“The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”
– Eden Phillpotts
ClubOrlov https://cluborlov.blogspot.com/ Dmitry Orlov is a uniquely perceptive Russian-born American, with a wicked sense of humour.
Ran Prieur https://www.ranprieur.com/ A blog in bite-size chunks, written by a man with an exceptionally sharp old mind, and a lifestyle not unlike my own.
Some Small Holding https://somesmallholding.com/ Powerful, gentle insight and explorations, from Inez Aponte.
Ecosophia https://www.ecosophia.net/ An Archdruid’s perspective on our times.
The Dark Mountain Project https://dark-mountain.net/ Artists and writers explore the cultural void left behind, as our civilisation’s stories about what’s important – or reliable – dissolve around us.
Rob Hopkins https://www.robhopkins.net/ The originator of the Transition Towns movement, now exploring the critical significance of imagination.
Resilience.org https://www.resilience.org/ An outstanding clearinghouse for current information, news and insights regarding resource depletion, the destabilisation of our climate and related topics. For a clearly written introduction to the science of depletion, building up from the basics, look no further.
Dr. Albert Bartlett https://www.youtube.com/…/ Dr. Bartlett applies the arithmetic of steady growth to populations and to fossil fuels. A lot more jaw-dropping than it sounds. One of the most important videos online.
Human population https://ourworldindata.org/…/ While human population levels are clearly less of an issue than consumption levels and the wider culture, it’s nonetheless hard to look at this simple graph and video and not recognise an issue. I also recommend David Attenborough’s excellent documentary How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth?
The Crash Course https://www.peakprosperity.com/crashcourse Chris Martenson undertakes the daunting task of clarifying the overarching interplay of economics, energy and environment unfolding today. 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. Incidentally, he also makes for an excellent interviewer.
Oily comedy! https://www.youtube.com/…/ Ready for some light relief? Rob Newman is a renowned stand-up comedian who shows in this entertaining 45 minute show that he understands the challenges we face.
Let’s Talk Collapse https://www.letstalkthis.com/collapse/ The prospect of societal collapse – while a poorly-defined term – is already a reality for many in our world. For others the very thought is a shock. This impressive website gives an accessible overview of some of the best thinking on the topic.
xkcd cartoons https://xkcd.com/1732/ and https://xkcd.com/1379/ These two rather brilliant cartoons pretty accurately sum up and present the latest climate science in a nutshell. Or, more conventionally, here’s an excellent, readable, straightforward guide to the basics of climate change.
Deep Time walk https://www.facebook.com/…/ The ecologist Stephan Harding takes us on the five minute Deep Time walk he devised, with its rather shocking conclusion. A mind-opening excerpt from the film The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?
Climate time machine https://climate.nasa.gov/interactives/climate-time-machine/ NASA’s climate time machine gives an exceptionally accessible visualisation of how the Earth’s climate has changed and is changing, grounded in the most robust data we have. Or for the key indicators of the situation right now, see here for clear and regularly updated records.
Real Climate http://www.realclimate.org/…/ A climate 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. And my own Climate Science Translation Guide is a useful grounding if you want to delve into scientific papers yourself.
How to answer climate change sceptics https://grist.org/series/skeptics/ There are still some arguments out there to the effect that humanity is not really destabilising our climate. Unfortunately the evidence says that that’s not true – here are the answers to the common contrarian arguments.
On death and hopelessness https://www.truthout.org/…/ A man who has met the death of hope in the most direct way tells us what he learnt there. Joanna Macy acknowledges despair, and what it brings. While the outstanding PostDoom.com interviews a remarkable selection of folk about lives well lived in that context. Here’s my own interview with them.
OUR ECONOMIC SYSTEMS
A bird’s eye view https://www.lietaer.com/…/ Professor Bernard Lietaer has written this concise explanation of the problems with our current monetary systems, and how critical a threat they pose to our hopes and dreams. I also recommend this two minute video for a touch of comic relief on the matter!
Money as Debt https://www.youtube.com/…/ An impressively clear and engaging animated explanation of the little-understood reality behind our existing monetary system – money really is created out of thin air; then we let people tell us what to do in exchange for it.
The Moneyless Manifesto https://www.moneylessmanifesto.org/ Written by Mark Boyle, the ‘Moneyless Man’, this wonderful, amusing and deeply thought-provoking book explores the freedom of doing without money, to the extent that feels right for you.
Ethical consumerism https://www.huffpost.com/…/ This piece highlights the exceptional Fairphone (I own a second-hand one myself), but importantly uses it to explain why choosing greener products can’t ultimately achieve all that much. If we take that thought a little further we get to…
The Flaw of Western Economies https://www.permaculturenews.org/…/ Here Marcin Gerwin explains why even if everyone started making conscious, ethical choices to reduce their consumption, that still wouldn’t get us out of the mess our economic systems have gotten us into. So…
Surviving the Future https://www.flemingpolicycentre.org.uk/lean-logic-surviving-the-future/ The late David Fleming’s book explains the only remaining desirable path forward from our seemingly impossible dilemma. For a taste of its contents see my popular article. Or to roam off into his astonishing, entertaining thinking under your own steam, the wider book from which Surviving the Future was drawn is now available free and in full at LeanLogic.online.
WHAT MIGHT WE DO?
Activism https://www.darkoptimism.org/…/ Movements like Extinction Rebellion and Peaceful Uprising are people organising to demand more effective action to protect our futures. Here’s why I personally chose to get arrested as part of the first Extinction Rebellion.
TEQs (Tradable Energy Quotas) https://www.teqs.net/ The kind of simple yet brilliant policy we desperately need right now. A national framework providing a means both to guarantee achieving emissions reductions targets, and to ameliorate the impacts of resource depletion.
Green Alliance report on ‘Grid 2.0’ https://www.green-alliance.org.uk/…/ The Green Alliance produced this clear and compelling piece of work on the new thinking that is needed for electricity distribution and the National Grid. Of course there are questions about whether grids are the way to go at all, but that’s another question…
Permaculture Principles https://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.
Transition Towns https://transitionnetwork.org/ A movement I’ve been involved with from the outset, of towns and communities building resilience and conversation for the widest range of possible futures. Check out the website to find the Transition initiative nearest you and see what’s happening!
Flatpack Democracy https://www.flatpackdemocracy.co.uk/ As the name implies, this is a movement about rolling up sleeves and doing-it-(y)ourself. A wonderful little booklet, and website, from local people who decided to abandon party politics altogether and take over their own town councils, democratically, as independents. Twenty councils are already under independent, diverse, local control as a result! This video is a good intro.
Diggers and Dreamers https://www.diggersanddreamers.org.uk/ If you’re more interested in joining or starting a community explicitly focused on a particular intention – rather than ‘retrofitting’ the community in which you live – Diggers and Dreamers is the place to discover possibilities. Note that D&D focuses on Britain; I understand that IC.org provides a somewhat similar space globally.
Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time https://www.darkoptimism.org…/ I lead this course, developed in partnership with Vermont’s wonderful Sterling College. As COVID-19 first spread, we worked to create an online community to support folk in making sense of these times, and in acting in their localities. The first run attracted 250 people from 25 countries, and is among the most satisfying work I’ve done to date.
LowImpact.org https://www.lowimpact.org/ A truly outstanding resource with accessible, practical, expert guidance on just about every aspect of shifting your life in light of the times we are living in.
The Ecological Land Co-operative https://ecologicalland.coop/ The Eco Land Co-op – which I used to chair – exists to make it possible for people to access land in the UK, affordably build a home, and start a new land-based project or smallholding.
Travelling without flying https://www.seat61.com/ An extremely useful site for those of us who have decided not to fly, for whatever reason. First-hand, straightforward info on how to get almost anywhere in the world by surface-based transportation. And by the way, please don’t use carbon offsetting.
Freegle https://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.
Write To Them.com https://www.writetothem.com/ The very easiest way to write to your MP or other political representatives, even if you don’t know who they are (UK only).
The Overstory, by Richard Powers https://wordery.com/…/ This fiction book is the best thing I’ve read since Lean Logic! For a deep understanding of the real stakes of the times we’re living in, you could do little better.
Music https://www.darkoptimism.org/…/ 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 my ‘Dark Optimism album’, incorporating moving recommendations from readers.
Rap News https://thejuicemedia.com/ Fantastically entertaining, meticulously researched and exceptionally insightful, Rap News was unmissable. Here’s my favourite episode, featuring Bono (actually, scratch that, the episode on the New World Order tops it!).
The Land magazine https://www.thelandmagazine.org.uk/…/ The Land is beautifully 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.
Radio Ecoshock https://www.ecoshock.org/…/ A fascinating online radio station interviewing key thinkers and realistically documenting our times. One of my interviews on the station can be heard or read here.
Media Lens https://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.
Rev. Billy https://www.revbilly.com/ Reverend Billy and his Stop Shopping Choir are straight-up inspirations. Potent activists in their own right, their live performances are incredibly nourishing and rejuvenating experiences. Catch them if you can, or make do with their Youtube channel.
A pep talk https://www.cryptonaturalist.com/…/ The Cryptonaturalist offers a little perspective about meaning, life, magic, and you.
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