Don’t Fence Me In: Exnovation for Degrowth

by Gregory Mikkelson

During recent visits to my family’s woods in northern Wisconsin, I have methodically snipped, pulled out, and recycled a half-mile of long-abandoned barbed wire. By doing so, I hope to help the biotic communities on either side of the old fence line to reconnect. The work is great exercise, and deeply satisfying.

I have not yet figured out who installed the wire or when, but the stuff was invented by Lucien Smith in 1867,


Driving NASCAR Off the American Cultural Cliff

by Brian Czech

In the heart of New York’s spectacular Finger Lakes region last Sunday, 40 drivers lined up to race—for six hours—round and round a circuitous route of doglegs four miles southwest of Seneca Lake. I don’t know who won, and I couldn’t care less, but I do know who lost. That would be people and planet.

Watkins Glen International Raceway, dubbed “the spiritual home of road racing in the USA,” is among six major car-racing tracks scattered about the state parks,


Steering Away from a Car-Centric Society

by Mai Nguyen

Learning to drive scared me as a teenager. There was something terrifying about controlling a two-ton hunk of metal, and my drivers’ education teacher didn’t help by showing a graphic slideshow of injuries we could expect from a brutal car accident. This didn’t bother me much once I moved to the city; with buses, the metro, and bike or scooter shares, there are plenty of other ways to get around.


Icebreakers in the Arctic: An Overlooked Environmental Concern

by Johanna Cohn

Global heating has a greater impact on the Arctic than the rest of the planet. In fact, the Arctic is warming at a rate almost twice the global average. This is due to Arctic ice’s high albedo, meaning the ice reflects a tremendous amount of sunlight into the atmosphere. As the ice melts, the sea water absorbs more sunlight than it reflects. The resulting water subsequently warms and evaporates,


Game On or Game Over for the Environment?

by Mai Nguyen

In January 2022, Microsoft announced that the company planned to buy the videogame company Activision Blizzard for almost $70 billion, giving it control of franchises like Call of Duty, Candy Crush, and World of Warcraft. This signaled to the world the potential of gaming for the tech industry’s pursuit of speedier growth despite technology being an already high-demand industry.


A Perfect Storm for Inflation: COVID, Loose Money, and Putin

by Brian Czech

The current bout of inflation should be no surprise to steady staters. We have national and global ecosystems pushed to the limits by population and economic growth. At the same time, we have monetary authorities and heads of state—neoclassically oblivious to limits—eager to stimulate the economy with loose money. It’s a recipe for inflation.

We tweeted all the way back in March 2020 that inflation was coming.


Facebook and Its Religion of Growth

by Taylor Lange

There was a time when I dreamt of working at Facebook. I was less intrigued by the software development side than with studying the exchange of information and the cultural evolution occurring through online social networks. One of my research interests is how individuals learn to act cooperatively and acquire new preferences. What better place is there to do that than at the largest online social media platform?

Since joining Facebook in 2009,


Next Big Thing or Next Big Mistake?

by Brian Snyder

In a 2021 landmark of ludicrousness, Jeff Bezos launched himself, cowboy hat and all, into space aboard a phallus-shaped rocket. But Bezos’ fruitless attempt to fill that gaping hole in his life was only the latest stupid reason to send something to space. Spaceship stupidity goes back to the SNAPSHOT program which, in 1965, sent a working nuclear reactor into space. Not surprisingly,


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),


American Totalism: Technology, Economy, and Nationality

by Brian Snyder

“Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality.” Those were the principles that underlaid most of the Tsarist governments in the final 80 years of Romanov rule. It was a slogan and a belief system, Russia’s version of “liberté, égalité, fraternité.” Eventually, under the leadership of a poor autocrat, Nicholas II, it would lead to the Russian Revolution and the brutal murder of Nicholas and his family. Yet between its coining in 1832 and the Revolution in 1917,