New Book: Fifth Risk

We are lurching forward into an unknown and unchartable future where there are no rules or precedents in the halls of government. Where might we end up when uninformed democracy breaks down and unconstrained capitalism drives us to the brink?

“Willful ignorance plays a role in these looming disasters. If your ambition is to maximize short-term gains without regard to the long-term cost, you are better off not knowing those costs. If you want to preserve your personal immunity to the hard problems, it’s better never to really understand those problems. There is upside to ignorance, and downside to knowledge.

Knowledge makes life messier. It makes it a bit more difficult for a person who wishes to shrink the world to a worldview. If there are dangerous fools in this book, there are also heroes, unsung, of course. They are the linchpins of the system—those public servants whose knowledge, dedication, and proactivity keep the machinery running. Michael Lewis finds them, and he asks them what keeps them up at night.”

Read more about and from the book…

No Man–or Other Animal–Is An Island

Puffins: Harbingers of Climate Change 

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee. ~ John Donne

Puffins: Harbingers of Climate Change

Puffins: I’ve never seen one, but I feel their pain–a pain that they suffer, but not in the way that we suffer, knowing; dreading; blaming; lamenting the ends that we have created for ourselves by the ways we have treated the “least of these…”

This is a long and complex, insightful and sad bit of research (American Prospect) highlights the tangled webs that bring down clusters of species–or entire Orders over not much more time–of creatures in their webs of inter-relationship.

This kind of linkage is what John Donne expressed in his poem, though not likely in his mind extending beyond the Home Team species he belonged to.

I continue to advocate for a shift from the individual “pursuit of happiness” to the collective “ecology of well-being” as an end of our civilization’s measure of success. It would take the emphasis away from solely our perceived satisfaction of having (usually in this country MORE than) enough to a focus on the impact of all our actions on the health of all species in all biomes across present and future times.

Tl, dr. I’d hope maybe in time somebody will find this post and actually read–and then actually internalize the message in this article about Puffins.

Any puffin’s death diminishes me. And you?

There is NO Free Shipping

International shipping counts for more than 2 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, roughly the same as aircraft.

Because I my interest in the topic had been ramped way up by a SustainFloyd Movie Night last year, I stopped my morning browse-fest to read an article from Ensia (highly recommended environmental journalism and news source!)

The piece is “The Race Is On To Decarbonize The 50,000-Plus Ships That Carry Our Stuff Around The World.”

Scroll down in that article to the animated depiction (header image above, from millions of geo-data points) of container ship movements, plus the cargos they are carrying on any given day. Scroll around the globe, zoom in, and ponder. For sure, you received an Amazon delivery that was carried on one of those moving dots.

Be sure and click the PLAY button to hear an informative narrative about the present and future of getting our STUFF from China and other non-local sources.

Some of you Floyd folk viewed the movie called Freightened: The Real Price of Shipping. For many of us, it was shocking and sobering. I know it made me realize in a more informed way when I passed a tractor-trailer hauling a MAERSK container somewhere on I-81—where it had come from and what it represented. The globalization of commerce rides on pallets stacked in containers and containers stacked ten-high and thirty long by industrial robots in a shipping yard in Norfolk or Shanghai.

I wrote about palletized containerized business-as-usual at some length, and posted that at medium in May of last year:The Story of (Moving) Stuff

You can see the entire documentary Freightened (if you don’t mind the distracting page-wrap) on YouTube at the link.

The fact that the International Maritime Organization is actually making progress on the industry’s energy-and-resource footprint is encouraging. Imagine some day our children may see giant sails moving their widgets silently into port.

Leaf-Peepers Are Readers

Every autumn, I tend to get a little bump in book sales.

This autumn, I’m pleased to let visiting leaf-peepers know that my books can be found in an additional location: the new Maggie Gallery at the corner of Route 8 (Locust Street) and Oxford Street, across from the bank parking lot.

Ron’s artwork and crafts are familiar to and appreciated by many in Floyd County. And now he and wife Lenny are hosting the work and crafts of others in a fine old home right in the middle of Floyd.

The folks whose work is displayed in the gallery have their own little web nook. Here is mine: Fred First at Maggie Gallery.

If you’re visiting Floyd, the gallery is a short walk from The Light, and well worth your time. Here’s a little more about the history behind the building, the builders and the idea of the gallery.

Maggie Gallery Open House | NRVNews

Another reason to visit Maggie Gallery soon: You get a bonus when you buy one of my books: a copy of the pen and ink drawing of our barn by Ron Campbell (while supplies last)–an image that he graciously allowed me to use for the front pages of my second book, What We Hold in Our Hands. This is really a very generous compliment to me from the owners, and a high-value bonus to you, the patrons of the gallery!

Humankind: Finding Our Place in the Natural World

Click the image to enlarge

Where are we headed in the love-hate relationship of HumanKind with Nature (that is: the biotic and abiotic parts of the only planet we have from which all our resources are drawn)?
 
It can’t be much farther in the current direction. So who will turn the ship, and how? The WHEN of the matter must be NOW!
 
So I gave some thought to our evolving place in the natural scheme of things, and doodled it out on the back of a digital napkin.
 
Seeing something helps me comprehend a complex topic a little better. And write about it. FWIW.