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The Absurd Primacy of the Automobile in American Life

Tim Roberts Photography / Shutterstock

Considering the constant fatalities, rampant pollution, and exorbitant costs of ownership, there is no better word to characterize the car’s dominance than insane.

Edward Humes, the Atlantic 

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  12, 2017 | The car is the star. That’s been true for well over a century—unrivaled staying power for an industrial-age, pistons-and-brute-force machine in an era so dominated by silicon and software. Cars conquered the daily culture of American life back when top hats and child labor were in vogue, and well ahead of such other innovations as radio, plastic, refrigerators, the electrical grid, and women’s suffrage.

A big part of why they’ve stuck around is that they are the epitome of convenience. That’s the allure and the promise that’s kept drivers hooked, dating all the way back to the versatile, do-everything Ford Model T. Convenience (some might call it freedom) is not a selling point to be easily dismissed—this trusty conveyance, always there, always ready, on no schedule but its owner’s. Buses can’t do that. Trains can’t do that. Even Uber makes riders wait.

Edward Humes is a writer based in Seal Beach, California. He is the author of Door to Door: The Magnificent, Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportation.


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Series | ‘Days of Revolt’, Part 2: Chris Hedges, Tim DeChristopher Discuss Far-Reaching Effects of Climate Change

  • Most scientists acknowledge that the current rate of climate change is unstoppable, but it’s time for the rest of the world to stop living in denial.
  • Part 2 in This Series

Chris Hedges, teleSUR / Truthdig  Do You Support Independent News? 

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Apr 26, 2016 | In Part 2 of  teleSUR’s “Days of Revolt,” Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges sits down with Tim DeChristopher, founder of the Climate Disobedience Center.

The two analyze how the industrialized world fails to significantly confront climate change, beginning with the “exercise in make-believe” that was the 2015 Paris climate conference.

DeChristopher explains that the drastic effects of global warming aren’t just occurring in a vacuum. For example, water shortages in parts of the southern United States play out in areas with pre-existing social tensions, such as racism and xenophobia, creating the potential to trigger violent human responses. Another example is Syria, where, as DeChristopher points out, the CIA actually admitted that climate change accelerated the beginning of civil war.

Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries, specializing in American politics and society.  

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Previously in This Series

Part 1: Chris Hedges, Jill Stein Take On the Scam of American Politics


Series | A Living Earth Economy, Part 9: The Superrich Have Profited From a Broken System—And Their Money Alone Won’t Fix It

  • Giving back requires humility. It will be a true test of learning new skills.
  • 9th in a Series
  • Related: Capitalism's war on climate science

David Korten, Yes! Magazine <>

Mar 22, 2017 | Congratulations, you won—you are the last and richest person on Earth. In the security of your sunless underground bunker, you will be the last to die in a dying Earth’s paroxysm of fire and flood.

In a recent column for YES! Magazine, Chuck Collins, “born on third base” social activist and commentator, has a message for the superrich who are buying “bug out” survivalist escape homes in Kansas missile silos, mountain fortresses in the Rockies, and getaway farms in New Zealand: Your money won’t save you from the social and environmental collapse now unfolding. Join with other members of your class who are investing in “community, regional, and global efforts to address the climate crisis and extreme inequalities.” David Korten wrote this article for YES! Magazine as part of his new series of biweekly columns on “A Living Earth Economy.” David is co-founder and board chair of YES! Magazine, president of the Living Economies Forum, co-chair of the New Economy Working Group, a member of the Club of Rome, and the author of influential books, including When Corporations Rule the World and Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth. His work builds on lessons from the 21 years he and his wife, Fran, lived and worked in Africa, Asia, and Latin America on a quest to end global poverty

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Capitalism's war on climate science, James Plested, Red Flag /

A system that puts profits above humanity can't address an existential threat to our future.


Don't just defend Obama's legacy against Trump: fight for radical climate action.

Photograph: John Giles/PA

  • Now is the moment to admit that Obama’s Clean Power Plan was not bold enough. If we are going to fight Trump, let’s go big.
  • ‘We need a head-on collision with oil, coal and natural gas executives.’
  • Related: Capitalism's war on climate science

Kate Aronoff, the Guardian Stories like this are funded, not by sponsors or advertisers, but by readers like you. 

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Dave & the Crew


Tuesday 28 March 2017 | The fossil fuel industry is rejoicing. Donald Trump issued an executive order on Tuesday that would tear up many of the so-called burdensome climate protections – those regulating things like power plant emissions and leasing to coal companiesput in place by the Obama administration. Horrified by this move, many have vowed to jump to their defense.

That’s not enough.

The clean power plan, perhaps the biggest target of today’s executive order, is far from perfect. It’s a parallel of sorts to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. Both policies – however flawed – address deeply pressing crises that will kill millions if left unaddressed. Each are far preferable to nothing, of course. But they were each crafted to appease Republicans, many of whom are funded by the industries (insurance and fossil fuels, namely) that the measures set out to curtail.

Kate Aronoff is a writing fellow at In These Times. She covers elections and the politics of climate change. 

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Capitalism's war on climate science, James Plested, Red Flag /

A system that puts profits above humanity can't address an existential threat to our future. 


Capitalism's war on climate science

A system that puts profits above humanity can't address an existential threat to our future. 


James Plested, Red Flag /


Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor John Stoltenberg stay on top of important articles like these, sign up here to receive the latest updates from all reader supported Evergreene Digest. 1, 2017 | The Earth revolves around the sun. That was the simple proposition that resulted in 17th century Italian scientist and astronomer Galileo falling foul of Catholic authorities, who banned his works and placed him under permanent house arrest. The idea espoused by Galileo and other scientists was, according to a Papal Condemnation of June 1633, "formally heretical, because it is expressly contrary to Holy Scripture."

According to scripture, the earth was the center of the universe, and the sun, the moon and the planets all revolved around it. Anyone who dared to contradict this view was silenced. The authority of the church--the ideological "glue" that held together Italian society at the time and enabled its rulers to continue in their position of power and privilege--depended on it.

James Plested is a Melbourne writer, graphic designer and long-time leftist sports fan.

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