On the suppression of agriculture

The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution, Warning: Contains book recommendations. Proceed at your peril. Only a complete idiot, of course, would want to suppress agriculture. But apparently we now have complete idiots in charge of our foodContinue reading “On the suppression of agriculture”

On the approach of winter

For the night is dark and full of terrors. George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings I often use this blog to point out the turning-points of the cycle of the year. Here in the northern hemisphere, we are approaching the autumn equinox, the point when the nights start to be longer than the daysContinue reading “On the approach of winter”

On population

Malthus has been buried many times, and Malthusian scarcity with him. But as Garrett Hardin remarked, anyone who has to be reburied so often cannot be entirely dead. Herman E. Daly, Steady-State Economics: The Economics of Biophysical Equilibrium and Moral Growth (1991) There are several canned responses that always seem to come up whenever theContinue reading “On population”

On the longest day

If eternity had a season, it would be midsummer. Autumn, winter, spring are all change and passage, but at the height of summer the year stands poised. It’s only a passing moment, but even as it passes the heart knows it cannot change. Ursula K. Le Guin Edward Gibbon begins his epic history of TheContinue reading “On the longest day”

On supply-chains

Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains. Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto Until quite recently, many people lived their lives in blissful ignorance of supply-chains. Unless you happened to work in logistics, you would just order stuff and it would magically arrive. There would be thingsContinue reading “On supply-chains”

On processed food

“Eating is an agricultural act,” as Wendell Berry famously said. It is also an ecological act, and a political act, too. Though much has been done to obscure this simple fact, how and what we eat determines to a great extent the use we make of the world – and what is to become ofContinue reading “On processed food”

On living in interesting times

Far-called, our navies melt away; On dune and headland sinks the fire: Lo, all our pomp of yesterday Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! Rudyard Kipling, “Recessional“ Everyone, of course, has heard of the Chinese curse, or the supposedly Chinese curse. And it’s hard to deny that the times we’re going through will make interestingContinue reading “On living in interesting times”

On taking the first step

Houston, we have a problem. Jim Lovell (attr.) It is a truism, although nonetheless true, that the first step towards dealing with a problem is acknowledging that it exists. We know this because a very large fraction of adults in the industrialised world are either in an addiction programme of some sort, have been inContinue reading “On taking the first step”

On the end of politics

Man is by nature a political animal. Aristotle, Politics I.ii When Tony Benn retired from the House of Commons in 2001, he said he was doing so in order to spend more time on politics. Certainly the body which is supposed to represent the mass of the population has increasingly detached itself from reality overContinue reading “On the end of politics”