When I was little, I loved thumbing through encyclopedias. One of my favorites, The Book of Knowledge, was my Dad's from when he was growing up. Beyond the fabulous title, it was unique in that articles were grouped by related topic rather than alphabetically by subject. It came with an index volume for those intent on finding specific information, but I preferred to meander through its pages never knowing what I might find, just as the editors intended.
This companion bibliography to my PechaKucha talk takes inspiration from those clever, wise editors of long ago who understood the serendipity of contextual connection. It is one of the best and often delightful ways to learn about things you had no idea you wanted to know.
The organization is minimal. Beneath each blue box header are several related videos and links. You can start anywhere on the page, though it's worth scrolling and scanning first.
With a hat tip to The Book of Knowledge, it is also a bibliography full of tangents, including links about the nature of joy and others about bullying. The former is essential in order to craft the kind of messaging needed to empower people to do what seems impossible (third column). The latter is important because for the last two years we have been collectively bullied, either directly, or as frustrated bystanders. It is important to understand the dynamic so we can redirect the energy spent on self-defense and grief to do what needs to be done (first column).
There is also a link to a 1963 television documentary about Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring. What the experts denied then has killed and maimed millions since, a cautionary tale if ever there was one (third column).
On a cheerier note, look for the Easter egg about Sir David Attenborough and Monty Python...
Although this bibliography may appear extensive, it is by no means definitive. Its purpose is to provide a broad overview and portals to take you down digital rabbit holes to learn more. Happy, interesting travels! •••••••••••••••
We are facing a knot of knotty problems that all connect in some way to climate change. The bad news is the endless bad news. Sir David Attenborough is telling the world straight up that civilization itself is at risk of collapse (center column), while climate-denialists in positions of power undermine treaties and roll back regulations. That is literally the definition of an existential crisis.
The good news is that there is plenty of opportunity to make a difference. Economist Kate Raworth explains how re-envisioning the economy can take us away from the climate-killing path of quarterly growth defined by GDP and onto a new path of regenerative prosperity defined by a circular economy (third column, top).
The better news is that we have proof that our efforts can make a difference.
Consider: Gains in energy efficiency since the 1980s helped keep between 150 and 200 ppm of carbon out the atmosphere while pumping trillions of dollars into the US economy.
It also bought critical time. Without it, we would be looking at full-blown, coast-swamping, Armageddon-level climate change right now.
Integrative design, explains Amory Lovins, co-founder and chief scientist of Rocky Mountain Institute, can significantly increase the impact of resource efficiency (center column).
The best news is that we actually have all the technologies, methodologies, economic models and policy frameworks needed to get to the brighter, cleaner, greener, more equitable, prosperous and altogether nicer future we all had in mind before things went off the rails two years ago. •••••••••••••
Chicago is a City of Big Shoulders, but also Big Smarts and Green Hearts. Over the last decade tremendous progress has been made toward becoming a greener, healthier city thanks to the work of a broad range of non-profits, university institutes, companies, utilities (ComEd has been shifting toward efficiency services and microgrids) and City Hall. Chicago was just named a LEED Platinum City. Both fish and people have returned to the River.
It is going to take much more work, made that much harder by all the new federal headwinds, to bake in enough goodness to make sure the next generation has a fighting chance in a fast-warming world. It isn't only about climate. According to a new WWF report, wildlife populations have been reduced by more than half over the last 50 years and the grim march toward mass extinction is accelerating (third column).
At the same time, soil degradation has led to dire predictions of only 60 harvests left (middle column). Regenerative agriculture can turn that around while also absorbing atmospheric carbon, so there's hope for, as Lovins puts it, "applied hope."
"Applied hope is not about some vague, far-off future but is expressed and created moment by moment through our choices."
The clock is ticking. We have a decade to make a difference, which in a perverse way is kind of exciting. We can save civilization. It doesn't get more dramatic than that.
"Make no little plans," said Daniel Burnham. It turns out that's even easier to do when there's nothing to lose and everything to gain. There is joy in thinking big, of defying the odds, the tweets, the lies. Of doing the right thing.