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Reduce, Reuse, Rethink: The Problem of Recycling

by Ted Atwood

I was born in the year 2000. Thus, for my entire life, human-caused climate change has been an ever-present, intensifying threat. Throughout my early education, I learned that we all just needed to “do our part” to combat climate change. “Do your part” lessons always culminated in the sentiment that you too could save the cute polar bears by following the motto “reduce, reuse, recycle,” and these were words I took to heart.

Old White Men: Protecting the Rim for Steady-State Diversity

by Brian Czech

I’m an old guy. Not ancient, perhaps, but my 61-year old knees alone would put me in the lower decile of…let’s say freshness. Why, my best days are so far back, you’d need a rearview mirror from the Giant Magellan Telescope to spot one!

As if that weren’t bad enough, I’m a white guy. I might feel black and blue sometimes from fighting the forces of GDP growth,

If It’s Profitable, Is It Really Sustainable?

By Gunnar Rundgren

That an economic activity has to be profitable is considered a truism, something taken for granted and not reflected upon. But what if the opposite is the case?

When I first took up small-scale organic farming in the 1970s, I spent a lot of energy on developing new methods and machinery to increase my productive efficiency. The early organic advocates went a long way to assure growers, farmers,

Degrowth: A North American Vision

By Brian Czech

Students and scholars of steady-state economics must have noticed, by now, that the Degrowth movement in Europe has attained far more traction than the steady-state movement has in the USA (or anywhere). Degrowth is the banner under which thousands have assembled at numerous conferences for almost two decades now, demonstrating a durable unity. Major European news outlets such as The Guardian report on Degrowth doings; even prominent American outlets including Bloomberg have taken note.

Bad Bros and Their Bitcoin

By Brian Snyder

Bitcoin needs to end, now. And other blockchain-based currencies along with it. If, like many people, you only have a vague idea of what Bitcoin is, you need to know two critical facts. First, Bitcoin is a currency that is “mined” via computing calculations, and second, in aggregate those calculations use about as much energy as the nation of Argentina. To make matters worse, that energy use is growing.

A recent analysis in Nature Communications estimated that by 2024 bitcoin mining in China alone would require nearly 300 terawatt-hours (TWh),

A Doughnut Economy Please—But Hold the Agnostic Frosting

By Brian Czech

Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth, which I gobbled up last week, was tentatively in my top 5 economics pastries before I bit down on Chapter 7. Now it’s “merely” in the baker’s dozen—top 10 even—along with classics such as Small is Beautiful, the Diseconomics of Growth, and more than one Herman Daly title on the pantry shelf.[i] I know you’re hungry for the answer to what grated my teeth at Chapter 7,

“Limits to Growth”: A Game for Elementary School and Summer Camp

By Kayla Downs

I spend my summers working at a summer camp in Upstate New York. For a reason unbeknownst to me this past summer, my campers became obsessed with the song “Let It Grow” from The Lorax. They asked me to play it constantly, knew all the words, and loved to sing along. I didn’t realize how relevant it would become to my own life and work.

Contrasting Climate Policies in the House and Senate

By Brian Snyder

On March 10, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin introduced America’s Clean Future Fund Act, a fairly ambitious plan to combat climate change. While skeptics will be able to identify plenty of weaknesses in the bill and might argue that it remains enmeshed in a growth-economy worldview, the potential for progress warrants our appreciation. Meanwhile in the House, the Energy and Commerce Committee introduced the Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s (CLEAN) Future Act,

Spaceship Earth and the Alien Economy: More than a Metaphor

By James MacGregor Palmer

The year was 1965, and on the morning of July 9 in Geneva, Adlai Ewing Stevenson II prepared for his final speech to the United Nations. A former Governor of Illinois and presidential candidate, what he was about to say might still become his greatest contribution. But we’re in danger of forgetting it.

What Adlai Stevenson proffered the world that day was a metaphor. A simple yet powerful idea that,

Paying Taxes with Trophic Money: Watch Out for Environmental Backfires

By Brian Czech

I didn’t set out to coin a phrase, but “trophic money” will be far handier than “money derived pursuant to the trophic theory of money.” The trophic theory of money is that money originates via the agricultural surplus that frees the hands for the division of labor into all the other economic activities, most basically manufacturing and services. It’s a theory of money that reflects not only the trophic structure of the economy—with manufacturing and services built upon a base of agriculture and extraction—but the fact that money is meaningless unless we have an agricultural surplus at the trophic base.