As the unrest in nearby Quebec continues, I continue to be amazed, although not surprised. The initial proximate cause of what are now nightly public demonstrations (albeit, greatly amplified by the provincial government's passage of a law severely curtailing civil liberties) was a decision to virtually double university tuitions over a ten-year period.
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June 3, 2012
May 17, 2012
As noted by The Atlantic, the group behind the TED conferences -- of which I'm generally a big fan -- has decided not to post video of a recent invited talk by Nick Hanauer. Hanauer is a businessman -- a multi-millionaire, courtesy of a long entrepreneurial career and an early investment in Amazon. He's also a realist and one of those Warren Buffett-like folks who think the middle class is getting a raw deal.
May 16, 2012
One of the difficulties of promoting economic sustainability at Greenback (or, I suspect, on most US university campuses) is describing what it might look like without seeming to be some sort of pie-eyed socialist. Given the overwhelmingly prevalent civil religion of consumer capitalism and the de facto dominance of Chicago School neoliberalism, it's challenging to try to explain to that our economic system is nothing Adam Smith would recognize nor particularly approve, and that during the most recent generation when the USA was really on the economic upswing (think 1945 - 1975) the rules were entirely different than what we now take for granted.
May 15, 2012
A friend of mine has pointed out repeatedly that, while Environmental Studies graduates can talk about the environment, Environmental Science graduates can actually do something. (Of course, the guy's an Environmental Science professor. No surprise, there.)
May 9, 2012
The city of Backboro, like many northeastern cities, has chronically aging infrastructure. A key element of our transportation infrastructure is fast approaching the end of its usable life, and the city parents (we used to say "city fathers", so I guess "parents" must be the current term) are doing a creditable job of planning for its replacement.
May 3, 2012
Many times, I've chuckled at Congressman Earl Blumenauer's 2009 invocation: "Let's have a moment of silence for all those Americans who are stuck in traffic on their way to the gym to ride the stationary bicycle."
April 26, 2012
I've never really thought of Phoenix AZ as a sustainable city, for a whole lot of reasons like lack of water, phenomenal sprawl, constant need for air conditioning. If America is addicted to energy, Phoenix has traditionally had the biggest Jones of all. But things may be changing, perhaps in reaction to Andrew Ross's recent book Bird on Fire.
April 25, 2012
First off, let me thank Paul Haeder for his extended comment on a recent post. My heart is definitely in synch with the position he expresses, although my head is convinced that trying to sell sustainability by direct frontal assault won't work (indeed, hasn't worked). And expanding on that heart-vs-head thing . .
April 24, 2012
In a recent post, David Roberts describes the downside of being reasonable during discussions about ecological sustainability and climate change. His main point is that in order to win (effectively, if not technically), all that unreasoning climate denialists have to do is to refuse to budge regardless of the evidence and logic against their position. Eventually, any reasonable person gets to the point of walking away or dismissing them as stupid or agreeing to disagree. Any of those leaves them as the last combatant in the arena, such that the last man standing wins by default.
April 23, 2012
Last week, I happened to pick up an old issue of National Geographic Magazine. The cover story was on Ireland which, at the time of publication, was ramping itself up into "Celtic Tiger" mode. The writer was focusing on how the increase in industrial, commercial and financial activity was affecting more traditional social values. The phrase that caught my attention was him wondering "what more efficient nations do will all the time they're so busy saving."