Our Blog | February 2009

10,000 Youth Converge on D.C. to Demand Urgent Action on Climate, Energy, & Economy

by: EJ on 02/26/2009
Posted in: Activism

From February 27th to March 2nd, 2009 young people from across North America will converge on Washington D.C. to take a message of bold, comprehensive and immediate federal climate action to Capitol Hill. They want politicians to stand up to the dirty energy lobby and pass the energy and climate policies truly needed. They are calling for …

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Social Collapse Best Practices

by: Heather on 02/24/2009
Posted in: Peak Oil

Dmitry Orlov, author of Reinventing Collapse: Soviet Example and American Prospects, is quick to admit that being a superpower collapse predictor is not a good career choice. And yet he is rapidly becoming recognized as just that, if such honors as being featured in The New Yorker and being invited to address The Long Now Foundation are anything to go by.

Reinventing Collapse


The following essay, Social Collapse Best Practices, is the full text of his Long Now presentation. It was originally posted on Club Orlov and is reprinted with permission. A podcast of Dmitry's speech is also available here - just scroll down to Dmitry Orlov and click on mp3.

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for showing up. It's certainly nice to travel all the way across the North American continent and have a few people come to see you, even if the occasion isn't a happy one. You are here to listen to me talk about social collapse and the various ways we can avoid screwing that up along with everything else that's gone wrong. I know it's a lot to ask of you, because why wouldn't you instead want to go and eat, drink, and be merry? Well, perhaps there will still be time left for that after my talk.

I would like to thank the Long Now Foundation for inviting me, and I feel very honored to appear in the same venue as many serious, professional people, such as Michael Pollan, who will be here in May, or some of the previous speakers, such as Nassim Taleb, or Brian Eno - some of my favorite people, really. I am just a tourist. I flew over here to give this talk and to take in the sights, and then I'll fly back to Boston and go back to my day job. Well, I am also a blogger. And I also wrote a book. But then everyone has a book, or so it would seem.

You might ask yourself, then, Why on earth did he get invited to speak here tonight? It seems that I am enjoying my moment in the limelight, because I am one of the very few people who several years ago unequivocally predicted the demise of the United States as a global superpower. The idea that the USA will go the way of the USSR seemed preposterous at the time. It doesn't seem so preposterous any more. I take it some of you are still hedging your bets. How is that hedge fund doing, by the way?

I think I prefer remaining just a tourist, because I have learned from experience - luckily, from other people's experience - that being a superpower collapse predictor is not a good career choice. I learned that by observing what happened to the people who successfully predicted the collapse of the USSR. Do you know who Andrei Amalrik is? See, my point exactly. He successfully predicted the collapse of the USSR. He was off by just half a decade. That was another valuable lesson for me, which is why I will not give you an exact date when USA will turn into FUSA ("F" is for "Former"). But even if someone could choreograph the whole event, it still wouldn't make for much of a career, because once it all starts falling apart, people have far more important things to attend to than marveling at the wonderful predictive abilities of some Cassandra-like person.

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The Practical Cyclist

by: Heather on 02/23/2009
Posted in: New Books

Just off press, The Practical Cyclist by Chip Haynes is a user-friendly guide to getting back on a bicycle for the most important reason of all - fun! Of course cycling is also good for your health, your waistline, your pocketbook and your planet, but if you're not enjoying it the chances are good that you're not going to do it.

In Chip's own …

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Food Security for the Faint Hearted on Gabriola Island

by: EJ on 02/20/2009
Posted in: Author Events

Robin Wheeler, will be visiting Gabriola Island, BC, Canada to introduce her timely and delightful book Food Security for the Faint of Heart. She will be speaking at the Roxy Theatre, Tuesday February 24th from 7-8.

This event has been sponsored by Friends of the Library Gabriola Branch and the Vancouver Island Regional Library.

Please join us for …

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Grass-fed Beef and Climate Change

by: Heather on 02/19/2009
Posted in: Food

It's widely recognized that North America's animal protein intake is responsible for an extremely significant portion of our greenhouse gas emissions. And yet, many deeply committed environmentalists still include meat (specifically beef, which is easily the worst offender) on the menu. What's up with this seeming inconsistency?

Generally, the …

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