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Less of What We Don't Need

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Climate Holism vs. Climate Reductionism

Richard Heinberg

Climate change may be the biggest threat facing humanity, but the way we’re currently going about fighting it just ensures that, even if we prevail, another threat will follow, and another, and another.

To explain why, it’s helpful to review a philosophical debate that’s simmered throughout the past couple of centuries. With the advent of modern science came a general predisposition toward an attitude called “reductionism,” the essential notion being that complex phenomena can best be understood by breaking them down into their component parts. Reductionism unquestionably works in many situations. For example, we can better understand the physical attributes of many materials if we study their molecular structures and their elemental atomic constituents. Chemistry is rooted in physics, and cell biology is rooted in chemistry.

Fruit Walls: Urban Farming in the 1600s

Kris de Decker

We are being told to eat local and seasonal food, either because other crops have been tranported over long distances, or because they are grown in energy-intensive greenhouses. But it wasn't always like that. From the sixteenth to the twentieth century, urban farmers grew Mediterranean fruits and vegetables as far north as England and the Netherlands, using only renewable energy.

With Some Tar Sands Oil Selling at a Loss, Why is Production Still Rising?

Phil McKenna

Canadian oil producers can’t address the downturn by slowing production without huge losses, so they now sell at a loss economically and for the climate.

Guatemalan Indigenous Communities Resist Mega Cement Factory Despite Military Occupation

Jeff Abbott

“No to this military and police encampment,” someone hastily scrawled in large white letters on the back of a sign welcoming visitors to the Kaqchikel community of Santa Fe Ocaña, a community in the municipality of San Juan Sacatepéquez, and one of the 12 communities in resistance to the construction of a mega-cement factory. The sign stood next to one of the many command tents of the Guatemalan National Civilian Police at the height of the state of exception and sums up the general feeling of the residents in this small hamlet, about an hour and a half from Guatemala City.


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