Climate Change

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Prince Ea

Making It To The 4th Second

A hard-hitting delivery of the predicament humanity faces
Wednesday, May 30, 2018, 4:38 PM

As older guys in our forties and fifties, Chris and I realize that we're probably not the most compelling messengers to the Millenials and the generations behind them. So we're constantly looking for others who can be.

In that vein, this short video below from Prince Ea recently caught our attention. It delivers a hard-hitting emotional call-to-action for sustainability and resilience using much of the same data we frequently cite here at Peak Prosperity. » Read more

Podcast

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Connor Stedman: Carbon Farming

Sequestering atmospheric carbon through natural means
Monday, October 9, 2017, 5:10 PM

Climate change remains a hotly debated topic. But a scientific fact not up for dispute is the pronounced spike in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere over the past two centuries.

There's a building urgency to find solutions that can manage/reverse that spike -- a process known as carbon sequestration. But how to do that on a planetary scale? It's a massive predicament. And most of the 'solutions' being proposed are technologically unproven, prohibitively costly and/or completely impractical.

Enter carbon farming. It uses nature-based farming practices to park gigatons of carbon in the soil, rebuild soil health and complexity, and revitalize the nutrient density of the foods that we eat. » Read more

Podcast

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Mark Cochrane: Climate Change, Revisited

The latest on what science has to say
Sunday, November 27, 2016, 5:27 PM

Mark Cochrane, Professor and Senior Research Scientist at the Geospatial Science Center of Excellence at South Dakota State University, returns to the podcast after a year and a half to update us on what the latest science has to tell us on the (often controversial) topic of climate change.

Mark has been researching the climate for over 20 years, and among his many other accomplishments, moderates what we believe to be the most level-headed, open-minded and data-centric discussion forum on climate change available on the Internet today.

In this week's podcast, Mark updates us on the latest empirical data, separates out what science can and cannot prove today regarding climate change, and provides clarity into closely-related but less well-understood issues, such as ocean acidification. » Read more

Podcast

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Michael Shermer: The Importance Of Skepticism

Without it, we're slaves to our beliefs
Wednesday, August 3, 2016, 2:34 PM

As humans, the way we process and react to information is influenced by both the biology of our brains as well as our social and cultural norms. We've talked many times here at PeakProsperity.com about the influence -- conscious and subconsious -- that our beliefs exert on our actions. Our past podcasts on behavioral economics have delved into this in detail.

But just because we believe something, that doesn't make it true. Which is why the scientific process is so important: when followed without bias, it enables us to understand reality as it truly is. And such accurate understanding of the facts allows us to make more useful decisions.

In this week's podcast, Chris speaks with Michael Shermer, monthly columnist for Scientific American and founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, about the importance of cultivating a questioning mindset. » Read more

Podcast

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Bill McKibben: The Planet's Future Depends On Distributed Systems

One of the best ways to address climate change
Sunday, July 5, 2015, 3:03 PM

To environmental activist Bill McKibben, it's all about math. The planet has warmed 1 degree Celsius over the past few decades and is on track to rise another 4 to 5 before the end of the century. An increase of this magnitude is simply too much for the ecosystems we depend on to adapt to that quickly. » Read more

Featured Discussion

Scary Data

Scary Data

Scientists are warning that humanity has exceeded 4 of 9 planetary boundaries

Blog

The Environment: Increasing Waste - Crash Course Chapter 24

We are killing the ecosystems we depend on
Friday, December 5, 2014, 7:54 PM

Following up on the previous chapter focusing on human-caused resource depletion, the other disheartening part of the story of the environment concerns the things we humans put back into it, and the impact they have on the ecosystems that support all of life -- ours included.

Like the economy, ecosystems are complex systems.  That means that they owe their complexity and order to energy flows and, most importantly, they are inherently unpredictable.  How they will respond to the change by a thousand rapid insults is unknown and literally unknowable. » Read more

Insider

Getting to a Future That Has a Future

It all depends on how well we manage contraction
Tuesday, October 15, 2013, 8:18 PM

Executive Summary

  • The 3 fundamental activities society will need to prioritize in order to manage our contracting economy & resources
  • How food production will need to evolve if we are to continue to feed ourselves in the future
  • How pursuing "growth" is wasting us precious time and energy
  • Mandatory transition will be needed across all sectors: transportation, health care, urban planning, manufacturing, trade, etc..

If you have not yet read Part I: Growth is Obsolete, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

The problem of growth in its current context is first a problem of language, but  do not make the mistake of supposing that this is just a semantic argument. Language is the human animal's primary tool-kit for accomplishing anything in groups, whether it is hunting bison or putting a spacecraft on the moon. If you use the wrong tool you are likely to mismanage the task. Now the primary task facing humans in this moment of history is managing contraction and our goal should be to manage it in a way that minimizes the potential for hardship and suffering. It must be obvious, then, that "growth" in the broad sense that we use the term is not conducive to facilitate "contraction" in the broad sense. The promiscuous use of the word "growth" in our economic debates only confuses us and paralyzes our ability to construct a coherent narrative about what is happening in the world and how we might enter a plausible future which extraordinary events are now shaping.

Three Fundamental Activities

I propose that we substitute the term "activity" for "growth" in our public debates over how our economy can function in the face of the manifold crises of population overshoot, climate change, peak cheap oil, and capital scarcity. There are an endless number of purposeful activities we can undertake to address these large problems that do not connote growth. The three fundamental categories of these activities can be stated with precision, namely:

  1. re-localizing
  2. downscaling, and
  3. de-complexifying.

The quality in common with all of them is indeed the opposite of growth. Yet they all imply a range of positive actions that we can undertake as communities to make new arrangements for the human project to continue in a favorable way.

I will describe the particulars in a moment, but first the point must be made that... » Read more

Podcast

PeakProsperity.com

Lester Brown: The Sobering Facts on Global Resource Scarcity

Food & water supplies will be the weakest links
Monday, October 7, 2013, 12:02 PM

Environmental analyst Lester Brown has made a lifetime career of tracking declining supplies of global resources. He is the founder of the Earth Policy Institute and author of the book Plan B 4.0 Mobilizing to Save Civilization, both of which provide massive data sets on the precipitous drop in key natural resources as well as urgent policy recommendations for addressing them.

In today's podcast, Chris and Lester discuss the global depletion themes that concern Lester most greatly, including population growth, water usage, limits to food production, and climate changes. In many of these areas, the picture painted by the data is alarming.  Our future choices are quickly being limited to when these constraints will limit our way of life, not if. » Read more

Daily Digest

Image by ahisgett, Flickr Creative Commons

Daily Digest 8/12 - Waves of Trash in Indonesia, Sharp Rise In Antarctic Ocean Acidity

Monday, August 12, 2013, 10:33 AM
  • Gold bull or bear? Pick your timeline!
  • Meet the Low-Key, Low-Cost Grocery Chain Being Called ‘Walmart’s Worst Nightmare’
  • Economic Expansion Slows Down in Japan
  • Technology Industry Extends a Hand to Struggling Print Media
  • U.S. Energy Independence Doesn't Mean a Thing
  • Sharp rise in Antarctic seawater’s acidity
  • Photographer Captures Waves of Trash in Indonesia
  • New video: Jules Dervaes and his family at their Urban Homestead in Pasadena, California