Post Carbon Institute Sustainability Climate Collapse And Dark Humor public
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Crazy Town

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Crazy Town

Post Carbon Institute: Sustainability, Climate, Collapse, and Dark Humor

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With equal parts humor and in-depth analysis, Asher, Rob, and Jason safeguard their sanity while probing crazy-making topics like climate change, overshoot, runaway capitalism, and why we’re all deluding ourselves.
 
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No need to stress during the holidays! The "sponsors" of Crazy Town have all of your consumerist needs covered. This season you could be walking in a warming wonderland, singing the 12 Days of Overshoot, and hanging out with Frosty the Melted Snowman. Act fast, supplies are limited! Support the show (https://www.postcarbon.org/supportcrazytown/)…
 
Douglas Rushkoff is a prolific author, documentarian, and podcaster with a delightful sense of humor. He joins the gang in Crazy Town to ponder paradoxical questions such as: Why would homes on Miami Beach be selling for millions of dollars if that property were really going to be underwater in a decade? Why would so much of the world be business-a…
 
Sylvia Earle is a legend in ocean exploration and conservation. She comes ashore in Crazy Town to discuss some of her experiences in the depths, the state of the world's oceans and marine biodiversity, the limits to growth, the wonders and disappointments of technology, and her belief in the accumulation of knowledge as a pathway for change. Sylvia…
 
What happens when two equal and opposite forces collide? It's a tag-team match of empathy and optimism versus existential crisis and poop jokes! In this mashup of Crazy Town and our sister podcast, What Could Possibly Go Right?, we collaborate with Vicki Robin to cover some heavy stuff, including climate change, the stages of grief, and collapse. Y…
 
Take it from astrophysicist Tom Murphy. Sure, lightsabers, dilithium crystal warp drives, and Mars colonies are a lot of fun to consider. But a physics-based perspective on energy tells us that we need to accept the limits to growth, stop chasing sci-fi fantasies, and get to work building a steady-state economy that works for people and the planet.…
 
Peter Kalmus is a climate scientist, activist, and author. He has some gnarly things to say about climate change, extreme weather, and the myth of progress. But Peter gets past the doom and gloom to make positive recommendations for changing behavior and policy. Please check out his book Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution. S…
 
It's the end of the world as we know it. OK, maybe not just yet, but it is the end of Crazy Town's third season. If you've been able to look past some of the more absurd parts of the podcast, perhaps you've noticed a pattern. In examining hidden drivers behind humanity's sustainability predicament, we grouped the drivers into three categories: huma…
 
The "maximum power principle" may sound like the doctrine of an evil supervillain, but it actually applies to all living creatures. The principle states that biological systems organize to increase power whenever constraints allow. Given the way humans adhere to this principle, especially by overexploiting fossil fuels, we often do behave like supe…
 
Did you ever think a baseball melee could effectively explain nuanced topics like cybernetics and systems dynamics? This episode examines the fascinating world of positive feedback loops, which play an outsized role in the not-so-positive phenomena of climate change, biodiversity loss, and political polarization. In addition to basebrawls, you’ll h…
 
All of humanity's feats, whether a record-setting deadlift by the world's strongest man or the construction of a gleaming city by a technologically advanced economy, originate from a single hidden source: positive net energy. Having surplus energy in the form of thirteen pounds of food per day enables a very big man, Hafthor Bjornsson, to lift very…
 
Imagine a factory assembly line running at full steam, but instead of spitting out car parts or plastic trinkets, the conveyor belt is loaded down with Jeff Bezos wannabes. That's a disconcerting image, but an accurate picture of what's happening: society is producing too many elite people, and their decisions are causing extreme inequality, which …
 
Way back when money consisted of iron pieces, if you wanted to buy a horse or some spices to season your horse meat, you practically had to carry an olympic weightlifting set with you. Early bankers figured out how to clear that obstacle (and prevent a lot of hernias and back injuries) when they invented paper money. Over time all-too-clever financ…
 
There's an insidious feature of modern life: as the economy and technology continue to grow, attention becomes ever more scarce. Nowadays footage from Russian dash cams and the latest "wisdom" issued on social media by people who are good at kicking balls compete to grab our attention and suck up our time. This state of affairs could be laughed off…
 
Velcro pants and legs. Booster rockets and spacecraft. Humans and nature. What do these three pairs have in common? They're all things that are detached from one another. That's right, we modern humans seem hellbent on detaching ourselves from nature, despite the obvious fact that we evolved to spend our days and nights in natural habitats. The mor…
 
Who in their right mind is against the idea of progress? You'd be hard-pressed to find a candidate for public office with a platform of maintaining the status quo or regressing to days of yore (as bad as the Democratic and Republican Parties are, there's no support for a Yesteryear Party). But what, exactly, is progress, and is humanity preordained…
 
Society has become so complex that all the complexity begets more complexity. And if that’s not complex enough for you, jobs have become so specialized that hardly anyone knows how anything is made or works. Join Jason, Rob, and Asher as they contemplate how to make a microphone from scratch, break down the tertiary jobs in a pirate economy (parrot…
 
An argument between economists is usually as exciting as reading the phone book (what's that?), especially about something as boring-sounding as the discount rate. But it's an argument that underlies how governments and businesses solve (or don't solve) climate change. So, literally life and death stuff. Jason, Rob, and Asher explore why the discou…
 
First things first, we try not to confuse ourselves or our listeners as we distinguish between conspiracy theories and actual conspiracies. Then we unpack a bunch of questions about why people (even some of the smart ones) are so easily suckered by conspiracy theories. Are we experiencing a spike in conspiracy theories akin to the days of the Red S…
 
Self domestication, the process by which humans became a more cooperative and less aggressive species, paradoxically contributes to humanity's overshoot predicament. While trying to wrap their heads around that nugget, Asher, Jason, and Rob geek out on evolutionary biology, 80s professional wrestling characters, and a certain comedic song about fox…
 
What can we learn about death from the X-Men, small screaming rodents, and unwitting college students in psychology experiments? It turns out that the fear of death (or death anxiety) affects human behavior in all sorts of surprising and deeply troubling ways. Especially disconcerting is the way such fear entices people to cling to cultural beliefs…
 
How can the climate disaster and humanity’s overall sustainability crisis be explained by 80s sitcom characters, birdbrained hats from the late 1800s, and a dubious new use for scratch-and-sniff technology? Go for a ride to discover the hidden driver of status-seeking behavior. You can always expect a topsy-turvy, twisty-turny journey when Jason, R…
 
If only we were as rational as we think we are! It turns out that we’re all subject to cognitive biases, those errors in thinking that influence how we process the complex information we encounter in daily life. Jason, Rob, and Asher take a tour of ice cream shops, Scandanavian DMVs, and the chess team to explain such cognitive biases as the Dunnin…
 
Kamea Chayne is the host of Green Dreamer, an excellent podcast that features interviews with thought leaders about ecology, sustainability, and wellbeing. In this episode, Kamea's thought leader is our very own Jason Bradford, cohost of Crazy Town and author of the report The Future Is Rural. Jason explains his systemic perspective on energy, food…
 
Simon Drew is the host of The Practical Stoic, an outstanding podcast that explores philosophy and the human predicament. In this episode, Simon invites Richard Heinberg, senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, for a lively and wide-ranging conversation about consumerism, sustainability, and the coming corrections across society. Support the sh…
 
PCI Executive Director Asher Miller speaks with Sherri Mitchell (Weh'na Ha'mu Kwasset) on the long history of colonization and conquest -- upon which our legal, religious, and educational structures continue to be based -- and how the coronavirus pandemic and the growing recognition of white privilege present a unique opportunity to decolonize our …
 
You know you're in for a bumpy ride when societal institutions start behaving like the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In one of the most famous comedic movie scenes of all time, the delusional knight believes he can keep fighting ("It's just a flesh wound.") as geysers of blood spurt from his severed limbs. Similarly communities…
 
We had planned to record and release our season finale this week, but felt compelled to address the unfolding battle over police violence and systemic racism in our country which has come to a boil with the murder of George Floyd. Is there anything crazier than the people in our towns, who are sworn to protect and serve, instead coldly taking the l…
 
Heathens, kooks, and fertilizer for corn and bean fields: these are a few of the names applied to your humble hosts here in Crazy Town. We set ourselves up for abuse in this special mailbag episode, and our listeners didn't disappoint. Despite the occasional (and well deserved) insult, we love our listeners and find them to be some of the most inte…
 
Besides lessons in ethics (and in Asher's case, lessons in the English language), the Brady Bunch offers up a metaphor about the fault lines in American politics -- fault lines that include the undermining of government, extreme individualism, race and class divides, and capitalist and corporate excesses. Blood pressures soar, especially when Jason…
 
Before you heap praise on someone's cooking, even for something as delicious as porcupine pot pie, you might want to consider the effects of ego inflation and the downsides of a hyper-individualistic culture. In this episode Asher, Rob, and Jason wonder if individualism (not to mention all those other "-isms"... capitalism, socialism, communism) is…
 
As we continue heading toward planetary disaster, like the Titanic steaming toward its rendezvous with a big freakin' iceberg, we might want to figure out how to prepare and manage our lifeboats. In environmentalism’s seedy past, a famous ecologist used the metaphor of lifeboats getting swamped to argue for a "screw the poor and non-whites" strateg…
 
In the disorienting days of corona quarantine, wouldn't it be dope to have a model that can help you make sense of the world? Enter the adaptive cycle from the field of systems ecology -- arguably the most important framework you never heard of. Join Asher, Rob, and Jason as they give a guided tour of the growth, conservation, collapse, and reorgan…
 
Paying attention to the buzz around Planet of the Humans, the new film by Michael Moore, is like standing in the middle of a three-ring circus. In ring #1 are the filmmakers, who raise critical questions about how renewable sources can power industrial society, but do so with questionable facts and mean-spirited attacks. In ring #2 are the left-win…
 
Some anthropologists argue that we're living in an anomalous historical period called High Energy Modernity, which will end sooner than we might like because of declining 'net energy.' It's an era of contradictions in which we've acquired unbelievable technology but put it to some of the most frivolous uses. In this episode, Rob, Asher, and Jason a…
 
We've seen a frightening rise in recent years of violence and violent rhetoric by so-called ecofascists, who use environmental and resource limits arguments to justify hateful views around immigration and population. But does that mean those of us who are concerned about ecological limits should keep our mouths shut? Rob, Jason, and Asher explore w…
 
In the last episode Asher, Rob, and Jason discussed the danger of political denial and delusion limiting how well we respond to the climate crisis. This week we address the risk that another "d"--distraction--will keep us from recognizing the huge threats and opportunities the pandemic presents for our energy future. The lads also take a few minute…
 
How much of a stretch is it to compare autoimmune disease to the politics of climate change? Let's just say your hosts at Crazy Town were able to do it without any need for medical intervention. In this episode, Asher, Rob, and Jason examine how both ends of the political spectrum are getting it wrong and propose how you can start a new conversatio…
 
If you ask a hundred people what they want to do about climate change or other crises in the age of overshoot, approximately zero of them will enthusiastically call for rationing. But is rationing all that bad? If your grocery store is out of toilet paper thanks to pandemic-induced hoarding, maybe not so much. And considering our dangerous dependen…
 
First of all, f*ck this virus. We don't want anyone to experience pain and suffering from coronavirus, but maybe there's a lesson to learn. In fact, even a simple story like Goldilocks and the Three Bears may have something valuable to teach us. Here at Crazy Town headquarters, we've been calling for pretty drastic changes to the economy to make it…
 
Asher goes for a deep dive in his interview with investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed about how the novel coronavirus is rippling through the systems that make up modern society. To set the stage, they cover some heady territory, including Thomas Homer-Dixon’s “synchronous failure,” Joseph Tainter’s analysis of collapse and the diminishing margina…
 
What do Scottish cod, rubber duckies, rock phosphate, and shipping containers have in common? They all ride the oceans in really big boats as part of the insanity of today’s global trade. Trade seems like it should be a simple thing. I give you something, you give me something else in return, and we’re both better off. But our capitalism-on-steroid…
 
Coronavirus has put the kibosh on frivolous travel for the moment, but we might want to do some reflecting before returning to business as usual. Prior to the outbreak, you were constantly told to put on your traveling shoes, cue up some good music for a journey (no, not the band Journey), and pack your bags. As long as costs stay down, we can fly …
 
It’s easy to picture a group of social justice and environmental activists gathering in a circle. But these days, instead of holding hands and singing songs, they’re loading weapons and taking aim. Ahhhhh, the carnage! Why are progressives so eager to join a circular firing squad? Maybe this isn’t our best bet for solving climate change and the oth…
 
Pop quiz! A friend of yours has just had an unfortunate chainsaw accident and cut a femoral artery: do you (a) make a tourniquet with your t-shirt, or (b) stick a Band-Aid on the wound? If you picked (b), congratulations! You've followed the instruction manual for humanity’s pathetic response to climate change. In this final episode of season 1, As…
 
Have you ever wondered how dolphins feel about quantitative easing? OK, probably not, but it is important to consider the effects that money and monetary policy have on the real world of energy, society, and the environment. Nate Hagens joins Asher, Rob, and Jason to discuss said dolphins, a never-ending Grateful Dead concert, and the prospects of …
 
You know what drives Jason really crazy about auto traffic? No, it’s not the 42 hours per year that the average commuter wastes stuck in it or even the global warming pollution spewed, it’s the 3 BILLION (with a B people!) gallons of fuel that are wasted instead of helping with the transition of our food system. In this episode, Rob, Asher, and Jas…
 
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