615: Living off the grid without solar either (as all humans once did)

on August 9, 2022 in Podcast

Regular listeners know I started an experiment disconnecting from the electric grid. I began May 22. Then on July 22, I posted an episode that the solar panel or battery broke, or both. I didn’t see how I could continue so said that after I finished recording, I’d declare victory, reconnect to the grid, cook lunch, and move on. Regular listeners and readers of my blog know that I posted[…] Keep reading →

614: Michelle Nijhuis, part 1: Living off the grid for 15 years

on August 8, 2022 in Podcast

Where was Michelle Nijhuis all my life? She lived off the electric grid for fifteen years and I was about two months in, so we shared stories of the experiences. She did it much longer and her fiance had to assemble everything from scratch. I’m only two months in and can use off-the-shelf parts, but I’m in Manhattan, so can’t set up a permanent system. Some similarities: connecting with nature,[…] Keep reading →

American culture today: “Here’s why I can’t” (especially among conservatives, liberals, and libertarians)

on August 7, 2022 in Doof, Nature

I grew up learning that American culture meant can-do. That we took on challenges as a nation and as individuals. When the going got tough, the tough got going. The bigger they come the harder they fall. Now we face a challenge: our lifestyles are lowering Earth’s ability to sustain life, already killing tens of millions a year, projected more. Anyone can tell that we as a nation and every[…] Keep reading →

The causes inside you of our environmental problems

on August 6, 2022 in Leadership, Models, Nature

Think of something you do that pollutes, but you do it anyway. You’ve justified why it’s okay. You’re balancing you desire to do good or whatever on one side with something on the other. Actually, think of all the things you do that pollute, if you can. You’ve justified all of them. At least you do in the moment you do them. Maybe you fly to visit relatives, buy takeout,[…] Keep reading →

Limits to economic growth: A peer-reviewed paper by podcast guest Tom Murphy

on August 6, 2022 in Blog

I’ve described Tom Murphy’s textbook, Energy and Human Ambitions on a Finite Planet, the science book of the decade. He just published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Physics, one of the most important parts: how basic physical constraints limit how much our economy can grow. The paper is called Limits to economic growth. Quoting Tom’s blog post linking to the piece inline and in pdf, the “real” article [is] in[…] Keep reading →

On starlight and smog

on August 5, 2022 in Nature

Looking out my window at the night sky, I saw what I thought was a bright star but was a plane. Living in Manhattan, I haven’t seen a star-filled sky in years. Think about what that means. For millions of years, our ancestors could look up at the sky and see stars filling it. It might rain one night or be overcast, but you know what I mean. We evolved[…] Keep reading →

How we kill innovation around sustainability

on August 4, 2022 in Entrepreneurship, Nature

An anecdote reveals how we stifle innovation and entrepreneurship. Regular readers know I lowered my ecological footprint over 90 percent in under three years, improving my life. Governments and corporations can do what I did—once they choose longer to profit from hurting other people by polluting, even if legal. A reporter profiling me said she wanted to pollute less too but couldn’t figure out what to do about disposable Keurig[…] Keep reading →

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