Hall of Mirrors

This week I actually want to write a reflection on some past reflections. Yes, that might be risking getting lost in a funhouse hall of mirrors. But three news stories make me want to point to reflections that are still as relevant as when they were written. And it’s not a bad chance to remind you of the treasure trove of reflections that are available for all to enjoy!

SSCP-KAN Presentation

But first, let me share a talk I gave this past Monday for the Systems of Sustainable Consumption-Knowledge-Action Network conference. In my presentation, I discuss the Gaian Way and Gaian community, particularly how this philosophy supports a low consumption lifestyle and redirecting one’s life energy away from consuming to healing Gaia and our relationship with Gi, and how community support can help those behavioral shifts as well. Of course, I leaned on Krista Hiser’s beautiful essay, What is Green and What is Gaian?

Exploring Gaian Ways of Consuming…


The first topic to talk about is the bankruptcy of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX. This was the guy who suppposedly created a bitcoin exchange to create money in order to do the most amount of good, following the philosophy of Peter Singer, but gave little away and now it’s all gone. But it’s a great reminder of the risks of the cryptobubble (as I discuss here) and why it’s all a foolhardy scheme in the worst, tulipmania, kind of way.

Now it’s here, now it’s not. (Image by Mohamed Hassan via Pixabay)

Cultured Meat

In other horrifying news, this past week, the Food and Drug Administration just approved cultured chicken cells for human food by a company called UPSIDE Foods (contingent only on having the production facility pass inspection). In this essay, I remind readers of how this trend of engineering fake meat is adding another layer of separation between us and nature. Cloned meat, like fake meat, is the wrong path to follow. (Please note, the ten endnotes are the very best part of this essay!)

Is it chicken, beef, or something grown in a vat? (Image by PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay)

One Little, Two Little, Eight Billion People

And of course, the world just officially hit 8 billion people. (Disturbingly, this was written about in confusing ways, like this article by Vox asking if we have too many people or too few. Or this Guardian article saying don’t panic, by the time Baby 8 billion is 65 (in 2087) the human population will be smaller.* As one reader wrote, I should write about population more. That’s true—including more frequently advocating for smaller family size norms. Population does interweave into many reflections, such as this one. But my favorite reflection on population is the one exploring the question of whether humans are in an outbreak stage (like tent caterpillars or locust). As with locust, during that stage, our behaviors actually transform, making us act differently. And as with both species, these outbreaks never end well—whether with caterpillars when a virus dissolves them en masse, or with locusts when they literally eat each other from behind. Let’s hope we find a way to tame our outbreak rather than letting nature take its course!

One grasshopper is cute, millions of locust aren’t. (Left from Charles J. Sharp, the swarm from CSIRO)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Finally, one occupational hazard of writing a weekly essay is repeating yourself (by accident, rather than on purpose)! I wrote an essay on Thanksgiving in 2019—before COVID—that feels as relevant today, and includes a dinner prayer for those looking for an Earth-centric gratitude prayer (either for Thanksgiving or any meal).


*Well of course it will, there will have been a horrific ecological collapse and humans will be far fewer. But the author meant by simple demographic momentum. But in truth, we need to get our numbers down as quick as humanely possible if we are to avoid nature driving our depopulation in the most tragic ways imaginable.

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