"The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper." - Eden Phillpotts
Climate change links:
Start here http://globalissues.org/.../ A readable, straightforward guide to the basics of climate change. Or see the slightly more technical guide put together by The Royal Society in 2010, summarising what is clearly understood by climate scientists, and what is not. If you want to delve a little deeper into texts written in more scientific language, you may find my own Climate Science Translation Guide a useful grounding beforehand. Or just let xkcd pretty well sum up all of climate science in a single comic strip panel ;)
Wake Up, Freak Out, then Get a Grip (video) http://wakeupfreakout.org/ Or if you prefer to watch than read, here's an ingeniously clear and engaging 11 minute animation explaining why the next few years are the most important humanity has ever faced, or will ever face. We who are lucky enough to be alive now are effectively the most powerful people who will ever live, and future generations are breathlessly watching our every choice. For a full-length, powerful 90 min feature film, try this instead.
NASA's 'Climate Time Machine' http://climate.nasa.gov/.../ An exceptionally clear and accessible visual presentation of the recent history of global temperatures, emissions and Arctic sea ice extent, using the most robust data. Clear and regularly updated records of the key indicators in the present day are here.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) http://www.ipcc.ch/.../ The UN's conservative and consensus-driven IPCC stated in its Working Group II Fourth Assessment report (back in 2007) that "if warming is not kept below 2 degrees C, which will require the strongest of mitigation efforts, and currently looks very unlikely to be achieved, then substantial global impacts will occur, such as: species extinctions and millions of people at risk from drought, hunger and flooding, etc." Press release available here (pdf).
Climate science update http://climateprogress.org/.../ Dr. Joseph Romm clearly and concisely summarises the latest science (as of Oct 2012) on the impacts we can expect from climate destabilisation, in a readable yet fully referenced blog post. For more, see this Dec 2012 list of the year's top climate stories, or this 2014 summary.
How to answer climate change sceptics http://grist.org/series/skeptics/ There are still some arguments out there to the effect that man is not really causing severe climate change. Unfortunately the evidence clearly shows that that's not true - here are the answers to the common contrarian arguments. And here's another similar list. Or here are 99 one-liner rebuttals of popular (debunked) arguments. Or for a more philosophical consideration of the roots of such scepticism take a look at this outstanding slide show (pdf) or this 10-minute video (2010). Finally, here's an excellent piece on the shortcomings of media coverage of climate change.
Real Climate http://www.realclimate.org/.../ A climate change site run by climate scientists. If you're confused by some of the more complex aspects of climate change, this is the site that knows the answers.
James Hansen mailing list http://www.columbia.edu/.../ Dr. James Hansen, perhaps the world's leading climate scientist, sends out occasional mailings on the latest science and its implications, from a personal as well as professional perspective.
Ecodharma http://www.ecodharma.com/ Having taken part in one of their "Sustaining Resistance, Empowering Renewal" retreats, I cannot emphasise enough the power of the support and insight that they offer to committed activists. A reminder to stay grounded in what truly matters, and effective help in using that to avoid burning ourselves out.
Oil depletion links:
Introduction to Peak Oil (pdf) http://www.theoildrum.com/.../ A clearly written introduction to the science of peak oil, building up from the basics. That's written by Gail Tverberg, and for a deeper, and brilliant, exploration of the interactions between energy and the wider economy, I recommend her 2014 article. And for the real fundamentals of today's global energy crisis, amazingly I've still seen nothing better than this 1976 talk from M. King Hubbert!
Online energy conversion tool http://www.onlineconversion.com/energy.htm Confused by BTUs, petajoules, gallons, kilowatt hours and megacalories? This conversion tool is invaluable.
Dmitry Orlov http://cluborlov.blogspot.co.uk/ Orlov is a thinker, writer and commentator with a powerful breadth of thought and insight, and a wonderfully blunt and humourous manner. Worth checking out.
Rob Newman's History of Oil (video) http://www.youtube.com/.../ Ready for some light relief? Rob Newman is a renowned stand-up comedian who shows in this brilliant performance that he understands the problems we face. For more peak oil-related entertainment I also recommend the free (and quick) online game Oiligarchy.
Resilience.org http://www.resilience.org/ The outstanding clearinghouse for current information news and events regarding the peak in global energy supply, climate change and related topics.
Peak Oil Blues http://www.peakoilblues.com/ All a bit too much? This excellent and friendly site is run by professionally trained psychotherapists to help those trying to come to terms with Peak Oil and its impact on their life and plans.
What can we do?:
Reclaim The Power http://www.nodashforgas.org.uk/ The Reclaim the Power camps are an amazing place to discuss climate problems and solutions with all comers on an equal footing. And to take direct action against dirty fracking, if that's your bag.
The Transition movement https://transitionnetwork.org/ The rapidly spreading Transition Towns movement is local communities working together to shape their future, in the context of climate change, peak oil and economic crisis. More empowering than protest and more significant than operating alone. There's probably one near you. This presentation is a good introduction, or check out the In Transition movie, available free online. Or here's me and my local group!
350.org http://www.350.org/ An international campaign aiming to use beautiful, creative and unstoppable methods to spread the idea that 350 is the most important number on the planet. We need to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations to at most 350ppm to avoid huge and irreversible damage to life on Earth. They need our ideas and inspiration to spread the word as far as possible and thus move the international negotiations in that direction.
The Ecological Land Co-operative http://ecologicalland.coop/ The Eco Land Co-op exists to provide affordable opportunities for new ecologically beneficial projects and smallholdings to find land.
TEQs (Tradable Energy Quotas) http://www.teqs.net/ The Fleming Policy Centre outlines a national framework designed to ameliorate the impacts of both climate change and peak oil, support local initiatives and guarantee a nation's emissions reductions. Simple yet brilliant - exactly the kind of thinking the world needs right now.
Painting the Town Green (pdf) http://www.green-engage.co.uk/.../ An investigation of how we communicate climate change, and why doing so often fails to prompt any behavioural change. This is crucial information for all of us, as MPs still claim that the popular support is not there for realistic action on climate change. Chapters 6 & 10 especially recommended. Also see the outstanding Common Cause report on this topic, which was the inspiration for one of my blog posts.
Tactical Tech https://www.tacticaltech.org/ The Tactical Technology Collective advances the use of information and digital technologies by advocates and activists worldwide. If you disapprove of government reading all our emails, listening to our phone calls etc, here's a good place to start protecting yourself and those you love from it. See also Rise Up, who I trust completely.
Carbon Trading - A Critique (pdf) http://www.thecornerhouse.org.uk/.../ An excellent, readable exploration of some of the shortcomings of our current systems of international carbon trading, such as the Kyoto Protocol and the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). Edited by Larry Lohmann. This 2010 report by FERN also comes recommended.
Carbon offsetting? http://www.treeaid.org.uk/ or http://www.treesforcities.org/ If you're considering using a carbon offsetting service, why not donate to one of these charities instead? There is justifiably much controversy surrounding carbon offsetting, but these charities were carefully planting trees where they would be most beneficial long before offsetting became fashionable (and profitable). Just don't buy the myth that donating money gives you any ethical right to emit more carbon! See my blog post on the topic.
Future living links:
A Farm for the Future (video) http://www.youtube.com/.../ A beautiful and fascinating 50 minute documentary from the BBC's Natural World series, exploring the future for food in a world of peak oil and climate change. If you want to download it for a showing you can do so here (right-click and save). Watching this requires Apple's QuickTime software or the VLC Media Player (recommended), which can be downloaded free here. And if you want more when you're done, I also highly recommend Dirt - The Movie.
The Man in Seat Sixty-One http://www.seat61.com/ An extremely useful site for those of us who have decided not to fly (for whatever reason). This site gives detailed, friendly, first-hand information on how to get almost anywhere in the world by surface-based transportation.
Green Alliance report on 'Grid 2.0' (pdf) http://www.green-alliance.org.uk/.../ The Green Alliance have produced a clear and compelling piece of work on the new thinking that is needed for electricity distribution and the National Grid.
Soil carbon http://soilcarboncoalition.org/.../ This important slideshow from the Soil Carbon coalition reminds us that the complete elimination of CO2 emissions would not solve our climate problem. We also need to draw carbon out of our atmosphere, and soil is by far the biggest carbon sink over which we have control. Using it for this purpose is nature's own process, and it can be done quickly. You may also be interested in this website, or my blog post on the subject.
lowimpact.org http://lowimpact.org/ If you are interested in low impact living (natural building, renewable energy, local food production etc etc) then this free site is packed with resources and endlessly helpful, as well as being a great place to connect with others. As is Diggers and Dreamers, if you're interested in communal living.
Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) http://www.desertec.org/.../ This is NOT photovoltaic solar panels, but rather the simple use of mirrors to focus solar heat on pipes filled with water. This generates steam which turns turbines to generate electricity. A simple concept that has been operating a 165 MW power plant in California for over 20 years and has the wonderful property of scalability. Discussed on my blog here.
Permaculture Principles http://www.permacultureprinciples.com/.../ Permaculture is often termed a design system. It is that, but it is also an entire way of seeing life, based around the principles of Care for the Earth, Care for People and Fair Shares. It is one of those beautiful ideas that get deeper the more you explore them, and this site is a lovely introduction. Also see this gem of a 9 minute video.
Freegle http://www.ilovefreegle.org/ Freegle is a network of local groups facilitating the giving and receiving of free stuff! Got something you don't want any more? Freegle makes it easy to keep it out of landfill by giving to someone who does want it, and is all organised online. You may have heard of Freecycle - well they treated their volunteer members badly, so here in the UK Freegle was born. Same system, more ethically run.
A bird's eye view http://www.lietaer.com/.../ Professor Bernard Lietaer has written this clear and concise explanation of the problems with our current monetary systems, and how critical they are to all that we might wish to achieve. It features several links for those wishing to explore further. I also recommend this two minute video for a touch of comic relief.
Dr. M. King Hubbert http://hubbertpeak.com/hubbert/monetary.htm A short extract from an interview with Dr. Hubbert, in which he outlines the clash between our understanding of Physics and our monetary culture. Also see his talk at the first link above.
Money as Debt (video) http://www.youtube.com/.../ An astonishingly clear and engaging explanation of the little-understood reality behind our existing monetary system, presented as a video animation. There is also 2009's Money as Debt II, and the excellent Money Fix, both of which develop the same themes. You'll likely be shocked by any of them, and eager for the next link below!
The Positive Money campaign http://www.positivemoney.org.uk/ Clear, well-presented information about the campaign for a UK Act of Parliament that would put right the issues addressed in the above video while reducing the tax burden by 30%, making public service cuts unnecessary and allowing us to clear the national debt. Crucial, sensible and in need of your support. They produced this excellent short film in 2012.
Dr. Albert Bartlett http://old.globalpublicmedia.com/lectures/461 Dr. Bartlett applies the arithmetic of steady growth to populations and to fossil fuels. Essential, a lot more interesting than it might sound, and available here as video, audio or text.
The Endangered US Dollar http://www.richardheinberg.com/.../ In this perceptive article from 2004 Richard Heinberg looks to history to find the roots of our present global economic position. In 2010 he also produced his 'Economics for the Hurried' articles, which, as a non-economist, I found very helpful: Number 1, Number 2.
The Crash Course (video) http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse Chris Martenson undertakes the daunting task of presenting the overarching interplay of economics, energy and environment examined in all the links above. He not only pulls it off, but does so in easily digestible videos from 2-15 minutes long. Or there's an 'Accelerated Crash Course' that covers everything in an hour. Here's my blog reacting to my first watch of the original version back in 2008. The content's been much updated since.
Prosperity Without Growth http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/.../ Professor Tim Jackson of the Sustainable Development Commission has produced this outstanding report (now also available as a book) which looks into the connections and conflicts between sustainability, growth, and wellbeing, and argues for a redefinition of "prosperity" in line with evidence about what actually contributes to people's wellbeing.
New Economics Foundation http://www.neweconomics.org/ A UK organisation proposing alternatives to the dominant economic paradigm. Practising economics as if people and planet mattered.
The Ecologist http://www.theecologist.co.uk/.../ Dr. Stephan Harding's article in The Ecologist magazine on economic growth and TEQs. Harding's book Animate Earth also receives my highest recommendation, with its beautiful ability to open readers' eyes to a new dimension regarding nature and climate change.
The Moneyless Manifesto http://www.moneylessmanifesto.org/ Written by Mark Boyle, the 'Moneyless Man' (and edited by me), this wonderful, thought-provoking book explores the freedom of doing without money, to the extent that feels right for you.
Music One of the most powerful forces shaping our culture, music is also a particular passion of mine. Although it is of course a matter of taste, why not check out readers' recommendations of music that speaks to our times in this 2010 blog post, and my 2017 'Dark Optimism album' incorporating some of these.
Rap News http://thejuicemedia.com/ Fantastically entertaining, meticulously researched and exceptionally insightful, the early episodes of Rap News have been unmissable. Here's my favourite episode so far, featuring Bono (actually, scratch that, December 2014's episode on the New World Order tops it!).
Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It http://www.chelseagreen.com/lean-logic The first of two book recommendations, this book could appear under any of the other sections above. Entertaining and impossible to categorise - this review probably makes the best attempt!
Charles Eisenstein's The Ascent of Humanity http://www.ascentofhumanity.com/ This book explores the sources of our cultural and ecological crises in a more insightful and profound way than anything else I have yet read. Not always the easiest read, but radical stuff, in the truest sense of the word. A lovely 12 minute taster video is here.
The Land magazine http://www.thelandmagazine.org.uk/.../ The Land is written by and for people who believe that the roots of justice, freedom, social security and democracy lie not so much in access to money, or to the ballot box, as in access to land and its resources.
The Dark Mountain Project http://dark-mountain.net/.../ A network of writers, artists and thinkers who have stopped believing the stories our civilisation tells itself. Seeing that the world is entering an age of ecological collapse, material contraction and social and political unravelling, we want our cultural responses to reflect this reality rather than denying it..
Media Lens http://www.medialens.org/ An important independent site which expertly challenges the "profoundly distorted picture of our world" that the increasingly corporate mainstream newspapers and broadcasters provide.
Radio Ecoshock http://www.ecoshock.org/.../ An outstanding online radio station interviewing key thinkers and realistically documenting our times. My 2016 interview with them can be heard or read here.
On biodiversity and extinction (video) http://www.youtube.com/.../ This watchable 9 minute video outlines the mass extinction event occurring now on our planet. As declared at a UN conference in 2007: "If things continue, in as little as 35 years half of all species of life will be extinct".
Avaaz http://www.avaaz.org/ An inspiring international organisation using the Internet to ensure that the views and values of the world's people are heard in key global decisions. Sign up to their mailing list - their judgment is generally unerring.
Write To Them.com http://www.writetothem.com/ The easiest way to write to your MP or other political representatives, even if you don't know who they are (UK residents only).
Human population http://www.johnfeeney.net/ John Feeney's site is an important source of understanding regarding the critical debate over sustainable human population levels. I also recommend David Attenborough's excellent documentary How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth?
Schumacher College http://www.schumachercollege.org.uk/ A truly transformative place where space and time is given for learning, reflection and the exchange of ideas and experiences. Much of its unique character comes from the way the College community creates an expression of a sustainable lifestyle, with participants sharing in essential activities including cooking, housekeeping and gardening. If you have a chance to study there do not fail to take it. The place changed my life.
Throbgoblins International http://throbgoblins.blogspot.co.uk/ Marc Roberts provides brilliant cartoons for those with both a dark sense of humour and a real understanding of our global challenges.
Rev. Billy http://www.revbilly.com/ Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir are straight-up inspirations. Powerful activists in their own right, their performances are incredibly nourishing and rejuvenating experiences. Catch them if you can, or make do with their Youtube channel.
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