Posts


Fusion Energy: A Different Take

by Gary Gardner

The recent news that scientists moved a step closer to fusion energy was greeted with enthusiasm and awe in much of the media, a bright spot of cheer amid the ongoing drumbeat of existential global threats. Only the most cynical of curmudgeons could pooh-pooh this hopeful development—right?

After all, energy is the foundation of human development. Civilizational advance is a tale of ongoing successes in shaping energy for human ends.


A Primer on Economic Growth and Biodiversity Conservation for COP15

by Brian Czech

With COP15 coming up, it’s time to don the old conservation biologist hat and proffer a primer on the relationship between economic growth and biodiversity conservation. The last thing we want is a COP15 devoid of discussion about the fundamental conflict between growing the economy and conserving biodiversity. In fact, the 800-pound gorilla—GDP growth—ought to be front and center.

For the uninitiated, COP15 is the UN Biodiversity Conference,


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.


Challenging the Pro-Growth Market: Mark Carney’s Reith Lectures and the Need for a Radical Approach

by James MacGregor Palmer

“Society won’t settle for worthy statements followed by futile gestures. It won’t settle for countries announcing plans in Paris five years ago for 2.8 degrees warming, far too high, that they don’t even meet. Society won’t settle for companies that preach green but don’t manage their carbon footprints, or financial institutions who can’t tell us whether our money is on the right or wrong side of climate history.”

These are not the words of an environmental activist,


The Impact of Evolutionary Pressures on Economic Narratives

by Carey King

People use narratives to support their position, and narratives can serve three purposes. First, they tell a story of belonging. If you meet a stranger and realize you are from a common area, you more easily engage in conversation than otherwise. Second, they describe norms that guide our actions. Most people in society follow certain norms such that by doing so, they are accepted as part of the group. Third—and most relevant to advancing the steady state economy—we use narratives to describe and learn about how the world works.


Orange Cone Headaches: Construction in an Overpopulated, Pro-Growth World

By Karen I. Shragg

Spotting a “Road Work Ahead” sign is enough to make any driver groan or nervously clutch her steering wheel. These warnings are meant to ensure people’s safety, yet they often also come with a myriad of traffic problems: congestion, noise, car wrecks, etc. In cities especially, orange cones are littered everywhere, causing copious delays and all for the sake of further “improvement” projects.

While infrastructure repair is an ongoing necessity,


Building Upon the Trophic Theory of Money: Preliminary Results from Canada

By James Magnus-Johnston

The human economy doesn’t just mimic the economy of nature; it is part of it. It is woven directly into the ecological system of producers and consumers. Due to the technological prowess of Homo sapiens, though, the human presence dominates, threatening other species and the life support system of the planet. Human dominance over non-human life leads us to acknowledge some uncomfortable truths, particularly for proponents of “green growth.”

The first pertains to the loss of biodiversity.


Terrestrial and Solar Resources in a Steady State Economy

by Herman Daly

Let us consider a different slant on the current discussion about the necessity versus sufficiency of renewable energy for a steady state economy at the present physical scale.

Pursuant to the pioneering economics of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen (G-R), we recognize two sources of the low-entropy flow that sustains our lives: the solar and the terrestrial. They differ in their pattern of scarcity. The solar energy source is practically infinite in its stock dimension,


Crossroads for Planet of the Humans

by William Rees

[Editor’s Note: The Steady State Herald first published a review of Planet of the Humans on May 1. The following review adds valuable information to the dialog.]

“It stands to reason…”

Who hasn’t heard this expression in everyday conversation? Humans tend to think of themselves as rational beings, and many people sincerely believe they are being reasonable all the time.

However,


Book Review: The Green New Deal and Beyond: Ending the Climate Emergency While We Still Can by Stan Cox

By Gerry Greaves

Achieving sustainable societies globally is likely to be a defining challenge of the 21st century. There is a growing realization that we must act to mitigate the climate crisis. There is also a growing understanding that social and economic injustice must be solved simultaneously. There are many ideas of how to achieve this, but none seems to have caught widespread attention as much as the Green New Deal. This resolution of the U.S.