, we could grow less food, nearer to home, and grow it better. Organic agriculture sequesters carbon and rebuilds top soil—might want to stick with ancient, time-tested wisdom. The carbon needs to be in the soil, not the air.

In “Making the Green New Deal Work for Workers” [http://inthesetimes.com/features/green-new-deal-worker-transition-jobs-plan.html ], Jeremy Brecher of the Labor Network for Sustainability points out that cleaning up this mess will mean jobs. Lots of them. America has a D+ in infrastructure. For every $1 million invested in energy efficiency alone, anywhere from 12 to 20 jobs are created. Restorative economies are full of employment, and a Green New Deal can require fossil fuel companies to invest in them. It’s about making the spoiled children known as American corporations clean up their own messes before they go bankrupt.

In “The Green New Deal Must Have a Zero Waste Policy” [http://inthesetimes.com/features/green-new-deal-zero-waste-policy.html ], Kali Akuno of Cooperation Jackson says it’s time to tame your inner Wiindigo. So much of the stuff we produce ends up in a landfill. No time like the present to change that. We need to move from a production chain to a production cycle based on reuse, and start banning plastic straws, bags and all that stuff. And then we figure out how to do this all, better. No way should we be trying to fill our gullets with so much excess; what we need is to be efficient and elegant.

Finally, in “How Trade Agreements Stand in the Way of an International Green New Deal” [http://inthesetimes.com/features/green-new-deal-trade-deals-emissions.html ], Basav Sen of the Institute for Policy Studies shows we need to look beyond the invisible borders created by colonial powers. I think of this land as Akiing, the land to which the people belong. Those borders make no sense to a storm, a flood or the wind. Climate change is international. We must be, too.

The Anishinaabeg are instructed that in each deliberation, we must consider the impact upon the seventh generation from now. This teaching can guide a life, a social movement and ultimately an economy.

The essential elements of intergenerational equity involve renegotiating and restoring a relationship to ecological systems, to Mother Earth. It’s not just making sure that you can buy a solar cellphone charger from Amazon. It means a restorative and regenerative economy. It also means justice—from a just transition for workers, to an interspecies, intergenerational and international justice.

The time you kill a Wiindigo is in the summer. When the warmth of the sun returns to the north country. There’s a proverb, “They tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.” It’s time to plant the seeds."



"WINONA LADUKE is Anishinaabe, a writer, an economist and a hemp farmer, working on a book about the Eighth Fire and the Green New Deal. She is ready for the Green Path, and would prefer not to spend her golden years cleaning up the messes of entitled white men.

LaDuke lives and works on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota, where she founded the White Earth Land Recovery Project. She is program director of Honor the Earth and a two-time vice presidential candidate with Ralph Nader on the Green Party ticket."
zero-carbon  economics  climate  climatechange  globalwarming  greennewdeal  2019  winonaladuke  legacy  inheritance  ancestry  indigeneity  indigenous  politics  policy  sittingbullplan  alexandriaocasio-cortez  edmarkey  katearonoff  johannabozywa  garalperovitz  ericholt-giménez  jeremybrecher  kaliakuno  cooperation  cooperationjackson  basavsen  waste 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Agnès Varda's Ecological Conscience
"“Existence isn’t a solitary matter,” says the shepherd to the wanderer in Agnès Varda’s 1985 film, Vagabond. This vision of collectivity, the belief that we are all in it together, recurs throughout Varda’s films, from her early, proto–New Wave La Pointe Courte (1954) to her acclaimed Cléo from 5 to 7 (1961) to her most recent film, Faces Places (2017), made in collaboration with the young French street artist JR. (Filmmaking isn’t a solitary matter, either.) “This movie is about togetherness,” she told New York Magazine. Watching Faces Places, I couldn’t help thinking about Varda’s 2000 film, The Gleaners & I. Both are road-trip movies in which Varda interviews the kinds of people we don’t often see in movies—farmers, miners, dockworkers, and their wives. Both films proceed by chance, gleaning whatever they happen upon. But though The Gleaners is now seventeen years old, old enough to drive a car and almost old enough to vote, it’s feeling as fresh and relevant as if it had been made in parallel to Faces Places. It rewards rewatching.

The Gleaners & I is a documentary about the time-honored act of gathering what other people have abandoned or thrown away. Gleaning is most often associated with what’s been left behind after a harvest; think of that famous Millet painting, The Gleaners (1857), which you can find in the Musée d’Orsay. The women—gleaners used to be mainly women—bend over to collect the bits of wheat the harvesters have left on the ground; they gather what they find in their aprons. It looks like back-breaking work. “It’s always the same humble gesture,” Varda comments in voice-over: to stoop, to glean.

Today, they tell Varda, harvesting is more efficient because it’s done by machines, leaving less for gleaners to pick up. In her film, Varda interviews present-day glâneurs; some glean to survive, some out of principle (“Salvaging is a matter of ethics with me,” says a man who’s eaten mostly garbage for ten years), others just for fun. One woman Varda interviews demonstrates how they used to do it: with a sweeping extension of her torso she gathers ears of corn into her apron. It was a social occasion, when all the women in the neighborhood would get together and, afterward, go back to the house for a coffee and a laugh.

Varda enlarges the concept of the glâneur to include people like the artist Louis Pons, whose work is assembled from trash, from forgotten things, from pens, empty spools, wires, cans, cages, bits of boats, cars, musical instruments: “He composes,” Varda says, “with chance.” Or to Bodan Litnianski, the Ukrainian retired brickmason-turned-artist who built his house (which he calls “Le palais idéal”) from scraps he found in dumps—dolls, many dolls, and toy trucks and trains and hoses and baskets and plastic fronds—effectively brickmasoned into place. “C’est solide, eh.” Litnianski died in 2005, but there’s a corresponding figure in Faces Places who made me sit up in recognition.

All of the gleaners Varda speaks with are appalled at the amount of waste our culture produces—especially food waste. “People are so stupid!” says a gleaner who strides around his village in Wellies, going through the garbage for food, freegan-style. “They see an expiration date and think, Oh I mustn’t eat that, I’ll get sick! I’ve been eating garbage for ten years and I’ve never been sick.” Back in Paris, Varda interviews people who come around after the market’s been through, to save money. “You should see what they get rid of,” one says. “Fruit … vegetables … cheese, but that’s rare.” His entire diet, it seems, comes from eating the castoffs from the market and the boulangeries. Varda, intrigued by him, follows him back to the shelter where he lives and volunteers as a French teacher to immigrants.

The urban gleaner has often gone by another name: the chiffonnier, or rag picker. Until the 1960s, you could still hear his cry in the streets of Paris: “chiiiiiiiiiffonnier!” Baudelaire, in Les fleurs du mal, sees them “bent under piles of rubbish, jumbled scrap,” collecting “the dregs that monster Paris vomits up.” The rag picker moves through the city on foot, like the flaneur, collecting what it has cast off. Other cities have long had this tradition—the raddi-wallah in India, for instance (which can refer to both the scrap collector or the place where the scraps are brought). In Paris, the chiffonniers, like self-employed sanitation workers, went through the trash, separating out what was useful from what was not, collecting rags, rabbit skins, bits of metal, scraps of paper, bones, glass, yarn, fabric, old clothes, all manner of chemical compounds, anything that could be repurposed, reused, repackaged, or transformed into something else. “Very little went to waste, in Baudelaire’s Paris,” notes the scholar Antoine Compagnon in his recent book on the chiffonnier. Georges Lacombe’s 1928 short silent film, La zone, shows the process of rag picking and what happens to the detritus they collect. They would drag this in bags or in wheelbarrows to a collection point, of which there were many in the city; the rue Mouffetard, on the Left Bank, was the center of this reselling (side note: Varda made a short film about this street, 1958’s Opera Mouffe). The metal, of course, would be taken to factories where it was melted down and turned into other things made of metal. How many lives has metal had, how many shapes has it taken? How many more lives does any object have before it eventually finds its way to some landfill?

Today, this canny recycling spirit lives on in the brocantes, which you can find around town on any weekend afternoon. In among the real antique dealers, you can find people selling all the bits and bobs of things they don’t want or they found in their basements, laid out on tables or blankets. They are “objets that can be found nowhere else: old-fashioned, broken, useless, almost incomprehensible, almost perverse,” as André Breton writes in Nadja, visiting the flea market at Clignancourt. How many different people have made use of the same cast-off calculator, the little porcelain dish, the copy of a minor album by Renaud?

The threat to the environment posed by waste is incredibly pressing; the need to recycle is a question of ethics. If we must consume, let us consume each other’s castoffs. “All these old things,” Baudelaire noticed back in 1857, “have a moral value.” This is the ethos of The Gleaners. Yet it’s difficult to watch the film at times, to be reminded that others are living off what some of us throw away so carelessly, something Varda’s literary kindred spirit, Virginie Despentes, has also managed to do in her recent masterpiece, Vernon Subutex. But neither Varda nor Despentes sentimentalizes this cycle; the gleaners Varda interviews are gleeful. If there’s anyone to pity here, it’s us, paying retail, paying anything: we’re the suckers. Varda helps us see the hyperactive cycle of our materialism and, through the act of glanage, shows us a way to consume less and to engage with our environments more.

Before I watched the film, my suburban ways clung to me. Everything had to be new, of course. I’d never gotten out of the car to pick up some apples from the ground, or brought in a piece of furniture from the street. (I think of Patti Smith in Just Kids, scrubbing with baking soda the mattress she and Robert Mapplethorpe found in the street. She had that pluck and resourcefulness.) Even after it, I’m not sure I would go rummaging through the garbage after the market had finished. But Varda helped me see myself as not only a consumer but a participant in some greater cycle of custodianship. As Varda films people recuperating the copper coils from inside television sets that have been abandoned, or finding old refrigerators and repairing them, or turning them into very chic bookshelves, she seems to be asking us not to limit ourselves to accepting products as they’re offered to us commercially but that we take them apart, turn them into other things, that we imagine new uses for them, even, and especially, when they seem to be useless."
2017  agnèsvarda  environment  sustainability  film  laurenelkin  gleaners  waste  documentary  observation  noticing  women  gender  glâneurs  scraps  scavenging  chiffonnier  recycling  reuse  classideas 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Daylight Saving Time Is America's Greatest Shame - The Atlantic
"The Energy Savings Are Minimal …
DST Is Bad For Your Health …
Time Shifts Are Bad For Your Productivity …
DST Is Not Financially Responsible …
DST Is Not Helping Any Farmers …
You Don't Even Like DST …"
2013  daylightsavingstime  time  us  alexanderabad-santos  waste  energy  lies 
november 2018 by robertogreco
anja kanngieser on Twitter: "this is a long thread on #nauru, where i spent last week. nauru is currently most visible as a site for australia’s offshore detention of asylum seekers and refugees. it is also the location of a longstanding #phosphate mine
"this is a long thread on #nauru, where i spent last week. nauru is currently most visible as a site for australia’s offshore detention of asylum seekers and refugees. it is also the location of a longstanding #phosphate mine which covers over 2/3 of the island 1/22

#nauru is experiencing considerable #climatechange. im going to outline some of the social-environmental stresses i observed that nauruans, refugees and asylum seekers are facing, and why we need to talk about #colonialism and #environmental racism for #climatejustice 2/22

#nauru is a beautiful island. its main resource is #phosphate. germany colonised nauru in the late 1800s and in the early 1900s the british found phosphate and started to exploit it for fertiliser and munitions with australia and nz, who became nauru’s trustees in the 1920s 3/22

during both world wars #nauru was a strategic imperial site and was occupied by multiple nations. in the 1960s nauru gained independence and took over mining activities 4/22

these days its extremely hard to get onto #nauru. i was invited to do work on community #mitigation and #adaptation measures. my work involves speaking with community leaders, environment organisations, government workers, activists 5/22

it also involves making #bioacoustic recordings of environments - #nauru's mine, the reef, the lagoon. this means i spend a lot of time listening. this is some of what i was told: 6/22

#nauru is running out of land. there are too many people living on the coast, as topside (the mining site) has not been rehabilitated. its a moonscape up there - huge phosphate pinnacles segregated by steep drops. its hot - it feels like 50 degrees, and its super humid 7/22

no one really goes up there, except people working in the mine, ihms employees and the border force. and refugees and asylum seekers, because thats where the detention centres are. you cant play there or just hang out, its too hot, and if youre not in aircon its unbearable 8/22

#coastal erosion is bad around the north of #nauru. sea walls protect one area but then other areas get flooded. #kingtides flood the single road that runs around the island, meaning people cant get around to access services 9/22

houses on the coast side of the main road on #nauru get #inundated. because of a lack of land, people cant really move far 10/22

much of the ground water in #nauru is #contaminated, by waste, from overpopulated cemeteries leaking into the water lens, run off from the mine and sea water. there is a huge stress on water supplies 11/22

most of #nauru gets its water from the desalination plant, but it takes a long time to get water and if it breaks experts need to be flown in to fix it. not everyone has a water tank, so there are water shortages 12/22

its hard to grow food on #nauru so food is imported. there are long lines of people whenever a shipment of rice is due to arrive. cucumbers cost $13AUD, a punnet of cherry tomatoes $20AUD. people do not earn anywhere near enough money to be able to afford it 13/22

kitchen gardens have been established on #nauru, but they only feed the families that have them, a lot of people feel their soil is not adequate to growing food 14/22

reef fish stocks are depleted on #nauru, so there is a plan to build milkfish supplies in peoples home ponds. as the water is contaminated that means that the fish are contaminated. if people feed the fish to the pigs and eat the pigs, then that meat is also contaminated 15/22

the #phosphate dust from the mine causes respiratory issues in #nauru. it covers houses near the harbour and people refer to it as snow. while primary mining is almost complete, secondary mining is planned. this should last around 20 years, then the phosphate is gone 16/22

#nauru is getting hotter. its so hot that kids dont want to walk to school, which is not aircon. its so hot that no one is really outside during the day. the heat on the coast is not as bad as the heat on topside. but its still hot enough that you dont want to move 17/22

i was told that people remember it being 20 degrees cooler when they were kids. #nauru goes through extreme #droughts 18/22

there are issues with #biodiversity loss and strange movements of sea creatures. i recorded a dusk chorus at a mining site and heard only one bird. at the start of the year dead fish littered the reef. this happens periodically, no one could tell me why 19/22

the noddy birds, which people rely on for food, got a virus earlier this year and there were fallen noddy birds all over the roads. people have spotted orcas in #nauru’s waters. a dugong also washed up on shore. they are not known to inhabit that area 20/22

as i said, these issues affect everyone on #nauru. nauru is highly vulnerable to #climatechange. it is also hugely economically reliant on aid, on the money from the incarceration of refugees and asylum seekers and a rapidly diminishing natural resource: phosphate 21/22

this is why conversations about human rights and environmental justice in #nauru and the #pacific also need to include strong critiques of #neocolonialism, #racism and #paternalism. nauru wasnt always like this. these are ongoing impacts of colonisation 22/22"
nauru  climatechange  globalwarming  2018  anjakannigieser  environment  climatejustice  colonialism  islands  polynesia  australia  newzealand  activism  adaptability  oceans  fishing  health  biodiversity  multispecies  pacificocean  vulnerability  neocolonialism  racism  paternalism  colonization  birds  nature  animals  wildlife  water  waste 
october 2018 by robertogreco
Displacements – The 2018 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Cultural Anthropology
[somehow never bookmarked this, but reminded by this thread:

"Are any academic organizations thinking about or planning for the replacement for "1,000+ people all fly to the same city" model for a conference? If we do this fighting climate change thing right, flying will get massively more expensive. And I like intellectual community."
https://twitter.com/bazintastic/status/1050225871963996161

agree with Jesse Stommel:
"What I’d love to see is more distributed communities, with regional nodes simultaneously meeting in person and using digital tools to connect with a bigger international community. I think we’d have to build this around things broader than single disciplines."
https://twitter.com/Jessifer/status/1050229105264943106 ]

"Displacements are in the air: episodes of profound political upheaval, intensified crises of migration and expulsion, the disturbing specter of climatic and environmental instability, countless virtual shadows cast over the here and now by ubiquitous media technologies. What does it mean to live and strive in the face of such movements? What social and historical coordinates are at stake with these challenges? And what kind of understanding can anthropology contribute to the displacements of this time—given, especially, that our most essential techniques like ethnography are themselves predicated on the heuristic value of displacement, on what can be gleaned from the experience of unfamiliar circumstances?

Exclusionary politics of spatial displacement always depend on rhetorical and imaginative displacements of various kinds: a person for a category, or a population for a problem. In the face of such moves, the critical task of ethnography is often to muster contrary displacements of thought, attention, imagination, and sensation. What forms of social and political possibility might be kindled by anthropological efforts to broach unexpected places, situations, and stories? This conference invites such prospects in tangible form, as experiences of what is elsewhere and otherwise. This is a meeting that will itself displace the conventional modes of gathering, taking place wherever its participants individually and collectively tune in.

For the first time, in 2018, the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Cultural Anthropology will take place as a virtual event. Air travel is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and one of the chief ways that an academic livelihood contributes to carbon pollution. We are exploring the virtual conference format with the ideal of carbon-conscious activity in mind, taking inspiration from prior such efforts. This format will also enable broader geographical participation, most especially against the backdrop of a political climate of unequal restrictions on international travel. We hope, too, that the web-based media platform we are developing for the conference will allow for novel explorations of expressive form in anthropology.

One of the chief values of the academic conference no doubt lies in face-to-face conversations and interactions. With this in mind, the conference encourages the formation of local “nodes,” decentralized, affinity-based forms of collaboration and exchange, in the spirit of experimentation that SCA and our partners in the Society for Visual Anthropology have long encouraged. The aim of this virtual conference is to extend access to anthropological knowledge and dialogue in as many ways as possible, and to invite other such experiments of this kind."
conferences  sustainability  distributed  culturalanthropology  displacement  displacements  environment  virtual  climatechange  globalwarming  waste  academia  highered  highereducation  education  #displace18 
october 2018 by robertogreco
Letters of Note: Ladies & Gentlemen of A.D. 2088
"The sort of leaders we need now are not those who promise ultimate victory over Nature through perseverance in living as we do right now, but those with the courage and intelligence to present to the world what appears to be Nature's stern but reasonable surrender terms:

1. Reduce and stabilize your population.
2. Stop poisoning the air, the water, and the topsoil.
3. Stop preparing for war and start dealing with your real problems.
4. Teach your kids, and yourselves, too, while you're at it, how to inhabit a small planet without helping to kill it.
5. Stop thinking science can fix anything if you give it a trillion dollars.
6. Stop thinking your grandchildren will be OK no matter how wasteful or destructive you may be, since they can go to a nice new planet on a spaceship. That is really mean, and stupid.
7. And so on. Or else."

[via http://www.openculture.com/2016/07/in-1988-kurt-vonnegut-gives-seven-pieces-advice-to-people-living-in-2088.html
via https://kottke.org/18/07/seven-bits-of-advice-from-kurt-vonnegut-to-people-living-100-years-in-the-future ]
vonnegut  advice  future  environment  sustainability  selfishness  goodancestors  1988  2088  nature  planetearth  spaceshipearth  ecosystems  war  small  slow  waste  wastefulness  escapism  technosolutionism 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Hossam on Twitter: ""Overpopulation" is one of the most prominent thinly veiled racist (and Capitalist) myths that is accepted by both Conservatives and Liberals alike as some sort of obvious self affirming fact. It's a bunch of Westerners unable to accep
""Overpopulation" is one of the most prominent thinly veiled racist (and Capitalist) myths that is accepted by both Conservatives and Liberals alike as some sort of obvious self affirming fact. It's a bunch of Westerners unable to accept that their over indulgence is destructive.

Who are the people always said to be overpopulating? Now compare that to who the people hoarding all of the resources and causing the biggest issues when it comes to the environment, ecological health, over-consumption/waste of water and food, AND excess breeding of farm animals.

Is the issue the number of people on the planet surpassing the resources available? Or is it that the resources are entirely hoarded by a small percentage of the world population that happens to also be utilizing those resources in tandem with...

the most inhumane, spiritiually deficient, and hedonistic lifestyle/philosophy as a result of modernity? Who are the ones most polluting the planet? The people in Bangladesh who are often a target of slanders of overpopulation or the US and its European morally defunct allies?

I want to add that this lifestyle spearheaded by modernity is of the most destructive in human history. It is literally killing the planet, no other group of people in history can be blamed for causing the destruction of the Earth more than us. NO ONE.

Yet the ones spearheading this destruction have the gall to look back at our predecessors and shame them as being backwards and barbaric, while also lambasting those ppl suffering the consequences of the lack of resources the most and living the most simply as being responsible.

Ppl don't truly understand how disgusting the Overpopulation Myth is, and how immensely racist and emblematic of the same mentality that produced eugenics and results in genocides it is. People who claim to hate genocide and eugenics push this myth with no sense of irony.

I'm definitely writing an article on this for Traversing Tradition, people need to see it for what it is."
overpopulation  population  capitalism  thewest  consumerism  consumption  inequality  overconsumption  waste  modernity  us  europe  eugenics  racism 
march 2018 by robertogreco
marian april glebes en Instagram: “Work in progress. Thinking about materials that, through their relationship to the maintenance and minor catastrophes of daily life, inform…”
"Work in progress. Thinking about materials that, through their relationship to the maintenance and minor catastrophes of daily life, inform on how and why a place is made, a home is made, and for whom/how/what makes a place or home.
This was a dirty towel. It's use was important, vital. It's material history is embedded in it. How do our routines teach us about what we value, and what we waste? Can a rag, or dust, or a tissue be portraiture?"
materials  maintenance  everyday  place  homes  history  time  waste  routines  dust  rags  textiles  marianglebes  2018 
february 2018 by robertogreco
Makeshift: A Field Guide To Hidden Creativity - YouTube
"Makeshift is a field guide to hidden creativity. We believe ingenuity can be found everywhere if you know where to look. Let us tag along on your creative pursuit."

[videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbkgVbr0uV_FOEzFKNIRkIA/videos ]

[See also: http://mkshft.org/

"Makeshift is a multi-platform media and consulting company dedicated to uncovering hidden creativity around the world. We produce under-the-radar stories of entrepreneurs who use innovation and design to solve problems and improve their local communities. We believe storytelling is a powerful tool for showcasing global change and social impact.

We produce our own media properties through a quarterly print magazine, videos, and other digital content, and our global following continues to grow.

Makeshift partners with corporations, foundations, non-profits, and agencies to build and design custom studios projects that allow our clients to showcase their focus on innovation, entrepreneurship, and social impact around the world."]
jugaad  makeshift  making  creativity  2016  waste  reuse  ingenuity 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Imperfect Produce-Ugly Produce. Delivered.
"In America, 1 in 5 fruits and vegetables grown don't fit grocery stores' strict cosmetic standards -- the crooked carrot, the curvy cucumber, the undersized apple -- usually causing them to go to waste.

Imperfect's mission is to find a home for these "ugly" fruits and veggies, starting with our produce delivery subscription in the Bay. And because they look a little funny, you get the 30-50% off!"

[via: https://twitter.com/shu/status/789887617563111425 ]
produce  waste  food  sanfrancisco  oakland  bayarea  glvo 
october 2016 by robertogreco
Scraps Stories | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
"Welcome to the blog series Scraps Stories, where we explore sustainable textiles and fashion in relation to the Cooper Hewitt exhibition Scraps: Fashion, Textiles, and Creative Reuse.

The exhibition and catalog present three designers’ approaches to addressing the issue of pre-consumer textile waste. The blog will broaden the discussion, exploring current concerns over the alarming social and environmental impact of fashion and textile production. It will also explore positive steps being made by designers and manufacturers to develop solutions, as well as look at past and present global traditions of repair, reuse, and recycling of textiles and clothing.

Please join this important conversation about the impact of the decisions we make about our clothing.  Comments and information sharing are welcome!"

[posts: http://www.cooperhewitt.org/?s=scraps+stories&count=100 ]
scraps  cooper-hewitt  textiles  2016  design  sustainability  fashion  reuse  waste  recycling  repair  slow 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Yanis Varoufakis: Capitalism will eat democracy -- unless we speak up | TED Talk | TED.com
"Have you wondered why politicians aren't what they used to be, why governments seem unable to solve real problems? Economist Yanis Varoufakis, the former Minister of Finance for Greece, says that it's because you can be in politics today but not be in power — because real power now belongs to those who control the economy. He believes that the mega-rich and corporations are cannibalizing the political sphere, causing financial crisis. In this talk, hear his dream for a world in which capital and labor no longer struggle against each other, "one that is simultaneously libertarian, Marxist and Keynesian."



"Whereas Athenian democracy was focusing on the masterless citizen and empowering the working poor, our liberal democracies are founded on the Magna Carta tradition, which was, after all, a charter for masters."
capitalism  democracy  yanisvaroufakis  politics  economics  2015  labor  marxism  keynsianism  libertarianism  greece  debt  inequality  wealth  magnacarta  poverty  automation  waste  society 
february 2016 by robertogreco
The Zero Waste Movement: This New York City Woman Lives Trash-Free - Core77
"If you're like me, you still had tons of questions after the video: How does she handle takeout food? How does she find package-free cleaning products? Where does she shop? What kinds of compromises does a person have to make in order to live a zero-waste lifestyle? (It should be noted that Singer has not thrown that small jar of trash out but is hanging on to it, so I think it's accurate to say she's living zero-waste.)

Singer has the answer to the questions above, and more, on her Trash is for Tossers website [http://www.trashisfortossers.com/ ], which details her adventures in zero waste. You'll have to poke around a bit to find specific answers, but that's the point; the more we learn about what Singer's doing and how she does it, the better."

[Direct link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYDQcBQUDpw ]
waste  trash  environment  classideas  2015  laurensinger  sustainability 
july 2015 by robertogreco
The Next Black - A film about the Future of Clothing - YouTube
"The Next Black' is a documentary film that explores the future of clothing. Watch as we meet with some of the most innovative companies on the planet to get their opinion on clothing and its future, including: heroes of sustainability, Patagonia; tech-clothing giants, Studio XO; sportswear icon, adidas; and Biocouture, a consultancy exploring living organisms to grow clothing and accessories.

Learn more about the project: http://www.aeg-home.com/thenextblack

Join the discussion on Facebook, Twitter and on the hashtag #thenextblack

https://www.facebook.com/pages/AEG-Global/586037381449750
https://twitter.com/aeg_global "

[See also:
http://www.studio-xo.com/
http://www.biocouture.co.uk/
http://www.patagonia.com/us/worn-wear
https://www.ifixit.com/Patagonia
http://www.patagonia.com/us/worn-wear-repairs
http://www.patagonia.com/email/11/112811.html
http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=106223
http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/ad-day-patagonia-136745
https://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=2388
http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2013-11-25/patagonias-confusing-and-effective-campaign-to-grudgingly-sell-stuff ]
design  documentary  fashion  video  clothes  clothing  glvo  reuse  mending  repair  materials  textiles  studioxo  biocouture  adidas  patagonia  recycling  waste  consumerism  consumption  capitalism  biology  wearable  wearables  suzannelee  technology  nancytilbury  suzanne  slow  slowfashion  fastfashion  dyes  dying  industry  manufacturing  globalization  environment  rickridgeway  uniformproject  customization  ifixit  diy  alteration  resuse  repairing 
july 2015 by robertogreco
The American Scholar: Empathy for Inanimate Objects - Josie Glausiusz
"“Watch this poor, abused, washing machine go completely insane and explode,” urges the technology website Gizmodo. Over the next three or so minutes, a videographer, “Aussie50,” inserts a heavy piece of metal into the drum of a front-loading washer and activates its spin cycle. The machine hammers itself to death: its door flies open, the back falls off, wires twist loose, and finally the washer lies deconstructed on the ground. “Best washer-kill ever,” says Aussie50, tittering.

I showed the video to a friend, who said he felt sorry for the machine and asked why it deserved to be destroyed? That empathic reaction makes me wonder why humans feel pity for inanimate objects.

Some insight into this question comes from Astrid M. Rosenthal-von der Pütten, a social psychologist at the University of Duisberg-Essen in Germany. She and her research team have published two studies analyzing how humans respond when a robot is tortured.

In the first study, she divided 41 participants into two groups. Group One watched a two-minute video of a person in a black sweater choking and beating a robot dinosaur, Pleo, as it emitted sounds of suffering, including crying. Group Two watched a two-minute video of Pleo being stroked and fed as it sang, purred, and babbled. The Group One subjects felt significant pity for the robot and anger at the torturer when the robot was tormented; they also experienced higher “physiological arousal,” a measure of human “fight or flight” response.

In the second experiment, published in 2014, Rosenthal-von der Pütten and her team employed brain-scanning to examine how 14 participants would respond to videos of a human, a robot (Pleo), and an inanimate object (a green box) being tortured or treated nicely. Activation of neurons in the brain’s limbic system—areas that process emotions such as anger, happiness, or fear—was similar when robots and humans were treated affectionately. Subjects showed significantly more empathy and emotional distress, however, when the human was abused, as compared to the robot.

Do humans feel empathy for robots because they seem humanlike or, as in the case of the robot-dino, because it appears to suffer when mistreated, as do live animals? “I think, to some extent robots activate the same mechanisms of empathetic processes” that humans do, Rosenthal-von der Pütten responded to my question via email, “but there are not enough studies to draw concrete conclusions. But one can say that the human likeness of robots (in terms of their appearance and of their behavior) plays a role.”

If that is the case, why would anyone feel empathy for a washing machine, which doesn’t seem human at all? Rosenthal-von der Pütten said she is “not aware of any study investigating empathy in the context of non-robotic machines” and cannot explain what the underlying brain mechanisms might be. But one clue, I believe, comes from the studies of Swiss child psychologist Jean Piaget. He noted that children go through a stage of “animistic thinking,” in which they imbue inanimate objects with human emotions; or, as my four-year-old son recently said, “the tiny tractor is tired so he is not scooping up.”

Perhaps adults’ feelings for wasted washers and other non-living matter are a residue of childhood. Or maybe we express empathy because we see what a waste of resources it is to shatter a decent device. Possibly, as we watch the wanton destruction, we intuit the human care with which it was created."
objects  empathy  josieglausiusz  2015  pleo  technology  astridrosenthal-vonerpütten  robots  machines  destruction  waste  care  caring 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Ideas About Education Reform: 22 Things We Do As Educators That Will Embarrass Us In 25 Years by Terry Heick
"22 Things We Do As Educators That Will Embarrass Us In 25 Years
by Terry Heick

Saw a picture today from the 1970s of a mother driving her car with her newborn baby in the passenger seat (no car seat). This, of course, got me thinking about education. What do we do now that in 25 years we’ll look back on and shake our heads? What are our “doctors smoking cigarettes while giving check ups” moments? I have a feeling we’re going to look back and be really confused by quite a bit. There’s probably a lot more than this, but I had to stop somewhere.

22 Things Education Does That Will Embarrass Us In 25 Years

1. We separated literacy from content.
And were confused when we couldn’t properly untangle them.

2. Meter progress by grade levels.
Right now, progress through academia is incremental, like inches on a ruler. These increments are marked by “grade levels,” which really has no meaning other than the artificial one schools have given it in the most self-justifying, circular argument ever.

3. We frowned upon crowdsourced content (e.g., Wikipedia)
Even though it has more updates and cross-checks than more traditional sources of info. It’s not perfect, but it’s the future. Err, present.

4. We gave vacations.
Why do we feel the need to provide months off at a time from learning to read, write, and think? We made school so bad that students couldn’t stand to do it without “vacations”? We cleaved it so cleanly from their daily lives that they “stopped” learning for months at a time?

5. We closed off schools from communities.
Which was the first (of many) errors. Then we let the media report on school progress under terms so artificially binary that we ended up dancing to the drum of newspaper headlines and political pressure.

6. We made it clumsy and awkward for teachers to share curriculum.
Seriously. How is there no seamless, elegant, and mobile way to do this?

7. We turned content into standards.
This makes sense until you realize that, by design, the absolute best this system will yield is students that know content.

8. We were blinded by data, research, and strategies….
..so we couldn’t see the communities, emotions, and habits that really drive learning.

9. We measured mastery once.
At the end of the year in marathon testing. And somehow this made sense? And performance on these tests gave us data that informed the very structures our schools were iterated with over time? Seriously? And we wonder why we chased our tails?

10. We spent huge sums of money on professional development.
While countless free resources floated around us in the digital ether. Silly administrators.

11. We reported progress with report cards.
Hey, I’ve tried other ways and parents get confused and downright feisty. We did a poor job helping parents understand what
grades really meant, and so they insisted on the formats they grew up with.

12. We banned early mobile technology (in this case, smartphones).
And did so for entirely non-academic reasons.

13. We shoehorned technology into dated learning models.
Like adding rockets to a tractor. Why did we not replace the tractor first?

14. We measured mastery with endless writing prompts and multiple-choice tests.
Which, while effective in spots, totally missed the brilliant students who, for whatever reason, never could shine on them.

15. We had parent conferences twice a year.
What? And still only had 15% of parents show up? And we didn’t completely freak out? We must’ve been really sleepy.

16. We ignored apprenticeships.
Apprenticeship is a powerful form of personalized learning that completely marries “content,” performance, craft, and
communities. But try having a 900 apprentices in a school. So much for that.

17. We claimed to “teach students to think for themselves.”
LOL

18. We often put 1000 or more students in the same school.
And couldn’t see how the learning could possibly become industrialized.

19. We frowned on lectures.
Even though that’s essentially what TED Talks are. Instead of making them engaging and interactive multimedia performances led by adults that love their content, we turned passionate teachers into clinical managers of systems and data.

20. We ignored social learning.
And got learning that was neither personal nor social. Curious.

21. We tacked on digital citizenship.
The definition of digital citizenship is “the quality of actions, habits, and consumption patterns that impact the ecology of digital content and communities.” This is artificial to teach outside of the way students use these tools and places on a daily basis–which makes hanging a “digital citizenship” poster or teaching a “digital citizenship” lesson insufficient.
Like literacy, it needs to be fully integrated into the learning experiences of students.

22. We turned to curriculum that was scripted and written by people thousands of miles away.
We panicked, and it was fool’s gold.

Bonus 23. We chewed teachers up and spit them out
We made teachers entirely responsible for planning, measuring, managing, and responding to both mastery and deficiency. And through peer pressure, a little brainwashing, and appealing to their pride, somehow convinced them they really were."
education  schools  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  unschooling  deschooling  terryheick  literacy  content  curriculum  gradelevels  agesegregation  crowdsourcing  wikipedia  community  vacations  standards  standardization  preofessionaldevelopment  money  waste  bureaucracy  technology  edtech  mobile  phones  smartphones  criticalthinking  socialemotional  civics  citizenship  digitalcitizenship  social  learning  lectures  data  bigdata  quantification  apprenticeships  testing  standardizedtesting  assessment  fail  sharing  socialemotionallearning 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Want to get conservatives to save energy? Stop the environmentalist preaching - The Washington Post
"In the end, then, perhaps the best way to think about ideology and energy use is this: Nobody is against efficiency or lower bills. Nobody is for waste. Nobody hates the environment.

But environmental and energy issues are nevertheless wrapped up in politics, which makes conservation, overall, less of a “safe” space for conservatives, according to Renee Lertzman, who works with Brand Cool as Director of Insight and is a consultant on climate change communications. Conservatives often feel “ambivalent” about the topic, she says, pulled in different directions — and liberal assumptions don’t help.

“A lot of people I interviewed felt very offended that they were often assumed to be not caring, they felt very insulted and patronized, because of their choices, and I really felt for that,” Lertzman says. “I felt, it would be so important to convey to people, we know you really do care. And that itself, as a starting off point, would be very powerful.”"

[See also:

“The next energy revolution won’t be in wind or solar. It will be in our brains.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/01/22/the-next-energy-revolution-wont-be-in-wind-or-solar-it-will-be-in-our-brains/

“Why 50 million smart meters still haven’t fixed America’s energy habits”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/01/29/americans-are-this-close-to-finally-understanding-their-electricity-bills/ ]
energy  environment  sustainability  environmentalism  waste  2015  garbage  trash  solar  wind  psychology  politics  preaching  meters  measurement  behavior  us  society 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change
"Would any sane PERSON think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?

Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption — changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much — and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide.

Or let’s talk water. We so often hear that the world is running out of water. People are dying from lack of water. Rivers are dewatered from lack of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. See the disconnect?Because I take showers, I’m responsible for drawing down aquifers? Well, no. More than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry. The remaining 10 percent is split between municipalities and actual living breathing individual humans. Collectively, municipal golf courses use as much water as municipal human beings. People (both human people and fish people) aren’t dying because the world is running out of water. They’re dying because the water is being stolen.

Or let’s talk energy. Kirkpatrick Sale summarized it well: “For the past 15 years the story has been the same every year: individual consumption — residential, by private car, and so on — is never more than about a quarter of all consumption; the vast majority is commercial, industrial, corporate, by agribusiness and government [he forgot military]. So, even if we all took up cycling and wood stoves it would have a negligible impact on energy use, global warming and atmospheric pollution.”

Or let’s talk waste. In 2005, per-capita municipal waste production (basically everything that’s put out at the curb) in the U.S. was about 1,660 pounds. Let’s say you’re a die-hard simple-living activist, and you reduce this to zero. You recycle everything. You bring cloth bags shopping. You fix your toaster. Your toes poke out of old tennis shoes. You’re not done yet, though. Since municipal waste includes not just residential waste, but also waste from government offices and businesses, you march to those offices, waste reduction pamphlets in hand, and convince them to cut down on their waste enough to eliminate your share of it. Uh, I’ve got some bad news. Municipal waste accounts for only 3 percent of total waste production in the United States.

I want to be clear. I’m not saying we shouldn’t live simply. I live reasonably simply myself, but I don’t pretend that not buying much (or not driving much, or not having kids) is a powerful political act, or that it’s deeply revolutionary. It’s not. Personal change doesn’t equal social change.

So how, then, and especially with all the world at stake, have we come to accept these utterly insufficient responses? I think part of it is that we’re in a double bind. A double bind is where you’re given multiple options, but no matter what option you choose, you lose, and withdrawal is not an option. At this point, it should be pretty easy to recognize that every action involving the industrial economy is destructive (and we shouldn’t pretend that solar photovoltaics, for example, exempt us from this: they still require mining and transportation infrastructures at every point in the production processes; the same can be said for every other so-called green technology). So if we choose option one — if we avidly participate in the industrial economy — we may in the short term think we win because we may accumulate wealth, the marker of “success” in this culture. But we lose, because in doing so we give up our empathy, our animal humanity. And we really lose because industrial civilization is killing the planet, which means everyone loses. If we choose the “alternative” option of living more simply, thus causing less harm, but still not stopping the industrial economy from killing the planet, we may in the short term think we win because we get to feel pure, and we didn’t even have to give up all of our empathy (just enough to justify not stopping the horrors), but once again we really lose because industrial civilization is still killing the planet, which means everyone still loses. The third option, acting decisively to stop the industrial economy, is very scary for a number of reasons, including but not restricted to the fact that we’d lose some of the luxuries to which we’ve grown accustomed, and the fact that those in power might try to kill us if we seriously impede their ability to exploit the world — none of which alters the fact that it’s a better option than a dead planet. Any option is a better option than a dead planet.

Besides being ineffective at causing the sorts of changes necessary to stop this culture from killing the planet, there are at least four other problems with perceiving simple living as a political act (as opposed to living simply because that’s what you want to do). The first is that it’s predicated on the flawed notion that humans inevitably harm their landbase. Simple living as a political act consists solely of harm reduction, ignoring the fact that humans can help the Earth as well as harm it. We can rehabilitate streams, we can get rid of noxious invasives, we can remove dams, we can disrupt a political system tilted toward the rich as well as an extractive economic system, we can destroy the industrial economy that is destroying the real, physical world.

The second problem — and this is another big one — is that it incorrectly assigns blame to the individual (and most especially to individuals who are particularly powerless) instead of to those who actually wield power in this system and to the system itself. Kirkpatrick Sale again: “The whole individualist what-you-can-do-to-save-the-earth guilt trip is a myth. We, as individuals, are not creating the crises, and we can’t solve them.”

The third problem is that it accepts capitalism’s redefinition of us from citizens to consumers. By accepting this redefinition, we reduce our potential forms of resistance to consuming and not consuming. Citizens have a much wider range of available resistance tactics, including voting, not voting, running for office, pamphleting, boycotting, organizing, lobbying, protesting, and, when a government becomes destructive of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we have the right to alter or abolish it.

The fourth problem is that the endpoint of the logic behind simple living as a political act is suicide. If every act within an industrial economy is destructive, and if we want to stop this destruction, and if we are unwilling (or unable) to question (much less destroy) the intellectual, moral, economic, and physical infrastructures that cause every act within an industrial economy to be destructive, then we can easily come to believe that we will cause the least destruction possible if we are dead.

The good news is that there are other options. We can follow the examples of brave activists who lived through the difficult times I mentioned — Nazi Germany, Tsarist Russia, antebellum United States — who did far more than manifest a form of moral purity; they actively opposed the injustices that surrounded them. We can follow the example of those who remembered that the role of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much integrity as possible, but rather to confront and take down those systems."
via:caseygollan  2015  change  politicalchange  personalchange  environment  sustainability  environmentalism  derrickjensen  capitalism  consumerism  globalwarming  climatechange  reistance  inconvenienttruth  water  energy  consumption  kirckpatricksale  waste  simplicity  politics  doublebinds  success  wealth  culture  industrialism  activism  purity  morality  injustice  oppression  power  integrity  systemsthinking  systems  misdirection  2009  policy  organization  civilization  individualism  collectivism 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Veblenian dichotomy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"The Veblenian dichotomy is a concept first suggested by sociologist and economist Thorstein Veblen in 1899, in The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions. Veblen made the concept fully into an analytical principle in his 1904 book, The Theory of Business Enterprise.[1] Throughout these and many other writings by Veblen, this analytical principle was a distinction between what he called "institutions" and "technology".

To Veblen, institutions determine how technologies are used. Some institutions are more "ceremonial" than others. A project for Veblen's idealized economist is to be identifying institutions that are too wasteful, and pursuing institutional "adjustment" to make instituted uses of technology more "instrumental". Veblen defines "ceremonial" as related to the past, supportive of "tribal legends" or traditional conserving attitudes and conduct; while the "instrumental" orients itself toward the technological imperative, judging value by the ability to control future consequences.[2]

The theory suggests that although every society depends on tools and skills to support the life process, every society also appears to have a "ceremonial" stratified structure of status that runs contrary to the needs of the "instrumental" (technological) aspects of group life.[3]"

[via: http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2014/05/21/fear-danger-huge-ships-pitfall#comment-822761 ]
economics  theory  thorsteinveblen  leisureclass  technology  institutions  waste  wastefulness  status 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Interview: Toy Story That Time Forgot star Wallace Shawn on the series anti-decadence message
"HitFix: With your writing as sort of a constant presence in your life, have the things that compel you to act – have they changed over the years?

Wallace Shawn: Well it’s hard to say. I certainly would be excited by the thought of a good part or a good project and I suppose that’s always been true. I mean obviously I have a craving for a bourgeois lifestyle or middle class lifestyle and so it’s exciting to be asked to do some work and be paid for it because that enables me to lead the bourgeois lifestyle that I can’t seem to wean myself away from. So yes, people... Yes, I mean what can I say? Working is something that I appreciate.

HitFix: Do you feel like you’re more drawn to that, as you say, bourgeois lifestyle now than you were 20 years ago? Was the balance at one point being drawn more to the art or to something else I guess?

Wallace Shawn: No. I’ve always really wanted to – when I say "wanted" I’ve always had an addiction to a bourgeois lifestyle and I don’t live very differently from the way I’ve always lived. It’s just a question of can you pay the bills or not. The bills themselves, give or take inflation what have you, are not tremendously different from one year to the next in my life. And my life is not terribly different.

HitFix: Do you ever stand back and look at sort of the themes of the "Toy Story" movies and the franchise and how that relates to consumerism and your own feelings on that culture?

Wallace Shawn: Well the film shows a middle class household. Well, Andy’s household, and Bonnie’s household is also a middle class household, so there’s definitely in this short film there is a – the young boy that Bonnie goes to visit seems to be a bit decadent and to have an outrageous number of toys, more than he’s using and there’s a certain statement there that this is excessive. And he doesn’t even play with those toys because in the film he’s watching video games or playing video games.

HitFix: And do you think that this is a message that kids get out of it as well or is it just something that you can take away yourself?

Wallace Shawn: No I think that a kid would take away the same thing I do. There’s something disturbing about the scene in that boy’s house and of course the whole idea of playing which is so emphasized in all of the films is kind of about finding satisfaction in your own imagination, which is helped along by these material objects, toys. But the basic idea is that you can have quite a lot of fun based on your own fantasies and, in fact, in this particular short film that is contrasted with the world of the violent toys, who get fun only out of crushing each other and conquering each other. The little Pixar gang is much more gentle and innocent and they get pleasure from fantasy."
2014  wallaceshawn  via:maxfenton  interviews  toystory  children  consumerism  imagination  toys  oneandonly  glvo  possessions  excess  consumption  play  fantasy  materialism  waste 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Make technological utopia easier with this one weird trick | Blog | Futurismic
"Now, as a card-carrying Harawayian, I am in no way averse to ascribing agency to non-human and/or artefactual subjects; what bothers me about these scenarios is that they largely remove agency from human subjects, being variations on the Software Salvationism which believes that all obstacles might be overcome through the addition of EVN MOAR ALGOS PLZ*, and assumes (falsely, I hope) that people would like less direct control over the way their world works rather than more. But it’s kind of inevitable, really: when you ask “how can technology make a better future?” you foreclose (whether deliberately or not) on the possibility of making that better future with anything other than new technology; this is one of the epistemological bear-traps of technological determinism, which Kelly and many other tech-centric futures people have been circling around for decades.

But it’s easily enough stepped out of; all you need to do is take the “technology” specifier out of the question, and/or avoid asking it of people who identify with technology in either a entrepreneurial or quasi-religious manner (no beer for you, Ray Kurzweil). By way of example, here’s my own late submission to Kelly’s call, a 101-word haiku describing a desirable future:
No one goes hungry. No one sleeps outdoors, unless they choose to. No one is conscripted as a child-soldier. No one is maimed by land-mines made on the other side of the world. No one is exploited for the betterment or gain of another. No one is a second class citizen to anyone. Nothing is wasted. Things – whether material or digital – are made with care and thought, and are made to last a long, long time. We appreciate a plurality of systems of value alongside the legacy cash-money system, which we keep going as a honey-trap distraction for the instinctively acquisitive.

If that’s not utopian and desirable, I don’t know what it is. And as implausible, unlikely and peacenik-pie-in-the-sky as you might (very reasonably) choose to call it, it is possible — because it doesn’t require us to make a single damned invention or piece of software we don’t already have. We have everything we need already; it’s just, as Gibson didn’t quite say, not yet evenly distributed. That means my little scenario above is intrinsically more plausible than any future that requires a technological novum to make it work, because [Occam's Razor]. And if you’re aching to say “but hang on, you’ll never get that to work because getting people to change the way they do things isn’t at all simple”, then congratulations –you’ve internalised the very point I’ve been trying to make all along. Have a cookie.

In short, then, and in hope of answering Kelly’s rhetorical question: the reason it is no longer possible/easy to write believable technological utopias is that we’ve had enough historical and personal experience with previous technologies failing to deliver on their utopian promises that we are no longer willing to take them at face value; we no longer believe that new technologies are an unalloyed good in and of themselves, and there have been sufficient charlatan futurists that we’ve started to assume they’re all charlatans until proven otherwise.

So perhaps we’re edging closer to utopia faster than we thought."
paulgrahamraven  2014  utopia  economics  donnnaharaway  transhumanism  humanism  technology  inequality  kevinkelly  future  futures  policy  politics  waste  environment  care  thought 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Rev Dan Catt: Conference Eaters
"The ushers usher us out of that hallowed place into the blinking bright sunlight the godly ones having already flown, blazing trails of CO2 in their wake.

And that's how conferences work.

Maybe I should back up a little and explain.

**The tech conference should not exist.**

Or at least not in its current form. This is what I used to believe until I finally understood the truth which I've written above. It's the only way I can make sense of it.

We are post future, we don't have flying cars but we do have the network slowly bringing us everything else. Hmmm, let me put it a different way, if you have a tech conference called "The state of the network" in 2014/15/16 in which speakers and audience travel from different parts of the country/world to talk/hear about how the network is making things better, then we've all clearly failed.

This is how technology and conferences are failing you.

People fly from one country to another, to sit in a room together and watch Edward Snowdon talk from yet another country up on a big screen. Don't even get me started on overflow rooms with screens for keynote speakers.

A conference cannot be about the dissemination of information because we have YouTube. Why reach an audience of 200 when you can reach the wired world? Tech conferences where a person stands at the front and preaches visions as a way to spread knowledge is so laughably outdated it's unreal. Vimeo, Twitch, YouTube, Podcasts, blogs, tweets are all faster and scale more than meatspace.

Maybe it's about the transference of money from supporters to speakers (and organisers). Perhaps those speakers wouldn't share their knowledge for free on the intertubes, maybe they've spent years working something important out and deserve to be remunerated for by a select few followers. Ah, Information as limited resources to give it value in a digital era, and of course not forgetting that speakers often don't get paid anyway.

Again technology is failing us if we can't work out a way to pay people for information in the age of the internet. However you're right, it's just like music. Bands have to accept that their music spreads for free (or even encourage it) as record labels cling to the last century, and make the money instead from gigs, a paying audience who want the live experience.

Which brings me to the final reason given for conferences. "That was inspiring" is the comment I often hear when asking someone how a conference went... "I'm not quite sure what they said is applicable to what I'm doing, but it was inspiring". Paying to be inspired, yeah ok, I get it. This goes smoothly into "it was a chance to get together with friends I don't normally get to see, and work paid for it".

If going to a conference is the only way to get time free from work to see your friends and peers then once again we have been tricked out of the technological future we were promised. The one where we weren't all so busy making computers do work for us that we had some leisure time beyond grabbing a coffee at lunch with the next start-up over.

The speakers are just a backdrop for the meetings in the corridors and bars. The solution to that is an Event not a Conference. Stop going to conferences, stop making conferences, stop flying people halfway around the world, putting them up in hotels and making them talk to 400 people in a room. Go to an event and talk with all 400 people in a room instead.

However...

**The tech conference should exist.**

That is what I believed for a long time. I stopped going to conferences, well the conferences itself, I've still gone to the location of a conference to meet my friends and hang out in the bar afterwards. Paid for the transport and hotel myself, and then caught up with the conference videos afterwards if available. Then worked out how to support the speakers by buying whatever it is they're selling, if anything.

No, this is what I realised.

A conference is a way to force a smart person hurtling forwards to stop and collect their thoughts by making them a speaker, otherwise they'd be too busy to record their own video or write a blog post.

Every conference speaker I've know has come out of a conference understanding themselves and what they are thinking about better then before they went in. Its been the same when I've spoken at conferences (which I've stopped doing now) the weeks beforehand gathering up all the threads of an idea or two, weaving it all together for a single point in time.

These brilliant minds, which often run along and beyond the bleeding edge need to be made to focus to raise them to the next level so we can all benefit.

We supplicate ourselves before our idols, allowing them to consume our energy and brain to evolve themselves further. And that is what conferences are for, because otherwise what use are they that we shouldn't have already solved with technology."
revdancatt  conferences  climatechange  2014  speakers  information  technology  canon  internet  money  waste 
october 2014 by robertogreco
#stacktivism: Agbogbloshie is a former wetland and suburb...
"
Agbogbloshie is a former wetland and suburb of Accra, Ghana known as a destination for legal and illegal exportation and environmental dumping of electronic waste (e-waste) from industrialized nations. Often referred to as a “digital dumping ground”, millions of tons of e-waste are processed each year in Agbogbloshie.[1][2] As of March 2014, it was the world’s largest e-waste dump.[3]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agbogbloshie

Photo: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/jul/25/nyaba-leon-ouedraogo-best-photograph


THERE IS ONLY MISERY AT BOTH ENDS OF THE SUPPLY CHAIN.

BUT IM SURE YOU ENJOYED YOUR SMARTPHONE FOR THE 18MONTHS YOU HAD IT BEFORE YOU GOT A NEW ONE. // JAY"
stacktivism  2014  waste  ewaste  agbogbloshie  consumerism  plannedobsolescence  environment  electronics  misery  accra  ghana 
september 2014 by robertogreco
My wife is a lazy liar | smithdeville
"I work at a real job, and I don’t go to nearly as many “meetings” as my wife does. Many of her meetings, she says, are focused on discussing test results, new testing procedures, testing tests, test testing, tester testing, and test testing testers. Occasionally, she says, these meeting diverge into other topics such as testing evaluations. Some meetings allegedly occur during school hours when my wife should be “teaching.” These meetings are dreamed up by highly-paid, redundant administrators who have clandestine responsibilities no one can figure out. At the end of these meetings, it is determined that “teachers” at my wife’s school are not spending enough time teaching."
education  edreform  policy  meetings  busywork  testing  organizations  standardizedtesting  adminstrativebloat  waste  schools  via:lukeneff 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Two ways to work for nothing – GEOFF SHULLENBERGER
"In an interview about The People’s Platform, Astra Taylor notes that of late “more and more of us are encouraged to think of ourselves as artists no matter what our line of work. It’s a way of framing some of the unappealing things about our current economic condition — the lack of stability or of a social safety net—as something desirable and empowering. The ethos of the artist — someone who is willing to work with no guarantee of reward, who will sacrifice and self-exploit around the clock — is demanded of people across the board.” This tendency manifests itself in many realms: Taylor gives the example of Apple Store employees being told they should be grateful just to have the experience of working for Apple, but the rhetoric used to draw freelancers into digital sweatshops matches what she describes even more perfectly. Then we have the phenomenon I have been examining lately on this blog: the replacement of skilled workers with volunteers.

Alongside the imperative to embrace your exploitation as an artist embraces her vocation, though, proliferates the contrasting logic of what David Graeber called ”bullshit jobs” in a memorable article from last year. In a recent interview on the subject, Graeber explains that he is mainly referring to “meaningless office jobs [where workers] are basically paid to act busy all day. A lot of them may really work one or two hours, and the rest of the time they’re downloading stuff from the Internet, or playing around on Facebook or something. But, their job is to sit in an office, and basically valorize the idea that everybody should look busy all the time, that work is valuable in itself.” As Graeber notes, the expansion of this area of employment seems to be an economic paradox: “According to economic theory, at least, the last thing a profit-seeking firm is going to do is shell out money to workers they don’t really need to employ. Still, somehow, it happens.” Graeber’s solution: “The answer clearly isn’t economic: it’s moral and political. The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on their hands is a mortal danger… And, on the other hand, the feeling that work is a moral value in itself, and that anyone not willing to submit themselves to some kind of intense work discipline for most of their waking hours deserves nothing, is extraordinarily convenient for them.”

Compare this to BuzzFeed’s and Coursera’s translation strategies: they really need the translation to be done, but they have invented elaborate schemes to avoid paying translators. The value and necessity of the work of translation to their companies could not be clearer, yet in this area a logic of ruthless efficiency applies, but not when it comes to the kind of jobs Graeber is describing: much of that work does not seem to be fundamentally needed by anyone, yet paradoxically organizations are willing to pay workers for it. As long as it is something that you would do even if it were unpaid, it is increasingly becoming something you have to do for free or for very little. On the other hand, you can be paid to do the kind of jobs that no one would do if managers did not invent them.

For Graeber, bullshit jobs carry with them a moral imperative: “If you’re not busy all the time doing something, anything — doesn’t really matter what it is — you’re a bad person.” But the flipside of that logic seems to be: if you actually like doing x activity, if it is valuable, meaningful, and carries intrinsic rewards for you, it is wrong for you to expect to be paid (well) for it; you should give it freely, even (especially) if by doing so you are allowing others to profit. In other words, we’ll make a living from you doing what you love (for free), but we’ll keep you in check by making sure you have to make a living doing what you hate."
bullshitjobs  geoffshullenberger  astrataylor  labor  work  economics  art  2014  davidgraeber  busyness  inefficiency  waste  politics  morality  productivity  happiness  translation  taskrabbit  buzzfeed  coursera  employment  coercion  discipline  society  capitalism  universalbasicincome  socialsafetynet  class  ubi 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Alexandra Lange on 3D printers versus the sewing machine
"In March, Slate Magazine's Seth Stevenson provided a public service when he borrowed a Solidoodle 4, pitched as the "accessible", "affordable" 3D printer, and attempted to print a bottle opener from Thingiverse. [http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2014/03/solidoodle_4_testing_the_home_3_d_printer.html ] Results, as they say, vary, but he ended up, after a series of phone calls and false starts, with "a functionless, semi-decorative piece of plastic."

The bumbling encounter with technology is a popular stratagem for Slate, but here it pointed directly to the reason we're not seeing a 3D printer in every den. I've seen those rhino heads, those dinosaur skulls. They do not fill me with delight, but remind me instead of the cheap toys my kids bring home from birthday parties and I throw away in the night. Why bother? How is printing your Triceratops at home more creative, more making, than buying one from a store? In either case, step one is scrolling through pages of online options, pointing and clicking in 2D.

Stevenson concluded that 3D printing was no place for amateurs, but for tinkerers. Those able to work under the hood of the printer: to understand the terms in the manual, to customise or create their own products for Thingiverse. For such tinkerers, neighbourhood printing hubs like Techshop, where subscribers can go to use physical or digital tools, make more sense. Designers taking advantage of 3D printers' capabilities for rapid prototyping and small-batch production have already started farming out the actual printing to places like Shapeways. When we stopped having to fax even weekly, we all got rid of those machines.

But then Stevenson took a turn toward the larger question of craft. He wrote, "Once upon a time, people purchased sewing patterns (like a program from Thingiverse) and yards of fabric (like filament) and they made their own clothes. I wasn't alive back then, but I'm pretty sure the process sucked."

I must be older than Stevenson, because my mother and grandmother sewed clothes for me. My mother, aunt and I have all sewed clothes and quilts for my children. They are not amateurishly constructed. We managed to make them while also holding down full time jobs. And judging from the extremely active online sewing community, the active trade in old machines and patterns on Ebay, and the ease with which one can locate a scan of a thirty-year-old sewing machine manual, the digital age has not turned sewing into a novelty, but spawned a revival of interest. In fact, if 3D printers are truly going to become a consumer good, they have a lot to learn from the sewing machine.

Because Stevenson snidely generalised from his own limited experience, he missed the instructive dialogue between craft and the machine age. Post-industrial sewing is not a freak but a respite. In Evgeny Morozov's recent New Yorker essay on the new makers, he quotes historian Jackson Lears' critique of the Arts & Crafts movement as "a revivifying hobby for the affluent." I'd say middle-class: (mostly) women who aren't seeing what they want, at a price they can afford, in the marketplace.

There’s an appetite for the "refashion," recycling an old dress or an adult T-shirt, and turning it into something new. Once upon a time, the use of flour sacks as fabric prompted grain-sellers to start offering their wares in flowered cotton bags. If some boutique grain company began doing that again, there would be a run on their product. Under the technology radar, there's a community of people sharing free patterns, knowledge and results, without the interpolation of brands, constantly obsolescent machinery, or the self-serving and myth-making rhetoric Morozov finds in Chris Anderson's Makers. There are the answers to the questions "Why bother?" and "How creative?" Rather than sewing being a cautionary tale, 3D printing can't become a consumer good until it learns a few lessons from why we sew now.

Number one: what's not available on the market. If you have a girl child in America, it is often difficult to find reasonably-priced, 100 per cent cotton clothing for her without ruffles, pink or purple, butterflies and hearts. If you go to the boy section, you run into an equally limiting set of colors, navy and army green, and an abundance of sports insignia. A full-skirted dress, a petite skirt, prints for the plus-sized – there are plenty of styles that are not novelties but, when not in fashion, disappear from stores. Online you can find patterns to make any of the above for less than $10, and fabric at the same price per yard. Online you can find step-by-step explanations, with photos, of how to make that pattern. That world of patterns is vast, constantly updated, and historically rich. Yes, sewing your own garment will take some time, but then you will have exactly what you want. That's why women bother.



Second lesson: recycling. Say my mother did actually sew something amateurishly. That's not the end of the story. A mis-printed jet-pack bunny is so much trash (unless I buy a second machine like a Filabot to remelt my filament). A mis-sewn seam can be ripped out and redone. An old dress can be refashioned into a new one. A favorite vintage piece can be copied. Sewing does not create more waste but, potentially, less, and the process of sewing is filled with opportunities for increasing one's skills and doing it over as well as doing it yourself. What are quilts, after all, but a clever way to use every last scrap of precious fabric?

So far, 3D printing's DIY aspects seem more akin to the "magic" of an ant farm, watching growth behind glass. Sewing lets the maker find their own materials, and get involved with every aspect of the process. 3D printing could do this, and there are classes, but even at the Makerbot showroom the primary interaction seemed to be ordering from Thingiverse. My local sewing shop has to teach more women to sew to survive; I don't see the printer makers coming to the same conclusion.

In addition, the machines themselves are constantly becoming junk. It's not unusual for new technology to change quickly. That's the fourth Solidoodle since 2011. Makerbot is on its fifth generation. It is early days for 3D printing, and the machines may eventually stabilise. But the rapid obsolescence suggests a lifecycle closer to that of a mobile phone than of a washing machine, which might also turn consumers off. The sewing machine was considered a lifetime purchase.

Last but not least, sharing. This is the one consumer area where 3D printing approaches sewing's success. From the Free Universal Construction Kit to full-body scans, the idea of open-source, free, and social-media enabled printing has been built-in to the 3D process. Showing off what you made is better when you created it, rather than printed it out. On the sewing blogs, the process pictures are half the fun, and most of the interest. What does it really teach your children when you can get doll house furniture on demand, except a desire for ever-more-instant gratification? For me to believe in 3D printers as a home machine, I'd have to see the digital file equivalent of women in their off-hours, making up patterns as they go along, sharing mistakes, dreaming better dreams. 3D printing feels bottled up, professionalised, too expensive for the experimentation of cut and sew and rip and sew again.

Stevenson wrote, "most people would much rather just get their clothes from a store — already assembled by people employing industrial-level efficiency and a wide variety of materials," and that's true. What Solidoodle and Makerbot and the rest should be looking at is the people who have seen everything in the store and found it wanting."
alexandralange  2014  sewing  3dprinting  makerbots  making  makers  repair  reuse  glvo  sharing  obsolescence  process  howwework  cv  waste  utility  technology  fabrication  alteration  thingiverse  purpose  usefulness  solidoodle  makerbot  recycling  agency  need  necessity  patterns  clothing  wearables  techshop  shapeways  sethstevenson  craft  lcproject  openstudioproject  homeec  repairing 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Forget Shorter Showers | Derrick Jensen | Orion Magazine
"WOULD ANY SANE PERSON think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?

Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide.

Or let’s talk water. We so often hear that the world is running out of water. People are dying from lack of water. Rivers are dewatered from lack of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. See the disconnect? Because I take showers, I’m responsible for drawing down aquifers? Well, no. More than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry. The remaining 10 percent is split between municipalities and actual living breathing individual humans. Collectively, municipal golf courses use as much water as municipal human beings. People (both human people and fish people) aren’t dying because the world is running out of water. They’re dying because the water is being stolen.

Or let’s talk energy. Kirkpatrick Sale summarized it well: “For the past 15 years the story has been the same every year: individual consumption—residential, by private car, and so on—is never more than about a quarter of all consumption; the vast majority is commercial, industrial, corporate, by agribusiness and government [he forgot military]. So, even if we all took up cycling and wood stoves it would have a negligible impact on energy use, global warming and atmospheric pollution.”

Or let’s talk waste. In 2005, per-capita municipal waste production (basically everything that’s put out at the curb) in the U.S. was about 1,660 pounds. Let’s say you’re a die-hard simple-living activist, and you reduce this to zero. You recycle everything. You bring cloth bags shopping. You fix your toaster. Your toes poke out of old tennis shoes. You’re not done yet, though. Since municipal waste includes not just residential waste, but also waste from government offices and businesses, you march to those offices, waste reduction pamphlets in hand, and convince them to cut down on their waste enough to eliminate your share of it. Uh, I’ve got some bad news. Municipal waste accounts for only 3 percent of total waste production in the United States.

I want to be clear. I’m not saying we shouldn’t live simply. I live reasonably simply myself, but I don’t pretend that not buying much (or not driving much, or not having kids) is a powerful political act, or that it’s deeply revolutionary. It’s not. Personal change doesn’t equal social change.

So how, then, and especially with all the world at stake, have we come to accept these utterly insufficient responses? I think part of it is that we’re in a double bind. A double bind is where you’re given multiple options, but no matter what option you choose, you lose, and withdrawal is not an option. At this point, it should be pretty easy to recognize that every action involving the industrial economy is destructive (and we shouldn’t pretend that solar photovoltaics, for example, exempt us from this: they still require mining and transportation infrastructures at every point in the production processes; the same can be said for every other so-called green technology). So if we choose option one—if we avidly participate in the industrial economy—we may in the short term think we win because we may accumulate wealth, the marker of “success” in this culture. But we lose, because in doing so we give up our empathy, our animal humanity. And we really lose because industrial civilization is killing the planet, which means everyone loses. If we choose the “alternative” option of living more simply, thus causing less harm, but still not stopping the industrial economy from killing the planet, we may in the short term think we win because we get to feel pure, and we didn’t even have to give up all of our empathy (just enough to justify not stopping the horrors), but once again we really lose because industrial civilization is still killing the planet, which means everyone still loses. The third option, acting decisively to stop the industrial economy, is very scary for a number of reasons, including but not restricted to the fact that we’d lose some of the luxuries (like electricity) to which we’ve grown accustomed, and the fact that those in power might try to kill us if we seriously impede their ability to exploit the world—none of which alters the fact that it’s a better option than a dead planet. Any option is a better option than a dead planet.

Besides being ineffective at causing the sorts of changes necessary to stop this culture from killing the planet, there are at least four other problems with perceiving simple living as a political act (as opposed to living simply because that’s what you want to do). The first is that it’s predicated on the flawed notion that humans inevitably harm their landbase. Simple living as a political act consists solely of harm reduction, ignoring the fact that humans can help the Earth as well as harm it. We can rehabilitate streams, we can get rid of noxious invasives, we can remove dams, we can disrupt a political system tilted toward the rich as well as an extractive economic system, we can destroy the industrial economy that is destroying the real, physical world.

The second problem—and this is another big one—is that it incorrectly assigns blame to the individual (and most especially to individuals who are particularly powerless) instead of to those who actually wield power in this system and to the system itself. Kirkpatrick Sale again: “The whole individualist what-you-can-do-to-save-the-earth guilt trip is a myth. We, as individuals, are not creating the crises, and we can’t solve them.”

The third problem is that it accepts capitalism’s redefinition of us from citizens to consumers. By accepting this redefinition, we reduce our potential forms of resistance to consuming and not consuming. Citizens have a much wider range of available resistance tactics, including voting, not voting, running for office, pamphleting, boycotting, organizing, lobbying, protesting, and, when a government becomes destructive of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we have the right to alter or abolish it.

The fourth problem is that the endpoint of the logic behind simple living as a political act is suicide. If every act within an industrial economy is destructive, and if we want to stop this destruction, and if we are unwilling (or unable) to question (much less destroy) the intellectual, moral, economic, and physical infrastructures that cause every act within an industrial economy to be destructive, then we can easily come to believe that we will cause the least destruction possible if we are dead.

The good news is that there are other options. We can follow the examples of brave activists who lived through the difficult times I mentioned—Nazi Germany, Tsarist Russia, antebellum United States—who did far more than manifest a form of moral purity; they actively opposed the injustices that surrounded them. We can follow the example of those who remembered that the role of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much integrity as possible, but rather to confront and take down those systems. "
activism  consumerism  consumption  environment  politics  derrickjensen  2009  systems  systemsthinking  policy  simplicity  organization  civilization  sustainability  individualism  collectivism  via:caseygollan  2015  change  politicalchange  personalchange  environmentalism  capitalism  globalwarming  climatechange  reistance  inconvenienttruth  water  energy  kirckpatricksale  waste  doublebinds  success  wealth  culture  industrialism  purity  morality  injustice  oppression  power  integrity  misdirection 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Orion Magazine | A New Project from Orion
"Once a point of national pride and identity, America’s infrastructure is showing its age. Even in their heyday, the big infrastructure projects of the past were not always mindful of the communities in which they were built, nor did they reflect or respect the realities of life on a finite planet.

But this is a finite planet, and many communities are imagining new systems and structures for transportation, food, water, waste, energy, and information. In the process, they’re creating new, more beautiful, more resilient public works.

Welcome to Reimagining Infrastructure, a new series from Orion exploring infrastructure solutions for the next generation."
orionmagazine  infrastructure  environment  sustainability  2013  2014  erikhoffner  rownjacobsen  cynthiabarnett  rosemclarney  jeffreyharrison  peterbrewitt  hemersonblake  writing  poetry  essays  systems  systemsthinking  food  water  waste  energy  information  publicworks 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Minimum Viable Artwork | Feral Research Coalition
"That established cultural institutions are having a hard time relating to art and culture made with contemporary technology is painfully apparent. That they want to remedy this by turning towards the incubator model only shows how desperately regressive they are."



"It is unlikely that any of the artists featured in the exhibitions I mentioned above will be found writing Python code over a cafe midnight at Ritual (unless it’s their day job) because, for the most part, in the ecosystem of the artists I admire who are chasing the meat of art and tech, there couldn’t be three institutions less relevant than New York’s major museums, startup culture and (since I’m barbecuing sacred cows): hacker spaces.

This is not to say that these institutions are inherently evil or bad at what they do, it’s just to say that they are at best not particularly relevant to art production and at worst unintentionally destructive. In all cases this has mostly to do with their formal positions with regards to the dreaded market.

Major museums may wish to have a broad cultural mission and many even succeed on occasion, but they exist largely to condense, wash, clean, process and present the dirty fucked-up art world for preservation and trade. They are in the packaging business. If an artwork appears in MoMA it has been dipped in preservative and the edges have been filed off. This doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious, but Hostess isn’t your neighborhood bakery (which, in any case, is still a business and nothing at all like your grandmother’s home cooking). Museums, while occasionally flying the flag of the freaky creative class, have more in common with financial institutions than artist studios. (Quick: name one heist film that featured burgling a working artist)."



"In the end I don’t want to specifically criticize the New Museum’s venture because I believe it’s a symptom rather than the disease. We have come to believe that art and technology are somehow the same thing, just as we have internalized the idea that creative success and financial success are equivalent.

Art as I know it is messy, complicated, dirty, scary and sharp. It causes problems and fails to measure up and resists categorization. It generates failure. It wastes time and money. It burns through cash and it doesn’t say why.

Museums are archives and represent the endpoint of work, not the wellspring of creativity. If an artwork has solidified out of this primordial state it is not because it represents the “cutting edge” it is because it is finished. As Dave Hickey says: “Whatever happy contingencies fluttered around it disperse, as it departs society and enters “the culture,” where it must necessarily mean less, but to a lot more people. It’s spectator-food, now, scholar-fodder, so you may safely stick a fork in it, tell yourself you’ve won, and go to your room.”

I am not surprised that a major museum as a cultural actor is going to make a safe bet, in particular with regards to technology-based works which are notoriously risky and problematic as art objects. (“It worked five minutes ago” doesn’t fly well among preservationists or collectors). That most of the highly visible contemporary art and technology works currently being displayed are repeatable (if shallow) spectacles is not a major revelation, but it bears a hard look.

It bothers me that the last time I visited the New Museum I ducked into their auxiliary space to be confronted by Nathalie Djurbeg and Hans Berg’s delightfully weird Bird Parade. This was an artist and musician I had never heard of before, and I stayed until the guards kicked me out. Next time, a visit to the same space will require an NDA and likely revealing nothing more interesting than a bunch of white dudes pounding keyboards and energy drinks.

"It bothers me that the notion of artistic risk has been so de-fanged that it can be expressed only in terms of market risk (Serrano’s 1989 Piss Christ was both far more daring and far more beautiful than wasting series A funding, no matter how hot your photo sharing ap might be).

It bothers me that we even consider business strategy as a replacement for encouraging art production. I don’t anticipate the return of public arts funding for individual artists in the United States, but in a world of crowd funding filled with the likes of Kickstarter and Indiegogo and Bandcamp what the art world, (and in particular the art and tech field) needs are a lot fewer “startup incubators” and a lot more Awesome Foundations."

[via: https://twitter.com/matthewward/status/411041722739597313 ]

[See also: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303670804579236523526323820 ]
andrewsempere  inefficiency  newmuseum  davehickey  startupculture  kickstarter  indiegogo  bandcamp  awesomefoundation  2013  art  process  messiness  artproduction  diy  hackerspaces  incubators  culture  culturecreation  waste  time  money  markets  artmarket  finance  juliakaganskiy  artincubators  culturemaking  culturalproduction  andresserrano 
december 2013 by robertogreco
On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs | Strike! Magazine
"So what are these new jobs, precisely? A recent report comparing employment in the US between 1910 and 2000 gives us a clear picture (and I note, one pretty much exactly echoed in the UK). Over the course of the last century, the number of workers employed as domestic servants, in industry, and in the farm sector has collapsed dramatically. At the same time, “professional, managerial, clerical, sales, and service workers” tripled, growing “from one-quarter to three-quarters of total employment.” In other words, productive jobs have, just as predicted, been largely automated away (even if you count industrial workers globally, including the toiling masses in India and China, such workers are still not nearly so large a percentage of the world population as they used to be).

But rather than allowing a massive reduction of working hours to free the world’s population to pursue their own projects, pleasures, visions, and ideas, we have seen the ballooning not even so much of the “service” sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations. And these numbers do not even reflect on all those people whose job is to provide administrative, technical, or security support for these industries, or for that matter the whole host of ancillary industries (dog-washers, all-night pizza deliverymen) that only exist because everyone else is spending so much of their time working in all the other ones.

These are what I propose to call “bullshit jobs.”"



"There is a whole class of salaried professionals that, should you meet them at parties and admit that you do something that might be considered interesting (an anthropologist, for example), will want to avoid even discussing their line of work entirely. Give them a few drinks, and they will launch into tirades about how pointless and stupid their job really is.

This is a profound psychological violence here. How can one even begin to speak of dignity in labour when one secretly feels one’s job should not exist? How can it not create a sense of deep rage and resentment. Yet it is the peculiar genius of our society that its rulers have figured out a way, as in the case of the fish-fryers, to ensure that rage is directed precisely against those who actually do get to do meaningful work. For instance: in our society, there seems a general rule that, the more obviously one’s work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it. Again, an objective measure is hard to find, but one easy way to get a sense is to ask: what would happen were this entire class of people to simply disappear? Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it’s obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic. A world without teachers or dock-workers would soon be in trouble, and even one without science fiction writers or ska musicians would clearly be a lesser place. It’s not entirely clear how humanity would suffer were all private equity CEOs, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants to similarly vanish. (Many suspect it might markedly improve.) Yet apart from a handful of well-touted exceptions (doctors), the rule holds surprisingly well.

Even more perverse, there seems to be a broad sense that this is the way things should be. This is one of the secret strengths of right-wing populism. You can see it when tabloids whip up resentment against tube workers for paralysing London during contract disputes: the very fact that tube workers can paralyse London shows that their work is actually necessary, but this seems to be precisely what annoys people. It’s even clearer in the US, where Republicans have had remarkable success mobilizing resentment against school teachers, or auto workers (and not, significantly, against the school administrators or auto industry managers who actually cause the problems) for their supposedly bloated wages and benefits. It’s as if they are being told “but you get to teach children! Or make cars! You get to have real jobs! And on top of that you have the nerve to also expect middle-class pensions and health care?”

If someone had designed a work regime perfectly suited to maintaining the power of finance capital, it’s hard to see how they could have done a better job. Real, productive workers are relentlessly squeezed and exploited. The remainder are divided between a terrorised stratum of the, universally reviled, unemployed and a larger stratum who are basically paid to do nothing, in positions designed to make them identify with the perspectives and sensibilities of the ruling class (managers, administrators, etc) – and particularly its financial avatars – but, at the same time, foster a simmering resentment against anyone whose work has clear and undeniable social value. Clearly, the system was never consciously designed. It emerged from almost a century of trial and error. But it is the only explanation for why, despite our technological capacities, we are not all working 3-4 hour days."

[Also here with an altered title: http://www.smh.com.au/national/public-service/the-modern-phenomenon-of-nonsense-jobs-20130831-2sy3j.html ]
economics  employment  jobs  politics  davidgraeber  capitalism  work  meaning  purpose  waste  power  resentment  vocations  bullshitjobs  2013  administrativebloat 
september 2013 by robertogreco
BBC - Blogs - Adam Curtis - BUGGER
"The recent revelations by the whistleblower Edward Snowden were fascinating. But they - and all the reactions to them - had one enormous assumption at their heart.

That the spies know what they are doing.

It is a belief that has been central to much of the journalism about spying and spies over the past fifty years. That the anonymous figures in the intelligence world have a dark omniscience. That they know what's going on in ways that we don't.

It doesn't matter whether you hate the spies and believe they are corroding democracy, or if you think they are the noble guardians of the state. In both cases the assumption is that the secret agents know more than we do.

But the strange fact is that often when you look into the history of spies what you discover is something very different.

It is not the story of men and women who have a better and deeper understanding of the world than we do. In fact in many cases it is the story of weirdos who have created a completely mad version of the world that they then impose on the rest of us.

I want to tell some stories about MI5 - and the very strange people who worked there. They are often funny, sometimes rather sad - but always very odd.

The stories also show how elites in Britain have used the aura of secret knowledge as a way of maintaining their power. But as their power waned the "secrets" became weirder and weirder.

They were helped in this by another group who also felt their power was waning - journalists. And together the journalists and spies concocted a strange, dark world of treachery and deceit which bore very little relationship to what was really going on. And still doesn't."
mi5  uk  government  spying  adamcurtis  history  intelligence  espionage  incompetence  waste  security  bureaucracy  2013  coldwar  edwardsnowden 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Why Valve? Or, what do we need corporations for and how does Valve’s management structure fit into today’s corporate world? | Valve
"Whatever the future of Valve turns out like, one thing is for certain – and it so happens that it constitutes the reason why I am personally excited to be part of Valve: The current system of corporate governance is bunk. Capitalist corporations are on the way to certain extinction. Replete with hierarchies that are exceedingly wasteful of human talent and energies, intertwined with toxic finance, co-dependent with political structures that are losing democratic legitimacy fast, a form of post-capitalist, decentralised corporation will, sooner or later, emerge. The eradication of distribution and marginal costs, the capacity of producers to have direct access to billions of customers instantaneously, the advances of open source communities and mentalities, all these fascinating developments are bound to turn the autocratic Soviet-like megaliths of today into curiosities that students of political economy, business studies et al will marvel at in the future, just like school children marvel at dinosaur skeletons at the Natural History museum. I trust that Valve’s organisation will become, if not a central chapter, at the very least an important footnote in this historical turn."
business  capitalism  economics  valve  management  administration  leadership  2012  via:caseygollan  yanisvaroufakis  hierarchies  hierarchy  horizontality  verticality  corporatism  waste  watefulness  finance  democracy  unschooling  deschooling  postcapitalism 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Mottainai - Wikipedia
"Mottainai (もったいない, 勿体無い?) is a Japanese term meaning "a sense of regret concerning waste when the intrinsic value of an object or resource is not properly utilized".[1] The expression "Mottainai!" can be uttered alone as an exclamation when something useful, such as food or time, is wasted, meaning roughly "Oh, what a waste!" In addition to its primary sense of "wasteful", the word is also used to mean "impious; irreverent" or "more than one deserves".[2]"

[See also the Tsukumogami entry linked within: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsukumogami It contains a lits of "Known Tsukumogami"]

"Understood by many Western scholars[1] as a type of Japanese yōkai,[2] the Tsukumogami (付喪神?, "Kami of tool") was a concept popular in Japanese folklore as far back as the tenth century,[3] used in the spread of Shingon Buddhism.[4] Today, the term is generally understood to be applied to virtually any object, “that has reached their 100th birthday and thus become alive and self-aware,”[citation needed] though this definition is not without its controversy."
slow  cv  simplicity  affluence  affluenza  thriftiness  consumption  consumerism  conspicuousconsumption  frugality  words  mottainai  environment  waste  japanese  japan  tsukumogami  objects  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
Putting people first » The bling approach to the school of the future
"My provisional assessment is that there is a lot of bling: shiny objects promoted all around us make us focus on the tools rather than on the didactic objectives…I want to open my reflections and initial analysis – in twelve hypotheses…

1. A technology-first approach thrives…

2. There are dominant but untested preconceptions about schools, learning, teachers and students…

3. There is a boom of iPad and tablet deployments…

4. Little research has been done on educational impact…

5. Governments are pushing hard…

6. There is a lot of money to be made…

7. Apps, e-books and software are often of dubious quality…

8. Other digital tools are not part of the debate…

9. Teacher training and resources are lacking…

10. Initiatives to support schools and teachers are rare and often quite local…

11. We are facing a bubble…

12. Valuable opportunities definitely exist for players big and small… people-centred training… educational and didactic qualities and impact"
shinydistractions  bling  wastedopportunities  2012  government  training  waste  policy  teaching  digitaltools  appilications  ebooks  siliconvalley  bubbles  money  ipads  technologyfirst  edtech  tablets  education  technology  ipad 
september 2012 by robertogreco
The Aporeticus - by Mills Baker · Design & Compromise [So much more within, read the whole thing and the comments too.]
"…why does compromise have its “undeservedly high reputation”?…b/c we are discomfited by philosophical implications of fact that some ideas are objectively better. We exempt science from our contemporary anxieties because its benefits are too explicit to deny, but in most creative fields we are no longer capable of accepting the superiority of some solutions to others; unable to sustain confidence in soundness of artistic problem-solving process, we will not provoke interpersonal/organizational conflict for sake of mere ideas.

This sad, mistaken epistemological cowardice turns competing hypotheses into groundless, subjective opinions, & reasonable course of action when managing conflicting, groundless opinions…is to compromise, because there is no better answer.

But the creative arts are not so subjective as we tend to think, which is why a talented, dictatorial auteur will produce better work than polls, fcus groups, or hundreds of compromising committees."
creativecontrol  dictatorship  dictators  dictatorialcreativity  violence  stevejobs  wateringdown  choice  debate  persuasion  2011  waste  stagnation  innovation  creativity  madetofail  setupforfailure  problemsolving  hypotheses  brokenbydesignprocess  democracy  control  procedure  process  inferiority  superiority  average  averages  means  politics  policy  howwework  meetings  committees  mediocrity  epistemology  philosophy  authoritarianism  cowardice  ideas  science  art  design  millsbaker  compromise 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Eating the whole hog | Marketplace From American Public Media
"CHAD COLBY: I just referred to it recently as pig tetris.

Tetris, like the computer game where you have to fit the pieces together. Pig tetris is coming up with ways to cook and sell all the parts of the pig. Some bits are easy: loin, belly. And then some are tougher: like the spine, feet, and tail.

COLBY: I cook it all off the head and make what we call a nose-to-tail salami, and that becomes the pig tetris finale."
tetris  pigtetris  food  sustainability  butchers  2011  marketplace  waste  chadcolby  restaurants  pork  pigs  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
The Ecology Center
"This first edition of Backyard Skills offers a collection of 19 Do-It-Yourself solutions, practices and projects to help get you going. Divided up into five themed chapters – WATER, ENERGY, FOOD, SHELTER and WASTE – Backyard Skills was inspired by The Ecology Center’s Do-It-Yourself workshop series held on site in 2009-2010.

This means that real-life folks, members of our local and your global community, have already gotten a taste of how these simple projects can make a big difference. And, now, it’s your turn to put these ideas to work on a bigger scale."
books  sustainability  food  backyard  classideas  environment  glvo  waste  water  shelter  energy  diy  systems  systemsthinking  bighere  theecologycenter  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
Place Based Learning
"Place Based Learning is an educational approach that uses the most effective developments in teaching and learning to tackle critical issues of sustainability and community development in the actual context that young people are growing-up."

"Teaching and Learning; It is crucial that educators get better at engaging, motivating and empowering young people.

Yet, improving pedagogy whilst retaining an irrelevant curriculum is just ‘getting better at doing the wrong thing’!

Citizenship; It is crucial that our young people develop a sense of social justice and a desire to contribute to society.

Yet, attempting to squeeze another subject into the crowded curriculum treats each issue in isolation and fails to get to the heart of the problem.

Sustainability; It is crucial that the next generation commit to sustainable ways of dealing with energy, food, waste etc.

Yet, doom-laden global scenarios often immerse people in guilt and fear or render the issues too large and too distant."
education  place  locations  via:steelemaley  sustainability  uk  community  local  learning  schools  citizenship  civics  food  waste  water  energy  guilt  fear  socialjustice  society  lcproject  tcsnmy  change  pedagogy  curriculum  communitydevelopment  unschooling  deschooling  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
Tech Learning TL Advisor Blog and Ed Tech Ticker Blogs from TL Blog Staff – TechLearning.com
"IWBs and their clicker spawn are a terrible investment that breathes new life into medieval educational practices. Aside from producing an illusion of modernity, interactive whiteboards are a pre-Gutenberg technology; the priest chants while the monks slavishly take dictation on their tablets. They reinforce the dominance of the front of the room and teacher supremacy. At a time of enormous educational upheaval, technological change, and an increasing gulf between adults and children, it is a bad idea to purchase technology that facilitates the delivery of information and increases the physical distance between teacher and learner…"
garystager  iwb  technology  edtech  amen  cv  sageonthestage  expensive  waste  openstudioproject  lcproject  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
Venkatesh Rao's answer to How might we build an education system that is centered on creating rather than replicating knowledge? - Quora
"The short answer to your question is that to create MORE and BETTER knowledge, paradoxically, we need to TRY to create FAR LESS."

"It's too late for you and me. But if we want the giants to return, we have to do one single, simple, and incredibly important thing:

We have to deprofessionalize discovery, and return it to amateur status.

Paradoxically, to get back to "giant-driven" discovery, we have to focus on teaching and preservation.

We have to turn off entirely, or significantly reduce, the cocaine of indirect cost support that flows through the veins of research universities.

Grow thinkers, not buildings.

Let institution builders get back to doing their own damn fund-raising, instead of leeching off thinkers and knowledge creators through what is in effect, predatory taxation that enslaves them."

[via: http://twitter.comsebpaquet/status/26705003276140544 ]
institutions  highered  education  highereducation  learning  making  organizations  organizationalinertia  middlemanagement  waste  inefficiency  fundraising  gamechanging  small  lcproject  discovery  innovation  creativity  teaching  tcsnmy  cv  obsolescence  venkateshrao  from delicious
january 2011 by robertogreco
YouTube - trashlover869's Channel
This is the YouTube account (new one, the old one was deleted somehow) belonging to a kid I know who is a member of a network of "trash lovers" who track and document waste disposal trucks and bins. Part of their focus is looking at and experimenting with the different plastics and the molding process used in creating the bins. Awesome.
tcsnmy  garbage  waste  obsessions  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
My Father’s Teachings Part 1 | The Do Village
"He was difficult to please but always selfless. An old fashioned man whose family responsibilities subsumed all else…taught me that families should break bread & eat together as often as possible…taught me to cook well. To respect food, respect producers & labourers that create it, & be parsimonious with leftovers & waste…taught me that when a task is to be taken on…to plan, prepare, take time to accomplish it well, & do it w/ conviction…taught me how to upcycle…I saw him consume little but consume well. He taught me to consume nothing that that you cannot afford to pay for in cash…to avoid borrowing…taught me to be loyal to family. Family comes first, however difficult that can be at times. Period…his teachings were not overt. He did his stuff, & I watched. He used to say to me when I phoned to discuss cooking something I’d eaten with him, and I was in need of quantities and timings – why do you not watch learn. Learn by watching doing not studying"
parenting  advice  waste  upcycling  borrowing  cv  responsiblity  families  food  doing  do  dolectures  production  planning  preparation  consumption  well-being  learning  unschooling  deschooling  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Permanent Error - we make money not art
"After the moving and now iconic series The Hyena and Other Men and the stunning Nollywood, Hugo's latest work, Permanent Error, portrays the people, animals and landscape of a dumping ground for computers and electronic waste from Europe and the US. The area, on the outskirts of a slum known as Agbogbloshie, in Ghana, is a shocking contrast to the better faster shinier life promised by the unrelenting advances of technology."
teachnology  permanenterror  photography  waste  ewaste  electronics  consumerism  sustainability  us  europe  africa  ghana  pieterhugo  wmmna  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
7 Essential Skills You Didn't Learn in College | Magazine
"1. Statistical Literacy: Making sense of today’s data-driven world.
2. Post-State Diplomacy: Power and politics, sans government.
3. Remix Culture: Samples, mashups, and mixes.
4. Applied Cognition: The neuroscience you need.
5. Writing for New Forms: Self-expression in 140 characters.
6. Waste Studies: Understanding end-to-end economics.
7. Domestic Tech: How to use the world as your lab."
arts  culture  education  wired  learning  lifehacks  skills  unschooling  deschooling  statistics  literacy  post-statediplomacy  diplomacy  remix  remixculture  appliedcognition  cognition  neuroscience  writing  twitter  microblogging  waste  saulgriffith  fabbing  science  diy  make  making  rogerebert  nassimtaleb  davidkilcullen  robertrauschenberg  jillboltetaylor  brain  barryschwartz  jonahlehrer  robinsloan  alexismadrigal  newliberalarts  remixing  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » ISTE 2010: Easy…Not Free
"[H]ere’s what struck me most during my...wanderings around exhibit floor: Education. Is. Easy. Did you know this? Almost every toolsy vendor that I saw was pushing the “we can make it easy on you” button, as if students will simply be mesmerized...if only we had the tools. When I was talking to Sylvia Martinez...she said it felt like one of those Geico commercials…”So easy, even a teacher could do it.”...
education  willrichardson  iste2010  learning  teaching  hardwork  conferences  shwag  difficulty  educon  waste 
july 2010 by robertogreco
How did we become such suckers for bottled water? | Life and style | guardian.co.uk
"Anyone with the brains to read (outside the ad agencies that come up with this sort of rubbish) must by now be aware that the argument that water 'detoxes' is entirely spurious, that the 'two litres a day' myth is just that and that buying water shipped from places like Fiji - even if it can be 'greened' through some 'offsetting' sophistry - is as immoral as it is absurd. Yet somehow, we've programmed ourselves deeply. Stand, sometime, in the queue at the airport; the last few feet before the metal detector, where the travelling classes are having their bottles torn from their hands by stone-faced airport stormtroopers. Witness the genuine pain on their faces. ... what we really need, like the orchestrated howls of outrage when petrol prices hit a new high, is a campaign that strikes at the root of the problem: the idiotic belief that we need a constant supply of water or something awful will happen."
water  humor  health  waste  bottledwater 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Philip K. Howard: Four ways to fix a broken legal system | Video on TED.com
"The land of the free has become a legal minefield, says Philip K. Howard -- especially for teachers and doctors, whose work has been paralyzed by fear of suits. What's the answer? A lawyer himself, Howard has four propositions for simplifying US law."
broken  innovation  reform  health  law  simplicity  risk  authority  us  schools  medicine  teaching  learning  education  philiphoward  trust  constitution  values  principles  rules  ted  fear  freedom  lawsuits  gamechanging  fairness  playgrounds  passion  care  waste  money  productivity  decisionmaking  hiring  judgement  paralysis  dueprocess  rights  threats  government  litigation  recess  warnings  warninglabels  labels  psychology  society 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Los Angeles, California - Places - Dwell
"Let’s put that argument aside and look instead at L.A.’s edges—–not its countercultural hot spots, but the post-industrial voids & internal peripheries that let the city function. For instance, where does L.A. get its water? What about electricity? What about all the sand, gravel, & concrete that went into those thous-ands of freeways, parking lots, & roads? How does such a chaotic & sprawling city actually work? & where does all its trash go?

To learn more about L.A.’s blind spots and interstitial spaces, Dwell talked to Matthew Coolidge, founder & director of the Center for Land Use Interpretation. Operating from a small gallery space on Venice Boulevard, just south of Hollywood, the Center re-examines the American landscape from a perspective well off the radar of your average tourist, focusing on topics as diverse as infrastructure, urban sanitation, earthquake science, military history, abandoned shopping malls, traffic surveillance systems, & even arctic research labs."
architecture  california  losangeles  infrastructure  energy  centerforlanduseinterpretation  tours  waste 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Teacher Magazine: Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards
"I’m willing to argue that even with time and training, interactive whiteboards are an under-informed and irresponsible purchase. They do little more than reinforce a teacher-centric model of learning. Heck, even whiteboard companies market them as a bridging technology, designed to replicate traditional instructional practices (make presentations, give notes, deliver lectures) in an attempt to move digital teacher-dinosaurs into the light. I ask you: Do we really want to spend thousands of dollars on a tool that makes stand-and-deliver instruction easier?"
smartboards  waste  technology  edtech  tcsnmy 
february 2010 by robertogreco
terreform 1: homeway is another conceptual architectural project from the architects of terreform 1 led by dr. mitchell joachim
"the project focuses on how cities can extend into the suburbs sustainably. their idea is to mount suburban homes on wheels having them drive into the city by day and back again at night. in their vision, city highways would be enhanced with an intelligent renewable infrastructure that would serve these mobile home structures. 'in the future, the physical home will remain permanent but its location will be transient. our static suburbs will be transformed into a dynamic and deployable flow. houses will have the option to switch from parked to low speed. homes, big box retail, movie theaters, supermarkets, business hubs, food production, and power plants will depart from their existing sprawled communities and line up along highways to create a truly breathing interconnected metabolic urbanism. dense ribbons of food, energy, waste and water elements will follow the direction of moving population clusters."
architecture  archigram  urban  waste  energy  mobility  walkingcity  food  sustainability  cities  design  urbanism 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Corrugated City: How To Destroy Something Beautiful, Chilean Style: Caleta Quintay
"Why not use the money to convert the whaling station into a wharf and a proper museum (as has happened very successfully in countless former whaling towns worldwide)? The beach area and coastal path could be renovated and cleaned up. Instead of allowing people to park at the beach (which creates serious traffic issues along the single track road leading down), why not have a bus system that runs from the top to the bottom (with parking only allowed from where the bus leaves)?
caletaquintay  chile  stupidity  misguidedenergy  waste  destruction 
november 2009 by robertogreco
The high cost of ugly, useless Christmas gifts - The Globe and Mail
"Scroogenomics author says bad gifts cost the world economy $25-billion ... “A spectre has been haunting the rich economies of the west, and that spectre is wasteful gift-giving.”...His favourite option is giving to charity – he is a fan of a gift card in the United States that allows the recipient to choose which non-profit gets the money, “to act like a rich person,” he says. He proposes that gift cards should come with an expiry date, after which the unused balance would go to charity rather than just back into the retailer's pocket. But he concedes: “I am told by some shrewd people that's as likely as world peace.”
via:migurski  giftgiving  economics  waste  christmas  value  gifts  cv 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Worldchanging: Bright Green: How To Be A Green School
"Teachers and students want to do good things for the environment, but sometimes they can't see the wood for the trees. Zac Goldsmith sets out five things all schools can do. ... 1 Good food ... 2 Cooking and growing ... 3 The school run ... 4 Energy savings ... 5 Waste"
schools  green  sustainability  environment  food  farming  urbanfarming  agriculture  cooking  energy  waste  conservation  local  transportation  tcsnmy  lcproject 
august 2009 by robertogreco
What You Should Consider Before Education Graduate School - On Education (usnews.com)
"If you're thinking about going into teaching, take heed of this message from Katherine Merseth, a senior lecturer and director of the teacher education program at Harvard University: "The dirty little secret about schools of education is that they have been the cash cows of universities for many, many years, and it's time to say, 'Show us what you can do, or get out of the business.'"" No new news here, but I wish more people were aware of this fact.
teaching  credentials  academia  gradschool  education  wasteofmoney  cashcows  cv  residencies  deschooling  waste  corruption  worstpractices  via:cburell 
march 2009 by robertogreco
howies - brainfood - Technology is not the enemy [Russell Davies]
"Technology is not the enemy. Inattention and waste are the enemy. If you don’t notice your footprints you won’t clean them up. So remember to take notes and use whatever tools can to keep you paying attention." via: http://magicalnihilism.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/do-ism/
russelldavies  technology  observation  walkit  pachube  wattson  interestingness  attention  sustainability  waste  green  tcsnmy  classideas 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Marginal Revolution: The economic collapse of Japan and the Phoenix Suns
"The Suns have been spending lots in recent years toward the goal of ever-rising prices for season tickets and corporate boxes. Does that strategy sound familiar?" Replace "The Suns" with "many independent schools" and insert "tuition" for "prices for season tickets and corporate boxes" and you have the predicament of many NAIS schools.
tylercowen  economics  money  finance  sports  bailout  management  property  nba  nais  bubbles  tuition  leadership  spending  administration  gamechanging  waste  cv  tcsnmy 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Waking Up from the 'Nightmare on Tech Street' - O'Reilly Radar
"In a recent conversation with my daughter Arwen and son-in-law Saul Griffith, Matt Webb remarked that he'd like 2008 to be remembered as the year of "peak consumption." Saul pointed out, though, that the term "peak waste" is perhaps more accurate. In an analogy to peak oil, he suggested that maybe we've reached the pinnacle of waste in our consumer culture. I do wonder if we will look back at the past few decades as a kind of sick aberration rather than a golden age, with good times we want to get back to. Like Saul, I'm hopeful that we can get rid of the waste, and get back to creating things of lasting value."
timoreilly  sustainability  green  consumerism  consumption  capitalism  failure  2008  mattwebb  ecology  plannedobsolescence  value  waste  peakwaste  peakconsumption  illusion 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Amazon.com: Help > Shipping & Delivery > Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging FAQs
"The Frustration-Free Package (on the left) is recyclable and comes without excess packaging materials such as hard plastic clamshell casings, plastic bindings, and wire ties. It's designed to be opened without the use of a box cutter or knife and will protect your product just as well as traditional packaging (on the right). Products with Frustration-Free Packaging can frequently be shipped in their own boxes, without an additional shipping box."
amazon  economics  consumption  unproduct  recycling  shipping  packaging  toys  design  environment  green  waste 
november 2008 by robertogreco
One Room Schools for the 21st Century | Explorations
"I wrote it originally as a sort of reductio argument to show that lack of money wasn’t the schools’ major problem, at least as far as educating kids was concerned, but as I’ve thought about it, it seems more and more like it might just work."
economics  education  schools  us  money  teaching  administration  bloat  waste  lcproject  schooldesign  government  history  learning  children  spending  bureaucracy  leadership  oneroomschoolhouse 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Pajamas Media » A One-Room Schoolhouse for the 21st Century [via: http://joannejacobs.com/2008/06/02/back-to-the-one-room-schoolhouse/]
"This back-to-basics educational venue, made famous during the 1800s, is surprisingly feasible today — even in the center of Manhattan. Could it get students learning again?"
economics  education  schools  us  money  teaching  administration  bloat  waste  lcproject  schooldesign  government  history  learning  children  spending  bureaucracy  leadership 
june 2008 by robertogreco
A Modest Proposal for Saving Our Schools
"The school I have just described is the school we’re paying for. Maybe it’s time to ask why it’s not the school we’re getting. Other, wiser, governors have made the prudent decision not to ask such embarrassing questions of the education-industri
education  spending  money  government  schools  administration  management  waste  bloat  bureaucracy  schooldesign  lcproject  economics  leadership  corruption 
june 2008 by robertogreco
The CORS Project: A Modest Proposal | Explorations [been thinking aout this for years]
"This is a business proposal for a new model for public schools...revival of...one-room school house...The original idea of this exploration and proposal was to ask the question “what do public schools pay for?” by looking at a different school model.
economics  education  schools  us  money  teaching  administration  bloat  waste  lcproject  schooldesign  government  history  learning  children  spending  bureaucracy  leadership 
june 2008 by robertogreco
The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard
"The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to cre
environment  sustainability  consumerism  consumption  activism  materials  materialism  industry  globalization  globalwarming  plannedobsolescence  obsolescence  capitalism  carbon  conservation  consumers  simplicity  society  visualization  waste  pollution  trade  gamechanging  green  economics  global  us  production 
april 2008 by robertogreco
PingMag » Japanese Packaging Design #6: Imitating Nature
PingMag looks at some packaging that is inspired by more traditional and sustainable solutions...
design  japan  nature  packaging  trends  waste  green  environment  retro  sustainability  unproduct  pingmag 
february 2008 by robertogreco
The Small-Margin Movement - washingtonpost.com
"project founded by Tamara Krinsky advocates simple change anyone can believe in: By altering printing margin preference for Word documents from standard 1.25 inches to 0.75 inch, Americans can save whole lot of paper -- and trees, and money."
sustainability  environment  paper  behavior  microsoftword  software  waste 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Eating Off the Table :: Inside Higher Ed :: Jobs, News and Views for All of Higher Education
"test last semester showing that on 2 days when trays weren’t offered, food and beverage waste dropped 30-50%...amounts to about 1,000 pounds of solid waste & 112 gallons of liquid waste saved on a weekly basis, according to the college."
colleges  universities  food  waste  education  economics  markets  behavior  society  excess  scarcity  sustainability  green  environment 
january 2008 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Robbie Williams CDs will be used to pave roads in China
"You know that CD they used to pave the King's Road?" a man asks you, putting his coffee down as if to emphasize the point. He crosses his arms. "I played bass on that."
recycling  music  infrastructure  environment  china  sustainability  waste 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Is the Tipping Point Toast? -- Duncan Watts -- Trendsetting
"Marketers spend a billion dollars a year targeting influentials. Duncan Watts says they're wasting their money."
socialnetworking  networks  tippingpoint  malcolmgladwell  advertising  marketing  trends  viral  money  waste  revisit  socialmedia  economics  culture  sociology  clivethompson 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Walking to the shops ‘damages planet more than going by car’ - Times Online
"Food production is now so energy-intensive that more carbon is emitted providing a person with enough calories to walk to the shops than a car would emit over the same distance."
agriculture  business  cars  climate  CO2  data  debate  ecology  earth  development  efficiency  energy  environment  opinion  skepticism  statistics  sustainability  globalwarming  pollution  population  waste  politics  planet  perspective 
august 2007 by robertogreco
Message in a Bottle - Bottled Water - Luxury Water - Mineral Water
"Americans spent more money last year on bottled water than on ipods or movie tickets: $15 Billion. A journey into the economics--and psychology--of an unlikely business boom. And what it says about our culture of indulgence."
water  recycling  politics  environment  consumerism  consumption  waste  sustainability  economics  psychology  society  bighere 
june 2007 by robertogreco

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