What If We Got Exercise All Wrong?

“Our cultural relationship to movement is backwards: we champion (and financially reward) sedentary occupations at banks and think tanks while scowling at physical labor. The basic message is that if you have to use your body to earn your daily bread, you’re not worth much bread.

Yet we have a biological requirement for movement that’s starving due to these sedentary positions.”

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Lisi Krall: The Economic Evolution of Dominion

I love talks like this. Regarding the source of our current (oops, apocalyptic) predicament, she hits the nail on the head. She even has a great comparison to other imperialist species (ants). Those who believe we can machine our way out of this super-brain/super-idiot predicament should takes notes. Same with those who think that after the crash of our civilization we will magically acquire humility and cosmic balance and can simply return to Eden with storybook ideals of a rural agriculture existence completely intact.

Anyway, this is a great talk and I wish there were more like it. We will have no hope of not repeating our mistakes unless we can clearly define those mistakes. And Prof. Krall goes a long way in helping carve out that definition.

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The Slow Confiscation of Everything

“For anyone who grew up in the Cold War, the apocalypse was a simple yes-no question: either it was coming, or it wasn’t. Many people I know who grew up before the end of the nuclear arms race describe this as oddly freeing: there was the sense that since the future might explode at any point, it was not worth the effort of planning. Climate change is species collapse by a thousand cuts. There will be no definite moment we can say that yes, today we are fucked, and yesterday we were unfucked. Instead the fuckery increases incrementally year on year, until this is the way the world ends: not with a bang, not with a bonfire, but with the slow and savage confiscation of every little thing that made you human, starting with hope.”

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The “Wind and Solar Will Save Us” Delusion

The “Wind and Solar Will Save Us” story is based on a long list of misunderstandings and apples to oranges comparisons. Somehow, people seem to believe that our economy of 7.5 billion people can get along with a very short list of energy supplies. This short list will not include fossil fuels. Some would exclude nuclear, as well. Without these energy types, we find ourselves with a short list of types of energy — what BP calls Hydroelectric, Geobiomass (geothermal, wood, wood waste, and other miscellaneous types; also liquid fuels from plants), Wind, and Solar.

Unfortunately, a transition to such a short list of fuels can’t really work.

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The Value of Nature

Abumrad: Is there another way to think about the value of nature in a way that’s not economic and therefore shortsighted and all about us, but also not simply about the aesthetics and the beauty because that can be sort of limiting too. Is there another way?

J.B. McKinnon: The best I was able to do in thinking about this was, when it struck me that in a way, all this biological diversity that’s out there, all these wonderful and amazing and alien things that other species can do, is like an extension of our own brains. There’s so much imagination out there that we simply could not come up with on our own, that we can think of it as a pool of imagination and creativity from which we as humans are able to draw.

And when we draw down on that pool of creativity and imagination, we deeply impoverish ourselves. In a sense we are doing harm to our own ability to think. And to dream.

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