Complexity takes energy

Anthropologists have observed that the complexity of societies and their consumption of energy are directly related: as one increases, so does the other. Over the past 200 years, abundant and inexpensive energy has fueled tremendous growth in the size and complexity of culture, and has dramatically increased the numbers of...

Inmigrantes de lujo

Aún con la inminente reforma, el tema migratorio ya tiene tiempo discutiéndose con intensidad en sus múltiples aspectos, pros y contras, cambios y variantes, tanto recientes como los ocurridos a través del tiempo, considerándose incluso parte esencial de la historia y formación del país. Según de qué lado de la...

Commission sued over power abuse

This week the Alliance for Local Sustainable Agriculture and I filed a lawsuit against the California Coastal Commission on behalf of Drake’s Bay Oyster Company for actions that conform neither to the provisions of the 1976 California Coastal Act nor

Bay Delta Plan would spell end of ecosystem

The administration of Governor Jerry Brown has constantly touted the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels as a visionary, ambitious project to accomplish the “co-equal goals” of ecosystem restoration and water supply reliability, while tunnel opponents say the project will lead to the death of the Sacramento-San...

Resisting ecocide

Last week’s letters by Chet Seligman and Richard Kirschman challenged my suggestion that nonviolent protest and civil disobedience may not be enough to reverse the tide of global devastation. Any talk of possible violence, hitting close to home, will make people uncomfortable, and I welcome the pushback. My goal is...

New Pope, old Church

The unexpected and unusual resignation of Pope Benedict XVI last February shook the solid and stagnant foundations of the Catholic Church, the only contemporary institution with medieval roots. The Church has a vertical power system that excludes women and the faithful, whom it sees as sheep that must be led,...

Living with wilderness: Nature, food and us

This year’s Geography of Hope conference was a celebration of the life of Aldo Leopold, best known for a slim volume, A Sand County Almanac, first published in 1949. In the introductory talk, poet Robert Haas recited a Japanese haiku—“Lighting one candle/ With another candle/ An evening of spring”—that became...

Papa nuevo, Iglesia vieja

La inesperada e inusual renuncia del Papa Benedicto XVI el pasado febrero, removió los duros y anquilosados cimientos de la Iglesia católica, la única institución contemporánea con remanentes medievales, con un sistema de poder vertical que excluye a las mujeres y a sus fieles, a quienes ve como ovejas a...

What will it take

When most people ask, “How can we stop global warming?” they are really asking, “How can we stop global warming without significantly changing our lifestyle?” The answer is that we can’t. The urgency of the ecological crises and capitalist forces destroying our planet make finding an effective and timely path...

One hundred days of the new government in Mexico

In Mexico, as in other countries, the first 100 days of a new government are considered to be the “honeymoon” period and an indication of what to expect from that government. From the euphoria surrounding Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which was removed from power in...