Author and conference organizer, J. P. Harpignies, recently interviewed utopian SF author, Kim Stanley Robinson, on stage at a Bioneers gathering. KMO took a recorder over to JP’s place to continue the conversation. They look at the value of utopian thought and ambition as well as the dangers. KMO and JP agree that the idea that Earth is just the cradle of humanity and that we are meant to leave it to establish an interstellar civilization is a dangerous conceit. KMO ends with a reading from JP’s new book, Animal Encounters.
Music by Jay Kauffman.
KMO talks with hacktivist and organic chat client Willow Bl00. Willow has just returned from working on a variety of projects in Tanzania, Kenya and Peru where she focused on issues ranging from the use of technology to ameliorate the suffering caused by heat waves and providing for the needs of climate and conflict refugees to keeping the emerging practice of participatory mapping from degenerating into yet another means of extracting wealth from poor nations. The episode ends with a description of The History Manifesto, a project co-authored by Willow’s roommate, Jo Guldi.
Music by Ta Phrum Duh Bush.
On the way back from a visit to Southern Vermont, KMO and Olga stopped in Troy, NY, a small city that has seen good times and bad. They met fellow podcaster, Duncan Crary, at the Lucas Confectionary to talk about why Duncan believes that Troy is staging a real deal comeback. Vic Christopher, co-owner of a suite of businesses housed in a cluster of historic buildings he rescued from demolition, describes what drives him to help re-create Troy’s vibrant downtown scene. Later, Duncan leads KMO and Olga on a walking tour of the streets. Duncan also details the controversy over the original authorship of the poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas” which was first published anonymously in The Troy Sentinel and begins with the famous line, “‘Twas the night before Christmas…”
Music by Jeneric (AKA The Parlor)
KMO attended the 2014 Digital Labor conference at the New School in NYC where Prof. Henry Warwick delivered a presentation called The Enclosure of the Internet. The next day, KMO sat down to talk with Henry about the themes of his presentation, and in the process they cover a variety of topics including Henry’s rejection of the idea that the Internet can be re-formed along communist, socialist or otherwise emancipatory lines. He also takes aim at techno-utopian leftists who seem oblivious to how current capitalist elites are preparing to reproduce the unjust social relationships of the present in a post-industrial future. This episode also features a short interview with Orpheus Reed of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA about getting the timing right on the coming revolution recorded at the Climate March in Manhattan in September.
KMO and Olga welcome Joshua Wickerham of the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council back to the C-Realm to talk about the state of drug policy reform and changing cultural narratives. The recent mid-term elections in the United States demonstrated that even with conservative politicians emerging victorious, drug policy reform is still moving forward, though it would seem that London Mayor, Boris Johnson, didn't get the memo. The program ends with a recording of McKenzie Wark presenting his paper Digital Labor and the Anthropocene at the #DL14 conference. Music by Not Waving But Drowning.
KMO attended the Voices of Hope in a Time of Crisis gathering in NYC this past weekend and connected with people working to foster non-violent yet fundamental systems change. The first three speakers at the conference were Helena Norberg-Hodge, Chris Hedges and Laura Flanders. You can hear their presentations on this week’s episode of the C-Realm Podcast as well as the music of Jonathan Santos, who performed live, on-stage at the gathering.
KMO’s conversation with Helena Norberg-Hodge of Local Futures, recorded at Cooper Union, continues in this episode. Helena explains why she does not like to advocate for “revolution” with it’s implicit call for violence. Instead, she advocates the need for fundamental systems change carried out in a non-violent mode. Helena will be one of the presenters at an event called Voices of Hope in a Time of Crisis. In the second half of the program, KMO and Olga sit down with Peter Rizzo of Bhava Yoga. The conversation brings together the seemingly separate (and possibly antithetical) concerns of changing the world for the better and refining the character of one’s own consciousness.
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. Music by East Forest.
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.
KMO 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.
Music by Tah Phrum Duh Bush.