Links – Week 7, 2010

Photo by: Brandon Warren

Lot’s of gloomy stuff on the interwebs this week. I had quite a few links planned, but I decided to cut back to just a few for my own sanity. Be sure to check out the bloglinks at the bottom of this post. They are all a sure cure for gloominess.


What is Collapse, Anyway?

“collapse” is actually an extremely common phenomenon in nations and societies – societies rise to a particular level of function, they run into hard limits, often ecological limits, <…> and they fall to a much lower level of functioning. How low is up for grabs, and depends on the kind of response the society makes. At times this level can be extremely low – there’s Easter Island for example. More recently Rwanda and Burundi have collapsed into untenable violence and endless civil war, with horrifyingly bloody consequences for the people, ones that don’t look that far off of Mad Max.

On the other hand, we could look at the most recent society that has collapsed – Iceland. In 2008 and into 2009, Iceland which had become enormously wealthy and prosperous underwent an economic collapse, the effects of which are still playing out. The banking collapse in Iceland was the largest ever suffered, relative to the nation’s size, in economic history.

What happened in Iceland is probably very reassuring for people who are worried about collapse – the situation wasn’t at all pleasant for people, but compared to Rwanda, it was a walk in the park. There was rioting and the government was broadly speaking, changed, some suicides and emigrations. The costs of dealing with the crisis were enormous, there was widespread unemployment, interest rates shot up and imports stalled, there was a foreclosure crisis, many formerly high paying professionals had to go back to the fishing industry which promptly began to see fish stock collapses, imported goods became expensive, and people got a lot poorer. On the other hand, one’s pickled kale was comparatively safe.

So the first thing we can say about collapse is that it is highly variable – you can have economic collapse, you can have an energy supply related collapse, a political collapse, collapse into civil war – and that some collapses are better than others.


Is There Enough Food Out There For Nine Billion People ?

A threefold challenge now faces the world: Match the rapidly changing demand for food from a larger and more affluent population to its supply; do so in ways that are environmentally and socially sustainable; and ensure that the world’s poorest people are no longer hungry. This challenge requires changes in the way food is produced, stored, processed, distributed, and accessed that are as radical as those that occurred during the 18th- and 19th-century Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions and the 20th-century Green Revolution. Increases in production will have an important part to play, but they will be constrained as never before by the finite resources provided by Earth’s lands, oceans, and atmosphere. …

Recent studies suggest that the world will need 70 to 100% more food by 2050. In this article, major strategies for contributing to the challenge of feeding 9 billion people, including the most disadvantaged, are explored. Particular emphasis is given to sustainability, as well as to the combined role of the natural and social sciences in analyzing and addressing the challenge.

TED 2010: David Cameron Shows How All Electric Bills Should Be


Here are a few blogs I love to read and imagine I am living an alternate life. Beautiful photos accompany these beautiful lifestyles. I hope you are as inspired as I am.

A House Called Nut

This blog is about the adventures of three urbanites (one American, one Finn, one dog of no fixed nationality) displaced to the Finnish countryside. In December 2008, we took up residence in Pähkinä (Finnish for “nut”) after a little joke about moving into our friend’s pretty, yellow cottage suddenly became a reality. If years of London living made our previous move to Helsinki seem like walking through a revolving door into a pasture of cows, what will become of this little walk in the woods? Join us as we explore the nature around us, attempt to grow our own vegetables on a steep, rocky hill in a northern climate, compost all our organic waste, go foraging for mushrooms, berries and other wild foods in the Finnish forest, bake pies, and knit our own socks.


Family life at the edge of an ancient rural community near the Mediterranean.

Beauty that Moves

art; book talk; etsy; Handmade; Homeschooling; moments; morning and night; morning, Natural Goodness; simple green frugal; summer unschooling; Sweet Family; Taste; thrifted; Vermont; Yoga

Little Eco Footprints

I’m Tricia. I live on a small urban block in Newcastle (Australia). I once dreamed of living closer to nature; having space to grow food; having a teeny little ecological footprint; and being part of a community. I thought that meant leaving the city, but now I know I can try to live that dream right here. We don’t have Little eco footprints yet – but we’re having fun trying.


  1. Hi, you incorrectly have the photo credit listed as the model in the picture.

    The photographer’s name is Brandon Warren, (which is me btw)
    Can you please correct it? thanks.

  2. @Brandon – Oops, Sorry. I read the big bold writing at the top of that flickr page and it must have stuck in my head. Photo credit updated accordingly.

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