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CRV117

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Vault_Cover117KMO attended an event at the Murphy Institute that addressed the tension between climate activism and the labor movement. Unions seek to help workers secure good working conditions and pay, and the fossil fuel industry is a source of high-wage jobs. It’s also PART of what drives climate change. It’s hard to get people to support a campaign which could hurt their ability to earn a living and provide for the their families. The discussion was moderated by Sean Sweeney of the Cornell Global Labor Institute and features presentations by Bill McKibben of 350.0rg, Jill Furillo, Executive Director of the New York State Nurses Association, Christopher Erikson, Business Manager for Local 3 IBEW, and  Estela Vazquez, Executive VP of 1199 SEIU.

438: The Great Grab

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If oil is the blood of the devil, then palm oil is his piss.

If oil is the blood of the devil, then palm oil is his piss.

KMO attended the Techno-Utopianism and the Fate of the Earth teach-in at Cooper Union this past weekend where he met and recorded conversations with Anuradha Mittal of the Oakland Institute and Helena Norberg-Hodge of Local Futures/International Society for Ecology and Culture. Anuradha describes how agricultural corporations who portray their actions in terms sustainable practices and taking the needs of all stake-holders into account are pulling off an enormous land-grab in Africa and Asia and how the policies of the World Bank tilt the field in their favor to the detriment of local people. Helena Norberg-Hodge takes on the idea that humans are so selfish and short-sighted that they deserve to go extinct. This attitude plays into the hands of transnational corporations who are more than happy to see the blame for climate change, inequality and injustice fall on individual actors and not to the policies that create a marketplace which favors short-term profits over long-term responsibility.

CRV116

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Vault_Cover116Mark Robinowitz of PeakChoice.org traveled to NYC to attend the Techno-Utopianism and the Fate of the Earth teach-in put on by the International Forum on Globalization. KMO sat down with him to talk about the value of such an event. The conversation flows into a discussion of JFK’s speech at the UN on September 20th, 1963 in which he proposed that the US and the Soviet Union go to the moon as a collaborative effort. Two months and two days later, Kennedy was dead. This episode includes a portion of that speech which you can hear in full on Mark’s website. There are certain famous JFK speeches you’ve heard over and over again. Have you heard this one? If not, why do you think that is? The episode concludes with the presentation Douglas Rushkoff gave at the IFG event at Cooper Union.

437: Hubris and Substitution

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A graph of US oil production

A graph of US oil production

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman published an opinion piece in which he lumped The Post Carbon Institute together with the Koch brothers as representatives of “climate despair,” claiming that anti-environmentalist right-wingers and anti-capitalist environmentalists are both wrong to think that we can’t have economic growth without increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Richard Heinberg responded explaining how Krugman fundamentally misunderstands the aims and objectives of the Post Carbon Institute and how he either misunderstands or misrepresents the very reports that he cited to support his argument. Krugman then dug himself into a deeper hole with a second column in which he castigates physical scientists for thinking that they are smarter than economists. In this episode of the C-Realm Podcast, Richard Heinberg joins KMO for a discussion on energy, economics and climate through the lens of biophysical reality.

CRV115

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Vault_Cover115The conversation from C-Realm Podcast #436 with Solar Bob Fairchild continues in this episode. Bob talks about his experience in Haiti and on the prospects for improving quality of life for people living there. KMO and Olga are in Vermont this weekend, exploring the possibility of moving here, and Olga and Doug describe visiting the home of a yoga teacher who moved here from NYC and is thriving.

436: Just a Matter of Time

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C-Realm_436B_coverKMO welcomes Robert J. Fairchild (AKA Solar Bob) to the C-Realm to discuss the dramatic increase in oil extraction from hydraulic fracturing, it’s effects on the US and global economies, and what it really represents in terms of energy returned on energy invested. They make extensive reference to an article by Grant Smith, U.S. Seen as Biggest Oil Producer After Overtaking Saudi Arabia, which quotes Bank of America, Citigroup and the International Energy Agency in support of the notion that the United States will remain the world’s top producer of fossil fuels until 2030. Compare the quality of discussion in the comments to that article on Bloomberg.com to the discussion of the same article on the Friends of the C-Realm group.

CRV114

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Vault_Cover114KMO’s first attempt at recording a conversation with Dr. David Denkenberger took an oddball turn onto an obscure philosophical tangent and then ended abruptly with a dropped call. What appeared in C-Realm Podcast 435 was their second, more tightly focused attempt. Herein, Vault subscribers get a glimpse of the more esoteric territory the first conversation explored. Later, KMO talks with blogger and urban permaculturalist, Andy Russell about how he caught the Doomer bug, worked his way through it, and built a rewarding life for himself and his family.

435: No Matter What

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C-Realm_435_coverKMO talks to Global Catastrophic Risk Institute researcher, Dr. David Denkenberger. David’s forthcoming book, Feeding Everyone No Matter What: Solving the Food Crisis After Global Catastrophe, describes the technical feasibility of feeding everyone on Earth in aftermath of a calamity the wipes out conventional agriculture. He’s careful to distinguish technical feasibility from political or economic feasibility. Later, KMO shares some thoughts on the incompatibility of capitalism and environmental stewardship from the Socialist Equality Party and with a brief clip from a conversation between Laura Flanders and Gar Alperovitz before closing with some unconventional thoughts on technology from SF author Karl Shroeder.

CRV113

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Vault_Cover113No guest this week, so KMO borrows from a lecture, A History of Conspiracy Theories in America by Robert Goldberg, as the starting point for a meditation on fear, scape-goating, hucksterism and psychological resilience. KMO provides a preview of next weekend’s podcast with a reading from the Autonomy Acres blog and rounds out with a reading from the HP Lovecraft story, The Horror at Red Hook.

434: Ferguson Rorshach

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Mayhem or uprising?

Mayhem or uprising?

KMO talks with freelance writer and blogger Brian Kaller, who grew up in a town next to Ferguson, Missouri about how the news and images out of Ferguson seemed to provide confirmation for disparate and sometimes contradictory narratives about the forces at work in American culture. Everyone saw what they wanted or expected to see, and few voices showed any hint of doubt even while their reporting demonstrated near total ignorance of the story’s setting. You can read Brian’s article on the Ferguson coverage for The American Conservative here.