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Less of What We Don't Need

Stories about Less of What We Don't Need.

How Local, Grassroots Organizing Drove El Salvador’s Mining Ban

By: 
Yevgeniya Yatsenko and Sebastian Rosemont

Amid a natural gas boom, could U.S. activists ever dream of a national ban on fracking? If it seems impossible, they should look to the south for inspiration.

On March 29, the small Central American nation of El Salvador passed a total ban on metal mining. The historic vote on the law was unanimous, bridging strong partisan divides, and was the culmination of more than a decade of activism, coalition building, and direct political participation by the people of El Salvador.

Planting the Seeds of Degrowth in Times of Crisis

By: 
Marula Tsagkari

We must look for man wherever we can find him. When on his way to Thebes Oedipus encountered the Sphinx, his answer to its riddle was: ‘Man’. That simple word destroyed the monster. We have many monsters to destroy. Let us think of the answer of Oedipus.

These words are from the Greek Poet Giorgos Seferis’ speech at the Nobel Banquet. Today they are more relevant than ever, as humanity fights against a ‘contemporary Sphinx’: the utopian ideal of an infinite growth defined by economic indicators and theories. This Promethean way of living has sustained the idea that increased wealth was the ‘one pill to cure them all.’

How Do You Degrow An Economy, Without Causing Chaos?

By: 
Jonathan Rutherford

‘Houston, we have a problem’. On the one hand, there is growing acceptance among environmentally conscious people that rich nations and affluent regions of the global economy must dramatically reduce overall resource and energy consumption levels – that is, undergo a process of ‘degrowth’ – if humanity is to bring about a sustainable world order. On the other hand, we have a growth economy that cannot go two steps in this direction without causing huge economic and social problems.

And The Minds of Children Closed

By: 
Richard Martin Oxman

Schools are still shills for our collective addiction to belief in technological fixes as a decent approach to addressing climate change issues. That’s one reason to home school, among many. But my informal survey of home schooling parents nationwide has revealed that virtually no one is teaching youth that only a no-growth vision of economics can possibly give us a shot at planetary survival. And so it goes, the three-way marriage between education, technology and the proverbial bottom line. Bottom of the barrel is more like it.

The Fallacy of Endless Economic Growth

By: 
Christopher Ketcham

The idea that economic growth can continue forever on a finite planet is the unifying faith of industrial civilization. That it is nonsensical in the extreme, a deluded fantasy, doesn't appear to bother us. We hear the holy truth in the decrees of elected officials, in the laments of economists about flagging GDP, in the authoritative pages of opinion, in the whirligig of advertising, at the World Bank and on Wall Street, in the prospectuses of globe-spanning corporations and in the halls of the smallest small-town chambers of commerce. Growth is sacrosanct. Growth will bring jobs and income, which allow us entry into the state of grace known as affluence, which permits us to consume more, providing more jobs for more people producing more goods and services so that the all-mighty economy can continue to grow. "Growth is our idol, our golden calf," Herman Daly, an economist known for his anti-growth heresies, told me recently.

“Peak Hats.” Social Change And The Coming Demise of Private Cars

By: 
Ugo Bardi
For a long time, hats were oversized and expensive status symbols more than tools for protecting people’s heads. During the past half century or so, they have nearly disappeared. A similar destiny may befall on private cars, also oversized and expensive status symbols rather than tools for transporting people. With the disappearance of cars, we may see hats coming back. 

If you look at images of people taken before mid 20th century, you’ll notice that almost everybody was wearing hats. In those times, people would often wear top hats or bowler hats, but by the 1920s, everyone was wearing the ubiquitous Fedora hat, as you can see in any gangster movie set in the 1920s and 1930s.

Secretly Approved in Alaska, Will LNG Trains Soon Appear in Rest of US?

By: 
Justin Mikulka and Steve Horn

In 2015, a federal rail agency authorized the Alaska Railroad Corporation to ship its first batch of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by rail in Alaska, but granted this permission behind closed doors, according to documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and provided to DeSmog.

The documents, a series of letters and legal memoranda obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), show that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) may have violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by permitting the shipping of LNG, a highly combustible and flammable material, via rail without any public notification or comment period. The agency granted the Alaska Railroad Corporation a legal exemption under 49 C.F.R. § 174.63(a).

El Salvador Makes History: First Nation to Ban Metal Mining

By: 
Ricardo Navarro and Sam Cossar

El Salvador made history last week by becoming the first country ever to ban metal mining.

The success of this decades long struggle is proof that people can take on corporate interests and win.

This is the story of how the people of El Salvador took on mining giants.

Mining has a dark history in El Salvador. Years of unregulated, pro-investor policies coupled with rapid industrialization has led to the widespread contamination of rivers and surface water, poisoning people and destroying farm lands.

Early Dakota Access Pipeline Spill Angers Tribal Chairs

By: 
Talli Nauman

When reports surfaced that the newly finished Dakota Access Pipeline hd experienced its first crude oil spill in South Dakota even before the private project went into service, tribal chairmen were incensed.

“The Dakota Access pipeline has not yet started shipping the proposed half million barrels of oil per day and we are already seeing confirmed reports of oil spills from the pipeline,” Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chair Dave Archambault II said on May 10. He said the incident goes to show “what we have said all along: Oil pipelines leak and spill.”

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