Jensen nonviolent, after all

Art I made for the large open wall of my apartment. The metal numbers were someone else’s garbage. (My Dad’s, in fact.)

This month Derrick Jensen took a step back from his usual extreme tone in his Orion Magazine column. (Orion represents the literary and philosophical side of the environmental movement.) Normally he advocates a revolution in order to address environmental problems. With this most recent column, he (finally) clarified that he doesn’t mean violent revolution. At least necessarily.

A little background: Jensen doesn’t think the status quo can fix our problems, and I agree with him. The current system of the world’s governments, the massive corporate influence, the wealthy nations’ addiction to consumerism and the poor nations’ inability to climb out of poverty will more or less continue as-is, because those who could change things are too invested in the system to substantially change it.

But I’m also staunchly non-violent. So while Jensen may have softened up a bit from his normal tone, expressed in great pieces here and here, he still means business. I’m sure he’s enraged as much as I am that there weren’t enough limousines in Denmark to accommodate the climate conference at Copenhagen. The conference campus was fairly walkable, I heard.

The limo thing is but a humorous representation of the leaders being invested in the current system. Like a Ponzi scheme, they continue playing the dangerous game because to try to fix things is to admit your own stupidity. I highly recommend this piece, which compares the global economy with a Ponzi scheme.


Lamb stew with microgreens over a root-vegetable gratin. Lamb by the Carr family, whose Mint Creek Farm is outside Chicago. Cell phone flash by Mariely Santiesteban, Clandestino staff. Photo by Brandon Smith.

The end of the semester has been upon me. Super-crunch time. But now it’s over until Jan. 20 or so, and I’m happy to fill my time filling this space.

The picture above was taken at the underground dinner club “Clandestino,” at which I volunteered for nearly 12 hours last Saturday. I filed two different stories based on the experience (and in consult with other proprietors of underground dinners in this fine city).

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Awesome quote of the day

The awesome quote of the day regards the upcoming climate change conference in Copenhagen:

And this being Scandinavia, even the prostitutes are doing their bit for the planet. Outraged by a council postcard urging delegates to “be sustainable, don’t buy sex,” the local sex workers’ union – they have unions here – has announced that all its 1,400 members will give free intercourse to anyone with a climate conference delegate’s pass. The term “carbon dating” just took on an entirely new meaning.

From this article in the Telegraph.

Quick shout-out

Annie Leonard lectures at a sustainability conference. (Creative Commons photo from the Flickr account of Kevin Krejci)

Annie Leonard released a long-anticipated followup to her “Story of Stuff” video, called “The Story of Cap and Trade.” It’s more complex than the first (I, an environmental reporter, had to rewind a couple times), but it does a better job than anything else at simplifying this really hard topic.

Which is to say, get on over there and spend 10 minutes learning about the so-called “solution” our leaders have proposed to attempt to save our planet.

And the Pursuit of Happiness review

What a name for a blog, And the Pursuit of Happiness.

The blog’s beautiful, but it’s not really a blog. It’s a place that, once a month, displays a new piece of written and visual art—created by author and illustrator of children’s books Maira Kalman. It was one of the most popular items on New York Times‘ website recently, which is how I found it.

Here’s another thing the blog isn’t: it isn’t focused on people pursuing happiness. Its name is more a reference to its decidedly American focus, and also its storyline that there is happiness here, despite the myriad and potentially devastating problems inherent in our system.

I like Kalman a lot. She acknowledges the problems, but lets the columnists deal with them. She’s resolved her little corner of the Times is gonna be about the good people are doing and trying to do. It’s not reckless promotion but, rather, she realizes that sometimes journalism means telling, simply, the happiness people have and bring to others. Kalman’s a good journalist.

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Letter to Aptera followers

Remember when I posted the bit about Aptera getting approval to apply for a U.S. Department of Energy loan for advanced transportation technologies? Just today they mentioned it to their fans via a newsletter. (Either I was ahead of the game, they were behind, or both.)

Also in this newsletter was an exciting update on what the company could do with such a loan if it were granted to them. I’ll paste it below for your reading pleasure:
Aptera applied for a DOE loan in December, 2008 and was rejected in 3 days. The program was only open to 4 wheelers and we have 3 wheels.

Now, we have to re-file the application, this time, in full business plan detail. The loan program details are quite specific about what the loan money can be used for and when the loan will be paid back.

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I kept writing but haven’t posted in a while, so I just wanted to fling a link your way before I hopped a bus to Columbus, Ohio to see the fam. (Look for more posts to come soon, however.)

The Yes Men, a group of nationally-known pranksters, did some protesting of the Fisk power plant here in Chicago while they were here for a premiere of their new movie. The Yes Men’s most recent was here: