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Less of What We Don't Need

Stories about Less of What We Don't Need.

What a Waste

By: 
Richard Heinberg

Our modern industrial economy traces a straight line from resource extraction to manufacturing to sales to waste disposal. Since Earth has finite resources and limited ability to absorb pollution, the straight-line economy is unsustainable; it is designed for eventual failure.

Why not make the economy circular, with waste from one process feeding into other production processes, thus dramatically reducing the need both for resource extraction and for the dumping of rubbish? We should mimic nature: it’s a central ideal of the ecology movement, with roots in indigenous wisdom worldwide. Doing so requires that we reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle—and replace nonrenewable resources with renewables wherever possible.

Will A Green New Deal Save the Climate, or Save Capitalism?

By: 
Shamus Cooke

After decades of neoliberal torment it’s easy to yearn for capitalism’s tranquil past, a simpler time that delivered stability, fairness, and progress.  This mythology around a golden age of U.S. capitalism is regularly conjured up by Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who reference the New Deal-era programs that delivered democratic reforms and a massive investment in infrastructure.

Rooting herself in this myth, Ocasio-Cortez promotes a Green New Deal that, while still largely conceptual, strives to combine a massive jobs and green infrastructure project that will pivot the economy off the path of climate destruction towards a sustainable future with jobs for all.

On the Coast of Oaxaca, Afro and Indigenous Tribes Fight for Water Autonomy

By: 
Samantha Demby

In southern Mexico, a multi-ethnic network of towns has halted the construction of a mega-dam. Now they are organizing to manage their own natural resources and revitalize their culture as native water protectors.

Collateral Damage

By: 
Justine Calma

Marine Corps Sergeant Peggy Price was six months pregnant when she arrived at Camp Lejeune in the 1980s with her husband, a fellow Marine. Serving as a cryptologic linguist, she never imagined the most immediate threats she would face would come from being stationed in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

“When you’re [stationed] stateside and you’ve got your family living with you, you don’t expect that that actually could be more dangerous than some of these overseas assignments,” Price said.

Between the Devil and the Green New Deal

By: 
JASPER BERNES

We cannot legislate and spend our way out of catastrophic global warming.

...nearly every renewable energy source depends upon non-renewable and frequently hard-to-access minerals: solar panels use indium, turbines use neodymium, batteries use lithium, and all require kilotons of steel, tin, silver, and copper. The renewable-energy supply chain is a complicated hopscotch around the periodic table and around the world. To make a high-capacity solar panel, one might need copper (atomic number 29) from Chile, indium (49) from Australia, gallium (31) from China, and selenium (34) from Germany. Many of the most efficient, direct-drive wind turbines require a couple pounds of the rare-earth metal neodymium, and there’s 140 pounds of lithium in each Tesla.  Energy is never “clean,”

...the Green New Deal has to generate growth and reduce emissions. The problem is that growth and emissions are, by almost every measure, profoundly correlated.

Given current technology, there is no possibility to continue using more energy per person, more land per person, more more per person.

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